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The Unexpected Warrior

When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Matthew 3:21

During my senior year of high school, I decided to try and live out my dream of becoming an astronaut.  I met with an Air Force recruiter and was excited to take off on this new adventure.  And then I told my parents.  It was my father that said to me, “You are a lot like your mom and your mom couldn’t handle the military. She dropped out after about a week.  You two don’t like to be told what to do.  So, it’d be best to drop this idea.”

From the outside I exuded confidence.  But on the inside, I was terrified about what people thought about me. I always obeyed my parents out of fear of the repercussions.  And so, I gave up my dream.  I assumed everything my father said was correct.

Imagine if Jesus had so little courage.

His own family thought him a little wacky.  I mean if you announced to your family that you were the Messiah…. But unlike me, He knew where His identity resided – in God.  

So often when we think about courage and courageous people we think of military and political warriors.  And while we can be eternally grateful for people that go off to war to fight for our freedoms and people like Martin Luther King who make big waves in Washington DC, if we stop there we might be inclined to not step up to the plate when it’s our turn.

Jesus wasn’t a military warrior.  He didn’t fight to change laws.  He didn’t work hard to get elected to lead a nation.  But what He did do, from the first day He declared Himself the Messiah, was choose to lay aside any and all standing with man to serve God.  He knew from that day it would be soon to die on the cross.

“His was the courage of the mind, the heroism of the heart.  It was a sober and reasoned thing.  He deliberately counted the cost and paid it.”

Charles Jefferson, The Character of Jesus

In other words, He knew without a doubt who He served and who had His back. Every single decision He made, the words He spoke were for the glory of God.  He knew people would hate him.  He knew people would misunderstand Him.  And He knew He still needed to speak.

In my BSGs study on Revelation we recently looked at chapter 11 in which two witnesses are assigned by God to give some final admonishment to the people.  A final plea to turn to God.  Throughout their 3 years on earth the world attempts to destroy these witnesses through any means possible – they are true “warriors for God.”  And until God said it was time to go, they were protected.  We were asked that week who are powerful witnesses in our present generation?  Who would you name?

Although I don’t know him personally, I do believe one such powerful witness is of the famed Duck Dynasty clan, Phil Robertson.  This rough looking, old man has been much maligned by our media and culture.  But to hear his salvation story can only show God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. 

You see, Mr. Robertson was a child of the 60s.  When he went off to college in 1964, he had a wife and child at home.  The message proliferated at college was of the “sex, drugs and rock n roll” variety.  No rules, no obligations.  He took to that message like a duck to water and was frequently drunk, doing drugs, and cheating on his wife.  When he graduated and got a job this lifestyle continued.  He also felt his family was holding him down.  And so, they left him one day.  For two weeks he partied until the cows came home.  Then he realized he was miserable.  He had not only lost his job as a teacher but also a bar he owned.

He begged his wife to take him back.  She would, if he cleaned up his act.  God softened his heart and Mr. Robertson sought out a Christian mentor.  With the strength of God behind him he pulled himself from his old life and began a one reborn.  

“And so, I devoted my waking hours to studying the Bible.  I pored over the onion-skin pages and began to mark them up.  I consumed the Word of God as if it were food and drank deeply from its waters of wisdom.”

Phil Robertson, The Theft of America’s Soul

When I read this, what came to mind were the Navy SEALs that train not far from my house.  To be a SEAL, an elite member of the US military, you need to eat, sleep and devote every waking minute to training.  Their goal is to be the best soldier possible.  But what about us average Christians?  What is our goal?  Will we be like Phil Robertson and wholly commit ourselves to the cause of God?

Fast forward in Mr. Robinson’s life and we land in the middle of the show Duck Dynasty.  It was a reality show following around his family – a family of backwoods hunters and fishermen from Louisiana who own a duck call business.   During this show the family became warriors for God.  While their producers would almost demand they do or say things outside the morals of their faith, they would stand strong.  They were willing to lose all the money offered them.  They prayed and spoke of their faith throughout the show.  And they garnered millions of fans.  And enemies.  They were called backward, stupid, far-right crazy, mostly because of their commitment to their faith.  

“It’s been 43 years since my encounter with God and I can tell you, I’m not running from anyone or anything; I’m not enslaved to the ‘isms’ of the world.”

Phil Robertson, The Theft of America’s Soul

We can make excuses for why we won’t stand our ground and stand up for God – I might lose my job, I might lose my friends/family, I might be called any manner of names.  Doesn’t that all come from a fear of man rather than a trust in God?  Phil Robertson wasn’t famous and then got a TV show.  He was a man making duck calls who became famous for being funny, principled, a family leader, and God-fearing.  

Many of us probably aren’t ready to be a full time warrior for God.  We must practice the first two steps so they become a natural part of us.  When we can naturally say a prayer for those who would hurt us, when we anticipate and readily step forward to fill a need that Jesus places before us, only then are we certainly more prepared for this step.

I follow a Christian pastor on Instagram.  He has a series of YouTube talks where he delves into our culture’s most pressing topics.  After reading how he lovingly and with wisdom responds to some of the vitriol he receives I realized, I’m not quite ready yet for the bigger battlefield.  I need to chew and gnaw some more on God’s Word.  God has been testing me along the way with mini quizzes.  Small opportunities to stand for Him.  My training to be a Warrior for God continues.

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He Serves Humbly

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied.  “Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what to do.”  Acts 9:5-6

I did not grow up in a strong, male-led home.  My father was a sweet man who worked a lot.  When he got home from work we ate dinner, he showered, and then fixed himself dessert and watched TV.  On the weekends we didn’t do family activities and outings.  He was just, well, there.  Not bad and not great.  He is an atheist who believes he can work through any problem in life in his own head.

So, when I met my father-in-law, I expected the same.  But I couldn’t have been more wrong.  One of my first encounters with John Shetter lives on in infamy.  And yet shows his commitment to humbly serving others.  You see, I was out visiting my then boyfriend and his parents and we took a short drive from their hometown into nearby Boulder, Colorado.  After a nice morning we had lunch, walked around a bit then headed back for the 20 minute drive home.  Suddenly, my lunch decided it wasn’t agreeing with me.  I whispered to my boyfriend that trouble was brewing.  He then turned to John, who was driving, and said I needed a bathroom – pronto.

The car seemed to have entered hyper speed and we may have turned into the driveway on two wheels.  The first out of the car was John.  He ran to the front door with keys ready and flew the door open for me.  I’m not sure if I have ever been more grateful in my life!

A funny tale for sure but John’s desire to make sure my needs were met as quickly as possible is his calling card throughout his life.

Dad is dedicated to Jesus’ teachings – he approaches all people with consideration, thoughtfulness and patience.  He has given himself in service to so many entities:  church, senior center, hospital, YMCA, underprivileged children.  To serve others, therefore serving God is in his DNA. 

Dan Shetter, youngest son

I didn’t grow up around any devoted Christian men in my life.  In fact, most of the men I’d been around, either through work or school, were not the “humble servant” types.  To see a strong, head of household with a job in the corporate world balance those roles with the character of Jesus is truly a great lesson for us all.

And he wasn’t alone.  I found, as I married John’s son and met so many of their family friends, that he was surrounded by men of humble servanthood.  Men who attended church regularly, went to Bible study, volunteered throughout the community, loved on their families, and talked comfortably about praying for others.  They are bankers and realtors, teachers and business owners.

John’s service to the community is something he prefers to “keep behind the scenes.”  His commitment to our church is exceptional as he has served in leadership, providing children’s messages, and many other tasks too numerous to mention!

Longtime friend, Chuck Allen

My younger daughter recently told me that one of her company’s core values was that everyone be willing to make the office coffee.  I love that.  It makes it clear that no task is too small for anyone throughout the organization.  During a particularly busy season they asked the corporate staff to give one hour a week to the production floor because they were behind on orders.  No job is too big or too small for even the CEO.

That’s how John sees his life.  A few years ago, he helped set up a warming shelter at his church.  On particularly cold nights they open their doors for the homeless to spend the night.  But he didn’t just help set it up.  I have been at their home when he headed off to his shift in the dead of night.  No bells or whistles.  In fact, I wasn’t sure where he was going at first.  Just off to serve the Lord’s flock.

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”  James 2:22

He has even turned his favorite pastime into an act of service.  He loves historical stories, especially related to the old West.  He trained to become an official storyteller, a “Spellbinder,” just so he could go into schools and share his tales.  This imposing 6’ man sits in a tiny school chair and regularly spins yarns about Indian folklore and pioneer heroes.  All because he loves to see smiling little faces.

John doesn’t wait for someone else to fix a problem.  He turns to the Lord for direction and takes a step forward.  He may not always get it right but he knows he is always working from the right heart.  

There’s a lot of “Johns” out there in the world.  Men carrying the weight of their family.  Men on their knees praying for God’s guidance.  Men serving their communities and answering the call to, “feed my sheep.”  So many serve quietly and humbly and we might overlook them.  The noise today is that men are evil, men are self-serving, men need to be less like, well, “men.”  But it is on men, like Saul in our first verse, to whom Jesus placed the weight of the world to spread the Good News.

A humble servant.  A man of strength.  Those aren’t mutually exclusive.  They are an opportunity to achieve God’s holy balance.  


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Laying By The Pool

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once, the man was cured. John 5:8

“Lord Jesus, I offer myself for Your people.  In any way.  Any place.  Any time.”

Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I was reading recently about what it meant that Jesus called Himself a humble servant of God.  To some that seems contrary – for someone to call themselves “humble.”  And at the time of Jesus the word “humble” was a vile and contemptible thing.  According to Christian author Charles Jefferson, there was no virtue in the all the pagan world known as “humility.”  It was a defect.  

As Christianity spread across the world so did its values.  One of its unique additions to the world was the concept of Christ-like humility and servitude.   It is possibly one of the most misunderstood of Christian values.  To some, it means having a low estimate of ourselves.  To others it means we deny ourselves and make ourselves inferior.  But if we accept all of Christ’s words as true we then must also accept these:

“I am meek and lowly in heart.”  Matthew 11:29

And yet we have never met a person who held their head higher, with more confidence, with such loftiness, as Jesus.  So often it seems we create a vision of the various character traits of Jesus and each believer then feels they must change their personalities to fit that ideal.  When we picture a meek and humble person (not Jesus) do we imagine a rich person?  Do we picture a courageous and bold person?  Or do we picture a small, weak person who lets people walk all over her?

As I’ve progressed in my faith this concept of being a humble servant is something I’ve really mulled over.  I’ve tried “playing” various roles that seem to fit the ideal.  And it’s funny.  When I try to be so quiet and meek-like it usually backfires.  The recipient can tell I’m being a phony.

About a year ago I heard about the book, “The Hiding Place.”  I know many Christians have read this at some point in their lives.  As a refresher, the story is a Christian family from Holland living at the start of World War II.  As Hitler’s army advances, the local Jewish community starts to disappear.  Two of the main characters, sisters Betsie and Corrie Ten Boom, find themselves answering God’s call to not just hide Jews but also play integral roles in the underground system of protecting Jews from all over.  What struck me about this book were the opposite personalities of the sisters.  Both answering God’s call to be humble servants in their own ways.

Corrie was the bold one.  She found herself tasked with much of the dangerous work outside their home.  While in prison it was Corrie who dealt with the officials.  Lest we think this was easy for her because of a strong faith, Corrie frequently questioned God about what He wanted her to do.  And each time she prayed.  And each time either a word from God or someone close to her encouraged her to move on His command.  Near the beginning of their story, Corrie is tasked with obtaining extra food rations cards.  She was led to speak with a local man who recently took a job in the Food Office.  But she wasn’t sure it would be safe.

“Lord,” I prayed silently, “if it is not safe to confide in Fred, stop this conversation now before it is too late.”  

Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

She found herself asking not for five cards but suddenly 100.    And within a week they were in her hands.  The danger she faced – being turned into the authorities– was replaced with her trust in God’s urging for her to be a “doing Christian.”

Throughout her ordeal, while at home and eventually in prison, she wanted to be so angry with the Germans and those who supported them.  She balked at loving her enemies and showing them mercy.  Really, who could blame her?  And yet over and over she submitted her heart and hands to God.

“My job was simply to follow His leading one step at a time, holding every decision up to Him in prayer,” she wrote.  “I knew I was not clever or subtle or sophisticated; if my home was becoming a meeting place for need and supply, it was through some strategy far higher than mine.”  

Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

You can contrast her submission to God with a local pastor she encounters.  He, on the other hand, when asked to take in a Jewish mother and child into his home was clearly frightened.  He admonished her for the “illegal” activity and warned her that what she was doing wasn’t safe.

The concept of being a humble servant doesn’t require of us to be a person of a certain personality or style of living.  A longtime pastor can fail while a wealthy man can succeed at this effort.  Throughout “The Hiding Place” one such wealthy man aids the underground effort with both his money and his own hands. 

In all of Jesus’ teachings we see Him asking us to do two things: love one another and take action.  Like the man at the pool who had been waiting for healing for almost 40 years he asks us to first believe Him then get up and start moving.  Along the way he wants us to be teachable and willing to learn.  He asks us to put aside our vanity and social aspirations.  He tasks us to serve and feed His sheep.  He doesn’t ask us to underestimate ourselves, make ourselves small, or feel unworthy.  In fact, He wants us to stand firm in the knowledge we are doing His work.

Corrie Ten Boom was bold and faithful and humble at the same time. She was always looking to serve the less fortunate and those in need.  And when she forgot about serving her enemies, her sister stepped forward to remind her.

I once took a leadership personality test at a conference.  The results weren’t that surprising.  I have a bold personality and I’m good at organizing.  But what makes any leadership situation successful for me is to be paired with a softer, gentler leader.  That person remembers those who aren’t as obvious and reminds me to slow down to see the whole picture.

Betsie Ten Boom was that kind of leader.  The book in which they are written of highlights her bold sister, Corrie.  But it’s this quieter, gentler servant of God that I saw as a thread throughout.  It was Betsie who would send up prayers for the Germans soldiers who were torturing them.  It was Betsy who thanked God for fleas in their new barracks.  While Corrie was dealing with the big problems, it was her quiet sister drawing people out of the shadows for prayer meetings in the middle of the night.

During one difficult transfer to yet another barracks, the women were made to stand for hours and hours.  The two sister’s personalities and approach to being God’s servants was evident in this exchange:

“Betsie!” I wailed, “how long will this take!”

“Perhaps a long, long time.  Perhaps many years.  But what better way could there be to spend our lives?” Betsie replied.

I turned to stare at her.  “Whatever are you talking about?”

“These young women.  That young girl back at the bunkers, Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love!  We must find a way, you and I, no matter how long it takes…” Betsie said with excitement.

Are we that excited to serve God humbly? To be teachable, free from ambition, and vanity?  Have we looked Jesus in the eye and said, “I trust you.”  And when He has told you to get up and pick up your mat have you obeyed Him?  Or have you decided that you aren’t “good enough,” “strong enough,” or “smart enough?”  

Are you laying around by the pool, waiting for someone else to do the work for you? If you keep saying to God, “show me what you want me to do” and have yet to walk out your front door and serve your neighbors you’ve missed the point.  He takes all types in His Great Army.  Get your mat and get moving.

“All of us are different, but all of us can serve the Lord for His glory.”  

Warren Wiersbe

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Step 2: Humble Servant

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15

Since the resurrection of Jesus, Christians seem to have been in an interesting battle.  The concept of how we are saved has led to many sermons, books, and even paper nailed to church doors.  The prevailing answer in the modern church age is, of course, that we are saved by grace.  The grace of Jesus Christ dying for our sins.  

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

That passage from Romans couldn’t be clearer and yet the concept of being saved by works and/or financial contributions to the church ran throughout Christendom for a long time.  Unfortunately, much of our Christian thinking seems to have swung so far in the opposite direction that we have forgotten the other lessons in the Bible.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? James 2:14

As my BSGs work our way through a study of Revelation I keep hearing a few of the same messages.  1) We must repent of our sins and accept Christ today and 2) Our deeds will be counted in eternity.  That balance of accepting God’s grace and also working to please Him echoes so many other Christian balancing acts.

  • Expressing God’s Truth while showing God’s Love
  • His Word is both bitter and sweet
  • To live in this world but not of it
  • Accepting chastisement as a method of God’s love for us

I wonder how many of us each Sunday (or whatever day you attend church) receive constant training on how to walk those balance beams?

This week’s Jesus Mindset focuses on being a humble servant.  The character trait requires of us to first be somewhat practiced at being a loving friend.  For when we take action in the name of God without a loving spirit it becomes almost impossible to be humble.  I’m sure each of us can think of a person in our lives who took on responsibilities simply to gain some sort of recognition.  A church body that forgets Jesus’ primary character trait – loving friend – becomes like the church of Ephesus.  They were “doing” a lot and building larger, more grand buildings but doing it without love.

“The church used to be known for its good deeds,” said one wit, “but today it’s better known for its bad mortgages.”

The evolution from love of neighbor to deeds without love creates a hulking body that God eventually is clearly unhappy with.  And so, we find ourselves searching for the balance.  This week I will highlight three people.  Two sisters and a quiet, humble man.  Each has their own way of “feeding” God’s lambs.  Each have different personalities.  They each find a way to reach that balance of knowing they are saved by grace and yet God asks more of us.  

I love this quote from the book, “The Hiding Place,” which tells the story of love and servanthood in the face of extreme adversity.  This moment takes place as a member of the family is about to die.  They remind her of all the amazing things she did in life because “accomplishment” meant so much to her.  But in her final moments Jesus spoke to her heart and reminded her of God’s truths.

“How can we bring anything to God? What does He care for our little tricks and trinkets?” she asked.  And then as we listened in disbelief she lowered her hands and with tears still coursing down her face whispered, “Dear Jesus, I thank You that we must come with empty hands.  I thank you that You have done all on the Cross and that all we need in life or death is to be sure of this.”

Tante Jans, The Hiding Place

With empty, well-worn hands.  Hands worn with the work for Jesus.  For when we die we won’t take the certificates of recognition, the medals, the bonuses with us.  But each person we have fed, in His name, will be etched in our hands and hearts.

Then He said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37

Jesus has plenty of work for us to do.  The majority of that work could be called “grunt work.” It requires us to get uncomfortable and place our trust solely in the Lord’s hands.  You probably won’t receive any money for it or a headline in the local paper.  What we will receive is a smile from Jesus.

My friend Betsy told me the other day how, while out shopping, she saw a homeless man in an adjoining parking lot.  He was in a wheelchair.  As she got into her car Jesus placed the thought in her head, “Go give him one of your ‘blessings bags.’”  Her church provides these bags to hand out to anyone in need.  She had never just walked up to someone and given them a bag. 

But that day she pulled out of her parking spot and drove over to the man.  He was struggling trying to get his wheelchair closed up so he could lie down on the same spot.  As she approached the man, she could tell he was drunk.  But she kept moving forward.  She inquired, “Do you need some help?”  And he said he did.  She helped him get situated and then offered a blessings bag, which he readily accepted.  As she left she acknowledged to herself that she wouldn’t have taken that action previously – some other force pressed her forward.

You see, Betsy has been a loving Christian for 60 some years.  She has always served her church and family well.  Recently she has been working on the “obeying God” part of her faith progression.  Listening for His voice and taking action to be His humble servant.  God has told her it’s time to move forward.


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Our Inner Wizard Of Oz

Be completely humble and gentle; 
be patient, bearing with one 
another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

A prayer to be a patient person

Faithful Father, I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I forget that my needs and desires are not the same as everyone else’s. When I’m running late, I want to yell at the drivers in front of me for not moving quickly enough.  The slow grocery store bagger receives my glare when she doesn’t work at the same speed which I expect.  Or when a friend doesn’t respond to my text as prompt as I need, I get frustrated.  I’ve come to realize, LORD, through your holy Word that my impatience is an outgrowth of my lack of humility.  Your admonishment to love one another needs to be on my lips when I feel that frustration and anger well up inside me.  LORD, I know there is nothing more important to you than having your children express compassion and love for each other.  Rest your loving hand on my shoulder as a reminder for when I forget this.  Quell my impatient heart and mind and replace it with grace.  In your Son’s name I pray, Amen.


When my children were younger, I found myself praying daily for patience.  My youngest had the unique ability to press all my “hot buttons” at one time.  But patience seemed to allude me.  I heard a pastor during this time give the advice to stop beating our heads against the wall if something we prayed for wasn’t manifesting and to pray for something else.  It made me realize that maybe God wasn’t answering my prayers because He had other work still to do in me.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve finally come to realize, through God’s nudging and conviction, that I first needed to figure out why I was always so impatient.  And as the verse in Ephesians today tells us we need to be “completely humble and gentle.”  It was a hard pill to swallow when I pulled back the curtain to see my inner Wizard of Oz working away trying to control everything.  And when people aren’t acting as I want them to, I become angry and impatient.

Whoever is patient has great 
understanding, but one who is 
quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Great understanding.  Understanding of our why’s – not just because we obviously have somewhere much more important to be than everyone else – but our “why” of why we think that.  Why do we think our time and our talent or even treasure is so much higher on the scale of importance that we need to tap our feet in obvious disgust?  Or we need to blare our horns and use our fingers in un-godly ways.  If we are late, who’s fault really is it?  If we are up against a deadline, who needs to truly take responsibility for that situation?

God’s Word is great at convicting, correcting and revealing our “why’s.”  The next time you find that old foe called “impatience” welling up inside you stop and dig deeper.  Pull back the curtain on your wizard and ask God to show you what’s causing so much distress.  He will show you.  And then He will test you, over and over.  

We see you Mr. Wizard!

If we all can learn, through a renewed humbleness, to be patient and bearing with one another in love just think how much kinder this world will feel.  I’m asking God to start with me.

If you want this too, add the prayer to your daily prayer list and watch and see how God works in your life!

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Justice Will Be Done

Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
    and those in her who repent, by 
righteousness.
But rebels and sinners shall be broken 
together,
    and those who forsake the Lord shall 
be consumed.
Isaiah 1:27-28

My husband and I love vacationing in Kauai.  Our favorite activity is exploring hidden beaches.  When people think of Hawaii, they might picture long sandy beaches lined with palm trees that butt up against beautiful resorts.  But in Kauai there’s very few beaches like that.  In fact, part of the adventure is just finding the hidden turnoff from the highway that will take you to the trailhead down to the beach.  Many of the beaches sit far below the volcanic cliffs of Kauai.  Once you park you then need to search for a tiny indication you have found the trailhead.  And then the adventure really starts.

On one such adventure I was laden down with my beach chair on my back and our small cooler.  The narrow, dirt trail hugged the cliff.  And someone had secured a weathered rope in the most precarious places.  I kept my eyes down, for the most part, keeping watch for pesky roots and vines that would trip me up.  I kept hold of the safety rope, until I didn’t.  In a flash I found myself hanging off the side of the cliff – held up from sure death by my beach chair which had snagged on a few branches.  I had taken my eyes of the sure path laid out in front of me – distracted by the spectacular scenery.

The view from atop the cliff

I was like a helpless turtle on my back with waves crashing on the deadly rocks below.  I yelled to my husband, who was a few feet ahead of me.  He scrambled to me and with a lot of pulling, untangling and the blessing of God I was rescued.

God’s promised justice, mentioned more than 40 times in the book of Isaiah, requires us to do what I had failed to do on that hike – to keep my eyes fixed on the savior with a firm grip on Him.  But thank God He also gives us mercy when we fail. 

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show 
you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
    Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

You notice that both these verses require that agreement, the covenant?  Those who repent will receive a positive justice outcome.  Those who wait for Him will be blessed with compassion.  When I finally made my way safely back onto the path that day, I thanked God for saving me.  And I promised God that I would be more careful.  I would hold on tightly to the safety rope as the path narrowed and I’d be watchful of tripping hazards.

The book of Isaiah starts almost like a trial.  It describes in detail the failings of the Israelites.  The supposed believers had taken their eyes off God and were living outside His covenant.  They sat accused of murder, robbery, idolatry, and corruption.  They attended temple and brought their sacrifices, all the while leading hypocritical lives.  And so, they were warned of punishment, of judgement. 

One only needs to turn on the news for a few minutes to see the moral corruption throughout the current world.  Thankfully, God has built a safety rope for us.  Not with which to hang ourselves, but rather to grasp hold of and pull us back onto the path.

I was certainly humbled on that cliff in Kauai.  I got a bit cocky with thinking I knew the path well enough to not pay full attention.  God decided He still had some work for me to do. 

But what about those “evil doers?”  When is God’s justice raining down on them?  He promises they will be consumed by His justice.  When we keep our focus squarely and firmly on God, we can have faith that on God’s time, justice will be done.  And, we can thank Him each and every time we fail Him yet are not judged.

I saw heaven standing open and 
there before me was a white horse, 
whose rider is called Faithful 
and True. With justice he 
judges and wages war.
Revelation 19:1

God is waging a war against evil we cannot see.  His justice is at work right now.  And the final judgement is coming.  I heard a well-known evangelist once make the statement: “Imagine the looks on the people’s faces when Jesus comes back – and He is coming back.  All the people that tried to eliminate Jesus from the world about to face justice.”

None of us deserve to be free from God’s promised justice and judgement.  His mercy and love provide that rope for us to grasp when we pray for forgiveness — when we fall down on our knees and say to Him, “Have mercy on me, exalted One!”

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

An Amazingly Balanced Life

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 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. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5: 6-11


Looking back over mine and Madison’s posts this week I kept hearing one word whispered to me – balance. Not just balance in our own lives but balance in the universal sense.  Balance as in how God works throughout our lives.  I tend to cringe a little when people throw around the phrase, “Not of This World,” because taken out of the context of truly understanding our relationship with God it may sound dismissive of our everyday problems.  God didn’t just put us here to wait for the bus to pick us up for the hereafter.  He wants us to live out our lives in His name as we go about this thing called “life on planet earth.”  And He wants us to do it knowing He is waiting for us.   It’s His amazing love for us that calls us to live a balanced life, in His name.  Balanced with conviction and grace, humbleness and exaltation, watchful and trusting, broken and healed, and persecuted and restored.

The verses today in 1 Peter show this amazing balance.  We are to be humble so God may exalt us.  We are to be watchful and yet trusting that God will care for us.  We will suffer and God will restore us.  And we are to do all this right here during our time in this place.   Each day we are admonished by God to find this balance of living our everyday lives – parenting, cooking, cleaning, working, being citizens and neighbors – all the while with Him in mind.  We seek the healing hands of doctors yet pray in Jesus’ name for healing and wisdom for the healers.  We are to work hard and take care of ourselves and our families while keeping our eyes on Him – not placing idols up in front of Him.

And then there’s conviction.  So often the concept of conviction is misunderstood as condemnation.  For many we grasp for the joy and the good without the acknowledgement of the things making us out of balance.  There’s the “good” and the “not as good.”  That leads us to tricking ourselves into thinking there’s “victim-less” actions and sins.  There are no “victim-less” sins in God’s world.  That’s because He loves each and every one of us.  He has a purpose for each of us.  So, if we give in to drinking, drugs, sexual immorality, etc it means we aren’t doing the true work He has for us.  And by ignoring the very words of Jesus we can ignore that each of us are sinful people.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.

John 15:22

When we walk around with blinders on it’s easy to see the world from a very limited perspective.  It may even feel comfortable.  But here’s where balance comes in.  Without the conviction of sin there is no need for His amazing grace and forgiveness.  Satan doesn’t want us to be convicted and receive God’s grace.  He wants us to feel condemned and guilty.  Conviction calls us to change direction.  Conviction is needed for growth.  And if we hear what God wants of us and ignore it, we allow satan to work in our lives.  We know the sin.  We then choose to embrace it or work it out with God.  That choice decides our balance.  

How many of us leave our communing with God and finding that balance until a more convenient time?  We are so tired at the end of the day we struggle to finish a Bible study, to journal, to do a devotional, to even pray.  My BSGs were tasked to discuss a time they felt pulled away from God.  For me it was during my kids’ sports years.  Weekend games and tournaments meant not attending church.  And I certainly didn’t bring along any God-focused reading material.  And yet, I have to say that’s a time in my life I needed God the most.  I was really out of balance.

When we seek that balance God desires for us in all things we find we don’t need to binge eat, be constantly fearful, obsessive, overly emotional.  We live in the center, squarely in His love.  We keep our work and play on His track.  We balance our fears and concerns about this world with the knowledge of what He has in store for us after our brief time here on earth.

I thank God for helping me seek a balanced life.  For I know that every time I fail in this world I can look to Him for His grace.

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Uncategorized

Wheat or Chaff


Before I sat down to write this final word on the Book of James, I re-read through the five chapters and my highlighted notes.  What struck me was how perfectly James’ words speak to the state of our current world.  In February 2020, as news of the Covid19 virus started coming in from around the world we didn’t think too much about it.  Another type of flu, meh.  And suddenly March was upon us.  Our lives were shutdown.  Justified or not, our businesses closed, so many allowed fear to grip them into locking themselves in their homes, we ran out of toilet paper, our churches stopped welcoming us into their doors, and we watched rioters burn down cities.  Some of us turned away from God and others of us ran toward Him.


I told my husband the other day how amazingly well spoken the disciples were.  I think the tendency to think back to “ancient times” may lead us to think they weren’t as smart as us because we value “knowledge” over “wisdom.”  In this short five-chapter letter, James’ gifts shine through.  He is eloquent when using the metaphors of ships and rudders and forest fires and small sparks when speaking of our waggling and dangerous tongues.  He turns into a great debater when providing facts about not showing favoritism and how the famed among us are typically the ones who take advantage of us.  He is a fiery preacher when scolding us to submit and resist the devil.  And a faithful servant reminding us to reach out to God for any and all needs.

I read an introduction to a Bible study on James once that said, “Unlike most books of the New Testament, the letter of James is best known for the people who don’t like it. People like love.  They like Christ.  They don’t like James.”  But isn’t that the very reason this letter needed to be written?  Before we are thrown into a crisis like the year 2020, before we face off with the devil, before we walk out the door to deal with unhappy, non-believers, James wants to shake us awake.  To give us the tools to stand firm in the face of adversity.  To be God’s faithful lights for the world.  When I read James, I think of this letter as one for us everyday people.  It’s a workshop full of concrete “how to’s.”  There’s nothing wishy washy or confusing about James.

James is a “how to” book for us all

In the midst of the trials of the last few months, how many of us have considered it “pure joy?”  (James 1:2) When out for our evening walk the other day, I told my husband how much I have appreciated what has happened.  It forced me to slow down and stop fretting over filling up my daily schedule.  My house got really clean.  We turned to each other for loving support more than ever.  We became a team and God was our head coach.  I’ve been blessed to spend more time with a particular friend than I wouldn’t normally as she goes through a divorce.  My BSGs (Bible study girls) started meeting in January.  Two of whom I only slightly knew.  We are now prayer warriors for each other.  I asked my husband what positive things have come out of this for him – in the face of a very difficult work situation.  He said he’s realized who he can really rely on.

I’ve learned how to be humble.  I’ve learned to listen to people who have fears that I don’t have and show them grace.  That person driving alone in their car with a full double breather mask pushes me to pray for them to find peace rather than make fun of them.  Because that is what the Word tells us (James 1:23).

The destruction caused by favoritism, hating our neighbor, people lacking in mercy and those living in greed fills our daily news.  People wanting to burn small businesses because they feel their needs are greater. Rioters standing with bullhorns yelling all night into homes because their view of the world comes first.  Employees and businesses “gaming the system” to get more of the money distributed to help those struggling makes me want to cry. And, I can still picture a couple at Home Depot filling their pick-up truck to its fullest with toilet paper and laughing about it.  (James 2:8, 13, 3:16, 4:17, 5:2).

And if we looked hard enough, we saw churches helping their communities by doing food drives and people volunteering to help at Food Banks.  We saw neighbors supporting each other.  We saw churches fighting to stay open and serve their flocks.  I saw people like Christian worship leader Sean Feucht gathering people by the 100s to pray and worship God outside – at parks, at beaches, on the streets. I saw friends get on their knees and fully surrender to God. (James 2:8, 14,4:7, 5:19)


In the United States, we are going through an important presidential election.  I’ve stood at street corners supporting a candidate while the opposing side hurls hatred and curse words at me.  All the while they hold signs telling me to have more compassion and to love certain races.  (James 3:9).  I’ve watched candidate debates where the lies are piled up not only by the candidate but by the debate moderator and then by the media.  All in order to disguise the true platform of the candidate.  Their yes has not meant yes and their no has not meant no. (James 5:12)

I’ve said to others that this time seems unprecedent.  And this letter of James seems very prescient.  There is a sifting going on.  Have we chosen to surrender and submit to God?  (James 4:7). Have we thrown up all our worries, our hurts, our sins to God or are we taking them out on others?  (James 5:13-16) Are we working to build up our brothers and sisters in Christ or are we fighting with them?  (James 5:19)

Will we finally surrender it all to God?

James makes it clear, without a lot of flowery prose, as to the destruction we humans can wrought without our eyes firmly on God.  The question is, will we listen and do or will we deceive ourselves?

Thank you for joining me on this journey through James.  I look forward to you joining me with my next series called, “Living Amazed through Jesus” beginning November 1. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Uncategorized

My Big, Fat, Sparkly Life


I recently read an excerpt from author Tim LaHaye’s, “Spirit Controlled Temperament.”  I love reading about different personalities and picking out which ones line up with my family members.  For those that aren’t familiar with LaHaye’s temperaments there are four of them.  He calls them the “real you” and they are based on names given by Hippocrates.  Your temperament is the combination of inborn traits that affect all our behavior.  Your temperament, combined with childhood training, education, basic attitudes, beliefs and principles forms our character.  The outward appearance of that character is our personality.  Depending upon how genuine a person is those two might or might not match up.

I am firmly in the “Rocky Choleric” temperament: hot, quick, active practical, and strong-willed.  I’m self-sufficient and opinionated.  I’m not frightened by adversity and I have a “dogged determination.”  Here’s the downside.  The “Rocky Choleric” doesn’t always sympathize with others and we don’t naturally express compassion.  In fact, it’s the one area for me that makes me very uncomfortable.  Oh, and did I forget to mention we can also be bossy?  LaHaye goes on to say that the Apostle Paul was a Choleric.  

“Who but a Choleric would crawl out from under a rock pile and the next day walk 12 miles to preach the gospel?”

Tim LaHaye

And boy have I managed to drop a lot of rocks on myself.  I’m working on crawling out.

I wore my pessimistic personality like a badge of honor.  I chastised people who I felt lived behind, “rose colored glasses.”  I consistently was praised for fixing other people’s problems and resolving organizational messes.  But did I mention us Cholerics can be bossy and not compassionate?  On the inside, I envied other people’s social lives.  I wanted to be that woman that walked into a room and threw off glitter wherever she went.  People adore that woman.  She gets invited to Palm Springs weekend getaways with the girls and Luke Bryan concerts (with backstage passes no less).  I would sit hunched over my computer scrolling through other peoples’ facebook pages seeing all the parties I wasn’t invited to.  I envied the sparkly people who were at all the book clubs and Bunco parties.  And every time I tried fitting in, I failed miserably.  Maybe that’s what James is talking about in this verse.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

James 3:16

I was trying to do what Tim LaHaye says is next to impossible – change my basic temperament — because I was envious.  I wanted to change the person God made me to be.  What I needed to do instead was align the positive parts of my temperament to Jesus and learn how to release the negative parts. The world’s greatest generals, dictators, and gangsters have predominately been Cholerics, according to LaHaye.  The difference?  Their alignment or lack thereof with God.  

Envy is a dangerous game.  It leads to anger and hatred and sometimes violence.  Warren Buffett once said,

‘It’s not greed that drives the world but envy.”

Envy is the idea of wanting what others have and taking it from them if necessary.  We see a lot of envy in social media, the news, and even as a basis for some of the riots going on today.  Someone wants what someone else has.  As Christians, even in our darkest situations we aren’t to envy others.  We are to turn to God for all our needs.

“The acts of the flesh are obvious…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like.  I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (condensed)

Gala 5:19-21

Envy never finds itself in good company.  I visualize envy as a black swirling, scribbly mass that’s living inside our body.  Its disorganized and ravenous.  It keeps us from thinking with God’s wisdom.  It tears at our hearts so we fail to be compassionate.  We end up living far outside the righteous life He wants for us.

So, when I announced to a Bible study group a few years ago that I, Kris Shetter the Choleric, wanted to be Sparkly, also known in LaHaye’s world as the “Sparky Sanguine,” I had to figure out how to do that while remaining true to myself.  The Sparky Sanguine is warm, buoyant, lively, and fun loving.  She/He is optimistic, compassionate and friendly.  Ya, I bet she goes to all the best parties!

James starts us off on the right path to aligning ourselves with God’s plan:

“Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom.”

James 3:13

Humbleness and envy cannot exist in the same space.  When we humble ourselves, we acknowledge the One greater than ourselves.  We place ourselves as servants of God.  We give up all success to God.  When we envy someone we think we deserve better than others.  We take personal credit for success.  We have selfish ambition,

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

1 Peter 5:6

I realized I was walking around thinking I knew better than everyone because I could clean up their messes. Because you know those “rose colored glasses” types aren’t paying attention to all that glitter they leave laying around!   I knew without a doubt that my way was the best way.  And here’s a little secret: people don’t like to be around people who think they are lesser.  People don’t like to be constantly corrected or fixed by other faulty human beings.  Go figure.

Lest we think the other three of LaHaye’s temperaments are not without faults he gives us their weaknesses as well.  That Sparky Sanguine?  Restless, undisciplined, egotistical, and emotional.  Seen as the Apostle Peter. The Maestro Melancholy? Self-centered, suspicious, over-sensitive, pessimistic and moody.  Epitomized by Solomon. And my husband’s Flip Phlegmatic? Slow, lazy, provocative, selfish and stubborn.  And yet LaHaye calls out Abraham as a Phlegmatic. Thankfully, my husband only got the stubborn part of that one!


Every single one of us has something about us that can use some Godly tweaking. I know some people have looked at me enviously – “She’s so organized!” “She’s a good leader and can stand up and talk in front of anyone!” “She’s such an amazing problem solver!” There’s a difference between admiration and envy. Envy takes all those statements about me and turns them into something ugly, as though that other person could never attain those same outcomes. I wanted to start admiring people who were sparkly, not envy them.


ad•mi•ra•tion ăd″mə-rā′shən

The state of being viewed with such approval or delight.

en·​vy | \ ˈen-vē  \

Painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage


I don’t want to be envied for anything. I don’t need to envy anyone.  I admire a lot of my friends.  Because funny enough, I’ve surrounded myself with much more compassionate people that I am.   And I’d rather just be admired for my faith in God.  Because that is attainable for everyone.  As for my Big, Fat, Sparkly Life?  God and I are doing a lot of work bringing out my good characteristics and wiping away the bad ones.  I know that only when I give to God those things about me that I’ve worked so hard to perfect over my 55 years will I find success – which to me means finding joy in as many moments as possible. Ya, that kinda sounds like “rose-colored glasses” living but who cares.

What parts of your temperament do you need to give over to God to help remove or refine? To read more about Tim LaHaye’s 4 Spiritual Temperaments click here.