I Like Being Right

Jen Petersen

Read: James 4:1-6 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? (v. 1) I’ve been doing some significant work over the past couple of years to learn about my personality and my tendencies. I’m trying to figure out how to use some of my strengths to balance some of my weaknesses. One thing that’s become very clear to me is that I really like to be right. I see this in things like “fixing” the dishwasher after someone else …

Righteous Peace

Jen Petersen

Read: James 3:13-18 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (v. 17) When I was ordained as a minister, there were a lot of words spoken—words of advice and encouragement, and of truth and challenge. Some of the words were unique to me and some were words that have been said at thousands of services ordaining ministers over many many years. The words that …

Double-edged Sword

Jen Petersen

Read: James 3:1-12 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (v. 10) When I was in sixth grade, I had a favorite pair of dangle earrings. They made me feel stylish and a little bit sassy. So when I got glasses and braces at the same time, I wore my favorite earrings to boost my fragile confidence. I walked into school pretending I felt great about the way I looked. …

Do as I Say

Jen Petersen

Read: James 2:14-17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (v. 17) For the past few years, I’ve wanted to lose a few extra pounds. I’ve said that I would eliminate sweets. I’ve said that I would create a habit of exercise; I’ve even made myself a schedule and blocked out time on my calendar. I’ve said that I would drink more water and get enough sleep. I’ve said all the right things. But …

Mercy Me

Jen Petersen

Read: James 2:8-13 Mercy triumphs over judgment. (v. 13) I have a bad habit of twisting small sections of my hair. It’s a way for me to keep my fingers busy and I do it without thinking. A few years ago, I was at a meeting during which a woman kept pulling a nail file out of her bag, filing one fingernail, and then putting it away. She must have done this at least 20 times. Later that day, I …

You’re My Favorite

Jen Petersen

Read: James 2:1-8 Have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (v. 4) My boys have a deep sense of justice and fairness. It isn’t always accurate or impartial and it often gets expressed starting with a “but”—”But that’s not fair!” It usually has something to do with believing that their parents are biased. One will claim that the other is getting off too easily for a wrong committed, or that the other never …