Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Wednesday

18

July 2018

Hope Reflected | Peace

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Seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14) | Peace | Read more at hopereflected.com

Peace

When you have a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour, peace is possible.

“Daniel slept in a lions den, Peter slept in a prison, Jesus slept in a storm. No matter your circumstance, you can take a nap.” Last week when I saw this meme I laughed out loud. Upon further consideration however, I realized how true that statement actually is, because of God. I think most of us would be in agreement that when you’re going through a stressful time, you don’t sleep as well. Your mind wanders. You can’t concentrate. You can’t rest.

Peace, it would seem, often eludes people during times of distress.

In an effort to capture peace, people search many different avenues, such as meditation, yoga, healthy eating, even exercise. The truth is though, that there is only one way to achieve true peace, the “peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) It’s through God. When you have a personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour, eternal peace is possible. And trust me, it’s a reassurance unlike any other!

Does that mean that you won’t ever encounter stressful situations or hard times? On the contrary! However, even in the midst of adversity and trying times, peace is possible.

  • Keep your focus on the Lord. “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8) Psalm 16 goes on to say, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” (Psalm 16:9) Do you know when David wrote Psalm 16? During a stressful time! And yet, he confirmed that he could rest secure because he was keeping his eyes on the Lord. Sometimes when I’m stressed, the last place I’m focusing is on the Lord. You know what helps me? Bible verses like Psalm 16:8-9 and having Scripture either memorized or on a sticky note in front of me where I can remind myself where my peace truly is. Memorize some Bible verses that provide reassurance. Write down Scripture that reminds you to look to the Lord! We’re only human, and sometimes (OK most of the time) we need to be reminded to focus on the Lord. Focusing on the Lord takes your eyes off the problem and puts your eyes on God.
  • Learn to slow down. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7) Slowing down in a world that seems to be moving faster and faster and where people expect instant gratification seems near impossible. As silly as it may seem, slowing down – at least for most of us – is something we have to learn. Learn to say no. Learn to turn off distractions – music, TV, even other people! – and sit silently with our Lord. Read the Bible. Slow down. We live in a time where it’s trendy to have a side hustle in addition to your daytime hustle. Go against the grain! If you don’t slow down, and rest, and wait on the Lord, you won’t hear Him. Simple as that. And if you want peace, you have to be willing to take – make – the time to hear God and what He’s saying through His Word and through prayer.
  • You’re not in control. “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) You’re not in control. Are you sweating yet? I am! As a planner, I understand first hand how anxious it can make you when you come to the realization that you’re not in control. And you know what? It’s a good thing I’m not in control! Countless times, Wes and I have prayed and made plans, only to have God deliver in the most unexpected ways. Thank you, Lord! He truly does “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think,” (Ephesians 3:20). As Charles Stanley says, we can get so caught up in asking God for A, B, or C, and then He blows us out of the water and gives us the whole alphabet! When you realize that you’re not in control, and you acknowledge that with God, a weight will lift off your shoulders. He will bless you beyond and He will give you peace (Psalm 29:11) if you’ll only let Him!

In Psalm 34:14, we’re encouraged to “seek peace, and pursue it.” Just make sure you’re looking for peace in the right places. There’s only one peace that passes all understanding, and that’s the peace of God. Not sure how to find it? All you have to do is ask Him!

Originally published as “Peace.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. February 1, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

4

October 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him

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God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. | See more at hopereflected.com

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Waiting can be hard, especially when we live in a time where it seems like everything is instant. From drive-thrus and credit cards to cell phones and the internet, we have the ability to get and receive pretty much whatever we want, when we want it, sometimes without giving a whole lot of thought to the consequences.

While waiting can be hard, we can be sure of this: God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him, and when you choose to wait for God, the results are always worth it.

Two of my favourite Bible verses talk about the importance of waiting for the Lord.

  • “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
  • “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who bring wicked schemes to pass.” (Psalm 37:7)

Waiting on the Lord can mean the difference between good and great for your life. Remember, it takes 6 months to build a Rolls-Royce and 13 hours to build a Toyota. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him, and the wait is worth it!

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides you, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

 

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Wednesday

20

September 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Nourish to Flourish

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"You have to nourish if you want to flourish." Wednesday Wisdom | See more at hopereflected.com

“You have to nourish if you want to flourish.”

Self care is something that many of us aren’t good at. Think of all the competing priorities! From work and family to church and volunteering, sometimes it can be difficult to find — nay, take — time to rest yourself and to be still.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Think about that. Providing nourishment for ourselves is about more than just the food that we put into our bodies. We also need to provide nourishment for our souls, through God’s Word, and through prayer, and we can’t do that if we are taking time to be still. Be still.

When I’m running all day, and my mind is running too, that’s when I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with anxious thoughts and feelings. Isn’t it true? Any time we find ourselves anxious or worrying, I can pretty much guarantee it’s because we’re spending more time focused on our problems than on our Saviour. It is crucial to take time each day to retrain our focus on the Lord and His goodness. When we do this, we are promised God’s perfect peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

In all areas of your life, if you want flourish, you’ve got to nourish. Jesus Christ is the living bread; it is only through Him that we can find nourishment for our souls! “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

What are you putting into your body, soul, and mind? What are you doing to nourish your spirit? Remember to take time to rest each day. And remember, what you choose to focus on can have a huge impact on your life. Feed yourself with the right things!

“You have to nourish if you want to flourish.”

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Friday

30

June 2017

Hope Reflected | Rest

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Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him Psalm 37:7 | Hope Reflected

Rest

The past week has been a rather frustrating one for me. Vestibular neuritis – also known as vertigo – has been providing me with all the feelings of dizziness, imbalance, headache, earache, and nausea, and as a result I’ve been spending a majority of my time horizontal (including as I write this). If you’ve ever had vertigo, you understand the sensation I’m writing about. And just when you start to feel like you’re getting over it, one sudden movement in the wrong direction sets you right back where you started.

Spending a week basically doing nothing but being still has afforded me with many hours to contemplate questions such as, “Why is this happening to me?” “What am I missing at work?” “Why does this have to happen right now?” “How long will this affect me?” and “What are you trying to tell me, God?” I asked Wes, my parents, and a couple of close friends the same questions, and interestingly enough, everyone said the same thing: “Maybe this is God’s way of telling you that you need to rest.”

Rest should be a natural part of our lives, but so often when we’re running through the motions of life, admittedly, we forget to take time to rest. Rest in each other’s company, rest in the company of those we love, rest in our home, rest in the miracles of God’s creation like the roses blooming in our front yard, or the birds nesting in the trees across our property. The Roman poet Ovid said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.” We can’t give our best or properly serve if we don’t take time to rest.

This idea of rest brings to mind several Scripture references. It’s interesting to note that depending which translation of the Bible you read, sometimes rest is referred to as “wait”. To wait suggests that we need patience, and I’m not sure if that’s fitting, ironic, or both.

Here are ten Bible verses about rest that I hope will encourage and reassure you as you learn patience and seek true rest:

  1. “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
  2. “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!” 1 Samuel 12:16
  3. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way.” Psalm 37:7
  4. “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5
  5. “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:114
  6. “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4
  7. – 9. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
  1. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Christ alone is able to give us rest in every area of our lives. As A.W. Tozer once said, “You can’t truly rest until every area in your life rests in God.” Once you’ve started, it’s so easy to keep running that perhaps sometimes we just need a reminder to rest (free lesson in patience included).

Originally published as “Rest.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. June 15, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Monday

6

March 2017

Encouragement | Rest | Matthew 11:28

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matthew 11:28 encouragement rest

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

You know how sometimes Monday morning can roll around and you wonder how on earth you’re going to make it through another week?

More often than not, it seems that each of us has too much going on, that we’re always running from place to place, just trying to get things done. While we’re busy being busy, it can be so easy to forget that there is One who sees all and knows all. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There is no rest like the rest that Christ provides. There is no peace apart from Him.

You may recall in Isaiah 40:31 we are promised that “those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

A.W. Tozer once said, “Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we forget how big God is.” No matter how much is going on this week, or how many tasks you have on your to-do list, fix your eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ, and He will give you rest.

“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

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Monday

24

October 2016

Encouragement: Zephaniah 3:17

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zephaniah 3:17

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Zephaniah 3:17 is an incredibly encouraging verse. If you’re feeling down, or overwhelmed, or not sure how you’re going to face the week ahead, check out the promises in Zephaniah 3:17. This verse is filled with God’s truth and promises.

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty…” — Not only are we promised that God is in our midst, we are also reassured in this verse that He is mighty! We can call on Him whenever, wherever, and for whatever, and He is right there with us. He’s also mighty, meaning He’s stronger than any challenge we may face.

“…he will save…” — Wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, God is able to save you. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to this earth to redeem us.

“…he will rejoice over thee with joy…” — I love how Barnes’ Notes on the Bible describes this part of the verse: “Love, joy, peace in man are shadows of that which is in God, by whom they are created in man. Only in God they exist undivided, uncreated.” Joy in us is something that comes from within – joy is not based on circumstances, it is based on our knowledge and love of Christ.

“…he will rest in his love…” — And because of that, we can rest in Him. Only in God can we truly find peace and rest. You may feel overwhelmed, or anxious, however remembering the love God has for you, and that He has His perfect timing, will help you find rest and renewal.

“…he will joy over thee with singing.” — For the second time in this verse, we see the word joy. God delights in us; that should be enough to make us joyful! Singing can be used as an expression of joy. Think about that in context – God will joy over thee with singing. What an encouraging and inspiring thought!

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

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Wednesday

29

June 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Remember to Rest (Thoughts on Psalm 23:2)

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psalm 23:2 he maketh me to lie down in green pastures

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

Psalm 23 is a frequently-quoted chapter from the Bible, and as such, I think we often overlook the significance of its verses.

Take verse 2 for example.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Anyone who lives in farming country knows that the pasture is the place where the grazing animals go, whether cattle or sheep. Typically the animals in the pasture,— especially in David’s time when he wrote this Psalm,— were well-tended and protected by the shepherd. They were safe.

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:”

He is God. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. God doesn’t just want us to rush through this life, no, I’d venture to say from this verse that He wants us to take time to rest, to be at peace, to learn to be still, and to trust Him.

Green pastures also indicate goodness and provision; God will provide more than we can imagine if we’ll trust Him. In Benson’s Commentary, he says it like this: “God provides for His people, not only food and rest, but refreshment also, and pleasure. The waters by and to which he leads them afford them both a pleasant prospect and many a cooling and refreshing draught, when they are thirsty and weary.”

“He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

I don’t know about you, but imagining the idea of a green pasture and still waters brings to mind the most peaceful, colourful, and serene setting.

The other fact that I love about Psalm 23:2, is that David says God leads us. He leads us, because if we were left to make our own path, it would only lead to our demise.

If you’re feeling anxious, or stressed, or like you just need rest, take refuge in this:

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23:2

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Tuesday

28

June 2016

Encouragement: 1 Peter 5:7

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1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

That’s the traditional King James Version, however translated into other versions, the “care” referred to in 1 Peter 5:7 is also translated as anxieties and worries.

Isn’t that an incredible thought? We can cast any of our anxieties, worries, and fears on the Lord, because He cares for us. He cares for us.

Whenever I read 1 Peter 5:7, I’m also reminded of Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus offers rest and peace of mind:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30

Only God can truly give us rest. For anyone who is heavy laden and filled with cares, cast them on God! 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all your care — not just some of your care. God wants it all. And in exchange, He’ll provide you with the peace that passes all understanding.

If you find yourself with so many cares and if you’re feeling anxious or worried, take heart! Cast all your care upon God; He cares for you!

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Monday

21

March 2016

Hope Reflected: Remember to Rest

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Eleanor Brownn quote

We’re well into the New Year, and our schedule is picking up. It seems like each weekend is accounted for, and when Wes and I aren’t working, we’re running (and I don’t mean working out). There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done.

Interestingly enough, Wes has been making time in his evenings to read a book entitled, Living the Sabbath. While the book in and of itself isn’t about the importance of rest, it’s about the importance of delighting in the Sabbath and what that means for our lives each day of the week. (Likely another column to follow on that later).

Wes going through this book has been a reminder to me of the importance of rest. Especially with a whole new year ahead, where plans are being made and goals are being set, it’s crucial that we remember to take time to rest.

Rest has several benefits. Not only does rest recharge your body and your mind, rest can also help improve mood, memory, and health. Additionally, the Bible talks a lot about rest. While God’s Word talks about rest in several different contexts, these are some areas that I find practical in applying to my life today. We all experience trials, we all have personal problems, and we all work. When I need rest and encouragement, these are some of the Scriptures in which I find solace.

  1. Rest from life’s trials. One of my favourite portions of Scripture is Psalm 37. Psalm 37:7 (KJV) says, “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” When we commit our way to the Lord, and find our strength in Him, He will direct our paths and provide rest for our souls. It’s amazing the peace that comes when we commit our paths to Him.
  2. Rest from personal problems. Especially in our world of instant gratification and constant connection, anxiety and depression affect so many people. What’s the solution? Find your rest in God. Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV), “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” God’s peace = rest.
  3. Rest from work. While some career choices are more stressful than others, everybody needs a break from work once in a while. Rest from work is essential and part of living a balanced lifestyle. Even God rested! Genesis 2:2 (KJV) tells us, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Additionally, in Mark 6:31, Jesus encourages His disciples, “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

Throughout the year, some weeks will inevitably be busier than others. Remember the importance of rest. Not only is rest Biblical, it’s good for your health. Whether it’s turning off your phone, turning off the TV, or taking time to eat dinner around the table, remember to take some time this week to rest.

 

Originally published as “Remember to Rest.” Minto Express. January 13, 2015: 5. Print.

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