How to Know for Sure that YOU Can Find the Truth in Scripture

Have you ever wondered…

Is Scripture completely true and can I trust it?

Do I have to go to seminary to really understand the Bible?

Are there some simple tools that I can learn to grasp truth in Scripture and apply it in my life?

The answers are definitively, yes, yes and yes!

If you missed last week’s teaching on the trustworthiness of Scripture, click here.

This week, I’m sharing some simple tools that will help you learn to study Scripture on your own in a way that empowers you to grow spiritually. Please watch the video below. (Click here to watch the video if you’re a subscriber.)

(Although this originally aired as a Facebook Live, I welcome your comments and questions here too.)

I’m so glad you’re here today continuing the series to build Tender Hearts and Strong Voices by walking through these steps together:

Listen –> Feel –> Do –> Speak

If you don’t want to miss a thing, make sure to sign up for my weekly emails by clicking here.

I’ll have some special guests next week talking about “How to Hear God When You Pray”. You can join me live on Facebook at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, November 28th.

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How to Know for Sure that Scripture is Trustworthy

Hi, friends!

In the ongoing “Listen to God” series, I want to build the surest foundation of relying on the Bible for what’s right and true. In order to want to listen to God, we have to start with a confidence that what He says is true. The great news is that the Bible, otherwise known as Scripture or God’s Word, is absolutely true and trustworthy!

Here’s the first video in the series “How to Know for Sure that Scripture is Trustworthy.” Click here to watch on the website if you’re a subscriber.

(If you want to check out the 3-question Bible study tool I talked about in this video, click here to read and access a free downloadable PDF.)

In the upcoming weeks, I’m going to post a series of Facebook Live videos here for those of you who can’t join us live. My next Facebook Live will be Monday, November 19th at 3:30 pm ET. I’d love for you to join me for “How to Know for Sure that YOU Can Find the Truth in Scripture”! To watch live, simply click here to follow my Facebook page, and show up Monday to listen and ask any questions you have. (If you don’t see the video at first, try refreshing the page.)

I’ll have guests joining me after Thanksgiving to talk about listening to God through prayer and the Holy Spirit. I can’t wait to share some of my wise peeps with you!

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How to Exercise Faith When You Feel Like Giving Up

I can’t wait to return to the blog next week with some “listen” lessons that I’m dying to share with you, but this week, I’d like to introduce you to my sweet friend, Lauren Gaskill. She’s a young woman setting the world on fire for Jesus. Because we live in the same area, I’ve been privileged to become her friend, and I’m cheering wildly as she releases her first book Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith.

Please welcome Lauren today as she shares some rich encouragement with us!

 

The stage lights dimmed and the music faded as I stood in the center of the room, unable to process the feelings rising up from deep within me.

I should have felt overjoyed, but instead I only felt overwhelmed — unsure if I could keep myself afloat in the choppy waters following Jesus had led me to.

God, I don’t think I have it in me to keep doing what you’ve called me to do. Jesus, help me. I prayed.

Have you ever prayed a similar prayer?

When life feels heavy and we feel like giving up, we have two options: We can sink into despair, or we ask Jesus to help us overcome the waves as we exercise the three Ps of a deep faith:

1. Rest in His Promises 

Faith starts with choosing to believe and trust God, but it doesn’t stop there. Once we reach out to God in faith and surrender our lives to Him, we have to bathe ourselves in His promises as the ancients of faith did. Just as we bathe our bodies to keep ourselves healthy, so we must bathe our minds with God’s promises to keep our souls healthy.

The Bible is full of hundreds of promises, but here are the top ten promises that have helped me most in my faith journey, both after my first faith crisis and in the many battles I’ve faced since then. If your faith needs to be strengthened today, take courage in knowing these promises are just as true for you as they are for me. God’s promises are not exclusive to certain people or groups; they are true for all of us!

2. Ask for Provision

Remembering God’s provision is one of the most important things we can do for our faith. Here’s why: When our faith is shaken and we’re in a high-sea battle, it’s extremely comforting to know that our needs are going to be taken care of. Fear might rear its ugly head for a moment, and we might not have a clue how we are going to make it to the other side of the trial; but when we trust God to meet our needs no matter what, that changes everything.

God has promised provision for every torrent and trial (see Philippians 4:19).

That medical bill you don’t know how you are going to pay; that to-do list that you feel like you don’t have time for; that depressive episode you don’t know if you’re going to make it out of alive—God promises to meet every single need along the way. If we know this to be true, then in faith we can turn to God and praise Him as we await the provision. We can live expectantly with great hope as we recall all of the ways in which God has provided for our needs in the past.

The same God who met your needs and rescued you from sinking yesterday, last year, or many years ago is the same God who will continue to meet your needs today and for the rest of eternity. Although we don’t always know what God’s provision is going to look like, we can trust Him to fill us with His living water and give us our daily bread when we turn to Him.

3. Resolve to Persevere 

As a child I was raised to stay the course, live tenaciously, and never give up. When I look at my bloodline, there’s no denying these traits are what set our family apart. For us, the term “hardy” goes beyond just having a strong last name. It’s a mindset—a way of life that has enabled us to overcome and keep the faith. Though I changed my last name when Alex and I married, these persistent attributes remain strong in me. In the words of my father, “You can take the Hardy out of the name, but you can’t take the Hardy out of the girl.”

In the same way, we have a biblical bloodline that helps us persevere when our faith is tested. You see, you and I belong to the family of Jesus, the most perseverant person to walk this earth. He persevered to death on a cross in order to accomplish God’s will and set us free, and we too can persevere in faith when we remember all Christ suffered and endured on our behalf.

Do you feel like giving up today? Are you feeling overwhelmed by life’s circumstances or what God has called you to do? Rest in His promises. Ask for provision. And resolve to persevere.

 

Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and founder of She Found Joy. She has just released her first book, Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith. Diagnosed with an incurable genetic disorder (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), Lauren is passionate about encouraging others to fight for faith and keep hope alive — no matter what. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy, peanut butter cups.

At no extra cost to you, there are affiliate links in this post. If you’d like to see the full explanation and disclosure, click here.

 

 

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Challenge #1 and Giveaway Reminder

Have you tried the 3-Step Bible study method I shared in last week’s post?

If you have, this is a reminder to post a pic of your study in the comments of the pinned post on my Facebook page. (It’s easy to find because it’s the first one and includes this graphic:

We’d love to learn from you, so tell us one great truth you found as you studied. I’ve left a sample comment for you of my notes, and a truth that’s changed the way I think about prayer.

If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s not too late. Click here to download the handouts and take it into your time with Jesus today.

I’ll randomly choose a comment to receive a copy of You Don’t Have to Try to Hard by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, a book I loved so much that I endorsed it!

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Trusting God in the Midst of Change

In my devotion today, “The Uncomfortable Gift of Elbow Room,” I shared about a change that led to sadness and a season of insecurity in my life. That’s true of all change, though, to some degree.

Every change involves an exchange, the known for the unknown.

Sometimes the unknown is exciting, like a promotion or an anticipated birth or a new next door neighbor that looks like she’s going to be your friend.

But sometimes change is plain painful. A death. A rejection. A disappointment.

There are big changes with huge impact and small ones that may seem insignificant. Either way, can I share a tender truth in the tension of uncertainty…

 

God’s love for us means we can trust that changes in our lives will always be for our good. Even when they don’t feel good. Even when the circumstances didn’t start with good.

In the midst of change, sometimes we have to really search for God’s good, sifting through each moment to find the one grain that sparkles. But it can be done, and here are three practical steps I’ve used to hunt down good and grab it.

Count Your Blessings

Just this week, Barry and I had a some moments of stress and panic when he began having some symptoms that potentially pointed to a life-changing diagnosis.

The night before his appointment, we lay in bed, fingers entwined, and practiced what we’ve always done in times when fear threatens to overtake. We counted our blessings. Back and forth. Back and forth we went, listing out loud the good in our lives.

Even when we can barely whisper the one good thing that comes to mind, the light of thankfulness diminishes the darkness of uncertainty. Thankfully, the news wasn’t what we feared this time, but gratitude will forever be our go-to.

Remember God’s Track Record

Decades ago when I was pregnant with our oldest, I did Knowing God by Henry Blackaby. In his study, Blackaby has participants make a list of “spiritual markers,” times when you’ve seen God at work in your life. It was an amazing exercise. I started listing slowly, but once I began, the momentum increased. I still have that very long list (hmmm… past time to add to it!) tucked inside the Bible I was using during that time.

When change comes and circumstances are unsure, remembering God’s work in our lives steadies us. He’s been faithful in the past, and He won’t fail us now.

Pour Out Your Heart

In Psalm 62: 8, David says, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

This point is the hardest for me because I’m a girl who’s most comfortable bringing cheerful to Jesus. That’s my issue, not His. God wants us to bring it all to Him, including our pain, disappointment and anger when change comes. He’s bigger, so He can handle it. I promise.

When we count our blessings, remember God’s track record and pour out our heart to Him, we learn that He’s faithful. We can trust God in the midst of change.

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From now until Christmas, I’m doing a series called “Listen,” and this first part is about leaning in to listen to God. Click here to read the first in the series that came out yesterday and to join us in a fun challenge with a great giveaway!

Click here to make sure you don’t miss a single post in the series as we develop tender hearts and strong voices by learning to listen –> feel –> do –> speak.

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To Be Successful Always Refer to #1

See if this resonates with you…

Good golly. In this new season of learning and growing, I need this tattooed on my hand. Since I often raise it to gesture before I speak, hopefully I’d see this note to myself and close my mouth before I gets me in more trouble! Speaking needs to be my last step. First I need to…

Listen to God.

We’re starting here with the new direction of  this blog. As my kids’ children’s pastor used to continuously repeat,

God’s ways are always best.

For every conversation and question in the upcoming posts, referring back to #1 is going to be our default. We’re often wrong, but God never is. As He says,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

Here, we’re going to practicing listening to God, and tuning out

Talk show hosts.

Political pundits.

Influential friends.

Charismatic speakers and writers.

Any other voice except The Voice.

Success in developing a tender heart begins with listening to God. And we’re going to go to the source, Scripture, of where God speaks, using our Bibles as the foundation of how we think, act and speak. Remember the process we’re going to work through?

Listen–> Feel–> Do–> Speak

Through Christmas, I’ll be blogging about listening to God. Forever and always here, our #1 is “Listen to God,” and that will be our answer to every question, point of contention or place of confusion. Instead of slogging around in rhetoric and opinions, we’ll look to see what Scripture says. (Hold me to it, girls! Hold me to it!)

To be clear, I’m not totally oblivious to reality. I understand that true followers can still land on the opposite sides of issues after studying Scripture, but it’s still our best step to faithfully walk with God. The beauty of looking to God through His Word together is that we’ll be unified in our purpose to seek Him instead of divided by parties or church circles.

Each week, I’m going to issue one action step so that we’re truly changing instead of just dealing in ideas. Here’s this week’s challenge:

Listen to God–Challenge #1

  1. Read this blog post about a simple but profound way to study Scripture.
  2. Print the handouts so that you can give the 3-step method a try.
  3. From wherever you’re currently reading the Bible, take one passage of up to 10 verses this week and do the 3-step Bible study.
  4. Leave a comment with a picture of your notes on the Facebook post pinned at the top of my Facebook page and tell something you learned.

To keep it fun, anyone who posts a picture before November 1st will be entered to win a drawing for Kathi Lipp’s and Cheri Gregory’s new book You Don’t Have to Try So Hard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unity and Love: Some Rules of Engagement

Watch the video below or click here to watch Amy’s brief message:

Today, Amy explains:

  • The difference between debate, discussion and dialogue
  • The goals for comments on the blog and her social media
  • Reasons for removal

To see the table that Amy referred to that further contrasts debate, discussion and dialogue, click here for a resource linked through brownicity.com and developed by the University of Michigan.

The goal on for comments both here on the blog and on my social media is to foster dialogue and build community. I want it to be a safe place for everyone, so I’ve created new Rules of Engagement. Click here to read how you’ll be protected in my online spaces.

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A Reminder for the Messy Middle

Are you in the messy middle? Or maybe it’s bigger than that. You’ve found yourself in an actual wasteland.

I’ve been there, and I understand. It’s painful. That’s why I tried my very best to infuse today’s devotion, “When Success Requires a Mess,” with hope. I’m praying great hope over you today!

On hopeless days, I need a visual reminder that God is working–even if I can’t see what He’s doing. Even if I can’t feel His presence. If that’s you, then I click on the image below, download it and print it.

Post it on your refrigerator…

Or on your bathroom mirror…

Or on the dashboard of your car. Wherever it will catch your eye and fill your heart.

Let it infuse your day with hope and the promise of God’s work, silent and beneath the surface, in your life.

Now, for you inquiring minds… a little fun to lighten your day!

If you’re wired like me, you’re curious about the painting project I talked about in my devotion. 🙂 Here are some pictures of the mess. I wasn’t kidding!

(And don’t miss an invite at the end of the pics. Just keeping scrolling!)

How can one small project take over my whole house?! Stuff everywhere.

And my messy self!

I know that some of you are thinking that painting a piece of wood furniture is an abomination. I know… but look how cute it is now.

The messy middle on this project was totally worth it. It is in life too. Hang in there, sister!

Finally, I want to invite you on a journey with me.

Are you concerned about important issues in our culture, but you’ve been silent, afraid to use your voice because of all the yuck that seems to come with it?

That’s exactly where I’ve been. For decades. But God is reawakening my voice. He’s taking me through a slow but sure journey toward speaking up about the things He cares about, and here’s what I want to develop for myself as well as encouraging a community that’s growing with me:

Tender hearts. Strong voices.

Starting next week, I’ll be blogging as I learn, and here’s the process.

Listen.–> Feel.–> Do.–> Speak.

If that process piques your interest and speaks into a longing you’ve had to use your voice for good, would you join me? I promise that I won’t start telling you what to think. I’ll be digging into how to think about our culture’s issues based on Scripture.

Periodically, I’ll send exclusive content to subscribers, my friends who are learning with me. Click here to become a subscriber today so that you’ll receive a weekly encouragement in your email box along with free special resources developed just for you.

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The Painful Joy of Using Your Voice for Freedom

I’ve been writing about learning to use our voice for God’s purposes in the world, and it’s a beautiful endeavor. Using our voice for God brings freedom.

But using our voice can also be painful, and this week no one knows it better this week than the victims of childhood sexual abuse whose names were included in the PA Grand Jury Report.

Barry and I had the deep privilege of being at the book launch for Denial, authored by my dear friend Nanette Kirsch last summer. Her book is based on a true story of the 1,000+ Victims of the PA Grand Jury Report, but while she was writing, she had to deal with her own story.

Here’s how God is using Nanette’s voice and what she’s learning about the joy and pain of speaking out. Please welcome my friend, Nanette, to the blog today.

Thirty-seven years ago I was sexually abused by a teacher at my Erie, Pa., Catholic high school. From that time until four years ago it was a secret I lived with — until God decided to redeem it.

First, he used my experience to write a book for survivors of sexual abuse. Denial is based on a true story of a close friend whose life ended tragically as a result an abusive past.

He called me to speak out about sexual abuse as spiritual warfare that attacks its victims’ ability to experience love with others and with God. During this time, I experienced first-hand that speaking truth comes at a cost. I encountered forceful and frightening spiritual attacks on my family and me.

At year’s end, God led me into respite, bringing miraculous healing to those battle wounds and offering me a time of rest.

Earlier this year, however, I knew a new season was approaching, a  time to build on my strength. And I entered it knowing it would provoke new, stronger opposition. I also knew that this time it would be more personal; no more holding my past at arm’s length.

For months I contemplated sending a copy of my book to my abuser with a letter that would hold him accountable for his actions and call on him to repent, if he had not done so. I wrote the letter…and rewrote it, but did not feel God’s confirmation to send it.

Then, out of the blue, I received a text message from a friend with a link to a new “Public Disclosure List” created by the Bishop of the Erie Diocese, the first list in the nation to include laypeople. I emailed the address provided, certain God had opened this door to me. I shared my allegations, lifting the lid on the emotion and anxiety once again. And a month later, my abuser’s name was published to that list.

It was a victory — but it too came with a cost. Speaking openly, honestly and fearlessly (okay, not quite fearlessly) about my abuse brought my past back into my present. In the weeks that followed I had four extremely vivid dreams about my abuser.

Last week, I wrote about this cost and named my abuser, publicly linking his name to mine for the first time in a blog post on Medium.

Here’s what I am learning from our tender, loving, yet fierce Father. More often than not, what he asks of us in this life is to hold our tongues, to remain silent when our sinful natures want nothing more than to lash out.

But in each of our lives there will come a time when he calls on us to lift our voices, to speak truth from the mountaintops, with love, for his glory.

And when God makes that call, it feels like a wave, rushing into your soul, strong, powerful and impossible to resist:

Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would shout out.” Luke 19:40

I know for certain that God is not done with me yet. I can see a few steps in front of me, which is a mercy so I do not become overwhelmed by the hill; I am simply focused on putting one foot in front of the other. And as he does this work in me, God is growing my humility and dependence on him each day: 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

My lesson to share is this: God will call on each of us to use our voices to speak his truth; but you cannot be a soldier for the Lord without encountering opposition and often getting wounded in the process. And yet, there is no greater joy in this life than to be used as an instrument to help bring his salvation to captive souls:

For if you keep silent at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Esther 4:14

~Nanette Kirsch

Note: Adding no extra cost for you, there are affiliate links in this post. You can read the whole policy here

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