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Sharing the Reason for the Hope You Have - iBelieve Truth: A Devotional for Women - November 28

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Sharing the Reason for the Hope that You Have
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper

"Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me." - John 11:41-42

With the holiday season here, I have been thinking of all I am thankful for. Family, friends, jobs, material blessings, etc. Those are all things that I am absolutely grateful for, but it all just seems so predictable. Too routine. Too blah.

Saying I'm thankful for my family, etc. just doesn't seem like enough for some reason. It doesn't seem honest enough. It doesn't show the reality of my days. It doesn't show the depth of my depravity. It is all just too superficial. You may get what I'm saying. You may not. But hear my heart, here.

I have gotten to know a number of souls in this past year who live day to day through situations and relationships I can't even begin to understand. Their hearts and minds carry burdens that I can't even fathom because, in all honesty, I have led a fairly charmed life.

There have been hiccups along the way. I have made bad choices and have regrets. But through it all, I knew, without question, that I was loved and forgiven and accepted.


But y'all, some of these I speak of have never had the security I feel. They don't have "their people" who they can say with absolute certainty will always love them and stand by them as long as they are able. They don't know, without a doubt, that there is a God who loves them and will never leave them. Because no one in their life has modeled a love like that.

It's because of them that thankfulness takes on a new meaning this year. I can't just give a blanket statement anymore. I need to tell them and others exactly what I am thankful for and Who is responsible for every good thing in my life. Because I can't guarantee them family or friends who will always be there. But I can guarantee them that there is a Savior who loves them and will never let them go. And we, as Believers, can help introduce them to Him. And where a true heart of thankfulness comes from.

Here are three things to remember:

1. Talk to the Lord and proclaim His name out loud.

When Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead he said:

"Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me." - John 11:41-42

Jesus didn't need to talk to the Lord out loud. He did it so those around Him would hear and recognize and acknowledge that this miracle came from God. If He had not, they might have given credit to his human flesh.

It is our turn to acknowledge, out loud, publicly, for all to hear, where all of our thankfulness is due. When we do that, when we claim the name of Jesus and share with others about all that He has done in our lives, it can't help but resonate with those who might not know Him yet.

2. Remember to thank Him in the good and the bad.

If we can share thankfulness in the good things, awesome. But if we want to make even more of an impression...share thankfulness for the hard things too.

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other." - Ecclesiastes 7:14

I am thankful for the times the Lord has brought me to my knees in tears because they humbled me. I am thankful for the health issues I've had from time to time because they show me my humanity. I am thankful for dealing with disobedience in my children because it makes me take a good hard look at myself when the Lord reveals my own sin nature.

Now, hear me here. I don't mean that we need to advertise our private life or personal things that are not appropriate for a large audience. I don't mean it needs to be on social media.

I am saying that in everyday conversation, one on one, when you are sharing life with others, talk about the One who gives you life. Say His name out loud for others to hear. If they hear us talk about the Lord outside of church-away from the Christian setting where we are "supposed to"-it may mean more. If we show others that we think enough of Jesus to give Him credit for our days and trust Him to guide our steps, they may consider Him too.

3. Keep it simple and speak gently.

"But in your hearts revere 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," - 1 Peter 3:15

The majority of the people you talk to are not Bible scholars. Many may have never even read one. You don't need fancy answers and highfalutin talk to impress anyone. You just need to speak your heart, simply. Go ahead and have an idea of what you would tell someone about the Lord and all He has done in your life, so that the next time you have an opportunity, you don't back down because you feel unprepared. Don't believe the lies Satan may whisper in your ear, that you are not qualified enough to share about the Lord or that you are undeserving of that opportunity. You are a child of the King and He wants you to share.

Don't be afraid of questions. If someone asks something you aren't sure of, just say, "I don't know, let's google it...or I'll find out." I can't tell you how many times I've had to do that. I remember fragments of verses most of the time and Google has become one of my best friends.

And finally, speak gently because you never know what someone has been through or what negative experiences they may have had with "church." You may not have a two-way conversation.

It might be a quick comment in the check-out line at the grocery store:

Clerk: It's a beautiful day!

You: Yes, so thankful the Lord gave us sunshine for the game today!, etc.

It may sound cheesy...that's fine. But you just spoke the Lord's name and gave Him credit in front of someone who might not know Him. He can take the littlest seeds we plant and grow a beautiful relationship from them.

My sweet friends, this holiday season take some time to thoughtfully consider your days.

Be still and thank the Lord specifically for His blessings, whatever form they come in.

And share the reason for the hope that you have with someone who needs Jesus the way you do.

We have so much to be thankful for.

Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.

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