Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

grace Archive

Tuesday

20

April 2021

The hope of something new

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Isaiah 33:2 "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." | Hope Reflected | The hope of something new

Anything new – be it a sunrise, a snowfall, or even a new year – brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. When we are discouraged, tested, and tired, we often start seeking something new. For Christians, we are quick to forget that the Lord offers us something new each day.

In the book of Lamentations, we read a reflection on the suffering of the Israelites as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem. While the start of the book speaks much of judgment and suffering, the third chapter has a distinct aroma of hope through God’s mercies and compassions.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” we read in Lamentations 3:22-23. “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Even in the middle of our discouragement, testing, and tiredness, God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. Even when the outlook is bleak, God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed. As Matthew Henry said, “When we are in distress we should, for the encouragement of our faith and hope, observe what makes for us as well as what makes against us. Things are bad but they might have been worse, and therefore there is hope that they may be better.” To put it as Paul poignantly wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Though we often wake up with the wrong attitude, The Lord who changes not offers us His mercies. Because of His compassions we are not consumed. The problem is that rather than focus our attention to waiting on the Lord, we’re more concerned about what’s going on around us, and what could go wrong. We move in our own strength rather than resting in Him. Isaiah wrote, “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (33:2). Are we looking to God in the time of trouble, or are we instead looking around us and being filled with discouragement? Times may be dark, but God is on our side. Nothing that happens in the world around us is a surprise to Him.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

With God, we have the hope of something new

Until we change our behavior, we can’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Until we repent of our sin, and for grieving the Holy Spirit, we can’t expect forgiveness. Until we stop looking down our noses and start picking up our cross daily, we are not capable of following God. Unless we pursue after Him, we cannot partake of His mercies and compassions. Though present times may seem as though we are wandering through a wilderness or desert land, we need to keep going. With God, we have the hope of something new. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Originally published as “The hope of something new.” Independent Plus. January 14, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

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Friday

10

April 2020

Good Friday

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." (Ephesians 1:7) | Good Friday | Read more at hopereflected.com

It is only when we understand Good Friday that we can truly celebrate Easter Sunday

What’s so good about Good Friday? It’s a fair question, especially given that Christians the world over commemorate the crucifixion of Christ each year on Good Friday. It’s an occasion that makes many wonder how Christ’s death can be something that we call good. Whether you believe Good Friday is just the bastardization of God’s Friday or not, I’d argue that Good Friday could even be called Great Friday.

The day Christ was crucified was the day that He went, willingly no less, to His death, for you. “But how can that be, when I wasn’t even born yet?” you may ask. He knew you before you were born. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee,” (Jeremiah 1:5). God knew you before you were even created. And since sin has been a part of mankind since Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden, we all have a need for a Saviour.

Easter, Redemption through His blood

Christ died so that you could be redeemed. Think about that for a second. Consider even your actions and thoughts just this past week. God knows all of your motives, and while you’re thankful that no one else can hear your thoughts, God knows them too. He knows each one of us right down to our rotten cores, and He loves us anyway. Where we can never measure up, His grace overflows. Where we can never be good enough, His blood is more than enough. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7).

Good Friday is a great day not because Lent is over or you get a day off work, no, Good Friday is a great day because it is the reminder to each one of us that Jesus’s blood is God’s love. His suffering was for our salvation. Yes, there is someone who loves you that much! It is only when we understand Good Friday that we can truly celebrate Easter Sunday.

The Resurrection of our Lord

Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. The day that we rejoice in the greatest friend we could ever know. Jesus, the One who while hanging on the tree in complete agony asked God to forgive the very people who had put Him there – you and I. In Christ’s resurrection, we are reclaimed, redeemed, and restored. It is in His resurrection that we can recover, regroup, and find revitalization. It doesn’t matter what your past is, God already knows. He also knows your future and He longs for you to let Him love you. God isn’t forceful, but when you let Him, He’ll help you move forward. Jesus lives so that you can have life. How?

Recognize that you are a sinner (Romans 3:23) and that you are in need of forgiveness (Romans 6:23), accept Christ’s gift of salvation which He provided through His death on the cross (Romans 5:8), claim Christ as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).

Originally published as “Easter.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 18, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

15

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

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grace and mercy

Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

You check into a nice hotel, and the hostess behind the desk gives you a free upgrade to a better room. Rather than staying in a basic room, you’re now enjoying the evening in a luxury suite. This is an example of grace – you’re receiving something that you don’t deserve and you didn’t do anything to earn.

You’re driving down the highway doing more than 100km in an 80km zone and you get pulled over. Rather than hit you with a ticket for speeding, the police officer who pulls you over lets you off with a warning. This would be an example of mercy – you’re not getting what you really deserve.

There are several examples of grace and mercy that each of us experience in life, but by far the most powerful examples of grace and mercy that we could ever experience are those that come to us from God.

Millard Erickson once said, “God’s mercy is His tenderhearted, loving compassion for His people. It is His tenderness of heart toward the needy. If grace contemplates humans as sinful, guilty, and condemned, mercy sees them as miserable and needy.”

It is interesting to note that grace is mentioned 170 times in the Bible, and mercy is mentioned 273 times. Grace is defined as God’s unmerited favour. Mercy, on the other hand, is defined as not getting what we truly deserve.

So how can we take these godly traits and exercise them in each of our own lives? We’re humans, so our human nature often makes it difficult for us to display grace and mercy to others, because neither attribute comes naturally to us.

  • We can demonstrate grace through our words. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6) As Christians, we are called to season our speech with salt and to speak with grace. This can be so hard, am I right?! Sometimes it seems like it’s easier to complain, to talk about that person behind his or her back, or to let our frustrations out through our words. Demonstrating grace means exercising caution and kindness when we’re speaking to others. It means using language that is edifying and words that build up, rather than words that insult or tear down.
  • We can demonstrate mercy through our actions. “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Maybe someone’s done you wrong, or thrown you under the bus. Your immediate instinct – and mine – is to react. But, that immediate reaction, is it to show mercy to your offender? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably not. When someone acts out against you and is a total jerk, a good rule of thumb is to take a breath. Wait a while before you respond to that email, stay silent until you’re prepared to provide a level-headed answer. Rather than react in the same manner as your offender, react with mercy and you’ll be surprised with how it goes over (see Proverbs 25:22). Remember, resolution over retaliation!

Living a life filled with grace and mercy isn’t always easy; on the contrary, because these two godly traits don’t come naturally to us, we must rely on our Heavenly Father to live and practice grace and mercy. It’s only because of God’s own grace and mercy that we can even begin to exhibit these traits. As sinners, we are condemned and deserve God’s wrath, but by His grace, He saved us, and in His mercy He has granted us eternal life. God’s grace is immeasurable, and God’s mercy is inexhaustible. The best part? God’s grace and God’s mercy are available to anyone who chooses to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour.

 

Originally published as “Grace and Mercy: Two Sides of the Coin.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 6, 2017: Web.

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Monday

16

January 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 145:8 | Attributes of God

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the Lord is gracious psalm 145:8 attributes of God

“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalm 145:8

If you’re looking for encouragement this week, turn your Bible open to Psalm 145 and read about some of the incredible attributes of God. In verse 8 alone, we are told about four great attributes of God.

  • The LORD is gracious — Defined as the unmerited favour of God, grace is a bestowal of blessings that we do not deserve.
  • The LORD is full of compassion — God is not just compassionate, He is FULL of compassion. Defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings of others, compassion is something of which the Lord has no shortage. If you’re suffering, or in a valley, trust God to show you compassion. He will lead you through.
  • The LORD is slow to anger — As you face the emotions of others (and even yourself), who are often quick-tempered, bitter, or irritable, remember that one of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger. Have patience with yourself and those around you.
  • The LORD is of great mercy — As grace is the unmerited favour of God, mercy is not giving us what we deserve. When someone does you wrong, or offends you, instead of reacting with like, try compassion on for size.

“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalm 145:8

 

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Friday

23

September 2016

Hope Reflected: Attributes of God, Part 2

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God's attributes

In my last column, I shared three of God’s attributes that have impacted my life: God is faithful, God is love, God is merciful. This week, I’d like to share three other attributes of God that are just as amazing and encouraging.

William Ames once said that, “The attributes of God tell us What He is and Who He is.” This seems like a simple truth, however sometimes we really need to be reminded of what an amazing God He truly is, to really dig in and appreciate all of His wonderful characteristics. Remembering God’s attributes is an excellent way to alleviate anxiety and create peace and rest for our hearts.

  1. God is unchanging. God is unchanging; He is immutable. Think about it. From before the beginning of the world all the way through history to today, God hasn’t changed. He is steadfast, He is sure. And we have 24/7 access to Him! Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the LORD, I change not;”. Imagine having a confidant or someone you could rely on, no matter what, and no matter how many times you screw up. We have that in God! You can find confidence and peace in knowing that there is One Who never changes. James 1:17 tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” We can rely on God, all the time.
  1. God is all-knowing. That’s right: God is omniscient. Have you ever wished that you knew why you were going through something, or why something didn’t work out how you thought it should? How sometimes your best laid plans don’t pan out, and you just can’t figure it out? We serve a God who’s already got your life completely figured out. God knows everything – from the past, the present, and your future – and He’s got a great plan. David tells us in Paslm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” We are also told in Isaiah 46:9-10 to “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”
  1. God is gracious. Read: God gives us what we don’t deserve. He loves to shower His people with goodness and gifts that are exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. Ephesians 2:8 lays it out like this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation; eternal security is a gift from God. It’s not something we can obtain in and of ourselves; it only comes as a gift from God. That’s what I don’t understand about people who refuse to accept God’s grace. It’s like turning down a free gift, the greatest gift! In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul reminds us of God’s promise, “’My grace is sufficient for thee:’”

There are so many attributes of God that serve as evidence of His greatness, and also that can help us achieve true peace and contentment. Arthur W. Pink, in his book The Attributes of God, said it like this: “Here then is a sure resting-place for the heart. Our lives are neither the product of blind fate nor the result of capricious chance, but every detail of them was ordained from all eternity, and is now ordered by the living and reigning God. Not a hair of our heads can be touched without His permission.”

For wherever you are right now, there is a promise from God and one of His attributes to help you through! All you have to do is trust in Him.

Originally published as “Attributes of God, Part 2.” Minto Express. August 10, 2016: 5: Print.

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