Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

trusting God Archive

Tuesday

22

March 2022

Worry is wicked, not wise

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. (Oswald Chambers) Read more about worry on hopereflected.com

A full-fledged fire

Twice in the first seven verses of Psalm 37 we are told to “Fret not”. According to Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the Hebrew for this actually means to burn, to be kindled, or to be inflamed. Isn’t that what it feels like when we worry? Our worry starts out small, as a single flame, and once we’ve considered every angle and hypothetical outcome of our situation, we’ve got a full-fledged fire on our hands that can’t be put out.

Worry is a great form of pride

When we worry, we tell God that we don’t trust that He’s going to look after us. Worry is a great form of pride. We think we know better than God, or at least we think that by thinking and overthinking we’ll somehow come up with a better solution than God, or that we’ll discover some angle that He’s never considered or didn’t think of before. It sounds silly when you read it, doesn’t it? But that’s what worry is.

“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” David wrote in Psalm 34:4. To win the battle of worry, it’s imperative that we seek the Lord and not our own solution. We cannot trust the Lord and worry at the same time, it’s just not possible. The only way to be delivered from worry is to seek after the Lord.

We must put ourselves in check and put our hope in God – not in what we want to happen. When we’re looking forward to what we want to happen more than what God wants for us, worry is inevitable. When we rest in our circumstances rather than in Christ, discouragement will follow. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5).

Winning over worry

Winning over worry requires us to give God our problems. Pride tells us that we can do it all on our own. Society tells us that we can find our own solutions if we just believe in ourselves, because we are enough. This is so wrong. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:2). When we carry our burdens instead of casting them on God, we will be weighed down, tired, and subject to making poor decisions.

“Fussing always ends in sin.”

Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers wrote that, “Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not “out” to realise His own ideas; He was “out” to realise God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.” Worry is wicked, not wise, and it can wreck our lives.

Originally published as “Wicked, not wise.” Independent Plus. November 4, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Tuesday

8

February 2022

At the helm: God makes things still

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:" (Mark 4:37-38) Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

Striving, not being still

Although it was night and He had just spent the day preaching, Jesus suggested traveling across the sea with the disciples. A great storm arose, and the ship filled up fast (Mark 4:37). In this storm, Jesus  “was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow:” (Mark 4:38).

The disciples had an initial reaction of panic. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” they questioned (v. 38). In any storm where we face unknowns, things that are out of our control, our first reaction – unfortunately – is not to be still. Usually we run about, trying to take matters into our own hands and figure things out. We find ourselves striving, not being still.

The first thing we should do

And yet, Scripture says to be still is the first thing that we should do. “Be still, and know that I am God:” (Psalm 46:10). Before verse 10, Psalm 46 reminds us that God is “a very present help in trouble” (v. 1). “Very present,” meaning that He’s right there, He is always with us, He’s always in the boat with us, at the helm, even when we – like the disciples – are panicking and wondering why He’s not panicking.

We're quick to observe Jesus sleeping. We forget that He is in the hinder part of the ship, right in the captain's place. He's always at the helm, even when we think He's not paying attention, or we wonder why He's sleeping. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

When you pass through the waters

In the prophecy of Isaiah, our Lord said, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43:2). He did not say, “If you go through the waters,” or “if you go through the rivers, or “If you walk through the fire,” He said “When”.

As much as we’d like to deny it, storms and troubles are a part of this life, but God is with us. We are created for His glory. When things are not going our way, it’s a reminder that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God uses the rivers to make the rocks smooth and He uses the fire to make the metal pliable.

Prayer is how we get His attention. Read more of At the Helm on hopereflected.com

He’s always at the helm

Like the disciples, we’re quick to observe Jesus sleeping, and we forget that He is “in the hinder part of the ship”, right in the captain’s place. He’s always at the helm, even when we think He’s not paying attention, or we wonder why He’s sleeping. How can we get His attention?

The disciples woke Him by talking to Him. In storms and troubles, are we talking to Him first or using prayer as our last resort? When the disciples spoke to Him, Jesus got up, “and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39).

“He maketh the storm a calm,

so that the waves thereof are still.”

Psalm 107:29

It is God that makes things still. “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:29). As Matthew Henry wrote, “A word of comfort to us, that, be the storm of trouble ever so loud, ever so strong, Jesus Christ can lay it with a word’s speaking… He that made the seas, can make them quiet.”

Originally published as “In the hinder part of the ship.” Independent Plus. October 21, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Read more about how to trust Jesus in the storm here.

Monday

22

November 2021

Launch out into the deep

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

An unsuccessful night at work

After working all night, Peter and his crew got out of their boats and started cleaning their nets. Being a fisherman was no easy task; the vocation was a risky one, and the income wasn’t always steady. After this night in particular, Peter and his crew hadn’t caught any fish at all, which meant they wouldn’t have anything to sell at market.

As Peter painstakingly washed his nets, getting rid of any dirt and debris, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to put out a little from shore (Luke 5:3). Can you imagine? You’re just getting things cleaned up after a non-productive night at work, and someone asks you to get all your equipment back out – equipment that you’ve just cleaned and put away – and head out for another shift? And yet, Peter does it.

Peter was willing; are we?

Peter, without complaint or question, stopped what he was doing and followed Jesus. After Christ finished teaching, he said to Peter, “Launch out into the deep, and let down the nets for a draught.” (Luke 5:4). Peter responded, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” (5:5). Peter was willing to go out his way not just a little bit, but a lot. Can the same be said for us?

We get so caught up in our work that we put our relationship with Christ on the back burner. We can’t even keep up with simple tasks like reading God’s Word regularly and praying – we make other things higher priority. And yet, how many of us ask why God has not given us more? We put Him off, make excuses, waste time trying to rationalize what He wants us to do and question how it makes it sense, when what we ought to do is simply put out a little from shore. We will never get out into the deep waters Christ has for us if we’re not willing to wade into the shallow waters at all.

Our faith has a ripple effect

Peter, in his acts of faith, saw the results when he and his crew collected such a great multitude of fishes that “their net brake.” (Luke 5:6). The catch was so overwhelming that they needed another boat to help them out! Peter’s acts of faith didn’t just have an impact on him, but on those around him as well. Like waves on the water, our faith has a ripple effect. Our example makes an impression on those around us, whether for good or bad.

Like waves on the water, our faith has a ripple effect.

Hope Reflected

After catching all these fish, and more than compensating for a failed night on the water, rather than saying “Thanks, Lord! Gotta get these fish to market!” Peter instead humbled himself and “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (v. 8). Everyone around saw his response. Unfortunately, when Christ allows us to see success in our earthly ventures, we often let it go to our head. As Matthew Henry said, “Those whom Christ designs to admit the most intimate acquaintance with him he first makes sensible that they deserve to be set at the greatest distance from him.”

Originally published as “And yet, Peter does it.” Independent Plus. July 22, 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.

Thursday

1

October 2020

Fear not

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) | Fear not, read more on hopereflected.com

Fear is a theme that is common not just during times of uncertainty

Look back through the Bible and there are more than 500 references to the word fear. While some of these speak to a reverence of God, at least 100 of these references speak about why we should not be fearful. Fear is nothing new; it’s been one of the devil’s tactics since man’s beginnings in the Garden of Eden.

“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.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Fear thou not;” we read in Isaiah 41:10. That’s a command from our Lord! We are not to fear. Easier said than done, especially during difficult seasons of life. We may wonder why God tells us to fear not, particularly if our circumstances are uncertain or we’re feeling anxious. “Fear thou not;” Isaiah 41:10 begins, “for I am with thee:” We are commanded not to fear, because no matter the season and no matter our circumstances, God is with us. The verse continues, “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.”

When we have a personal relationship with Christ, when He is our Saviour, He is with us, and we have nothing to fear. We can also find encouragement in our Lord’s words to Joshua in Joshua 1:9: “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Because God is with us, we have no reason to fear

David wrote 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.” Wherever we are, God is with us. Even when everything around us seems dark, the Lord is our light. Psalm 27 opens, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” When we stop looking to ourselves, our circumstances, and our surroundings for strength, and we start looking to God, we are reassured. We have no reason to fear!

Fear can be conquered when Christ is our champion

With Him, peace is possible. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“The father of fear is unbelief.”

A.W. Tozer

Tozer once said that, “the father of fear is unbelief.” God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Does that mean that we will never be afraid? No, but the key is, that when we find fear creeping in, we like David should reaffirm our trust in the Lord. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” (Psalm 56:3). Whatever we may be going through, may we find reassurance in Jesus’s words, “Be not afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)

Originally published as “Fear not.” Independent Plus. May 21, 2020: 5. Print. Web.

Sunday

17

November 2019

Be strong and of a good courage

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" (Psalm 27:1) | Be strong and of a good courage - read more at hopereflected.com

We are each called to find our confidence in Christ

The Bible is filled with examples of epimone, a rhetorical device that uses frequent repetition to emphasize an important point. Whenever a word, phrase, or command is repeated in Scripture, take note: It is important and requires our attention (and often our obedience).

In Deuteronomy 31:7, when Joshua is appointed as Moses’s successor, Moses encourages Joshua for the task ahead: “Be strong and of a good courage….” Only a few chapters later in the opening phrases of the Book of Joshua, our Lord repeats these same words three times to exhort Joshua. Then, Joshua’s own people embolden him with an echo of the edict: Be strong and of a good courage.

Seven words with such significance: Be strong and of a good courage.

We can learn from Joshua’s example of courage

Joshua, the man who led the Israelites as they crossed the Jordan, who defeated the Canaanites and divided the land among the tribes of Israel, under whom – as most are familiar – the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. While our walls of Jericho may look different than the ones in Joshua’s time, while we may be frightened by the flow of the Jordan River that we need to cross, or whether the Canaanites we face have changed from the ones of Joshua’s day – whatever our challenges, we are called to be strong and of a good courage.

Your Jordan River may flow faster than mine, the walls of your Jericho may seem taller than your neighbour’s, and the Canaanites you face may be more cunning and crafty, but the one thing we share in common as Christians is this: We are each called to be strong and of a good courage and we are each called to find our confidence in Christ.

We aren’t called to be weak; we’re called to be meek (and yes, they are two completely different qualities). We aren’t called to be pushovers; we’re called to prevail. We aren’t called to be losers; we’re called to be – and we are – loved by Christ.

David found his courage and strength in the Lord

In the midst of his flight from Saul, David wrote, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) My Grandmother wrote in her Bible beside this verse that David’s confidence came only from keeping his faith trained on God. David went on to write in Psalm 27:14, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.”

Just as we can’t strengthen our physical bodies unless we eat right and work out, so we can’t strengthen our hearts and spirits unless we’re taking in God’s Word and purposing to live for Him.

Where do our eyes go when we’re facing challenges, and where do our minds go when we’re feeling afraid? As humans, it’s not our natural inclination to go first to the Lord. We have to train our spirits and make it a habit to seek God first in all of our circumstances. Strength and courage aren’t qualities that we’re born with; strength and courage are developed as we grow closer to God and spend more time feeding from His Word.

Originally published as “Be strong and of a good courage.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. August 22, 2019: 7. Print. Web.

Monday

12

August 2019

Trusting Christ in Every Circumstance

Written by , Posted in Christian Living

"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.

Monday

13

February 2017

Your Consolation Brought Me Joy | Encouragement from Psalm 94:19

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

psalm 94:19 encouragement your consolation brought me joy

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

A new week brings with it new challenges: School assignments that are due, big meetings at work, extracurricular activities every night, personal responsibilities. The list is endless; there’s always something to do, somewhere to go, and someone to help.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in our circumstances, and just running, that we get overwhelmed. According to Matthew Henry’s commentary, Psalm 94 was written during a time of great persecution within the church. Yet, the Psalmist penned, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19)

Even in the midst of adversity and anxiety, God provides encouragement and support. We can get so caught up in trying to control our own circumstances and lives that we forget the simple strength of “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) You can’t be comforted or consoled when you’re running and being “busy”.

Slow down, soul, and let God’s consolation bring you joy. When anxiety is great with you, — and even when it’s not — let God refresh your spirit and renew your strength.

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

Wednesday

8

February 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | Trusting God

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

trusting God

“Worrying is assuming that God doesn’t know what He’s doing.”

How many times has someone told you, “Don’t worry!” Two of the easiest words to say, am I right? The truth is though, that when we worry, we make the assumption that God doesn’t know what He’s doing. We let ourselves believe that we’re in full control. Quite often, we get so focused on our circumstances and controlling things, that we lose sight of trusting God and the fact that God’s in control.

David had it right in Psalm 62:8 when he said, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Psalm 62:8) We are commanded to trust God at all times. Not sometimes, not occasionally, not just when everything’s going the way we think it ought it to; we are to trust God at all times.

Consider this: We serve a God Who can be trusted at all times. That truth alone should put our hearts at ease! Trusting God should be as much an encouragement to our hearts as it is a challenge.