My husband and I recently started a new bible study in Romans 15. I have personally read Romans multiple times, but never in light of my spouse. Our key verse was Romans 15:7, but we started at 1 just to get some context… 

Romans 15:1 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”

I’m not going to lie, this is a verse I’d normally just try to go around because it is loaded! But we can break it down. Everyone has a weakness–whether that be their faith, what they eat, how they react, etc. This verse is telling us that when you’re in the presence of someone who has a particular weakness, help carry the load! 

For instance, if your spouse has problems staying healthy, tagging her in desserts on Facebook, drinking Dr. Pepper in front of her, and bragging about how you don’t have to work out is exactly what not to do! Encourage them in eating right, try to eat healthy when around them, encourage being active. 

Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

I want to make sure I read that right… Each of us should please our husband for HIS good, to build HIM up. This is so important! We are being good, gentle, kind, patient with our spouse for THEIR good, not OURS! Keep that in mind on laundry day. 😉

Romans 15:3 “For even Christ did not please himself but as it is written: ‘the insults of those who have insulted you, have fallen on me.'”

Be like Christ. He laid down his life for you and me, surely we can do that for our spouse. 

Romans 15:4  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.”

Everything in the Bible was written so we could be taught. So that by steadily reading the Bible and encouragement we will have hope. Get in the Word! This world is corrupt. Satan is on the prowl. Fill your mind with God’s word–who He says you are. You are a child of God. Even in your weakness you are strong in Him.

 *Pause* Okay, before we read the next few verses, this is where I saw scripture in a new light. Whenever a spirit of unity is talked about, I always thought of the church. How as a church, we are one. But reading this with my husband by my side, I saw it as our marital oneness. *Resume*

Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ.”

Wake up call! God gives us the endurance and the encouragement to keep our marriage alive. He gives us the endurance and encouragement for a spirit of unity, oneness. 

In your marriage, you are after the same goals: to become closer to each other, to see each other grow mentally and spiritually, and to be closer to Christ. So why do we find ourselves keeping score? Remember friends, we are working together for a common goal. It’s a simple truth to understand, but so easily forgotten.

Romans 15:6 “so that with one heart and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Again, this is so good to think about in light of your marriage. If we aren’t encouraging our spouse to be closer to Christ, what are we doing? You got it; the exact opposite. You and your husband (or you and your wife) are one! With ONE heart and ONE mouth. Yearn for Jesus and each other with that heart. Praise God with that mouth. 

Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God.” 

Accept one another. It is considered PRAISE to God when we accept one another. 

Chances are you and your spouse don’t do everything the same. You load the dishes differently, you shower at different times, your free time is spent differently. I am speaking to my own heart, as much as I am yours, but friend we have to accept our spouse. Let them be the person you fell in love with. Sure, they have quirks but everyone does. And you chose each other. 

I encourage you to read Romans 15 with your spouse or just in general. Think of practical ways you can apply the scripture to your life TODAY! Let’s accept one another to bring praise to God.  



For the past few weeks I have felt not of this world. I see what everyone else my age is doing and what is the “norm” and I feel so distant to that. I hear the music that people are listening to, the places they’re going, what people are drinking, how people spend their money and their lives… I honestly just feel sorry for them.

I began praying about it. God, please let me know I’m not alone out here! Surely there are others who still believe in what is right and true and good? Am I outdated in my ways?

I had a break at work and pulled my Bible out on a day where I was especially feeling this way. I began reading the book of Titus and saw this:

For the word of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, up-right and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2: 11-15)

I leaned back in my seat because I was reading a direct response to my prayers. God tells us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. God wants us to choose LIFE, not sin that will destroy us. How refreshing is His love for us.

It didn’t stop there! I then read a few chapters from Philippians.

…many live their lives as enemies of the cross for Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await our Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)

The Bible is clear on what our purpose is in life. Are you choosing His plan for your life today? Are you choosing destruction letting your stomach be your god and finding glory in your shame? Turn to Christ, friend. There is so much more to life than that.

Good Days and Bad Days

Some days are bad. Some days are good. You know what I mean.

Some days it feels like someone or something is doing everything in its power to destroy you. (Yeah, that’s the Devil.. check out John 10:10)

In each day, as it unfolds, things surprise you. Some times it’s good things, and other days, well they could be better. Maybe it’s not even that some days are bad days, but they aren’t good.

What we need to be reminded of on all of the days is that God is good. And when you choose to believe in that unchangeable, undeniable truth, your outlook on the days change. Your life changes. Your attitude and how you treat people changes. The words you say and the things you do, they all change.

When you choose to believe that God is who he says he is (John 14:6), you are given peace. You realize that the situation you’re in is temporary and you can trust that God will work it out for His glory and for His good. Everything changes because it is no longer about you. Your happiness and your peace and your joy no longer depend on what kind of day your having. Or your circumstances. Or your illnesses because truth is, those things will fail you but God never will. You know what the Bible says…God will work (ALL) things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s no longer about you…but everything you do now points towards God and reflects him and his goodness and it shines through you.

These days that you use to call good days or bad days are no longer your days at all. They are a gift. Another day with the opportunity to praise God and follow Him and see what God has in store for you and those around you.

God is good, all the time. Choose to believe it and see your life change.

Keep looking up, friend.

JOHN 10:10 – The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. (Jesus’) purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

JOHN 14:6 –  Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

ROMANS 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Be on Guard

((Matthew 16:5-12))

I should start off by saying that this is not the typical approach to this story. Most of the time, the lesson focuses on false teachings. While I do think that is a great lesson, that’s not what was on my heart to share.

This passage starts out by Jesus telling the disciples to “be on guard” (to guard themselves). Instead of the disciples taking Jesus’ command and doing it, they start to second guess it. They wondered why Jesus was telling them to be on guard and began to go through every possible scenario.

After talking among themselves, they all came to agreement as to why Jesus was giving them a command; they forgot the bread to eat. They forgot the bread and now Jesus is giving them commands. He’s punishing them, right? Jesus goes on to explain that they have it all wrong. He says, “how is it that you don’t understand I’m not talking about bread?”

He gives us commands to help guide us. He gives us commands to help us grow closer to Christ. He gives us commands as a reminder that it is a relationship between you and Jesus that requires a constant nurturing and a yearning to grow closer to him.

Truth is, if we aren’t seeking Christ, if we aren’t praying or reading our bible, if we aren’t spreading the gospel, if we don’t have our minds set on the things of God, then we are leaving room for Satan to work. And when we second guess God or when we question him and his commands like the disciples in this story, we are giving the enemy a foothold. We are allowing the enemy to remind us of our insecurities.

So instead of questioning Jesus’ commands and second guessing them, we need to have faith and obey. Jesus could provide the bread easily, and the disciples knew that. They were lacking in faith and failed to realize that Jesus gives us commands to protect us.

I encourage you to take the command that Jesus gave the disciples and be on guard. Be on guard for those who need to hear the good news. Be on guard for what God is doing in your life. Be on guard so that when you see an opportunity, you will know if it is of God. Be on guard for when Christ comes. Be on guard to decipher the truth. Be on guard to defend Jesus and his commands. Don’t allow Satan to have a foothold. Seek God diligently and deliberately.

Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Cor. 16:13)

With the recent storm tragedies that have happened, I’ve seen several angry questions thrown at God via social media. “What kind of loving God does that?” “Why would God take away a families and children?” “Why?!”

**I’m trying to be very cautious with the words I choose to use because this is a tragedy…there’s no way around that.**

But when I see people throwing these angry thoughts at God, I wonder what He’s thinking. I wonder what His plans are in this. Was it really in God’s plan for a mother to lose her two sons in a tornado? Was it really God’s plan for a girl to watch her boyfriend be crushed by a wall that he saved her from? Was all of this in God’s plan? Because scripture says He works all things together for the good of those who love God and according to His purpose. (Check out Romans 8:28)

So I began to think… what if instead of us proposing questions to God, and we took the time to listen. One of my favorite verses is “Be still and know that I am God.” (See Psalm 46:10)

Be still and know that He is Lord. Know that He has everything under control. That He has a plan. So what is it? Why would God do this? Or allow this to happen? Whenever I was contemplating on this idea, a question came to mind that made me sick.

What if God is asking us the questions? What if God is asking us, “Is this really what it takes? Do I have to send disaster so that you will stop thinking of yourself for a moment? Do I have to send disaster so that you will love on others? Do I have to shake up your world so you’ll look to me? Do I have to send disaster for the church to come together and help people? Do I have to create tragedy for Me to be seen?”

So does He? Is that what it takes? Christians, we need to step it up. We need to make it a point to show Christ in everything we say and do and not wait for everything to be shaken up.

Our God is NOT dead. He WILL do what he has to do to be heard and to be known. God may shake us up, but He will NOT destroy us.

Let’s share His message of hope and make it a point to show love and show Christ today.

But God

I love to hear stories about how Jesus has worked in someone’s life. About how Jesus has completely flipped someone’s life around. About how someone has put the slightest bit of faith in Jesus Christ and he literally moves a mountain in their life. Ya know, a lot of people think that for Jesus to work in your life you have to know all the right things to say & do all the right things.. But I don’t think that’s how it works. Every story I have ever heard or read about how Jesus has worked in someone’s life always has some form of the phrase “but God.” Let me explain.

When things are great, you don’t need someone to lean on, someone to depend on, or someone to be your strength. There is always a problem. I flunked out of college, I was beaten, I was an alcoholic, I did this, this was done to me…, I couldn’t forgive… but God taught me how to. But God showed me love. But God showed me mercy. But God loved me.

Without a problem, there would be no room for a miracle. We have to have faith. See, when there’s a problem and we’ve tried everything—absolutely everything, we turn to God. We find joy when we forget about what we want and start working to what He wants. And that’s when the “But God” moment happens!

If you’re doing what you’re doing for Jesus, it’s going to work out the way He has planned. I’m not saying it will be easy because you won’t find that in the Bible anywhere. What I am saying is that He is not only willing and able, but that He wants and desires to help us!

So when I’m listening to someone’s testimony–or how God has been working in their life, sometimes it’s not what they wanted—or so they thought. But what I’ve been learning is that God is sovereign. He has a plan that is good and perfect. He loves us and wants the best for us.

So I challenge you. Those of you who are going through a difficult time, or are leaving one, or maybe everything is going okay right now…I challenge you to put a little faith in the God who loves you; the God who crafted you with His own hands, and see what happens.

Believe that God will do what He says He’s going to do because He will. He promises that He has a plan for your life; plans to prosper and not to harm. Plans that promise a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).

I love you all. Humbled that you’ve read this. I’d love to hear a “But God” story from you! Send me an email:

Ashley, Layla, & I woke up late again with 10 minutes before breakfast. We scurried in to find out we were having eggs, pineapple, peanut butter & bread, and bananas again. After the “surprise” supper we had the night before, we were thankful for this. We ate and headed out to the porch for our morning devotional. We talked about how Christ sets us free from our bondage to sin. Free from grief. Free from all that’s bad. Christ has truly set us free. We know the kids that we had contact with in Haiti were hurting. They’re orphans. We wanted to show them that they are free. That Christ really has a spot for them in his arms. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to love on these precious children.

We headed to the school where we acted out Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego. Joe was telling the story while the rest acted it out. Layla, Ashley, and I made a beastly fire, if I do say so myself. The kids giggled the whole time and loved the story, yet again. We laughed and sang songs then it was time for them to get back to school. Which meant we were back to the scorching heat, gravel, and concrete.

Today, we’d almost finished laying the entire foundation of the newer half of the orphanage. After a hot couple of hours and laying gravel & concrete, we headed back to the cafeteria to eat lunch. We ate spaghetti. Apparently, mine was the only plate that had peppers in it because my mouth was on fire! I was downing as much water as possible while Ashley is laughing and singing Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire. Then John & Will decided that they’d try to eat the hot peppers. Even the missionaries were saying it wasn’t a good idea!

For the backyard bible study with the orphanage kids, a couple of our girls told the story of Zacchaeus wanting to see the Lord. They explained that Zacchaeus wanted so badly just to see the Lord that he climbed into a tree and shouted to him. Despite that Zacchaeus was a tax collector and had stolen from everyone in the town, Jesus went to see him and went home with him. I loved being reminded of how easily Jesus forgives. After the story, we played several games before we all broke off playing with our own little friends. Layla & I got our hair braided again today. We sat under the tree of life and chatted with the kids as much as the language barrier allowed.

My friend, Rena could speak a little English. He asked if I had any brothers or sisters. I told him I did not, and proceeded to ask him the same question. He named off 3 sisters and a brother. I was excited and asked him where they were so I could meet them. He looked at me and I saw through his eyes that he’d gone through more than I ever have. He simply pointed up towards the sky. My heart broke for him knowing he’d lost his parents and every one of his siblings in the earthquake. I couldn’t say anything so I just hugged him. Rena reminded me that one day I could meet them in heaven. He was the stronger of the two of us at that moment; he had just showed me that even if everything hasn’t gone right, it doesn’t mean we have the right to blame God or be mad at God. Even if we’re hurting, it doesn’t mean we can’t still have joy because Rena is a 15-year-old orphan full of joy.

We went and played with the kids again after dinner. The kids wanted to see me flip and I even began teaching some of them how to do it. We all taught them how to “Howl.” My favorite part of the day definitely came down to tonight. The sky was starting to change into the deeper shades of blue, the stars were coming out, and the breeze began to cool us down. Al asked us after we sang worship songs what we would update our Facebook status to if we had the chance. Without a silent second, Layla says, “God is in Haiti.”

What she said was absolutely truthful, and none of us even needed to verbally agree…it was just known. God is everywhere, but He chose to reveal himself to us through this trip. As Chris Ratley explained, God is showing us that Jesus can completely satisfy. These people have very little, yet they’re so loving. They have no AC, not running water, no closet full of clothes, no phones, gizmos, or gadgets. They have each other and quite honestly, I don’t think they’d have it any other way. These precious people were teaching us very important lessons.

Someone in the circle said that they’d pointed out the moon to a little girl named Ann. Ann’s response to the big glowing figure hanging in the sky was “that’s God.” & it is! We have all these memories that we’re making with beautiful scenes in the background and we have no other response except that it’s God!

He chooses to show Himself through His creation and His people…through His word and worship and through community. Jesus shows up in other people and what they say to you, in opportunities, in problems, and in difficulties. When you have an open mind and a willing heart, Jesus shows up. It’s so amazing that the people we came here to serve want to serve us. It’s God’s way of showing us about his love. Genuine love.