Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

have faith Archive



January 2022

When fear is holding you back

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"There is neither in heaven nor earth nor hell anything that we need fear when we are once right with God. Settle the centre, and the circumference is secure." (Charles Spurgeon) | Read "When fear holds you back" on hopereflected.com

Fear makes us do funny things

In John 9, Jesus miraculously restored the sight of a man who was blind from birth. If a member of your family were miraculously healed of a life-long ailment or disability, would you not rejoice? And yet, when questioned by the Pharisees about how their son could now see, the parents of this man said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.” (John 9:20-21). Rather than rejoice and profess the glory of God and the healing power of Christ, they were silent. Rather than share their incredible testimony, they stood still.

Fear can affect when and how we share our faith

We may think we’d react differently, but this response is sadly like many of us. We often allow the fear of others to affect when and how we share our faith. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” We get trapped when we’re afraid of others. We do or say things we ought not to. The Message paraphrase puts Proverbs 29:25 like this: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in GOD protects you from that.” When our testimony is tested, have we ever said, “I felt trapped!” “I was caught off-guard!” or “I was afraid of what they would think!” as an answer to why we didn’t speak up? Why do we care so much about the opinion of others, when we read right in scripture that, “whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe”?

We act foolishly when we let fear control us. Abraham is an example of this, when he asked his wife Sarah to lie for him in Genesis 12:12, because he was afraid of what others would do if he told the truth. When we choose fear over faith, the outcome is never good. Thankfully, Abraham checked his behavior and changed his ways, ultimately moving forward in his faith.

God can help us break out of the fear trap

When fear is holding us back, only God can help us break out of the trap. Calling on the name of Christ is the only way to go from fearful to fearless. When his parents fizzled out and the Pharisees questioned him, the man who Jesus healed spoke the truth. “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.” (John 9:33). As a result, he was excommunicated. But what man meant for evil, God meant for good.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (9:35). Jesus personally seeks us out. He finds us. When a child is afraid, he usually calls out for his mother or father to comfort. Will we call on Christ to come to us? Jesus relieves our fears when He finds us. When fear is holding us back, only God can help us move forward.

“There is neither in heaven nor earth nor hell anything that we need fear when we are once right with God. Settle the centre, and the circumference is secure.”

Charles Spurgeon

Originally published as “When fear is holding us back.” Independent Plus. August 12, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



March 2020

When things don’t turn out as we planned

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"Where is your faith?" (Luke 8:25) | Read more at hopereflected.com

Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote in 1765 about the best laid schemes of mice and men in his poem, “To a Mouse”. In the poem, written after Burns accidentally turned up a mouse’s nest with his plough, Burns considers the mouse more fortunate than he, because “The present only toucheth thee,”. Being human, Burns could not only see his present, he could look back and see his past, and though he couldn’t see the future, he could fret and worry about it.

God has a plan

It seems that not much has changed in the last two hundred and fifty-five years. So often, we spend our time fretting and worrying about the future that we miss out on what God has for us in the present. That’s not to say that planning ahead is a bad thing; on the contrary, the Bible tells us that planning for the future is wise (Proverbs 21:5). The key is, that rather than spend our time worrying, or getting discouraged when things don’t turn out as we planned, we should make a determined effort to direct our focus to God.

David wrote in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Regardless of his circumstances or the events happening around him, David purposed to set the Lord always before him. Before we make decisions, we should pray; as Anne Graham Lotz puts it, it is always to our benefit to be “pre-prayered” for whatever we face in life.

His plan is bigger than ours

We should also remember that even though we may plan things down to the tiniest detail, sometimes God has a different plan, and His plans are always the best for us. “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.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) We may not understand why He allows heartache and woes; but when we trust Him, we can understand that God always has a plan, and He always has His best for us in mind. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Where is your faith?” Jesus asked the disciples this in Luke 8:25 after He saved them from a storm on the water. When the wind and waters rage, who do we trust, and where do we turn? We should trust God, and turn our eyes to Him. When things don’t turn out as we planned, we can still rest in Him. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

He is the first and the last, He knows our past, present, and He holds the future. He is the author and finisher of our faith.

Originally published as “When things don’t turn out how we plan.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. January 9, 2020: 6. Print. Web.



July 2017

Hope Reflected | Through the storm

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"In the time of trouble, He shall hide me." Psalm 27:5 | Through the storm See more at hopereflected.com

Through the storm

Sometimes in life it may seem as though you’re going through everything at once – professionally, personally, and internally – and it’s during times such as these, when you’re in the middle of the storms, that it’s important to remember that storms are only temporary. It is in the storms that we have the ability to grow the most – and to grow closer to God.

How many times have we read in the book of Exodus how God parted the Red Sea for Moses, allowing the Israelites to walk across on dry ground and cross to safety while being pursued by their enemies? We’ve heard the event shared time after time, and it’s easy to become desensitized to the significance of this account. “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)

Anything stand out to you about this selection of scripture? It says that God divided the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could cross to safety. Author Brad Wilcox puts it like this: “God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Sometimes we can hear a truth over and over again, but until it’s explained in the simplest of terms, we don’t understand the breadth of it.

God’s not necessarily going to remove our problems, but He has promised to help us through whatever storms we’re facing. God didn’t remove the Red Sea or eliminate it from the picture; He divided it and helped the Israelites through it.

Consider also how many times reading through the psalms that perhaps you’ve breezed over the sacred truth David wrote in Psalm 27:5: “for in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” In the Old Testament tabernacle, the secret place of the tabernacle was sacred. Only the High Priest was permitted to enter the secret place of the tabernacle, and even then only once per year. Imagine the significance of David to say in Psalm 27:5 that in the time of trouble, God hides him in the secret place of His tabernacle!

What’s amazing is that David wasn’t the only one who could say this. In the time of trouble – and any time – God hides us in the secret place of His tabernacle. He wants to take us in and protect us; all we have to do is put our trust in Him. Whatever problems you’re facing and whatever storms you’re battening down to get through, you don’t have to face them alone.

You may be skeptical and think that it won’t make a difference if you put your trust in God. But consider this – God’s not worried about the storm because He controls it, so who better to trust in and focus on? “Then he got in the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” Rather than putting your focus on the furiousness of the storm, put your focus on the One Who controls the storm.

Originally published as “Through the storm.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 13, 2017: 7. Print. Web.



November 2016

Hope Reflected: Choose Faith Over Fear

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Have you ever been in a season of life where you face an unknown future? Perhaps you’re starting at a new school, or starting a new job, or maybe even making a career change. Maybe you’re facing health issues, or moving to a new town. One of the realities of life is that we will all face seasons of change. Many thoughts can run through our minds when embarking on a new journey, and it’s in those times of uncertainty that we all need to be reminded to choose faith over fear.

Have you ever tried mixing oil and water? Or, fellow food lovers, what about mixing extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar? Notice how they just don’t jive? Olive oil is less dense than vinegar, so it always floats to the top. Try as you might, you can’t mix the two together. The same thing can be said of faith and fear. Bob Proctor said it like this: “Faith and fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose!”

Last week at Clifford Community Church, Reverend Bott painted a picture in his sermon about the children of Israel and how close they came to entering the promised land… before spending forty years wandering through the wilderness. God doesn’t want us to stay stagnant in the wilderness; but we have to put our faith in Him in order to move forward! Sometimes it’s hard, but I know I’d rather choose a future and a hope through faith than anxiety and worry through fear!

By definition, faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. In the Bible, we learn a lot more about faith than just a dictionary definition, however. We see faith in action all through God’s Word, and we’re introduced to so many men and women who chose faith over fear and experienced God’s amazing blessings.

From my own experience, here are three facts I know to be true about faith:

  1. Faith is powerful. Hebrews 11:1 states that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we put our faith and hope in God, and His best, we eliminate any unbelief or feelings of fear. You can’t have fear when you’ve got faith – what a powerful thought! At one of the lowest points of his life, when he was caught by the Philistines at Gath, David said, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3) If you’re feeling fearful or afraid, put your faith in God. He will see you through. If He brings you to it, He can bring you through it! And it’s through facing our fears head on that we defeat them and grow our faith.
  2. Faith is a gift. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” You may know people who have a super-strong faith that seems rock solid. And guess what? Faith isn’t just reserved for certain people. Faith is a gift from God that can be yours, too! As a result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you’ll start to grow the fruits of the Spirit, including faith! You can go to church, get baptized, be a good person, even give money away, but none of it means anything unless you accept God’s gift of salvation. Faith is a gift; God’s grace is a gift.
  3. Faith is something we learn. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” An unshakable faith isn’t just something that happens to us when we come to know the Lord; faith is something we learn and develop when we dig into God’s Word. The more time we spend feeding our souls in the Bible, the less time we spend feeding fear and worry. When Joshua replaced Moses as leader over the children of Israel, he was reminded and encouraged to stay in God’s Word: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Faith is something we have to grow, and we can’t grow our faith if we don’t spend time in the Bible each day!

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Wherever you are today, you’ve got the option to choose faith over fear. Like oil and vinegar, faith and fear don’t mix. As Greg Laurie says: “Where fear reigns, faith is driven away. But where faith reigns, fear has no place.”

Originally published as “Choose Faith Over Fear.” Minto Express. October 19, 2016. 5: Print.