Nothin’ But the Truth

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:15-18 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. (v. 16) For me, one of the hardest parts about parenting is dealing with lying. I want my children to feel that I trust them, that if they tell me something I will believe them. I don’t want to communicate to them that I doubt what they tell me, but sometimes I know they are not telling the truth. When this happens, I try to …

Keep the Conversation Going

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:13-15 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (v. 13) For many years now, my college roommate and I have been getting together once a week for bagels and coffee. We spend a little over an hour talking about what’s happening in our lives. There have been times when our gatherings have been filled with the struggles we’re facing or the grief we’re experiencing. Other times we laugh together at …

Already and Not Yet

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:7-11 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (v. 8) Each spring our family visits our local gardening center together. We pick out tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers, and maybe a few new vegetables too. But they don’t look like tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers, just varying green shoots. We bring them home and plant them in our garden plot and spend the next month watering and weeding before we ever …

It’s Not Forever

Jen Petersen

Read: James 5:1-6 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. (v. 2) My mom decorates her house for the various seasons of the year, and she likes to use items from nature—pine boughs around Christmas, fresh flowers in spring, and bowls of apples in the fall. One autumn, she collected acorns to put in the bottom of a candleholder. When winter came around, she packed the acorns into a bag to save for next year. But the following …

In Good Times and in Bad

Jen Petersen

Read: James 4:13-17 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (v. 15) When I was in college, I spent three summers working as a counselor at a summer camp. Each week a new batch of 10 elementary students would join me in my cabin. And each one probably asked at least three times a day, “When’s free time?” Or “When’s the store open?” As counselors, we would get so tired …

Companions on the Journey

Jen Petersen

Read: James 4:11-12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. (v. 12) For several years, I’ve been telling my children that it takes two people to fight. When I say this, I’m hoping to get them to look at their own part in whatever conflict they’re having. But lately, I’ve switched to saying that they’re long on diagnosis and short on cure. They’re very good at pointing out what the problem is. …