Living on Leftovers

By Emily Moore

Eating leftover meals for lunch or dinner is a great way to save money on groceries and save time preparing food after a busy day. There are countless ways to get creative with leftovers, like turning them into casseroles or soups. Nonetheless, the leftovers all get eaten after a few days, or your family gets tired of them and is ready for different meals. Sadly, leftovers don’t last long! As a soon-to-be wife, learning how to work with leftovers has definitely been on my mind. But I also started to think about how easily the idea of “living on leftovers” creeps into our spiritual diet.

Everyone experiences those seasons of life where you have such a full plate (pun intended) that feeding your soul becomes very difficult. It’s in these times that we often start trying to spiritually survive on leftovers. When a week has been stressful or exhausting, think about how a refreshing worship service on Sunday or one hour of mid-week Bible class will keep your soul full and thriving for the other five days of the week. But what happens when an evangelistic opportunity appears or when you’re hit with a conflicting decision or when you suddenly find yourself having doubts or temptations you’ve never before experienced? When these situations arise, it doesn’t take long to realize that leftovers aren’t enough. A fuzzy recollection of Bible verses here and there or a small excerpt from a sermon heard way back when will not be strong enough to sustain spiritual strength. Of course it is good and useful to remember those things, but just like babies mature and require more than a few ounces of milk, so we must continue to grow and ensure that our soul’s appetite grows with us (1 Peter 2:2).

As Christians, constant renewal, growth, and learning are essential to survival. Think about the idea of renewal in Romans 12:2…

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Renewal is a perpetual process; it takes time and intentionality. If you’ve been scraping by on spiritual leftovers, here are a few ideas for feeding your soul throughout the day:

  • Pray everywhere (1 Thess. 5:17; Jam. 5:13)–At work, while driving, on your lunch break; you can also set reminders on your phone to pray for specific people.
  • Sing (Psa. 13:6; Eph. 5:19)–Singing or listening to hymns in the car with the kiddos or by yourself is guaranteed to bring joy and encouragement to a new day.
  • Listen to podcasts or an audio Bible (Psa. 1:1-2; 119:16)–A car ride, lunch break, or any free moment can be filled with the Word.
  • Set aside time each day for in-depth Bible study (2 Tim. 2:15; Jam. 1:5)–Alone time with God and His Word is the heartiest meal for the soul.

**If you’d like suggestions for podcasts or Bible study tools, feel free to email me at emnem317@gmail.com.

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A Season of Renewal

By Chelsea Pollard

Spring is an amazing time of year. Flowers are blooming and life has a fresh start! Spring is a time of renewal when the dead, brown look of winter is replaced with vibrant life. 

Our relationship with God is like spring, only it doesn’t have to be limited to a single season! If we’re doing our part, God gives us new life. 

When David was confronted over his sin with Bathsheba he wrote, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). David asked God to correct his flaws and accept him spiritually. “Renew” was a word that meant, “Go back to how it used to be.”  David didn’t want what he had currently to be his relationship with God. He wanted a pure heart and he wanted to return to the spiritual life he had before. 

God gives us a physical example of spiritual renewal with Spring. We can watch the earth bloom into new life. Just like the old, dead person we used to be is replaced with a new, living spirit! We are told to throw away our old selves because that way of life is corrupt. We have to have new minds and new behaviors (Eph. 4:20-24) because that’s more like God. 

We have new minds and behaviors when we encourage people instead of using our words to tear them down. Misusing our words actually hurts the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:29)! 

We have new minds and behaviors when we get rid of negative thoughts, feelings, and actions (Eph. 4:31). We replace those bad qualities with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (Eph. 4:32). 

Many climates get new life during Spring, a big contrast from all of the death in Fall and Winter. When we show kindness, compassion, and forgiveness and we’re trying to be faithful, God makes our souls new like Spring (Eph. 4:32, 1 John 1:7-10). We renew ourselves because our ultimate goal is to be where “new” is the only thing we’ll know (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1, Isaiah 65:17, Romans 8:18-24)!

As we watch the flowers bloom, the gardens grow and the earth return to its green, beautiful state, I know I’ll be humming to myself, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Spring Cleaning

By Janelle Pollard

The first of spring is always an exciting time for many. For those of us who aren’t fans of the cold, it is such a happy feeling to be able to spend your day outside without as much as a light jacket. While I try to keep our house clean through the winter, once spring arrives, I have this strong urge to start cleaning. And thanks to the excitement of a new (warmer) season, I have the energy and motivation to do just that. While cleaning the house, I also like to get rid of things we don’t need. Throughout the years, we collect all kinds of extra “stuff.” Some necessary and important for our day to day lives, but some not so much. These extra things may have seemed to be a necessity at the time but now they just take up space. Being married to a self-proclaimed minimalist has inspired me to have less. I love that about Dale. He doesn’t have to have “stuff” to be happy. He knows that when we leave this life, we can’t take it with us when we go, so there’s no need to collect all kinds of extra stuff (that will most likely find its way to a shelf or a stack of things to be stored later). Of course, there is nothing wrong with owning and enjoying our earthly possessions, as long as we aren’t making these things our whole life. This could lead to idolatry and the Bible teaches that this is sin.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10).

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf” (Proverbs 11:28).

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1).

While Spring is still officially five days away (and some parts of the country probably don’t feel like winter is even close to being over yet), here in ‘ol North Alabama, it feels like it’s already here! Spring is a time to refresh and renew. While I am cleaning my home this Spring, I want to make sure I am also, and more importantly, refreshing and renewing my spiritual life. If we have too much stuff, or we are allowing it to become more important to us than it should be, let’s ask God to help us let go of it. If we have things in our lives that are getting in the way of putting or keeping God first, we must get rid of those things. Let’s let this season be one of refreshing and renewing not only our homes, but our priorities and relationship with God, first and foremost! Happy Spring!

Faith-building Questions

By Kathy Pollard

There are many passages in the Bible that describe God’s character, and I’m thankful for that.  Anytime I read about His mercy and compassion, it encourages me.  His power and might created everything, yet His love is expressed to me personally.  What a beautiful truth!  It reminds me that I have worth.  His holiness demands purity and goodness, yet His grace covers my sinfulness.  This makes me want to try harder to live as Christlike as possible.  How blessed we are to love and serve our great God!

Gather around the table with your family and look up the answers to these questions so you can be encouraged together. Or just grab a cup of coffee and your Bible and spend a few quiet moments soaking up some reassurance. God is good and always is, no matter what’s going on in the world.

1.  How is God described in 2 Cor. 1:3?

2.  What three character traits are ascribed to God in Exod. 33:19?

3.  What does God abound in according to Exod. 34:6?

4.  What words do Psa. 86:15 and Psa. 103:8 have in common?

5.  Can you memorize Psa. 116:5?  😀

6.  What is God’s compassion compared to in Psa. 103:13?

7.  What all did God do for the one who waited patiently for Him in Psa. 40:1-2?

8.  What do we learn about God’s lovingkindnesses in Lam. 3:22?

9.  What should God’s mercy cause us to do, according to Luke 6:36?

10.  What can our High Priest do, according to Heb. 4:15?

Wasn’t that a faith-building study?

Praise God for Problems

By Emily Moore

Problems, situations, and trials that seem irresolvable happen to each of us. Running into a situation that you don’t know how to fix, likely even a situation you can’t fix, is inevitable in this life. The beauty, however, of encountering these challenges as a Christian is that we don’t have to face them alone, and we are actually expected to place our anxieties and issues into someone else’s hands: God’s hands. Before you keep reading, take a moment to think about the last trial or problem you experienced. What was your first thought? How did you react? What did you do to take care of it? As humans, often, our first thought is “Oh great,” which is then followed by something like “What am I gonna do?,” which is then followed by “Okay, here’s what I’ll do to fix this.” Do you notice what’s missing from this process?… GOD! Those thoughts may come naturally as humans, but as Christians, our first reaction to any challenge should be to bring it to the all-knowing Creator.

In scripture, we see three steps in the process of coping with trial’s as a Christian. 

First, start by praising God. James 1:2 instructs us to “count it all joy” when we have trials because they are opportunities. Our lowest points inspire us to grow in the Word, depend on our God, and see His glory in the midst of it all. So, when a problem arises, thank God for it! Thank Him for the opportunity to grow and the help you know He will provide, and thank Him for all of the other blessings you still have. 

Second, pray to God. In Hebrews 10:32-39, the writer talks of Christians who “joyfully accepted” when their own property was plundered. In verse 39, the audience and Christians today are encouraged to keep trusting in God regardless of circumstance: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” When you face hardship, allow it to bring you closer to God by pleading to Him for help.

Third, praise God. Yes, praising God was also the first step, but every trial should begin and end with praise. We begin with praise to thank God for blessing us with a growth opportunity and with help to endure. We end in praise to thank Him for His continued faithfulness in past, present, and future hardships.

Praise God for your problems, pray to God for your solutions, and praise Him again for your deliverance. 

“I will call upon the Lord,  Who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

Psalm 18:3

The Privilege of Prayer

By Chelsea Pollard

Have you ever gotten frustrated trying to get ahold of someone when you’re in need? Maybe it was someone in authority or someone who was meant to help fix a problem. Or you tried to reach your boss but there was no direct line. Or something broke in your house and you had a hard time reaching someone to come fix it. We have a direct line to God and we know that, but do we pray only when we are in need?

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth” (1 Tim. 2:1-4).

THE PRAYERS

In this passage, there are four different kinds of prayers that God wants us to pray. A supplication is an urgent request to meet a need exclusively addressed to God. These are the times we need mercy, forgiveness, help, etc. A prayer is any petition addressed to God, the generic act of prayer. These are the times we are just talking to God. An intercession is formally asking God to intervene. Thanksgiving is expressing gratitude.

THE RESULTS

Paul urges us to pray these prayers for all people, for everyone! Specifically, we are to pray for kings and all who are in high position, anyone who has authority over us. This includes our local government, federal government, the president, police officers, our boss, etc. This may be difficult at times, but how often do we think to pray for everyone? It’s easy for me to remember to pray for myself and those I love. It takes mindfulness to pray for everyone. By doing this, “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Doesn’t a peaceful life sound good right about now? Godly and dignified, that’s how I want to be.

THE REASONS

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (v. 3). God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth.

How often do you call home or call your parents to tell them you love them, you’re thankful for them, or to ask them for help or guidance? I once heard a preacher say, “Your Father is up in heaven. Have you phoned home?”

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Photo credit: Michael Hite

Trending Now

By Janelle Pollard

My husband and I don’t watch much TV. We have shows we watch on demand, but we never watch the news or even the weather. If there is a tornado headed our way, we are more likely to find out from friends or by a slight feeling that the house is starting to shake somewhat. Some may see this as choosing to be ignorant but we simply don’t miss it. Life seems a little less stressful and chaotic with fewer scary headlines displayed on our TV screens. And for a recovering worry wart like myself, I don’t want to add to the problem!
While chatting with my mom last night, I found out just how out of the loop we are. She mentioned that the Super Bowl was going on and I didn’t even know it. Not only that, but this may be the first time I didn’t even know who was playing. Growing up with a dad who loves football, I at LEAST knew who would be playing in the Super Bowl that year. But these days, life is busy and the Super Bowl has dropped many notches from my list of things to pay close attention to. (That is probably also influenced by my husband not being big into TV or the NFL, ha!) With this realization of how out of touch I have become with the goings-on of our current society, I decided to see what types of things people are searching on Google these days. Some of the top currently trending searches included Britney Spears, Tom Brady, The Bachelor, and of course, the Super Bowl. I became curious how words like “Christianity” might compare with “Super Bowl” and found that Google offers a nifty little tool for this exact comparison (see below). Of course, over the past 90 days, as it got closer to the day, the “Super Bowl” has been increasing in popularity. However, I noticed that, in general, it is always more popular than “Christianity.” At least in Google searches. This isn’t surprising but it is disappointing. (I would like to add that I don’t write this article while sitting on top of a very high Clydesdale horse! I have searched countless words on Google that have nothing to do with Christianity and I don’t believe this makes me a bad person or “un-Christian.” However, I do think it can help us to re-focus our thoughts!)
This is a good reminder that the world needs a Savior! And that is obviously Jesus. So, how can we help our non-Christian friends and acquaintances be aware of this? The book of 1 Peter gives us some insight…
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
“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. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:9-11).
The Cliff Notes:
  • Be obedient to God
  • Don’t be like you used to be before becoming a Christian
  • Be holy in ALL of your conduct, like Jesus
  • Proclaim the greatness of God
  • Remember that, as a Christian, you have received mercy and are part of God’s people
  • Stay away from things of the flesh, things that will tempt you
  • Be honorable in your conduct
We may not get it right every day, but we must try our best! And while trying, may we cause others to want to know more. Let’s always remember to pray that our being different isn’t for our glory, but for God’s. And that it will lead others to Him!

Managing Stress And Anxiety

By Kathy Pollard

I wish I could title this post, “Getting Rid of Stress And Anxiety,” but I don’t think that’s very realistic.  With the exception of perhaps childhood, each new phase in life presents its own unique set of challenges.  Maybe you find yourself in one of the following situations:

  • New marriage, new baby, new home, new work.  While these are exciting and wonderful, they also call for stamina and courage and wisdom.
  • Long-term care of an aging parent.  In addition to the physical exhaustion is the emotional turmoil of seeing your loved one suffer.
  • School/ work load.  I know some students right now who are being stretched in more ways than they ever expected.  Perhaps you’re in the midst of a project or job requirement that’s been going on for so long you can’t remember your last decent night of sleep.
  • Poor health.  After months or years of battling whatever is attacking your body, you wonder if you’ll ever simply feel good.
  • Financial worries.  Finding a job, paying your bills, wondering about retirement, health care…whether you’ve accumulated a mound of debt or you just long for financial security, money can be a very real and daily stressor.
  • Rocky relationships.  Perhaps your marriage is just barely hanging on.  Or you’re worried about your grown-up children or a spiritually wayward relative.  The people we love most can be a source of great anxiety.

Sometimes stress is temporary and we know it.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we’re just trying to get through it.  Sometimes stress is ever-present and overwhelming, and we find ourselves trying to survive one day at a time.  Whichever we find ourselves facing, there are a few simple, proactive ways to manage stress and anxiety.

1.  PRAY

Prayer is probably the first reaction when something causes stress, and I don’t think God resents that.  We find many passages reminding us to turn to God in our distress.  We’re told to cast ALL of our cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:7).  Prayer brings peace in the midst of anxiety (Phil. 4:6,7).  When stress is long-term, our prayers can fade or turn sporadic.  A renewed desire for God’s listening ear can go far in calming anxieties.

2.  MEDITATE

I’m not encouraging “getting your Zen on, man,” but rather committing to quality time in Bible study.  I like the quote I ran across the other day– “Meditation is not an emptying of one’s mind, like some religions teach, but a filling of our minds with the truths of God’s Word” (Jen Thorn).  The Scriptures are powerful (Heb. 4:12) and strength-giving (Eph. 6:10-17).  Neglecting this crucial practice only exacerbates stress and anxiety.

3.  BOOST YOUR HEALTH

It’s common knowledge that long-term stress takes a toll on our health.  Is there an area of your physical well-being that’s taking a harder hit?  See if you could make some small changes for overall well-being:

  • Exercise.  It strengthens the heart, clears mind clutter, and boosts stamina and self-esteem.  Take a walk in the morning and try yoga at night.  No one ever regrets making time to get the blood flowing.
  • Water.  The benefits are endless.  How easy it is to replace empty calorie drinks with water.  Add lemon for even more vibrancy.
  • Sleep.  Who hasn’t been robbed of some zzz’s?  Sleep is essential for mental clarity and emotional stability.  Young moms, get over your guilt and take a nap in the middle of the day when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Cleaner eating.  Bad food equals yucky mood.  Studies are now linking a healthy gut to an overall sense of well-being.  The last thing we need when anxiety is churning in our gut is to add processed foods or sugar to the mix.  Seriously, while it may not be fun to talk about, better eating choices are important when it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety.

4.  UNPLUG

We are attached to our devices, aren’t we?  They’re everywhere and in every room.  Unplugging for a while each day will allow us to focus on those around us, re-appreciate moments of quietness, and even remove some additional anxiety (unpleasant posts on social media, disturbing news, etc.).  It’s good to give our eyes a break from any kind of screen.  Unplug and listen for natural sounds instead like the wind blowing, leaves rustling, birds chirping.

5.  UNCLUTTER

Speaking of devices…we can remove some from our sleeping space for a more peaceful and relaxing environment.  Clearing counter tops of paper stacks and junk also helps clear our minds.  Taking the time and trouble to make the bed and straighten up makes it easier to drift off to sleep later.  Messy rooms add to a feeling of anxiety.

6.  UNWIND

Yes, we could probably use that half hour to cross an item off the to-do list, but sometimes the wiser choice would be to intentionally unwind.  Don’t think of a soak in the tub as a luxury but as a way of promoting peace and health.  Discover the calming benefits of chamomile tea.  You might have to develop a taste for it, but consider it an all-natural anti-anxiety medicine.  Light a candle, rub your feet with lotion, and take deep breaths.  Even a few minutes of slowing down makes a big difference in a trying day.

7.  LAUGH

Laughing relieves stress, lifts the mood, and burns calories!  Have you laughed today?

8.  LOVE

Looking for tangible ways to show our love for others will ultimately lead to our own happiness.  Giving feels good.  It allows us to step outside of our cares and focus on bringing joy to others.  In the midst of your crazy schedule, do something even crazier like adding in a visit to a shut-in or making a homemade, unexpected surprise for someone.

Hopefully these ideas for managing stress haven’t added even more stress.  You might be thinking, Who has time for any of THAT?!  Some of the tips can be combined, like sipping tea while studying the Bible.  Or praying while going for a walk.  It’s probably unrealistic to try to hit all 8 tips every single day, but we can be more intentional in handling our anxieties.  It will be good for us and for those around us.  God has given us many ways to combat stress.  We could even add singing, looking for beauty, and counting our blessings.  What tips do you have?

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

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Choose or Refuse to Live in Fear

By Janelle Pollard

Each new year brings with it excitement and hope. While 2020 was not without countless blessings, it will forever be remembered as a time when fear gripped the lives of millions. “What if I get COVID-19?,” “What if someone I love gets it?” These are just a couple of questions many of us may have asked ourselves. I believe it’s completely natural to be afraid to a point. I doubt many people can truthfully say that this virus hasn’t caused them any fear whatsoever. We are only human and tend to be somewhat fearful of the unknown. However, as Christians, what really matters is what we do with that fear.

While there is nothing wrong with being fearful of contracting a deadly virus, there IS something wrong with allowing that fear to control our lives. As a nurse, I have taken care of many patients with the COVID-19 virus. I know it’s real and I know that people are losing their lives from it. There is no doubt that this is a scary time, but we, as Christians, have something that the rest of the world does not. We have the hope of heaven after this life. We can rest in the fact that as Christians, we no longer have to fear death. When we remember that this world is not our home, we realize we don’t have to live in fear of dying. I’m not suggesting that there will no longer be any fear in our lives. But I am suggesting that when we remember Who is in control, we will be able to get through these times with a few less stomach ulcers.

Living in peace amidst a nation living in fear brings attention to the Christian. For those who aren’t Christians and don’t know that kind of peace, it may seem unnatural. They are likely to become curious. “How are you not afraid? How are you not constantly worried to leave your house?” When we look and act different than everyone else, the world is intrigued. Especially during a time such as this, people are naturally drawn to those who are joyful, peaceful, and less anxious. Let’s remember that non-Christians are in desperate need of a Savior. If we can use a horrible situation to bring others to Christ, why wouldn’t we?

Here are a few things we can do to lead others to Christ during a time of fear and uncertainty:

1. Instead of talking about the latest number of those with the virus, let’s talk about the number of visitors we’ve had at church lately. Let’s share—with our co-workers, friends, social media, etc.—how exciting it is that many people have been showing up to visit our congregation lately. This takes the focus away from the virus and places it on the excitement of church growth. Non-Christians have become accustomed to hearing so much negativity lately, more so than normal. Hearing people talk about how COVID has brought blessings will most likely cause them to stop and want to know more.

2. Let others know that we would like to pray for them and/or their family by name at our church. What a breath of fresh air to someone who isn’t used to being prayed for. (And don’t just ask. Remember to pray!) Take these names to your elders. Ask if they can be included in the bulletin or prayer list. Let your friends know that you and your congregation have been praying for them. Ask for updates. That way they will know it wasn’t just something that “sounded good in the moment” and that you genuinely care.

3. Use social media to post Scriptures about trusting in God and His faithfulness to His followers. Some people on our friends list may have never heard some of these Scriptures. Reading something so comforting will hopefully cause others to want to know more. This is a time when people are searching for something they can hold onto. Let’s lead them to the only One who can give this kind of life-changing peace. Here are a few great examples:

  • Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way…Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
  • Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

4. Ask God to give us peace and take away our fear. God never promised that the world wouldn’t be scary or that we wouldn’t go through hard times. But He does promise that He will always be there for us. Let’s take comfort in knowing that!

Janelle lives in Huntsville, AL with her husband, Dale. She is a Registered Nurse and works on a cardiac step-down unit at Huntsville Hospital. Janelle enjoys painting, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

It’s Not About Me

By Chelsea Pollard

We don’t like hearing this, do we? I certainly don’t. Living in an individualistic world, I often find myself only thinking about, well, me. “I just want to be happy.” “I want to do what I want to do.” “This is inconvenient for me.” Occasionally, I have to be mindful of the fact that it’s not about me.

My husband, Gary, was preaching this past Sunday on 1 Peter 4:7ff. I’d like to share some thoughts on the topic of suffering for a purpose.

The end of all things is near” (v. 7). Our lives are very short (James 4:14), which is why Peter gave us commands for how we are to respond when coming under fire for our faith. We are to be alert and of sober mind. This means we need to be rational instead of reactionary. When we come under fire for our faith, it’s easier to stoop to their level. If someone is being ugly towards you, it’s easy to be ugly back. As Christians, we need to be calm when dealing with persecution, so that we may pray. This is essential in order for our prayers to be heard by God.

Above all, love each other deeply” (v. 8). He is emphasizing how important our love for one another is. When we are dealing with persecution, we need to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and rely on them. Having a strong and supportive church family can make all of the difference for a Christian who is just going through it, whether they are under fire from family, friends, or coworkers.

Offer hospitality and use your gifts to serve others (v. 9-10).  If you can use your words to help others, do so. If you can serve others, do so. Don’t hold back for your family!

So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (v. 11).  It’s not about me. It’s about Him! It’s about loving and serving your Christian family so that God may be praised in all things.

Chelsea lives in Bowling Green, KY, with her husband, Gary, and her dog, Bear. Chelsea and Gary have been married for five years (woo!) and Bear was rescued from a swamp. Chelsea works at Western Kentucky Heart and Lung. She enjoys quiet nights in with her husband and playing all the card/ board games she can with family, even if she loses (sometimes).