In 2005, my husband and I traveled to London to film a documentary. As we set up our cameras, terrorist bombs exploded in a tube station and on the street just a block or two from where we were filming. Thankfully we were safe, but subsequently, we had to delay the shoot.
When we finally started filming the next day at the British Library, I was honored to hold Anne Boleyn’s Bible. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England and in my hand I held the very Bible she carried when the King’s guards led her to the Tower of London and cut off her head.
Having been so close to death myself the previous day, I wondered what scripture she had on her mind as she died. It made me re-think how much I valued the Word of God and how much of it I held close in my heart and mind.
Several years after the London bombings, our production company, Cooke Media Group worked on a project with the ministry Back To The Bible and the Center For Bible Engagement (CBE). They conducted an 8-year study with 100,000 people who consider themselves Christians, looking closely at the choices they made and the activities they engaged in that affected their behavior.
After all, God tells us in the Bible that if we follow Him, He will transform our lives. But sadly, there are many people who call themselves Christians who continually struggle with physical addictions as well as emotional and relationship issues.
CBE asked people how often they pray, how often they went to church, how often they listen to spiritual music or watch Christian television, and how often they read their Bible to see what affects their actual behavior.
The conclusion was that if a person were to engage with the Bible four or more times a week it would dramatically (and visibly) change their life.
The statistics proved a significantly lower propensity for substance abuse, divorce, sex addition issues, even lying, cheating and emotional issues when people read their bible four or more times a week. Conversely, the study revealed that if a person reads the Bible only 1-3 times a week, that even with prayer, church attendance, listening to spiritual music or watching spiritual programs, significant changes were not tracked.
In other words, at the four-day mark of engaging in the Bible each week there was a true difference. Those four or more days a week of Bible reading were the tipping point.
Americans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on self-help books each year to try and improve ourselves. Yet, the average household in America – 93% of us, has four or five Bibles and we never look to it for guidance. The one book that has been proven to improve our lives and help us is never opened.
This stirred in me a passion to write a devotional. One that would put the Word of God in people’s hands and guide them on a journey toward a life-changing engagement with God on a weekly basis. I wanted it to be easy and achievable, a devotional that would set readers up for success in God, so I wrote it as a four-day-a-week reading plan.
I had my own journey as I wrote the devotional, Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture. I asked the Lord to tell me what He wanted to say to the reader. I wanted the reader to focus on God and spend time with the Him and not me. But as a professional in media and entertainment who works in today’s culture, I knew that if the devotional wasn’t interesting and challenging that the reader would discard it quickly.
With that in mind, I based Hope 4 Today on my work at Cooke Media Group and as an actress for the past 25 years – my life growing up, raising kids, and navigating a marriage while living in Hollywood. It has anecdotes about my travels and people I’ve met while filming and speaking. It contains moments that brought me inspiration, insights that God taught me on forgiveness, suffering, prayer, finances, leadership, and lessons I’ve learned on how to find contentment in an uncertain world. Each day’s entry tells stories, asks questions, and challenges the reader’s worldview – which is how Jesus taught. But the ultimate purpose is for the reader to focus on God and to hear from Him.
My prayer for those that pick up a copy of Hope 4 Today is that every entry, every story, will connect you to God and to His heart. I pray that as you spend time in His word, you will find wisdom and hope for your life. He’s the best story – the answer to all your questions and as the Bible tells us, the way and the truth to a flourishing life.
New paperback edition!
The first edition of Kathleen Cooke’s popular devotional Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture sold over 40,000 copies. Now in paperback, this devotional will revitalize your spiritual life and help you shake off the dust of the pandemic. Available now with your generous donation of $25 or more to the digital mission of the Influence Lab or at your favorite online bookstore.
Get your copy here. https://kathleencooke.com/hope4today