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Putting our Thoughts in Their Rightful Place

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Surely he will realize how disruptive he is being.  For heaven’s sake, church has started!  The lights are dimmed.  The opening video is playing.  People are seated quietly.  Why does he keep talking…and laughing…and talking some more?  And who is he talking with?  It takes two, right?  Who is the other person who is not ending the conversation when it is clearly a time to quiet down and pay attention.

I think I may have to get up and punch someone in the face.

I think I will have to quietly slip out of my seat, walk to the back of the sanctuary, tap this man on the shoulder, point his direction to the video screen that is being used at present, then ball up my fist, rare back, and punch him.

Then I will walk back to my seat and try to get my focus back where it should be.

Nope… nope…wait a minute.  It seems that he is finally closing his mouth and going to his own seat.  Lucky for him, huh?

But wait a sec.  I was so caught up in my plan to get violent at church that I totally missed what the video was about.  I just completely missed out on the introduction to our sermon for the morning.

So who is the winner here?  or better yet, who is the loser?

Me.

I’m the loser because I didn’t recognize what was happening sooner and I allowed my thoughts and feelings to lead me down a path that completely distracted me from what was right in front of my face.

And now you know that I think I could get violent if I had too.  In church.  That doesn’t make me a loser.  Just a human.

Have you ever been so tied up in what’s going on in your head that you completely miss out on what is right in front of you?  Ever let your thoughts run away from you and before you know it you’ve put yourself in a bad mood and possibly everyone around you too?

God’s word says this about our wandering thoughts…

 “… we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2 Corinthians 10:5b

When I was in elementary school, my family and I were sitting quietly in our den watching TV together.  Suddenly, my mom started screaming and grabbing at her shirt as if it were on fire!  It turns out that by brother’s hamster had escaped and thought that hiding in my mom’s shirt would be a good idea.  NOT!

We all scrambled to our feet to grab that little rascal as she flung it in the floor.  It scurried in fear but it didn’t stand a chance against all of us.  We knew we had to capture that creature and lock it up in its rightful home or else none of us would get any sleep that night.

Sometimes we may need to jump up and aggressively go after those thoughts which we are contemplating

This idea of taking them captive brings a few ideas to mind:

  1.  We can’t control that which pops into our minds.  Like that hamster, sometimes they just show up.
  2. Our thoughts have the ability to run away from us.
  3. We own those thoughts and therefore, they are ours to take.
  4. Sometimes we have to be aggressive and maybe even a little sneaky to grab them up.

What would this world look like if we let our feelings lead us all the time?

Thoughts of skipping school or work because we just don’t feel like going.  Thoughts of withholding forgiveness because we just don’t feel someone deserves it (even though we want forgiveness when we’ve been out of line).  Thoughts of fear when it comes to trying new things.

We’d all be in some trouble.

And I might end up in jail.

As we grow in wisdom and stature, we should be recognizing when those thoughts pop into our head that aren’t worth pondering.  Those things that need to be taken captive immediately or else they will serve as distractions to what is right in front of us.

If you or I are still reacting to our thoughts and feelings the same way we did in high school, maybe we need to work on this.

It will certainly save us some grief, wasted time and energy.

The result of doing this more quickly each time should also be a pat on the back.  That means that we are learning and growing…and staying out of jail.

Let’s pay attention to our minds.  Don’t beat ourselves up when something irrational pops in our head but instead, speak to it, lasso it and get it out of our head.

What God’s word tells us to do, He will give us strength to accomplish.

Let’s keep the clutter out so there’s more room for the good stuff! It’s something we learn.  Let’s be about the business of putting it in to practice.

 

I’m praying we all do better at this today then we did yesterday.

Blessings,

Kellie

 

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It’s All About Who You Know

True Talk about Knowing the Right People in the Right Places

My children are now adults (eeekk!)  One is married and the other is finding their way as the youngest.  They’ve all 3 (I claim my DIL) been on a job search at different times over the last year.  Application after application has been filled out with no response.  Not even a “thank you, but no thank you” courtesy call.

Here’s what we’re learning…it’s all about who you know.  Two of the three obtained positions because of their past experience and their character, but they were only given the opportunity to get their foot in the door because they knew someone who could help crack said door open for them.

Anybody been there?  Am I speaking the truth?

We’ve all been in situations that seemed to almost require that we have an inside link in order to move forward with a plan.

  • In order to get noticed for that promotion, we have to know someone whose pay grade is above ours.
  • In order to get the best deal on the car, it helps to know a salesman at the local dealership.
  • In order to get an appointment with the specialist you need to see, your primary physician has to make that call.
  • In order to get a reservation at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to take that special someone too, you’ve got to know someone who works there to make it happen.
  • In order to get that book published, you’ve got to know a publisher
  • In order to get an interview, you’ve got to have a recommendation from someone your potential employer will listen to.
  • In order to know if you’ve met “the one”, you’ve got to acquire the opinions of everyone around to weigh out how you feel

It can be overwhelming.  It can make a situation seem hopeless.  It can even discourage you from trying.

There comes a time where we have to put our blinders on, focus on the One who knows it all and tune in intently to His voice.

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
    there is no help for you there.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
    and all their plans die with them.

Psalm 146:3-4 (NLT)

From an early age, we taught our children that even though we are the parents and we just “know stuff”, that ultimately, we don’t know it all.  We simply know the One who does.

As the kids got older we told them that “hey, one day we won’t be here anymore.  You never know when our lives may be over”.  Who then would they turn to for advice or direction?  Who would be around to point the way that they could always rely on to not only know what to say, but have their best interest in mind when saying it?

There is only one.

THE One.

He knows it all.  He’s already seen how it will all play out.

He knows your heart.  He knows your contact. He knows the job, the restaurant, the doctor, the publishing company, your boss, He knows how that new position plays out down the road, when you will really need a doctor and which doctor is going to be best specifically for you, who you’ll marry…I could go on and on with this.  He knows it all!

As women, we like details.  Can I get an Amen?  We like to figure it out and play scenarios through our head.  Lots of what if’s and but then’s.  It’s how we’re wired and I think that it does have purpose.  The problem that can come with this is that we (I, ahem) can get so fixated on these possibilities that at the end of the day, we’ve drained our energy. We’ve started leaning towards a “whoa is me” attitude or maybe even a “this is going to be great!” frame of mind or “now how in the world will that ever work?” mindset.

Exhausting!

Sometimes I think that God is shaking His head at me thinking “silly girl, I’ll wait for you to finish all of these scenes in your head and when you’re done, we’ll get to work”.  That’s not necessarily biblical, but I sense that I get in the way of myself a whole lot more than I should.  Anybody else?

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We only need to know HIM.

We’ve got to trust Him ya’ll.  It’s as simple as that.  Really.

This is where our freedom lies.  This is the sweet peace that God promises to those who have placed their trust in Him.  Don’t we want that?  Peace and freedom?

We won’t understand it all and we’re not supposed to.

“I don’t have God all figured out but I’ve learned to trust Him more than I trust myself”

Michelle Myers

The key is to stay close to Him.  That’s it.

” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:1

Dive in.  Eat it up.  Devour it.  Drink it.  This is where He is. That longing that we all have to connect the dots, it is found in this place.  His word brings it all together.  This is where He is.

*Let me be so bold as to say this too…there are great, gifted Bible teachers out there and it’s okay to use their resources to help us think about and apply scripture, BUT, there is no substitution for the Bible.  THE word.  There is only one book that “was with God” and “was God” and we need to be careful not to be so wrapped up in the stack of books by our bedside that we neglect the one true book of truth that may be propped up on a forgotten shelf somewhere else.

When we are grasping for that break in life, that promotion or soul mate or answer to even the smallest question, His word is always the answer.  That’s where He can be found.

Always.

No, the name of your doctor won’t be there and the inside information you think you need for that job won’t be written on those pages.  But, the One who has the answers and is already working on our behalf will be found here.  He will be found with instructions on what to do while we wait.  How to handle things when we feel wronged.  When we should move and when we need to sit still.  It’s all there.

Trust Him.

This life is all about who you know, and there’s only one…THE One…who is sufficient enough to fill in ALL of the gaps, hold us up when we can’t stand alone, and keep us moving in the direction that was marked out for us before the beginning of time.

Let’s rest in this, that if God is all we have, we will have all that we need.

Reflect & Respond:

**What is it that you are dealing with that has you convinced that you’ve got to know someone before you can move forward?

**Fix your focus on Him, His word.  Start each day asking Him for understanding as you take in a little spiritual breakfast before beginning your day.

Praying for us all to trust Him more,

Kellie

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How Beating Up On Trees Brought Me Some Perspective

“Don’t talk to me right now.  I’m feeling very punchy and I might say something I will regret”.  This was how I greeted my husband recently when he arrived home from work.  Nice, huh?

 

Have  you ever been in a place where you were constantly waiting or looking for the “next thing”?  Maybe you’re travelling along on Hwy “OK” but you are longing to be on what looks like “Better Boulevard”.  At least from a distance.

 

That’s where I got recently.  I became so focused on finding the exit ramp that would bridge me over to what I could see in the distance that I lost my peace.  I became very frustrated and dissatisfied with my present circumstances (in just a few areas).

I found myself with a stick in the yard whacking on whatever innocent tree was standing nearby.  I will admit, it felt good, blowing off steam without giving anyone a tongue lashing.  It was dark outside.  Most of our neighbors sit off of the road.  Except one.  And dangit, he was standing in his driveway watching my outburst!  He doesn’t know me very well…wonder what he thinks now?

 

I realized then that I should have never let myself get to that point.

 Sweet conviction.  God’s grace lovingly swept me back inside where my husband gave me a kiss and told me he was taking me out to get a good piece of red meat!

 

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

 

This scripture is something I use regularly in my prayer life.  I’m good at letting God know what I desire (as if He doesn’t already know).  I know from experience that if I am delighting in the Lord-as a lifestyle, a natural reaction to my love for Him-that He places desires in my heart purposely.  The more I invest in my relationship with Him, the more I sense Him preparing me for that “next thing” He has coming for me.

 

Sometimes I think that we can begin to settle our gaze on those desires.  We don’t just glance at them, we camp out on those things over on Better Boulevard and start clamoring our way over, barreling down shrubs, looking for a way around those lane guards that are SET UP FOR OUR PROTECTION!!

Just like a distracted driver, if we stay focused on those things way out in the distance, we will eventually run over something, or someone, in our path.  We will hit  mail boxes, run over nails or even worse, eventually winding up with a virtual concussion and thus forget where we were heading in the first place.

 

 

It’s OK to have dreams.  To set goals.  In fact, it’s healthy.  And if we are delighting in the Lord, we can be assured that He probably placed those dreams in our hearts.

 

But, if we can rely on knowing He put those things there, deep into our soul, we’ve got to trust that WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, He will reveal the exit ramp to us and move us onto the next lane.  And I would much rather look back and know that HE put me onto those goals and that it was not of myself.

 

What are you setting your gaze on?  What is it that is distracting you from focusing on the Lord?  From focusing on what is right in front of you right now.  From focusing on WHO is right in front of you.

 

**A husband that hasn’t walked into your life just yet

**A pregnancy you’ve longed for

**An adoption opportunity

**A new job or promotion

**That next stage your kids will enter soon

**Getting that baby to sleep through the night

**Your ministry to expand by number…more followers…more likes…more attendees

**A bigger house

**A new car

 

What is it?

 

Now, turn your neck from the right or left and look straight ahead.  Where are you right now that you can honor God?  What has He placed in your hand?  Who has he put in your life right now?

 

 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…”

Luke 16:10a

I have some dreams for down the road.  Big dreams.  Financial goals, ministry ideas, trips to be taken…there is more, but for now, my focus needs to be on what is right in front of me.  The people in my life right now, not the ones that are coming.  The finances I have right now, not the future budget.  The little town I’m in, my circles, my friendships and family members right now, not the ones that will cause my heart to expand down the road.

I have some dreams for down the road.  Big dreams.  But it’s a dangerous thing to get so caught up in what they may look like when they come to fruition.  It is a PEACE STEALER when I start trying to figure out how to get out of my current lane over to where I think the “bigger” stuff might be.

It breeds discontent.  Turmoil.  Dissatisfaction.  It makes me punchy.

It minimizes the precious souls that are in my life right now.  And I believe it’s offensive to God when I begin to pay less attention to my present and more attention to my future.

This life is fleeting.  I feel that fact more and more each day.  Let’s get a little perspective here and bring things back into focus.  God’s perspective is the proper perspective.  When I realized my punchiness was of my own doing, I had some confessing to do.  I had some scripture to start rolling over in my head like the verses above.

The dreams we have over there in “Better Boulevard”…if God planted them in us, they aren’t going anywhere.  In fact, I believe He’s still putting them together which should motivate us to WAIT so that we get the WHOLE blessing and not just a portion.

Let’s agree to stay focused on where we are right now.  To enjoy whatever stages our children are in.  To work our hardest at the job we have even if we know it’s temporary.  To use our stories to shine a light on Jesus to the one or two or four that He has put in our path for such a time as this.

This is where pleasant peace abides.  Right here on the “OK Highway”.

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Reflect and Respond:

What is it that you need to re-focus on and pour yourself in to?  Who is that precious soul you need to call for coffee this week?

Confess that you have been distracted and get back on track.  Thank God for the life that you have.  Write your blessings down today so you can see them in black and white.

Praying for pleasant peace for us all,

Kellie

Come Sit With Me

It was early December a few years ago.  Tim and I were riding down the road.  I was in the passenger’s seat with pen and paper as we discussed what we wanted to buy our people for Christmas that year.  The issue we were having was that our loved ones basically have everything they need and most of what they want.  We were straining our brains trying to come up with things to spend our money on that may or may not be wanted or even appreciated.

In that moment, something came over me.  It was as if God was cracking open the door, ever so slightly, and giving me a glimpse into the life of a single parent.  For just a brief moment in time, my feelings shifted from strain and frustration to desperation and worry.  I saw a flash of faces, all of the single parents in my life.  Like a dream that only lasts about 30 seconds but would take 30 minutes to describe.  It drove me to tears.

That moment was life changing for me.  I began asking myself what I could do to come alongside single parents to encourage them.  Little did I know that God was going to blow the doors off of my small minded thinking.  Not because I’m someone special, but because these parents are.

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NIV

Unfortunately, the perfect world He originally intended is no longer in existence.

Does it matter why they are a single parent?  Only to God.  It’s not our business.

God is looking for people who are willing to leave the comfort of their own friendship circles and embrace these single parents.  I am sure of it.

Those who are reading this and are married, take a journey with me for just a moment…What if you were suddenly left alone to care for your home and children?

  • Who would help you clean house, buy groceries and shuffle kids to the ball park on a typical Saturday…after putting in a 40+ hour work week?
  • Who would share yard work with you?
  • Who would help you pay your bills and save for a vacation?
  • Who would pick up your kids from school when you’ve been in bed with a fever all day?
  • Who would let you get a little sleep when you’ve been rocking a sick baby for 2 days?
  • Who would tag team parent with you when your teenager starts to rebel?
  • Who would help you on Sunday mornings to get the kids up, fed and ready for church–on time?
  • Who would you sit with in church on Sunday morning while your children were in their own classes?
  • Who would you tell about the day you’ve had at work after you’ve finally gotten the kids to do their homework, shower and get to bed?

Who?

I’ve never been a single parent but I’ve had the privilege to come alongside many and observe and participate in life with them.  They are strong.  They are over-comers.  They inspire me.

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I’ve personally been asked, and told, by single parents…

  • Can I sit with you in church so I’m not sitting alone?
  • Can you go to court with me? I don’t want to face my ex husband alone.
  • Can you arrange a time for me to meet other single moms in my area? I don’t really know any.
  • My car is in the shop, can you pick me up Sunday for church?
  • I don’t feel comfortable in Sunday school with all of the married couples; can you help me study my Bible?
  • I’ve been sick for 3 days and my kids are living off of microwave popcorn and Capri sun!
  • I’m looking for a second job so that I can afford to buy Christmas for my kids this year.

 

 “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

Mark 9:41 NIV

Our response…

  • Yes you can sit with me; I’ll save you a seat!
  • When is that date? I’ll do whatever I can to support you.
  • Let’s put something on the calendar. I’ll gather some help and provide some childcare and we will make it a girl’s night!
  • I’ll be there at 10:30.
  • Yes! What do you want to learn about?  I’ll pick us up a study guide and we’ll get started.
  • I’ll bring you dinner tomorrow night, while I’m there, I’ll help you fold clothes too.
  • I know people who have more money than they know what to do with. Let me see what we can do to help. Do NOT take time away from your kids to buy them STUFF!  We’ll work this out, that’s what the church is for, and I’ll be in touch.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 68:5 NIV

Can we make the effort to reach out?  Single parent families can benefit greatly from spending time with families where both parents are present.  Their kids can see what a two parent household looks like.  Single moms and dads can ask for advice and even give it to two parent homes.  They’ve had to be creative in ways that two parent homes don’t have to be.  They have a lot to offer.  We can learn from each other. They don’t want pity.  They need us.  We need them.

Let’s step from our comfort zones.

Speak up.

Reach out.

Follow through.

Especially at this time of year.

Who can you ask to sit with you this Sunday?  Start there.

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The Art of Letting Them Go…

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When I think of creating art, words like messy, beautiful, creative, frustrating, expectation, intentional and unique come to mind.

If you were creating a piece of art, what would you think of?  What would your process look like?

This is how I am beginning to view my duty of letting my adult children go well (I want to do this so well).  It’s a process that began as early as their elementary school years.  But, we are rounding the final corner of this journey here at our home.

We’ve all heard it before, even if you’re not a believer.  “Love your neighbor as yourself“.

This passage of scripture is one of the most quoted pieces of the Bible.  Ponder it.

Now, step back and filter your children through these words.

“Love (child’s name) as yourself.”

Just like creating a piece of art requires purposeful thinking, letting our children go requires intentional planning.

I love my children fiercely.  Achingly.  Desperately  Blisteringly.

I love them with firmness.  Decisiveness.  Determination.  Purposefully.

If we are loving our neighbors, our children, as ourselves, won’t we love them like this?

With desperation, determination and with purpose.  Fiercely and firmly.

It’s a choice we all have to make.

Don’t you want to be loved like that?

 

 

Just like creating a piece of art requires constant motion, letting our children go requires continual plodding.

If we love our children with fierceness and firmness can we still give them the freedom to fly or fall?

I say yes.

But this is also a choice.  A verb.

To give them the freedom that is.

And it is necessary to their development.

If they fly, they will own it like a rock star!  “Look at me!  Look what I did!”  The self-esteem and confidence that comes with that flying can’t be taken from them.  Ever.

If they fall, they will learn.  They will self-examine.  They will re-examine.  They will know next time, and they will OWN the success that comes when they choose differently down the road.

 

This is how they learn.  This is how they mature.

 

Just like creating a piece of art stirs emotions from deep down in our souls, letting our children go will wreck us with a passion words cannot even describe.

Here is just a glimpse of what I’m learning in this season…

I’m learning how to view my children as adults.

I’m learning that although they respect me, they will make their own decisions.

I’m learning that if they don’t take my advice, it doesn’t mean they’re making a wrong choice.

I’m learning that they need to come to terms with their own faith in God.

I’m learning that that is a process.

I’m learning that although it’s scary to watch, I would rather they own their own faith than to piggy back off of mine.

I’m learning that although I was once physically exhausted from running our household and raising these children, it is sometimes just as mentally exhausting now.

I’m learning that my mom must have kept her mouth shut A LOT when I was a young adult!

I’m learning when to keep my own mouth shut.

I’m learning to be ready to break their fall but still let them feel some of the effects when they trip.

I’m learning if I shelter them or assume responsibility for their negative consequences, they’ll never learn or mature.

I’m learning they were listening even when I didn’t think they were.

I’m learning to encourage and take a step back.

So.  Much.  Learning.

Love your neighbor as yourself

Matthew 22.39b NIV

We can love our children with fierceness and firmness and still give them the freedom to fly or fall.

It’s in the flying that we feel the kiss and approval of our Heavenly Father.

It’s in the falling that we feel His forgiveness, His unconditional love and His grace.

Oh, His beautiful grace…

I want my children to experience that.  I want it to be personal for them.

Most importantly, if I love my children as myself, I am going to pray for them.  Fiercely and firmly.  Daily.  Hourly.  With passion.

Don’t you want to be prayed for in this way?  To have your name called out and laid down at the Father’s feet like this?  I sure do.

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“Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.”
Psalm 127:3

Moving through this season of life can be hard.  Messy.  Sometimes stressful.  It’s also satisfying.  Joyful.  A privilege not all are afforded.

It involves purposeful planning, constant plodding, and explosive passion.

I still have a lot to learn.  At times I will fly.  At times I will fall. That simply means I’ll have even more in common with my children.

It’s all good.

And God is good.

He will guide, teach, comfort, encourage…He honors our efforts to do this well.  He loves our children more than we do, so stick close to Him.  Gather with friends who are walking through this season.  Encourage one another.  Share wisdom with one another.  Pray for one another.

Like an artist working on a masterpiece, make yourself step back frequently, stand still, and admire what God has already done in the lives of your children.

 And thank Him.

He loves that stuff 🙂

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever viewed your children as your neighbor?  How does it motivate you to let go of them well?

**Ask the Lord to show you how to apply this scripture, the second most important command, into your daily life.  He will be faithful to do it.

Praying for you all but especially those who are in this season with me,

Kellie

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Keeping a Focused Faith in a Frenzied World

 

leap-of-faith

 

“Am I over thinking this or are all of these valid points that should be explored?”

My husband has heard me ask this more times than he would probably like over the years, but, I can’t help it.  I’m detailed oriented.  I’m a list maker.  I’m a pro’s and con’s gal.  A “what if” thinker.  I must explore all of the scenarios of a decision before moving forward.  I can’t help myself.  But, I wish sometimes that I could.

I am in the midst of some decision making right now, like, some big decisions.  It’s important that I run down all of these details, right?  What if I mis-step?  What if I get ahead of God?

I’ve got to step out of the boat. I know it’s coming.

What about you?  What are you contemplating…what are you seeing come from a distance…that will require you to step out in faith?

*A new job opportunity

*A goal set to get out of debt

*Starting up a new business venture

*Re-dedication or renewal to your marriage

*Turning away from an addiction?

*Walking away from a toxic person or relationship

*Committing to mentor someone

What is it for you?

 

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Matthew 14:28-30

 

Here’s what I’m learning in this stage of my life…sometimes you just have to jump!

 

Think about Peter in that boat.  In the dark.  He sees Jesus.  He asks Him to just confirm that he’s not seeing things and that it really is Jesus ON the water.  Jesus says “Come” and out of the boat Peter went!

Peter didn’t make a list of pro’s and cons.  Peter didn’t ask his friends in the boat if they thought it was a good idea.  Peter didn’t ask Jesus about the forecast.  He just went for it.

In that moment Peter had faith.

Fast forward a few moments later and Peter had doubts.

The Bible says that he saw the wind and became afraid.  If he saw the wind, that meant he wasn’t looking into Jesus’ face.  He averted his eyes. He let himself become distracted and the thing that was a distraction he saw a saw as a threat to his well being.

He immediately began to sink.

Now, I am in no way saying that there aren’t times to make lists and seek wise counsel.  Times to pray and wait.  Times to weigh it all out.

But, if we see Jesus in front of us with his hand outstretched telling us to “Come”…we best go.  And we best keep laser focused on His face.  And we better show a little self control when we begin to hear the wind with our ears and see the effects of that wind with our pereferial vision.

 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:33

This is so simple and yet I can be so bad at it.  When we seek something out we are scanning, listening and moving in a forward motion.  The bible tells us right here in Matthew that if we keep Him, His character, His spirit, His purposes, if we keep this first, these other things on our lists will be given to us.  Not handed over in a box with a pretty bow on it, but the things on our lists will be taken care of just as they should.

“in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:6

Here it is again in Proverbs.  Although sometimes we don’t like the word “submit”, this is actually where freedom lies.  In submitting to Him, we are handing over that thing that we think He may be calling us to do, we are handing our lists, our pros and cons and the opinions we retrieved from others, and trusting that if we are indeed following Him, He will take care of any consequences headed our way.  Any bumps in the road.  Any distractions or road blocks.  In submitting to Him, we are freely handing Him our doubts and worries and He is making our paths straight.

There’s a decision to be made or a change is coming and it’s got you all nervous, anxious, mind-blown, wrecked with worry, head spinning with “what if’s?” and crumbled lists in the waste basket.

Take a breath.  If He is telling you to “Come”, then go.

What an adventurous moment that must have been for Peter.  He walked on top of the water!!  I can’t even wrap my mind around that!

An adventure awaits you and me.  I’ve about made a decision I’ve been putting off.  I don’t know exactly how it will effect my husband, my children, my calendar, my chores, my friendships, my bank account, my sleep, my who knows what!  I’m nervous, I’ve got crumbled lists and I’ve about talked the ears off of my husband.

 

I’m about to exit the boat I’ve been in where there is security and predictability.

I’m choosing to stay focused on the One who is calling me out…at least for today.  Would you like to go too?

If you continue to read on about Peter you’ll see that when he began to sink, Jesus reached down immediately to rescue him.

If we begin to doubt, He will help us to re-focus, but we may wind up missing out on the rest of the adventure.

I’d love to hear from you.  What is He calling you out to do?  Do you sense Him saying “come”?

He will lead and He will rescue you in your weak moments.

Reflect and Respond:

**What is it that came to mind as you read this? Where does your faith jump lead?

**What step do you need to take today?  Continue to pray…or jump?

Praying for you all,

Kellie

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You Can’t Make Me Go To Church

 

Ever heard that before?  From your children?  Maybe even a close family member?

I don’t want to convict, condemn, or guilt anyone into going to church.  I want you to go because you want to be there.  Because you enjoy it.  Because you long to please our Father.

My heart is bursting today with a love of the church that I hope I can convey to you in 1,000 words or less.  I’m not busting out about the 11a.m.service on Sundays with three praise and worship songs followed by a 35 minute sermon and an altar call.

My heart is exploding over the literal church and what it has meant to me over the years. What it means to me now.

Let me explain.

I had a conversation today with a friend about something very personal.  Something I can’t talk about in this place yet.  All I can share today is that someone I love with every fiber of my being is walking down a path never meant for them.

My friend listened intently as I let my burden leak out.  She did not judge.  She offered practical advice.  She told me specifically how she planned to help me pray over this situation.  Then, she wrote out the most beautiful, powerful prayer and sent it to me so that I would know exactly what she is saying to the Creator of the universe, God, on my behalf.

She went above and beyond the “I’ll be praying for you” quote we all use.  She is standing in the gap for me and she’s pulling me along.

This kind of friendship will only be found between two people who share the same Father, use the same book as a compass for living and live with the same goals in mind.  This type of relationship only happens when we have been directed by our Father on how to forgive, how to love, how to encourage, how to hope, how to pray…you name it…we are standing on common ground and that is a only a small part of why I love “the church”.

You see, the church isn’t the building and the programs and the schedules and the suits and skirts.

The church is made up of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  People who acknowledge that God is head over all and that His son Jesus died in order to, once and for all, pay the penalty for our sin.  The church is made of people, imperfect people, who live for God because He sent His son to live and die for us.

The church has one head, God the Father, which makes us all spiritual brothers and sisters, and we strive to simply follow Him wherever He takes us.

When we share a common belief and faith in the one true God, something special takes place in our relationships.  God has a vested interest in them and pours out blessings on them.

As my children have gotten older and are now young adults (what?!) I hear them reminisce about being a part of the body of Christ.

They will recall when they were preschoolers being smiled at and played with by Sunday School teachers who were the same age as their grandparents.

They will recall as middle schoolers tagging along with Tim and me to Bible studies and cook outs and ball games with other members of our church.  Helping out in Vacation Bible School and stacking chairs after a Sunday dinner on the grounds.

They will recall as high school graduates being honored with a slide show at church and being prayed over by the congregation as they began this next leg of their life.

My kids are old enough to understand the blessing of hindsight now.

They are grasping that for 20+ years we surrounded our little family with other Christians that we were doing life together with, that our friends were praying for and mentoring our kids and we were doing the same for them.

The relationships that we built over the years of choosing to be an active member of the local church have been the most lovely, meaningful, authentic, blessed relationships we’ve ever experienced.

The church.  God’s design.  Our home away from our heavenly home.

If you are a Christian and you are not attached to a local group of authentic, enthusiastic, Bible believing Christ followers;

” If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…”

I Corinthians 12:26a

We are still a member of the same body even if you aren’t actively involved.  You are still attached but you’re not enjoying the benefits of contributing to the direction the body is trying to move and the other parts (including me!) are suffering for it.

                                                                                    images

You.  Are.  Missing.  Out.

I.  Am.  Missing.  Out.

Come into fellowship with us.  Come see who your spiritual siblings are.  Get to know us.  Take the time needed to see who you connect with deeply.  Who you can confide in.  Who can pray for your children while you pray for theirs.

Come on.

There is no part of the body of Christ that can work in full capacity alone.  Not one.

You need me and I need you.

Like my friend I mentioned above;

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

I want this for you!  This kind of friendship.

You don’t have to make me go to church. I’ve experienced the goodness there that keeps me going back.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 34:8

There is a place for you in the local church where a future close friend or two awaits. A place where your gifts are needed in order for the body to function properly.  A place where someone else may need you to bring your experiences and listening ear to stand in the gap for them.

Come, see for yourself.

Reflect & Respond:

*If you are not a part of a local body of believers, I urge you to decide today to find one.  You could start by asking someone whose life you admire (because of their faith) where they attend and start there.

*If you are already in a local church, are you making the effort to connect with others in your congregation?  If you only attend an hour each week, inquire how you might take a step towards meeting others there on a more personal level.  Step out of your comfort zone.  You will be blessed.

Praying for you,

Kellie