The Gospel & Justice

Hello friends ! I do want to make this as concise as I can – I have been thinking a lot about the racial unrest in our country (and especially how this unrest reveals a lot of ugly truth about the church at large – its complicity in segregation & racism…). I’ve been coming to grips with my own preferences, prejudices, and failings but also wrestling with how I have seen the conversation of justice play out in the local church and the church at large.

I stumbled upon a journal entry from a year ago during a time my husband and I were reading through Eric Mason’s “Woke Church,” as we wrestled with the issues which were presented in this book personally. This entry is all the more timely today as the world continues in discussions about justice and we await change in the focus of the church at large.

We had just read a section of the book entitled, “The Gospel & Justice.”

January 6, 2019

In such simple words Mason spelled out the gospel’s power in reconciling both God and man by faith and man to man by faith that we don’t have an option not to reconcile with one another due to the call we have by faith in Christ !

And it became apparent that this must shape us: “there is not an attitude of God without action; the two are one” (Austin Farrer). Get into that truth – Whew chile !

tsedaqa is Hebrew for “righteousness” and mishpat , “justice.” And dikaiosyne is the Hebrew word for “justification.” Each of these words is relational – in relation to and always derived from the character of Almighty God, Yahweh.

God created us to bear his image – to change systems; build cultures; communities; families… He created us to subdue the earth, and in doing so our kingdom activity revealing/pointing others to the need for their souls to be changed.

The gospel’s work is both intrinsic and extrinsic and yet it seems- like the Pharisees and Scribes , we get stuck on the intrinsic or we think we’re at a certain place because of our theology BUT if we stop there we fail to see and have a holistic view and understanding of the gospel.

We’re reduced to, as Mason – quoting Mathew 23:23 calls it, “many minutiae.” For the Pharisees & Scribes this minutiae was tithing herbs. The big picture is that our wrong prioritization/ focus on these minutiae neglects what Jesus tells them are the “weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.”

So in our day we have to, before & with, making social justice mission statements, examine our theology – what themes in the Bible are we blatantly ignoring to focus solely on the minutiae . What is the minutiae of our day?

If our focus on these things causes us to miss out on sharing the gospel, we’ve majorly missed our call as image bearers and sorely failed to be who God has made us to be – the salt & light that shines truth and light into a broken and dark world (see Matthew 5:14-16).

We cannot

  • …Serve a holy God and ignore our call to work out our sanctification (in every area)
  • …Taste and see that the Lord is good and not share this with others
  • …Claim trust in a just God and call ourselves His people, but not do justice
  • …Tell the world we serve a God of comfort and peace but ignore the pain and chaos around us
  • … Claim to serve a God who is not partial but be partial to our preferences
  • … Claim to serve a loving God and fail to show love
  • … Claim to serve a God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, yet be short tempered and hold grudges
  • … Revel in God’s kindness yet not be kind and tenderhearted

We are called to forgive as God in Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4: ); to love because He first loved us; to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8)

So what do we do ? We don’t merely hold conversations to agree with what scripture clearly gives as a call to act. The Pharisees & Scribes certainly agreed with justice, mercy, and faithfulness as a concept, but their actions did not show this. That is why Jesus called them hypocrites. We have to act in line with the attitudes we claim to believe in relation to the character of the Lord our God who is personal and relational (not just through His Word but through His deeds – which culminated in the sacrifice of Jesus’ life on the cross for our sins – the ultimate expression of love!

Mask Off : 5 Lessons in the Age of a Global Health Pandemic

Living in the midst of a global health pandemic has been both generally and personally revelatory in nature. “Mask Off” has become a euphemism for telling it as it is. And the times we are living in have been lifting the mask off of many issues that have been concealed.

We see the issue of sin in the heart of man in a way now that is undeniable to most. While people are fighting for and losing their lives, we have seen the under appreciation for front line workers. We have witnessed the nuances of the pandemic and peoples’ responses to it but even more blaring are the health and social disparities amongst minorities and the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor , and George Floyd.

There is much to lament in the history of our country and also in our own hearts and lives; there should also be a sense of sorrow for the way we (the church at large) have neglected the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23). And how much we neglect these things along with how we spend our time is on trial because we cannot partake of all the activities we wish to. Therefore, the global health pandemic has in a sense turned us all inside out and forced us to examine our hearts, minds, motives, and actions or the lack thereof.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me think about the virus- what have we and should we learn from it? And I find it quite interesting that one of the main enzymes, the COVID-19 protease, is heart shaped.

SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) coronavirus main protease, with inhibitor in turquoise.

Let me clarify what the heck this protease is. When a virus such as COVID -19 infects and enters a cell, it comes with some instructions called RNA (yes, the protein instructor brother of DNA). So these instructions allow the virus to make its “machinery” – proteins which allow it to do its damage. Well, this heart shaped protein is what is responsible for COVID-19 being able to form those pieces of machinery. It cleaves the protein made from the instructions into functional units.

Within our personal lives & church communities we need to pray the Lord prunes us (John 15) – removing what does not glorify Him from our hearts and disciplining us into fruitful activity!

Truth in Songs for the Weary Heart – Spotify Worship Playlist

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond ALL comparison. ” 2 Cor4:16-17

R.E.C.A.L.L Bible Study Guide [Printable]

As someone who loves bullet journaling because of the simplistic intentionality of that method of planning, within my Bible study I have been wanting to be more systematic & intentional with the time, so I created this guide. Stay tuned on how I am using the guide, and grab yours below

How I Study the Bible : R.E.C.A.L.L Study Method + My Favorite Tools

Studying the Bible with R.E.C.A.L.L

  • REST – Rest in the Prince of Peace (through Prayer)
  • ENTER- Enter into the biblical metanarrative by gathering context/background information on the book you are about to read.
  • CHEW- Chew on God’s Word, chapter by chapter. Read the book you are going through one Chapter at a time so that you can chew on God’s Word & carefully contemplate what you are reading.
  • ANNOTATE– As you chew on God’s Word, highlight/ underline key & repeated words/phrases; note cross references; outline ! In the guide I created for you, I have included a cut out you can place in your Bible to help keep track of your notes by creating a color code/symbol key for reading
  • LEARN– meditate & memorize. Jot down verses that stand out to you & verses you would like to commit to memory.
  • LEAVE- Ask (pray) what God is calling you to leave your time in the text with ? What attribute of His character is He revealing through this text? How does this text point me to Christ? What prayer am I compelled to pray in light of this text? What action am I compelled to take in light of this text?

My Fav Bibles:

Books / Resources:

His testimonies My heritage (Kristi Anyabwile)

Women of the Word (Jen Wilkin)

How to Read the Bible Book By Book (Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart)

Blue Letter Bible (different translations, word study, cross references)

The Bible Project

How to outline the bible :…

Other favorites(Shown, but not mentioned)

Bible Journaling Esther 4:14

Esther 4:14 Bible Journal entry­čĺť

This is our heritage, this is our history. A people redeemed, called by name, by God- Culminating in the birth , life, death, & resurrection of Christ whose return we now await… Until then this is our history to take up and learn… And oh is it telling, filled with HOPE of our STEADFASTLY loving, FAITHFUL GOD…

I always find it remarkable and am always blown away at the timeliness of where my chronological Bible reading falls…
It has been impressed upon me what we are called to do & largely convicting to see it in the Word…

The examples we see are blatant … The collective repentance/ confession of sin of Israel (Nehemiah 9); God’s faithfulness to His promise despite Israel’s moral compromise…
Esther did not remain silent ! Mordecai tells her their deliverance , had she chosen silence, would have come from another place BUT she and her father’s family would have been destroyed !

Learn your heritage, learn His testimonies, see how He has and promises to work on behalf of those who wait for Him. Witness His faithfulness. Pray to be moved to act in light of who He is.

This is my heritage… Nehemiah is mine… Esther is mine … Job is mine… David is mine… Asaph is mine… Paul is mine…
& So many more used by God BUT most of all :
Christ is mine & I am His.

“Perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” Esther 4:14

**Audio is All Things Are Yours Interlude Shai Linne (Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1) – Pastor Anthony Carter of East Point Church in East Point, GA.

Truth in Color Ep. 2: Bible Journal Tools & a Flip Through of my Bible Journals

In my next video (Truth in Color Ep. 2),  I discuss  favorite Bible Journaling tools (I also use the same things for Bullet Journaling) and I do a quick flip through of some of my favorite entries ! The tools mentioned are listed below – click on item to find out more about it ! Continue reading

Truth in Color Episode 1: Why Bible Journaling & a Free Resource

Happy Mental Health Awareness Month ! I wanted to share my passion for Bible Journaling & Offer a Free Resource to help life the burden of this time/ allow you to contemplate and color some truths from Scripture. Check out this video (books quoted linked below) !

Dear Diary : Truth Seen and Taken to Heart


I have had a journal for as long as I can remember. This habit has transformed my life, and looking back on the beginning is sort of comical – it’s sort of developed in phases.

Age 7 through high school was what I’d like to summarize as the “dear diary phase” – mostly superficial and on a rare occasion (in HS) a glimpse into what was truly going on in my head and heart. It was mainly daily/weekly/monthly/season of life summaries: Boys I liked followed by the reasons I no longer liked them a month (truthfully most of the times weeks) later ; relationship challenges that left me clueless ; and how much I hated doing things I didn’t really like/ want to do.

Then life got more complicated. Things got deep. I went to college and learned a lot more about myself, my heart, the world, and had a host of new experiences. I went to counseling. I felt a and had to deal with a lot of toxic emotions, relationships, and lies.

As these things began to unfold and weigh on me, and as my dependence on the Lord began to grow, journaling changed. Writing in my journal became an outlet. It was a way to pour out my heart to the Lord and remind my heart of truths that were threatened to be drowned out by the noise of my life. At the beginning of my senior year of college I told the Lord “I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I need you. So I am going to read your Word trusting you will do something with it.”

I was desperate, and I wrote about this desperation as I read. I wrote about what I was learning. Eventually writing truths became songs as looking back over the Word and meditating came with melodies. There was, however, one particular marked point that transformed my journaling that I come back to often.

This turning point came while reading in Deuteronomy where God tells the Israelites numerous times not to forget where he has brought them from – “out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:12)

Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord Your God by failing to keep his commandments…” (Deuteronomy 8:11)

Be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He lead you through a great and terrible wilderness” (Deuteronomy 8:14 – )

and Chapter 8 verse 17 – 18 says…

“You may say to yourself, ‘my power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me, but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power”

And my absolute favorite is Deuteronomy 2:7 “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These 40 years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.

These truths ring true even more today ! We must be careful not to forget God and become prideful, forsaking his Words and His will for our lives. The remembrance God calls the Israelites to exercise can be and should be done by us – remembering God’s Word but also remembering past deliverance in our lives – starting with our salvation ! That is what journaling has been for me – a much needed reminder of deliverance. The same pattern we see in Deuteronomy where their hope for future deliverance was rooted in the past is true for us ! But here in the already and not yet – in between Christs death and second coming – it is a wilderness ! Life is hard ! Continue reading

Gifts of Grace: Peace with the Past & Hope for the Future 

I can’t tell you how wowed & amazed I am over and over again at God’s grace BUT this morning- April 19th- I’m stupefied !

This morning’s devotion (see below) was on regret !

Regret is something I think everyone lives with to some degree, but how we respond to it is what differs… Over the last couple days several times I’ve been reminded of poor mistakes & the regret over those mistakes has driven me to once again relive those past moments & replay lies I once believed…

I’ve come away from this most recent “replaying of those old tapes” pushed to cling all the more tightly to the cross of Christ! I have succumb on numerous occasions- past and present- to my own WEAK desires and I regret that ; but I’m comforted that Christ has paid the price for my sin. And I’m grateful that,although painful, God continues to expose my sin  & make me more aware of my desperate need for Him.

So the next time a painful, regretful, memory is triggered – Lord help me to look back but with the burden lifted by forgiving grace and may this drive me into your arms all the more ! May the price you’ve paid in love by giving your life propel me to live for you & not myself. May I live in the peace that only you bring & remember you are the hope that anchors the soul !

April 19th Devotion from New Morning Mercies (Paul Tripp)