Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

job Archive



September 2017

Hope Reflected | Heeding Instruction

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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.



July 2017

Hope Reflected | Resentment

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

In the face of resentment, focus on God | Hope Reflected See more at hopereflected.com


The best navigation tool for our daily lives, the Bible is filled with several accounts that deal with resentment. As early as Eve, resentment has weaseled its way into many hearts throughout the years, including Job, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Saul… I could go.

The story of Joseph is a classic tale of resentment. Favoured by his father Jacob, all Joseph’s brothers resented him. It wasn’t anything Joseph did that caused these hard feelings, rather a reaction to their circumstances that caused Joseph’s brothers to have ill will against him. They were so bitter and resentful towards Joseph that they sold him, and told their father that he was dead. It’s a great example of how harbouring resentment can quickly get out of control if we don’t put ourselves in check.

Joseph’s brothers thought that by hurting him, they would cause Joseph to change his ways, and they also that hurting Joseph would somehow make themselves feel better and validated in their actions. And what happened? The exact opposite!

What I love about the account of Joseph is that no matter the difficulty or challenging circumstance (and he had several), Joseph refused to let resentment take root in his heart, and he continued to seek the Lord and to put Him first, no matter what. Joseph didn’t get angry or bitter with his brothers and he didn’t try to get revenge. In fact, he did quite the opposite.

While the Lord brought Joseph along a challenging – and ultimately an incredibly blessed – path, Joseph’s bitter brothers endured hardship after hardship, including a famine that brought them face to face with their younger brother once more.

When they were reunited and Joseph realized that it was his long lost brothers standing in front of him, do you know what he did? Rather than seek revenge, he showed his brothers love. He demonstrated the love of Christ by forgiving his brothers for every hurt they had caused them. And in turn, God brought them back together.

When someone wrongs you, or intentionally hurts you, rather than breed resentment by focusing on what they’ve done or how you feel, look above and put your focus on the Lord. God is in control, and He is well aware of every circumstance and challenge you’ll face in life.

In the face of resentment, when you choose God, there are many blessings.

God restores. “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10) It could be that someone’s hurt your heart, or maybe done something deliberately to get under your skin. Rather than resent them, pray for them as a first reaction. God hears our prayers, and nothing is impossible for Him! Sometimes the situation we think is impossible to fix is a none-issue in God’s eyes. Only God can heal the heart that’s broken and restore relationships – and He does, often exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think! (Eph. 3:20)

God renews. “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31) Even in our weakest moments, even in the times when we say to ourselves (and sometimes others) “I can’t believe he did that!” and we let bitterness or resentment creep into our hearts, the moment we turn those feelings over to God, He will renew our spirit. David said in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” To put it in perspective, David wrote Psalm 51 after he slept with Bathsheba. Nathan had just called him out for his sin, and David was feeling convicted. See what he did there? Rather than getting defensive or caught up, he confessed and asked the Lord to renew his spirit. And God did. He’ll do the same for you and me.

God reveals. “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down.” (Psalm 146:8) When you find yourself challenged with feelings of resentment, ask the Lord to reveal any wrongdoing in your heart and also in the heart of whomever you may be feeling resentful towards. God has a way of revealing our wrongdoings and convicting our spirits; we just need to have a tender heart to hear His voice. God will bless a teachable spirit. (Proverbs 13:18)

C.S. Lewis said that “to be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Praise the Lord for His forgiveness! Wherever you’re at, and whatever you’re going through, we serve a God Who is bigger than any problem or any resentment you may have.

Originally published as “Resentment.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 29, 2017: 7. Print. Web.



June 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Advice from a Tree

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

advice from a tree

Advice from a tree:

  • Stand Tall
  • Drink Plenty of Water
  • Be Content with Your Natural Beauty
  • Enjoy the View
  • Remember Your Roots

(Ilan Shamir)

We can learn many things from observing nature, mainly because nature is God’s creation.

The very first verse in the Bible lets us know, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Then later in the Old Testament, Job 12:7-10 tells us, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” In John 1:3, we are told that through God all things were made.

Through nature, God can teach us and provide for us.

That’s one reason that I enjoy Ilan Shamir (formerly Scott Alyn) and his daughter Laurel’s reflections on nature. God’s creation can teach us many things. Trees especially are a great picture of strength, resilience, flexibility, authenticity, and beauty.

Here is Ilan’s full poem, Advice from a Tree:

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view