Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 3): Peace

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today I’ll be continuing in the Fruit of the Spirit series, and this time we’re talking about peace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (bold added)

What does peace mean exactly?

It means freedom from sadness, a calm state. To help you understand how we receive that from God, I’d like to tell you about a man who found peace in his life because of Him.

Prisoner Turned To Peace

Louis Zamperini was a Prisoner of War (POW) during World War 2 after his plane crashed into the ocean and he was captured by the Japanese. For years he suffered in camps run by the Japanese, struggling with hard work, little food, and constant tormenting from the soldiers and officials.

He survived the POW camps and returned to the United States. However, he was still haunted by his experiences at the camp. He had trouble sleeping at night without nightmares and turned to alcohol to help push them away.

His wife, Cynthia, got to the point of demanding a divorce when he couldn’t seem to stop his nightmares and problems.

Then, one night, Cynthia came home from an event she had gone to with a friend and told Zamperini she no longer wanted a divorce. He was shocked and confused, what had happened?

Cynthia had been to a Billy Graham Crusade and had decided to forgive Zamperini, and she soon prodded him to come to one of the Crusades as well. He was reluctant, and the first time he went, he left before it ended. The second time he went, however, everything changed.

That night after the Crusade, Zamperini accepted Jesus into his life. He went home and poured out all of his alcohol and went to bed. For the first time in years, he slept without nightmares. He was no longer tormented by memories of cruel soldiers. He knew Jesus had forgiven him and he could live as a changed man.

Zamperini went on to preach to the Japanese, several of them were soldiers who had hurt him when he was a prisoner, and he forgave them. Zamperini found peace because he heard of what Jesus did on the cross.

Peace In Other Things

We don’t have to have been through a series of traumatic events like Zamperini was to experience peace. Just knowing the Gospel can give us peace.

Paul lists out the armor of God in Ephesians 6. In those verses, He says that,

And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

Ephesians 6:15

Wynter Pitts has some more great words in her book, God’s Girl Says Yes,

It doesn’t matter how big or small your problem is. When you feel yourself starting to worry about something, pray and ask God to help you experience His peace.

Wynter Pitts, God’s Girl Says Yes

In Philippians Paul also says,

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:5-7

Since Jesus was the Ultimate Sacrifice and paid for our sins, we can be with God. And because we know this, we can have peace and trust Him with anything and everything.

The Song 

Here’s a song that relates to our topic today. 

Fear No More – Building 429

The Challenge

Our challenge in response to this is to cast all our worries, anxieties, and fears on Him whenever we need to. This probably sounds a lot like last week’s challenge, but that’s okay! I struggle with praying consistently so having another prayer challenge won’t hurt.

Here are some prayer poins:

  1. Thank Jesus for what He did and how we can have peace in Him.
  2. Pray about your worries and fears.
  3. Finally, close with thanking Him for what you and your family have been blessed with.

Short Announcement

Before I end this post, I wanted to let you guys know that I will be taking a short break from posting from this point until mid-September. However, there will be a new podcast episode on James coming out for Sisters In Christ soon!

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article about peace! I hope you enjoyed and were encouraged. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list to receive three exclusive articles, notifications when I post on the blog, and my monthly newsletter!

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 2): Joy

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today we’ll be continuing our series called the Fruit of the Spirit. Last week, we talked about love. This week, we’ll be talking about joy. Let’s get into it!

Happiness vs. Joy

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23 (Bold added)

When you read this verse, what do you think it means when it lists joy as one of the fruits of the Spirit? Does it mean we need to be happy all the time?

Yes, but not in the way you think. Joy is more permanent than happiness, but it’s not finding joy in worldly things. I can be happy about that chocolate cupcake; I can be happy about the vacation I’m going to take; I can be happy when I talk to my friends. But the joy talked about here goes so much farther than that. 

Wynter Pitts puts it well in her book, God’s Girl Says Yes:

The circumstances of our lives will change all the time, but we can have joy in our hearts because God never changes.

Wynter Pitts, God’s Girl Says Yes

The joy we receive from God is so much better than a funny conversation with our friends or an enjoyable vacation. It’s permanent, eternal, and everlasting. When we love God and seek a relationship with Him, our hearts can overflow with joy.

Happiness can end in an instant. I could drop my cupcake; the vacation could end; my friends may decide they don’t want to be my friends anymore. But that joy in God? That will always be there.

Joy In Suffering

That joy can even carry into hard times. Several writers of the New Testament even say to rejoice in suffering. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved with various trials.

1 Peter 1:6

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

Romans 5:3-4

When the world leaves us in the dust, Jesus is always by our side. He’s there, and He loves us. We can plead, cry, praise, and thank Him. Whatever the circumstance, He’ll always be there.

And because of what He did for us on the cross. Living, dying and rising again so that we could be with Him, He is our eternal joy.

So we can joyfully say with Paul:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 4:4

The Challenge

I challenge you, this week, especially to dive into prayer in finding that joy (again, like last time, I will be trying to do it as well!). Try wrapping these things into your prayer(s):

  1. Thank Jesus for what He did for us.
  2. Ask for joy in God and your relationship with Him.
  3. Ask for your joy to overflow in everyday life.

Try to pray every day, but don’t just say it, commit to it. Write it on a notecard and stick it somewhere you’ll see it during the day. I wouldn’t recommend phone notifications because those rarely work for me. I see the notification and then slide it off my screen and it’s gone! But if you work well with phone notifications, go for it.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article about joy! I hope it was helpful and encouraging for you. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list for notifications when I post, three exclusive articles, and my monthly newsletter.

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Fruit of the Spirit (Pt. 1): Love

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well. Today we are beginning a new series on the blog called the Fruit of the Spirit! In each post, we’ll talk about one or two of the fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 and have a challenge to apply them during the week! To start it off, we are discussing love.

I’d also like to note here there are so many more aspects of love that I can only scrape the surface in this article. However, I hope this article still gives you a general understanding of what godly love really looks like.

Why Love Should Be First

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 (bold added)

I like Paul’s placement of ‘love’ here. It’s right in the front, as it should be. Love is probably the most important fruit to have. Why is love the most important? Because Jesus said it himself!

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40

All of the law comes after these two commandments, and they both include love. Loving God and then loving others will help us live the rest of the law as well. For example, God tells us not to steal. If we love someone, are we going to steal from them? I hope not.

Often people, both Christians and non-Christians, can agree that we should love others, but Christian love is different than worldly love. Natasha Crain points this out in chapter 10 of her book, Talking With Your Kids About Jesus:

Christians strive to love others given God’s standards. The secular world strives to love others given self-defined standards.

Natasha Crain, Talking With Your Kids About Jesus

What are God’s standards? We’ll talk about that next.

The Standard For Love

Jesus speaks about love in Luke 6:27-36, read those verses by clicking here and then come back to this article. 

Here are a few things Jesus said about the people you should love:

  1. They’re enemies
  2. They hate you
  3. They abuse you
  4. They strike you
  5. They take away from you

This is a very high request, but such a good one. In the rest of the passage, Jesus talks about how it’s more beneficial to love those who hurt you. If you love someone who’s nice to you, nothing changes except for having a comfortable relationship. If you love someone who hurts you, you can show them what it means to really love, convict them, and bring them to Christ. In Romans 12, it says:

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 12:20

Nevertheless, loving those who hurt us is hard, and it’s going to take some time and patience for us to get it right. Only God can change our hearts to love, and we have to ask for His help when we feel like we can’t.

Love Leads To The Other Fruits

Another beautiful passage about love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Paul says,

Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We already touched on this when we talked about Jesus and the greatest commandments. However, these verses hone love in on the other fruits of the Spirit as well. We automatically can identify patience and kindness (verse 4), peace in not being resentful (verse 5), and joy and faithfulness (verse 6).

Love is so important for us to grow in our faith; Jesus is a perfect example of love. God loved us so much that He sent His one and only son to die for us so that we could be with Him. Not only that, but we were God’s enemies. We were dirty, evil, unloving sinners that didn’t deserve a thing. But God said, “I’m going to love you anyway, and I’m going to save you because I love you so much.” 

He did save us, and He had to make a huge sacrifice to do so. But, thank the Lord, He is risen and if we believe we are saved!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

That doesn’t mean we aren’t still sinners and that we won’t ever sin again, but because of God’s love for us, we should try to be imitators of Christ. We should be trying to walk in love as Jesus did. We can try to follow all of the other commandments and produce other fruits, but if there isn’t love, it’s nothing.

It’s only when you choose to surrender to Jesus and let His love for you spark a love for Him that a desire to serve God and live for Him will matter.

Sara Barratt, Love Riot

Paul says it himself earlier in 1 Corinthians 13:

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3

It is only with love that you can continue this series with me. It is only with love that these other fruits will mean anything to you. And I know, there will be days when love is hard. Love for God will be hard, love for others will be harder, but we can make it through this. We can love.

The Challenge

So, how do we apply this new knowledge about love? 

  1. Ask

Ask God for both a stronger love for Him and what He did for us and for a better love for others. Pray to Him, get down on your knees and beg if you have to. Just ask.

  1. Analyze

I challenge you this week, after you ask God for love, to read the book of 1 John. I will be doing it as well, since I also need to work on my love. It’s a short letter from John, the disciple of Jesus, and it has 5 chapters. Not every one of those chapters will be about love, but all of it is helpful. You can split it up in the days of the week or you can read it in bigger chunks. Do it at your own pace. If you don’t have a Bible, you can read chapter 1 here.

After you read, don’t just close your Bible and forget about it. Ask questions like, “What does this tell me about God? How can I apply this in my life?”

  1. Act

This is the hardest part, and even as I’m writing this I know it’s going to be a challenge for me as well. However, we need to do it. We (and especially I) can’t speak the word but not do it. So here it is. Two different ways you can act in love this week.

  • A. This week, when you pray for love, also pray for those who have hurt you. Who has been mean to you? Who treated you unfairly or tore you down? Pray for them. 
  • B. With people closer to you, send some messages. Text that friend who you haven’t talked to in a while and tell them how much you appreciate them and would love to talk with them. Send something to a family member and thank them for their love and care. In daily life, be patient and humble, not insisting on your own way.

Think of it as Valentine’s day in July, except it extends for a week (and hopefully for longer than a week) and instead of expecting things from others, we will be giving to others and expecting nothing in return. It’s going to be hard, but it’s also worth it. I know that, especially with my siblings, it’s hard to be loving and kind all the time. But if we have God’s help, we can do it.

Finally, here’s a song that reminds us of the importance of love:

“The Proof of Your Love” – For King & Country

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today for the beginning of this series, the Fruit of the Spirit! I hope you enjoyed and will try out my challenges with me this week. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list to receive three exclusive articles, notifications when I post, and my monthly newsletter that will be going out next Friday!

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Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

The Bible Doesn’t Have To Be Boring

Hello, my friend! Welcome to my blog, and I hope you’re doing well. Today, since we don’t have an Imperishable Inheritance article, we’re going to talk about how to read God’s word without getting bored or sidetracked. To begin, we have a little story from me, let’s get into it!

A Story From Me

After finishing Imperishable Inheritance, I wasn’t sure what I would be writing next. My week began and I debated in my head what I should do.

On Tuesday, I had my online Spanish class. The lesson went well enough, but as we neared the last ten minutes of the class, my teacher asked me to read a story in Spanish. I don’t mean a little one-paragraph story with only dialogue; It was a full-on article, seven paragraphs long, and most of those paragraphs were pretty substantial.

I’d like to take a moment to say, don’t worry, I won’t write my articles in Spanish (For those of you who hoped I would, I’m sorry, no).

I began reading the story, and for the next ten minutes I read the article, mumbling words in a droning voice and not understanding what I was reading at all. I was just trying to survive (I feel like it may have been torture for my teacher too, my Spanish reading voice is not interesting).

The only thing I really got out of the article was that it was about lions and lionesses. I didn’t know anything about the percentages mentioned, what the lions did, or anything like that.

Why am I telling you about my Spanish struggles?

Well, my friend, keep reading.

How Do We Read God’s Word?

When you read the Bible, do you skim or skip? Do you get the main idea and leave the heavy parts that involve hard thinking behind?

The Bible is how we get to know and love God more. If you were trying to start a friendship with someone, would you avoid learning about them? Would you say “I don’t care” when they talk about their likes and dislikes? Probably not. In fact, you’d probably do quite the opposite. As you engage with conversations with your new friend, you would ask them questions, and get to know them and love them.

If Jesus is your friend, do you respond in the same way? Do you search God’s word to learn more about His character? Do you try to figure out what He likes and what He dislikes?

Part of loving God is loving with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. We need to be filling our minds with knowledge of Him, with thoughts about Him. We need to know what He says is right and what He says is wrong because it changes the focus of our lives.

I know, the Bible can be boring sometimes. I recently finished reading the book of Leviticus, and before reading it I had always said things like, “Leviticus is so long and boring” and, “No, not Leviticus.”

But then I started from the book of Genesis and worked my way down through the first books of the Bible, and I got to Leviticus and read through it. Guess what? I survived! 

It won’t kill you, I promise, and it can be very interesting at times too. What we need to do is realize that the Bible isn’t something far off or hard to comprehend. It’s not in a different language like my Spanish article, and we can understand it. But if we don’t put our minds to it and don’t put the effort in, we won’t get anywhere.

A tip I have can be reading it before your day gets chaotic, or after the day is over, or even when you have a break with free time. If you try to read it while the house is crazy and loud, you’re pressed for time, or anything like that, you won’t get a chance to think and meditate on it. You won’t get a chance to understand it.

And even after you’ve finished reading, keep it in the back of your mind! Remember the message you learned in the Bible and try to keep it in your thoughts for the rest of the day. The Bible shouldn’t be something on your to-do list that you check off once, it should be a wonderful time spent with God.

If you’re having a really bad day with reading the Bible, and you just can’t read or meditate on anything, turn to the Psalms. The Psalms are pure praises and pleas to God, and if you look and listen, you can feel real emotion flowing through the words of the psalmists. Their devotion to God is apparent and clear, and if you really meditate on the words you can see what they were getting at too.

Want to see what I mean? Turn to Psalm 148 and take a moment to read it.

A Piece Of The Bible

In this Psalm, there’s a lot of praise going on. And I mean a lot (I counted the number of times the psalmist says ‘praise,’ it’s twelve).

This is just one of many praises to God in the psalms, and this one is calling out to everything to praise the Lord. In just two verses, the psalmist uses the word ‘praise’ five times.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!

Psalm 148:1-2

Indeed, we should praise Him. He created us and He loves us and He sent His son to die for us. And reading and thinking about this psalm is part of learning more about Him to love Him. We see His power, His majesty, His goodness for this praise, all in just fourteen verses.

So if you haven’t done so in a while, pick up your Bible and read. Don’t just read, but really think. Think about what the passage tells you about God and His character and think about ways to apply it. 

You can also challenge yourself! Try reading and studying a book you’ve never read before (or maybe even dreaded)! Don’t be afraid to try because of past failure in reading the book, you can do it!

Final Thoughts

I hope this article was helpful for you. Let me know in the comments or through the contact page what book of the Bible you’ve struggled to get through before, and if you’ll accept my challenge to try again!

If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my email list to receive three exclusive articles about reading the Bible with a friend, notifications when I post, and my monthly newsletter!

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Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline

The Importance Of Context In The Bible

Hello, my friend! I hope you’re doing well. This week I’m moving things away from 1 Peter briefly while I talk about the importance of context. Context is information given to help us understand something fully. In the Bible, it is crucial for you to know the context when reading so that you don’t misinterpret something. Let’s get into it!

A Lesson From Blondies

My mom and I like to make these delicious chocolate chunk blondies for dessert. My mom has made them so many times she’s almost stopped looking at the recipe. This has an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that she can whip them together quickly. The disadvantage is that she can sometimes forget things.

One day she made some blondies, and everything seemed fine when she put them in the oven. However, when we took them out of the oven they not only looked weird but tasted awful. They had a strange grainy and sugary taste, and looked all spotted and speckled.

We wondered what went wrong, and then realized my mom had forgotten the eggs! The eggs are apparently very important in making sure all the ingredients combine properly, and without them the blondies were disgusting. We ended up throwing the batch out, and we always remember the eggs now!

How Does This Relate To The Bible?

You probably think I’m crazy, wrapping blondies into a Bible lesson. However, not only are the blondies good but if you think about, leaving things out of the Bible can be devastating too. Let me give you an example.

And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

Ruth 3:11

Taken out of context, you could interpret this verse in many ways. You could say it’s talking to women, to daughters, to any female. You could say that it means God will do whatever a worthy woman asks. But no, this is like leaving the eggs out of the blondies, that’s not what it means, and taking it out of context like that can ruin its true meaning.

But if you put it back into context and read the chapter the verse is in, you’ll realize that the verse is Boaz talking to Ruth. Ruth has served him well and Boaz is repaying her for her work. These words aren’t spoken to everyone reading the Bible right now, but it is a specific book that plays into the larger story of the Bible.

You can also look at the context of the book itself by using a study Bible and reading the first few verses of the book. Sometimes the book has information about what’s happening when the story is taking place. In Ruth, for example, it says:

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, a man of Bethlehem went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.

Ruth 1:1

From just this verse we can learn that this was written when the judges ruled in Israel, that there was a famine, and who the story is about.

I also highly recommend Jen Wilkin’s book Women Of The Word: How To Study The Bible With Both Our Hearts And Our Minds for further studying the Bible in context and not just pulling out random verses. I have an article about the book here.

So just like with blondies and other baked goods, you have to make sure you have all the ingredients before putting it in the oven. You have to make sure you know where and when the story is taking place before pulling a lesson out of it. That’s the importance of context.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today in this lesson about context! I highly recommend the blondie recipe I mentioned as well as Jen Wilkin’s book. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my email list to receive updates from my blog and my monthly newsletter! You can sign up by going to the home page of my blog. 

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline 

Imperishable Inheritance (Pt. 4): 1 Peter 2:13-25

Hello, friends! Welcome! I hope you’re doing well. I know that at least for me, quarantine seems to be dragging on forever, but I hope you are able to keep busy with something! Today I’ll help you fill a few minutes of your time with this next article on 1 Peter.

Today we’ll be in 1 Peter 2:13-25. You can read the passage here and I do recommend it as we’ll only be able to talk about a few verses in detail.

Submission to Authority

The overall topic of this passage is about submitting to authority. “Submitting,” even though it’s often associated with submitting homework or projects, actually also means yielding to a superior force, or authority. 

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

1 Peter 2:13-15

Don’t Mix Up “Honor” With “Worship”

In verse 17, Peter says:

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

1 Peter 2:17

This may seem strange, why would Peter tell his readers to honor the emperor? Shouldn’t we honor God and no one else?

The word “honor” actually means to have great respect: it doesn’t mean worship. You can respect leaders and their wishes, and that is showing honor. Worshipping is treating someone like a god themselves, and that is wrong if you’re worshipping someone or something other than the one true God. 

This can be taken with anyone else that has authority over someone else. Parents, teachers, leaders: you can honor them, but only to a certain point. When the honor and respect for their wishes starts to point you over to sin, that’s when you must resist. 

When we resist as servants of God, there can be consequences. In verse 20, Peter says:

For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

1 Peter 2:20

If we do good and serve the Lord and suffer for it, it is a “gracious thing in the sight of God.”

Following In Christ’s Steps

For this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21

This is referencing Jesus right before the crucifixion. He was beaten, mocked, and falsely accused, but he never struck back. No matter what suffering we go through, we can follow Christ’s example as Peter writes in verses 22-24. 

And just like Jesus, we will have to face troubles.

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:12-13

 But it is worth it because Jesus did something we could never do- and sacrificed himself for a sinful, broken people.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today on this journey through 1 Peter! If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my email list to receive updates from my blog and my monthly newsletter. If you have any questions or further comments on this passage, don’t hesitate to comment down below or contact me! 

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline 

Imperishable Inheritance (Pt. 3): 1 Peter 2:1-12

Hello friend! I hope you’re doing well. Today we are continuing our journey in 1 Peter while learning about our imperishable inheritance. Let’s get started!

Reading

Today we will be discussing 1 Peter 2:1-12, you can find it in your Bible or click here for an online version in ESV. Before reading this article, I highly recommend reading the passage for yourself at least once.

Overall Picture

I think the first part of 1 Peter 2 is laid out in three sections, and I have come up with names for each of these sections:

1 Peter 2:1-5: The Introduction

1 Peter 2:6-8: The Proof

1 Peter 2:9-12: The Reinforcement 

Let’s go over each section together.

The Introduction

The first few words Peter throws at us are about throwing away all of our terrible and sinful things. In just verse 1 he says:

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

1 Peter 2:1

All these words represent and mean terrible things, but each one is slightly different. “Malice” is simply the desire to do evil. “Deceit” is deceiving or tricking someone about the truth. “Hypocrisy” is telling someone to stop doing something bad, but then doing the same thing yourself at the same time. “Envy” is the extreme of being jealous, wanting what other people want. And finally, “slander” is just saying bad things about a person.

And if we’re being honest, those words only scratch the surface of our sin. However, in the second verse Peter says:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.

1 Peter 2:2

If we long to do good and serve the Lord, throwing away malice, deceit, and all those others will slowly get easier, but not without God’s help. There will be times when we will feel like we want to collapse and give up, and that’s when we can, and should, call out to God for help. We should do that all the time, but it’s in those times of struggle when we really need it.

In verses 4-6, Peter starts saying we should be a “royal priesthood” and living stones of a spiritual house. This is the tie into the next section, the Proof.

The Proof

The first passage Peter references is Isaiah 28:16, which talks about the cornerstone. The cornerstone is Jesus Christ, the foundational stone for all people in their faith. Once we believe in Jesus, we can become living stones, building on top of Jesus’s foundation. 

The other two passages are Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14, and I recommend you not only read the one verse specifically but the verses around it, as to get some context. In Psalm 118, it is beautiful praise to God. In Isaiah 8, it talks about how the people of Israel will stumble. This sounds bad, but if you read the rest of the chapter you’ll realize it’s about waiting for the Lord. And jumping back to 1 Peter 2, it says in verse 8 that:

… They stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do.

1 Peter 2:8

And now that we know that Peter wants his readers to be living stones on top of Christ’s foundation, we come to our final destination.

The Reinforcement 

Verses 9-12 are probably my favorite of passage, especially just 9 and 10.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10

Because Jesus has saved us and become our cornerstone, our foundation, we are free from sin and become God’s chosen people, and we have received the beautiful inheritance of grace and mercy. And now, as newborns with milk, we can pursue to serve God and live a new life like never before.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today in this study of 1 Peter! If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my email list on the home page of the blog, that way you’ll get updates when I post and my monthly newsletter. I’ll see you all next week with another post!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Imperishable Inheritance (Pt. 2): 1 Peter 1:13-25

Hello, friend! Welcome! I hope you’re doing well. Last week we began our discussion of 1 Peter 1, and we talked about what (or who) our living hope is, what we do have when everything else is lost, and standing strong during suffering and trials. If you haven’t read that article, I recommend you do so. Click here to open it.

If you want to read today’s passage you can read it here (1 Peter 1:13-25). I recommend this since I will only be able to discuss a few of the verses in this article and it’s good to have the context in mind.

Verses To Consider

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,

1 Peter 1:13-14

Just like last time, Peter throws a lot of big words at us; let’s break it down.

1. Being Sober-minded

To be sober is to have a clear head, free of intoxicating things. In this case, being sober can be interpreted as being free from sin– clearing our head from unrighteousness.

Being sober-minded, though, is harder than just saying, “I’m going to clear my head of all sin,” because humans naturally want to sin. We get angry, jealous, upset for silly reasons– there’s no doubt about it: we’re sinful.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

So how do we be sober-minded if we automatically sin? That brings us to the next point.

2. Set Your Hope Fully

I love the use of the word “fully” here; “Fully” means “all” or “completely.” We are to set our hope fully on God’s grace, given to us by Jesus’s sacrifice. 

Since we have been saved by grace, the Holy Spirit begins working through us, teaching us how to become more holy. The Holy Spirit does this through God’s word, the Bible, which goes back to why reading the Bible is important. Through God’s sovereign word we can learn so much about how we should live and the story of our faith as a whole.

We should also hope and trust in God completely. We can’t trust in the news, the doctors, the government, jobs, especially right now during COVID-19. But we can trust in God’s amazing gift of grace.

Let’s go back to Romans 3. Paul says that all have sinned in verse 23, but do you know what he says in verse 24?

And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Romans 3:24

We have an amazing gift of grace, and we should put our hope fully in that, reading the Bible and trusting God with our lives.

3. Former Ignorance

This goes back to being sober-minded, but it also is about when you come to your faith. When you come to faith, you might think, “I’m saved by grace so I can do whatever I want.”

But no, that’s not how it works.

When we’re saved, we don’t just keep sinning. We commit ourselves to our new faith, our new lives, and try to live as born again Christians. Sadly, though, this is easier said than done. 

Personally, I know this is what I should do- but I don’t always do it. I read the Bible (though not consistently), go to (or watch) church, and do a lot of those normal Christian sorts of things. However, I still sin, probably every single day, and I often don’t think twice about it. 

If you’re like me, you may have the same problem. So I want to challenge you, for the next week, to pray for at least two minutes every day and evaluate yourself for common sin in your life. Let me know if you’ll be participating in the comments below! In next week’s article, I’ll ask you how you did!

Imperishable Seeds

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living word of God,

1 Peter 1:23

Our imperishable inheritance given to us by Jesus’s sacrifice is truly the only thing that matters. I hope that we can all remember that, especially now.

Final Thoughts (& A Look Ahead)

Next week we’ll be taking a break from 1 Peter and I’ll be doing a recommended song list! Last time I did one it was “My Top 7 Encouraging Songs For Tough Times.” Soon after posting it I found plenty of other songs that could have also gone in that list, so I’ll be doing a part 2! Stay tuned!

Thank you for joining me today in this study of 1 Peter! If you want to receive updates when I post and my monthly newsletter, you can sign up for my email list: either by the pop-up or on the home page of the blog! I’ll see you next week.

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Imperishable Inheritance: 1 Peter 1:1-12

Hello, friend! I hope you are doing well. I know the coronavirus is probably causing a lot of frustration, struggle, and fear, but I hope that this article will bring you what we all need: good news.

Today we are beginning our discussion of 1 Peter. You can read the first chapter here; we will be discussing parts of the first 12 verses. This book is very fitting for this time, and in a moment you will see why.

Target Audience

1 Peter is written by the apostle Peter, who was a disciple of Jesus Christ while He walked on the earth. 1 Peter is a letter to the persecuted Christians, “…in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”

No, I’m not going to make you go find those places on the map today, I just want you to realize they were in a foreign, hostile land. They were being persecuted there because of their faith, and Peter’s letter was meant for encouragement in staying strong in their faith despite that.

We aren’t being persecuted, but we are definitely struggling during this time and need to trust God more than ever. 

Verses To Think About

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

In these verses, Peter throws a lot at us, so let’s break it down.

1. Born Again

Being “born again” as Peter says is to have a fresh start, a new life. Jesus talks about this same concept to Nicodemus the Pharisee in John 3. Nicodemus is confused by Jesus’s use of the word “born” and asks how a man could possibly go back into his mother’s womb. Jesus answers, 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

John 3:5-6

What Jesus is speaking about is a spiritual rebirth, not physical rebirth. Being born again is putting our trust in Jesus and what He did for us: His death and resurrection so that our sins could be washed away. With our sins washed away, we are born again with a clean slate.

2. Living Hope

Now that we know what being born again means, what about the “to a living hope” part? Let’s start with hope. 

Before Jesus died for us, eternity with God was far off. The people in the Old Testament had animal sacrifices for their sins, but that was never meant to be a permanent arrangement.

Jesus came and became the Ultimate Sacrifice. He died for us so that we could be born again, and in doing so He became our hope. Without him, we were lost in the darkness, with almost no way to be with God, and Jesus gave us hope.

Not only that, but Jesus rose again, He is alive! That’s where “living” comes in. Jesus isn’t only our hope, but He’s our living hope!

3. Our Inheritance

To inherit something is to have something passed on to you. In verse 4, Peter talks about inheriting salvation through Jesus Christ. Paul talks about something similar in Romans 8:

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs– heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:16-17

Not only do we inherit this great gift, but the inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It cannot die, it cannot be spoiled, and it cannot fade over time. 

We shouldn’t expect this inheritance on earth; just because there is mention of greater things to come doesn’t mean it comes here and now. We will struggle and suffer, and not everything will be easy.

Current Struggles

Though we struggle, we always have God with us.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith– more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire– may be found to result in praise and glory and revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:6-7

This doesn’t mean God is trying to hurt us and make us fall away, but if someone genuinely trusts God, they stand with Him through these trials. 

These struggles also won’t last forever, as Paul says in Romans 8:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:18

We can get through these current times, but only if we trust in God to help us. And of course, remember:

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:8

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today! I hope that this article has helped to encourage you. There is so much more I want to say about 1 Peter, which is what we’ll be talking about for the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Book Review: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

Hello, friend! I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family. Today we have a very special post, as it’s my first book review! This post will probably be shorter than most, but believe me, this book is good!

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible With Both Our Hearts And Our Minds lays out the perfect strategy for any person to use, not just women. It starts by listing out ways we can study and interpret the Bible incorrectly, and honestly, I qualified in many of the categories she listed.

Jen Wilkin doesn’t leave us hanging with the new idea that our study is wrong. She then explains what she calls the “Five P’s of Sound Study.” They are: Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process, and Prayer. 

In each chapter, she goes over how to use each “P” in steps that are easy to understand. Closer to the end of the book, she shows an example of how to use all five “P’s’ together, a helpful tool after all the information she gives you.

Why We Need This Sound Study

Throughout the entire book, Jen Wilkin supports the idea that loving God means also knowing God. If we love something or someone, we often want to know the person or thing better. 

As we grow in the knowledge of God’s character throughout the study of the Word, we cannot help but grow an exponentially greater love for him.

Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word

Reading and studying the Bible is how we learn about God, and learning about God helps us see how great He really is. 

If you’re worried about simply understanding the Bible, this book goes over that too! She gives you tips for comprehending what you read, and then how to study and apply it. 

She also has her own Bible studies you can buy on her website here if you want some help getting started. 

What’s Happening Next?

I will be using the strategies explained in this book in future articles about Bible passages. The first book I’ll be going through is 1 Peter, so I encourage you to go buy Jen Wilkin’s book and read some of 1 Peter to prepare!

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading this book review! I hope you want to go read the book yourself now, and I hope that it will help you figure out how to study the Bible, especially if you’ve struggled with doing that for a while. I’ll see you next week!

Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline