by Pastor Tim Burt
One Sunday morning, a young woman introduced herself to me in the lobby of the church after the service. Her name was Angela. I asked her if she had ever been to the church before. She told me she had never been to any church in her entire life. This was her very first time. I told her that I didn’t even know what that felt like since I had been going to church the majority of my life. I asked if she would describe what the experience was like for her. She had difficulty explaining what she felt. She was trying to find the words to tell me that she could feel something special and that she was very excited to come back. She had tears of joy running down her face.
I asked her if she understood who Jesus was and what He did for her. She knew who He was but had not made the connection of what He had done for her. I asked her if she knew what would happen to here if she were to die that day? She didn’t really know. She hoped she would go to Heaven. I asked her how old she was. She told me she was 23. I asked her, Do you know you’re 23 or do you hope you’re 23? She gave me a puzzled look and said, I know I am 23! I asked her what city she lived in. She told me. I asked her, Do you hope you live in that city or do you know you do? Wondering where this was leading, she again said, I know I live there. I asked her name again. She told me. I asked, Do you know your name is Angela or do you hope it is? She said, I know it is.
Angela, I said, Do you see the difference between knowing and hoping? You don’t hope your age. You know it. You don’t hope your address, you know it. You don’t hope you name, you know it. There is a huge difference between hoping and knowing. If you said you hoped you name was Angela, people would thing there is something wrong with you. I then told her, Jesus didn’t set aside His deity, come to be born in this earth, and live a rejected life to be falsely accused, beaten, tortured, crucified, and go to Hell so that you would HOPE you might go to Heaven. He did this so you could KNOW you are going to Heaven.
I opened a Bible and took her to 1 John 5:13 NKJV and read her this verse: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life…” I told her, God inspired these written words so that you would KNOW, not HOPE, you have eternal life. Jesus paid the price for your sins and He offers to wash them away and make you His child, cleansed from all sin and prepared for Heaven. Wouldn’t you rather know that than hope that? She did want to know that. I asked her if I could lead her in a prayer of salvation—accepting Jesus as Her personal Savior. Then she would know! She wanted to and together we prayed. Tears flowed down her face as Renee, my wife, and I held her hands and led her in a prayer.
I gave her a Bible and told her I would help her get connected in relationships that would help her grow in the Lord. She was beaming so bright she could have been mistaken for a lighthouse.
Today, I want to leave you with this thought: Faith is knowing, not hoping! Hope will draw our heart and emotions to the throne room of God’s grace. It is important for that reason. But hope is not knowing. Faith believes in God’s promises to us, knowing that they still reach into each of our lives today! Faith is knowing and knowing in faith will usher God’s promises into your life—beginning with the promise of eternal life in Heaven.
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
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In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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