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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Learning to Love God’s Word, Psalm 119-style

open bibleHave you ever read Psalm 119 and felt guilty that you don’t love God’s Word like the psalmist? Or have you ever thought–Wow! I wonder what it’s like to feel so passionate about the Bible?!

(Or do you just skim through that chapter anyway when it comes up because it is so. incredibly. long–especially when you were just able to breeze through 117?)

Here’s a taste of the psalmist’s love of and dependence on God’s Word in Psalm 119:

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all day. (97)

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (103)

I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. (127)

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. (129)

I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. (131)

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. (148-149)

Do you feel that way about God’s Word?

I have been in that place where I know that God’s Word is good. I know that it is helpful. I know that I should read it. And so I read.

But I did not necessarily “open my mouth and pant, because I long” to read God’s Word.

But now I do. I can truly, honestly say, “Oh how I love your law!” “How sweet are your words to my taste.”

What changed?

Ever since having children, I have struggled–as most moms do–with squeezing in quiet time. For me, I know that if I don’t get that time in the morning, it’s just not going to happen. That is the time I also tried to exercise, after which I would read my Bible. Getting up early is challenging enough, but getting up early to exercise–something I’ve traditionally not enjoyed–was not motivating, even though I knew I’d read my Bible after.

A few months ago, I decided that I needed to adjust my schedule. I decided to exercise a few times a week during the kids “quiet” time. (I’m actually more motivated to do this now, because my husband bought me a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and I listen to audiobooks off my library app. I actually look forward to this now!)

This has allowed me to save my morning quiet time for time with the Lord. I prepare my coffee every night, and I have 45 minutes to 1 hour at least 5 days a week to read. Because I enjoy my quiet time, and because I’ve grown in my love for and desire to read God’s Word, I have been extremely motivated to get up. I have not intentionally slept through my alarm once!

I say all this to explain the practical changes I had to make in order to prioritize having a consistent time with the Lord. Once I had this time, I actually had the time to do more than read a few verses, a psalm, or the proverb of the day.

I found the time to thoroughly study individual books of the Bible.

I truly believe that this is what is key to loving God’s Word. Reading God’s Word is good. But studying God’s Word with a heart to know it fosters a vibrant love and desire for God and His Word.

Think of the things you really love. How did your love for that thing, hobby, study, or person develop? It likely did not just pop up in your heart. You invested time, energy, and interest in it.

Love for God’s Word is not necessarily a natural instinct for a believer either. You must invest time, energy, and interest in it as you would anything else.

I would go further and say that we should invest more time, energy, and interest in what truly brings life to a believer, God’s Word. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 when he says,

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Do you really believe that?

Studying God’s Word takes work. It takes more time and mental energy than simply reading through some verses. Obviously there are those days, when that is all one may have time for. But knowing God’s Word requires studying it. And studying God’s Word fosters love for God’s Word.

In the future, I will post some tips on how to study God’s Word and some resources for doing so. Just know that studying God’s Word does not require a seminary degree, a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, or even access to a commentary. It requires a Bible, pen and paper, and a heart that recognizes that

Your testimonies are wonderful;

therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light;

it imparts understanding to the simple.

I open my mouth and pant,

because I long for your commandments.

(Psalm 119:129-131)


{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}



Thursday Thoughts: Provoking Your Children

By Mindaugas Danys from Vilnius, Lithuania, Lithuania (scream and shout) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mindaugas Danys from Vilnius, Lithuania, Lithuania (scream and shout)

I’ve been writing a Bible study on the book of Colossians, and it has been such a benefit to my soul! Christ is the theme of the book. A major sub-theme is the believer’s position in Christ and his responsibility to live in accordance with his position.

The author, Paul, spent the first part of chapter 3 discussing what relationships should look like within the body of Christ. The last part of the chapter focuses on family relationships. While the wives-submitting-to-their-husbands part struck home for me as I anticipated, the parenting aspect struck a new chord.

Paul says in verse 21,

            Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

While Paul directly addresses fathers, I believe that it is valid for mothers to take note of this command as well. I also looked up the parallel passage in Paul’s letters to the Ephesians:

 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (6:4).

Paul’s point is that there is something wrong when a parent provokes his or her child to discouragement or anger. Clearly, there are times when a parent provokes his child to unwarranted anger. When I tell my child that we will not buy any of the candy in the checkout lane of the grocery store, and that child throws a fit of anger, I am not guilty of sinfully provoking that anger. (However it might be wise to avoid shopping with an overly hungry child and/or to have a conversation before hitting the checkout lane!)

So, I began thinking about which of my words or actions can provoke my children to anger or discouragement. I came up with a list (and I’m sure there are more!).

  • Inconsistency
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Unclear or unspoken expectations
  • Teasing
  • My own anger or impatience

Next, I looked at what Paul contrasts with provoking your children to anger in Ephesians: “but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The implications of this contrast were really sobering to me.

When we provoke our children to anger or discouragement, we do not have the goal of disciplining or instructing our children in the Lord as our primary goal. If we provoke our children, then we are evidencing that our primary goal is likely selfish–anger, pride, inconvenience, impatience, etc. If our primary goal is to discipline and instruct our children in the Lord, then the manner of our discipline and instruction will be such that it will not anger or discourage our children. (Again, our children may become angry or discouraged simply because they do not like to be disciplined, but we are not at fault if we have not provoked that anger by our own sin.)

When we sinfully provoke our children to anger, we’ve also lost (or at least hindered) an opportunity to help our children focus on the Lord’s instruction. They instead become focused on our words, actions, or attitude that provoked them to discouragement or anger.

As I write this, I think of how I fail in this area multiple times a day. The discouragement would be overwhelming if I didn’t remember the context that these verses are in. Colossians 3:3 says,

Your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Despite my many failures, my life–with all its sin–is hidden in Christ’s perfect life.

Not only can I find encouragement in my position in Christ, I can also find encouragement in what God is actively doing in my life:

And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (3:10).

May God help each of us parents to remember who we are in Christ, what Christ is doing in us, and the goal of our discipline and instruction of our children–to also know and be like Christ.

* * *

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}




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Frugal Friday: Meal Planning Made Easy

sticky-paperRaise your hand if you dread weekly meal planning!

My hand would have been raised until recently when I devised a system that has completely changed my meal planning game. I share this in case someone out there just might profit from what has helped me immensely!

I used to sit with my sales ads in front of me, along with cookbooks and my recipe cards trying to figure out what I felt like making, what was on sale, what was healthy, what new recipes I wanted to try out, what my family would like. . .

My husband, though, would frequently comment about the meals we all loved: “You know, you could make this every week, and I wouldn’t mind.” After almost 8 years of his saying this, I finally took his words to heart and made myself a monthly schedule. Obviously, if you live with people who don’t like routine meals, this isn’t going to work for you. But this has been a huge time-saver for me, as well as minimizing a task I used to dread. As an added plus, I think my young kids actually benefit from the routine, as they generally know what to expect.

I have some open meal slots, as I do enjoy trying out new recipes, or throwing in something that is not as frugal or healthy as our usual. I initially started out planning just dinners, but I liked the idea so much that I plan our lunches too. My wonderful husband makes breakfast, so I don’t even have to worry about that, although he makes the same meals on certain days of the week too.

Here’s our basic weekly schedule:



L-Leftovers (AKA empty the fridge, because I will shop that night)




L-Leftover from dinner (or egg salad if no leftovers)



B-Smoothies and eggs

L-Baked potatoes with broccoli

D-Pizza & veggies (Aldi’s large deli pizzas are delicious and only $5.99)


B-Smoothies and eggs

L-Sandwiches & veggies

D-Mexican (I have 4-5 different meals I plan on for each week of the month. Every other week I cook a big crockpot of refried beans to use with this meal and others.)



L-Leftover Mexican

D-Breakfast/vegetarian (I have 2 breakfast meals and 2 vegetarian meals I plan on)



L-Refried bean dip (from Thursday’s meal)

D-Crockpot meal



L-Saturday leftovers

D-Cheese quesadillas

We have reasons for doing some of our meals the way we do. Wednesday nights we meet with our church for prayer, so pizza reduces the stress. Thursday nights are our family fun night, and we all love Mexican–and I often make a dessert too. Sundays we have church, and because my husband is the pastor, they tend to be crazy or stressful, so we like to keep it simple.

I can’t stress enough how much of a help this has been to me. I hope it can help one of you too! Stay tuned in future “Tasty Tuesday” posts for a few of my regular recipes for extra inspiration.

Happy stress-free meal planning!🙂

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}




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Monday Meditations: Preach the Gospel to Yourself Every Day

open bibleYesterday, my husband preached a message titled “Unbelievable” from Mark 6:1-6. This passage tells of Jesus and his disciples returning to Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, and teaching in the synagogue. Jesus’ friends and family “took offense” (v. 3) at Jesus and rejected him. They didn’t believe he was who he said he was. They couldn’t get over who they thought him to be (i.e., merely Jesus, brother to their neighbors, a carpenter’s son, the son of Mary). Jesus “marveled because of their unbelief” (v. 6). It is unbelievable that people would hear and see Jesus, yet reject him.

It is unbelievable to me when people hear the gospel clearly presented and yet reject Jesus. I recently had the opportunity to study one of the gospels with a friend for about 2 months. It was sad and unbelievable to me that she should come away rejecting Jesus as who he clearly said he was–God the Son.

Yesterday evening our ladies’ study discussed a passage from our current book Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges. Our emphasis was the Gospel. The point was that in order to fight our sin, we need to view our sin in light of the gospel. We each need to “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.”

As I thought about this and typed out for myself a reminder to do so (see below), I thought that believers can also struggle with unbelief in the gospel. When we live constantly giving in to our sins (even–especially?!—the “respectable” ones), when we wallow in the guilt over our sins, when we strive to meet God’s approval only with our good deeds, etc we don’t practically believe the gospel. We’ve given in to unbelief. And this should be unbelievable too. It is unbelievable that believers should live every day without practically living out God’s work in us through the gospel every day.

So, as I told my ladies that I would do, I typed out this reminder to preach the gospel to myself every day. I’m going to print it out and put it somewhere visible, so that I will remember the gospel.

Preach the Gospel

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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Tasty Tuesday: Mom’s Meatloaf {with tomato sauce gravy, caramelized onions, and french fried onions}

024First let me warn some of you off. If you never veer off the path of pure healthy eating, you will not care for this recipe. Second, if you like your meatloaf dry and able to be perfectly sliced like a loaf of bread (as my husband does), then this recipe is not for you either.

But, if you are willing to occasionally indulge in a splurge of homey, meat-and-potato goodness. . . . If you relish the thought of a moist bite of meatloaf, topped with caramelized onions and crunchy fried onions, all smothered in a tomato gravy atop a bed of mashed potatoes . . . then this recipe is for you!🙂

Initially, my mom’s recipe did not have the onions on top. Years ago, though, I ordered meatloaf at a restaurant (something I rarely do, because–well–who orders meatloaf at a restaurant??). Anyway, it was some of the best meatloaf I ever had, smothered in caramelized and french fried onions. I decided to make the onions a staple (and defining, I might add) part of Mom’s meatloaf recipe.

One more note before I get into the recipe: Technically, this recipe does call for hamburger, which usually has a higher fat content than ground beef. The higher fat content helps the loaf better stick together. However, I usually use ground beef, which does mean that the slices of meatloaf  somewhat fall apart when sliced. This does not bother me, but if it bothers you, use hamburger, as the recipe calls for.

I love to serve the meatloaf over mashed potatoes, spooning a little more of the gravy on top, then sprinkling the caramelized and french fried onions on top. Absolutely delicious!


  • 2 pounds raw hamburger
  • 1 large onion, chopped fairly finely013
  • Onion and garlic powder (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs (I used saltine-type crackers)
  • 1 tbsp A-1 sauce (any steak sauce will do)
  • 3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans golden mushroom soup
  • 1-2 green peppers (chop ½ of 1 green pepper and slice the remaining to place on top of the meatloaf)


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine hamburger, chopped onion, spices, eggs, cracker crumbs, A-1 sauce, 1 can tomato sauce, and the chopped green pepper in a large bowl. Use hands to mix thoroughly.
  • Form into a loaf shape and place in a casserole dish. (I recommend a 9×13 if you are going to make the gravy.)020
  • Place the pepper slices on top of the meatloaf, pressing them slightly into the meat mixture.
  • Mix the remaining 2 cans of tomato sauce and 2 cans of golden mushroom soup. Pour the soup mixture on top of the meatloaf.
  • Bake uncovered for 1 hour, 45 minutes.
  • While the meatloaf is cooking you can prepare your mashed potatoes and caramelize your onions.
  • For each serving, place a slice of meatloaf on top of mashed potatoes, add gravy, and sprinkle with caramelized and french fried onions.
  • Enjoy!🙂

{On Tuesdays, I share a yummy recipe. Typically, my recipes will be super easy, because I’m a mom with littles. I try to be healthy and frugal as well. But I like good food, so it will always be delicious! }

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Monday Meditations: The Power of the Son of God

wavesMy husband has been preaching through the Gospel of Mark, and it has been so refreshing to hear this “gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1) preached straight through. It has been humbling and awe-inspiring to see the immense power in simply a word or a touch of Jesus Christ.

One of the primary emphases lately in my husband’s sermons is that Jesus is God. While some think the title “Son of God” implies only that Jesus is God’s Son, the fact is this title means much more. Jesus, as “Son of God” shares the qualities of God. Jesus is, in fact, God. I have heard my husband say basically the following words  many times over the past few weeks: “If you can come away from these passages and not see that Jesus is God, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Jesus, the Son of God, has power over Nature

In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus had finished a day of teaching in a boat to a huge crowd by the sea. At evening, Jesus and the disciples left the crowd to go to the other side of the sea. Jesus fell asleep in the boat, and there soon arose a fierce storm. The storm was so bad that waves crashed over the boat, filling it with water. Jesus continued to sleep, so the disciples woke him, asking him if he cared that they were perishing.

Jesus responded by simply standing up and rebuking the wind and sea with one command: “Hush, be still. And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.”

Then Jesus asked why they were afraid. He asked them if they still have no faith. The disciples response? “They became very much afraid,” wondering “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

What made the disciples afraid? Who then is this? Who then can say a word and all nature obeys him? None but God. None but the Son of God. Jesus.

Jesus, the Son of God, has power over Demons

In Mark 5:1-20, Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea. As soon as they got out of the boat a man with an unclean spirit met Jesus. This demon-possessed man lived naked among the tombs, was so strong that he was unable to be restrained even with chains, spent night and day screaming in the tombs and mountains and gashing himself. Note the demon’s response (through the man he possessed) when he saw Jesus:

  • He bowed before Jesus (v. 6).
  • He referred to Jesus as “Son of the Most High God” (v. 7).
  • He appealed to God for Jesus not to torment him when Jesus commanded the spirit to come out of the man (v. 8).
  • He earnestly implored Jesus not to send them out (v. 10) but rather into swine (v. 12).

When Jesus asked the demon’s name, he responded “Legion; for we are many.” A Roman legion consisted of 1000-6000 men, so it is possible that this many demons possessed this man.

            “Jesus gave [the demons] permission [to enter the swine].”

After the demons entered the swine, the pigs jumped into the sea and drowned. When the pigs’ herdsman told the people of the city and country, they ran to see what had happened.  They came to Jesus and saw the once-demon-possessed man sitting, clothed, and in his right mind. Their response? “They became frightened.” So frightened, in fact, that they asked Jesus to leave. The man who had the demon removed, however, begged to go with Jesus. Jesus denied him, telling him instead to go home and report “what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” This the man did and “everyone was amazed.”

What frightened the crowd? What amazed everyone? What kind of person does a demon bow to, beg for mercy, and ask permission to leave the one it is inhabiting? Who can command  thousands of demons with a word? None but God. None but the Son of God. Jesus.

Jesus, the Son of God, has power over Disease and Death

In Mark 5:21-43, Jesus went back to the other side of the sea by boat, only to be greeted by a large crowd. The crowd gathered around him, and Jesus stayed on the seashore. One of the synagogue officials, Jairus, came to Jesus, fell at his feet, and asked for the life of his dying, 12-year-old daughter. He asked that Jesus would come lay his hands on her, so she would get well and live. Jesus went off with him.

While he and Jairus were walking to Jairus’ home, the large crowd continued to follow him and to press in on him. A woman who had a hemorrhage for 12 years (thus considered unclean and untouchable according to Jewish law) heard about Jesus and squeezed her way through the crowd to get close to Jesus. Her goal was to simply touch Jesus’ garments in order to be healed. This she did, and immediately the hemorrhage stopped and her body healed.

After simply touching Jesus’ garments, the woman was healed. Jesus could perceive that power had left him by this simple touch.

Jesus asked the disciples who had touched him, and the disciples were incredulous that he would ask such a question because there were so many touching and pressing in on Jesus. Still, Jesus looked around and saw “the woman fearing and trembling.” Jesus comforted her, telling her to go in peace, because her faith in Jesus’ healing power had made her well.

Now, remember, Jairus was still with Jesus and likely saw this whole thing. In fact, while Jesus was still speaking to the women, people came from Jairus’ house, saying that his daughter was dead–no need to trouble the Teacher anymore. Jesus, ignoring this announcement, said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, only believe.”

Jesus, now taking only Peter, James, and John with him to Jairus’ house, saw people making a commotion, weeping and wailing loudly. Jesus informed them that the commotion was unnecessary because the girl was not dead, just sleeping. The people laughed at Jesus, and Jesus put them out of the house. Taking his three disciples and the girl’s parents, Jesus entered the room where the girl was lying.

Jesus took the dead girl by the hand and said “Talitha kum” (“Little girl, I say to you get up!”). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk.

They were astounded. What kind of person could bring healing by a woman’s touching his garment in faith? What kind of person could say two words, commanding a dead girl to come back to life? None but God. None but the Son of God. Jesus.

Only the God who is Creator of the winds and waves, Sovereign over demons and disease, the Creator of life itself can have the power to still the storm, demand demons to depart, heal disease, and command life. Only Jesus, the Son of God, can share this power to its fullest extent.

Over and over again, the people who saw Jesus’ power were afraid. They recognized that Jesus was not mere man; He is also God. Unfortunately, some people were (and still are) fearful and rejected Jesus, asking him to leave. Others though–afraid and awed at Jesus’ display of power–did not remain fearful, but believed in Jesus as Son of God.

When we view Jesus Christ, in all his magnificent power, we should have a holy awe and reverence. Yet let us not “be afraid, only believe” and then report “what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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Frugal Friday: Filling the Freezer for Post Baby, Part 3

297The past couple weeks I posted parts 1 and 2, each listing 10 recipes that I made to fill my freezer with meals to eat after my third baby was born. Here are some more of the recipes I made. Again, I’ll star my absolute favorites that I know I’ll make again.

  1. *Homemade Pizza

These are delicious, easy, and frugal–not to mention much healthier than store-bought frozen pizzas! I make my own crust, using this simple no-rise dough. I also make my own sauce, using this delicious and easy sauce recipe. I often make double the pizza when we have pizza and follow these simple instructions to parbake and freeze one of the pizzas. Delicious and easy!

  1. *Slow Cooker Italian Beef 

Another delicious and easy winner! Techinally, you don’t really freeze this meal, unless you have a roast that you bought on sale and froze. I also definitely recommend the baked potato wedges recommended at the end of the recipe. Delish!

  1. Freezer egg sandwiches using homemade sausage patties.

I will not make these again. The homemade sausage was good and maybe I’ll make that (but I would cut them in patties before freezing next time!). It was quite a bit of work for the quantity I made, and I did not care for the way they reheated. The English muffins were soggy and the eggs were kind of spongy. Oh well, live and learn. . .

  1. *Instant Oatmeal 

So simple. If you buy instant oatmeal packets, just stop!🙂 This is so much cheaper and healthier. Not to mention really easy.

The following are some side dishes I made as well.

  1. *Homemade Salsa (whichever is your favorite!)

After blending, simply place in freezer bag container or bag and freeze.

  1. Twice baked potatoes 

These were fine, but I thought the work outweighed the convenience factor.

  1. Cheesy potato skins 

If you do make #6, though, do make these.🙂 They were good.

  1. Sweet Broccoli Pasta

Confession: we still have this in the freezer. We did not care for this when we made it. It was just weird to have sugar in a pasta dish.

  1. Southwest Rice and Beans

This a great, delicious side dish. I just didn’t care for it after frozen. It’s so easy anyway (especially if you have rice in the freezer) to just throw together–I just make it fresh.

  1. Spiced Roasted Cauliflower 

This was good. I just prefer to use whatever fresh veggies are in season, though.

Hope these lists are a help. Happy cooking and freezing!🙂

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

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Worthy Word Wednesday: Pornography: How It Works and How to Reverse Its Effects (Part 2 of 2)

My husband, David, blogs at and gave me permission to post his articles on my blog.The below article is  helpful in understanding what has typically been perceived as a male problem. However, the fact is that many women view or read pornographic material as well. The below article is one my husband wrote for his men’s Bible study, so it is geared toward men, but I’m sure that much could apply to women ensnared in this sin as well. Last week I posted part 1 about how pornography works. This week we look at how to reverse its effects from a biblical perspective. You can find the original article here.

staring-eyesHow to Reverse the Effects of Pornography: A Biblical Perspective

As helpful as it is to understand the physiological process of how pornography works, God gave us His Word to correct and instruct us on any matter, let alone the topic of sexual sin (cf. 2 Tim 3:16–17), and beyond this, Scripture has a great deal to say about the topic of sexual sin. This is not to say that it would not be useful to some degree to do physiological studies that would yield suggestions for battling porn. It is to say, however, that God’s Word already explicitly addresses the matter of how to handle sexual sin, so why would we run elsewhere first for answers?

What follows below is a brief look at the greater biblical means of reversing the effects of porn. It would certainly help to give a detailed examining of many texts on the topic of sexual sin, but for the sake of brevity, these texts must be assumed within the broader framework of what follows below.1

The work of God in salvation begins a definitive work in us whereby we progress in our sanctification and thus desire all sin, porn included, less and less over time. We must avail ourselves to God’s many means of grace so that we increase in our affection for Him and thereby diminish our desire for porn. What follows are a few points to explain these thoughts more fully.

Repent of sin and Believe in the Gospel

Seeking and deriving pleasure from pornography is sin. As with any sin, one must understand Jesus Christ as fully God and man who lived a perfect life and sinlessly died for the sin of all mankind (Rom 5:8–10; 2 Cor 5:20–21), including sin that involves pornography. All those who repent of their sin and place their faith in Christ find forgiveness and cleansing in Him (1 John 1:8–9).

Die to sin and live to God in Christ Jesus

The work of salvation includes having died to our former way of life and being no longer dominated by the power of sin (Rom 6:5–6). The reign of sin in our lives has been definitively breached and broken. At the point of salvation and thereafter, we progressively put away what remains of sin and live unto righteousness by the power of the Spirit (Rom 6:6; 8:13; Gal 5:16–26).2 We will certainly do so because God continues His work in us until Christ’s return (Phil 1:6). As we grow in our affection for God, our desire for pornography will diminish.

Put the Pornography Away

“Sexual immorality, impurity, passion”—it is these things that we must “put to death” immediately (Col 3:5). To actively sin through pornography while claiming to have fellowship with God is to walk in darkness, lie, and not practice the truth (1 John 1:6). Along with our salvation [i.e., as one who has been saved], we [you] must get rid of your porn. Throw out your magazines and videos, clear your internet favorites, and get rid of all your pornography, whatever form it may be.

Lead Yourself Not into Temptation

Not only must we get rid of our porn, but we must also put up checks and balances that keep us from engaging in this sin again. Just as we are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” so also we must “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Rom 13:14). It is not sin or legalism to do what it takes to keep yourself from sinning again. Get a filter for the internet on every device, have an accountability partner, and do whatever it takes to keep yourself away from porn.

Equip Yourself with God’s Word

We have all we need for “life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” open bible(2 Pet 1:3). This knowledge of God is found in His Word and comes to us through personal study and preaching. It is through Scripture that we may be “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16–17). Memorizing and meditating upon Scriptures immediately applicable to pornography are particularly helpful activities that will equip you to do battle against your sin. As David said, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11).

Change Yourself through the Church

The ministry of the saints to one another grows us toward a “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13; cf. 4:11–16). The church and its individual members spur one another to love and good works (Heb 10:24–25) and provide an accountability to one another that brings about admonition and discipline when necessary (Matt 18:15–18; Rom 15:14). Our interaction with one another pushes us away from sins like engaging in porn, and the saints and the assembly admonish us to stop such sin if present.

Intentionally Renew Your Mind

In whatever you do with the time that would have been given to pornography, “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17), and “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Since you have previously given yourself to sensuality through pornography to some degree, you should likely be all the more mindful to do things that intentionally renew your mind unto righteousness and holiness in order to diminish the effects of your previous habit (cf. Eph 4:17–24). Such renewal could be through listening to sermons, reading Christian literature, or meditating directly on Scripture.


Perhaps we could tread lightly and suggest that salvation and progressive sanctification undo the physiological effects of pornography over time. The satisfaction one knows from salvation and its fruit and whatever concurrent dopamine release there may be along the way may just leave pathways created by iFosB that help to motivate righteous habits in time. Meditation upon one’s redemption and its practical outworking may give a joy whereby the brain says, “This feels good; let’s remember how to get back there.” Perhaps the former pornographer finds himself eventually thirsting not for porn but for God because his joy in Him is so much more fulfilling than what he once received from porn. Could this not be so?

Whatever the exact physiological description of the joy of our salvation may be, as we have seen, we can actively choose by God’s power to abstain from sexual sin. We find our joy in Christ, and though we struggle to put away what remains of our sexual sin, whether involving pornography or something else, we do so with the hope that all our spiritually destructive cravings will one day be changed and we will no longer want porn again. Our “Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil 3:20–21), and “we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). May we strive to be now what we shall be then, like our Savior Jesus Christ, with no addiction to porn, and living for the glory of God.

  1. For further study, however, see Tim Challies,Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn(Adelphi, MD: Cruciform, 2010); Erwin Lutzer, Winning the Inner War: How to Say No to a Stubborn Habit (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2002); and Edward T. Welch, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave : Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001). 
  2. For a theology of definitive and progressive sanctification, see Anthony A. Hoekema, “The Reformed Perspective,” 59–90, inFive Views on Sanctification (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987); John Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1955), 141–50. 


{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

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Frugal Friday: Filling the Freezer for Post-Baby, Part 2

297Last week, I posted part 1, listing 10 recipes that I made to fill my freezer with meals to eat after my third baby was born. Here are some more of the recipes I made. Again, I’ll star my absolute favorites that I know I’ll make again.

  1. *Slow Cooker Party Pork 

This was another easy, tasty, inexpensive favorite. And–no lie–when I asked my husband what he thought of this dish, he (not knowing what it was called) said, “It’s like having a party in my mouth.”🙂 So, there you have it. . .

  1. *Bean and Cheese Burritos

These are great to have on hand for anytime! I used this method to wrap and freeze the burritos, but I used this homemade refried bean recipe instead of canned, along with a little cheese. People, you have got to try these refried beans; you will never go back to canned again. They are so inexpensive and easy to make, not to mention absolutely delicious!! One of the easiest ways I found to make up a bunch of these burritos is to assemble them right after making a fresh batch of these refried beans (letting them cool before wrapping, of course). These refried beans also do freeze well on their own in a freezer container or bag.

  1. *Chicken, Broccoli, Cheese Casserole

Another delicious winner! This is a great one to double and eat one for dinner and have one for the freezer. The second time I made this, I halved the topping (only 1 sleeve of Ritz and ½ stick butter), because I thought the original recipe called for too much.

  1. *Homemade Chicken Nuggets

We loved these! For most recipes calling for chicken, I just buy a whole chicken, because it’s a lot cheaper. This recipe, though, is a great one if you find a good deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Because you freeze them after you bake them, they are super easy to just reheat in the microwave.

  1. *Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

This is my go-to recipe for enchiladas. We love them! I doubled them one night, so I could freeze 1 pan. I froze them assembled. When ready to eat, I thawed overnight then baked as directed.

  1. *Baked Ziti 

This was good and easy to assemble. Great way to use ground beef if you bought some in bulk on sale.

  1. Cheesy Vegetable Chowder

This was pretty good. I might make it again, but I would definitely experiment with the cheese. I’m not a huge fan of Velveeta (or velveeta-like cheese; I used Aldi’s brand), but I’m guessing that’s what gave it the creamy texture. I think I would try half velveeta and half cheddar.

  1. Crockpot Orange Chicken

This was really easy, but we just weren’t a huge fan. My husband and I both like Chinese food, but homemade just never seems to meet our expectations.

  1. *Cheesy Potatoes and Ham

 Definite winner! As long as you’ve got some leftover ham, this is so incredibly simple and delicious.

  1. Slow cooker Beef and Mushrooms 

To be honest, I don’t remember much about this recipe. It was easy, and I don’t remember hating it, but I don’t remember loving it either. I didn’t star it on my own list as a “make again” recipe. It may be because it calls for ½ cup of apple juice, which I don’t normally buy, and I don’t think I’d buy apple juice just to make this recipe again. But feel free to try it for yourself–you might love it!🙂

Next week, I’ll post part three.

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

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Thursday Thoughts: Peace in an Unpeaceful World

PeaceOur ladies’ Bible study at church just completed a study on the book of 1 Peter. It was such a good book to study! I really enjoyed it and learned so much. I was reminded of the importance of studying Scripture in context. Just having finished the book, Peter’s closing words (5:14b) have been on my mind:

“Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”

Reading this verse quickly on its own may make this verse sound like just a good way to end a letter, but having studied this book as a whole, it seems like there is a lot more bound up in Peter’s final words.

One of the themes that we found throughout the book is suffering. There were various kinds of suffering present. Chapter 1 states that “now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (vv 6-7).

Much of this suffering would have led to some level of unrest, lack of peace. So, what kind of suffering did Peter address that may have led to the robbery of some aspect of peace?

Religious Suffering: No Peace to Worship without Persecution

Peter wrote to Christians spread out all over Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). He wrote likely from Rome around 64 A.D., during Nero’s terrifying reign. Christians were being persecuted in Rome, as well as other parts of the world. In fact, Peter wrote this letter only a few years before (as tradition states) Peter watched his own wife’s death, followed by his own crucifixion upside down in Rome. The point is, Peter was writing to a people who were suffering for their belief in Christ.

Peter actually tells believers not to be surprised when they suffer as a Christian. Note his gentle reminder:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. . . . If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. . . . Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (4:12, 16, 19).

Peter, who was “a witness to the sufferings of Christ” (5:1),  points us often to Christ’s sufferings. In 4:1, he says “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh [i.e., he was killed], arm yourselves with the same way of thinking [italics added; i.e., prepare yourselves to also suffer, even to the point of death].” He goes on to encourage suffering believers to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (4:13). The reason suffering believers can rejoice is that they have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and  unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1: 3-5).

Internal Suffering: No Peace from Sin

While believers can certainly “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13), the reality is that believers are still at war with sin–temptations that arise from our sinful passions, as well as temptations from Satan and the world.

Peter calls us to be “preparing your minds for action,” a phrase that literally means gird up the loins of your mind. This literal phraseology refers to soldiers of the day who would pull up their robes to prepare to fight a battle. We are to prepare our minds to battle, so that we are not “conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1:14-15).

In 4:1-6, Peter calls believers, as mentioned above, to arm themselves (note the battle terminology again) with the kind of thinking that prepares us to suffer for Christ to the point of death. Believers do this by not living for human passions, but for God’s will. Unbelievers will notice a believer’s holy living with surprise, which will eventually turn into maligning for not joining in their sinful behavior.

Peter finally calls us to be sober-minded, watchful, and resistant to Satan, who seeks to devour and cause us to lose faith (5:8-9).

Political Suffering: No Peace from the Government

Another theme in 1 Peter, often closely related to suffering, is submission. While everyone was to be subject to their God-given authority, Peter specifically discusses a few relationships requiring submission (and sometimes suffering).

Peter commanded that we all “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme or to governors” (1:13-14). Remember that Peter likely wrote during Nero’s reign–this was no simple command to submit! Peter even goes as far as to say, “Honor the emperor” (v. 17). While Nero’s (or any governmental leader’s) horrible actions deserved no honor, his position as emperor earned him a God-mandated submission and honor.

Societal Suffering: No Peace in Social Rank

Peter addresses servants/slaves in 2:18-25. He told them that they were to be respectfully subject/submissive to their masters, even` when their masters were unjust. One can imagine that some, if not many, were then “suffering unjustly” (v. 19).  Yet, Peter once again pointed these people to Jesus who also suffered unjustly at the hands of unjust authorities, yet “did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges rightly” (v. 23).

Marital Suffering: No Peace in Relationships

Peter encouraged wives to submit to their husbands (3:1-6).  Specifically, Peter wrote to wives whose husbands were unbelievers. One can imagine the strife that may have been present in the marriages of a male-dominated culture, in which a wife was a believer and the husband was a pagan. Yet still, the wives were to graciously obey in all areas not sin and submit to their husbands–whether believing or not– motivated by their hope in God (another theme in Peter).

Pastoral Suffering: No Peace in Ministry

Peter, a pastor himself, also wrote to fellow pastors to encourage them (5:1-4). Though suffering is not explicitly mentioned, the implication is that ministry can be very difficult. He encourages pastors to shepherd willingly and eagerly, mindful that the chief Shepherd will give them an unfading crown of glory.

Peace in the Midst of Suffering

So, Peter ends a book that talks about all kinds of suffering–suffering from religious persecution, suffering due to our struggles with sin, suffering from oppressive government, suffering from social status, suffering in relationships, and suffering in ministry. He ends it with a glorious reminder,

“Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”

So, how do we have peace in the midst of suffering? The clue is found in Peter’s closing comment itself. Those who are in Christ have peace.

Those who are in Christ are the people who have hope. They have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and  unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1: 3-5).

Those who are in Christ are God’s people. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (2:9-10).

Those who are in Christ are exiles, just passing through this world, with an eternal home waiting for us. We are “sojourners and exiles” (2:11) who hope in the living Jesus Christ in heaven who keeps for us “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and  unfading” (1:3-4).

Those who are in Christ “believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1:8-9).

This is how we can have peace in the midst of suffering. Peace in the midst of suffering can result only from a hope in the risen Lord who promises a future of perfect justice and final grace. We read of truth and grace in the “good news” (1:25), the imperishable “living and abiding word of God” (1:23).  And we “stand firm in it” (5:12). We have faith in what God has done for us through Jesus and we have hope that he will help us obtain the outcome of that faith, the salvation of our souls. And this brings unshakeable peace.

So, if I could borrow Peter’s closing, encouraging phrase, “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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