Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

God’s Word Archive

Monday

27

February 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 139:3

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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

13

January 2017

Hope Reflected | The Blessing in Obedience

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

blessing in obedience luke 11:28

The Blessing in Obedience

Piano lessons. Talk to any adult, and they’ll tell you stories from their child hood about piano lessons. The difference in how the stories end is always related to obedience – some individuals demonstrated obedience in practicing piano, while others gave up and moved on to something else. In the long term, the benefits of demonstrating obedience in practicing piano means more than likely those individuals can still play today! It’s a great feeling of satisfaction as an adult to reap the benefits of obedience when you were a child.

The Bible talks a lot about obedience, and the book of Hebrews specifically recognizes great men and women from the Bible who were obedient and faithful: Abraham, Moses, and Sarah just to name a few.

Obedience plays a part in every believer’s life, and the Bible has much to say on the topic of obedience:

Obedience shows that we believe in and love God. Abraham, Moses, Sarah, and other men and women of faith in the Bible, demonstrated their belief and faith in God through their obedience. Jesus said in John 15:14, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Similarly, 1 John 2: 4-5 says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

Obedience brings glory to God. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be obedient to God’s Word. Though it’s not always easy – especially when popular opinion contradicts much of the Bible’s truths – obedience brings glory to God. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Obedience brings blessing. Psalm 1:1-2 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.” We’re also told in Proverbs 13:13, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” Jesus even said in Luke 11:28, “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Obedience brings freedom. Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And with freedom, comes peace. D.L. Moody was famously quoted as saying, “There will be no peace in any soul until it is willing to obey the voice of God.”

What are you waiting for? If you want to see God do extraordinary things in your life, start taking steps of ordinary obedience.

Originally published as “The Blessing in Obedience.” Minto Express, Independent Plus. December 7, 2016: 5. Print.

Monday

3

October 2016

Encouragement: Isaiah 54:10

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isaiah 54:10

“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10

If you haven’t already read through Isaiah 54, I hope you take a few minutes today to do so. Give it a read. The whole chapter is an encouragement.

Even just looking at verse 10, check out all the encouraging truths that are right here! Can you imagine a world where the mountains and the hills are shaken and not just moved, but removed from the earth?! Yet all the while, God remains steadfast, with several promises holding true:

  1. God’s kindness will not depart from us. We know that God is slow to anger. The Psalmist in Psalm 63:3 proclaims, “Because your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.” In Psalm 69:16 the Psalmist says, “Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.” Our God is KIND. He loves us. He has our best interest at heart.
  2. God’s peace, the covenant of His peace will not be removed from us. Philippians 4:7 promises, “and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” As Christians, we can speak from experience that God blesses His people with peace (Psalm 29:11). When troubles on earth seem to prevail, there is something to be said about committing it all to our Saviour. He will give us a peace that is far beyond any comfort we can find in this world.
  3. God, our Lord, will have mercy on us. From experience, and from God’s Word, we know that God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4). Mercy, by definition, is God withholding the judgement that we deserve and instead granting us the forgiveness we don’t deserve and we couldn’t have earned. David, in Psalm 51 cries out to the Lord, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love.” Our Lord is merciful, and He is quick to forgive. He sent His Son to the cross as redemption for our sins.

If you’re looking for encouragement this week, take the time to read Isaiah 54. Not only will God stay with us, show us His kindness, grant us His peace, and show us His mercy; God also promises within Isaiah 54 that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”

 

Monday

26

September 2016

Encouragement: Ecclesiastes 3:11

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ecclesiastes 3:11 God's perfect timing

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

There are so many truths throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, and Ecclesiastes 3:11 is a great reminder of God’s perfect timing. So often in life, we put a plan in motion for exactly how we want and envision things to work out. We think we’ve got things figured out, like we know what’s best for our future.

It’s very easy to forget that God’s perfect timing for our lives can turn out to be completely different from what we imagine as being right. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we’re told, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Our thoughts and ways are usually very different from our Lord’s, aren’t they? I also really like how Ecclesiastes 11:5 talks about the wonders of God: “Just as you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.”

How many times have you been in a situation, and anticipated how circumstances would work out, as though you were in control? How many times do you think that you’re the one who’s in control, that you can climb that mountain with your own strength, that you can change someone’s heart through your own actions? The reality is, God is in control, and it’s only through Him that we accomplish anything at all!

In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he says the following about Ecclesiastes 3:11: “Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God’s hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God’s works.”

When I find myself getting impatient or experiencing disappointment, or when things don’t work out as I think they should, it’s a great reminder to look at verses such as Ecclesiastes 3:11 about God’s perfect timing. It may not make sense right now, but God’s got a reason. Our task, like Job, is to continue praising Him even when things don’t make sense, and to continue trusting Him and growing our Faith. “Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number.” [Job 5:9] Job experienced more testing circumstances and situations throughout his life, and yet he never once questioned what God was doing. He knew that God had a plan and would work every thing out in His timing.

Wherever you are today, whether waiting, wondering, or worrying, take heart. God’s perfect timing is worth the wait! God is in control, and He hath made every thing beautiful in His time.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

Tuesday

28

June 2016

Encouragement: 1 Peter 5:7

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1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

That’s the traditional King James Version, however translated into other versions, the “care” referred to in 1 Peter 5:7 is also translated as anxieties and worries.

Isn’t that an incredible thought? We can cast any of our anxieties, worries, and fears on the Lord, because He cares for us. He cares for us.

Whenever I read 1 Peter 5:7, I’m also reminded of Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus offers rest and peace of mind:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30

Only God can truly give us rest. For anyone who is heavy laden and filled with cares, cast them on God! 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all your care — not just some of your care. God wants it all. And in exchange, He’ll provide you with the peace that passes all understanding.

If you find yourself with so many cares and if you’re feeling anxious or worried, take heart! Cast all your care upon God; He cares for you!

Friday

24

June 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Reasons to Start Doing Devotions – Devotions in the Christian Faith

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devotions

Charles Stanley once said that “a lack of joy in a Christian’s life often can be traced to a lack of concentrated devotional time in God’s Word.”

You’ve heard the adage, “six pack abs start in the kitchen,” and that’s true. So much of our overall physical health depends just as much (or more!) on what we eat than it does on how much physical exercise we get. The same can be said of our spiritual health. The condition of our spiritual life depends just as much or more on the time we spend in God’s Word, – the Bible, – and how much time we spend meditating on Him, than it does on how much time we spend trying to encourage others and think positive.

Devotional time. What are devotions in the Christian faith? By definition, devotion is “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” Having a time of devotion or doing devotions is, in its simplest form, when you set aside time each day to get into the Bible to learn about God, and focus on Him. Devotions usually involve a reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, as well as the Psalms and Proverbs. Devotions typically focus on improving and growing our knowledge of the Lord and our relationship with Him, and most include a time of prayer.

Devotions are important to the Christian faith for several reasons, and here are three areas that devotions have especially impacted my life:

  1. Devotions help get my heart in the right place. As the Psalmist David said in Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV), “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” A successful relationship is not a one-way street. A relationship with God isn’t just me trusting in Him so nothing bad will ever happen or because I think it will benefit me. As a Christian, I have to pursue Him; I have to approach Him in reflection and with an open heart so that I can hear what God’s trying to teach me through His Word.
  2. Devotions help me slow down. Psalm 46:10 (KJV) says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” I can’t be still unless I take the time to slow down. Being still is a big part of a successful devotional time. Too often I find that if I’m in a rush or thinking ahead about everything that I have to accomplish today, my devotional time won’t be as meaningful and I won’t get as much out of it. Take time to really slow down; take time to “lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).
  3. Devotions help me grow by highlighting areas in my life that need correction. Psalm 26:2 (KJV) says, “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Only God truly knows the intention of each heart, and asking Him to examine my heart helps me to keep things real and reveals that I am in desperate need of His help in every area of life. Proverbs 21:2 (KJV) says that “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

If you’re looking to start a devotional time each day, a great place to begin is in the Psalms or Proverbs. There’s so much wisdom even just in these two books. There are 31 Proverbs, which is fitting to each day of the month, so you could choose to start today and read one Proverb each day throughout the month. A similar practice can be done with the Psalms. However you decide to do your devotions, the important part is getting started – God will speak to your heart if you’re open to hearing Him and what He has to say through His Word!

 

Originally published as “3 Reasons to Start Doing Devotions – Devotions in the Christian Life.” Minto Express. June 15, 2016: 5. Print.

 

Thursday

31

March 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Ways to Be Encouraged

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

mar31_hopereflected_psalm1032

This column was originally published in early February 2016, in the midst of winter.

So far this winter, – knock on wood, – has been relatively mild, bright, and manageable. We’re just over halfway through the season, and there haven’t been too many days filled with dark skies and endless grey clouds. And for that, I’m thankful (seasonal affective disorder sufferers, rejoice!). That being said, it’s most common that when we reach just beyond the halfway point – whether in seasons, personal or professional goals, or schoolwork, – that we can begin to feel restless or ready to give up. If you’ve ever fought feelings of discouragement, you know what I mean. For those times when you’re feeling down, fatigued, or even restless, a little encouragement can go a long way.

I’m thankful to be surrounded by several people who inspire courage, and I’m also aware that sometimes the people who freely give support or encourage others are the very people who need encouragement the most!

If you’re reading this today and you find yourself fatigued, or restless, or in need of a little pick-me-up, here are three ways to find encouragement today:

  1. Write a gratitude list. David said in Psalm 103:2 (KJV), “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits”. If you need some encouragement, count your blessings and create a gratitude list. It’s easier said than done, but often I take for granted the very things that people in other parts of the world long for – a peaceful neighbourhood, a pillow for my head, and a place to call home. That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of God’s blessings.
  2. Go for a walk or pick up some flowers. In Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV), Solomon wrote that, “He [God] hath made every thing beautiful in his time”. Even though I don’t have a green thumb, I always find it encouraging to be surrounded by flowers and other examples of God’s creativity and handiwork. It’s amazing how a walk outdoors and some fresh air can help you feel encouraged.
  3. Get into God’s Word. Not familiar with the Bible? The Psalms are a great place to start, and within those pages you’ll find some of the most encouraging truths. These timeless poems and songs contain some of the most poignant phrases, which are uplifting to read and to recall to mind.

There are more than three ways you can encourage yourself, but these three provide an effective starting point. It is true what they say, that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. It’s an incredible gift to serve others, but don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. It’s easier to encourage another when you’re at a place of positivity!

 

Originally published as “3 Ways to Be Encouraged.” Minto Express. February 10, 2016: 5. Print.