QTVOTD: Stand Firm | Down to Self-Sufficiency…

Last day of the year!! [updated] We went out for a wonderful dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Woodinville and then had a quiet night together watching episodes of the office before catching the ‘New Years at the Space Needle’ on TV to welcome in the New Year.

The first and second passages sum up how I want to be better this next year. The Post Title says it all “Stand Firm | Down to Self-Sufficiency”. First, I want to stand firm in my faith and rest assured on the path the Lord has me on. That the winds of disappointment, potential job instability, illness, or anything else will not affect my certain hope in eternity and confidence in the relationship I have with my King. After some searching, this is scripture I am going to use as an anchor for this goal.

13 Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!
14 Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us). 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 [AMP]

Second, I want to have God be the first place I turn for the answer to every question. It also means not getting in front of God thinking I know better or am impatient in waiting on His hand to move in a situation. I also cannot sit back and assume that God will just solve my problem; I must beseech Him through prayer, His word, and the counsel of Godly men and women (my wife) in my life. What is awesome is that this was my next passage for today’s quiet time so I don’t think it is any mistake that it is what I will use for this second focus item for the year.

4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 [ESV]

QTVOTD: No Letters of Recommendation Needed…

2nd to last day of the year! Marianne was extra kind to me this morning and let me sleep in. Because of the delays our family illness caused, we have latent Advent items to complete. Today is the last one with…Ice Skating! Let’s see if I survive…

2 Corinthians 3:1-3 [AMP]
ARE WE starting to commend ourselves again? Or we do not, like some [false teachers], need written credentials or letters of recommendation to you or from you, [do we]?
[No] you yourselves are our letter of recommendation (our credentials), written inyour hearts, to be known (perceived, recognized) and read by everybody.
You show and make obvious that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, not written with ink but with [the] Spirit of [the] living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Almost all morning I have been pondering this passage. I just love the take on the visible fruit of ministry. The effects of God working through your ministry will be the evidence of what the Lord does through you. This really reaffirms the posture of obedience to preaching Gods Word and nothing else. This whole chapter (3) is going to camp out here so I am not going to get ahead of myself in this post. 🙂


I should minister in such a way that my whole being is released to be used for God in whatever way that means. Truth is however, that I struggle with self-sufficiency and in the teaching of God’s Word to others, I take too much into my own hands of how and what to communicate. This reading this morning is the Lord pulling me back to His desire that I surrender everything in my ministry to Him, His ways, and His timing.

QTVOTD: No Watering it Down…

Today we had our ‘make up Christmas Night Dinner’ dinner. Remember that we were all so sick last week, but we had already purchased everything to make the traditional Christmas Dinner meal like we do every year with my brother, his fiancé Jax, Hannah, Brie, my mom/dad, and the six of us. So, they all came over tonight and we had Beef Tenderloin, mashed potatoes, ginger carrots, sautéed mushrooms, salad, and to top it all off, Crème Brûlée. It was a wonderful evening of togetherness, good food, football, and gift exchange. Love this family!

17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:17 [ESV]

So, yesterday I warned that some of my stated passage yesterday might slip a day and here we are. This will be short as it is just one verse but it is a powerful one.

The first thing I asked myself was, “who are these many peddlers of God’s Word”? After doing a little study, ‘peddlers’ was a negative connotation (as I assumed) give for the market sellers at the gates that would do things like water down their wine or use phony weights for their scales for purchases. What Paul is talking about here are the preachers of God’s Word who tamper with scripture to make it more palatable for the hearer…that he and his companions are not like these peddlers of God’s Word. They speak Christ crucified; they do not remove the offense of the gospel. At some point in the life of the church at Corinth, there would be Jewish Christian Intruders who came to prey upon the Corinthians. It is possible that they might have already been in the background at Corinth *during the writing of chapters 1-7) and it may will be that Paul is alluding to them here in the letter.

Paul then contrasts this with the sincerity that they carry themselves as God’s servant, being commissioned by God as an apostle, and Paul knows all too well, nothing is unseen by the perfect Judge, so their speech is IN CHRIST.


This is such a reaffirming confidence to step out and not be afraid of speaking the TRUTH of God’s Word. As I continue to walk in service to God in my church role, my role as a Life Group Leader, I must never tamper with God’s Word; being above reproach in sincerity and integrity of representing the Living Word to others.

QTVOTD: Victory Through Suffering…

What a wonderful night with Bella! Tonight, we had our ‘Daddy and Daughter’ date where I planned the date and dinner and treated her with all the respect and courtesy, she should expect from any man that gets the privilege to date her. Opening car doors (in and out), walking on the side of danger, taking care of all of the details, ordering for her, buttering her bread, pulling out her chair, guy pays for everything (can’t believe this needs to be taught, but it does), and much more. We even discussed table etiquette and manners; even the waitress helped by correcting when Bella said “sure” when asked if she wanted another sparkling water…”It’s ‘Yes, Thank you’ Bella” :-). It was truly a magical evening with her.

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 [ESV]

Wow! There is so much here to unpack! Let’s just go verse by verse. [Psst – this will likely bleed over into tomorrow’s…just too much to be covered in one sitting]

“Thanks be to God, Who IN CHRIST ALWAYS leads us in triumphal procession.”

Verse 14a

Picture that -> God in His Son Jesus leads us on parade together in victorious celebration. People lining the streets…those saved and those not.

…and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Verse 14b

We become the Sowers of the fragrance of the gospel as it is spread…everywhere.

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

Verses 15 & 16

So, keeping this vision in your mind of God In Jesus leading us in this parade where the aroma of the gospel and glee on our faces are seen by the parade watchers of whom are those who have been saved and those who are perishing. Those who are saved smell a sweet scent conjuring thoughts of gladness and hope in the coming day where we will reign with God forever in Eternity. Those who are perishing smell and see it too but their thoughts are of denial, hatred, and guile at the spectacle that goes against what it means to be their own god and see getting the most out of this life as the ultimate prize.


Not so much an application as a realignment to what it means to be a child of the Most High. My life should constantly be reflective of the spectacle I define above. There will be those who reject Jesus, but the way God sees my impact and testimony of Him is the same sweet aroma that fills His throne room whether that impact and testimony fall on open eyes/ears or closed eyes/ears. My obedience and serving Him are what are important; not the success metrics of conversions I have been a part of. Obviously desiring to be a part of growing God’s Kingdom is righteous, but I am not defined by my earthly bean counting in this area. Simply striving to glorify God in all that I do, never being ashamed to share the Gospel of His Son and staying obedient to God’s Word are all that matters. In fact, most of our experience in staying true to these 3 listed things will be more suffering than smooth sailing…so, our victory is secured through our suffering.

QTVOTD: A Check in Paul’s Spirit…

A little better each day. I still have a nasty cough that does get progressively better each day but man, it sure feels slow. Strength and stamina are increasing at a better rate than the cough for sure.

12 When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 [ESV]

I just wanted to pause here on these 2 verses today because of Paul’s love of Titus and Paul’s attention to the leaning of his spirit. Of course, Paul’s ministry is to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and so being led by the Lord there is a natural progression of his ministry. Paul traveled with a contingent of others who along with him, brought the good news of salvation to each place they went. Troas was a fishing and commercial port that Paul was very familiar with, so when they went there and felt an ‘open door’, I imagine it was not much different than when Paul went to Ephesus and a similar thing happened there.

However, it didn’t feel right without Titus there. This is the first time Titus is mentioned in the Corinthian letters and we don’t know that much about his background, but Titus played a crucial role in relations between Paul and the church at Corinth. One of the Pastoral Epistles is addressed to Titus, who was then active in Crete and responsible for setting up elders in the churches there (Titus 1:5).

So, what does Paul do – he breaks from the group in Troas and goes to Macedonia to find him. This 1) shows Paul’s love and desire to connect with Titus and 2) Paul follows the unrest in his heart and responds.


Paul’s ministry was not just him and he not only loved those serving with him, but he was also unsettled when one of them was not present. Never should I have such a closed mind that I think that my ministry I am called to is mine…no, it is the Lord’s first and then my community’s second. I am just a piece of the machinery. I may hold a function that includes decision making or leading, but I am in no way the center. Additionally, I need to have the needs of my co-workers in Christ in front of my view. My heart should be unsettled when one of them is missing. I should proactively connect with my co-laborers in Christ that we might build each other up and support the other.

QTVOTD: The Power of Comfort and Forgiveness…

Well, I am back after 3 days of inactivity due to several factors.

  1. I was sick as a dog with the Flu (Not COVID)
  2. What waking hours I was spending out of bed I was spending with my family to celebrate this wonderful time of year where we remember the Birth and arrival of our New Forever King.

I have missed my time in God’s Word, but I have been in plenty of prayer and that has not been more intense than tonight. We had some startling revelations within our immediate family tonight that pushed this post late and I would just ask anyone reading this to pray that the Lord would give us wisdom, understanding, and patience as we walk the road set before us. God is so good, and He knew that we would be right here right now. I am sure that if I stop and look (applying recent Quiet Time takeaways) I will find God’s hand already moving within this trial. I would also see this is an opportunity that God once again, is going to show me His providence and sovereignty in all of my circumstances.

2 Corinthians 2:5-11 [ESV]
Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

When I came in and sat down in bed to dive into God’s Word for help and Truth, this was the passage today. This was right after I had stepped away from a continuing conversation on the ‘revelations’ mentioned above. I needed a way forward, not a solution (although that would be awesome), just some next steps that would be God honoring as I try comes terms with what I was hearing.

CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE: This is super important as I don’t want it to seem as though I am manipulating God’s word to suit my circumstance and thus offer an answer that isn’t really there. Paul is talking about someone (the ‘anyone’ mentioned here) that has sinned against the church and under fairly strong church discipline. Paul is both relieved and concerned. Relieved that the Church of Corinth is applying necessary church discipline and concerned that satan might gain the advantage if the offender were to be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow; so, he urged his readers to turn to and reaffirm their love for the offender.

It seems most likely that what Paul has in mind in this verse is the possibility that Satan might take advantage of the situation and defraud the congregation of one of its members permanently. So, being not ignorant of his designs, Paul urges the Corinthians to reaffirm their love for the offender to avoid such a possibility. Later in this book we will see that Paul recognizes an active role on the part of Satan to undermine the faith, devotion and good order of the church. I personally believe satan is also active working to do this same undermining in Christian families, so I see the application well suited.


So, God has provided me right here, the necessary steps I need to do in the situation I am in. Thank you, Lord Jesus for your Living Word that is alive, and working in those who follow You.

QTVOTD: God’s Promises Find their Yes in Jesus…

Sick, sick, sick…that is our whole house. Everyone (all 6 of us) have the Flu. Fever for multiple days, debilitating fatigue, and a very painful cough. Not the greatest work up to Christmas…in fact we had to push our family plans out to next Thursday because of it. This will be our first Christmas alone in a long time.

 2 Corinthians 1:18-22 [ESV]
As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

This passage follows a couple of verses that speak to a perceived wishy-washiness in Paul by the believers in Corinth. The reason is that back in 1 Corinthians 16:5-7 Paul had promised to visit again after passing through Macedonia. But he describes a change in his travel plans to come to see them again before passing on to Macedonia. I just wanted to set up the reason for his verbiage here not necessarily focus on it.

What I love most about this passage is the “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.” Yes, for the desire to come and minister to them (the church at Corinth). Not once but twice because they had planned to come back through Corinth once again (after visiting Macedonia) before heading off to Judea. Then Paul says “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him (Jesus). That is why it is through him (in Jesus name) that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” I just love that ‘all the promises of God find their yes in Jesus’!


What do I have to worry about if the promises of God find their ‘yes’ in Jesus and I am in Jesus. It is important, even while I am sick, that I can look forward to the promises of God coming to fruition. The most important being an eternity spent with Him.

QTVOTD: Simplicity and Godly Sincerity…

2 Corinthians 1:12-14 [ESV]
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and understand and I hope you will fully understand— just as you did partially understand us—that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you.

I love this picture of the church and it’s interaction with the world and each other. With ‘simplicity and Godly sincerity’. It’s a very pragmatic way of looking at our witness to the world. We have a tendency to over think these things. Gods word is supreme and the position is God on the major topics is not ambiguous. We are the ones who try to pull out or even put in our own desires for what we want to support or communicate to the world.

What this passage also talks about is in the execution of these simple and godly sincere practices, we can boast and support each each other…even on the day the Lord comes.


The biggest Takeaway I have from this passage is that I need to remember that I do not have to use my own thinking when the word of God is clear. It’s one thing to beseech the Lord and interpretation of his word through study of the Greek, or even commentators, but I should never be putting something in to God’s word that is not there or twisting Gods word through passages out of context to support a worldly view. I consistently pray for God‘s wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, when reading his word.

QTVOTD: More Reflection on Verses 7 – 11…

Although our getaway for our anniversary was so special and wonderful, it was so good to be back home and see our kiddos. We reconnected with Bella and Sophie last night and then were able to snuggle with the ‘Littles’ (Brooklyn & Prim) when they got up this morning. Bella and Sophie filled us in on all the adventures with the snow and Prim being sick. We were very proud of the ‘Bigs’ for managing so well and frankly, just getting along through the execution of daily activities.

Today, I am going to spend a little more time on this passage (2 Corinthians 1:5-11). This is again, one of those times, where I re-read a passage that I have read many times before but now has so much more significance and even a Godly call to action. I am going to paste this passage in its entirety here and then will expound on the full context below.

For just as Christ’s [own] sufferings fall to our lot [as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.
   But if we are troubled (afflicted and distressed), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement) and [for your] salvation; and if we are comforted (consoled and encouraged), it is for your comfort (consolation and encouragement), which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same evils (misfortunes and calamities) that we also suffer and undergo.
   And our hope for you [our joyful and confident expectation of good for you] is ever unwavering (assured and unshaken); for we know that just as you share and are partners in [our] sufferings and calamities, you also share and are partners in [our] comfort (consolation and encouragement).
   For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in [the province of] Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life [itself].
   Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.
   [For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself],
   While you also cooperate by your prayers for us [helping and laboring together with us]. Thus [the lips of] many persons [turned toward God will eventually] give thanks on our behalf for the grace (the blessing of deliverance) granted us at the request of the many who have prayed. 2 Corinthians 1:5-11 [AMP]

I have highlighted the primary areas I want to reinforce. I say reinforce more for myself than for you the reader. God is speaking to both Marianne and I, laying the same convictions and call to walk out in faith in a way that we want to not only be obedient but to also be dependent on His leading and not our own fleshly way of figuring this all out. In other words – we are moving at the pace of God’s timing; not our own.

Highlight #1 – We will suffer…just as Christ suffered. We will incur the effects of sin on our bodies, on society, and through persecution as we testify to the truth of the gospel.

Highlight #2 – Even while we are in the midst of suffering, we can be the conduit by which God delivers comfort to others. Not only that, when we patiently endure our suffering and look for the Hand of God working in those sufferings, our faith grows because we see Him ever present.

Highlight #3 – Our trials and suffering are opportunities for us to draw closer to God.

Highlight #4 – As God draws us to himself, he shows us that He will comfort us and even may deliver us from our circumstances or situations causing the suffering.

Highlight #4+ – It is through prayer that we can come to the Lord and where people can come to the Lord on our behalf, beseeching the deliverance of comfort and thanking God for what He is already doing for our good as we obey Him and lean into His cloak for shelter and safety.

Marianne and I feel a need for Parents of Teenagers (including us) to have a refuge to come to for prayer and co-lamenting for our children who have or are wondering from the truth they have grown up in the church knowing. We are prayerfully asking the Lord what this might look like and how to get it started. Would you join us in prayer for wisdom and direction as we seek to move forward following what God is laying before us?

QTVOTD: No Matter Your Pain, Prayer is the Answer…

Day 2 of being on our little getaway here at the Salish Lodge. We have literally spent the entire day sitting in two chairs next to a Christmas tree talking, and talking, and talking. Here in the last 4 hours, we have been getting a better handle on how we as a husband/wife and mother/father want to be better at coming alongside our kiddos as well as what God has for us in ministry. Amazing what can happen when you set aside some time to be open to the Lord’s calling on your marriage and bending an ear to the will and purposes of the One Who created the heavens and the earth.

He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:10-11 [ESV]

Following on from the QT yesterday where Paul is talking about the despair he and his companions endured on their travels in Asia; now we see how Paul enlists the prayer of the saints in Corinth in anticipatory ‘thanks’ for the deliverance, God will indeed send. This is the hope that we need in this world today. We know that God has the power to do 2 things..1) He has the power to remove us from the painful situations we find ourselves in, or 2) give us the comfort & strength we need to patiently endure them.


I need to have confidence that God will deliver me from my pain and suffering. I need to consistently focus on the hope that is not only in the power of His Right Hand but also in the saving hope I have in His Son Jesus Christ in an eternity secured on His behalf. If I maintain a mindset that wholeheartedly believes this, I can endure anything!