Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

strength Archive

Tuesday

26

September 2017

Encouragement | Isaiah 33:2

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"Be our arm every morning." Isaiah 33:2 | See more at hopereflected.com

“O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” Isaiah 33:2

Ever notice how the Bible refers to our Lord so many times as being “gracious”? Grace. It’s one of the most highlighted virtues of God, and serves as a great reminder that in our daily lives we ought to exercise grace towards others. It sure can be hard!

In Isaiah 33:2, Isaiah calls out to God to be our arm every morning and our salvation in the time of trouble. What exactly does it mean to be our arm every morning? Some versions of the Bible replace “arm” with “strength”. I think that puts it in perspective; each morning, we’d be wise to call on God as our strength. Start the day in prayer; spend time in the morning in the Bible; commit each day to the Lord.

Rather than rushing out the door in the morning, when you make time for prayer and devotions, it can make a huge difference in your day!

“O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” Isaiah 33:2

 

 

Thursday

7

September 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Greater is He

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Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4 | See more at hopereflected.com

1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” This verse is talking about how as Christians, as those who have accepted Jesus as our personal saviour, we have someone greater in us than anyone in this world. At times it can be hard to fathom, especially when we look around and see political unrest, hurricanes, and hurting hearts. It is true, however. Our God is greater than all of that. He is greater than any circumstance. His attributes are so many we can’t even begin to number them.

Who is the Lord? The Bible tells us so much about our Lord (these verses don’t even begin to cover it). Here are 20 attributes of God that encourage me, and verses to go along with them. These are just 20 of God’s attributes; the Bible is filled with many more!

  • God is our ROCK.
  • God is our STRENGTH.
  • God is our FORTRESS.
  • God is our DELIVERER.
  • God is our GOD.
  • God is TRUSTWORTHY.
  • God is our SHIELD.
  • God is the HORN OF OUR SALVATION.
  • God is our STRONGHOLD.
    • “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
  • God is WORTHY TO BE PRAISED.
    • “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” (Psalm 18:3)
  • God is NEAR YOU.
    • “The LORD is near all who call out to Him.” (Psalm 145:18)
  • God is our KING.
    • “You are my King.” (Psalm 44:4)
  • God is our RESTORATION.
    • “He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:3)
  • God is our SHEPHERD.
    • “The LORD is my shepherd.” (Psalm 23:1)
  • God is our HIDING PLACE.
    • “You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble.” (Psalm 32:7)
  • God is our HEALER.
    • “LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
  • God is our REST.
    • “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
  • God is our PEACE.
    • “For He Himself is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14)
  • God is our HOPE.
    • “For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; you are my trust from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)
  • God is our COUNSELOR.
    • “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel.” (Psalm 16:7)

The next time you feel like you’re barely hanging on, call on God and His incredible attributes. The above are just 20 of God’s attributes. Take the time to get into God’s Word; His attributes and His promises will encourage and reassure you, wherever you are!

 “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Friday

25

August 2017

Hope Reflected | The Rock

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

The LORD is my rock. | See more at hopereflected.com

The Rock

While reading in the Psalms this week, one word really stood out to me in Psalm 92:15. The word is rock. “To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Throughout the Psalms, God is referred to as a “rock” more than twenty times. This tells me that there is something incredibly significant about the fact that God is our rock.

Being married to a stone mason, and also having several masons on both sides of our family, it didn’t take long for me to understand the value and impact that a well-shaped rock can make.

More than any rock in its earthly form, when I think about God as our rock, I’m not sure it’s possible to fully comprehend the power of this fact. As Christians, it’s so easy to become de-sensitized to our all access pass to the Creator of the entire Universe and the fact that although we are but dust, He cares about each one of us.

Psalm 18:2 says, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The LORD is my rock. When I think about God being my rock, there are a few illustrations that come to mind.

God is our firm foundation. “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24) Just as you can’t build a house without a firm foundation, you can’t live a Christian life without a firm foundation, either. Knowing God as our rock means that we have a firm foundation on which to build our faith. 1 Timothy 6:19 says that those who know God as their rock are “storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:19) What do you base your life on? Do you measure success by the amount of money you make? Do you count yourself “lucky” if you have a healthy family here on earth? Do you have it all if you have some who loves you? The only true firm foundation is God – when God is your foundation, no matter what your earthly circumstances, you’ve got a rock that will never change. He will always love you, no matter what.

God is our protection. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3) What are you seeking refuge from in your life? Are you having a hard time with another individual? Are you being bullied at school? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed with the daily grind. Wherever this life finds you, God can be your protection if you put your trust in Him. Does that mean when you become a Christian that you’re suddenly exempt from any problems in life? No, sorry to disappoint you, you’re actually more likely to encounter hardships and persecution when you live a Christ-filled life. What it does mean is that God is your protection through whatever you’re facing. Just as a rock protects the land from the water when it’s used in a jetty, or solid stones are used to build a fortress, God will protect you from whatever you fear. God will be your “strength and shield.” (Psalm 28: 7)

God is our strength. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Several years ago for my birthday, my friend Jess gifted me a mug inscribed with Philippians 4:13. The mug top sits on my desk to this day as a reminder that regardless of what the day brings, God is my strength. If you’re tired, if you wake up thinking you just can’t go on, call out to God. He will give you the strength you need to proceed. If you’re facing difficult decisions, or if you’re feeling emotionally and/or physically exhausted, God will sustain you in ways that you cannot even fathom (spoken from experience). Isaiah 40:29 says that “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Let’s be honest, some days it’s hard to get out of bed, isn’t it? Try starting the day by conversing with God and asking Him to be your strength. Think on God as your strength. He will not let you down.

Sometimes rocks aren’t pretty, and other times rocks can be beautiful. We aren’t Christians because we’re strong and we think we have it all together; we are Christians because we realize that we are weak and that we need a Saviour. Meditate on God as your rock. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you realize that God is your rock at the bottom. No matter where you’re at, if you put your trust in God, He will be your rock.

Originally published as “The Rock.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. August 17, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

Monday

24

July 2017

Hope Reflected | Meekness

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Meekness isn't weakness; it's strength under control. | Hope Reflected Read more at hopereflected.com

Meekness

Sunday is a day that both Wes and I look forward to each week. Not only is it the start of a new week, the Sabbath brings with it an opportunity to rest, to receive Biblical teaching, and to fellowship with other believers. This past Sunday, we were blessed by the ministry of Tim Horne. Speaking on the subject of the Beatitudes, Tim shared from God’s Word about Christians cultivating the characteristics of Christ in our everyday lives.

If you’re not familiar with the Beatitudes, you can read them as part of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12. The Beatitudes are a list of blessings and characteristics that Jesus highlights, and as Tim explained, the Beatitudes are a portrait of Jesus.

One of the Beatitudes is that of meekness. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” What does it truly mean to be meek?

Often, the virtue of meekness is associated with weakness (perhaps because the two words rhyme?). However, meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control. From what I can see, Jesus is referred to (or calls Himself) meek at least ten times throughout Scripture. When you think about the definition of meekness, and what it means to embody the word, the references to Jesus as meek are very fitting. In fact meekness – for those living and looking to the Lord every day – is one of the essential expressions of a true Christian.

To be meek requires wisdom. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” (James 3:13) When I think of the people in my life who I consider to be wise, I see them as great pillars of strength. American theologian Warren Wiersbe once said that “meekness is the right use of power, and wisdom is the right use of knowledge. They go together. The truly wise person will show in his daily life (conversation means behavior), that he is a child of God. Attitude and action go together.”

To be meek requires strength. “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) Moses was a strong man. Not only did he lead the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, he also received the Ten Commandments from God. Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control. As Elder Ulisses Soares once said, “Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control.” Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.

To be meek requires humility and a teachable spirit. “The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9) Getting caught up in always being right, winning the argument, or always having the last word can be exhausting. You can find rest when you’re willing to learn. In one of my favourite Bible verses, Jesus provides encouragement when He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) It takes courage to be humble, and the Lord blesses a teachable spirit. “…God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

To be meek requires peacefulness. “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing…” (2 Timothy 2:24-25) Sometimes we confuse being peaceful with being a pushover, and that’s not the case. Part of being meek means that you don’t purposefully strive with others, and you don’t seek out arguments. That being said, being meek requires you to stand up for what’s right, and to address it if someone treats you wrong. After all, God doesn’t call us to be doormats but He does call us to live in love. “Put them in mind… to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:2)

If you’re ever in doubt about the virtue of meekness, consider Jesus. As a mirror of the Beatitudes, His life is an example of meekness. To be soft and strong is a combination that few have mastered, but it can be done when you keep your focus on Christ.

Originally published as “Meekness.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. July 6, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

Thursday

11

May 2017

Monday

27

March 2017

Encouragement | Isaiah 45:2

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make the crooked places straight

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” (Isaiah 45:2)

In the New American Standard version of the Bible, Isaiah 45:2 is translated, “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth…”; in the English Standard version of the Bible, “I will go before you and level the exalted places…”; in the New International Version, “I will go before you and will level the mountains”.

It’s an encouragement to know that we serve a God Who will make the crooked places straight, make the rough places smooth, level the exalted places, and level the mountains.

Having that kind of strength and power before us, behind us, and within us is a huge comfort. Whatever crooked or rough places you face, whatever exalted places, whatever mountains are in your way, trust God. He will be the One to make your way straight, smooth, and level.

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.” (Isaiah 45:2)

 

Monday

20

March 2017

Encouragement | Isaiah 30:15

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in quietness and in confidence encouragement isaiah 30:15

 

“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

If you’re like me, sometimes (OK, a lot of times) you have the tendency to speak out, to get the last word in, and to be the authority on the issue of the day.

That’s why I love the gentle reminder of Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

So often throughout God’s Word, we read of examples of men and women who, by the world’s terms, weren’t strapping and strong, but rather were humble, had a teachable spirit, and were quick to listen (rather than quick to speak). I’m reminded of the fact that it’s in the stillness of our souls that we become strong. It’s not when we’re trying to be tough, getting out there and talking back, or being of an argumentative spirit that God uses us; no, it’s when we have a quiet spirit that God speaks through us most. It’s when we’re ready to rest in Him that He will use us.

This week, while everything in me wants to challenge and to be strong, I need to remember that I can do that best when I am quiet and confident in my Heavenly Father and His strength alone.

“For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Wednesday

1

February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Meekness isn’t weakness

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meekness isn't weakness; it's strength under control.

“Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control.”

I love this quote. Meekness can be defined in several ways, including gentle, humble, soft, or mild. Meekness is not weakness.

Just because you’re gentle, just because you’re humble, just because you’re kind— in no way does that mean that you are weak. In fact, I’d say quite the opposite. Meekness requires a great deal of strength.

Meekness requires strength to maintain grace and poise when others oppose you for standing up for what’s right; meekness requires strength to remain calm even though inside you’re not; meekness requires strength to have a heart and a spirit that are submitted and committed to living for the Lord.

Ephesians 4:1-2 says that we should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called with all humility and gentleness.”

“Meekness isn’t weakness; it’s strength under control.”

Monday

21

November 2016

Encouragement | Nahum 1:7

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encouragement, the Lord is good, God's goodness

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

There are so many elements of this verse that provide encouragement:

  1. The LORD is good. He is! One of the things I love about keeping a prayer/gratitude journal is that it makes it very easy to go back and see God’s goodness and all prayers He answers, exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.
  2. A stronghold in the day of trouble. A stronghold is defined as “a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack,” or “a place where a particular cause or belief is strongly defended or upheld.” The Lord is the one place we can go and confide all our thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams… everything! There is no relationship like the one you can have with our Heavenly Father.
  3. He knows those who trust in Him. Think about that for a minute. The Lord, the One who created the entire universe, knows you. He cares for you. He knows all those who trust in Him. Why wouldn’t you care for the One who created you? Having a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ will truly change your life, if only you’ll seek Him!

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

Monday

14

November 2016

Encouragement: 2 Timothy 1:7

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encouragement 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.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The past few weeks, the media’s been building and encouraging a lot of ‘fear’ in people; and admittedly, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotion and excitement. There’s something very important to remember, however. God is in control.

And what’s more? We’re clearly told in the Bible that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear”. If you are feeling afraid, or nervous, or apprehensive about the future, consider this: In Isaiah 41:10, we are encouraged to “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” In Psalm 34:4, we are told, “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

Paul wrote to book of 2 Timothy from prison, and yet he encouraged us by saying that God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear. To have that realization and be able to admit that from prison? Wow! What a Faith! Can you imagine all the difficulties and persecution that Paul faced behind bars? I can’t either, but it probably was not an easy or comfortable place to be.

If you’re feeling nervous, or anxious, or fearful heading into the challenges of a new week, remember the second part of 2 Timothy 1:7. God has given us the spirit “of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Consider this: With the spirit of God’s power, love, and sound mind, we can set out to face any challenge that is before us. It’s easier said that done, but whatever you’re facing, God has promised that He will be there for you!

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7