“Are we there yet?” Not hardly. We are on a journey, and we are going through a long, dark valley (that feels like “the valley of death”). While things may look bleak at the moment, we must not succumb to hopelessness. As women, we need to find the strength to carry on and lift up the hearts of our loved ones. One thing I am doing is creating a “Book of Hope.”
When things get Biblical, it’s time to turn to the Bible!
One day I was wrestling with all of the information I was receiving, and it became overwhelming. Over and over again I heard evil boasting in full volume, “I will have dominion.”
Then I heard God say to me, “Evil does not own anything.” And I was instantly encouraged. As I listened more intently, Holy Spirit reminded, as He usually does, of priceless riches of hope in His Word.
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,Daniel 4:34b-35
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,Daniel 7:14
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.
He told me to take a dot grid journal I had lying around the house and start filling it with golden nuggets that would strengthen me. As the Good Shepherd, He is using this book to lead me through good pasture where I can feed my soul, and along still waters where I can take deep drinks of His promises for victorious living.
Aren’t we glad our joy is not dependent on what seems to be going on?
(Be of good cheer, it only looks like evil has the upper hand, but God is not mocked.)
One of the things I look forward to each day is filling more content into the pages. Sometimes it is from something I have heard that I looked up in the Word. Other times it is just what God speaks to me. Sometimes I am reminded by a hymn or a song of a sweet delight from Him that I will look up or write from memory. Still other times it is a bit of prophecy.
To keep things simple and easy I have chosen to only use a black pen. In other books I use stickers and different colors of ink, but this can sometimes detract from the meditation I need to put into this very specific creation.
At times God will lead me to write down a snippet of testimony to remind myself of how He has worked in my life in the past. Or, I might copy or synopsize something I read in a devotional. (A great online and app source for devotions is YouDevotion.) Here is a recent entry:
Here is God’s pattern for our own lives. Here is a gospel of help for people that have to live in this every day world with real and ordinary surroundings, and a thousand practical conditions which have to be met in a thoroughly practical way.
God’s promises and God’s providences do not lift us out of the plane of common sense and commonplace trial, but it is through these very things that faith is perfected, and that God loves to interweave the golden threads of His love along the warp and woof of our every day experience.Streams in the Desert, Mrs. Charles Cowman
Oftentimes I find great satisfaction in taking a verse and studying it from all angles; commentaries, cross-references, Hebrew and Greek, maps, personalities, etc. One of my favorite tools for this is my NKJV Keyword Study Bible (not an affiliate link). Included are book introductions, cross references, number references to the Hebrew and Greek lexicons in the back, an extensive concordance which is much better than in most Bibles, a scripture index, and color maps.
My husband was gifted a leather-bound one in the KJV (affectionately called the “carwash Bible” because he had left it on top of the roof of the car so that it survived a car wash and came out only slightly wrinkled) which I borrowed so often he decided to get me my own copy. When it came I hugged it and cried…His Word is so precious!
I have been purposely using analog more than digital lately, as I enjoy the peace and whole-hearted focus that happens when I am off of tech. However, I still greatly enjoy Bible Hub, both the site and the app. I can’t count the hours I have spent traveling through verse after verse, feasting on every aspect of the Word with the Holy Spirit as my guide.
As I study, I do some mind-mapping of everything I am learning. I circle words and draw arrows to places where I write down the original Hebrew, or a cross reference, or maybe a sketch of a map, or whatever God is telling me that I need to remember.
Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are another source. Is Holy Spirit flowing a praise song or hymn through your mind lately? Why not look up the lyrics and write it down, along with notes of what God is speaking to you, or scripture references that confirm the message of the song? Here is one I entered recently:
A Mighty Fortress is Our God
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;Martin Luther, from Timeless Truths
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
I am so pleased with this project! Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I simply open up my book and read a page or two. Instantly, peace and clarity return, along with joy that wells up from deep within!
How does the world cope without Jesus? How can they navigate through this veil of tears without His comfort and His love? Oh, how I wish they could know Him so that they could be comforted and enjoy Him forever!
If you are interested in starting your own Book of Hope, here is the supply list:
A listening heart.
Did you know that God is always speaking to you? In the old days when we wanted to watch some TV, we had to twist the dial until we had tuned the channel in. The TV station was always sending the signal, we just had to fix our set so we could receive it.
So, if you want to hear God, tune your heart in. How is this done? By humility. You don’t have to be righteous, or learned, or “special.” You just have to be humble. “God, I don’t know how, but You do, and I believe when I ask You, You will direct me and guide me. I now submit myself to You. Whatever You want to tell me, I am ready and willing to hear and obey.”
How will you know it is God? Usually, it’s the first impression you will detect, and it is usually quiet, although there have been times that God was very direct and clear to me. Also, it will NEVER contradict the whole counsel of God. As you study you will become more and more familiar with His way of speaking and doing things.
It can be almost anything, but it needs to be sturdy and portable. A composition book with a large rubber band could definitely work in a pinch. I like to use a dot grid with thick, sturdy pages. I also like to have a pocket at the back and an elastic to keep the pages tight.
A black pen.
You can definitely use an inexpensive ball-point. Bic makes some that work quite nicely. If you can get your hand on a good gel pen, that’s even better. My favorites right now are Sharpie S-gels and Pilot Precise. I prefer the fine, .5mm ones.
A good study Bible.
I mentioned my favorite above. My husband likes the Ryrie because it has a bit of everything included right there in the text. What you need are cross references and a good concordance. You can also purchase a Bible dictionary, an atlas, and something like or Young’s or Strong’s Concordance/lexicon (not an affiliate link). Or you can go online or on your phone and get pretty much the same thing digitally.
I don’t believe it’s old-fashioned to go to physical books; they work whether you have electricity or not, and when there’s no electricity is when you need these things the most!
Optional but helpful things.
You can get one of these at a thrift store or used online. Great Hymns of the Bible can be ordered new for very little money and it seems to be a pretty extensive collection (one of my favorites, Be Thou My Vision is included, which is rare). There are also numerous places online where you can find the lyrics. There’s something about music that makes it easier to meditate on God’s Word as you go through your day. Hymns, and other good songs, make this possible. (If you would like to hear how the hymns sound, you could pluck them out on a keyboard or listen to mp3’s for free online).
As I mentioned above, there are free public domain devotionals online. However, I get the most out of devotionals when I read them in books. I have a number of copies of Streams in the Desert, something that I found at a used bookstore about 25 years ago. I also have Charles Spurgeon’s devotionals, as well as a few contemporary ones. My go-to is Streams in the Desert, however!
These make it fun to embellish here-and-there. I have a two that I keep in the pocket at the back of my journal. I can outline, block-in, and do flourishes with these. I use the little meditation icon and turn it into a pray-er with his arms lifted (he he). You can find some nice ones on Etsy.
Here are the main benefits of creating a Book of Hope:
- You can capture what God is saying to you so it isn’t lost.
- You can have loads of fun delighting in God as you are creating it (win-win!).
- A great replacement for the dribble of television and life-wasting video.
- You come away with a great glow and a quickness to your step.
- You become a better wife and mom.
- When you feel stressed you have a remedy better than any pills you could ever buy!
- You have something to pass down to your children, and perhaps even generations beyond.
This Book of Hope is much like what has been done for centuries and called a “common place book.” But this one is different because it is specifically for encouragement. What I write here is in keeping with Philippians 4:8:
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.Passion Translation