Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

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Monday

24

July 2017

Hope Reflected | Meekness

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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.

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Monday

21

November 2016

Encouragement | Nahum 1:7

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

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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

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Wednesday

20

July 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: God Will Help You Find a Way

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God will help you

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox

How many times have we read in Exodus how God parted the Red Sea for Moses, allowing the Israelites to walk on dry ground and cross to safety while being pursued by their enemies? We’ve heard the event shared time after time after time; this is classic Sunday School lesson material.

Exodus 14:21-22 (KJV) tells us, “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”

Notice anything interesting about this selection of scripture? It wasn’t until I came across author Brad Wilcox’s awesome quote that the truth struck me: God divided the waters of the Red Sea for the Israelites so they could cross to safety.

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox

Wow.

Sometimes we can hear a truth over and over again, but until it’s explained in the simplest of terms, we don’t necessarily understand the breadth of it.

God’s not necessarily going to remove our problems, but He has promised to help us through whatever challenges we’re facing.

David testified in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 41:10 instructs us, “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 Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus promises us, “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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

God is with us, always, if we trust in Him. God is our refuge, and our strength. God will give you the strength to get through whatever challenge or problem you are facing, if you will trust in Him. God is the one who will provide us with rest. Seek Him, learn about Him, trust Him.

We don’t need to fear problems or eliminate them when we have the choice to face them with God on our side.

“God did not remove the Red Sea, He opened it: He will help us find a way through our problems as well.” Brad Wilcox

Trust God, and let Him help you today!

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Thursday

25

February 2016

Hope Reflected: 3 Building Blocks – The Blessings of Contentment

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Comparison is the thief of joy.

As a young girl, I was an avid Barbie collector. With each allowance, birthday, or celebratory holiday (or even sometimes just because), my Barbie collection grew to include upwards of thirty to forty dolls, complete with all the accessories – Barbie convertible, Barbie funhouse, Barbie dog – but I can remember specifically visiting my cousin’s house and seeing her collection – which included the enviable Barbie mansion – and thinking, “I really, really want the Barbie mansion. Like, really!” I’m pretty sure every one of us has a similar story from our childhood.

So what does Barbie have to do with contentment? It’s not the Barbie doll per se, it’s the principle of the story. Too often I think we look at our friends and neighbours and – whether consciously or not – start thinking the grass is greener on the other side. But the fact is, the grass is greenest where we choose to water it! It’s important to be satisfied with what God has given us. Not to say that we shouldn’t have drams and goals that we work towards, all I mean is that we need to place value on the blessings that we already have.

So what does the Bible say about contentment?

  1. Contentment builds reassurance. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25 (NKJV), “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” It’s a huge exercise in faith to learn to be content with what we have and not worry about what we could have or how we’ll get what we want or think we need.
  2. Contentment builds trust. When we’re content (read: Satisfied, but not lazy), we’re demonstrating trust that God’s got everything under control. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use common sense or intelligence, just that you’re trusting God to provide for your needs. David said in Psalm 23:1 (KJV), “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Think of what a shepherd does for his flock: He provides and he protects.
  3. Contentment builds joy. There’s an old saying that says “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And how true it is! When we start comparing ourselves or our circumstances to others, we lose our sense of self and quite often are left feeling deflated and inferior. Because guess what? There’s always going to be someone who’s smarter than you, someone who’s prettier, someone who has more money, or a bigger house, or a better car. Fact. Of. Life. So why waste time fretting about it? The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians (4:11-13, NKJV), “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things, I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Content people are not always happy people, but content people are consistent, thankful, and more likely to be loving and grateful for the people around them. There’s the old saying that goes, “When we pursue happiness, we flee contentment.” Stop, take a look around, and purposefully count your blessings. Choose something today – or someone – for which you’ll practice an attitude of gratitude.

Originally published as “3 Building Blocks: The Blessings of Contentment”. Minto Express. August 12, 2015: 5. Print.

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