Last week, I posted about the floor we were installing in our home and how exhausting and painful it was to get it put in. It reminded me of how “digging” into God’s Word could be painful as well, especially when the Holy Spirit uses it to “correct” and “train” us.
And as I look at our newly installed floor, I KNOW it was a worthwhile investment of my time and resources.
At the end of the post, I suggested you read 1 John if you needed a nudge to read your Bible and for you to underline the words “This is how we know…”
I feel the same way about God’s Word as I do my floor. I KNOW it will be worth the time it takes to study and KNOW what God says in His written word. You may be asking yourself, “How does she know it will be worthwhile?” and to that I reply, “I have read it over and over again during times of great distress and times of great happiness. It has always given me peace I cannot explain. Peace that can only come from an all-powerful God.”
This week since I suggested to you to “dig in” to 1 John, I thought I would look as well and I found this note by the title that reads “Word KNOW approx. 31 times” (in my NIV).
I have always been one to underline and make notes in my Bible. God’s Word has been so personal for me and I have found so much hope and promise, I couldn’t leave it to chance that I would find it again. I wanted to KNOW I could find it again.
Here are six (6) facts WE can KNOW from 1 John:
We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. (2:4)
We know we are in Him if we walk as Jesus did. (2:6)
We know that when He (Jesus) appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (3:2)
We know that He (Jesus) appeared so that He might take away our sins.(3:5)
We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one (Jesus) born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one does not touch him. (5:18)
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (5:19)
May you be encouraged this week by the facts you can KNOW are in God’s Word.
This past week, we have been putting in new flooring and “refurbishing” some old floors. It is hard, back-breaking work. By the end of the day, I am exhausted, my back and knees hurt and I am longing to be done. As we are working to get this done, I am wondering if it is worth it.
At the end of the day, I know when it is finished it will be worth it. All the hours and pain will produce a lovely floor we will be fond of for many years.
In my last post, I wrote about “digging” through the Bible and often when I am digging into Scripture, I find it can be painful as well. As the Apostle Paul put it, “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (2 Tim 3:16 MSG).
Sometimes the pain I experience when I dig into Scripture is a gentle reminder of Who is in control of ALL things. I have to humbly examine my life and admit my rebellion and mistakes so I can be “put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for” me.
Examining myself is an extremely raw process. My stubbornness to deal with my flaws (aka sins) makes the examination rawer than if I would just admit them in the first place.
Despite me being me, I am hopeful. God has chosen not to give up on me even though I fail Him daily. His Word says in 1 John 1:9 (AMP), “ If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].”
He has proven Himself to be true to His own nature and promises. He has delivered me from sins I didn’t think I could ever escape. And I have hope he will continually cleanse me from the unrighteousness I still have because I am human.
Because of this hope, I will keep digging in Scripture, painful as it is, so I can become more like Him and less flawed. And because of this hope, I am thankful He continues to cultivate hope in my heart.
If you are wondering where to start in reading your Bible or just need a nudge to read, start in 1 John. Underline all the “This is how we know:” phrases. It will start the process of cultivating hope in your heart.
The tag line of my website is “Cultivating a Heart of Hope”. Why? Well, partly because I needed something to describe what my website and blog were all about and partly because it’s the only thing I could come up with (pretty lame, but true).
Does it resonate with you, my readers? Only you can answer that question.
I do know one thing for sure, I don’t want to lose hope. And, I am assuming since you are reading this you don’t want to lose it either. My goal is to filter all I write through the tagline. Is what I am writing helping my readers cultivate hope in their hearts?
So dear readers, what does “cultivating a heart of hope” look like for you?
Authentic stories of enduring through the “dirt” of everyday life and coming out with rows of tiny sprouts of hope is my aim. Fertilizing the newly cultivated ground with words of Truth and Grace to help hope grow.
Cultivating means digging in the dirt, preparing the soil and I have never really found satisfaction digging in the dirt, it’s messy. I don’t like it under my fingernails and I don’t like the bugs coming out of nowhere.
Life is a little bit like that, dirty, don’t you think? It is messy and it sometimes has “bugs” come out of nowhere. It gets muddy and sometimes we think we don’t have any hope.
It’s in those messy times, those times when we are desperate for answers or anything really, we need hope. But in order to have hope, we will have to get our hands in the soil and start digging…digging into God’s Word for truth, grace and His promises. Digging into our relationships with our friends and family, the ones who can help dredge out the hope underneath the mess.
I am still not sure if my tagline will be the tagline forever or just for a while, but as long as God keeps handing me the “shovel and a pair of gloves” I will keep writing what He gives me.
My prayer is for you, dear reader. For you to keep reading and through reading, you will cultivate hope in your heart. For you to know you are not alone while you are in the “dirt” of everyday life and you will find a measure of help through my words.
One day, I was having a moment…you know, a moment when all seemed to go awry and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. So to combat that feeling of despair, I sat down and started writing out first, what thankfulness is and second what I am thankful for. I thought I would share it with you:
I am— Thankful for the Savior. For Almighty God. For the indwelling Holy Spirit. For freedom to worship. For amazing grace. For a pursuing Father in heaven. For the opportunity to pray. For the God of higher thoughts and ways.
For the Body of Christ. For community and fellowship of believers.
For a family who knows the Trinity. For the love of a husband. For the love of believing parents. For the love of children.
For deep friendships.
For provision and shelter. For all the little creature comforts.
For the gift of music.
For the ability to work.
For the indescribable beauty of creation.
For the intricate workings of the human body.
For being of sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see. “…give thanks in all circumstances…” –1 Thessalonians 5:18
I hate to admit this, but I am forever falling down. I can trip on the crack in the sidewalk or have the tiniest pebble roll my ankle and BOOM! down I go. And mind you, it is the most ungraceful thing to watch. My family wonders if there is something wrong with me—vertigo perhaps. I think it is just lack of coordination because usually I have something I am carrying in my arms and not paying attention to where I am walking.
The thing about me falling is I don’t drop the item I am holding onto. I just cling to that thing for dear life. I. Don’t. Let. Go.
We all have something we hold onto, trinket or heirloom from a loved one that is no longer here, a favorite pair of earrings, that ratty old sweatshirt that should have been tossed two years ago. Something that gives us comfort. And we think if we discard those items, we won’t have anything to hold onto. Oh, but dear ones, we do.
We have the Author of Hope to hold on to. Jesus Christ. He is faithful. He won’t let us fall when we trip on the sidewalk crack or step on a tiny pebble. All we have to do is hold unswervingly—staying on the neatly groomed path He has provided for us—not going willy-nilly on the rabbit trails that lead nowhere.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews: 10:23 (NIV)