Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

Jesus Archive



April 2024

Essential to living

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35) | read more on hopereflected.com

Bread has been around since ancient times and is one of the most basic and fundamental food staples. It’s an important—and enjoyable—food that can be used in versatile ways and that has many variations to accommodate people with all kinds of food allergies and sensitivities.

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth”

Readers of the last two columns are familiar with the miracle in which Jesus turned five barley loaves and two small fishes into a feast for five thousand people (with leftovers, no less!). Jesus had provided a feast that filled these poor, hungry people, and they wanted more.

The multitudes in the passage of John 6 were following Jesus, pursuing after Him with passion because of their own self-interest.

Jesus called them out on their self-serving seeking, saying, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” (John 6:26).

He exhorted them, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” (v. 27).

Seeking after Christ and feasting on His Word

Bread is of no use to us if we don’t make it or go to the store and buy it. Furthermore, bread is no use to us if we just leave it sitting in the bread drawer and we never eat it. It must, as Ellicott wrote in his Commentary for English Readers, be “appropriated and eaten.”

From this, we can draw a similar picture of our relationship with Christ. If we say that we believe in Him, then we should as effect seek after Him and feast on His Word.

What good is it if we claim Christian as our title but we have nothing to show for it?

Thank God, our salvation is not based on good works, but certainly we should have good works to demonstrate as a result of our salvation.

The bread of life

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (6:35).

The bread of life.

Jesus is essential to living.

He is not optional.

He is our only Hope, and of a surety, He is our greatest Hope.

He is the only way to Heaven.

As Matthew Henry wrote, “he is to the Soul what bread is to the body, nourishes and supports the spiritual life. He is the Bread of God. Bread which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls.”

The bread of life must be part of our daily life

So many of us are guilty of indulging in a “fast-food” faith.

The bread of life must be a part of our daily life. To be nourished by The Word requires us to dedicate and spend time in His Word. Just as basic hunger and thirst reminds us to feed our physical bodies and stay hydrated, when we find our souls hungry and thirsty, it should serve as a reminder that we must come to Him and we must believe on Him.

Originally published as “Essential to living.” Independent Plus. September 29, 2022: 5. Print. Web.



November 2021

Launch out into the deep

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An unsuccessful night at work

After working all night, Peter and his crew got out of their boats and started cleaning their nets. Being a fisherman was no easy task; the vocation was a risky one, and the income wasn’t always steady. After this night in particular, Peter and his crew hadn’t caught any fish at all, which meant they wouldn’t have anything to sell at market.

As Peter painstakingly washed his nets, getting rid of any dirt and debris, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to put out a little from shore (Luke 5:3). Can you imagine? You’re just getting things cleaned up after a non-productive night at work, and someone asks you to get all your equipment back out – equipment that you’ve just cleaned and put away – and head out for another shift? And yet, Peter does it.

Peter was willing; are we?

Peter, without complaint or question, stopped what he was doing and followed Jesus. After Christ finished teaching, he said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep, and let down the nets for a draught.” (Luke 5:4). Peter responded, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” (5:5). Peter was willing to go out his way not just a little bit, but a lot. Can the same be said for us?

We get so caught up in our work that we put our relationship with Christ on the back burner. We can’t even keep up with simple tasks like reading God’s Word regularly and praying – we make other things higher priority. And yet, how many of us ask why God has not given us more? We put Him off, make excuses, waste time trying to rationalize what He wants us to do and question how it makes it sense, when what we ought to do is simply put out a little from shore. We will never get out into the deep waters Christ has for us if we’re not willing to wade into the shallow waters at all.

Our faith has a ripple effect

Peter, in his acts of faith, saw the results when he and his crew collected such a great multitude of fishes that “their net brake.” (Luke 5:6). The catch was so overwhelming that they needed another boat to help them out! Peter’s acts of faith didn’t just have an impact on him, but on those around him as well. Like waves on the water, our faith has a ripple effect. Our example makes an impression on those around us, whether for good or bad.

Like waves on the water, our faith has a ripple effect.

Hope Reflected

After catching all these fish, and more than compensating for a failed night on the water, rather than saying “Thanks, Lord! Gotta get these fish to market!” Peter instead humbled himself and “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (v. 8). Everyone around saw his response. Unfortunately, when Christ allows us to see success in our earthly ventures, we often let it go to our head. As Matthew Henry said, “Those whom Christ designs to admit the most intimate acquaintance with him he first makes sensible that they deserve to be set at the greatest distance from him.”

Originally published as “And yet, Peter does it.” Independent Plus. July 22, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



March 2018

Encouragement | Easter Meditation on Isaiah 53:3

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. | See more at hopereflected.com

Encouragement | Easter Meditation on Isaiah 53:3

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3

With Holy Week starting next Sunday, this week I’m meditating over Isaiah 53 and the New Testament Scriptures that detail the history of our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Jesus was despised, rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, despised. We hid our faces from him, and we esteemed him not.

Psalm 22:6 says, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Jesus was despised. He was rejected. He was the man of sorrows. He was acquainted with grief.

If you’re sad, discouraged, down, or depressed, remember this: Jesus has already been through it all. He has been through the deepest grief, and He has felt more sorrow than you will ever know.

We’re told in Hebrews 4:15 that “we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are….” Jesus knows every aspect of the feeling of your infirmities. He completely understands the depths of your debilitating depression and your grief. You know why? Because He’s been there!

Jesus was in the world, in fact He made the world, and the world knew Him not (John 1:10). If you’re longing for significance, or looking for an answer, I encourage you to look to the Lord. He went to the cross for you. He wants to know you personally. Call out to Him, and He will hear you.

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” (Psalm 105:4)

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:3



July 2017

Hope Reflected | As our shepherd

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Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd | Hope Reflected

As our shepherd

If you’ve ever read Thomas Hardy’s famed novel, Far from the Madding Crowd, then you understand a little bit about the work of a shepherd. A shepherd has the position of caring for and tending to a flock of sheep – feeding them, leading them, and protecting them. As we read in Far from the Madding Crowd, being a shepherd is anything but glamourous, it can prove to be a dangerous career choice, and it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention.

You may have heard the analogy of Jesus as the good Shepherd, Who lays down His life for His sheep. Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy so many times that you’ve never stopped to think about what that truly means. What I find so fascinating about Jesus being portrayed throughout Scripture as the Shepherd is that the Saviour of the world is compared to a shepherd – quite possibly one of the lowliest, least recognized, introverted vocations out there.

Isn’t that just the opposite of us? Here on earth, we are in constant pursuit of being recognized, appreciated, and wanted. While each of us may yearn for it in our own way, we all long for recognition. Perhaps you’re pursuing a career as a full-time mother, or maybe you’re a man working long days to provide for his family, or you might even be a recent graduate who’s out working your first “real job” in your field of study – it doesn’t matter your lot in life, the longing is the same – we all want someone to pat us on the back and recognize us.

Consider Jesus. While we’re busy pursuing earthly glory, He is pursuing us and seeking after our well-being. Just like a shepherd that pursues his flock, Christ always keeps us in His sight, and even when we screw up, He continues to watch over us and longs to lead us in the right direction. While we’re looking everywhere except to Him for gratification, He is looking after – and looking out for – you and I.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows us and loves us. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Long before your parents found out whether you’d be a boy or girl, Christ knew all about you, and who you would grow up to be. He knows everything about you, and He cares what happens to you.

As our Shepherd, Christ knows our wants and desires, and He will provide. “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33) Lest you think God doesn’t care about the details in your life, you should know that He values you more than anything. After all, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7)

As our Shepherd, Christ will protect us. “So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6) Beyond providing protection here on earth, only Christ can provide you with eternal protection. You may have heard the George MacDonald quote “Never tell a child you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.” While your body will die, your soul will live for eternity – where you choose to spend eternity is up to you, but keep in mind, eternity is forever.

Beyond love, provision, and protection, there is also an unbreakable trust between the shepherd and his flock. When you trust Jesus to be your shepherd and to lead and guide you, “the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Originally published as “As our shepherd.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 22, 2017: 7. Print. Web.