Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

God’s love Archive

Thursday

29

October 2020

Stirring the pot

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And let

My Mum makes the best gravy. Any time someone “helps” her finish making it, she provides the same instructions: Once you’ve brought it to a boil, really stir it up so it doesn’t get lumpy. It always works with her gravy, not so much with mine.

Stirring the pot takes work

The Bible has many references to stirring things up, from both sides of the spectrum. Whether for good or bad, stirring the pot takes work. Where will we focus our efforts?

Proverbs 10:12 says that “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” Just one look at the news, and we can see the stirring up of strife in so many situations, because of hate. As God’s children, we should be looking for ways to show His love in how we live and treat those around us. It starts in our hearts and homes.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1

We all know that person who makes comments or says things just to get a rise out of others. Proverbs 15:1 says that, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grevious words stir up anger.” When we open our mouths, is it to share a soft answer, or to gush grievous words? “The tongue is a little member and it boasts great things”, James wrote in James 3:5. “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” We all know the power of our words, because we have all said things that we regret – probably even as recently as today.

Stirring up strife, or appeasing it?

Proverbs 15:18 says that “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Are we predisposed to stirring up strife, or appeasing it? There are times when we react in the heat of the moment, but rather than be quick to anger, the Bible tells us that as Christians we should be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19). Though it can be hard, especially in the heat of the moment, those who are slow to anger will stir up peace rather than strife.

In addition to peace, we should be stirred up to generosity. In Exodus 35, the hearts of the people were stirred up to give of their possessions to help build the tabernacle. Are our hearts stirred up to give? There are so many lives that could be impacted by even a small act of generosity. While giving is often associated with financial means, being stirred to generosity could also look like dropping off a meal to a neighbour, sending a note of encouragement, or even sharing a smile and a kind word. Giving does not diminish; it always multiplies.

Stir up the gift of God which is in you

“Consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,”

Hebrews 10:24

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged Timothy “to stir up the gift of God which is in you,” (1 Timothy 1:6). Sometimes we need to be reinvigorated; this can especially be true for those serving in full-time ministry. It can be exhausting living a life of service. This is why it is so important that we stir one another up to use the gifts that God has placed in us. We should “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24). How are we stirring the pot?

Originally published as “Stirring the pot.” Independent Plus. June 4, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

27

February 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 139:3

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

encouragement psalm 139:3

“You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:3-4

Sometimes it may seem like you can’t see the path just ahead of you, and you’re afraid to take the next step. Rest assured and be encouraged knowing that God knows your path, He knows your lying down, and He is acquainted with all your ways.

Psalm 119:105 tells us that God’s Word is “a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” If you’ve ever held a candle-lit lamp, you understand that it doesn’t provide a whole lot of light. Rather, it provides just enough light for the stairs in front of you.

That’s the beauty of having a relationship with God. We don’t need to see all the stairs; we can trust that He’s in complete control and will provide the light we require. Just like we’re told in Psalm 139:3-4, God knows our path and He knows all our ways. We can rest in that.

“You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.” Psalm 139:3-4

Friday

17

February 2017

Hope Reflected | Love

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

hope reflected love

Ah, love. February, long touted as “the month of love”, can be a sensitive time of year for some people. You know, you get those who say they don’t care about Valentine’s Day or commercial holidays; there are those who say that they don’t want flowers and they don’t eat chocolate; and there are those who say that they’d rather their significant other demonstrate love randomly on some other day of the year. There’s also the growing popularity of “Galentine’s Day”, (which started thanks to Amy Poehler in an episode of “Parks and Rec”), a day dedicated to celebrating love with your girlfriends.

As a traditional romantic, I love the idea of flowers and love letters and I’m thankful to be married to and in love with a man who also believes that love should be celebrated throughout the entire year.

The interesting thing about human love is that it’s conditional. Notice how the popular dictionaries define love, “arising from” or “based on” certain criteria being met. Human love is conditional because we base our love on our feelings – and we all know that feelings change. Have you ever heard of couples who, “fell out of love” or “lost that feeling”? Marriage requires a more firm foundation than that of one based on “feelings”.

On our wedding day, one of the best pieces of advice that Wes and I received – besides “happy wife, happy life” – was that to maintain a fulfilled and true marriage, we need to remember that our love is an act of our will. Even in the moments when you don’t “feel” like it, you’ve got to will yourself to love the other person. We can’t do it without God. I’m thankful for a husband who shares that foundation.

While I cherish Wes, his love, and his will, I also am thankful for the love of my Heavenly Father, who loves me unconditionally; Who’s love for me isn’t based on feelings or emotions. So how does God’s love differ from our human love?

  1. God’s love is unconditional. “God is love.” 1 John 4:8 God’s love is unconditional because God is love. He doesn’t love us because of how we make Him feel or something we did for Him; God loves us because God is love. Think about it.
  2. God’s love is giving. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Another attribute of God’s love is His generosity. He sent his only Son to die on the cross so that we can have eternal life. There was nothing we did or said that could have influenced this. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We didn’t do anything to deserve this; He did everything. As it is written in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
  3. God’s love is ours. “Let us love one another, for love is of God…In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:7, 9 God’s love is a free gift that’s available to anyone and everyone who believes in Him. All we have to do is acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and accept His gift of love. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:15-16)

If you’re looking for love, the best place to start is a relationship with God. Only He will love you wholly, unconditionally, and no matter what. He will encourage you and uplift you, and provide for you in ways beyond anything you can ask or think. God will love you more in a moment than anyone can in a lifetime. Spoken from experience, you can search the world over and try to fill your life with people, activities, and “stuff”, but nothing can compare to the love that God has for you, and nothing can fill that place in your heart like our Heavenly Father can.

Originally published as “Love.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. February 9, 2017: 7. Print.

Monday

13

February 2017

Your Consolation Brought Me Joy | Encouragement from Psalm 94:19

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

psalm 94:19 encouragement your consolation brought me joy

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

A new week brings with it new challenges: School assignments that are due, big meetings at work, extracurricular activities every night, personal responsibilities. The list is endless; there’s always something to do, somewhere to go, and someone to help.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our circumstances, and just running, that we get overwhelmed. According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, Psalm 94 was written during a time of great persecution within the church. Yet, the Psalmist penned, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19)

Even in the midst of adversity and anxiety, God provides encouragement and support. We can get so caught up in trying to control our own circumstances and lives that we forget the simple strength of “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) You can’t be comforted or consoled when you’re running and being “busy”.

Slow down, soul, and let God’s consolation bring you joy. When anxiety is great with you, — and even when it’s not — let God refresh your spirit and renew your strength.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19