Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Friday

16

August 2019

Don’t be conformed, be transformed

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"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2) | Read more at hopereflected.com

We can learn a lot from the monarch butterfly

For the past few years, Wes and I have tried to garden with pollinators in mind. We’ve specifically sought out plants that we understand to be attractive to monarch butterflies. Milkweed, elderberry, and zinnias are a few. This year, we’ve added to our collection with American plum trees, through our community’s pollinator-friendly plant sale.

Wes and I have both always loved monarch butterflies. Call them the ugly duckling or the little engine that could, but whether considering the butterfly’s transition from caterpillar to butterfly, or its annual cross-continental journey, we can learn a lot from the monarch.  

The monarch butterfly goes through multiple stages of metamorphosis as it grows from larva to caterpillar and then to its final form as the formidable butterfly. Through each of these stages, we don’t see the monarch compare itself to the creatures around it; it just grows where the Lord has placed it. The monarch concentrates on its development rather than making comparisons. Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

Concentrate on development rather than making comparisons

Don’t compare yourself to others. Where they’re at on their walk has nothing to do with you, and we all know that comparison is the thief of joy. Career, education, children, finances, and even your spiritual growth – these are all areas in which we’re tempted to make comparisons to others. In moments when you find yourself making comparisons, remember this: You are an individual, one of God’s unique creations. “Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.” (Psalm 119:73)

Keep your eyes on the Lord

By not comparing itself to others, the monarch butterfly is able to concentrate on the purpose for which God intended it. Through its various stages of development, the focus of the butterfly is on the work at hand. “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:25-26)

When priorities are competing, plans are challenging, and people are comparing, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Spiritual growth requires a great deal of focus on God’s Word, a dedication to time alone with Him, and an earnest desire to serve the Lord. When you truly long to live God’s will for your life, you can be sure that the devil will try darn hard to distract you. Stay strong, and remain focused. The psalmist said in Psalm 1 that we should meditate on God’s Word day and night. Keep your eyes on the Lord. (Hebrews 12:2)

Press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus

The monarch butterfly is committed to the long game, and each of us would do well to learn from that type of determination. The monarch makes its migration every year from southern Ontario deep into parts of Mexico. That’s commitment! Think of the adversity that such a small creation could encounter throughout its cross-continental journey – from hungry animals and traveling cars to adverse weather and weary wings – and yet it presses on.

“Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) Are we in it for the long haul, like the apostle Paul said? Are we forgetting the things behind and reaching forward to the things before, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus? (Phil. 3:13-14) Or are we looking for earthly glory and exploring our own self-interests?

For God’s good, true, and perfect will, don’t be conformed, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

Originally published as “Don’t be conformed, be transformed.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. May 2, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

23

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Lessons from the honey bee

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No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. | Lessons from the honey bee | See more at hopereflected.com

Lessons we can learn from the honey bee

Birds, bats, wind, and even water can act as pollinators, but perhaps the most interesting of all the pollinators is the honey bee. Such an intricate creation, the honey bee is small but mighty. The honey bee plays a very important role here on earth!

We can draw many parallels between honey bees and Christians. The honey bee spreads seeds; so do Christians. The honey bee has a mission; so do Christians. The honey bee doesn’t always see the results of what it sows; neither do Christians. Sometimes, only the Lord sees the harvest. We may never know the results of our labours. But does that mean that we should stop working for Him? No!

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Your words may be awkward. Your prayers may be meager. Your testimony may not be the most dramatic or exciting. No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. In fact, sometimes it’s the most ordinary of people that God uses to do the most extraordinary things for His glory!

The honey bee isn’t concerned about whether it’s the strongest flyer, or whether it pollinates the most plants; no, the honey bee concentrates on the job at hand and remains focused. That’s how we need to be in our Christian walk. Keeping our focus always on the Lord.

There are other lessons we can learn from the small but mighty honey bee:

Learn how to adapt. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) Just as the honey bee knows how to adapt – honey bees can go for years without hunting by living on their food reserves – we as Christians also need to learn how to adapt to what’s going on in the world around us. Read: I’m not saying we conform to this world, but rather that we “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) Christians need to learn how to adapt and survive in a world where Christians are being held more and more accountable for what we believe.

Learn how to help others. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) Honey bees are social creatures. They don’t work alone. They help each other. What have you done to help another soul recently? Perhaps you’re working anonymously in the background, giving to causes that assist those in need. Maybe you dedicate your spare hours to volunteering. You could even be serving by encouraging the people in your community. As Christians, we are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Learn how to give your life for Christ’s glory. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Honey bees give their life for the hive. The honey bee, by nature, is a defender. And when one honey bee’s stinger detaches from its body, it releases pheromones that inspire other honey bees to do the same and go on defense. I’m not suggesting that Christians should always be on the defensive (but sometimes!), rather I’m suggesting that as Christians we should be completely surrendered to Christ, wherever we are. For some Christians, the idea of giving up your life is quite literal, depending where you live in world. For others, giving up your life for Christ could mean complete and total dedication to serving the Lord. The reality is that we’re all missionaries, right here at home, even if we’re not called to full-time service.

Learning to adapt, helping others, and finding your purpose are all things we can glean from the honey bee. I also love what Ilan Shamir says in his “Advice from a honey bee”: Create a buzz, sip life’s sweet moments, mind your own beeswax, work together, always find your way home, stick close to your honey, bee yourself! “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” (Acts 2:28)

Originally published as “Lessons we can learn from the honey bee.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. December 14, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Tuesday

5

September 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Romans 15:13

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. (Romans 15:13) | See more at hopereflected.com

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Romans 15:13)

If you’ve ever read through the book of Romans, you’re well aware that throughout it, the apostle Paul delivers a powerful presentation of the Gospel. Through Christ alone can we find eternal salvation; it is His righteousness alone.

The book of Romans also provides encouragement for Christians, as evidenced in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

  • Only God can fill us with all joy and peace in believing (the key is we must believe in Him)
  • As Christians, God will fill us with ALL joy, not just some joy or a little joy, ALL joy
  • We have the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
  • We can abound in hope because we believe in Christ
  • Only God can fill us with peace, and that peace comes when we believe

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  (Romans 15:13)

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Friday

26

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Timeliness

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timeliness God's timing

Timeliness

If you garden, you know that during the early days of Spring, it can prove a challenge to know the right timing for tasks that need to be completed. This year, I questioned the right time to trim back the rose bushes. Wes wondered about the ideal time to re-seed the lawn. Together, we’re still debating where several annuals should be planted throughout the garden. Timing is everything.

The timing you’re struggling with may not be related to gardening; maybe you’re waiting to hear back about that job application, or perhaps you’re waiting and wondering why you’re single when it seems as though all your friends are getting married and starting a family, or maybe you’re questioning the inconvenience of a recent health challenge.

Timing is everything.

  1. There is a time for everything. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Chances are that even if you haven’t read the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ve likely heard the famous song by The Byrds called, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” where we hear that, “To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn),” and it’s true. There is a season and a time for everything. Happiness. Sadness. Love. Heartache. Health. Sickness. Life. Death. The important thing to remember is that God is in control, and it’s God Who has a perfect timing for everything.
  2. Sometimes (OK most of the time), our timing is not the best. “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) Have you ever been held up in a traffic jam, feeling frustrated that you’re going to be late? Or have you ever hesitated to make a decision, only to make your choice and find out that the house is off the market/tickets are sold out/position has been filled? We think we’ve got it all together, and we’ve got everything planned out perfectly (according to us) in our minds, however the reality often is that God’s timing is not our timing (and written from experience, God’s timing is ALWAYS the best).
  3. Ultimately, our timing is in God’s hands. “My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15a) Whether or not you’re a Christian, God is in control. God is omniscient (read: He knows everything), and He makes no mistakes. That can be a hard truth to accept, especially when things aren’t going the way I want them to. Frequently, I have to catch myself when things aren’t going my way, and remind myself that God’s timing is greater than anything I could ever imagine. Jesus Himself said in John 13:7, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
  4. We can trust in God’s timing. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Trust can be difficult, especially if you’ve been hurt before, however when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, He will never let you down. “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)

God’s timing is perfect. You may think you know the right time for everything, but remember what Elisabeth Elliot said: “God never denies us our heart’s desire except to give us something better.” If you’re questioning the timing of something in your life, keep in mind that God frequently answers our prayers in one of three ways: With a “yes”, with a “not yet”, or with “I have something better in mind.”

 

Originally published as “Timeliness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 27, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

19

May 2017

Hope Reflected | This old house

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this old house romans road

This Old House

Wes and I have a couple of good friends who are in the midst of a serious reno on a home they purchased earlier this year. By serious reno, I mean completely gutting the interior of the house and stripping it down to its bare bones, leaving only the exterior shell, and re-building it from the inside out. It’s quite an undertaking, especially considering the risks involved with renovating an old home. When you buy an older home, you don’t know what you’re going to encounter. At an initial glance, the home may look like it’s in relatively good condition – possibly needing some new flooring and a fresh coat of paint – but when you get in there and actually investigate further, looking under the surface, sometimes you realize that your reno needs a whole lot more attention than those surface details.

All this talk of renos really got me thinking –  isn’t that just like us? On the outside, so often we appear to have it all together, while on the inside, we’re struggling. We put on airs like we’ve got everything under control, while the reality is the complete opposite. We’re all in desperate need of a Saviour.

Only Jesus can wash away our sins and make us white as snow. To put it in laymen’s terms, only the Lord can do a complete reno on your insides, and give you that clean slate you’ve been searching for. Maybe you’re wondering, “How can I, with everything going on in my life and all the bad decisions I’ve made, actually get a fresh start?” There is a way!

  1. We must acknowledge God as the Creator of everything, and acknowledge our shortcomings. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:20-21) Try as we might, without God, we’re nothing. We were created by Him, and created to glorify Him.
  2. Admit that we are all sinners, and we are all in desperate need of forgiveness. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We’re not worthy of God’s love and forgiveness, and nothing we can do can make us worthy.
  3. Acknowledge that God provided us with His Son, and that He is the only way to eternal life. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) We’ve all heard John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…”. God loves us so much, that He was willing to give the life of His only Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
  4. Accept that it is only by asking forgiveness of our sins and claiming Christ as our Lord and Saviour that we will have eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) There’s only one way to Heaven. It’s not by good works, it’s by believing in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and trusting Him.
  5. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) There’s one reason that we celebrate Easter each year; Resurrection Sunday, when Christ was raised from the dead!
  6. Recognize that a personal relationship with Christ, not religion or ritual, is the only way to be saved. “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Many people confuse rituals and “religion” with the personal relationship that Christians have with Christ. The truth is, making Christ the Lord of your life is the only way you’re guaranteed eternal life.
  7. Realize that a personal relationship with Christ starts in your heart. “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) Good works won’t get you to Heaven. That being said, when you have a personal relationship with Christ, you’ll be inspired to live in a way that is honouring to Him, and this includes good works. It all starts in your heart.

Ready to walk the Romans road and get your own spiritual renovation under way? Follow the steps above; God loves you, and He is waiting for you!

Originally published as “This old house.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 20, 2017: 7. Print.

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Friday

17

February 2017

Hope Reflected | Love

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hope reflected love

Ah, love. February, long touted as “the month of love”, can be a sensitive time of year for some people. You know, you get those who say they don’t care about Valentine’s Day or commercial holidays; there are those who say that they don’t want flowers and they don’t eat chocolate; and there are those who say that they’d rather their significant other demonstrate love randomly on some other day of the year. There’s also the growing popularity of “Galentine’s Day”, (which started thanks to Amy Poehler in an episode of “Parks and Rec”), a day dedicated to celebrating love with your girlfriends.

As a traditional romantic, I love the idea of flowers and love letters and I’m thankful to be married to and in love with a man who also believes that love should be celebrated throughout the entire year.

The interesting thing about human love is that it’s conditional. Notice how the popular dictionaries define love, “arising from” or “based on” certain criteria being met. Human love is conditional because we base our love on our feelings – and we all know that feelings change. Have you ever heard of couples who, “fell out of love” or “lost that feeling”? Marriage requires a more firm foundation than that of one based on “feelings”.

On our wedding day, one of the best pieces of advice that Wes and I received – besides “happy wife, happy life” – was that to maintain a fulfilled and true marriage, we need to remember that our love is an act of our will. Even in the moments when you don’t “feel” like it, you’ve got to will yourself to love the other person. We can’t do it without God. I’m thankful for a husband who shares that foundation.

While I cherish Wes, his love, and his will, I also am thankful for the love of my Heavenly Father, who loves me unconditionally; Who’s love for me isn’t based on feelings or emotions. So how does God’s love differ from our human love?

  1. God’s love is unconditional. “God is love.” 1 John 4:8 God’s love is unconditional because God is love. He doesn’t love us because of how we make Him feel or something we did for Him; God loves us because God is love. Think about it.
  2. God’s love is giving. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 Another attribute of God’s love is His generosity. He sent his only Son to die on the cross so that we can have eternal life. There was nothing we did or said that could have influenced this. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” We didn’t do anything to deserve this; He did everything. As it is written in 1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
  3. God’s love is ours. “Let us love one another, for love is of God…In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:7, 9 God’s love is a free gift that’s available to anyone and everyone who believes in Him. All we have to do is acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and accept His gift of love. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:15-16)

If you’re looking for love, the best place to start is a relationship with God. Only He will love you wholly, unconditionally, and no matter what. He will encourage you and uplift you, and provide for you in ways beyond anything you can ask or think. God will love you more in a moment than anyone can in a lifetime. Spoken from experience, you can search the world over and try to fill your life with people, activities, and “stuff”, but nothing can compare to the love that God has for you, and nothing can fill that place in your heart like our Heavenly Father can.

Originally published as “Love.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. February 9, 2017: 7. Print.

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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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Friday

21

October 2016

Hope Reflected: What to do in the face of Adversity

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what to do in the face of adversity

 

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” Wise words regarding adversity from one of my favourite authours, C.S. Lewis. Inevitably, we all will face adversity in our lives at some point or another. While it may not be comforting, that’s a fact. Another fact? The key to facing adversity is how we react to it.

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” It’s easy to say, but quite often when we face times of adversity, we wonder how we’ll make it through. One of the keys to facing adversity is remembering how to keep things in perspective. Whether you’re facing adversity spiritually, relationally, physically, or emotionally, there is hope.

The most important fact to remember in the face of adversity is that God can and will help you through the toughest times in your life, if you will put your trust in Him. In the face of adversity, here are three things to do:

  1. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you. Is it patience? (This is a BIG one for me!) Is it humility? Is it trust? Whatever you’re going through, God’s got you. Whatever your current circumstances and situation, God will be there for you if you’ll put your trust in Him. Largely attributed to David – who, if you’re looking or a man who faced plenty of adversity throughout his life, check out the life of David in the Bible – Psalm 119 sheds light on seeking the Lord in times of adversity, especially in verse 71, “It is good or me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Perhaps there’s an area in your life where God is trying teach you or mature you. It seems like my life long I’ve been learning (and learning, and learning) the virtue of patience. Ask the Lord what He’s trying to teach you!
  2. Remind yourself that God is in control. Ecclesiastes 7:14 tells us, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider; God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Whatever you’re facing, God is in complete control. You know what makes that fact easier to accept? When you trust God completely. Trusting God with your whole heart brings a peace that I can’t even begin to describe. As the apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
  3. Submit, surrender, and fight the good fight. OK that’s three points in one, but you get the idea. In the face of adversity:
    1. Submit yourself to the Lord. For help with submission, see James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”
    2. Surrender yourself to His will. In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus tells His disciples, “’If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’”
    3. Fight the good fight. 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us to “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” See also 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” And finally, Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, those whom He has called according to His purpose.”

Whatever you’re dealing with today, and wherever this finds you, there is hope. God will provide for you, if you will trust in Him! I’ll close with this quote from Charles Stanley: “Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.”

Originally published as “What to do in the face of adversity.” Minto Express. September 14, 2016. 5: Print.

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Wednesday

3

August 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Cling to what is good

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Romans 12:9 Cling to what is good

“Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

Romans 12:9 is a verse that encouragers Christians to behave as Christians should.

In its entirety, the Romans 12:9 reads, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”

If you’re seeking best practices for living a Godly life, Romans 12 is the chapter to read. I’ve always loved the book of Romans, and chapter 12 in particular is one of those parts of the Bible from which I glean something new each time I read it. (See also the book of Proverbs).

Romans 12 lays out the standards for Christian morals and how one ought to live. Verse 9 in particular stands out. In MacLaren’s Expositions of the Bible, he states it like this: “…resolute clinging to good is as essential to the noblest forms of Christian love as is the sincerity enjoined in the previous clause. To detest the one and hold fast by the other are essential to the purity and depth of our love. Evil is to be loathed, and good to be clung to in our own moral conduct, and wherever we see them. These two precepts are not mere tautology, but the second of them is the ground of the first. The force of our recoil from the bad will be measured by the firmness of our grasp of the good; and yet, though inseparably connected, the one is apt to be easier to obey than is the other.”

“Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9

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