by Michael McKinley

When Christians suffer, they need the indicatives, the facts of the gospel.  They need to know the promises of God, the benefits of being in Christ, and the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Those truths are our comfort when we are wounded, slandered, or tempted.

But suffering believers also need the imperatives, the commands.  Yes, we need to know the objective truths of the gospel.  But we also need to know what to do with our hands and our hearts and our minds in the meantime.  And we find in these imperatives sure footing for difficult times, a clear statement of God’s will when we don’t intuitively know what to do.

  • But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 ESV)
  •  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV)
  • Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3 ESV)
  • Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. (James 5:13 ESV)
  • But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:14-16 ESV)

In your counseling and care, don’t neglect the imperatives!


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by Laurie Aker

Our culture puts so much emphasis on man’s accomplishments attained through man’s efforts. People measure themselves and compare themselves with one another. Women have been pressured excessively by all of the varied expectations placed upon them, and in an effort to establish their place, women are often more competitive than they are compassionate. Our human perspective is far off the mark. We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works, works that God ordained before the foundation of the world (Eph. 2:10), works that we are unable to do apart from Him. We are created to reflect and magnify God. We would be helpless to accomplish anything on our own, but as we work to follow Christ, as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He who began a good work in us will bring it to pass! We can rest in these truths.

…As we walk forward by faith, trusting and clinging to God, God does the work we are unable to do. He transforms our hearts and minds from the inside out. We become more and more like Jesus. Through His power and by His grace, we go forward and God accomplishes what we could never do on our own. He trans- forms us as He keeps us.

Rest in your Father’s right hand this week. Each day, prayerfully step forward in obedience, clinging to your shepherd and trusting in God’s ability to work.


This blog post is an excerpt from the Thistlebend Discipleship Study Falling in Love Again with Your Lord available here.

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 9:28-36 ESV

28 Now about eight days after these sayings
he took with him Peter and John and James
and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered,
and his clothing became dazzling white.
30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,
which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep,
but when they became fully awake they saw his glory
and the two men who stood with him.
33 And as the men were parting from him,
Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here.
Let us make three tents,
one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”
— not knowing what he said.
34 As he was saying these things,
a cloud came and overshadowed them,
and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying,
“This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
And they kept silent and told no one in those days
anything of what they had seen.


God tells us clearly:
“This is my Son…listen to him” (Luke 9:35).


Who do you listen to?

The voice of reason?

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

The voice of pride?

Proverbs 3:7-8

7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

To man’s opinion?

Galatians 1:10
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a servant of Christ.

To your accusers?

Psalm 119:51, 69, 85
51 The insolent utterly deride me,
but I do not turn away from your law.

69 The insolent smear me with lies,
but with my whole heart I keep your precepts;

85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.

To the things of earth that “call my name”?

Psalm 73:25
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

To your feelings?

To your doubts?

To your fears?

To your flesh?


To God’s Word?

Psalm 119:89-96
89 Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
91 By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
95 The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
96 I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad.

To Jesus?

John 15:9-11
9 As the Father has loved me,
so have I loved you.
Abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments,
you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and abide in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you,
that my joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be full.


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


Lord God, I want to listen to your Son.
Please help me listen to Jesus and keep His commandments.
Help me abide in Him.

In His hands for His glory,