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The Times They Are A Changing

“Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’”

Bob Dylan.  1964

Wow.  Do you think he knew?  Do you think he knew what we would be experiencing today, in 2016?  Could he ever have predicted the internet, botox and legalized marijuana?  Do you think he thought about public restroom discussions, gun control laws, Isis and smart cars?

One thing you can always count on, things change.  Always have.  Always will.

I don’t know about your home, but in mine, we have had discussions over the last few years about things I didn’t see coming.  With the onset of social media and real-time video links across the world, the changes around us seem to land in our living room pretty quickly.

And I don’t know about your home, but, even though I know what I stand for, I haven’t always had a quick answer to some of the questions I’ve had to face.  Sometimes, I have to research or contemplate or sleep on it before responding.

What I can tell you, is that there is one thing that has never changed and never will.

He knew the changes that would take place from 1964 to now and He knows what changes will occur over the next 50 years and beyond.

Nothing catches Him off guard.  Nothing surprises Him.  Nothing “occurs” to Him.

He has been in the past, He’s here in the present, and He knows the future.

He knows how all of this will end.  And be assured, one day, it will all end.

“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

There is a tree here in Georgia that is pretty popular to plant.  The bradford pear tree.  I love the shape and how fast they grow.  What I cannot get past though is that they seem to topple over quicker than any other tree around.  They come up at the roots if the winds are too high and the ground is too wet.  They are beautiful from the grass up, but they have a weak and shallow root system.  One bad storm and CRACK!  They topple right over!

But take the oak tree for instance.  It can withhold a small family climbing all over it and not shift at all.  It waves its branches in the wind, but it stays in tact.  It can withstand numerous attacks of weather, weight and even age and still stand tall and beautiful where it sits.

Its roots run deep.  A mature oak can have roots that total up to 100 miles long.  They anchor the tree well.

What are you rooted in?  How deep do your roots run?

deep roots

 

Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.”

Colossians 2:7

Bob Dylan wrote those lyrics in 1964.

The book of Colossians was written around 80 A.D.   “Plant your roots in Christ…”.

Wow.

 

God knew what was coming.  Not only that, but He wanted us to be prepared.

That’s some serious love in action.

 

This gives me hope and comfort.  I don’t have to worry about what the next political argument will be or what question may be asked of me by my children.  I don’t have all of the answers and I don’t need to, because I know the One who does.  Jesus Christ.

 

So…let’s make sure our roots grow deep.

 

If you need to plant yourself somewhere, put yourself in the rich soil of Christ.  There, you will find stability and security.

 

If your root system is shallow, start watering there.  God will meet you right where you are.

 

If your root system seems deep already, I assure you there’s room for more growth.  Be intentional.  Don’t get complacent.

 

“… He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.”
James 1:17

When our world starts to shift with change, let’s agree to stop talking about it, and take it to God in prayer.

Roots grow over time, underground, in secret.  Our prayer life can be a lot like these roots.  Developing over time.  Behind closed doors.  Just between us and Him.

When the winds of change blow, let’s stand firmly with confidence knowing we won’t topple over because of weak roots…a loose anchor.

More praying, less chatting.

More believing, less doubting.

More freedom, less fear.

Stronger faith.

Deeper roots.

More Jesus.

He’s got this.

Always has, always will.

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

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Featured

You Are Tougher Than You Think

 

Have you ever felt like you were losing your mind?  Like…losing your flipping mind!!

 

Shortly after my first child was born, I found myself back in the work place.  I had just taken 6 glorious weeks to be home with my newborn baby.  We rocked.  We ate.  I sang.  He cried.  We walked.  We visited.  We slept.  We walked the halls at all hours of the night.

 

I.  Was.  In.  Heaven.

 

I returned back to work like we had planned with a best case scenario.  A grandparent was watching our baby.  My employer allowed me to go at lunch and check on things (like I needed too, it was for ME).  I was off work on Fridays by noon.  Great job.  Understanding boss.  Happy baby.

 

Only, I found myself in turmoil.  My mind was doing things I had never experienced before.  I would forget where I was going when I was driving.  I was forgetting phone numbers.  I began to question myself at work which resulted in me triple and quadruple checking my assigned tasks.  I cried myself to sleep.  My mind felt like a heavy, black, wet blanket was draped over top, suffocating me and effecting my every thought.

 

After a conversation with my doctor, I realized that I was simply unhappy.  I wanted to stay home and take care of my baby and it was just not going to happen for a while.

 

I’ll never forget how I felt during that time.  Weak…controlled by my circumstances…frustrated…sad…scared.

 

Fast forward 20+ years later.

 

There have been other times I’ve felt out of control and powerless.  I’ve felt unimportant, wondering if God was paying attention.

 

How about you?  Right now.  What are you going through that has you wondering what in the world is going on?  What is causing you to feel like you may be losing your mind?!  What are you facing that has you feeling weak, powerless, and maybe even a little unimportant?

 

Life is tough but so are you

 

 

These women in the Bible, God had his hands all over their lives.  He worked through them to accomplish His purposes.  Put yourself in their shoes for just a moment.  Ask yourself if you are facing such tasks as these women did.

 

*In Genesis 21 Sarah bore a child at the age of 90.  Labor at 90!

 

*In Numbers 26 Jochebed placed her 3 month old son in a basket and put him in a river for his own protection.  She watched him float away.

 

*In the book of Esther, Esther risked her own life for the life of others, because she knew she had been placed in a position “for such a time as this”.  She risked her life.

 

*In I Samuel, Hannah, whose womb had been closed up, prayed fervently for a son.  When God granted her one, she placed him into the hands of the priest to be raised as she had promised.  She gave her newborn away.

 

*In Matthew, Mary finds herself unwed, young and pregnant.  She goes on to give birth to a man named Jesus.  Unwed teenager…pregnant.

 

We who are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are strong!  These women were strong!  They didn’t just survive these challenges, they were able to look back and see purpose in them.

 

They were made in the image of God and so were we.

 

You CAN make it to the end of the school year.

 

You CAN single parent with excellence.

 

You CAN survive the divorce.

 

You CAN survive medical treatments.

 

You CAN survive the death of a loved one.

 

You CAN parent your strong willed child without harming them (I’m living proof of that!)

 

You CAN forgive, even when your trespasser doesn’t seek forgiveness.

 

You CAN overcome addiction.

 

You CAN lose or gain the weight that is making you unhealthy.

 

You CAN weather a winter season in your life and live to smell the flowers of spring!

 

You CAN!  You CAN!  You CAN!

 

“He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.”

Isaiah 40:29

strength

noun \ˈstreŋ(k)th, ˈstren(t)th\

Simple Definition of strength

  • : the quality or state of being physically strong

  • : the ability to resist being moved or broken by a force

  • : the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way

According to Merriam Webster, strength is a quality that allows us to deal with problems in a determined way.

He gives us this when we feel weary.

Are you weary today?

Let’s be determined!  Set our minds to it.  No giving up.  Pressing on.

We CAN do this!

There has to be rain before there can be a rainbow.

We have to climb the mountain before we can enjoy the view.

There must be sickness before there can be healing.

We have to walk through the dessert before we can really appreciate the water.

That season of working my job while my baby was with someone else, it was just a season.  I can look back and see that God was teaching me a few things.

I talked to Him more that year than I ever had.

I grew closer to my husband.

I learned a little more about trusting God’s plans.

And my baby…he was just fine.

We’ve all seen this quote-

“When life gets too hard to stand, kneel”

 

Let’s get on our knees and ask God to remind us who we are and whose we are.  Let’s surround ourselves with those who will encourage us to keep pressing forward.  Let’s be determined to walk through whatever it is we are walking through now with grace and confidence that comes with knowing that every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

And oh, how sweet that last chapter of whatever struggle we are facing will be when we can turn the page, having grown a little closer to our Heavenly Father and having learned just how strong we really are.

I’m praying for you this week, blessings,

Kellie

Featured

Just Go Home

 

 

Our son was around the age of 4.  Sitting in the shopping cart in our local Walmart, long legs dangling, as he smiled and spoke to every single person within ear shot.  Yes, he was friendly then and he is friendly now at 22.

 

After hearing him politely ask over and over if he could get down and walk with his dad and I, we reluctantly set him on the ground.

 

Fast forward literally like 3 minutes and poof!  No where to be found!

 

We began calling out his name, scrambling around the department we were in, searching frantically to no avail.  I rushed to the front of the store to stop any predators from exiting with him and Walmart issued their security protocol.  Code Adam!  All doors were shut and locked and all employees put on alert!

 

We continued searching for what seemed like an eternity, but I think was about 5 minutes, and then, there he was.  A stranger who was shopping came towards us with her hand in his.  He had the biggest grin on his face and we had to decide whether to strangle him or squeeze him to death!  We chose the latter.

 

Our son didn’t choose to leave his parents…he was playing a game.  He was hiding in the clothing racks to see if we could find him.  We were the one’s responsible.  We had lost him.

 

Jesus used to tell stories, called parables, whereby He would explain things in a manner that was simple…understandable…relatable.  I love that He knew we needed that!

 

He tells us in Luke 15 two different stories of things that were lost.

 

You may be familiar with the first story.  A shepherd is tending to his flock.  One hundred gloriously, dumb sheep.  One sheep loses his way while under the shepherd’s care and the shepherd leaves the other ninety nine to search him out.  Out of one hundred, only 1 was lost, and he left the others to seek him out.  I don’t know, but I imagine when he found that sheep, he simply tapped it on the behind with his staff and pointed it in the right direction.  Back to safety.  Back to a place of security.

 

The second story tells us how a woman owns 10 coins and she loses one in her home.  One tenth of her money.  She lights a lamp, sweeps and cleans house until she finds it.  Once found, she calls her friends over to celebrate!  I may steal her idea the next time I lose something!  Jesus tells us that just like this woman, there is rejoicing in heaven amongst the angels when one of God’s children turns from sin back into fellowship with Him.

 

Now this third story is where I’ve been parked all week.  I can identify with this for myself and I’ve seen it in friends and loved ones over the years.  This next story is an invitation.

 

It’s not about a coin or a sheep.  It’s a person.  The only thing that was ever created in the image of God.  The thing that God wants to have relationship with.  The thing that has been given free will, to think and plan and plot, even if it decides to walk away from its creator.

 

This is you.

 

This is me.

 

This man in the story is living with his father and brother.  He goes to his dad and asks to have his inheritance early.  Like, “I know you’re not dead yet father, but can I have my money?”

 

The father agrees (gasp!), gives the son his inheritance, and watches him walk out of his life.  Off the property.  Through the gate.  Gone.

 

Over time, the young man spends every last penny he has.  He has to take jobs that are nasty and degrading.  He contemplates eating the slop the pigs are eating because he is so hungry.  He loses his friends.  After all, who wants to hang around someone who has no money?

 

I’ve seen “friends” like that come and go in the lives of my kids, but I digress…

 

In desperation and humility, he turns to head home.  Destitute.  Embarrassed.  Regretful of his choices.

 

He knows who will take him back.

 

“So he got up and went to his father…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20

 

From a distance, his father sees him coming home.  He meets him with an embrace and a kiss.  As his son confesses that he has sinned against his father and God and feels that he is no longer worthy to be called “son”, his father reacts with commands to those around him.

 

Prepare to party!  Get my boy some shoes, a coat and jewelry for his hands!  Prepare a meal, we are celebrating my son’s return!!

 

Read it for yourself.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-24&version=NIV

 

He does not condemn his child.  He doesn’t issue a consequence.  He doesn’t scold or embarrass him, he simply loves him.  He puts him right back where he belongs…back into the family…not as a servant, but as a blood relative.

 

This is an invitation for you, for me.

 

Girl-at-gate-11_16_12

 

Is your hand on the gate?  Are you contemplating seeing if the grass is greener elsewhere?  Another place to put your hope?  Are you thinking of exploring other avenues of pleasure and success?

 

Do you have one foot out the gate?  Are your friends wooing you away from your faith?  Is an old habit or addiction calling your name?  Are you tempted to go where there’s less accountability?

 

Are you already out?  Working hard to find peace and joy.  Perhaps you’re using busyness to fill yourself up.  Maybe even “church work” or something else that’s good, but it’s just not God.

 

He wants all of us.  He wants us to choose Him.  Not the stuff He can give us, but Him.

 

He chose us before the beginning of time.  He has made a way for us to talk one on one with Him and enjoy the security that comes from being His child.

 

This is your invitation.

 

It’s never too late and you’re never too far away to turn back.

 

Take your hand off the gate.

Step back inside the fence.

Turn back towards Him.

He is waiting eagerly for your return.

Just go home.

 

Blessings,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Featured

Dry Bones

What once was alive, is now dead.

 

Ponder that for a moment.

 

Maybe it describes you.

 

rebirth, regeneration, rejuvenation, renewal, reutilization, resurrection…revival.

Do you long for these things?

 

“…I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 37:6b

 

A little background on this story…In the Old Testament, there was a man named Ezekiel who was a prophet.  God spoke into Ezekiel many things that were going to be happening in the future.  All through the power of God alone.

 

In Ezekiel 37, God has taken Ezekiel to a grave full of dry bones.  They represent the Israelites, God’s people.

In this moment, God instructs Ezekiel to speak to these dry bones…and so he does.

Ezekiel tells the bones that they will come to life-that breath will fill them again-and in that very moment, he heard the clanging of bone on bone…he saw tendons and flesh begin to wrap around those bones!  God told Ezekiel to continue speaking into the bones and as he did, the 4 winds rushed in and gave breath of life back into the bones!  They came to life and stood up on their feet!

This story is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+37%3A1-14&version=NIV

 

You can’t get much more dead than being a pile of dried up bones in a grave.  No flesh.  No tendons.  No muscle.  Dead.  Door nail dead.

 

Since “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16, let’s look at what God had in mind for His people and bring it to our own lives today.

 

*God showed Ezekiel the bones. He made him walk by them several times and take in the valley which was now being used as a grave yard.

God will show you what is dead.

*God asked him if those dry bones could live again.  Ezekiel answered with humility and awe with “Sovereign Lord, you alone know”.

God will point you to Himself as our only hope.

*The dry bones themselves were suffering.  They cried from the grave that they were dried up, they had no hope, and they were cut off.

The thing which is dead will cry out for restoration.

*God told Ezekiel what to say to the dry bones.  He was going to open their graves, lift them out, put His spirit back into the bones, and cause life again.  He proclaimed exactly what He intended to do.

God’s words have power and He is a man of His word.

*He goes on to say that once life has reentered these bones, He will place them into the land He wants them in, and He will settle there with them.

God doesn’t just revive what’s dead, He gives it direction and sticks around and settles there with it.

*”…Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” (14b)    This is our testimony, when God takes something that was once alive, was then cut off, without hope and dried up, and He has breathed new life into it.

He wants all of the credit.  All of it.

 

Hopeless, dried up, cut off…He wants to breath His spirit into you and bring you back to life.  His breath reaches to every part of who you are.  Your relationships, your work, your purpose, your dreams.  He longs to bring you up, set you back on your feet, breath His spirit back into you, direct you where you should go next and settle with you there.

I believe He wants us to see just how powerful He is and that without His power living in us, we are spiritually dead.

 

Dry bones…call out to God and tell Him how you’re feeling!  His ear is bent towards your prayers and He alone has the power to bring life-giving change!  Reach up, He will reach back.

 

Let’s let go of our own ideas of how to bring back to life that which is dead.

 

His way is better.

His way is permanent.

His way is eternal.

His way points people to Him, and that is the point!

 

This song quotes a lot of Ezekiel 37…click on it…and thank Him for the life-giving power that His words hold and the invitation that we have to invite that power into our lives.