Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

words to live by Archive



December 2016

Hope Reflected: Learning How To Live ‘Less is More’

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

G.K. Chesterton quote less is more

This past weekend, Wes and I found ourselves fighting the crowds at a popular department store. If you know me, you know I’m not a fan of a ga-zillion people invading my personal bubble, but there I was, in the midst of the store, trying to find a few boxes in which to put Christmas gifts. Whilst we were waiting in line at the checkout, and we observed all the people wandering around picking up random items, I thought to myself how it’s entirely possible – and probably more common than I understand – that some people can have everything, and at the same time, have nothing.

As we head into the American Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I think the feelings of longing and emptiness are magnified. While some others seem to dread their approach, I find myself giving thanks to the Lord that I look forward to these beautiful seasons each year.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to accumulate more, and the other is to desire less.” During our devotions last week, this quote struck both Wes and myself. How often do we look to fulfill our longings with things? To fill an empty spiritual void with relationships?

The truth is, there’s really only one way to be completely satisfied, and that’s when you have a personal relationship with our Creator and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, I guarantee the rest of your life will have some sort of void that no earthly “thing” can fill.

Looking at it from a Biblical perspective, there are several times throughout the Bible when we’re told of the strength of a relationship with God and His love and how powerful that is over “things”. Consider these three instances in the book of Proverbs:

  1. Proverbs 15:16 “Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.” You may not have much, and as long as you have a relationship with Jesus, you don’t need much! Little is better where God is than greatness without Him.
  2. Proverbs 15:17 “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.” You may not have much, but if you have God’s love in your heart and you share that with a loved one or your family, a humble dinner of herbs is better than superficial relationships and a fattened calf!
  3. Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices and strife.” Your house may not be as large as your neighbour’s, or as grandeous, but as long you have God’s love in your heart, you could live in a shack and still be satisfied. Some people think that taking out a million dollar mortgage will somehow bring satisfaction, but there is no satisfaction like a relationship with the Lord.

You may find yourself asking how it’s possible to “desire less” as G.K. Chesterton said. Really, it’s not that hard when you know the Lord as your Saviour. I love the unattributed quote that says, “it is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy.” It’s so true. When you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you learn the values of gratitude, humility, and love.

It may not always be easy to live with an attitude of gratitude, but when I find myself unsatisfied, or thinking, “If we could just have this or be able to do this, I’d be happy,” I have to catch myself. It’s only when I take the time to purposefully count my blessings and consider all the ways the Lord is working in my life, that I truly become content, and stop longing for things that I don’t need.

My challenge to you as we enter this holiday season, is to start your own prayer journal – trust me, it will quickly turn in to a gratitude journal, and in times of discouragement, you’ll be able to look back and consider the Lord’s goodness in your own life.

Originally published as “Learning to Live ‘Less is More’.” Minto Express, Arthur Enterprise-News, Independent Plus. November 23, 2016: 5. Print.



February 2016

Hope Reflected: What Goes In, Must Come Out

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Inspire definition

Whether it’s the snow melting, or the birds singing, several people have said over the past week that they’re feeling invigorated and inspired.

Inspire. What a word! First used in the 1300s, the word inspire comes from the Latin inspirare, meaning, “inspire, inflame, blow into,” from in “in” and spirare “to breathe”.[1]  Another definition comes from the French inspiracion, meaning “inhaling, breathing in; inspiration.” When we are inspired – whether by a person, place, or thing, – we are stimulated, excited, and influenced. The word inspire is the breathing in of something and actually being affected by it. When it’s put in such vivid terms, I can’t help but think about what inspires me. There are so many people, so many places, and so many things that I would count as inspirations. And while I’m a person who by nature has a fairly positive outlook on life (my name is Hope, hello), I can’t help but think about what inspires angry people, or those with a particularly pessimistic attitude. Sure, some of it might be built into their nature, but ultimately, we’re all influenced and inspired in some way, by something.

If you’re a computer science type, you’re familiar with GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). The information a computer outputs depends entirely on the input. Not to draw a parallel between computers and humans, but same story when it comes to us. What we allow into our minds and our hearts through the gates of our eyes and our ears will inevitably come out and be displayed through our actions and the words that come out of our mouths. Have you ever met someone who has a bad attitude or who’s “mad at the world”? Chances are, they really don’t censor much of what they let their eyes see and their ears hear. If you listen to intense, anger-filled music, be prepared to have an intense, angry outlook. Watch violent and profanity-filled films? You put yourself at risk to become desensitized, or even a producer of those behaviors and words in your own life. It’s like food poisoning, really. If you eat contaminated food, well, be prepared for what’s going to come out…

It’s inevitable through life that we’re going to see things that we’d rather not see, and hear things we’d rather not hear, but does that mean we shouldn’t be proactive and protect ourselves? Absolutely not! We should all establish safeguards against potential negative influences. If you know that certain genres of music elicit feelings of depression, anger, or sadness in you, don’t listen to that music! Same with movies and TV; if you know that show will cause you to think about things you’d rather not consider, then don’t watch it. Each of us has a responsibility to protect and nurture our hearts and minds. That goes for real life, too. If you’re someone who enjoys listening to the “coffee shop talk” and hearing critical assessments of your peers, you put yourself at risk to pick out the faults in others and speak critically. If you wouldn’t say it to that person’s face, you definitely shouldn’t be saying it behind his or her back.

Just like the law of gravity, (what goes up must come down), we’ve all got to be careful the spiritual truth of what goes in must come out. There’s a verse that I love that talks about dwelling on the right things. In chapter 4 verse 8 of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he encourages them to think positively, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is anything praiseworthy – mediate on these things.”

Originally published as “What Goes In Must Come Out”. Minto Express. March 25, 2015: 5. Print.

[1] inspire. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/inspire (accessed: March 20, 2015).