Bible Study: James 1

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:1-4

Stephen had just been martyred, and the followers of Jesus scattered among the region (Acts 11:19). Several small assemblies of believers began to form. These people not only feared severe persecution for their faith, but also struggled through famine and financial turmoil.

James, the brother of Jesus Christ, addresses the concerns of these groups in his letter. His exhortation covers a wide range of practical advice on living faithfully. While James does not directly quote Jesus, the majority of the themes are perfectly in line with Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

The first verse is often overlooked, but I want to focus on James identifying himself as a “bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” There are different types of servitude outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus. The term here often referred to a permanent position of slavery, where the person is entirely under the control of the master. James uses “bond-servant” to emphasize his complete devotion and connection to God.

As a Christian, do you truly consider yourself a slave to Christ? Is every thought and action guided by a mindful obedience to God's Will?

Verses 2-4 address the attitude brothers and sisters should carry when going through trials:

  1. Be Joyful

This seems so contrary to instinct. As we go through tragedies and difficulties, our sinful nature likes to roar its ugly head. We allow selfish thoughts and actions to dominate, calling it “self-preservation”. We become disgruntled and complain, often ignoring any blessings.

The idea here is not that believers should not be sad ever. But instead, to have an underlying joy that outshines our distress. Our hope must rest in the promises of God. Earthly pain is only that — earthly. Eternity awaits for us in heaven, where any joy we cling to now will be magnified as we glorify God forever.

Paul is the biblical poster child for enduring trials in joy. Through persecution and jail time, he still finds time to encourage churches. His letters speak of opportunities found in distress (such as preaching to the guards), and further reliance on God’s grace.

Can you think of someone who exudes such joy? How has this attitude impacted you?

2. Be Aware the Testing of Faith Produces Stamina

When children are learning responsibility, parents first assign small tasks before graduating the child to bigger items. Because the child has shown capable in the small, a parent can confidently push accountability for something larger. This same concept I have found true in my personal trials. The more often I am faithful in mini-trials, my confidence grows in my — and God’s — ability to see me through larger tests.

Think back to a struggle you had, but no longer have. Didn’t it seem like it would last forever? The pain may have felt stifling, and you were probably so anxious to have it all be done with. And now — it is done!

If you were put through this same situation today, would you handle it differently?  How has this struggle affected your perspective?

3. Become Polished, Not Hardened

Society currently thrives on the publicizing and promoting of poor behavior during trials. The concept of “justified sin” is pushed heavily for victims, basically giving the ok to any wrongdoing done in response to a tragedy. But the last thing we want is for sin to breed sin, especially among God’s children.

If we have chronic suffering, or have been through a particularly large tragedy, it can be easy to become callused. We lose compassion and may be bitter. Little sins don’t seem like sins at all, just outlets. James instead encourages us to view suffering as an opportunity for sanctification, not sin.

In verse 4, James states “let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete”. This nicely mirrors Matthew 5:48 when Jesus urges his disciples to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we should be striving for Christ-like qualities. While our sin may prevent us from ever being truly perfect on earth, our goal remains. Avoid sin, repent of any wrongdoings, and seek to do God’s will.

Alpha and Omega

I am constantly amazed at the sovereignty of God. Again and again throughout this life, He shows me how His Will is perfect.

In my mid-thirties, I was not seeking to have more children. After our third boy, my husband and I were certain we were done. We had plans after all.

However, last fall our hearts very suddenly — and surprisingly — changed. We found ourselves praying for God to bless our home with another child.

For we were born yesterday and know nothing; our days on earth are but a shadow.

Job 8:9

We are just vapors. We are dust. Our plans are so easily disturbed, but the Lord’s are not.

At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I discussed having a couple of kids, the school districts we liked, what our “forever house” would be, and how we both wanted to maintain full-time jobs. Fast-forward 9 years, we are homeschooling, I am a homemaker, and we are outgrowing this “forever home” quickly since our fourth child is due this summer.

We couldn’t be happier. We are much more God-centered and family-focused. Our mindset before was selfish and worldly. Praise that our Lord does not stop working on us!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

There have been many times we were tested. Low finances, high-stress work situations, developmental concerns for our kids, health issues, etc. Each time, the Lord saw us through. The trouble deriving from sin (ours and the world’s) was still used, still purposed for God’s glory.

It is a sobering thing to ponder the sovereign nature of God. He is all-knowing, The Creator, perfectly good, perfectly just, the alpha and omega, timeless, and His Will outweighs all of man.

It’s common for people to say, “but God doesn’t control me! I have free will.” Yes, you have the will to choose sin. The ability to decide contrary to God’s commandments. And thankfully, any action made may still be used to fulfill the Lord’s purpose.

Any decision I have made contrary to His Word, was selfish and prideful. Praise His Name! For my foolishness does not change or affect God’s perfection. My foolishness does not derail the hand of Christ. I humbly rest in comfort and relief that my will may be bended, broken, and transformed to that of our Holy Savior. Praise for He is the constant, the eternal, and His goodness will always prevail.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Genesis 50:20

The Little Ones

Lord, thank you for children.

Thank you for the blessings of responsibility. Please sanctify us as we teach, love, and protect those little ones you have blessed us with.

God, help us to encourage and discipline when appropriate. Grant us wisdom and patience.

Let Your Word always be on our lips and in our actions so our children may find us a living example of faith.

Thank you for the sweet moments and the difficult ones — all the opportunities for refinement in parenthood.

Thank you for your perfect example.


The Vice

Lord, rid me of my vice.

Like a shadow on my fingertips, the attachment is an unusual one. It is of this world and for this world.

Purposefully placed away, the vice calls out with chimes and vibratos! The shadow stretches and twists, under doors and around corners.

Oh Lord of Hosts, grant me strength to deny this sin. Holy Spirit shake me awake and keep me accountable.

I praise your mercy, and cling to your grace. Thank you.


The Bible on Sexual Immorality

With the recent passing of Bill C-4 in Canada, numerous American pastors have rallied in support of the Canadian Church, preaching the Lord’s truth about sexual immorality. Bill C-4 prohibits “conversion therapy” or any practices with intent to change and/or repress one’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, reduce non-heterosexual behavior, or repress a non-cisgender identity.

This bill raises an obvious concern from Christians. The Bible, in multiple areas, clearly speaks against sexually immoral behavior, including homosexual acts, adultery, and prostitution. Now when a pastor preaches from these texts of God’s Word in Canada, they could potentially be imprisoned. Additionally, if an individual, or even a family on behalf of a child, asks for help with a homosexual or gender issue — any biblically-rooted assistance provided could be considered this “conversion therapy.”

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

This is not an opinion I have. This is not gray matter that is up for discussion. As we see in the scripture above, it is God’s Word stating which acts are not acceptable. The Lord has determined what is sinful.

These sins do include the controversial homosexuality, the sanctity of gender (Genesis 1:27), and the errors of cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5). As believers, we cannot cherry-pick which commands we chose to follow. Our call is to glorify God through obedience.

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:11

Praise! For the blood of our Savior is the redemptive answer to ANY SIN. There is not just hope of an answer, there is a direct solution — a direct propitiation for the sin separating us from the Father’s holiness. Those who hear and respond to the call of the Lord will be saved.

This is certainly a time to pray for our brothers and sisters up north. Let us not shy from the Lord’s instruction.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s not loving, if you stand flat-footed and speak the truth about homosexuality. What’s not loving is to look someone in the eye when God says they are in jeopardy of an eternity in hell, and merely wink and nod at their sin because you are afraid of being called names. Speak the truth, saints.

Voddie Baucham

This quote is so powerfully accurate, except now Canadian Christians do not have mere name-calling to fear.

Let’s remember my brothers and sisters, it is not loving to lie. It is not loving to watch someone hurt themselves with sin, when you know God’s truth is the answer. Do not let your love of an earthly relationship be held in higher esteem than your love for the Creator.

It’s so easy to let those things which God detests slide by when we are more concerned with how man sees us, rather than how God does.

Lord, give us strength to speak lovingly, with honesty and compassion, when confronted with any sin. Let us focus on Your Truth and not shy from sharing the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Amen

The Children

Lord, grant me the faith of children.

May my heart look to You first for protection, for guidance, for confidence. May I truly trust Your sovereign power.

Like children with their parent, may I fully rely on Your will, trusting the good of Your purpose and plan. When it’s tough, may You be my crutch. May nothing temporary of this world hold me like You do.

Lord, may I completely die to self, desiring only to serve You. May every one of my words, thoughts, and actions be under the righteous direction of the Holy Spirit.


Prone to Wander

The Old Testament is filled with warnings against disobedience to God. One can hardly read a few chapters before seeing “the people again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”.

It is frustrating to read of the multiple miracles God does over and over for His people, only to be forgotten and not praised. How could they possibly forget God’s mercy, His sovereignty?

And yet, my own story reads quite similar.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Romans 7:21-23

How deserving I am of God’s wrath and frustration. The grace I receive instead is truly a glorious testimony to the compassion of my Lord.

Praise! For the very sin I hate in my life was defeated before my birth by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

So, why? Why must I return to a jail of sin when the cell door is wide open? Why pretend to be shackled when my chains have truly been removed? How to avoid such the very thing Christ died for?

All my weak days have have a common cause — I have neglected communion with God through my neglect of the scriptures and prayer. When will I learn?

Paul Washer, Founder of HeartCry Missionary Society

I love this quote and the truth it carries. God has gifted me with the power of self-control and desire to obey through the presence of the Holy Spirit. To avoid the things I hate, I must live in and by that which I love — the word of God.

For all who can relate, let us pray for one another. May we remain steadfast in our prayers and study of the bible. May we find peace in God’s mercy and strive for a strong relationship displayed in works.

Lord, help me die to myself every day. Help me to choose you and your will above any selfish desire of the flesh. Lord, I repent of my daily sinning! Help me, oh Holy Spirit, in this fight. Pour into me a hatred for all evil, a heart with compassion, and an eagerness to serve! Amen

Raising Gentle Men

What comes to mind when you hear the word gentle?

Mild, calm, moderate, peaceful — these are a few words associated with gentleness. I can tell you, my three young boys frequently act quite the opposite.

They are rambunctious, energetic, bold, and aggressive. Yes, aggressive. Generally speaking, boys are more prone to rougher play than girls. They are more likely to resolve disputes in a physical way.

Society tends to see the strong-willed, physically prone child as a negative. So much so it goes beyond encouraging positive coping skills, and suggests instead complete suppression of such feelings. Men should never be aggressive, bold, or stubborn. They should always respond not just gently, but preferably, passively.

I do not wish this for my boys. Not suppression and passiveness, but a true desire to actively obey God. The gentle we strive for in our home is straight from The Bible.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galations 5:22-23

We strive for young men focused on actions and thoughts in line with the Holy Spirit. A gentle demeanor connected to self-control. I pray for my boys to grow into men with a gentleness reflecting a true compassion and love for others.

Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

Believers are to be meek — long-suffering, humble and gentle. I pray my boys to truly understand no self is higher than the Lord. I pray for their growth in patience, and a desire to submit to God’s will.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Though this spirit is to be gentle, it is not cowardly submission. No fear or shame in the testimony of the Living God. I pray dearly my children love the Lord in such a way, they never shy from proclaiming His glory.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:1-3

I pray my boys hold this warning close. Understanding aggression rooted in selfish desire is truly dangerous. May aggression and hate only be felt for evil (Romans 12:9). Displaying gentleness when we feel anger — especially anger rooted in pride — is strength. I pray my children gather this strength from the Lord to be Christlike, even when flesh wars against it.

My boys are quite young, all under the age of seven. There is a long road ahead for this family. And while there are a lot of lessons in my house, there is even more prayer. Prayers for the strength to die to self, to deny my selfish desires each day. Prayers to cloak my heart in gentleness so I might first lead by example. Prayers for wisdom in discipline and instruction to foster a hunger to please God.

Lord, thank you for these boys.  For their passion, their energy, their strong wills.  Lord, guide my husband and me.  May we raise these children to be young men with gentle, humble hearts.  May they stand strong and firm in Your Word, and avoid the destruction of selfish desires.  May our home love Your Will. Amen

The Gentle

Lord, I pray for a compassionate heart and a gentle disposition.

This world encourages coarse speech, indulging in pride, and aggressive competitiveness for the self. Lord, may I instead seek strength in humility. May I grow endurance in meekness.

Holy Spirit forge this mind in patience. May I always be slow to anger, never boastful, and continuously cautious of my demeanor.

I pray for a gentle heart. A heart focused on Your Will. A heart eager to serve with selflessness and love.


An Eternal Family

Is there tension in your family? Perhaps anger or unresolved issues?

Most of us can say yes to these concerning at least one relative. Some issues are just uncomfortable, while some may be very painful. As believers, we are warned to be prepared for separation from others. This separation goes beyond a small spat. This is the segregation of believer vs non-believer.

For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Matthew 10:35

In this passage, Jesus is addressing a common thought among the Jews that the Messiah would bring immediate peace. Jesus is very clear, very straight-forward. His presence, His teachings, will create a division among the people. There will be those who choose the narrow path and those who choose the widely traveled.

If you deny the Father, Christ will deny you. The deniers and those who choose worldly relations — including those of mother and father — over Christ, are “not worthy of” Him (Matthew 10:37).

On the surface, it seems so simple. But when you are faced with familial exclusion, when you have loved ones who reject God, when it’s your own bloodline persecuting and even hating you for your love in Christ, it doesn’t feel simple.

Do not be anxious concerning this, beloved. For our Father in heaven is a good father. Even now He is calling together an eternal family for the faithful.

And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 13:49-50

At one point while Jesus was preaching, His earthly family came to see Him. When told of their arrival, Jesus proclaimed a stark truth — family are not those of blood, but of the faith. Jesus was not identifying His own mother and brothers as non-believers here. Rather, He displayed to the crowd of listeners who believers are to consider family.

What a praise!

Beloved, has your faith in Christ lost you a sister? A brother? A father? This pain is only for this world. When you repent of your sin and claim Jesus as Savior, you are made new and adopted into a grand, eternal family established to glorify God.

Do not shy from church or fellowship. For many of these people are already part of your eternal family. Gather together joyfully and praise the wisdom and mercy of our great Creator. Encourage one another in prayer and spiritual growth. Actively seek to grow His Kingdom.

Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace.  Please help me to remain aware and grateful of current blessings.  May I not take for granted your church.  May I hold tight to your promises.  Your Kingdom come! Amen

Love vs Love

What is love?

It’s shocking how often we get it wrong. And not just one facet of love, but it’s entirety. The way we define it, apply it, seek it, etc.

I believe the main issue is our definition. The meanings are either relative or misunderstood. Additionally, there are multiple types of love and the English language only has the one word as a blanket term.

Common Modern Definitions

Love is love! Not sure what this even means. My own elementary teaching tells me never to define a word using the key word. This is circular reasoning and not helpful to anyone.

Love is a deep affection. While this may be an introductory explanation of love, it does not come close to revealing its characteristics. This definition could actually be applied to other emotions such as fondness and tenderness. Actual love should be distinct from these terms.

God is love. Careful on this one. Although true, when most use it, they are often misapplying it to say ‘God is only love.’ I have seen this phrase thrown around multiple times as people try to extinguish or minimize God’s other traits, such as just, wrathful, and jealous. These characteristics applied to people do not often sound positive, but for our God who is sovereign and good — they do not come with our human sinfulness. It is because our God is good He seeks wrath and justice upon the wicked. It is because our God loves, He is a righteously jealous Lord.

So, what is the definition we can turn to? If you are familiar with your Bible, you probably know where I’m going…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God is the only one who does this perfectly. Man fails at this again and again. We fail at loving one another as we should. Today’s culture unfortunately feeds into the negative concept of no one can love you better than you can.

  • Self-love / Self-care
  • Me time
  • Treat yourself
  • Your value lies in your perception
  • You do you
  • Living your best life

I personally have denied love from others because it was not how I wanted to be loved. Society told me I deserved better, and I listened. Let me clarify, I am not speaking of abusive relationships. I am calling out my own sin. Rather than respond to people I cared for in a way God commands believers to do, I turned my head in inappropriate judgment.

Brothers and sisters, if you struggle with family or friends who are lost — remember that even the saved cannot love as the Father does. However, we are commanded to strive to show a love for our neighbor that is never self-seeking or failing, despite what affection we receive in return.

Just as we struggle at loving our fellow man, we also do not love God the Father as we should.

This is both devastating and beautiful to me. It reinforces the sin of man and our need for Christ. We have a clear need for the connection of Christ to the Father and the Holy Spirit for our walk in progressive sanctification (spiritual maturity).

It is beautiful because God’s love is so pure, so merciful despite the self-seeking love I continually bring to His feet. How many prayers do I start with “I”? How many prayers fail to thank him for answered requests or blessings I did not seek; yet He graciously bestowed anyway? I am so grateful the Lord is holy and sovereign.

Lord, help us to love as you do.  Help our hearts to align to Your Will that we may always seek to serve Your Kingdom with compassion. Amen

Dedicated Prayers

What are you praying for right now?

Do you need direction from the Lord? Are you concerned for your children, spouse or another loved one? Do the politics of the world have you stressed?

For the last several months, God has been convicting me of my prayer life.

  • How to pray
  • Who to pray for
  • What to pray
  • When to pray

It’s been commonly stated in Christian circles praying is simply talking to God. I agree and disagree. It’s wonderful to have a consistent conversation with the Lord throughout the day. However, this should not replace designated prayer time. Not just conversational praying – but praying!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

1 John 5:14

The Lord is near to all who call on him,

to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;

he also hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 145:18-19

Over and over in scripture believers are encouraged to pray. Pray praises, requests, thanksgivings, sorrows — pray! And not just chit-chat, but true supplications.

Does the prayer itself have power? No. The Lord who hears it does. For only He is sovereign, not the prayer or the believer.

Does this indicate prayers are for nothing? On the contrary! Lifting prayers up to the Almighty — the only one with the power — is not only the most logical solution but it’s what we are called to do. Scripture supports God wants to hear your prayer. When believers align their will with the Father’s, requests are granted.

As a parent, we encourage our children to handle small problems on their own. It’s a wonderful sign of initiative and development to see a child succeed independently. Because of this dynamic, there is a natural tendency to keep certain problems or request from the Lord. But the relationship is very different!

A major goal of parenting children is to create adults who do not need their moms and dads to function. Contrary to this, as we grow in faith, our dependency on the Holy Spirit should increase. We should rely more on His will, and less on ours. We should look to His truths for answers, instead of our “truths”.

So don’t hold back! The Lord is ready for all of it.

Lord, please help me to die to self. Rid my prayers of ulterior, selfish motives. Please make me gentle, oh Holy Spirit. In action and in thought, gift me gentle compassion. Align my will with yours, and guide me as a parent in demonstrating true trust in your plans. Amen

*If you are comfortable, please share a prayer request. I'd love to pray with you!

The Friendship

Lord, guide me in my friendships.

Strip me of self, let me lend my ears and heart to my brothers and sisters in Christ without concern for what I may benefit. May my compassion be genuine and my words gentle.

Bless these friendships with longevity, edifying discussions, and honest fellowship. Let us serve You together. Help us to encourage obedience, never sin.

Likewise, guard me in friendships with non-believers. May I not forget they do not love You or Your Word, and as such do not have the same desire or will to obey You.

Give me strength to continue showing love, but never bowing to evil. Let my relationships with those who do not know You never create an excuse to defy You.

Thank You for Your Grace, Almighty Creator. Amen

Halloween Thoughts

This will mark the first year my family is foregoing Halloween. No celebration in any fashion (trick-or-treating, parties, etc.).

For the past two to three years, my husband and I have been involved in a deep look at our faith. The Holy Spirit is active and moving within our household. Any good work seen is solely based on His presence. Any negative practice has sin and flesh stamped broadly across it.

Reviewing certain holidays, we felt convicted to make new traditions. Halloween has naturally fallen in this category. This is a common controversial topic among Christians.

The pro-camp is generally more focused on the point of modern Halloween not being the same as the original event. Today’s Halloween is a “watered-down” version of the celebration with opportunities for community connections and family fun! This used to be my general thoughts. What harm is putting on a costume and getting some candy?

Let’s briefly consider Christmas. This holiday has also been watered down by advertising and retail. The whole month of December is crammed with santas, elves, reindeer, nutcrackers, extreme purchasing, selfish dreams for little children, etc. All this advertising glitter to make Christmas more marketable to the masses has worked! Even those who don’t know Jesus celebrate. It’s just another day to connect with family and have fun, right? But Christmas to the Christian, is at it’s core a beautiful time in worship of the birth of our Savior.

I mention this because Halloween — this marketable time of costumes and treats– also has a very real celebration at its center. The origin is the Celtic Samhain, where people would dress in costume to ward off the dead, and build large bonfires for their priests to make sacrifices to their multiple deities. Culture combined this celebration with that of the Catholic’s All-Hallow’s Eve, which came right before All Soul’s Day. In this celebration, people also lit bonfires and often dressed in costume as angels or devils. Years later, the holiday has evolved into what it is today.

The 1980s saw a revival of some Celtic practices through Wiccan, including the observance of Samhain/Halloween. I am by no means an expert on Wicca, but learned they celebrate Samhain as a communion event with the dead.

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 19:31

I have no intention of pretending Halloween is something it is not. It’s origin and it’s current purpose are to glorify death, multi-deities, and darkness.

I also have no intention of condemning anyone who may celebrate this holiday. This being stated, if it’s been a while (or ever) since you truly considered the holidays you celebrate and why you celebrate them, I encourage the review. You may find yourself convicted and in need of change — the same place I sit now.

What truly surged me forward was reading Revelation 2:18-23. Jesus speaks to the Church of Thyatira in these passages. He starts out acknowledging the faith and good works known by the people. But this praise quickly turns to a blunt warning. While this church has been one of love, they fell short on accountability. They tolerated evil in their midst, never calling it out. This evil spread, misleading servants.

Lord, I pray for my eyes to recognize my sin. May my repentance be of true sorrow for my wrongs. May I not cling to the evil which calls my name. Should it’s draw be too enticing, too deceptive, grant me strength to cut the source of it from my life. Amen

The Grief

Lord, please lift up those who are grieving.

Grief seeps into our lives in many ways. It prevents us from seeing circumstances clearly, and dampens our joy.

Sometimes grief comes through loss of a job or the ending of a relationship or long-term activity. The impact can be significant, the sorrow can be physical.

But the devastation of losing a loved one is rarely matched by any other pain. Their absence creates a hole in our very being.

Praise God, for I know there is no hurt you cannot heal! No wound you cannot seal!

Lord, I pray through any loss, those suffering find strength in the new life you offer. May we find comfort in your promises. May we find peace from your word.


The Motherhood

Lord, guide me through motherhood.

Gift me a heart like Hannah’s, dedicated to prayer and ever mindful of the true blessings my children are. May I never forget it is you who carefully knitted them in the womb.

Grant me the patience and wisdom to enjoy every moment. May I never wish days away, but instead treasure each step and stumble.

When it gets hard and then harder, Lord give me strength like Ruth. May I persevere through any unknown, through turmoil and tragedy. Remind me trials are a joy, and let my faith be proven steadfast.

Gift me a gentle, humble disposition. Help me to set pride and self aside in obedience to you, God. I pray to reflect Christ in my actions. May I react to each need, not with irritation or anger, but always with compassion.

Lastly, let me be devoted to your word. Let it be on my lips every hour. Bless my speech with your truth so these children grow an unmatched love for Jesus.


The Lost

Lord, you know their names.

You alone are witness to every thought and action. You alone can soften hearts. Only you, Lord of Hosts, protect against the evil of this world and self. Only you, oh Holy Spirit, weld armor with the strength to fight sin. Only you, oh Christ can deliver from the grave. My God, the mighty three in one.

You know their names, just as you knew mine. I plead with you now, if it be your will — and Lord, please let it be! — soften these hearts. Remove scales from eyes and dust from ears.

Let them hear of your promises and be comforted.

Let them call on the gift of the cross and be redeemed.

Let them rest in the joy of Jesus and be lost no more.


Grateful for Life

This year marks 20 years.

For so many this week is about remembering those thousands of lives lost on 9/11. The day this news hit, my family was already in a terrible shock, having just learned the day before of my father’s suicide.

Suicide is blinding. Suicide is contagious. Suicide is a transfer of pain in unimaginable ways for years far beyond the time of death.

If you have had a close family member die (in any manner), you know how devastating death may be. There is a strange comfort found in connecting with other “survivors.” Sadly, suicide makes this connection nearly impossible.

It’s a taboo conversation. When discussed, rarely are the interpretations of the event, the cause, and the aftermath the same. It isolates those left behind. Suicide breeds secrecy, gossip, judgment, and paranoia.

But with Christ, I am set free of these afflictions. With Christ, I am set free of this pain. Through Christ, I am given a heavenly Father. Through Christ, I am able to drop the hate and sadness I held onto and trade them with a purpose. His purpose.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 

Philippians 1:21

The first chapter of Philippians is a beautiful account of Paul’s determination to spread the gospel, even in jail. Behind bars, he finds joy in his circumstance as it has only encouraged others in their faith. Paul also addresses conflicting feelings commonly held by Christians: the desire to fulfill his life purpose for Jesus vs the desire to be with Jesus in heaven.

This is such a contrast to the life I once knew. Before salvation, I thought of life as a painful game with relative rules. I believed it to be suffering for nothing leading to a death of nothing. My own father had chosen to die rather than be my father, rather than deal with any life at all. What could I possibly hope for if this was my model?

Paul paints a different picture. Even in suffering, he finds great joy in serving Jesus.

as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

Philippians 1:20

Praise! What an amazing view of life and death! Only with Jesus are we able to live in such a way. Only with Jesus are we blessed if poor in spirit, blessed in times of mourning, and blessed when we hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:3-6). Contrastingly, only with Jesus can we rest knowing our death is a glorious union with the Maker.

Certainly a life in Christ is always worth living.

I praise the One Almighty who made me! Thank you for this opportunity to live for You. For this opportunity to know You and praise You, Oh Lord. May I never take for granted again any life. May those who meet me see a love for God’s people, a compassion for this world, and a desire to be Christ-like. Amen

The Bold

Lord, help me to be bold but never foolish.

May I have no tolerance for false preaching. May I speak boldly of your truth. Do not let me cower in selfishness. Do not let me fear loss in this world.

Lord, let my eagerness not lead to foolishness. Grant me patience and ears to hear. May I be slow to anger and wise with speech.

God, gift me with a merciful heart. Let honesty lace my speech with grace and humility. Strip me of pride and arrogance!

Gift me with a boldness that glorifies you, oh Lord. Equip me with your spiritual armor.


Parenting With God

Parenting includes making several decisions with life-long impacts on other human beings. Tiny human beings who rely on such decisions. It is an immense responsibility.

Oh so many questions. How do you encourage a sincere love of Christ, not simply a “let’s make mom happy” response? How much freedom do you give? What expectations are appropriate at this stage? Which type of discipline is best? When do you step in and when do you step back?

It can be overwhelming and I would be lying if I said I never panicked. It would be a lie to say I never cried in a closet alone for a moment before putting back on my mommy face. Parenthood is an ongoing trial, testing the faith of many. Who will you cling to? Who will you fear? The world or God?

My children are young and from the little years I have had with them, I have come to understand these essential truths:

  • These children are God’s first, mine second.
  • God is a better parent than I can fathom or ever be.
  • God is bigger than my mistakes.
  • God calls parents to obediently teach His word.

These Children Are God’s First

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5

Here the Lord is directly speaking to Jeremiah, but it’s not the only time God mentions forming us in the womb. Our God establishes the relationship before the mother is aware she is with child.

Verses such as this are a stark reminder my children are a direct gift from the Lord. My boys are His first, and my role as a steward should involve this awareness. They are precious. Though frustrations are natural, should I linger too long in this state, may I remember I have been blessed not burdened.

God Is A Better Parent Than I Can Fathom

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Are you patient like God? I am not. Not even close. With my first child I realized I was not giving him enough time to respond. As he was taking his toddler time to redirect his attention from numerous distractions to focusing on my requests, I was snapping. What was the hold up?

I started counting to myself to force outward patience. Two kids later, I’m still counting, but with a much different mindset. Our Lord loves us so much, He watches this world blatantly disobey Him. Again and again we choose sin. Selfishness over compassion. Yet still He waits, patiently, for our sake so more may respond in faithful obedience to His call.

God Is Bigger Than My Mistakes

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:21

I absolutely make mistakes as a mother. Honestly, some of the decisions I have made I will not know the lasting impact until my children are much older. If the result is not as I intended, it may be beyond my control at that point. This can be terrifying.

But God is bigger! While I still strive to make wise choices, I rest knowing God is bigger than any error I make. God is bigger than any sin I commit. Christ overcame sin, He overcame the grave – praise!

God Calls Parents To Obediently Teach

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 6:7

God directs us to speak of Him and His commandments so consistently, it should be a natural conversation while doing all activities with our family. I love this.

Parenting is difficult, but I am blessed. I am blessed to have my children. I am blessed to have a wonderful husband on this journey. I am blessed to parent with God.

The Prayer

Lord, thank you for prayer.

I know you hear our prayers, whether they be whispers, scroll in a notebook, or anguished cries. May I not consider this too lightly.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to question, to request, to discuss — any concern or need I may have with you. I understand you are sovereign and there is no obligation to listen. Thank you.

Lord, may I not waste this time. Let me not shy from expressing any fear or desire, for you already know my heart.

May I not be only self-seeking. Let my prayers expand beyond my circle and to all your people. Humble this soul.

May I be in constant conversation with you God. Never ceasing to lift up a need and always prepared for a response.

God, may I never forget who you are and to praise! Praise, for you are the ultimate judge. Praise, for you are the Healer, Redeemer, Almighty God. Thank you!


A Godly Home

How do you view your home?

Is it a safe haven or just somewhere to sleep? A place to relax or a work area? A crowded space or a lonely cavern? Maybe a little bit of everything?

I have been re-evaluating my own view lately. How much of my perspective is worldly and how much of it aligns with God’s?

God is the Creator

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

Hebrews 3:4

This verse is actually sandwiched in a description of the church. Paul was explaining that although Moses is a beloved servant of the “house”, he did not build it. Christ is greater than he, and God is the builder of everything.

It also is a wonderful reminder that no matter how grand or beautifully decorated my home is or isn’t, I should not focus my admiration on such things. It’s only a house, and no new thing is made without using materials created by the Creator. Nothing is more grand than God’s creation.

Manage the Home Wisely

The wisest of women

builds her house,

but folly with her own hands

tears it down.

Proverbs 14:1

A wise woman will manage her estate in a diligent manner, but the foolish tear it apart. Wise management encompasses everything from finances to faithfulness in marriage. To avoid destructive foolishness, I must fear the Lord for this is beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).

Love the Lord

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7

The home should be a reflection of my love for the Lord. I am not in a suppressed country. I can freely express my faith. However, I should be truly remorseful if someone visited my house and did not know we are committed to Christ.

I’m not saying there should be cutesy “It Is Well With My Soul” signs everywhere (though I have one and it’s absolutely cute). What I’m referencing here is how we tend to our home, how we treat our guests, and the care we show each other.

Furthermore, my husband and I are to raise our children knowing who God is, His love for them, and to understand the power of prayer. A bible should be treasured, never foreign.

These are only a few of the verses on this topic I have been reviewing. God has blessed me greatly as a mother and wife, and it’s dearly important to me I obediently fulfill those roles in a way pleasing to Him. If it was left up to just me, I’d certainly be a fool and destroy it all. I am so grateful God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit for guidance. Praise!

The Joy

Lord, let me rejoice in Jesus Christ.

This world is corrupt. It is full of uncertainty, disease, war, famine, and hatred. Let me not partake in it.

May I turn to you for happiness. May I look to your promises for peace. When I encounter trials, may I find joy in those as well. Praise for perseverance gained!

Let me rejoice in the earthly blessings you have bestowed upon me: a beautiful family, fellowship with other believers, and the majesty of nature.

Help me to refrain from acting out in frustration or anger. Let me find rest instead in your perfect plan. Guide me in obedience, so I may find you on this straight and narrow path.

God, thank you for your Son. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for joy in the Holy Spirit.


Chosen vs Choice

The topic of whether God chooses you or you choose God recently became the table conversation for my family. This is not one of those easy, “scripture says A, so I believe A.” It is an unfortunate “scripture says A and B, and now I don’t know how to function.”

I have always loved how clearly the Bible reads, even to those without seminary education. Yes, there are definitely sections calling for a deeper dive before understanding, but overall God speaks plainly on who He is and on what believers are called to do.

So when originally faced with the question of ‘Did God call you to salvation, or did you come to Christ on your own,’ I was naively presuming the Bible would direct me plainly on this as well. There are two major systems of theology devoted to each, surely one has to be right!

Calvinism proposes only the elect, or people specifically chosen by the Lord, will be saved. There are various texts, especially in the New Testament, directing to this view. For example:

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will

Ephesians 1:4-5

Woah. Chosen before the world was formed? It should be pretty clear I was not around to make a choice at that point. However!

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

You have the faith? God has the grace. This scripture better supports the Arminian theology of man having some ability to choose salvation.

I took scripture from two different books to show a little variety, but if you hunt for key words like elect, chosen, or salvation, you will find seemingly opposing statements like the above paired together. Romans is a fantastic example.

At this point, you are most likely in one of two camps:

  1. You already subscribe to one of these theologies and are waiting for me to agree with you.
  2. This is the first you are really giving this some thought, and frankly, it’s a little upsetting.

I have poured through God’s word. I have read diligently through God’s promises and covenants to those like Abraham and David, tracing the connection to the original chosen. I have dived into the Gospels and Romans, looking closely for key phrases and the context in which they were used.

After this, I have decided it’s both.


God’s holy sovereignty is such He can and does choose people for His will. However, God has also called for action. His grace is for those who obediently act in faith, confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, and then living out a renewed life reflecting such faith and grace. God’s sovereignty is also such He controls our ability to have a choice.

This is as best I can do to explain something I have a very, VERY simple grasp on. I understand it as far as He needs me to.

Truthfully? It does not change what I should do. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned how clearly God speaks on who He is and what believers are called to do.

I am to love the Lord with all my heart. I am to love my neighbor as myself.

These great commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) summarize The Ten. They also are the driving force behind evangelizing, serving, and fellowship. They neatly compact how I am to approach my marriage, parenthood, my work, my hobbies.

I may not understand all the why or the how behind what the Lord does, but I know who He is. Creator. Lord of Hosts. Protector. Savior. Redeemer. One Most High. None are like Him. Holy, Holy is He. He is the Good Shepherd, and I am so thankful and blessed to be of the flock.

The Marriage

Lord, thank you for marriage.

May we glorify you in the way we treat our marriage. Let us not cease to find ways to connect with and show love to our spouses.

Help us to support one another with kindness and tenderness. It can be difficult when you know every single fault, and they know yours. God, I pray we are slow in anger and quick in grace.

Let us stay true to the specific roles you have outlined for husbands and wives. Should we falter, let us be gentle with one another, praying sincerely in love.

As a wife, I pray I may submit to my husband’s leadership and wisdom under the Lord’s guidance. I pray I may be a Helper of strength and compassion.

I pray for my husband to lead our home by placing God first. I pray he loves me as Christ loved the church.

Lord, thank you for marriage. You knew we would need partners upon creation. May our bond be a positive example for our children and others to follow.

Should we struggle, God guide both our hearts back to you.