There Is No Purpose Without God

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today, I’d like to talk to you about purpose and meaning in life. Do we have a purpose in life? Or is all lost? Keep reading to hear my thoughts on it!

If the Lord Isn’t In It, It Will Fail

I got the idea for this article from a song I was listening to recently. The song was called “Build the House” by Ross King. The first two lines of the chorus explain the meaning of the song pretty clearly.

If the Lord don’t build the house
It'll fall down

This song repeats the idea that no matter what we do, if we don’t do it with God we will fail and it will be in vain.

But what does the Bible say about things being in vain?

Is It All In Vain?

King David, in Psalm 103, speaks of man and how fleeting life is. 

As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

Psalm 103:15-16

We may become great or important or flourish in this life, but we still can’t escape death. Death will come eventually, unless Jesus returns before then, and we will pass away and be gone. 

Solomon, the son of David and ruler after him in Israel, wrote the whole book of Ecclesiastes trying to figure out the meaning of life. Ecclesiastes is a hard book to get through, since Solomon essentially goes through the list of anything that could make a person happy and says, “This is in vain too.” He concludes that everything is in vain, nothing will last, and everyone will eventually die. 

However, there is a positive note at the end. Our days may be like grass, and all may seem to be in vain, but there is still hope. 

God Lasts Forever

The very next verse in Psalm 103 speaks of a truth that reassures us.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,

Psalm 103:17

All is vanity without God. All is lost without God. All is meaningless without God. 

That’s why we need God. We need God to give us purpose. We need God to give us reason. We need God to keep us going. We don’t belong to this world and its passions and treasures. Though we can experience the world, we are not of the world and shouldn’t cling to it too closely. 

Jesus said in Matthew 6:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

Everything on earth will pass away, but we can put our hope in Jesus and lay our treasures in what’s to come, not what’s happening now. 

What does this mean our purpose is, though?

To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain

Our trust in Jesus gives us a reason to hope for something better after death, but what does that mean now, in life? The apostle Paul faced this very question and decision while in prison writing a letter to the Christians in Philippi. He wrote:

For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which shall I choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.

Philippians 1:21-24

Paul here is trying to decide between dying and going to be with Jesus or continuing to serve Christians and witness the gospel to unbelievers. Paul seems to believe that heaven with Jesus would be better than his situation on earth, whatever it may be, and I’m sure he is right. Heaven does sound a lot better than what we have to experience on earth.

However, Paul comes to a decision in writing this letter. He concludes:

Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Philippians 1:25-26

Paul decides that his work and his fight to keep going on earth is better for those around him at the moment than death is. He decides to continue on his journey to glorify God and spread the good news.

What can we learn from this? Well, Jesus gives us hope after death, but He also gives us a reason and purpose to live our lives.

At the end of Ecclesiastes, Solomon concludes:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

And in 1 Corinthians Paul repeats something similar to what he wrote in Philippians:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Our purpose is to glorify God, know God, and enjoy God. We have a hope in Jesus Christ, and it should be spread and shared and enjoyed. We don’t have to fear the things of this world: the trials, the temptations, the worries, the fears, or even death because Jesus has already won the war. We can build our house on the solid rock of the gospel and know that through every part of life God is with us and we have reason to sing and learn and live. 

Learning to glorify God in everything is something that will take time, maybe even our entire lifetimes, to master. However, we can take joy in learning how to do it because we have such a great hope in such a great God.

So there you have it: we have purpose in God. How will you glorify God, even in something small, today? 

Final Thoughts & Resources

Thank you for reading today’s article! I hope you enjoyed or learned something from it. If you want to listen to “Build the House” by Ross King, I’ll have the song along with one or two other resources from Desiring God related to today’s topic linked below. Also, if you want to hear more from me and get updates when I post, please consider subscribing to my email list! The form for that will also be below.

Ask Pastor John – What Is the Meaning of Life?

Ask Pastor John – To Live Is Christ — What Does That Mean?

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Holding On Through Times of Suffering

Hey there! Welcome back to my blog. Today, I’ve got a special guest post from one of my closest friends, Luella. In this article, she will break down how suffering is ultimately for our benefit and how we should respond, while drawing examples from a special person’s life. Who is that person? Well, I’m not the one writing today, so don’t look at me, just keep reading!

~~~

When was the last time that you were in a place of hardship or suffering?

The past week, month, or even a few years?

There was a clockmaker who was quite familiar with suffering and her name was Corrie ten Boom. If you don’t know who she is, she was a Dutch woman who was born on April 15, 1892 and endured hardships she faced during both World War I and World War II.

Now, Corrie was a simple and quite frankly, ordinary Dutch woman whose days were not spent doing very exciting things. She would go for a walk with her father, get the daily supplies, tend the watch shop, help repair the watches, and in the evenings, spend time with her family reading the Bible. However, God was using her in the ministry of teaching the Bible to the mentally disabled and housing those without a home in the small village of Haarlem, Netherlands.

The Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940 and Corrie got involved with God’s calling for her to protect His people. Helping the Jews was a massive and dangerous undertaking because while God wanted to protect His chosen people, the Nazis wanted the extermination of them. Protecting the Jews often resulted in great punishment in prison camps. 

Even though God could have protected her from the fate she was about to face, He knew what was best for Corrie. He allowed her to be imprisoned along with her whole family to protect the eight Jews she was keeping in her house. By the Lord’s grace, all of the Jews she hid in the secret room were not found! 

Through her grueling experiences in three different prisons and all of the things that happened in them, good and bad, the Lord still kept a close watch over her life. In her story, we learn why God allows suffering, how He uses our hard situations to bless us and others, and in what ways we should respond to our own suffering.  

Ground Rules 

Let me just lay out some of the ideas and theologies I will be using throughout this article so that we’re on the same page.

Suffering and struggle in life doesn’t mean God isn’t in control of what is going on or that He is maliciously letting us suffer; instead, He is giving us room to grow and deepen our character and relationship with Him. God knows exactly what needs to happen in our lives to produce the kind of character we are lacking. Most often He does that through hard experiences, as we’ll see with Corrie.

With that said, let’s get back to her!

Why God Allows Suffering

Sure, Corrie had a great faith before the trials she went through, but God gave her the experience she needed to put even more trust in Him and an even more profound passion for spreading the gospel.

While she was helping the Jews find safe places to stay, God was shaping her reliance on His strength and His provisions that she would otherwise not have had. Later, she would be in situations where what God had supplied her with in past experiences would be put to good use. In our lives and in Corrie’s life, His gifts often come in strange packages and always at the right time.

How God Uses Our Suffering to Bless Others

Not only will our suffering shape us into the person God wants us to be, but will also be a tool He uses to skulpt other people’s lives at the same time! Through Corrie’s time in the Underground, the secret revolution against the Germans, her head was always on a swivel and she was scared for the lives of everyone she was protecting, for her family, and herself if they were ever found out.

Despite that, in that time of dread and trusting God, she rescued eight-hundred Jews! Even in her darkest hours in prison, the love of Jesus was still her lifesaver and she tried very hard to get past her own suffering to help others. 

During her time in person, she and her sister Betsie would hold prayer, worship, and Bible studies whenever they could and God would always provide them with the supply of strength, translators, and also peace from the guards. An example of this is the story of them and the fleas.

God is Ultimately Glorified in Our Suffering

Have you or your pet experienced or even just heard a story of how awful fleas are? Fleas are little insects that live and love to burrow their little icky heads into a host and drink their blood until they look like a swollen balloon. Ravensbruck prison, where Corrie and Betsie were staying at this point in their story, was infested with them! Their cots, clothes, blankets, and themselves were all stricken by these little demons of pain and infection, but they too served God’s purpose. 

Somehow, Corrie and Betsie would go uninterrupted while teaching others about Christ and helping them. That was because the guards detested the fleas and would never go into the room to ever find their prison ministry. How incredible God is to find such a clever way to use suffering for His children’s good! 

After the war, Corrie fulfilled the prophetic vision Betsie had told Corrie before she died of making a sanctuary for people who went through the horrors of prison. Corrie could personally relate to all of them since she had gone through the same thing. She also traveled the world telling people about the hardships and trials they went through, but also how God brought them through it all.

Though she died in April of 1983, her story has continued throughout the world to comfort those who are hurting and are equipping those who haven’t yet experienced pain like that with the courage they need to fight when it comes. One of the people Corrie had influenced with her story was Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni is paralyzed from the neck down due to a diving accident and battled with depression for many years because of it. A few years into her new condition a friend gave her Corrie’s first book, The Hiding Place, which gave her hope in her suffering and the power to move onto what God had for her. 

Suffering Opens Opportunities 

This one will make your toes curl, but oddly enough, our suffering opens opportunities we would not otherwise have. Knowing what a certain type of suffering entails will open opportunities for God to work through you to help others who are or have gone through that same suffering.

As I have already mentioned, Corrie opened a house for prison survivors and truly helped them to forgive their guards or fellow countrymen who betrayed them. When we are in that suffering, God still uses it to benefit others! All of the eight-hundred Jews who Corrie assisted in saving were saved in a time of their distress, but at the same time she put herself into their suffering.

All of our suffering points to God and how He is using this time to prepare us for eternity with Him in heaven, where there will no longer be pain and suffering.

You see now, God is exemplified in the anguish we go through! He desperately wants us to have a relationship with Him and sometimes He uses our suffering to dip our toes into the world without Him. When we finally realize we need to run back to His grace, He doesn’t turn us away because we didn’t love Him before, but opens His arms to give us a warm embrace. Then He’ll sit you down to tell you how He was using the hurt to bring a certain characteristic we needed for our future along with a story of how He loved us way before we were even born.

The love we see Him pour out on us is the love of a great Father who, no matter the circumstances, will always do the best thing for His child.

Closing

With all of those things in mind we now ask, “How then am I supposed to deal with suffering?” There are three things I’ll leave you with.

First, our suffering is ultimately for our good. All God wants is for us to be is fruitful and sometimes that fruit is made with a freeze, like how tulips have to be planted before winter so their bulb will break in the winter and produce a dashing flower in the spring. 

Second, God may even plant some other bulbs in our life that we can help show how there is a time coming where they too will become beautiful flowers, like dahlias.

And finally, those flowers may be used in a bouquet or in a pot or simply left to grow for people passing by, and they will be used for a greater purpose. 

We shouldn’t be viewing our trials as trivial; instead, we should look at them the way James describes them in James 1:2-4:

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 1:2-4 NASB

You Are Not Your Sin

“I’m a horrible person.”

“I’m supposed to be a Christian– why did I say that?”

“This sin is too much and it’s too hard. I can’t give this up. It’s part of me.”

How many times have you allowed thoughts like that to slip into your mind? Your heart? How many times have you told yourself you’re beyond help?

We’re sinful human beings. Even though we try, we often still make mistakes and fail. It’s easy to hide behind your failure and say things like that– whether it’s only in our head or aloud. 

But today I’d like to echo an important truth to you. A truth that came to me through a fiction book.

The Book

I’ve been reading a lot of books by one particular author recently. See, I was looking for historical fiction recommendations because it’s a genre I’m curious about writing, and the best way to start working on that is reading it.

Someone recommended a couple of trilogies by Roseanna M. White: Shadows Over England and The Codebreakers.

I really liked the books.

If I had to describe the genre, it’d be Christian historical fiction romance. Usually, there’s not just a struggle between the two characters’ relationship, but also a struggle with faith and God. The first book in the Shadows Over England series, A Name Unknown, might be my favorite of all of them. And that might be partly because Peter Holstein, one of the main characters, is a writer.

Set just before World War I in England, Peter Holstein, with a German last name and family, has to prove that he’s loyal to England before it’s too late. Rosemary Gresham arrives one day, undercover as a librarian, and is quickly hired by Peter to help clean up his library and find some documents to prove his loyalty. Rosemary, however, is really a thief hired to find evidence against Peter. Though, knowing the genre I just stated, of course something else happens instead.

This book was really well written, and if you read it, you can see the sharp contrast between Peter and Rosemary. Peter is a writer, and that’s partly because he has trouble speaking and finds it easier to express himself on paper. He usually speaks little and slowly, and when he’s uncomfortable or nervous he’ll stammer. Rosemary, however, arrives, and after just a few minutes on the job Peter asks if she always talks so much, which makes for some entertaining interactions.

This book, though fiction, did have some important truths in it. At the end of the book, when Peter has proposed to Rosemary, an important exchange goes on between them. Rosemary thinks, in a way, that she isn’t worthy of Peter’s love.

How can you? How can you want me, knowing what I am?

Rosemary Gresham, A Name Unknown

This question cuts deep. She not only refers to herself as ‘what’, but she also doubts Peter and wonders how he could love her.

But Peter responds: 

That’s not… not who you are. It’s just… something you did.

Peter Holstein, A Name Unknown

Peter’s words, though few, are huge. He points out that the sin Rosemary committed isn’t who she is. He separates the person from their past. 

That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

You Are Not Your Sin

Just because you have bad habits and make mistakes doesn’t mean that sin owns you or has power over you. It doesn’t mean that you’re beyond help or that Jesus doesn’t love you too. 

In fact, the Bible speaks specifically on this topic. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Romans 6:17-18

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:4-7

Christ has set us free from sin and death. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are children of God, made in His image, and have the gift of grace through Jesus. 

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

You are not your sin. You are not stuck. You are not worthless. 

If you believe in Jesus and what He has done for you:

You are free.

You are a child of God.

You are saved.

That is the identity we should be taking on. No matter how many times we fail, we are not our sin, because of Jesus.

Should We Stay In Sin?

Just because we are free from sin doesn’t mean we should say, “Oh, you know what, since Jesus has saved me I can basically do whatever I want!”

See, there’s a balance between following the law and doing good works and being justified by Jesus Christ. Ultimately, Jesus has saved us. We can never do enough works or keep enough rules to be saved on our own.

However, this doesn’t mean we go and be crazy. In fact, quite the opposite. Because Jesus has saved us, we are born again Christians. We should be trying to do better and be better because of what Jesus has done for us.

But we’re going to fail. We’re going to mess up. And that’s okay, because we have our Savior to fall back on and be encouraged to try again.

I’d recommend reading the book of Galatians for more on this topic. Yes, the whole book, but it’s only six chapters. I could give you a bunch of single verse scripture quotations, but I think it’s better that you just read it for yourself. You can find chapter one online here, and you should be able to find the rest of the chapters on that same site, Bible Gateway.

Loving Others

I think it’s important that we learn from the character Peter in A Name Unknown. He separated Rosemary from her past sins and mistakes, and we should too when conversing with others. Love the person, not their sin. 

When loving a person, you don’t have to approve of what they’re doing. You just have to be there and love them for who they are, not what their sin is.

This can be challenging, especially if the person believes their sin is part of themselves, or even denies that it’s a sin altogether. But who did Jesus reach out to?

The sinners.

The tired.

The broken.

And when He died for us, He freed us from that sin so that we can be righteous, redeemed, and healed.

Shouldn’t we show that to others, no matter what their sin is?

Remember, you are not your sin, and they aren’t their sin either.

I know that this is hard to implement, especially when some of us are still unable to go many places or converse with many people. I also know that I can probably do better in this aspect as well. But that’s another great part of Christianity: the body of Christ. Not only do we have Jesus to fall back on, but also Christian friends and family to support and encourage us as well.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading today’s article! If you’d like to hear more from me and get notified when I post an article, please consider subscribing to my email list. You can unsubscribe at any time. I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time.

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Have a blessed day, 

~Caroline

Easter 2021: Reflections On God’s Love

What do you think of when Easter comes around?

The world has ways of celebrating it with Easter bunnies, egg hunts, and chocolate.

And though chocolate is good, that’s not the point of Easter. 

The point of Easter is celebration, thanksgiving, and praise to God for Jesus.

John 3:16, one of my favorite verses and essentially the Gospel in a nutshell, says:

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

In this article I’d like to focus on that word ‘loved’ and help remind you of what Easter really means.

God First Loved Us

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:10

From the very beginning, we have been choosing other things over God. We have always been this way– thinking we know best and taking matters into our own hands.

And this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, and the people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

John 3:19

We chose the darkness. Sometimes, we still choose the darkness.

But God… He first loved us. He first chose us.

God’s Love Was Planned

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Hundreds of years before Jesus walked the earth, prophets spoke of Him. They prophesied everything from where He would be born to what He would do. 

God knew we would fail. He knew we wouldn’t ever be able to be enough on our own. He knew we would make mistakes again and again. 

That’s also why He sent the ultimate sacrifice.

God Sent His Son

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 5:7-8

We’re a mess.

We choose darkness over light.

We choose sin over righteousness. 

We choose earthly desires over God.

And yet, God loved us so, so much He sent His son to die for us. And though we still make mistakes and still choose those things over God sometimes, He still loves us and the hope we have still stands.

Jesus’s death shouldn’t be taken for granted either, nor should the things he went through before His death.

Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, mocked, beaten, accused of sins He never committed, sentenced to death, had nails driven into His hands and feet, hung on a cross, and died. 

He knew this had to happen, but that didn’t make it any easier. While He was praying before his arrest, Luke says:

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Luke 22:44

He knew what was coming, and though it would be hard, He said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

He didn’t run or fight back or return to heaven, rather, He knew what God’s will was and went silently to fulfill it.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

God’s Love Will Never Let You Go

Our lives can change in an instant.

Our lives can end in an instant.

But we have an amazing, imperishable, everlasting, great hope.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

That love God showed us when He sent Jesus to die for us will never leave us. Even if we lose everything– God is still there, and He loves you.

This Easter

This Easter, remember how God showed His love for you. Remember what Jesus did. And don’t just dismiss it– pray, praise, and reflect. This holiday and event in history is one of the most important parts of our faith. It’s why we don’t have to worry about being perfect. It’s why we’re okay to stumble. It’s why we have this confidence in life.

Because we know, no matter what, Jesus has saved us. 

Since, therefore, we have been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Romans 5:9-11

Let us rejoice this Easter.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this article! I hope it was encouraging or helped you in some way. Let me know if there’s any way I can serve you as we near Easter Sunday; even though we have Jesus as our hope, life can still be hard. If you need a prayer or words of encouragement, don’t hesitate to email me at live2thelord@gmail.com or through the Contact page on this blog.

Have a blessed day and wonderful Easter,

~Caroline

P.S. Here’s A Song

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently that especially fits this Easter article:

Thank You Jesus for the Cross – Life Worship

Hope in the New Year: 2020 Wasn’t All Bad

Hi, friend! Happy New Year!

Can you believe it’s 2021? It’s crazy to look back at 2020 and wonder how it could go so fast and yet so slow at the same time. It’s also crazy to think about all that happened this previous year as well.

I’ve heard several people talking about their opinions of 2020 as a whole, and many are angry, upset, and ready to move on. However, today I’d like to point out that 2020 wasn’t all bad.

That’s right. The year 2020, though it was challenging, wasn’t all bad.

Curious? Great, let’s get into it.

Our Lives Put On Hold

The virus hit and suddenly our lives were thrown upside down. We were told to wear masks, do this thing called “social distancing”, hand sanitize constantly, and stay home.

It was stressful and hard during those first weeks of lockdown, but then it just kept going and going. Even now, depending on where you are, there are still rules in place concerning your health and how many people can be inside a building at the same time.

When the lockdown happened, our lives were, in a way, put on hold. Schools closed, churches went online, activities were cancelled, etc. It was as if someone had turned off the lights of our lives, and we were scrambling around in the dark, disoriented and stressed.

But what if those lights turning off did more than leave us lost? 

A Reset That Led To Realization

Let’s be honest, 2020 was hard.

I don’t want you to ignore that or ignore the pain and grief you may be going through because of what happened this year. 

But should we look back on 2020 and think that nothing good came out of it?

I don’t think so, because through our hardest struggles of 2020, God was still working. He used this year to help people realize that they aren’t in control of what happens. They can have a high social status, be skilled in a sport, and doing well in school, but all of that can be taken away.

And God? He’s still there. He’s the one who matters. 

The lights seemed to go off for a little while, yes, but God was working. He helped us realize what we needed to be rooted in. We needed (and still need) to be rooted in the Gospel, because in the end, that’s what really matters.

So now, as we move forward into 2021, I think it’s better for us to think about the good that came out of 2020 and what we should be thankful for, rather than the bad and what we lost.

I’m thankful for our current level of technology that allows us to stay connected despite distances, my friends and family who were by my side through this year, that we do have this hope in Jesus, and that we can trust Him in everything.

What about you? What are you thankful for?

What Does 2021 Look Like?

I doubt that with the New Year everything is changing for the better, because we’re not out of the storm yet.

However, we can use the New Year as a chance to be thankful and grateful for what God has given us and remind ourselves to be rooted in Him and not in the things of this world.

In 1 Peter 1, Peter tells us about our living hope.

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, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 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 honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:3-7

Our hope and inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. Worldly things, however, are perishable, can be defiled, and fade. Isn’t it better to set our hope in Jesus?

You can see a more thorough study of these verses in this post:

Imperishable Inheritance: 1 Peter 1:1-12

What I’m Doing For 2021

I’ll be starting a new Bible reading plan with my mom called the Legacy Bible Reading Plan. It assigns you books each month (along with Psalms and Proverbs) so that you can take it at your own pace.

Other than that, and maybe coming up with some with some ideas for this blog and my writing, I don’t have many plans for the New Year. What about you? Do you have a Bible reading plan for this year? Any New Year’s Resolutions? Let me know in the comments below or through the Contact page!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, 2020 was hard, but it wasn’t all bad. A much-needed reset and refocus came out of 2020, and helped us remember that God is in control, not us, and we need to be rooted in and focused on Him.

Thank you for reading today’s article! If you have any feedback or ideas for this blog for 2021, let me know! I hope you have a happy New Year!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Encouraging Songs:

Way Maker – Leeland

Living Hope – Phil Wickham

The Joy of Christmas: Celebrating In 2020 (+Book Review)

Hello, my friend! Merry Christmas!

Today, despite all the festivities and fun you might be having, I’d like to remind you who Christmas is all about and wrap it into a special review of a book I’ve been reading this holiday season. Ready? Let’s get into it.

A Brief Book Review

During this Advent season, I have been reading David Mathis’s devotional called The Christmas We Didn’t Expect: Daily Devotions for Advent, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Mathis has covered the craziness and the unexpectedness of all the different aspects of Jesus’s birth and has reminded me constantly that this day is about Jesus.

If we push past the Santa Claus movies, crazy Christmas decorations, and the stress of gift-giving, and go all the way back down to the core of Christmas, we find Jesus. 

We find Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. 

We find Jesus lying in a manger. 

We find Jesus visited by shepherds and wise men. 

We find Jesus, the Son of God.

We find Jesus, the man who saved us all. 

Mathis lays that out in brief but powerful chapters for each day of Advent. Each devotion also has a beautiful closing prayer that helps guide you to speak with God after what you just read. I think I will be using this devotional next year as well, and I highly recommend you check it out too. 

The Good News

To quote Mathis’s devotional:

The real magic of Christmas is not in gifts and goodies, new toys and familiar traditions, indoor coziness and outdoor snow. What lies at the heart of Christmas, and whispers even to souls seeking to “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), is the most stunning and significant fact in the history of the world: that God himself became one of us.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 11

Jesus came into the world in such a humble setting and He even went beyond that beginning and humbled Himself to the point of death for us (Philippians 2:8).

You know what else is great about Christmas, especially this year?

In the midst of the world’s troubles: the pandemic, family, finances, etc., we can still celebrate. Why? We can still celebrate because Jesus is worth celebrating. Even when our traditions go out the window, we suffer from loss and grief, and question this year as a whole, Jesus is worth celebrating.

The meaning of Christmas is not just that he was born among us but that he came to die for us. He came to secure for us eternal saving benefits.

The Christmas We Didn’t Expect, p. 141

Maybe you physically or mentally can’t celebrate Christmas this year because it just hurts too much, doesn’t feel right, or something or someone is missing. However, there is good news. When the angels appeared to the shepherds that glorious night, they said,

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

Cling to that good news today and ask God to give you joy in celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. Remember also the words of James when in trials and struggles:

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

Even if we can’t have fun traditions, see family, or have the Christmas we want, we can still have and celebrate the Christmas we didn’t expect: the Christmas when God came down to ultimately give us the greatest gift of all. What is that great gift? Or should I say who is that great gift?

That great gift is Jesus, who saves people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Have a blessed Christmas, 

~Caroline

Songs For Celebration & Encouragement

Truth I’m Standing On – Leanna Crawford

Emmanuel You’re One Of Us – Rend Collective

Hope Has A Name – Passion

Today Is The Saviour’s Day – Rend Collective

Thanksgiving Challenge (+ What Have I Been Up To?)

Hey, friend!

I know, it’s been a while. You might be struggling to remember who I am and, if you’re subscribed to my email list, why you’re receiving a notification for the first time in weeks. I apologize for not posting. I went on vacation with my family and didn’t get back into it, and a few other things have been occupying my time, which I’ll talk a bit about in this post along with some thoughts about the holidays!

To start off, what have I been doing? 

What I’ve Been Doing #1: School

If you’ve read my homeschool post, you know that I’m homeschooled and have been for years. That doesn’t make high school easier though. School still takes up a lot of my time, can be challenging, and isn’t exactly something I can get out of doing. 

What I’ve Been Doing #2: NaNoWriMo

NaNo what now? Don’t worry if you’re confused– most people who aren’t writers are when someone mentions this funny acronym.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every year during the month of November, and writers everywhere race to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s exciting, fun, and at times exhausting. You have to write approximately 1.6k words a day, and depending on how fast you write and how prepared you are, that can take a while.

Since I have this in here, you probably know what I’m going to say next: I’ve been doing it! I’m writing a fantasy novel, and there are just a few days left! 

Now let’s talk about the holidays.

Let’s Be Joyful

I know the holidays are coming up soon and how they’re going to be for each person this year is going to vary greatly on where you live, how your family feels about Covid, and what’s been going on. For some of us, it’s going to be hard. For others, it will be joyous.

But here’s a piece of hope for all of us: we don’t have to stop celebrating just because things aren’t what they were last year. We have a choice. We can choose joy in Jesus and celebrate the gifts He has given us and His coming, or we can choose the opposite and focus on everything that went wrong this year. 

I recently heard a really good song that was sung at my church. It’s called “Set My Heart” by Vertical Worship. Here are a couple of lines that have such great meaning:

"I believe You're moving even now,
Right here, right now.”

Jesus is moving even when we don’t see it. He’s moving and working even when things look hopeless, when the pressure is crushing us, when everything seems to be falling around us.

Jesus is there. He is there. He has saved us and we are free indeed. 

Thanksgiving Challenge

If you’re in the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving! I know this post is going out on what is technically Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean thankfulness has to end there! In the comments of this post, write down 1-3 things that you’re thankful for. They can be big or small: I’d love to hear from you!

Here are three things I’m thankful for this year to start it off:

  1. My parents for supporting me and working so hard to take care of me and my siblings.
  2. My online best friends for being there especially during the hard parts of the year.
  3. Lots of good food. Isn’t it great that God gave us so much variety? 

Go ahead and post your thankfulness and praises down in the comments below!

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed, and please consider, if you haven’t already, subscribing to my email list to receive notifications when I post, three exclusive articles, and my newsletter when it comes out! I’ll be trying to get back into a blogging routine as NaNoWriMo comes to an end, so stay tuned! Happy (late) Thanksgiving! 

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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

This Is Our Imperishable Inheritance

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog. I hope you’re doing well! Today we are wrapping up our Imperishable Inheritance series. We’ve been in 1 Peter for a while, and while it’s sad to see this series end, it’s also exciting that we’ve made it! Let’s hop into it today.

Imperishable Inheritance Pt. 7 (The Final Part)

Here is the passage for today’s article:

1 Peter 5

Remember to read it yourself before continuing on in this article!

The Main Point

I think the main point of this final section of 1 Peter is to summarize everything he has said so far. That said, it’s somewhat overwhelming and there’s a lot of instruction coming in. Let’s go through each part and try to understand what it’s saying.

Instructions For Elders And Followers

Verses 1-3 are speaking to the elders of the church. Remember, way back in 1 Peter 1, we talked about how Peter is writing to the persecuted Christians and encouraging them in their faith and journey with God. Here, he gives the elders special instruction to do their job willingly and eagerly, awaiting the time when the head Shepherd (that is, Christ) appears.

Now, being only a teenager, I don’t know much about being elders or pastors of the church and shepherding the flock of God. But those of you who are pastors or take higher roles in the church, take this advice from Peter. Don’t take it from me, but take it from God’s word. 

Verse 5 is more for anybody else part of the church. We should be humble and subject to those in charge of us. This goes back to 1 Peter 2, where Peter talks about submission to authority. We should follow authority, but be careful and discerning about that authority’s intentions as well, and make sure we are still following God.

Standing Firm In Your Faith

Verses 6-9 continue to talk about being humble, but also about being watchful. These verses talk about our enemy, Satan, ready to snatch us from God when we are weak. They talk about suffering, which Peter also talked more extensively in 1 Peter 3 and 4. 

However, with both of these things, we have Christ by our side. We also have fellow Christians, and in verse 9 it says:

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

1 Peter 5:9

But even so, what happens after the suffering? After the struggle?

And Our Hope?

Well, this is what we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s read verse 10 together.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Peter 5:10

After we have struggled, suffered, and stood firm in our faith of our savior Jesus Christ, we will either die or see Jesus come again. 

And when that happens, we will be restored into the people we were meant to be from the beginning, we will be confirmed and established in God’s kingdom, and we will have our inheritance.

The inheritance can’t come while we are living, inheritances aren’t often received until after a person’s death. But because of Jesus, we have a living hope, something to look forward to, something to stand firm for.

And that, my friend, is our imperishable inheritance. 

Final Thoughts

Thank you for joining me today in the final part of this series! I hope you enjoyed and learned something from it. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to my email list to receive updates when I post, three exclusive articles about reading the Bible with a friend, and my monthly newsletter!

A side note, you may have noticed a new page on the blog labeled ‘Sisters In Christ.’ If you haven’t clicked over and viewed it yet, please do so! It basically says what I’m going to tell you, that my friend and I are starting a podcast! 

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If you want to receive some more news on the podcast, you can subscribe to my email list for that as well!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline

Our Hope Through Suffering

Hello, friend! Welcome to my blog, and I hope you’re doing well! Today I’ll once again be combining our Imperishable Inheritance passage with one of my usual posts like last week when I talked about our worldly passions. This time, I’ll be talking about suffering and struggle.

Imperishable Inheritance Pt. 6

The passages for Imperishable Inheritance Pt. 6 are:

1 Peter 3

1 Peter 4:12-19

As always, I encourage you to read both of those passages before reading this post as to understand it better yourself!

What Is Suffering?

Suffering is undergoing distress or hardship. It’s struggling through a situation, or sometimes just with life, depending on what’s going on. 

A lot of you have probably suffered in some way during your lifetime. Maybe it was many years ago, maybe it was a few months ago, maybe it’s right now during Covid-19. Suffering is hard, but it’s also part of life. We can either be pushed by it or push through it. I’m sure everyone wants to push through it, but that’s easier to say than put into action.

Don’t Be Surprised

Some people believe that when you become a Christian everything gets easier. God wouldn’t let things keep hurting us, right? Well, not exactly.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

1 Peter 4:12

Everything can’t be perfect just because we follow Him; We’re still broken humans in a fallen world, and have you ever noticed that you grow closer to God when things are outside of your control? It’s through hardships that we depend and trust God more. We humble ourselves and are reminded that we are weak and He is strong.

So what do we do when we suffer? Do we cower and hide? Do we try to go through it ourselves? Who do we turn to?

Well, let me tell you some good news, you have a Friend.

Our Friend

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh and made alive in the spirit,

1 Peter 3:18

Christ suffered through pain that we probably couldn’t even imagine. Not only was He beaten, but He was mocked and accused of things He never did. He never sinned but was given the death of a criminal. He went through not only physical pain but also emotional suffering. It says in the Gospel of Luke that before His betrayal:

And being in agony he [Jesus] prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:44

God doesn’t snap his fingers and make everything easy for us. However, He does give us the hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that light is Jesus.

Since Jesus became human and went through temptations, hunger, thirst, other worldly struggles, as well as experiencing death itself, He can empathize with us, and that makes Him an even greater friend.

And when we’re tempted, when we’re suffering, struggling, in pain, we can cry out to Him and remember what He did and what He went through, and grow closer to Him all the more.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

1 Peter 3:15

Life is hard, and doubts, fears, hardship, and suffering are always going to be part of it. However, since Jesus stepped in we have a living hope, an imperishable inheritance.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4:19

A Psalm & A Song

In 1 Peter 3, Peter quotes Psalm 34. Psalm 34 paints a beautiful picture, 

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:13-14

Not only is Psalm 34 a great reminder for us, but it’s also a song we can listen to. 

“Psalm 34 (Taste and See)” by Shane & Shane

Recap

Remember, friend:

  1. Suffering is hard but
  2. Jesus is our Friend during any trial
  3. And though things aren’t easy, we still have a great hope.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article about suffering helped you! If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my email list (by clicking to the home page of the blog and filling out the form) to receive three exclusive articles, notifications when I post, and my monthly newsletter. Thank you for stopping by!

Have a blessed day,

~Caroline