Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

inspiration Archive

Friday

7

September 2018

Hope Reflected | 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through

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"Commit thy way unto the LORD, trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass." Psalm 37:5 | 5 things to remember for whatever you're going through | Read more at hopereflected.com

Commit thy way unto the Lord: 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through

David’s advice in Psalm 37 is wisdom that we should all remember.

David, often referred to as a man after God’s own heart, led nothing short of an adventurous life. Equal parts heartache and heart-warming, the Bible gives a detailed account of David’s life from his humble beginnings as a Shepherd boy to a battle-worn King who conquered many nations.

If you’re familiar with David’s history, you know that he killed a giant named Goliath, he was chosen to be king, he was a gifted musician, he was a poet, he was a bit of a lady’s man, he had his lover’s husband killed, as a result he lost his child, he was Solomon’s father, and he conquered many nations. David lived a colourful life. He went through many things from which we can learn.

David wrote Psalm 37 near the end of his life, so you can be sure that the wisdom he shares in this Psalm come from experience. If you’re anxious or if you need encouragement, here are 5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through:

  1. Fret not. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 37:1) Fretting, also known as being anxious, worried, concerned, overly analytical, or upset, is something that’s common to all of us! This notion of “fret not” is so important that David mentions it not just once, not just twice, but three times in Psalm 37. “Fret not thyself because of evildoers”, “fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way”, “fret not thyself in any wise to do evil”. Notice the similarities? Usually our fretting is related to other people. David advises that we shouldn’t worry about those people who do evil, or those who are prosperous, or be envious or concerned about what other people are doing.
  2. Trust in the Lord. “Trust in the LORD, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (Psalm 37:3) Trusting in the Lord can be very difficult, especially when you only have enough light for where you’re standing and you can’t see the path ahead. Our faith isn’t built on something we can physically see per se. But when you purpose to put your trust in the Lord, He promises that He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).
  3. Delight yourself in the Lord. “Delight yourself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37: 4) Delight, joy, take pleasure in the Lord. We’re promised in God’s Word that when we make Him our delight, He will give us the desires of our heart. “Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob.” (Isaiah 58:14). When you find your fulfillment in Christ, when you choose to keep your eyes on Him, when you take the time to delve into His Word, and when you make Him the centre of your life, that is delighting in the Lord.
  4. Commit it to God. “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) How often are each of us guilty of making plans for the future without first seeking the Lord? When you commit your way to God (i.e., praying in advance about big and little decisions and life choices), and when you put your trust in Him, He shall bring it to pass. Does it mean that God will always work things out exactly how you want? No! Sometimes things will not go as you expect. Sometimes you’ll feel like God’s not answering your prayers. And sometimes, when you ask for A, B, or C, God will exceed your expectations and give you the entire alphabet (as Charles Stanley says).
  5. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) Rest and patience. So often the two go hand in hand. We are able to rest when we learn the virtue of patience, and we are able to be patient when we resolve to rest. When you choose to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, you can rest assured that He will act with your best interest in mind. “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord,” (Lamentations 3:26). You’ve likely heard the quote that it takes 6 months to build a Rolls Royce and only 13 hours to build a Toyota. The difference between “good” and God’s best for your life is patience.

American blues guitarist B.B. King once said that, “the beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” When David wrote Psalm 37, he had lived and learned throughout his often-challenging life. And yet, at the end of it all, David still claimed God as his buckler, his rock, and his power. You can avoid a lot of heartache by taking the advice of those who’ve gone before you, and David’s advice in Psalm 37 is wisdom that we should all remember.

Originally published as “5 things to remember for whatever you’re going through.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 5, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

16

October 2017

Encouragement | Colossians 3:2

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Set your affection on things above. Colossians 3:2 | Read more at hopereflected.com

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

In the midst of life, where our focus so often is set on the day-to-day grind of life, our careers, our families, our friends, and our own dreams and goals, it can be hard to retrain our thoughts to the heavens and to the One who created us.

We’re told in Colossians 3:2 to set our affection on things above, not on things on earth. Our affection — that feeling of fondness or love — is to be set on things above. So what does that really mean? Does it mean that we’re wrong for pursuing success here on earth? I don’t think so, but I do believe that it means we are to live with eternity in mind.

How often are each one of us guilty of concentrating on the here and now, and what’s best for us in this lifetime? It’s like when Jesus said to Peter, “you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)  I don’t know about you, but quite often in the hustle of the everyday, I’m guilty of not having the things of God in my mind.

While there’s nothing wrong with doing well for ourselves here on earth, ultimately we need to remember that we brought nothing into this world, and we’re not taking anything with us when we leave! As Christians, our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). The empire you build for yourself here on earth won’t matter in light of eternity.

Matthew 6:19-21 puts it like this: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasures is, there your heart will be also.”

We tend to focus where we spend the most time. That’s why it’s so important to get into God’s Word, to memorize scripture, to spend time in prayer everyday. Multiple times a day if we’re able. Ask God to centre your focus on Him. Purposefully recite your favourite verses from the Bible. Actively praise the Lord for His goodness to us — after all, His mercies are new every morning so there’s always something for which to worship Him!

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

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Monday

2

October 2017

Great is thy faithfulness

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Great is thy faithfulness quote. | See more at hopereflected.com

This past Sunday at church, we sang one of my favourite hymns, Great is thy faithfulness. Written in 1923 by Thomas O. Chisholm, Great is thy faithfulness is based off the portion of Scripture found in Lamentations 3:22-23:

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

If you’re in need of encouragement today, just remember, there is no shadow of turning with God! He does not change, and His compassions fail not. He is always the same, and He cares for each one of us!

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Thomas O. Chisholm

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Friday

22

September 2017

Hope Reflected | Heeding Instruction

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Heeding instruction: "Be doers of the word, and not hearers only." (James 1:22) | See more at hopereflected.com

Heeding Instruction

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.” (James 1:22-24)

After writing last week’s column about listening, Wes provided me with some interesting insight. He explained how while it is very important to listen, it is also important – depending on the circumstances – to take what we hear and to grow from it; “heeding instruction”.

I was immediately reminded of James 1:22-24, where as Christians we are encouraged to be doers of the word and not just hearers only. What benefit is it if you just hear instruction but you fail to apply it to your life?

While there are many benefits to following instructions or heeding instruction, here are a few practical ways that heeding instructions will directly benefit your life.

  1. Heeding instruction helps us grow and learn. “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.” (Proverbs 19:20) It seems like a no brainer that listening to advice and heeding instructions will help you grow and learn, doesn’t it? But how many of us spend our early years rebelling and learning things the hard way! Eleanor Roosevelt once suggested that we should, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” And it’s true. If you know that a certain decision will inevitably lead to heartache, it would be wise to heed the counsel of the people around you who love and care about your well-being. It will save you time and energy in the long run! Heeding instruction will also give you wisdom for your future, that you can impart to your own children.
  2. Heeding instruction keeps us humble. “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” (Job 6:24) Even in the midst of trials (where he was blameless), Job still maintained a humble and a teachable spirit. I sure could learn from Job! How often are quick to be defensive and defend our position, to be short with others, and not open to change or suggestions! Heeding instruction keeps us humble. You can’t learn from your mistakes if you’re busy denying them. Better to hear instruction and heed wise words than to regret it later in life (see Proverbs 5:11-13).
  3. Heeding instruction gives life. “He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses correction goes astray.” (Proverbs 10:17) Heeding instruction (read: Godly instruction) gives life – joy, enthusiasm, growth, renewal, rest, refreshment, – in all of its forms. When you learn to heed instruction, you’re more apt to walk in the right way. And when you accept Christ as your Saviour and apply the principles of God’s Word to your life, then you will truly realize what it is to have eternal life. We’re told in 2 Timothy that God’s Word is profitable “…for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If you want to truly experience life to the fullest, seek wise counsel and heed instruction.

Proverbs 10:8 tells us that, “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.” Not only does heeding instruction help us grow and learn, keep us humble, and give life, heeding instruction also helps us grow in wisdom.

Originally published as “Heeding Instruction.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. September 14, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

13

September 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Invest in something that contributes to your growth

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Invest in something that contributes to your growth. God's Word is a great place to start! | See more at hopereflected.com

Invest in something that contributes to your growth.

Ever find yourself talking or thinking negatively about your own body? Or spending time with people who are less than encouraging? Reading or watching things that aren’t uplifting or edifying?

We need to stop pouring energy into things that defeat our spirit, and start spending time investing in things that contribute to our growth.

A great place to start investing is in God’s Word. We often take for granted the treasures found within the Bible! Take a look at God’s will for your life by taking the time to dig into God’s Word!

Here are three incredible ways that God uses the Bible to help us grow:

  • The Bible will teach you: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Encouraging, edifying, and filled with wisdom, God’s Word is given to teach us. You can’t grow if you don’t learn, so why not spend some time equipping yourself for God’s will in your life?
  • The Bible will give you peace: Jesus told the disciples in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” There is no peace like the peace that God provides. In Philippians 4:7 we’re reminded that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  • The Bible will encourage you: Keep in mind Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Do not be discouraged! Encouragement is the opposite of discouragement, and throughout God’s Word, we are commanded to encourage one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) One way that the Bible will encourage you is through the testimony of other Christians who’ve gone on before you! Consider the earthly ministries of Ruth, David, Moses, Noah, Esther, Naomi, and countless others! The Bible is filled with the testimonies of other real life Believers who have gone through this life before us. We can read about their challenges, their triumphs, and ultimately be encouraged by their lives.

Invest in something that contributes to your growth. The Bible is a great place to start!

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Wednesday

23

August 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Attitude of Gratitude

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What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? | See more at hopereflected.com

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

This quote really resonated with me, and I was immediately convicted. It was the middle of the week, on a day where I hadn’t really taken much time throughout the day to be in conversation with God. This quote really spoke to me and reminded me of the importance of taking the time to give thanks, to express gratitude.

I’ve written before in my column about the importance of developing an attitude of gratitude, rather than getting caught up complaining about our circumstances.

What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? Can you imagine?

Take time today to thank the Lord for His goodness and His blessings. Take time to give thanks for the people in your life who care about you. The world would be a better place if we all took time to give thanks!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his lovingkindness endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

“What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday.”

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Friday

13

January 2017

Hope Reflected | The Blessing in Obedience

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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.

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Monday

9

January 2017

Encouragement | You’re Not Alone | Joshua 1:9

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joshua 1:9 you're not alone encouragement

“The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b

When God told Joshua to be strong and of a good courage, He also reminded Joshua of one very important fact: “The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9b)

Whatever you’re facing this week, remember that you’re not alone. God is with you. He is accessible to you at any time, any where. There is no where you can go that would be out of reach for God.

I’m reminded of David’s Psalm 139: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

Take heart, and have confidence! You’re not alone! The LORD your God is with you wherever you go!

“The LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b

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Wednesday

7

December 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Guard Your Mouth and Your Tongue

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guard your mouth and your tongue

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

Guarding my tongue can be a challenge. Evidently, I’m not the only one, as throughout the Bible we read of various examples of men and women who learned the importance of guarding their mouths and tongues. Often seen as a sign of wisdom, there is a quote that says, “Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be.” It’s important to learn when to speak, and when to hold your tongue. It’s not always easy, but if you get in the practice of tasting your words before you speak them, guarding your mouth and your tongue gets easier. The art of knowing when to speak and when to hold your tongue, is a life-long learning process, I’m convinced.

Here are some verses that speak about guarding your mouth and thinking before you speak:

  • “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
  • “An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will escape from trouble.” Proverbs 12:13
  • “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” Proverbs 21:23

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Friday

2

December 2016

Hope Reflected: Dealing with Disappointment

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hope reflected dealing with disappointment

There will be some days when it rains (and sometimes it happens both literally and figuratively!). There will be some days when you’ll forget that you left the oven on and you’ll burn what could have been a delicious dinner. There will some days when people you thought couldn’t let you down actually drop you or throw you under the bus. There will be some days when it seems like nothing is going right and everything is going wrong. Let’s face it – there will always be some days.

Dealing with disappointment is a reality of life. Though some disappointments will be more harsh than others, throughout our lives, we’ll all deal with several doses of the displeasure of disappointment. And that’s not a bad thing – you wouldn’t be human if once in a while you didn’t experience disappointment.

My college pastor used to say that the key to getting over disappointment is not letting it hold you down. You can become bitter, or you can become better. Rather than dealing with your disappointment, you can let it consume you, zap your energy, and capture your thoughts. None of those are good things. We’re always better dealing with disappointment head on. Sometimes – OK, most times – that’s way easier to say than it is to live!

Before you think I’m getting all down on you, I’m writing this so you know that you’re not alone if experience a day – or two, or three, or hey, maybe even an entire week, – of disappointment. Life happens to all of us! The key is in how we handle it.

The Bible talks a lot about dealing with disappointment, and today I’d like to share four verses with you, to encourage you through whatever you may be dealing with as you read this.

Psalm 42:11 “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.” Matthew Henry once said, “The way to forget our miseries, is to remember the God of our mercies.” Amen! I’d venture to say that David, who wrote Psalm 42, arguably experienced more disappointment throughout his adulthood than most of us will experience in a lifetime. He still chose, however, to put his hope in God.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We can rest assured that our Lord wants to give us a future and a hope, when we trust in Him. In his commentary about this verse, Matthew Poole says that our deliverance “will not depend upon your merits, but upon my [God’s] own mercy and kind thoughts and purposes.”

Romans 8:28 “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.” Again, if you think you’ve experienced disappointment, do some research into the life of Paul. Throughout his life, Paul faced many disappointments, and yet he still had an incredible faith in God. Note that Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good”. ALL things. Not just some things. Not just good things. ALL things. That includes disappointments.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Paul, who wrote the letter to the Philippians, once again provides sound advice. Even in disappointment, we shouldn’t get anxious. We should in every thing – not just some things or good things or happy things – be praying and be thankful! That can be quite the challenge, because often when I’m disappointed the last thing I feel like doing is praying, let alone being thankful. But, we’re encouraged to just that. We’re also promised the peace of God when we do.

Like Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” If you’ve experienced some disappointment the past week, you’re not alone. Choose to get better not to get bitter, and you’ll find dealing with disappointment is actually an opportunity to grow.

Originally published as “Dealing with Disappointment.” Minto Express, Arthur Enterprise-News, Independent Plus. September 28, 2016: 5. Print.

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