Podcast 019 – “Hope & Healing: How Trauma Impacts Our Story” with Marnee Alfson

What is trauma and how does it impact our story? How can unresolved trauma manifest itself and is there hope for someone who suffers as a result? Therapist Marnee Alfson joins host Lisa DaSilva to talk about some of the issues surrounding PTSD, as well as the ‘Yes, And’ way we as followers of Christ can respond to trauma. 

This is the first segment of a four part Hope and Healing series during the month of October. Look for books, definitions, and scripture referenced during the podcast below.


About Our Guest: Marnee Alfson is an EMDR trained trauma specialist in private practice in Vancouver, WA.  Marnee received her training under the direction of leading author and developer of Story Informed Trauma Therapy (SITT), Byron Kehler, MS. She has worked with survivors of various traumas such as sexual and/or domestic assault, displacement, first responders, attachment in relationships, body image, life transitions and mood management.

She believes we gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience we choose to walk through.  Trauma recovery therapy is an important part of hope in helping other survivors live their lives free of the pain they have experienced.


Show Notes

Definition of trauma:Any experience of fear and/or pain that doesn’t have the support it needs to be digested and integrated into the flow of our developing brains.”1 Dr. Bonnie Badenoch  


Trauma Response Categories:

  • Arousal
    • Insomnia
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Hypervigilance
    • Exaggerated startle response
  • Intrusion
    • Intrusive recollections
    • Traumatic nightmares
    • Flashbacks
    • Trauma-related, stimulus-evoked psychological distress and physiological reactions/body memories
  • Avoidance
    • Efforts to avoid trauma-related thoughts and feelings
    • Efforts to avoid trauma-related activities, places and people (sexual abuse implications)
    • Psychogenic amnesia for trauma-related memories
    • Diminished interest
    • Feeling detached or being estranged
    • Restricted range of affect
    • Sense of foreshortened future
  • Negative thoughts
    • Inability to recall key features of the trauma
    • Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
    • Exaggerated blame of self/others for causing the trauma
    • Negative affect
    • Decreased interest in activities
    • Feeling isolated
    • Difficulty experiencing positive affect

Scripture We Referenced:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

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.” Romans 12:2

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Matthew 22:37


Can I Be Meek AND Strong?

Words are important. We quickly learn as children to move our hand from the hot stove because the blisters and burns were so painful that one time we didn’t. At the library we understand what they mean by quiet! It means no talking. Not even whispering into your cell phone “for a quick minute!” The definition we give to words informs our attitude toward them. 

For a long time, the words humility and meekness have looked a certain way in my mind. Shy. Quiet. Doormat. Insecure. There was also the notion of putting others first and thinking of others more than I think of myself. Essentially, I had a blend of some negative connotations, peppered with a few grains of biblical truth. 

Overall, humility and meekness embodied undesirable traits to emulate. The end result was unattractive and didn’t look successful (which was very important to me), and I felt guilty to be unable to produce these traits in my own character. I suspect I’m not alone.

Letting the Bible Shape Our Definitions 

“What does the Bible say?” is usually my favorite question to ask myself when faced with a challenge. I’m ashamed to say it was not one I initially used to question my own faulty narrative regarding these two character traits. Nonetheless, Scripture came to my rescue.It was a deep-dive into the letter Paul wrote TItus that helped me see I’d misunderstood humility and meekness. The language both challenged and enlightened me. Because that’s what Scripture does: It brings light to things otherwise hidden.

Titus 2:15a reads: “Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority.” The verse stopped me in my tracks. An inner dialogue of sorts began inside my head. Declare, exhort, rebuke; these are all strong action verbs, I thought. These are not actions to be carried out by someone who was a doormat or insecure. They require confidence. Yet, we are called to be humble. What does it look like to declare, exhort, and rebuke, while remaining meek? How does that even work? Scripture had my full attention. So I kept digging.

Letting the Bible Explain the Bible

When you are a Christian, you will feel the tension between the life we currently have here and the one we are headed to in glory. In practical terms, this means we will live in the tension of familiarity that becomes strange as we grow in our faith, and strangeness that slowly becomes our home. The Bible calls us exiles. Because that is exactly what our status is: Exiled from our true home.  

I’d misinterpreted what humility and meekness meant. How? Like so many, I learned early in adulthood to define success and confidence through the world’s definition. To succeed and be confident meant to be strong and self-reliant. Weakness was not admirable, nor did it lead to success. Weak is who the winners ate for breakfast. 

But here’s a quick look at what the Bible says about meekness:

From the lips of Jesus, when he spoke the beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 (ESV)

Written by David, roughly a thousand years before Christ: “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.” Psalm 37:11 (ESV)

These verses, separated by a millenia and similarly worded, are pointing to a promise. One prophesied by a shepherd who would be king; the other preached by the King who came to shepherd. Who is the promise for?

Since the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek, it’s worth looking briefly at the vocabulary employed to make this promise. In Hebrew, meek means “…of a lowly, pious, and modest mind, which prefers to bear injuries rather than return them…”1

As for the Greek meaning, we find: “…that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command.”2 The confidence displayed in the meekness of Jesus is “neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.”3 

Letting Jesus Show Us the Way

Lest we forget this conversation.4 When Jesus was outlining his purpose for the disciples saying: “I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas interjects: “Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?” And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Essentially, Jesus was saying: Look to me for how to live between now and when you arrive home.  Jesus’s life, words, and attitude provide a real-life example of what meekness and humility look like. Because he embodied humanity in his own flesh, we can find clarity in his life where our definitions fail us. 

So, herein lies the paradox. Humility embodied in Christ looked like a man who ordered storms to cease and left his closest friends scratching their heads wondering what kind of man he was, who could command obedience from wind and sea.5 Indeed, meekness is lived out in the Lamb who stood before worldly authorities and did not seek his own defence. Yet he affirmed his identity when he declared at his friend’s funeral, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25-27), right before bringing  that friend back to life in front of everyone present. 

In Jesus; God made flesh, we see meekness with power that declares Who he is, rebukes even stormy waters, and exhorts men with authority and life-altering love. The same man who overturns tables in anger also bends down to wash the dirty feet of twelve men, including the one who would betray him. Indeed, what man is this? Jesus. That’s Who.

Jesus was not shy, and he was certainly not insecure. We think doormat and roll our eyes when we remember that as Christians we are told to turn the other cheek. But in Jesus, meekness looks like surrender. He could be bold because he had nothing to prove; he knew exactly who he was. He was a King who had come to save others by doing for them what they could not do for themselves. He was confident in the One who sent him, and therefore did not feel insecure when others questioned, doubted, or even abused him. He felt hurt, yes. But his identity never wavered. 

Jesus’ whole life was example after example of turning the other cheek. Not a doormat, but more like a doorway. Instead of walking on it, he invited all to walk through it, so they could be made new. He loved us beyond all measure to the point of death, so we wouldn’t have to die. 

When I think ‘doormat,’ I think of someone who lets others take full advantage of them –  Someone who doesn’t think their personhood deserves or should demand any regard from others. Yet Jesus, being truly man and truly God, understood his worth plainly. He wasn’t letting others take advantage of him. He was simply fulfilling the purpose for which God the Father sent him. His life on earth was entirely surrendered. From Bethlehem to Gethsemane, his life was willed by the Father. Meekness is the confident obedience to surrender our rights to ourselves and live under the lordship of Christ. Humility as lived out by Jesus is otherworldly power contained and joyfully submitted for others’ sake.  

Do we dare live like this? Yes! Because when we are meek, we no longer make this life our personal pursuit of happiness and self-actualization. That often leads to an exhausting chase after perishable things that consume without giving life. The source of our joy comes not from fighting to have our way, but from following His. And the astounding result is that in the process, we end up uncovering our true self and worth. We are strong. Strong enough to declare, exhort, and rebuke, without the personal agenda for self-affirmation. Strong enough to bear injuries rather than injure. True strength is found when we become meek and reflect our Savior.


About the Author: Paola Barrera was born in Spanish, lives in French, and thinks in English. She loves words and uses them as arrows to point to the best words she knows — those left by our Maker and found in Scripture. Her aim: to think biblically about all of life. She’s a writer, speaker, and mentor. She blogs at WordsOutloud.net where she writes from the intersection between everyday life and eternal perspective. Canadian through the gift of immigration, she and her husband Gustavo call Montreal home. You can find her on twitter @Paola_BarreraR and Instagram @paola_m_barrera.

Podcast 018 – “Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization & What It Means For Us” with Marilyn McGraw

The term self-actualization was first made famous by psychologist Abraham Maslow in the 1950’s and is the ultimate goal of his hierarchy of needs (see below).  The theory, which describes a process by which an individual can reach his or her own full personal potential, plays a fundamental role in current education, health, and social justice practices.

Our podcast guest today shares insight into how we as followers of Christ can analyze and understand a secular theory like this one. What does it mean for a Christian to self-actualize?  How, if at all, can we glean truth from research and concepts that aren’t rooted in scripture? What role does the gospel play in Maslow’s theory of self-actualization, and what might this mean for the church?

Join us as we uncover the theory and seek to better understand self-actualization from a Christian perspective.


Image by: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html


Digging Deeper:

Consider reading through these scriptures in light of Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. How do they contend with or complement the theory? What do they imply about our aspirations and gifts? How and for whom should the goal of self-actualization be?

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”   
  • John 18:36 – “My Kingdom is not of this world.” 
  • Philippians 3:12 – “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6 –  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
  • Matthew 10:29 – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will lose it.”
  • John 13:34-35 – “ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”


About Our Guest: Dr. MarilynMcGraw is the Founder/CEO of Excellence At Work where her role focuses on individual and corporate coaching, speaking engagements, training, meeting facilitation, and retreats. Dr. Marilyn has developed a “just do it” style that motivates and encourages clients to achieve higher levels of personal and professional effectiveness. She is the author of Running Away for Three Weeks, an inspirational autobiography designed to prepare readers for maximum effectiveness in the workplace; creator of Discovering Your Workplace Gifts, an assessment to help individuals identify the gifts they were motivated to discover; and author of Six Steps to Excellence for Leaders, a road map to personal and professional excellence for all leaders.

God’s Grace, Your Grit

Our family of three recently returned from a few trips in the last month where our two year old son slept in our bed most nights. It wasn’t a normal routine for him and we figured it would be a little hard to transition him back into his own bed when we got home. In reality, it ended up being much more difficult than we expected. He didn’t want to be away from us, day or night.

Our efforts to have him sleep in his own bed required 2 hours to put him to bed, then getting up 4 to 5 times a night when he would scream. He also learned the dreaded skill of climbing out of his crib during this time. I would hear a huge crash and scream at 3am that jolted me out of bed and hurried me to his bedroom to make sure he wasn’t hurt. Once the crying settled, then it was trying to go back to bed after an adrenaline rush. We were starting to feel like we had a newborn again and were already exhausted from the traveling we did the weeks before. 

One particular night I found myself on the floor next to my son’s crib, rubbing his back after I had been in his room for close to an hour and a half. I felt myself getting angrier and angrier that he wouldn’t for the love of anything just go to sleep already! I wanted to be out on the couch watching TV or literally doing anything else besides being trapped in his room. It had been weeks since our regular schedule of his 2 hour nap and 8 o’clock bedtime and I was ready to have it back.

And that’s when I felt the Lord ask me: “Are you not physically able to do this right now or do you just not want to?”

Like many questions the Lord asks, it stopped me in my tracks.

My honest answer? Of course I was able. I had a deep well of physical capacity to accomplish the task at hand. I just didn’t want to. 

As someone with a history of ignoring my own needs and boundaries, I had swung the other way on the pendulum where many things were about me and what I wanted to do. The balance between self-care and self-denial is always changing and I do my best to stay somewhere in the middle, but it’s hard!

Have you ever come across a mom who’s more joyful about motherhood than you? I’m talking about the moms who, through the good and bad, easy and hard, are still joyful about their work. It’s convicting and curious at the same time. Like, what am I missing here?

The Lord’s question to me revealed that CHOOSING to serve my family as a general attitude, no matter the circumstance, will bring me more joy than wishing I was doing something else.

In the past I have had a fear of becoming a slave to my family. I didn’t want to be run over or unappreciated. Can I really enjoy giving to my family without feeling like a slave to others?

I have since realized that I’m nobody’s slave if I choose to do it.  

There were many times I had decided in advance that I didn’t want to read more bedtime stories or clean up the kitchen or cook dinner, even though I was fully capable. 

Other than the Lord, you are the only one who truly knows the attitude of your heart. Choosing to serve your family isn’t about ignoring ALL of your needs ALL of the time. It does require you to have boundaries and it does require you to uphold them. 

Practical Suggestions for an Attitude of Willingness

Asking a few questions when you’re not feeling like giving anymore helps get to the heart of the matter.

  1. Is this something I can’t do? Or something I don’t want to do?

Sometimes we have a hard day emotionally. Or a lot of hard days emotionally. Sometimes our emotional capacity is maxed out while we still have more to give in our physical capacity. It can help to focus on the area that we are strong in at the moment, physical capacity, rather than your weakness and complete the task at hand. Be sure to circle back to your emotional needs at another time when you are able.

    2. What do I need to implement more or less of in my life so I can maintain an attitude of willingness? 

Do I need less screen time? Can I do less activities outside the house? More planned time away from family? More time with the Lord? Can I hang out with other moms that have a heart of willingness and be encouraged? 

Be Encouraged by the Word

Reading the Bible is to our benefit. Marriage and motherhood takes a lot of our grit and elbow grease to keep digging in. Our perseverance and passion need continual stoking. There are many verses we can cling to when it comes to giving to our families. Reflect on the scriptures below and consider how they apply to your circumstances.

    • “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
    • “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” Proverbs 31:13
    • “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
In The End

The decision to serve our family is one that is noticed. Our family members enjoy our happy-hearted giving, just as we enjoy theirs.

It’s hard to keep the tension of self-care and self-denial – That’s what God’s grace is for. Together, we use our grit and God’s grace to stay in a willing place of self-sacrifice without killing ourselves.

My Prayer for Grit and Grace

Lord, I need your grace to help me dig in today. Help me want to give to others. Help me to see and think outside of myself. Lord, I know that sometimes I have a bad attitude about the work I do, help me to get to a place where I can enjoy this today. Give me reminders that my work is important and cherished by you. You see the grit I put in and appreciate it. Help me to know when I need to rest and when I need to dig deeper. Show me quickly when my heart has turned away from serving and steer me back towards loving my family with my whole heart.


About the Author:  Hi there! I’m Lynnaea and I am mama to one little man named Remmik and married to my favorite guy, Dave, for almost 5 years! I enjoy fresh air in my lungs and anything with the mountains, trees, or ocean. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest but have lived in the beautiful town of Homer, Alaska for the last 3 years. You can find more of my writing on the Rosebud Blog.



Come As You Are, But Don’t Leave the Same When You Go

So real talk. I grew up in the church, heard bible stories, sang songs, did Awana, all the things. But until my early twenties I didn’t actually understand that Saul was Paul. I was reminded of this on my visit to Rome last summer, where Paul spent some of his time as documented in Acts and in his letter to the church in the book of Romans. It was interesting to see where that reflection led and how there’s some major tie-in with a concept God has been teaching me for the last eight years or so. The Saul/Paul faux-pa of mine reflects the major theological concept of sanctification in two different ways. 

The first was personal. For most of my life I was showing up to church and encountering the truth of who God was, but wasn’t being transformed and changed by what I was learning. It wasn’t until different trials, encouragements, relationships, and even ego-shattering events lead me to desire God more deeply. Only then did I begin to realize there was more to the Bible than just reading the words. There was more to my relationship with God than just showing up to church on Sunday. 

In Christianity, the transformation that comes as we encounter Christ, obey him, and seek to live our lives based on His call to holiness is part of an important process called sanctification

This new knowledge changed many aspects of my Christian walk. God continued to show me how important it was to truly study and understand his written word. Not just plug in pretty verses, or magical 8 ball bible flipping when I was in a struggle. But like ACTUALLY study it. Then ACTUALLY put it into practice – However God led, through conviction to change, encouragement to do something more, or clarity to align what I may think was true to what he says is true through the Bible. 

The second reason my Saul/Paul realization is borderline comical, though, is because of the documented sanctification process that Paul went through in the New Testament. 

It’s a concept revealed throughout the Bible, but I’d never really noticed it before: God never leaves a life unchanged after encountering Him and surrendering to His truth. 

Paul’s dramatic testimony as a man who hunted down and murdered early Christians transformed into a man dedicated to supporting early churches and writing at least seven books of the New Testament is an extremely encouraging example. He didn’t just meet Jesus and follow him, his life was truly changed by the truth he learned. 

So why does this matter? 

It’s important because we can get half of the full truth by studying scripture certain ways. This not only affects our understanding of the Bible, but our personal walk with the Lord. How we study the sanctification process and it’s biblical implications forms our outreach, verbiage, and most importantly, our understanding of who God is. 

One of the major taglines I hear in current church culture is, “Come as you are.” One of the closest verses I see in the Bible that talks about this is in Matthew 11: 

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, ESV) 

The verse is such a comforting and loving picture of how Christ knows we’re struggling and how He wants us to come to him for rest. It’s beautiful. 

It’s easy to walk into churches that proclaim, “Come as you are” in an effort to reach people who desperately need Jesus, who need rest, who need perfect love, and feel encouraged by this response to just come. All are truly welcome. But focusing on only one side of this scripture and concept can leave out the very important other side – We are also called to be transformed. The Bible isn’t a halfway picture, and further reading reveals more of the complete story. Matthew 11 continues with: 

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11: 29-30, ESV).  

In this passage, Jesus describes how we’re to learn from Him, do as He does, encounter and take His yoke upon us. We’re to lean in close with Him and walk through life learning from His ways. In being called to change and learn from Christ, we don’t stay in the same place. We leave different than who we were when we first came.

Here’s what’s on my heart: There’s grave danger if we leave out half of the picture when reading or studying the Bible. Claiming to simply “come as you are” doesn’t reflect the change encountered when we allow God full access to our lives. I’ll save touching on specific topics, but we could insert any hot button people group and it would reveal why this tagline can be popular to relate or invite people in. It’s so very broad. 

In reality, all of our lives and sins fit into what needs to be conformed into God’s ways. 

God doesn’t leave us unchanged once we encounter Him. We’re called to learn how Jesus lived, learn how God calls us to change through studying the Bible, obey the truth of His precepts, and surrender to the sanctification process. 

And let me tell you, it is amazing. 

And it is painful. 

But it is part of God’s design and the wonderful work He does as we learn how to live life the way He wants us to. 

God’s perfect love doesn’t just call us to come as we are, it calls us to not stay the same as we go. 


Seeking change alongside,



About the Author: Amanda lives in Portland, Oregon and is a cardiac ICU nurse. She has a heart to live out the Great Commission in both her workplace and in the city at large. She loves the Bible, and wants to see her own and many others lives continually transformed by the solid truth of God’s word. She enjoys hot tea, baby goats, and adventures in the mountains. Seeking & serving Jesus while being made in His image is her core desire.


3 Surefire Ways to Labor in Vain

My sister-in-law was tired, weary, and in extreme pain delivering her firstborn when the doctor paused and said, “It’s called labor for a reason.” Though insensitive and borderline cruel, the obstetrician was right. Labor is hard.

Webster’s Dictionary defines labor as “the expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory.” As followers of Christ, there is no way around it. We were created for hard work. For labor. For toil. From the time God set Adam and Eve in the garden to care for the land and subdue it, Biblical narrative reveals that action is expected. We are workers. Whether laboring as stay-at-home parents, students, teachers, landscapers, artists, truck drivers, accountants, or lawyers, each and every one of us is called to a life of productivity. 

King Solomon introduces us to vain labor in Psalm 127:

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)

To toil or labor in vain means to waste our work – To nullify it or make it void. Solomon knew that unless God was overseeing and at the core ambition of building, the final product wasn’t even worthy of a watchman. The house was useless. The work – however difficult, cumbersome, emotionally draining, yields a worthless result.

Prophets shared the same lament of useless toil as they warned a godless Israel to repent: 

You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. Micah 6:13-15  

Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine. Zephaniah 1:12-13 

You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways.  Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, ‘ says the LORD. ‘You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Haggai 1:6-9 

There are ways we as followers of Christ can yield worthless results as well – Approaches to work that leave us “busy with our own house” (Haggai 1:6-9) while effectively producing nothing. Here are three surefire ways even followers of Christ end up laboring in vain.

1) We Follow Our Passion

Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford’s 2005 graduation ceremony was legendary. Many believe the catch-phrase “follow your passion” came from Steve’s poignant call for students to “have the courage to follow your heart and intuition” and to “find what you love and do it.” 

There is nothing inherently wrong with doing what we love. It’s freeing and beautiful when God’s will and our passion projects collide, but a simple look at the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles reveal that labor for the Lord doesn’t always mean we’ll enjoy it. Rather, it may land us in Ninevah, a flaming furnace, or with the beloved John exiled to the island of Patmos. 

Labor for the Lord means serving who we love rather than doing what we love. There’s a stark contrast. One leads to selfish ambition, temporal gain, and earthly reward – A possible shifting from one thing to another as we surmise that, ‘If I don’t love it, I must be on the wrong path.’ The other promises everlasting life and bountiful fruit. 

Following our own passion without prioritizing Kingdom needs, God-given gifts and talents, and where He is asking us to go may yield immediate pleasure, but following Christ’s passion ensures true satisfaction – A life of purposeful toil rather than worthless labor.


2) We Work For Our Own Glory

Paul’s message to New Testament believers was clear: Whoever you are and whatever you do, do it with grit and a heart that’s invested. Be ALL IN, but not for earthly gain.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

But as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Ephesians 6:6-7 

If we truly work for the Lord, we won’t require human glory, appreciation, or approval. Daily surrender as service to Christ Jesus may not bring earthly recompense, but we’re promised the greatest reward possible: A share in the Kingdom, everlasting life, and a forever home with our worthy God.

So when we study, we study for the Lord. When we sing, we sing for His glory. When we raise children, we raise them in an effort to please Him, and when we build a home, we build it for His purpose.


3) We Diminish the Significance of Our Work

I’ve said it more often than I want to admit: “I’m just a stay-at-home mom,” or, “I used to be a teacher.” I minimize the value of my labor and have heard some of you do it, too. 

We need to remember that ALL of our work is ministry work. Each dish washed, coffee served, class passed, corporate deal secured, house sold or lesson taught is for His glory. Every aspect of our labor is significant. Our toil is important. No work surrendered to His purpose and for His glory is in vain.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul argues that an attitude of selfless work for God’s mission should make us glad and cause us to shine as lights in this dark world. We don’t complain about our work because we know how valuable it is to the Kingdom.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

We rejoice as a “poured out drink offering” not because our work feels significant, is enjoyable, or fulfills a void in our lives. We rejoice because our labor has Kingdom purpose and forever consequence.

So when we feel overwhelmed, empty, bored, threatened and weary in our labor, we need to remember who we’re really working for. In the words of Paul, we must “hold fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ [we] may be proud that [we] did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Toil for His passion, work for His glory, and believe that your efforts matter for eternity. 

For Further Study

Read and reflect on 2 Corinthians 4.

In what context was this passage written (pay attention to the “therefore” at the beginning of the chapter). Who wrote it and for what purpose?

  • Based on the text, what can we expect from a life in service to Christ? Consider making a list in the margin of your Bible or in a separate notebook.
  • If everything in the list you created is true, why should we “not lose heart” (v. 1 and v.16)? What will we receive?
  • Do you find yourself laboring in vain? Unsure of why or for whom you are working? Take time to write a prayer of confession and determine a plan of action. Remember, we must be “doers of the word, and not just hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).


About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Lisa loves the local church and is proud to call Summit View Community Church in Vancouver, WA home.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  



Not Sure What Bible Study to do this Fall? 13 Ideas to Get You Started

It’s the time of year when small groups and churches select Bible study curriculum for the upcoming Fall season, but finding theologically sound resources that accommodate a particular timeline, group dynamic/need, or topic can be difficult. We want to help!

Below is a list of options we think will help women better understand the Word, the character of God, and the purpose He has for our lives.

The list is not at all exhaustive, but we hope it will serve as a starting point for choosing your Fall studies.

(Click directly on the titles below to view and purchase the resource from Amazon).


God of Creation: A Study of Genesis 1-11

  • Author: Jen Wilkin
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1–2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

God of CovenantA Study of Genesis 12-50

  • Author: Jen Wilkin
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1–2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

No Other Gods: The Unrivaled Pursuit of God

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 8 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Daniel: Lives on Integrity, Words of Prophecy

  • Author: Beth Moore
  • Timeline: 12 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

  • Author: Beth Moore
  • Timeline: 10 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

The Armor of God

  • Author: Priscilla Shirer
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story

  • Author: Angie Smith
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not necessary 

Finding I Am: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart

  • Author: Lysa TerKeurst
  • Timeline: 6 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not absolutely necessary

Follow Me: A Call to Die, A Call to Live

  • Author: David Platt
  • Timeline: 6  Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

Mercy Like Morning: Discovering Truth is Seasons of Waiting

  • Author: Jane Johnson
  • Timeline: This book/guide is designed for individual use. It empowers the reader to prayerfully and accurately study the Bible using context clues, word studies, and a variety of other techniques. The book includes 7 chapters with follow-up examples and practice.


We also love Precept Upon Precept and Bible Study Fellowship classes. These are facilitated by trained instructors all over Canada and the USA. Click on the links below to find one near you.

Precept Upon Precept

Bible Study Fellowship

Expository Bible Study: Unfolding the Wisdom of God

Who is the wisest person you know? What do they do to make you believe they are wise? How do you feel when you’re around them?

Wisdom is hard to find in this life. We often equate wisdom to knowledge, but those who have knowledge don’t always do the wise thing. There are a lot of brilliant fools in the world. 

A quick Google search finds multiple lists of the character qualities of a wise person: Open-minded. Compassionate. Reflective. Always learning. The list goes on. Yet not one of these lists hints that we are born wise. We innately know that human wisdom is valuable, is learned. It comes with experience and study.

Biblical Wisdom

The Bible doesn’t define wisdom the way humans define wisdom. 

In Psalm 2:6-7, David tells us that it’s the Lord who gives wisdom – That he stores up sound wisdom in those who walk with integrity.  

The wise are those who are able to see the big picture and align their actions to reach the main goal.

This is the long game. Not just the experience in the now. True wisdom is seeing the past and having the foresight to know how it will affect the future.  

Charles Ryrie describes it like this: “The wisdom of God tells us that God will bring about the best possible results, by the best possible means, for the most possible people, for the longest possible time.”

God doesn’t have to learn wisdom. God has no need to learn or experience life to be wise. He is the embodiment of wisdom. 

The whole of the Bible is God’s wisdom unfolding. 

When you read the Word of God, His perfect wisdom is being revealed. Everything God says in scripture is said on purpose.  But sometimes it is hard to uncover what God is saying when we read the Bible. 

How can we truly understand God’s wisdom as we read Scripture? 

Using an expository method to study the Bible is a great way to uncover God’s perfect plan. We get to dig into God’s word ourselves and work to uncover the big idea of each passage. What a privilege! 

The goal of this way of studying the Bible is to explain it, prove it, and apply it to your life by looking at Scripture verse-by-verse. This type of approach is time-consuming, yes. But if something has to be consuming your time, why not let it be the pursuit of wisdom and truth?

The Three Steps to Expository Bible Study

Prayer is the most vital part of any scripture reading we do. The Bible is a living work, and its truths will be revealed over and over when we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and reveal meaning. Remember to ask His for wisdom and discernment when working through these three steps of Expository Bible Study.

1) Explain it: Begin by figuring out the context and purpose of the text you are studying. Who is the book addressed to? Who is the author? What is the historical situation? What is the major subject? Is there a “therefore”? – If so, there was likely important information that came before. Go back and read the verses or chapter before your section.  

2) Prove it:  Underline any words or places that you don’t yet know, then look them up! You can do this in your own Bible if it has maps and resources, or find trusted Bible sources such as word study books, a concordance, dictionary, Bible handbook, or lectionary. The Read Scripture app is also an excellent resource. The grammar and geography research will guide you into a deeper understanding of when and why this piece of scripture was written.

3) Apply It. I love this part! Our God meets us where we are. We need to ask ourselves – Why should I apply this Scripture? And how should I apply it?  Each verse in the Bible has one truth, but the application of that truth looks different depending on who is reading it, their culture and stage of life. 

Take Isaiah 40:31, for example: “But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall walk and not faint.”

I have this verse underlined in all of my Bibles. The truth of this verse is the same for everyone – That if you are faithful to God, He will give you the perseverance you need to keep on going. However, when I underlined it in high school it meant that I could run my cross country race with confidence because God was with me. In college, the application of this verse was that I could survive these undergraduate years and it would be worth it at the end of those four years.  Currently, I apply this verse to my life through my calling to be a Bible teacher – Knowing that if I stay inside of God’s will and His calling that He will sustain me when I feel weak and under-qualified.

To expositionally study the Bible is to dig deep into God’s Word. It is to find treasure beyond price. 

 This is not the quick way. 

But if you are longing to deepen your relationship with God through a more technical study of his Word, then Expository Bible Study is worth your time.


For a quick-reference printable guide and worksheet, click here.


About the Author: Sarah Delamarter Benson is a wife and stay at home mom to her three young children. She is “somewhat organized” and is “ always singing and always dancing” per her children. She enjoys all kinds of music, most kinds of fitness, bible study, reading and caring for her small menagerie of animals.

She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Biblical Exposition program at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with a passion for pointing women and girls to Jesus through the truth of God’s Word. She is the founder of RagtagWarriors.com, an online community of women doing life together with grit and God.

Stuck Up a Tree – One Mom’s Reflection on Raising Godly Boys

A Boy, a Tree, and a Fireman

It was Easter weekend and my husband was out fishing the last of the spring salmon run. Like a normal weekend during fishing season, I’m often home alone with my boys. With a bye off t-ball, I decided to catch up on a months’ worth of laundry. I work full time and laundry sucks the life out of me, so I often procrastinate doing it. 

I shooed the boys outside and they took the opportunity to run out and play on the first dry day we’d had in months.  

Now, let me tell you a little bit about my boys. I ALWAYS need to be one step ahead of them. I have just now started showering alone, and my oldest is six. Even locks on the doors don’t keep them in. I constantly need to make sure they haven’t scaled the fence to go play with the neighbors or started the power tools in the garage while I’m distracted.  

I started in on the mound of laundry that was covering my kitchen table – Suspicious that they may find trouble.  “Marco-Polo” is a game we taught the boys to trick them into letting us know where they were – Occasionally yelling “Marco”, so they would respond with “Polo.” I started shouting to keep track of them outside (the neighbors think I’m crazy, but at least I know where my boys are). 

The response “Polo” was coming from a 65-foot-tall Ponderosa Pine in our backyard.  I could see Bridger, our youngest (age three), at the bottom of the tree and Tucker (five years old) in the tree.   

Tuck had never gone higher than 15 feet in a tree, so I let them play.  As a mom of boys, I have to walk a fine line in allowing them to explore and have fun but not hurt themselves or others in the process. Their nature is to climb and get dirty any chance they can.  

It had been about 30 minutes and I was making a good dent in the laundry when I heard Tucker calmly shout from the direction of the tree. 

“Mama. Call 911. Call the fire department. I can’t get down.”

Honestly, I thought I would head outside to find him 10 feet in a tree and only a little bit stuck, so I started videoing to capture the moment. 

“Tuck, where are you?” I asked, looking around for him. “I can’t see you.  Where are you?”

“I’m up here,” he replied.

Panic started to hit. I couldn’t see him. Anywhere. 

I went under the tree and looked 20 feet up into it. No Tucker. I backed away and strained to finally see a tiny little face – 60 feet up in the Ponderosa Pine, sitting on a branch looking out over the world.  

This was not at all what I was expecting. 

I rushed to call my brother in law, but it went straight to voicemail. I called my sister: “Is Otis home? I need his help getting Tuck out of a tree.”

Her response, “Just tell him to climb down” led me to pull out my phone and put her on Facetime. Her panic immediately echoed mine as she saw her nephew so high in the tree. “You may need to call the fire department…”

I looked for a neighbor or someone on the street that could climb up and help us. No one was home to help me. NO ONE!  

So I did what any mother whose 5-year-old was hanging on for dear life in a Ponderosa Pine tree. I called 911.  

“Hi, yeah my son is stuck 60 feet up in a tree. Can you please send the fire department to get him out?”

Those were words I never thought I would hear come out of my mouth. But when raising young boys I have said many things I never imagined, so I’ll just add this one to the list. 

All of this happened in a matter of 5 minutes. My youngest son fled up and over the back fence, taking advantage of the chaos,  and was running down the street to the neighbors. I reminded Tuck not to attempt climbing down at this point, and left to find the three-year-old. My sister lives in the neighborhood, so as I ran out the front door to track him down I saw her running toward my house in her socks carrying her 5-month-old in only a diaper. 

The fire department arrived and four men chuckled a little as they walked through the door.  Surely they thought I was an overprotective mom that called them for something minor. Boy were they in for a treat!

“Where is he?” The first one asked.

I pointed to the top of the tree, but it took a while for them to find him.  

“Oh! He’s way up there!” One said in surprise and pointed out Tuck’s location to the others. They stood there for a second wondering what to do when the youngest firefighter said; “I’m just going to climb up as far as I can and see if I can get to him.”

Let me remind you that when I started doing laundry I hadn’t changed out of my PJ’s and had kicked the boys out into the backyard before a morning cup of coffee. There I was standing with these men in my pajamas in my backyard.  And to top it all off, I recorded the whole thing. I just knew I needed to document this for my grandkids one day! 

Back to the story.  The fireman climbed about 10 feet in up the tree when I heard Tucker say, “OK, I’m coming down.”  

Insert facepalm here…  What? You could get down the whole time?!?  

I was relieved when the fireman told him to wait so he could guide him down on the strong branches.

Step by step, the young fireman led my 5-year-old down from the tree (jacket in his mouth because he knew mom would be extra mad if he left it up there), and safely to the ground. No boom trucks needed, just a little extra boost of confidence that came from having someone there next to him – To guide my young son and assure him that if he slipped, there was someone to catch him.

Lessons Learned

As parents, we want to give the world to our kids.  We want to cushion everything so they won’t feel pain.  We want to set them up for success at any cost and shelter them from all things that might hinder their future.  

But what if our job in raising little humans is establishing the grounding principles so they have the tools to move forward on their own?  Maybe we are just the extra boost of confidence – A guiding hand in case they slip?  

The fireman stood below Tuck as they climbed down together branch by branch, guiding his way, but I was the one who taught him the basic skills of climbing (well, my husband was the lead on this one), and the skills of listening and respecting the person giving him directions.  

I often revisit this experience and can’t help but liken the young fireman in Tucker’s story to the Holy Spirit. He is there to guide our children down the tree – Holding them every day as they maneuver the difficulties of life. But WE need to be the ones to teach them to listen and obey – To feel the Spirit’s gentle embrace leading them to the strong branches. 

Giving Roots

“Then he told them many things in parables saying:  ‘Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and birds came and devoured them.  Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it grew quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away.  Other seeds fell among thorns, the thorns came up and choked it. Still other seeds fell on good ground and produced fruit: some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times what was sown. Let anyone who has ears listen.’” Matthew 13:3-9

“So listen to the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the one sown along the path. And the one sown on rocky ground – this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. But he who has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away.  Now the one sown among the thorns – this is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and deceitfulness of wealth chokes the word, it becomes unfruitful. But the one sown on the good ground – this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what he has sown.” Matthew 13:18-23

I look at the parable from Matthew 13 about the sower and the three different types of soil, and can’t help but think of our experience with Tucker and the tree. 

My job as a parent is to prepare good soil for my sons’ roots to grow deep when they are young – So they can take all God has to offer them and yield much more in their life then we ever thought possible:  “But the one sown on the good ground – this is one who hears and understands the word, who does produce fruit and yields: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times what he has sown.” Matthew 13:23

I need to be careful that I don’t extinguish the ambition and God given gifts out of them while tilling the soil to make it good for planting.  But if I can teach them to harness these ambitions for good, like Tuck’s climbing skills, ability to listen, obey, and respect authority, then God will do something amazing with them.  

In the End

We cut down the tree.

Tuck tried to climb it again the next day (ripping a huge hole in his pants five minutes before we had to leave for Easter service). 

Knowing that we would never be able to keep him out of it, we decided that the best thing to do now is take it away until he is old enough to handle the responsibility and safely climb down on his own. Sometimes helping our kids establish deep roots means providing boundaries and measures so the roots have time to grow. 

A Humble Prayer 

Dear Lord,

Let me mold my boys in a way that creates a soil for you to sow a harvest that multiplies.  Give me the insight and wisdom to parent my kids that gives them the foundation you need to shape them. Allow them to produce your fruit.  

It’s sometimes hard for me to parent in a way that is glorifying to you and I often lose my patience or am tired at the end of a long day.  Lord, please give me grace and fill me with a light that resonates out to my children, so even when I fall short they see that you are working in me the same way I am trying to teach them that you are working in them.  

Lord, please speak to me right now as I sit and listen (take a few moments to listen to the Holy Spirit) and give me a word that I can work on with my children this week.  

Thank you for your never ending grace and wisdom.  Thank you for blessing me with the responsibility of raising the future generation of your Kingdom.  I know you picked me to raise my boys for a reason. Help me live that out to fulfill the story you have for me.  

In Jesus name,



About the Author:  Nikki Duke is a speaker of truth and seeker of justice. God has given her the gift of raising boys – A task that is not for the faint of heart. With a stirring in her soul over the last year, God has led her on a journey to change the fate of the world by changing the hearts of the next generation of boys – Teaching them to empower, respect and protect women to be all God has created them to be.  Embarking on this new journey God has led her to speak and teach about the lessons the Holy Spirit has taught her on the path of motherhood.  

Along with writing, Nikki runs “My Friends Are Not For Sale,” an organization that raises awareness about sex trafficking here in our communities.  She is a mother to three, a wife, a full time working mom and a Daughter of the King. She is not content just sit still, but believes God has made each and everyone one of his daughters to do something extraordinary to make this world a better place.  Arise, my daughter, Arise.



First Fruits

We just finished the last jar of homemade strawberry jam and are anxiously awaiting the new crop of strawberries.  It promises to be a good crop this year because of just the right mix of sunshine and rain.  My 94 year old mother and I make enough to fill the freezer, supplying all the siblings and grands (and now great-grands) with sweet jam throughout the year.  

So we wait excitedly for the crop of the first-fruit of Pacific Northwest strawberries and then the bounty that will come.

There is great meaning to the term first-fruits in scripture and it is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament.  There are seven Feasts ordained by God for the Hebrews to follow listed in Leviticus, chapter 23.  Four in the spring and three in the fall.  And each of the Feasts signified something that had happened in Jewish history but is also a glimpse of what was or will happen in the future.  They point to Christ, they were fulfilled by Christ or will be fulfilled by Christ, in the age to come.  God’s entire plan of salvation is outlined by these feasts which are also related to Israel’s agricultural seasons.

The Feast of Passover, in the spring, is the start of three feasts over eight days: Passover, Unleavened Bread and First-fruits. Passover enacts the night the angel of death passed over the Jewish homes that had been marked with the blood of a lamb, but did not spare the houses of the Egyptians. It stands for justification by faith in the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus ate the Passover feast on the evening He was arrested and He died at 3pm the next day, the same time as the daily evening sacrifice of the lamb at the Temple.   In 1Corinthians 5:7b Paul tells us “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (ESV) 

The following day the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins and lasts for seven days.  Historically this was when the Hebrews left Egypt, it signifies that they left in haste not having time for bread with yeast to rise.  Yeast in the Bible is symbolic of sin, so unleavened in Hebrew (matzah) means sinless, and is a picture of Jesus, the only human without sin.  This is the time Jesus spends in the grave, He who conquers the grave, He who had no sin is the Bread of Life.

Next comes the Feast of First-fruits: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.  ‘He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Leviticus 23:9-14 NASB). 

It’s significant to remember that the Feast of First-fruits was instituted when the nation of Israel was still wandering in the desert eating Manna. It was observed in faith and obedience that God would lead the people to the land of ‘milk and honey’ he had promised.  After settling in Israel, no grain was to be harvested until this offering was brought before the Lord.

The Feast of First-fruits was a way for Israel to convey to God that all good things come from Him and that everything belongs to Him. It was also a way of expressing trust in God’s provision; just as He provided the first-fruits, so He would provide the rest of the harvest. Jesus arose from the dead on this day.  His resurrection was like a wave offering presented to the Father as the first-fruits of the harvest to come.

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming”, (1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NASB)

So while first-fruits speak of a harvest of crops it also speaks of a spiritual harvest.  In Jeremiah 2:3 “Israel was holy to the Lord, the first-fruits of his harvest.” (ESV)  Israel was to be a promise of a greater harvest, as she would experience God’s redemption and then be a witness of this redemption to the nations; that they too might come to know the God of Israel.

And it’s expanded in the New Testament where Paul uses the Greek term aparche, which is an agricultural term to show we will be like Christ.  Just as first-fruits indicate what the harvest will be like, all Christians are dedicated to God in the manner of first-fruits.  We are told in James 1:18, “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits (aparche) of His creatures.”(ESV)  We need to be mindful, just as God wanted Israel to be mindful, that we are redeemed and are to be a witness to others of that redemption.  In Romans 8:23 Paul says that as redeemed people we possess the “first-fruits (aparche) of the Spirit.” (ESV).  Just as the first-fruits of the harvest provide hope for the future, the fruit which the Spirit produces in us now provides hope that we will one day be like Christ.  The Feast of First-fruits is today our Easter.

Lastly, is the Feast of Pentecost, which means 50.  This was celebrated fifty days after the Feast of First-fruits, to commemorate the end of the barley harvest.  It was on this day the Holy Spirit came and the fearful disciples became bold men and the first of the spiritual harvest came in when 3,000 Jews heard the Gospel, believed and were baptized.  Two loaves of bread were offered as sacrifice in the Temple, on this day.  The number fifty signifies freedom and liberty. The number two signifies the number of witnesses, in this case both believing Jews and Gentiles that make up the Church, thus fulfilling the Feast of Pentecost.

So, just as we await the first-fruits of Pacific Northwest strawberries and the bounty that will come, we as the first-fruits of God’s harvest await the bounty of our resurrection and Heaven.  Remember the next time you eat strawberry jam that you are redeemed, the first-fruit of God, and a witness of Christ’s redemptive work.


About the Author:  Ellen Newman was a registered nurse for 45 years and is living proof that you are never too old to go back to school. She returned to college at age 60 to get a degree in Biblical Foundations from Multinomah University, and has a passion for seeing people engaged in the Word of God. Ellen has worked as a Community Pastor for Women at Summit View Church in Vancouver, Washington, and is a seasoned Bible student/teacher.  This picture was taken in Israel – A place she has visited multiple times and is dear to her heart.

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