Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

trust God Archive

Thursday

7

October 2021

Sent into stormy seas

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? | Read more at hopereflected.com

“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.” (Matthew 14:21)

When we read the account of Jesus walking on the water, we usually focus on the miracle itself, and Peter’s attempt to come meet Him. We don’t always consider how the disciples got out into the storm-tossed sea in the first place.

After the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus instructed His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side of the sea. “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples,” we read in Matthew 14. Other versions of the Bible say that Jesus “made the disciples” get in the ship (NIV), and that Jesus “insisted” that His disciples go on before Him (MSG). Our all-knowing God sent His disciples out into the sea when He knew there was a storm coming and that the water would be rough. God is not surprised by the storms that we encounter, or by any clouds under which we’re living that just seem to keep lingering and pouring on us day after day.

"And he saw the toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary to unto them:" (Mark 6:48a) | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

The disciples weren’t inexperienced boaters

These were men among whom were true fishermen, making their living on the water. They would have been accustomed to unsettled waters and known how to handle the ship when it was “tossed with waves” (Matt. 14:24). We read in Mark however that Jesus saw the disciples “toiling in rowing,” (Mark 6:48). Even the most experienced among us will at times struggle through the storm. The disciples at least kept rowing; do we? Joseph Benson wrote, “Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward.”

How do we make the best of the way forward when we’re in the middle of the storm?

Like the disciples, we keep pressing on. When the disciples were stuck on the sea in the storm, “they willingly received him into the ship” (John 6:21). It’s integral as we keep going to draw on the Lord’s strength, that we willingly receive Him into our ship. Relying on our own strength will only lead to self-destruction. 

"Though the wind was contrary, and they were tossed with the waves, yet being ordered by their Master to the other side, they did not tack about and come back again, but made the best of their way forward." Joseph Benson | Read more of Sent into stormy seas on hopereflected.com

“The world can create trouble in peace,

but God can create peace in trouble.”

Thomas Watson

Puritan preacher Thomas Watson said that “If God be our God, He will give us peace in trouble. When there is a storm without, He will make peace within. The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.” When we’re being tossed about in the heart of raging waters and stormy seas, to say it’s hard to keep our focus on Him rather than the waves is an understatement. And yet, this is what we are called to do. In the middle of the storm, God says to us, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” (Matt. 14:27). He who sends us into stormy seas will provide a way through.

Originally published as “Sent into stormy seas.” Independent Plus. May 13, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Wednesday

28

October 2020

Trust Issues

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, has not forsaken them that seek thee." Psalm 9:10 | Read more about trust at hopereflected.com

Everybody trusts in something, and it is amazing what people will stake their eternal destiny on – good works, generosity, and even other people. The Bible provides encouragement and examples about trusting God. It also shows us some of the areas where we shouldn’t place our trust. We are not to trust in our works (Jeremiah 48:7) or our righteousness (Ezekiel 33:13). Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 64:6, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf;” – our greatest works are worthless because in ourselves we are not sufficient. Isaiah continues that the Lord can be trusted, because He is our Father, our potter, and we are the work of His hand.

The dangers of trusting in things other than God

Another area we shouldn’t put our trust is in our riches. In Psalm 49:6-7, the sons of Korah wrote about the dangers of trusting in material wealth: “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:” There’s nothing wrong with making money or storing up savings, but when we start to trust in our riches rather than God, we’re headed for trouble.

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”

Psalm 9:10

Rather than our own works and riches, we should trust in the name of God. There is power in the name of the Lord! David wrote in Psalm 9:10, “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” We can trust the Creator of the Universe. There is a great relief when we stop searching for our own sufficiency and we choose to rest in Him. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

Trust in God’s mercy

Not only is the name of the Lord a strong tower, it is because of His mercies that we are not consumed (Lamentations 3:22). Even when it feels like God forgets us, or like He can’t hear us, we can trust in His mercy. When David wrote Psalm 13 and Psalm 52, he was enduring seasons of darkness and sorrow. After lamenting to the Lord about his pains and the people fighting against him, take notice how he finishes his prayers: “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” (Psalm 13:5), “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” (Psalm 52:8)

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Although he was enduring hardships, David could flourish and rejoice because he trusted in God’s mercy. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that we should, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Our hearts are deceitful, our feelings change frequently, and despite what some of us think, we don’t actually know everything. God on the other hand never changes. His heart doesn’t change; His feelings don’t change; He knows all and we are in the palm of His hand. We can trust Him!

Originally published as “Trust Issues.” Independent Plus. May 28, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Monday

12

August 2019

Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance

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"For I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6) | Trusting Christ in every circumstance | Read more at hopereflected.com

Because He never changes, we can trust Christ in every circumstance

We can trust Christ in every circumstance because He never changes. “For I am the LORD, I change not,” we read in Malachi 3:6. The writer of Hebrews also encourages us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing on this earth stays the same, things are always changing, and that includes your circumstances and the situations you find yourself living through. Prayer is a big part of trusting God in every circumstance. C.S. Lewis once said that, “prayer doesn’t change God; it changes us.” What a comforting thought to remember. Even when every thing around us seems to be changing, God never does.

We can trust Christ because of His character

Trusting Christ in every circumstance is also possible because of His character. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” We know from the Bible that God is omniscient (He knows everything), omnipresent (He is always with us), and omnipotent (He is all-powerful), and He is strong, He is trustworthy, He is our fortress, our rock, and our deliverer. In Psalm 18, David calls on God’s attributes for his help, and this is often a portion of Scripture that I recall to mind for encouragement and as a reminder of who God really is. Even in our best moments, our character cannot compare to the character of God.

Finding our confidence in Christ

It’s because of His character that we can be confident in Him, which is another component of trusting Christ in every circumstance. Too often, we rely on our finite understanding when it comes to making decisions and navigating through life. We’d save ourselves so much heartache if we truly learned to live verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” When you really stop and consider, it seems silly that we would rest in our own limited understanding when we can trust the Creator of the universe. Psalm 37 encourages us to trust Christ in every circumstance by fretting not, delighting in Him, committing our way to Him, and resting in Him. Psalm 37 also details the results of trusting Christ in every circumstance: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5) In every circumstance, He shall bring it to pass.

Where is your hope, and where is your confidence? Christ’s grace is sufficient, and His mercy is abundant. What playbook are you following as you walk through this life? As C.S. Lewis said, “There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you would not take His advice.”

Originally published as “Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. April 25, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Tuesday

20

March 2018

Encouragement | Easter Meditation on Isaiah 53:3

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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

Monday

19

March 2018

Encouragement | Isaiah 53:3-7

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"The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6 | See more at hopereflected.com

Next week marks the beginning of Holy Week, and as we head into this Easter season, I’m meditating on our Lord and what He took on for us, all so we can have eternal life. I woke up Sunday morning with the hymn “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” stuck in my head, and as Wes and I read through Mark 15 where Jesus stands before Pilate, I realized how casually we often read through the account of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Really there are no words to fully describe or illustrate what Jesus went through leading up to and on and after the cross. This weekend, the passage of scripture found in Isaiah 53 struck me in a new way. I went through and underlined how Isaiah describes what happened to our Lord.

Isaiah 53:3-7 reads [emphasis my own]:

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.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Despised, rejected, man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, carried our sorrows, stricken, smitten of God, afflicted, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed, afflicted, brought as a lamb to the slaughter — our Lord endured it all, all so we can have eternal life.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re going through, Jesus has already been through it all for you.

Friday

19

January 2018

Hope Reflected | God’s Faithfulness to Us

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His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) God's Faithfulness to us | See more at hopereflected.com

God’s faithfulness to us

Most of the time, we’re more apt to use a product or make a purchase based on someone else’s testimony of how well a product works or how a certain purchase changed their life. While it’s not a product or service, the Bible works in a similar way. After experiencing God’s faithfulness, you’re more apt to share about your experience with others and encourage them to get into God’s Word and give Him a chance. God’s Word is this amazing, incredible guide to life that works! In fact, without the Bible, without God’s promises and principles, we lack order. Look around!

Reading through the Bible, we’re met with so many accounts of God’s faithfulness. What I love about this, is that each account of God’s faithfulness comes to us courtesy of people who lived before us, who give firsthand accounts of how God changed their lives and changed the way they lived.

Even in my own life, I can’t begin to share all the stories of how God – time and time and time again – consistently shows up in my life and provides exceedingly abundantly above all I can ask or think. Even in the past few days! As David said in Psalm 63:3, “Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!”

God’s faithfulness is always fresh. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) Lamentations 3:22-23 was the basis for the infamous hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness”. God’s compassions are new every morning and His faithfulness is great – every morning. Each day, we get a fresh start to experience, recognize, and give thanks for God’s faithfulness! Whatever the day brings – big challenges, facing fears, enduring heartache – God will be faithful to you. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

God’s faithfulness is independent of our faith. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.” (2 Timothy 2:13) Thankfully, God’s faithfulness does not depend on us! There is nothing that we can do that will alter His faithfulness to us. I’m thankful for that as I so often falter throughout life. His love endures. When we are tired, He is enlivened; when we are weak, He is strong; when we are failing, He is thriving; when we are hating, He is loving. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God’s faithfulness is everlasting. “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9) Since the beginning of time, God has been demonstrating His faithfulness. He always will! Check out the historical examples of God’s faithfulness in the books of Joshua, 1 Kings, the Psalms, Paul’s epistles, among others. God is faithful!

As we’re told in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Though it may not always be easy, and though we may have to rest and wait patiently for the Lord to work, the fact is this: He always does. God is faithful, and He will quite often show up in our lives in ways that are far above and beyond anything we could imagine!

Originally published as “God’s faithfulness to us.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 9, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

Monday

6

November 2017

Bible verses for when you need strength

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10 Bible verses for when you need strength | See more at hopereflected.com

At any given point in time, we could all use more strength. When days are long and hard, and you find yourself weary, rest in the promises of God’s Word. He promises to be our strength, even when we have none.

Here are 10 Bible verses for when you need strength (OK there’s 13 verses here but who’s counting). Committing these verses to memory or writing them down will ensure that you can remind yourself of God’s strength and draw on His strength anytime.

  1. Psalm 22:19 “But You, O LORD, do not be far from me; O my Strength, hasten to help me!”
  2. Psalm 28:7-8 “The LORD is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”
  3. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
  4. Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; he also has become my salvation.”
  5. Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but 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.”
  6. Habakkuk 3:19 “The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”
  7. Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
  8. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
  9. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might.”
  10. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

What are your favourite Bible verses about strength, and what are the verses you recall to mind when you feel weak? We are told in Psalm 1 that the man who makes the law of the Lord his delight and meditates on the Lord day and night “shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3) When you feel like you don’t have the strength, look to the Lord. He will not let you down! He will uphold you with His right hand!

Friday

20

October 2017

Thursday

19

October 2017

Encouragement | 1 Peter 5:10

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God will strengthen and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 | See more at hopereflected.com

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Not only do we serve the God of all grace as 1 Peter 5:10 describes Him, we are reassured of our Lord’s countless virtues so many times throughout scripture (check out Psalm 18 if you’re looking for an example).

The God of all grace — God is compassionate, full of mercy and truth, long-suffering (Psalm 86:15). He provides stillness and peace (Isaiah 26:3).

He has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus — The Saviour of the world has personally invited us to His eternal glory. I’m not sure that we will ever be able to fully comprehend just how amazing that is!

After you have suffered a while — When you accept Jesus as your Saviour, you’re not guaranteed a life without pain or suffering. In fact, no wore than ever, Christians are persecuted for what they believe. Suffering is a part of this life. Just remember that this life on earth is only the beginning; I think we could all use the reminder to live with eternity in mind.

If you’re looking for encouragement today, consider the above, and consider these encouraging facts from 1 Peter 5:10:

  • God will perfect you (Psalm 138:8)
  • God will establish you (Proverbs 16:3)
  • God will strengthen you (Philippians 4:13)
  • God will settle you (Exodus 14:14)

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

 

Tuesday

17

October 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 145:18

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The LORD is near all who call out to Him." Psalm 145:18 | See more at hopereflected.com

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

Even when you feel like He can’t hear you, you can rest assured that the Lord is near to all those who call upon Him.

Each one of us has days where it feels as though God is far away, or like He can’t hear us. It’s what we do when we feel that way that matters.

Psalm 145:18 says that we should “call upon Him”. Even when it feels as though God can’t hear you or maybe even like He’s not listening, call upon Him and cry out to Him!

King David, who wrote many of our favourite psalms, shared throughout several of the psalms that at times he felt abandoned by God. But notice the pattern? While he may start a psalm lamenting that he feels God can’t hear or has forsaken him, by the end of the psalm he is praising God for His goodness and faithfulness!

When we feel like God can’t hear us, it’s at those times that we really need to cry out to God! He does hear! He is listening!

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Make an effort. Pray. Read your Bible. Cry out to the Lord. The Lord said that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Trust Him. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18