With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael — new cover, new edition

Many years ago, 35 years ago, to be exact, my first book was published. That is, my first book EVER.

With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael.

Here is the book’s first cover:

And here is the cover it was given a few years later:

And THIS, my friends, is the cover it just received, because it went out of print and I recently republished it. (With everything else that’s going on, I forgot to let you know.)

If you remember this book as one that you and/or your children enjoyed, please consider leaving a review, here. (The former edition had many reviews, but the new edition is just getting started that way.)

Five years ago when With Daring Faith was celebrating its 30th anniversary, I wrote the following :

*****

These days when those who’ve been abused in a Christian context connect with me, it’s not uncommon for me to hear, “Are you the same Rebecca Davis who wrote With Daring Faith? We read that in our homeschool.”

It’s one of those moments of extreme pain and great joy that I get to experience fairly often in my life these days (living in vibrant color as I do rather than in pale pastels).

Extreme pain, to learn that much of the audience I was writing for was such a different one from what I envisioned, because when I wrote it I was completely ignorant of the great cruelty running rampant in homes that claimed to be Christian.

But great joy because I hear things like, “I read that book over and over. It was one of the few bright spots in my life.”

I can’t really take credit for that, of course. I was writing a biography, and the bright spots were the hilarious moments in the life of Amy Carmichael . . . and her determination, and her adventures, and her love for her Lord and for souls.

All I did was make it accessible for children (for the first time, though at the time I didn’t know I was writing the first U.S. biography of Amy Carmichael for children).

She rescued children, you know.

She rescued little children from lives of sexual slavery in the Hindu temples of India.

When Amy Carmichael wrote letters back to her people in England to tell them what was going on in this British colony of India, at first they didn’t want to believe her.

It seemed impossible that anyone would live so barbarically, especially in a British colony, right under the noses of British businessmen and British soldiers.

But it was true. Amy wrote Things as They Are to convince them.

For the majority of those little children, being rescued from the sex slavery of Hinduism and being taken into the loving arms of a Christian, they had no trouble distinguishing what the true God was like.

The love and care and safety shown by His people facilitated their healing.

But for the precious children in homes of great cruelty who read this biography, the distinction has been far less clear.

Those former children, the ones who read my book who have contacted me, some of them have been abused, cruelly, horribly, in homes that claim the very same Christianity as the missionary who rescued children. Sometimes they had received that book from the very parents who were beating them fifty times with a two-inch thick wooden paddle . . . or requiring superhuman work from them . . . or sexually abusing them at night. . . .

So what are they to think of that God then?

And so my heart breaks.

And yet I have hope.

I have hope that these young adults and older adults (because in fact, sometimes it has been the wives and mothers in the homeschooling families who were treated so cruelly and remember this book) . . .

will see and know that the god of their cruel, abusive past (patriarchal or even matriarchal) . . . .

. . . and the God of Amy Carmichael, who dauntlessly rescued children . . .

. . . are not the same God.

 And they will be released, fully released, to follow the true God in Spirit and in Truth, in all the joy and freedom and fullness He promises in His Word.

Jesus said in John 10:10 (His great “Good Shepherd” sermon),

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

It is my joy, by whatever means I can, to point to Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Way to this new life. Those who have gone before serve as examples and encouragements to me.

Thank you, Amy Carmichael.

 

Video Interview about Untwisting Scriptures #4

Hi friends~

I spent some time recently with Julie Roys of the Roys Report discussing my most recent book, Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness.

Below you’ll see me in my home office talking with Julie, with my Untwisting Scriptures books beside me.

The plaque that says “I am ALL your armor” sits on the shelf on one side (a precious gift from a friend based on one of my blog posts from years back).

My print of the shepherd dog hangs on the wall on the other side (I have another blog post about that).

In this picture I look like I’m concentrating on something important, but I don’t remember what it was. Click on it to go to watch the interview on youtube.

And as always, please feel free to write to me with any questions. It may take a while for me to respond, but I do always try to get back with everyone.

 

Reflections on My 65th Birthday: The Little Red Hen

I’m reflecting on a few verses in Titus 2. When I was young, in my 30s, I wanted so much to one day be an older woman teaching the younger.

But life can end up looking different from what we expected when we were younger, you know what I mean?

And it seems in some circles that those who call attention to abusive teachings and behaviors are not considered to be “Titus 2” women.

So I wanted to compare my current life with the description Paul gave in verses 3-5 of Titus 2. After telling Titus

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Paul said this about older women (here in the KJV):

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

 Let’s think about it.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness (ESV, “that they be reverent in behavior”). I teach the importance of living lives of integrity before God, the same in public, in private, and in secret. This is the life by God’s grace I seek to live myself. Speaking and acting in a way that shows I am gladly aware that the most holy Most High God is ever present with us.

Not false accusers (ESV “slanderers”). In my public work, I generally try to analyze teachings as compared to God’s Word, the Christian Scriptures.

I would never accuse anyone falsely on purpose, but in my private work, I tend to believe those who have been harmed.

Not given to much wine. Well, people tease me for it, but my “not much” is none.

Teachers of good things. Yes! I teach the beauty of the Christian life as lived in our Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. These are very good things.

That they may teach the young women to be sober. Sober: “restored to one’s senses.” This is what the Untwisting Scriptures series is all about. I also wrote more about that here.

To love their husbands. I do want women to love their husbands. If their husbands are abusers, then here are some thoughts about the way to love them.

To love their children. Oh goodness yes. As I learn more about attachment and brain development I understand far more now as a grandparenting.

To be discreet. This means “being of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses.” So much of my Untwisting Scriptures work is about that. This word also means “self-controlled, temperate.” I do have that opportunity when, for example, a woman wants help with a pornography addiction. As we work together we can see the Lord change those desires, attractions, and addictions as He draws near and she experiences the joy of His presence.

To be chaste. This means “pure from carnality.” Yes, this is one of my longings, in this increasingly “carnal” culture, for young women to be able to turn their hearts more fully toward the Lord Jesus Christ and be filled with His Spirit, resulting in increasing purity of heart and soul.

To be keepers at home. When home is a place of well being—that is, love and safety—what better place is there than home? It is my favorite place to be. Even if life circumstances mean that a woman cannot be at home as much as her heart desires, she can still have a heart to guard and keep the home. Yes, I do want to encourage this, very much.

To be good. I pray this be one of the heart cries of each younger woman who comes to me. “Lord, I want to be good.” Yes, this is possible in our Lord Jesus Christ!

To be submissive to their own husbands. “To have the attitude of voluntarily cooperating and assuming responsibility and burden bearing.” I do want to encourage this, and when a husband and wife practice teamwork as this word implies, it is a beautiful thing. When the husband is not a good man, or if he has a mental illness or disorder or other issue that makes him unsafe, I want to help younger women see how to get themselves and their children safe while still recognizing their husbands as individuals that our Lord God wants to redeem.

That the Word of God be not blasphemed. When I think of the “Word of God,” I first think of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our desire is that the Lord Jesus Christ not be evil spoken of. We want to shine forth His glory, power, and love in our lives. I pray that my life will always point others to Him.

 

Recently I posted some of my life journey on my Untwisting Scriptures Facebook page. Here is (a slightly edited version of) that story.

~~~~~

Check out the girl in the white shirt and sweater. That’s me at the tender age of 19 in the spring of 1977, about a hundred years ago now.

That’s when I went to my first Bill Gothard “Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts” seminar, in large part because I had a slight crush on the guy who invited me. I managed to get there for all 30 or so hours, if I remember correctly.

And somehow, Bill Gothard was the most brilliant man I’d ever heard. I took my red notebook on our family vacation at the beach that summer and spent my hours reading over all the material again, causing my mother to be concerned about what had happened to me.

Brilliant. Just so brilliant. Here was the man who held the secrets of life.

I went back to the seminar again and again, because alumni get to attend free, and I knew a deal when I saw one. I was going to imbibe those teachings until they breathed out of me.

After I married, the only reason we didn’t become a completely immersed ATI (Gothard homeschooling) family is because my husband said no to it. He never bought into Gothard the way I had.

When he said no, I let the matter drop. I thought it would be too ironic for me to insist on doing something that was supposed to help me be a more submissive wife, when I would have to take matters into my own hands to do it.

Then in the 1990s my husband applied to work at Headquarters. If you have any background with Gothard, you know what “Headquarters” is.

How that happened is too long a story, but we were there, and we met Gothard and marveled about how short he was, and we stayed in the Corrie Ten Boom apartment.

I thought it would be a dream come true. The young people were so great! I was puzzled why the young women and young men never interacted with each other, but they were all so polite and pleasant I didn’t dwell on that question. Something about “not wanting to defraud,” which I didn’t understand, but I just shrugged and enjoyed the lively atmosphere.

My husband saw red flags that he didn’t fully get either, but he knew it wasn’t the place for him.

The red notebook was still on the shelf, but I never opened it anymore. I felt a little wistful that we weren’t an ATI family, but we carried on.

Then it went into the attic. And years rolled by. YEARS, I’m telling you. Decades, even. We raised our four children and homeschooled for 24 years.

Then social media came along.

Through friends in the Greenville, SC, area, I became aware of the sexual abuse investigation in the Bob Jones University world. Someone told me that as a child she had been told to “yield her rights.” Which meant horrible abuse.

I was so appalled. But I was also scrambling through my brain. It sounded familiar.

I pulled my red notebook out of the attic. There I found statements like this in my own handwriting: “When we get rid of our rights we will get rid of our anger.”

But now I was in my 50s, and life looked very different. (I had also spent many, many hours in the Scriptures.)

I began to speak out about the problems. But only on social media, not at Here’s the Joy.

“Keep Here’s the Joy separate from these abuses you’re seeing,” I told myself. “It’s a devotional blog, not a place to talk about abuse. Keep it separate. This isn’t the place for that.”

Sometimes I couldn’t help myself, like here. But for the most part, I tried to keep a lid on it.

But then in 2014, something happened.

Lack of logic and common sense, as it turns out, drives me a little nuts.

Taking Bible verses out of context does the same.

So then, imagine the crazy-making happening in my head when I was speaking up on social media in 2014 about abuse in the Bob Jones University world, and I found that the pushback I was getting (a LOT of it) was full of illogic and out-of-context Bible verses.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” I kept sputtering.

“That is NOT what that Bible verse is about,” I kept muttering.

After some time I came to what I might call an epiphany. “Christians don’t know the Bible. And Christians don’t think logically.” (Of course it wasn’t ALL Christians, but I was expressing what I felt like I was being surrounded with at the time.)

It took a while to wrap my head around it all.

On social media, as the Bob Jones University issue came to a head, I found that I had to keep responding to the same Bible verses so much that I wanted to make a website with a page of FQBVs (that’s Frequently Quoted Bible Verses, heh).

As I kept doggedly writing and responding, one friend said to me, “Rebecca I think your strength is analysis.” Well, that was a relief. It was good to find out I had a strength.

Eventually the responses to the FQBVs and illogic and other pushback went onto the now-dormant BJUGrace website. Eventually I started addressing sermons and writings.

At the time, I felt passionate to untwist some very particular twisted thinking for some friends of mine. I researched to find WHERE someone SURELY had addressed the concepts of “bitterness” and “rights” from a Biblical standpoint. (Not just said that it was wrong, but studied the whole thing in the Bible and laid it out.) I couldn’t find it ANYwhere.

I scoured the Recovering Grace website. Bill Gothard had originated or at least propelled these false teachings, so plenty of people were talking about them. But no one that I could find was actually taking these particular teachings back to the Scriptures . . . and to logic . . . to straighten them out.

Finally, like the Little Red Hen, I said, “I guess I’ll have to do it myself.”

So I did.

 

 

I did the same thing with the noxious concept of “not taking up offenses.” I saw some people saying it was wrong to “take up offenses,” but I couldn’t find where anyone had gone to the Bible with it and laid it all out Biblically.

I needed to do it myself. So I did.

All three of those untwistings became multiple blog posts first on the BJUGrace site, and then eventually a few of them went here, on my Here’s the Joy site, 2014 through early 2016.

And then I was urged to write a book about these things. I had been resisting that.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t or didn’t want to write—I was a writer. But I wrote nonfiction for children. I helped other people write nonfiction for adults.

I was not qualified to do this on my own, I said. I had no credentials, I said. This was not my job, I said. Someone else should do it, I said.

Blah, blah, blah.

Finally I said, “Yes, Lord, I’ll do it myself.”

So I did.

Right away, I knew what I wanted to call it: Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.

But I remember thinking, as I worked on that book, sometimes through tears, “Nobody’s going to read this book. Who do I think I am trying to write a book like this? I am NO ONE. I have no credentials. I have no formal training. I have no following. I have no authority. Why would anyone read this book?”

In the back of my heart, I truly did long for that first book to be the first of a series, but I was so afraid it would be a complete failure and I would never write another that I didn’t put “Book 1” on it.

That was six years ago. I continue to receive grateful responses about Book 1, and I remember those lonely days writing and formatting and publishing that book.

If you’ve been following me for a few years (hardly anyone has been, lol), then you already know all this. If you’re new, that gives you a glimpse into how I got where I am now.

And not long ago my daughter asked me, “How many of these books are you going to write, Mama?”

I said, “Well, I could probably write a hundred.” So many twisted Scriptures. So little time.

That was exaggeration, of course, as well as physically impossible. But there could be a few more, for sure.

The fourth one just came out last month. All of them are written with very nearly as much toil and tears as the first. All of them are written with love.

And all of them are written with the groaning desire for the truth of who the true God really is, the true Lord Jesus Christ, to be manifest to His people.

He longs to gather His people to Himself, as a hen gathers her chicks.

~~~~~

Oh my young friends, you think when you get old, the best life will be a coast downhill?

Follow Jesus, continue to learn of His goodness and love, commit to do hard things for Him as He leads, and you might just find that He says, “Come on, let’s go have an adventure!” You might find that He grabs you by your hand and starts racing. It won’t matter that your feet can’t keep up, because they’ll be flying out behind you like in the cartoons.

Well, maybe it won’t happen that way for you. But it has certainly felt that way for me.

Even as I am aware of great evil—dark, demonic, even satanic—I am also aware that our Most High God is good and loves to rescue the souls of those who look to Him for that rescue. In my own personal adventure of faith, I get to see that often. And for that, I praise Him.

Untwisting Scriptures #4 Audiobook Is Here

The book is now up as an audiobook on Soundwise.  Click here to see and to purchase it for just $10.   More platforms will be coming soon, I hope.

The gentle reader is yours truly. Click below to listen to one of the chapters:

Here’s the place you go to buy the whole thing!

My prayer is that as you listen, this book will help you to find the genuine freedom offered you in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Resource for Biblical Study of “Headship” and “Submission”

If you bought the print edition of Untwisting Scriptures #4 and found some wonkiness in it (as I did), this is for you: If you’d like to receive a corrected copy, please let me know through email (rebecca@heresthejoy.com) and we’ll see what we can do.

*****

I’ve been asked more than once to address the “headship and submission” Scriptures, and perhaps someday Joy Forrest and I will collaborate on something along those lines. But for the most part, those Scriptures have not been the primary focus of my spiritual abuse untwistings.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review it, though, I’m happy to refer you to the work of Bruce and Joy Fleming over at The Eden PodcastThe Book of Eden, and more.

A while back I put a question out on my Untwisting Scriptures page on Facebook, asking for recommendations of podcasters who do work similar to mine—helping those coming out of spiritual abuse, untwisting Scriptures, etc. Several people highly recommended Bruce Fleming. Bruce had actually introduced himself to me via Facebook a few years back, but I had never reviewed his materials.

However, after getting all these glowing referrals, I made a point to listen to Bruce’s audios.

The main way I listen to any audio is when I’m fixing supper or doing other housework. But for Bruce’s presentations, that style of listening could give me only an overview of the meticulous deep dive into the Hebrew language he represented (from his own study and his wife Joy’s doctoral dissertation). I could see that in order to follow through with everything he was saying, it would mean sitting down with my Bible and a lexicon and various Bible translations.

This is my wheelhouse. I love doing this—it’s how I’ve done all my word and subject studies, many of which have ended up in the Untwisting Scriptures series. Of course I have the disadvantage of not knowing the original languages, so sometimes in the past I’ve contacted my colleague Sam Powell to get help with that.

But Bruce and Joy Fleming have studied the ancient Hebrew. They know and understand—and explain to us—terms like chiasm and hendiadys, which are pertinent to understanding the Old Testament Scriptures.

Bruce does cover the New Testament passages that talk about headship and submission, etc, for women. But he—on the basis of his own work and the work of his wife Joy—makes the case that all of these need to go back to Genesis 3:16 as the foundation. Here it is, in two Bible versions:

New King James Version
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

English Standard Version
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,
    but he shall rule over you.”

(On first blush these two versions may look like they’re saying the same thing, but just you wait till you hear what he has to say about it.)

This is why his podcast is called The Eden Podcast.

This is why his website is tru316.com.

Understanding the compelling case the Flemings have made for what they believe to be the correct understanding of Genesis 3:16 sheds an entirely new light on the relationship of Adam and Eve, and then accordingly on Biblically  appropriate relationship for men and women, husbands and wives, down through the ages.

Some of you already know about the Flemings’ work—you recommended it to me. To you I say a hearty thank you.

To those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to them, I hope you’ll find them as intriguing and compelling as I have.

My life is so full and busy with my Rebecca Davis WordWorking business, my spiritual coaching prayer ministry, my book writing and publishing, and some other things, that I have little time these days for in-depth web articles the way I used to. But I’m very thankful for  those who carry on the work in other ways, and I’m eager to recommend them.

Untwisting Scriptures #4 is Available for Free

Beginning August 9th, 2022, and for about 3 days after that, you’ll be able to get Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book 4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness as a free e-book download!

Here’s the description of Book #4 from this website’s home page:

“You’re just a stupid sheep,” “You’re the worst sinner you know,” “You always have a log in your own eye.” These words and more have been used to bind and confuse those who are being harmed. Untwisting Scriptures #4 untangles them with joy.

This book also gently addresses the important “pronoun issue” when it comes to Bible interpretation, the issue of “sin leveling,” what the New Testament really means when it talks about “repentance,” and what it really means to be free from sin.

Scriptures can be untwisted. You can walk away from the spiritual abuse of “You Should Only Look at Your Own Sin” without losing a relationship with God. In fact, you may just find a Jesus you never knew.

After all, The Real Jesus is Not. Like. That.

Grab your own copy, and then please let others know!

Here is the

TABLE OF CONTENTS

First Thoughts: About Righteousness and Wickedness

PART 1: God’s Children Are Not Vile And Disgusting But Have Full Access to Joyful Righteousness

1. Does God Need to “Look Through the Filter of Jesus” to See His Children?

2. Are You the Prodigal Son or the Older Brother?

3. Nothing Like the Sheep Sermon to Make You Feel Stupid, Disgusting, and Useless

PART 2: We Can Recognize and Reject Sin Leveling

4. What is “Sin Leveling” and What’s Wrong With It?

5. Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 That Can Keep the Oppressed in a Place of Bondage

6. Why “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Is Unbiblical

7. How Teaching Christians to Embrace “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Harms the Body of Christ

8. To Those Who Say All Christians Are Hypocrites

9. About That “Log in Your Own Eye”

PART 3: We Can Be Wise About Wickedness, Wolves, and Hypocrisy

10. Making Sense of the Church’s Epidemic of Abuse

11. On the Proliferation of Wolves in the Churches

12. Don’t “Err on the Side of Grace”

13. Jesus vs. the Vipers

PART 4: We Can Flourish in Our Christian Lives

14. Why “Metanoia” is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”

15. Free from Sin

16. “Look to the Cross More”: A Response to the “Gospel-Centered” Movement

That’s it! I hope you enjoy this book, and I hope it helps you to find much Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ!

Here’s the Cover and Whole Chapter Listing for My Upcoming Book

If all goes well, Untwisting Scriptures Book 4 will be available on August 8th, 2022.

The full title of the series has changed. Previously, the full title of my Untwisting Scriptures books was Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.

For this book, the title is Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ.

I’m doing the same work as always, but I was ready for the title to be more upbeat and hopeful, and the photo too. So here’s the cover!

I love the gold, and I love how she’s looking up and about to step out of those loose ropes.

Stephanie, the photographer and model who is also an abuse survivor, said, “Looking at this photo last night, I realized that it really does depict where I’m at spiritually now – past the pain and on to loving Scripture and delighting in Christ.”

Isn’t that great? I love that! There are some yucky teachings to untwist, but there is also great hope to be found in our Lord and Savior.

For the first time, I think I’m going to have the audiobook ready pretty close to the same time as the print book. I’ll let you know more about that when the time comes.

As before, I’m grateful to my faithful volunteer readers (from among my website subscribers) who have given me wonderfully helpful feedback and even in some cases have contributed to the book. Thank you!

As promised, here are all the chapters of this newest book in the Untwisting Scriptures series.

Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ

Book 4  Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, & Righteousness

 

Table of Contents

First Thoughts: About Righteousness and Wickedness

PART 1: God’s Children Are Not Vile and Disgusting But Have Full Access to Joyful Righteousness

1. Does God Need to “Look Through the Filter of Jesus” to See His Children?

2. Are You the Prodigal Son or the Older Brother?

3. Nothing Like the Sheep Sermon to Make You Feel Stupid, Disgusting, and Useless

PART 2: We Can Recognize and Reject Sin Leveling

4. What is “Sin Leveling” and What’s Wrong With It?

5. Pronoun Trouble in Romans 2 That Can Keep the Oppressed in a Place of Bondage

6. Why “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Is Unbiblical

7. How Teaching Christians to Embrace “I’m the Worst Sinner I Know” Harms the Body of Christ

8. To Those Who Say All Christians Are Hypocrites

9. About That “Log in Your Own Eye”

PART 3: We Can Be Wise About Wickedness, Wolves, and Hypocrisy

10.  Making Sense of the Church’s Epidemic of Abuse

11. On the Proliferation of Wolves in the Churches

12. Don’t “Err on the Side of Grace”

13. Jesus vs. the Vipers

PART 4: We Can Flourish in Our Christian Lives

14. Why “Metanoia” is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”

15. Free from Sin

16. “Look to the Cross More”: A Response to the “Gospel-Centered” Movement

***

My daughter asked me, “How many of these books are you going to write?” I said, “I could probably write a hundred of them, but I might stop at five.”

Well, we shall see. For now, I’m thankful that this one is almost ready to go out, and I pray that you’ll find it helpful in untangling tangled teachings and getting to better know the real Lord Jesus Christ, His great salvation, and His gladness to be with His people.

 

What Can We Expect from God?

I’ve been hard at work on the 4th book in the Untwisting Scriptures series, which has a new name now: Untwisting Scriptures to Find Freedom and Joy in Jesus Christ: Book #4 Wolves, Hypocrisy, Sin Leveling, and Righteousness.

It’s not out yet, but it’s in the hands of my early reviewers, and it should be out in August! I’ll keep you posted.

Because this book talks about expecting certain things from God, I realized that I needed a fuller explanation of what I meant.  We can’t just expect whatever we may want–He’s not a gumball dispenser, after all. But there are certain things we can definitely expect from Him.

Here are more thoughts about that, based on the Scriptures.

*****

I hope things will be different. . . . I hope he’ll start being kinder. . . . I hope she’ll come back to her husband and children. . . . I hope the economy won’t collapse. . . . I hope Jesus will return this year. . . . I hope my abuser will be brought to justice. . . . I hope they’ll repent and acknowledge their sin. . . .

Have you ever noticed that the way we talk about hope in ordinary conversation is very different from the way the Bible describes “hope”?

Far from being the maybe-I’m-not-sure-but-it-would-be-so-great-if-it-could-happen kind of hope we’re used to, Biblical hope is solid and sure, as solid and sure as anticipating the sun rising tomorrow morning.

Why are you cast down, my soul? Why are you disquieted in me?
Hope in God! For I will worship Him,
who is the Deliverer of my face, and my God.

Hope in God isn’t about what I want to see accomplished in the physical realm of this life. It isn’t even necessarily about my circumstances.

But even more important, the kind of hope the Bible talks about isn’t a wavering optimistic “maybe” feeling. It’s a confident expectation. Even anticipation. A sure thing. Psalm 62:5 says,

My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.

The kind of hope the Bible talks about is a hope in God for God. For God to manifest Himself to us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. For God to manifest Himself to others through us. In spite of earthly circumstances, no matter how horrific. In spite of the sin—even wickedness—of others. Or ourselves.

In the Old Testament, the promised Messiah, the one that the whole earth groaned for, was coming. Even though the wait was long, the Old Covenant people of God anticipated it.

The final deliverance that the whole earth groans for even now is coming. The wait is long. But still, we can anticipate it.

A dear friend is struggling to deal with abuse from her past. She’s barely holding on to hope, because life seems dark. But she said it would all be worth it if she could really know God in her experience. And so, we look for it, with anticipation.

Romans 5 tells us that through faith in Jesus Christ, we stand in the grace of God. Verses 1-5 say,

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith
into this grace in which we stand,
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we rejoice in [the midst of] our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and this hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This means we can confidently expect to see and know the glory of God.

Also, it means we can confidently expect to be strengthened through trial.

And we can confidently expect, without shame, to know in our experience His love that is poured into us and out of us.

And what’s more, we can confidently expect that we will be delivered from the sin that grips us, as we trust in the power of Christ for that deliverance. I base this confidence on several Scriptures, 2 Corinthians 3:18 being one of them:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from one degree of glory to another.
For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

In my newest Untwisting Scriptures book, due out next month, I wrote this:

When you are His son or daughter, you have access to so much, and by faith you can expect transformation in the very areas where you feel the weakest in your love for God and others.

For example, do you feel a hard place in your heart toward a certain category of people, as I did toward those with extreme chronic physical illnesses? (I knew this was because someone in my life had used chronic physical illnesses to manipulate and control me and others, but still I felt great distress when I realized I had it.)

Then you can ask Him to change it and by faith expect that He will . . .

In fact, years ago when I asked God to change that in me, I was excited to anticipate how in the world He was going to do it, because it seemed like such an impossibly hard place in my heart.

For me, my transformation in this particular area came specifically because of understanding how trauma affects people physically, to fill me with compassion. . . .

And I stood in awe of the work of God in the very area in which I had asked Him to work.

In faith when we pray for spiritual deliverance, we can expect it. This is the promise of God.

We can confidently expect that as we keep looking to Him in the darkness, He will bring us into joy as He has promised. Romans 15:13 is a good one here:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

I don’t want this to come across as sounding simplistic. Reaching the goal can be a long road. It can be very hard in places, even dark and frightening. In my own life, on one path I walked through in a time of great spiritual darkness, for example, I felt like I was walking through fire or walking between two rows of roaring lions. But when the way seems dark, we’ll continue to stand in Him and expect His deliverance.

If you’re an abuse survivor, you can know who you really are, not just what the abuser has said you are. You can anticipate knowing your true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ, as you pursue Him.

We unashamedly expect to see the glory, the strength, the love. That’s Biblical hope.

There is more we can expect–definitely worth a study of the Word of God.

This isn’t about longing for a change in our outward circumstances, though that may come.

This is about longing to know God in our experience, through Christ, through the Holy Spirit. And if we don’t lose heart, that’s a sure thing.

This is the HOPE of the resurrection. Not only do we not need to feel guilty about expecting gifts from God in the spirit realm, but He even wants us to expect them.

Much of what He offers is made available through an awareness of who we truly are, in Him, and what He has truly done for us and given us.

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ alone, not only for our salvation in eternity, but for our day-to-day salvation right now. The primary purpose of the Bible isn’t for learning principles to live by. The primary purpose of the Bible is for knowing Him, in his kindness, goodness, greatness, and glory, and for seeing ourselves in relationship with Him.

If you seek Him there, asking the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to what He has to show you, you may be surprised by a whole new unfolding of beautiful truth about who He is and who you are. If the Scriptures have seemed impossible for you to read because they’ve been used to abuse you, perhaps it may be time to try asking Him to get those old voices out of your head, and begin reading again.

Expect to learn to know God, the real God, especially as He reveals Himself fully through Jesus Christ in the New Covenant.

In faith we anticipate God’s work, His accomplishments, and His gifts. As we see them fulfilled, in small ways as well as big ways, our faith grows, and we can revel more and more in the goodness of God.

Keep expecting the work of God in the spirit. in His time and His way (which may well be much longer and look much different than we first thought!) we can keep expecting Him to do great things, as we look to Him.

Don’t let go of hope. Keep anticipating, keep expecting Him to accomplish His good work. Whatever He has promised, He will do.

My soul, wait only on God, for my expectation,
my anticipation, my hope is from Him.

Abba and Ashes (guest post by my husband, Tim Davis, for Father’s Day)

Abba

Recently our one-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter, Phoebe, blessed me with an “Abba moment.” But it can’t be fully appreciated without some backstory.

She’s been a shy one—especially toward big men with beards. I’m average size, and I don’t usually have much of a beard, but I’m still a big man to her.

So once she was old enough to come over to our house for stays, she clung to Grammy (Rebecca) and mostly tried to avoid me. She leaned away when I approached, even crying when I tried to hold her. Yes, it made me sad.

She came every week, and we tried to help her get past her misunderstanding of who I was—her Grampy—and I loved her. But she was scared. Continue reading “Abba and Ashes (guest post by my husband, Tim Davis, for Father’s Day)”

Untwisting Scriptures #3 Audiobook Finally Here!

Only seven months after the book came out, the audiobook is here!

There’s no one like me for being johnny on the spot.

Ahem . . . anyway, I’m excited to have it ready for you.

Eventually it will be on Amazon, because that’s the primary platform where most of the world buys, it seems, but if you would like to avoid Amazon and encourage hard-working authors, you can buy it from my Soundwise account, here.

And did I mention it’s only 10 USD? That’s even less expensive than the paperback.

Below is a chapter for you to listen to, so you can get an idea of what the book sounds like. It’s the author reading it to you. (That’s me.) Think of us as having a cup of coffee or tea together.

This is Chapter 14, “Why Are You So Fearful?”

Here is the Table of Contents (you can also see it at this link). The only thing different in the audiobook is the Opening Credits and Closing Credits.

***

  • First Thoughts: My Words & Emotions While I Wrote This Book

PART ONE: YOUR WORDS

  1. Gossip: Part of the Problem, Part of the Solution
  2. “Keep Quiet if Someone Offends Me”
  3. Don’t Tear Down, Just Build Up with Gracious Words
  4. “Speak No Evil”: Slander and the Tongue You Don’t Hear About in Church
  5. “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness”: Reputation vs Character
  6. Oh, Those Renegade Bloggers
  7. “Why Are You So Negative?” A Response to “Positive”People

PART TWO: YOUR EMOTIONS

  1. Does Reason Really Trump Emotions?
  2. What Causes a “Noisy Soul”?
  3. Helping a “Noisy Soul”
  4. Is it Righteous Anger or Sinful?
  5. Fear in the Bible: Helpful and Harmful
  6. Those 365 “Fear Not” Verses in the Bible
  7. “Why Are You So Fearful?”
  8. Grappling with the “Sin of Empathy”
  9. Growing Up
  • Appendix: Understanding “Moral Injury”
  • About the Author
  • A Note from the Author

I hope you enjoy the audiobook and get to know our Lord better through it. I know I did, as I studied and wrote it. He is a good and loving God.