to give an answer to everyone who asks you to
give the reason for the hope that you have. But
do this with gentleness and respect…”
I Peter 3:15 (NIV)
My mother-in-law was a wonderful cook. She gave me several of her favorite recipes years ago and they became my favorites, too.
One that I particularly love is called K-bars. But I have learned through several failures that the recipe must be followed precisely or the results will not be even close to the promised picture.
I have gotten so many requests through the years on this particular dessert that I have memorized the recipe beginning to end. That way whenever someone tastes it and asks for the recipe, I already have it memorized and can easily share how to make it.
If only this were true in our spiritual lives, my friends. We need to have Scripture so engraved in our hearts that when someone is struggling with a situation in her life, we can immediately, from memory, share encouragement and hope with her.
That is not to say that we should simply quote a Scripture to the hurting and go on our way thinking the problem is solved! We need to share, in love, what has helped us hold on when the winds and hail from one of life’s storms have threatened to knock us down and keep us from getting up again.
For example, a friend comes to you because she is convicted that she has a problem with gossip. Can you tell her “I find help with that in Psalm 19:14. It says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” or do you say “I have trouble with that, too.” and stop there?
When a co-worker confides that she is not certain that God even knows who she is or cares about her, can you hug her and whisper “Our Father loves us so much that he has engraved our names on the palms of His hands.” and share Isaiah 49:16 with her or do you shrug and say “Me, too.” without going any further?
Please hear me on this: I am not saying that we should have every single Scripture memorized chapter and verse. There have been many times when friends and I have looked through God’s Word, searching for a specific thought and unsure exactly where it was found.
What I AM saying is that we should always be ready to gently and lovingly share the hope that we have because of the Word that is engraved on our hearts.
A recipe for K-bars is memorized for future reference but how much more important that God’s recipe for hope and encouragement is engraved on my heart to share with those who are hurting and need hope.
Father, help me to memorize your Word so that I can help others when they are struggling with a concern and need your encouragement. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
R.A.P. it up . . .
Do you ever feel inadequate when someone shares a concern or problem with you?
What is your first response when this happens? Do you search the Word?
Make a list of situations and problems that any one of us could face in this life.
Beside each entry, write a Scripture that encourages and then memorize that Scripture so you can share it as needed.
I Peter 3:15 (NIV) “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
Matthew 22:29 (NIV) “Jesus replied, ‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.’”
Proverbs 25:11 (NIV) “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
(For more of Nancy Hughes' writing, check out her blog, Encouragement from the War Room.)