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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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Turn The Page

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Choosing to Trust the Author of Our Stories in the Midst of Hard Chapters

I recently took a day to put the top down and take some back roads.  I love taking in the sights of small town America and imagining how those towns first came to be.  Who settled there first, and who keeps the livelihood going.  I love old buildings and dirt roads and sunflower fields…all of it.  It fills me up spiritually and I’m able to reflect on those moments and noticings for a while and draw inspiration from those places.

I imagine those first generations that came in and settled had a hard time.  They had to endure financial barriers and sickness, planting and harvesting on new soil and just flat-out fatigue.  I wonder if they were ever tempted to just close the book on their lives and be done.  I wonder what kept them going and inspired them to keep turning the pages and moving on in the stories that they were a part of.

 

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These people were working for something better.  They were building a future for their children and their children’s children.  They were creating changes on their own and having to endure changes that just came with the wind.

Change.

It’s inevitable and it’s annoying and it’s beautiful and inconvenient, it’s stressful and it’s welcoming and it’s unwelcome and it’s scary.

Oftentimes changes will take place in our lives that we have no control over.  The flip side is that there are sometimes changes that need to come into our lives in which we have a choice about.

This is where it can get sticky.

We may not always like the choices that lie before us.  Sometimes we don’t even know what choices we have as we have to close a door behind us before we can turn to look at the other doors before us.  Does that make sense?

I believe oftentimes a choice stands before us, one we may not even see yet, and God is waiting for us to simply wet our fingers, reach out, even if with eyes closed, and turn the page.

In Philippians, Paul tells us this…

 “…By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

The Message

No one is an expert, just move onward.  Run…no turning back!

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A sweet friend of mine says frequently “God is writing my story”.

Think of your life as a book.  It’s unique and beautiful on its own.  Like any good story there is joy and sadness.  Suspense and intrigue.  New characters are introduced and old ones leave. There are stories within the story.  Battles fought, some wins, some losses, always a lesson learned.

But the ending.  This is where turning the page will get you.  You have to turn the page to get to the ending.

 The ending is where the good stuff is.  Where the author takes all of the pieces of our story and ties them together for a finish that we could never have imagined.

That doesn’t mean it always appears to be a happy ending in our eyes.  But, it does mean that the Author is pleased with the finished product.  That the masterpiece that He created which is YOU (and me) is complete.

Our lives, our stories, aren’t to be tucked away on a shelf to collect dust and stay hidden from the world.  They’re a testament to the Author.  They are a word of mouth endorsement for others to take interest in and see the work of God and the hope that living a life for Him brings.  Even during the moments of the unknown, suspense and sadness, if it’s too much to read that chapter out loud as it’s being written, share it with others once the page has been turned and you have the gift of hindsight to go along with that part of your story.

God can stun you in hindsight when you discover the careful orchestration of events in your life.”

-Priscilla Shirer

Remember, those hard times are only a part of you, not the whole.  Every story intertwines the good with the bad.  You are no exception.  But you and I get to choose whether we are going to park ourselves on the negative or just glance there and set our gaze on the positive.

I’ve seen what this Author can do with a willing participant.  I’ve read His other works that are scattered throughout history (HIS-story).  I’ve seen friends and family make hard decisions that they NEVER regretted.  But ask them about the choosing, and they’ll tell you that in the flesh, it wasn’t always easy.

Some days I’m still learning to keep moving and trust.  To turn the page even when I’m afraid of what may be on the other side.  If you feel this way, you are not alone.  This has been going on from generation to generation.

I imagine the people who settled on these lands first had to make hard choices and they had to make them quick.  They didn’t always have the luxury to watch a fever for a few days before making the trek to the doctor’s office.  They couldn’t watch their crops be swarmed by locust and spend a few weeks contemplating on whether they should burn or just stand by and wait and see.  They didn’t have choices in their homes on counter tops, flooring and paint colors to peruse from as they built.  They had to move quickly, making split second decisions, not always knowing what the outcome would be for their families as they flipped the pages in their lives.

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Look around at how far these little towns have come.  You’re living in one now.  We have the people who were here first to thank for that.  They kept turning the pages in their lives, moving forward, building something for the rest of us to reflect on and be thankful for and continue building from.

When we are given choices, it’s a gift.

Even though making a choice can be excruciating, if we stand by paralyzed with fear, like any good book, we will grow stiff.  Cold.  Our stories can become uninviting for others who want to be a part of our lives.

Where are you at today?  Is there a choice staring back at you that has to be made and you are crippled with fear?  Your fingers feel stricken with arthritis and you are unable to move towards that top right corner of the page to move it over?

You’ve been given a choice.  Stay on the page you are sitting where dust will collect and the beauty of the words will soon fade, or perhaps reach out with your other hand to do the turning.  Maybe you need a friend to come alongside and help you turn your page.  Perhaps you need to pick up the book, shake it out and attack that page turning like you never have before.

God is writing your story.

It’s not over yet.  The momentum is building and there may be people around you just biting their lip to see what the next chapter of your life holds.  They aren’t fixated on YOU, they’re looking to the author.  They’ve read His stories before and they know that He never disappoints.  Never.

I’m praying for us all to keep moving forward.  To view turning pages as a privilege and highly anticipate what God is going to reveal next.  I would love to pray for you if your next page seems too heavy to lift.  You’re invited to private message me.  It would be a privilege to be that friend that helps pray you through your next hard choice.

Kellie

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Finding Purpose in Our Scars

“Well, that will leave a mark!!”

Have you ever injured yourself and thought or said those words to yourself immediately following?  It’s no fun.  Pain that has been inflicted on us, whether intentionally or not, leaves a mark.

Here’s what Merriam Webster says about it:

MARK

-an impression (as a scratch, scar, or stain) made on something :  a distinguishing trait or quality

We all know what a scratch or scar is.  We’ve had them.  We have them now.  Everyone has experienced something in their life that has left a scar.  Whether emotional or physical.  But Merriam calls them a “distinguishing trait” or “quality”.

They are unique to who we are.  We are the only person who has the exact scar that we have.  No one else has what we do and it’s part of what makes us who we are up to this point.  Like it or not.  Would you agree?

 

Scars appear after we’ve been wounded.  Time has passed allowing us to heal all that we can.

The location of that injury will always look a little different.  It may feel a little different.  It may react to sunlight or other outside influences a little different.  But nevertheless, you carry it with you.  Though it may fade, it never goes away.  You will never look the same in that place as you did before your injury.

 

Whether emotional scars, or physical scars…

“He heals the brokenhearted

    and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

He heals and He binds.  He doesn’t heal and wave a magic wand to make the mark disappear.  He holds it together.  He holds you together, and me, right in that very spot.

 

Ponder these things about scars:

  1.  They indicate survival.  Whatever it is that caused that wound, whether deep or shallow, you have survived the source of that wound.
  2. They make your story unique.  No one has the exact scar that you carry.  Your experience was YOUR experience, not someone else’s to tell.
  3. They spark conversation.  When you recognize someone else who is carrying a similar wound, it’s oftentimes a safe place to share stories.  To encourage.  To laugh at the past.  To cry together.  To be thankful for survival.

Perhaps the most significant truth about our scars is this…

4.  They are something we have in common with our perfect savior.

Jesus has scars.

Physical scars in his hands and feet that came with tremendous emotional and mental anguish.  Your scars give you a connection to Him.  A very personal connection.

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And although Jesus suffered on the cross and bears the physical scars of His horrific earthly death, He suffered at other times too:

*He was distressed when He announced at the last supper that one of his disciples was going to betray him (John 13:21)

*Jesus’ soul is troubled when he predicts his own death (John 12:27)

*His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38)

*Jesus was troubled and wept when Lazarus died (John 11:33-35)

These experiences brought pain and anguish to Him.  They left a mark.

Take note that despite the fact that Jesus led a perfect, sinless life, He still endured troubling times.  Although our scars are sometimes an indicator of consequences from our own decisions, they aren’t always.  Sometimes, they are just souvenirs we’ve picked up from our life journey.

I can’t help but think that in searching for some purpose in our scars, we are brought closer to Him.  They create common ground with Him.  They help us identify with His humanity.

What are the scars that you carry?

*Hurtful words that left a mark when spoken to you earlier in your life…

*Relationships broken and crumbled that once held great strength…

*Decisions made in your past that had consequences leading you down an unwanted path…

*Ever been physically abused?  Ever been the abusive one?

What is it that ripped through you at one point but has healed since?  What is it that is now healing but still feels fresh when bumped or when you run your hand across it?

The markings on your life, those distinguishing traits, use them as conversation starters with Jesus.  Use them to explore how Jesus may want to use your life to draw others closer to Him.  Use them to foster a sense of thanksgiving every time they are bumped or exposed unexpectantly.

They make up the fabric of who you are and God loves you no matter how or when you acquired those scars.

All scars carry purpose…that is truth…ask the Lord what that may be when you talk to Him.

And thank Him for your survival while you’re at it.

Praying for us all to embrace every part of who we are,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Strength Through Intimacy

Have you ever needed to talk to someone to get something off your chest and your spouse or bff just weren’t going to satisfy that need?  Ever felt like no one really knows you?  At least not all of you?

We crave it.

We were built for it.

We need it.

Intimacy.

  1. 1:  a state marked by emotional closeness

  2. 2:  a quality suggesting closeness or warmth

  3. 3:  something that is very personal or private

God created us.  He created that need for intimacy within us.  He longs to fill it for us.

He created a God sized hole in our spirit that only He can fill.  That’s why when we try to fill that emptiness with other things or other people, they don’t stick.  They can’t satisfy long-term.  HE wants that spot!

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

1 Corinthians 3:16 kjv

I liken that intimacy, that closeness, to having a tiny infant in my arms.

When my babies were newborns, I swaddled them up in one of those cloth carriers that would allow me to be hands free while they rested against my chest.  I had a living, breathing human-being strapped right against me.  What a responsibility!

I stayed away from cigarette smoke, cursing and harsh noises and odors.  I spoke softly, giving thought to what I would say since my lips were only inches away from those small ears.  I kept my hands clean and sanitized for fear of leaving traces of germs or illness on that baby.  I talked to them throughout my day, whispering “I love you so much”.  Introducing them to smells and informative sentences like “now this is what red velvet cake smells like and It’s your daddy’s favorite” or “I hope this song I’m wooing you with is something you sing to your own children”.

I took the presence of that baby very seriously.  I didn’t want to grieve it.  To make it uncomfortable.  To cause it pain or disappointment in me.  I took the intimacy of having my babies so close, where they felt my heart beat, as a privilege that not all were afforded.  I tried not to take that for granted.

God doesn’t need us to be His life-giver and protector and to introduce Him to new things like a child, but, we need to remember that just as those babies are held against us, His Holy Spirit is even closer.  It’s not outside of us, but inside.

Intimacy with God

Super natural strength…

This privilege that we have…this gift…this responsibility…this is where our strength abides as believers.  We were created in His image and were gifted His Holy Spirit to help guide and move us.  He is more powerful, more discerning, and stronger than we could ever be and He desires to be intimately involved in our lives, filling us up to over-flowing with Himself.

Ever done something on His behalf that you thought you would never be able to do?

Ever had a conversation with someone and wondered later where those words came from?

Ever done that thing that seemed out of character for you but was the right call?

That was His spirit, working through you, pushing, strengthening, filling you with boldness and courage.

This privilege comes with responsibility.

Who likes to be told that we could grieve God?  No one.

Who needs to be reminded that it’s possible?  All of us.

 

“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.”

Ephesians 4:30 The Message

 

 

Goodness, we don’t like to talk about this do we?  We like comfortable.  We like encouragement.  We like pats on the back  and “sometimes you just have to’s” and “I couldn’t help myselves” and “everybody else is doing it”

I love how The Message puts this verse “…His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life…”  Sometimes I think that we forget this.  That as believers in Christ, His Holy Spirit is dwelling IN us.  Another way to think about it is that He sees what we see and hears what we hear.

I’m completely awestruck by His design!

Are you?

Let’s take a deep breath today and acknowledge His handy work.  The craftsmanship that went into building us as only He could do.  The fact that this need we have for intimacy isn’t just an impossible desire that we have to go through life with, but that He offers the solution in Himself.

Let this be a reminder…

**He longs to be closer than any other

**He wants to share with us His strength and help us do hard things

**He is holy

**What an honor it is to be called His

This.

Ponder this and see if your heart rate doesn’t go up a little bit.

Reflect & Respond

**As believers are we keenly aware that the Holy Spirit dwells in us 24 hours a day?

**What can we do to honor His presence in our lives?  How can we flesh that knowledge out into our day-to-day living?

Praying that we draw our strength from Him and represent Him well,

Kellie

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Come Away With Me-A Sacred Invitation

“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Luke 5:16

 

Years ago I was involved in a study that focused on spiritual disciplines.  My kids were small and life was busy but once a week Tim and I met with a few other couples to do this.  The end of the study culminated in taking a half day away just to pray.

Four hours.

We spent four hours at a beautiful local park. I sat near the lake.  Spent time near a covered bridge.  Cozied up to a tree with a view of a water wheel.  Notebook.  Bible.  Water.  Pen.  That’s all I needed.

It.  Was.  Marvelous!

Nature is a powerful thing.

There’s something about being out in nature that soothes the soul.  Would you agree?  Wind, birds, squirrels, butterflies.  You notice the little trail of ants carrying their food from place to place.  How the trees can take on a different look as the sun shines from a different angle throughout the day.  How the clouds change shape as they skim across the blue sky effortlessly.  The wind relaxes and the muscles let go of their tightened state.

Something happens when we get outside, to a lonely place, and just look about.  His power becomes more evident.  His creativity shines everywhere you look.  His attention to detail.  All of it is a reminder of what a great big God we serve.  All of it!

Jesus prayed often.

Even to say that seems like an understatement.  But, there were times that He had to break away from the noise and get to a quiet place.  Doesn’t that sound marvelous?

Be alone to talk.

Be alone to listen.

Just.  Be.

 

I see three important truths in this verse that we can take in and flesh out.

**Jesus withdrew

He drew away from the pressures of His life, detached Himself, became removed

**He did it often

He did it frequently, repeatedly and consistently.  He made it a habit.  A lifestyle.

**He chose lonely places

He struck out unaccompanied.  He went solo.  He isolated Himself.

If this was a part of Jesus’ lifestyle, I’d say that we should incorporate this practice into our own lives.  Especially in the world that we are living in that is so inundated with noise and movement and visual stimulation everywhere you look.  Every.  Where.

I need this.  You need this.

  • High school or middle school student who attends church each week but doesn’t really know how to pray.
  • College student who studies your Bible in your dorm room each day while listening to nearby students crank their music and holler down the hallway
  • Young mama who can’t even use the bathroom without interruption
  • Mom of teens whose door revolves around your kids and their friends
  • Empty nesters who aren’t quite used to the sound of an empty house
  • Retired older woman who putzes around all day trying to keep yourself busy

Ladies, some of us seem to need permission to get away by ourselves, for even just a couple of hours.  This is it.  This is your permission…your encouragement…your convincing argument that you MUST…WE must, make this a practice.

It was important to Jesus.

It should be important for us.

And I believe that it will not only benefit our relationship with God, but it will ultimately benefit our family, our work, our church, and all of the other parts of our lives.

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Let’s get out our calendars and mark a date or two to get started.  Pick a nearby place-away from home-grab your Bible and a coffee and keep that appointment.  There is nothing as important as keeping that line of communication with God open and active.

This could be the thing to take your walk with Him deeper than it’s ever been.

This could be the thing you need to hit re-start on your relationship with Him.

This could be the habit that is the catalyst to hearing from God more clearly.

This could be the first step to self-care that you’ve taken in a long time.

I promise if you miss a T-ball game or an hour or two of sleep or don’t get your man’s dinner cooked for one night, it will be OK 🙂

I’m not suggesting you start with a four-hour retreat, but I am suggesting that you start.

The goal is to be alone during this time but there is nothing wrong with carpooling with friends to a wide open space and splitting up once there.  In fact, it could be a great way to connect with other women on a more personal and spiritual level.

Imagine driving out to somewhere spacious with a few friends, splitting up to spend time with God, and then coming together to flesh out a little bit of your time.  Maybe you come away feeling challenged and you need your gal pals to hold you accountable.  Maybe you leave with a few less things to worry about on your plate because God convinced you that He’s got it taken care of.  Maybe your appetite for His word just grew and you’d like to bounce some reading ideas off of your friends.  Maybe you just need them to keep you in mind during their own prayer times.

However you choose, I challenge you, and I’m challenging myself, to take one hour within the next 10 days to drive away from home, to a secluded place.  To plan this ahead of time and let your people know that your cell phone will be in your car and that YOU WILL NOT.

We can do this ladies!  Who’s with me?

Reflect & Respond:

**Have you ever considered that this should be a part of the life of a believer?

**Mark your calendar within the next 10 days.  Text your bff’s right now to plan to go with you if you’d like.  Otherwise, just get it done!

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you already do this?  Frequently?  Are you planning to now?

If you’re nervous about doing this alone, reach out to me!  We’ll grab some girls and make it happen!

Praying for us to not just skim over this example from Jesus, but to plant it deep and flesh it out,

Kellie

If you need some help getting started with your prayers, here’s a simple way to think about it.

P.R.A.Y.

Praise!  Beginning your conversation with your Heavenly Father by praising Him. It takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on Him.  It begins a vertical conversation.  It recognizes that He is in a position of honor and respect.

Repent!  I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  After we’ve lifted praises to Him, take some time to ask Him to bring any sin to mind that you need to ask forgiveness for.  He will be faithful to forgive.

Ask!  Once you’ve taken the time to praise Him and start with a clean slate, ask Him for the things that you need.  He tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Ask for yourself as well as any other needs that are on your heart.

Yield!  No matter what you’ve talked to the Lord about, ultimately, you need to yield your own will to His.  He knows more.  He knows best.  He knows it all!  As Jesus prayed right before His crucifixion, He Himself said in Matthew 26:39 “…“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  He is a good, good father and He knows what is best for us.  Trust that.

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The Choice is Yours

 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. “
I Corinthians 10:23

 

When my children were really small, they had to do whatever in the world I told them too.  Get in the car.  Get in the bath.  Stay out of the refrigerator.  Bring me your book bag.

 

There came a time when one of my sweet children (who shall remain nameless) began asking me after my directions “what will you do to me if I don’t do that?”

What??

This child was weighing out the consequences.  They were deciding whether it would be worth the adventure to just flat out do it their own way and take the punishment rather than obey and keep peace in our little family.

The reality is, that child could literally choose not to get in the car, get in the bath, stay out of the fridge or bring me said book bag.

It was their choice.  They had the freedom to choose in those moments.

 

I wasn’t delving out instructions because they needed to know who was boss.  I didn’t take pleasure in pointing my finger with “go here” and “sit there” and “do it now”.

 

Everything I told my kids to do was in their best interest.  Whether short term or long term, it was to their advantage to just obey.

 

Loading up in the car was the pathway to school or Mimi’s house, a bath kept them clean, unnecessary trips to the fridge would spoil their dinner and there were things in the book bag I was expected to sign and initial or else my children would suffer consequences the next day from their teacher.

 

You see, it wasn’t always about right and wrong and being bossed around, it was about knowing what was best for them and keeping them on the right track.  A track that would ultimately be for their good.

 

Today we have laws and rules and convictions we are told to follow, but like our children, we are tempted to do things our own way.

We like to question.

But, there is an authority who knows what’s in our best interest and we’d be wise to listen to Him.

Very wise.

 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

I Corinthians 10:13

Whenever we are tempted to take action that contradicts with His word, He helps us to flee from that temptation.  That is great news!  Temptation is going to be a part of life.  He calls us to lean into Him during those times and ask Him how to escape that thing.  Whatever it is.

Here’s what I know, the directions He gives to us are for our benefit.  It’s not to restrain us from becoming  the “real us”, it’s to keep us away from the things that will keep us from becoming who we were made to be.  We are His creation.  He knows what’s best for us.  He knows what’s coming around the corner of our lives.  He knows how we need to be prepared best.

But alas…

I’m free to stand on railroad tracks.

I’m free to drive at high speeds.

I’m free to walk across a busy highway without looking both ways.

I’m free to view pornography.

I’m free to charge up my credit cards.

I’m free to gossip.

I’m free to yell at my husband and children when I’m angry.

 I’m free to ignore the Holy Spirit when it nudges me to do something.

I’m free to stay away from church.

I’m free to cheat on my spouse.

I’m free to lie to my boss.

What is it in God’s word that you struggle with the most?

freedom

 

What if we stopped looking at God’s book as a rule book and instead looked at it as a play book?

 

Like a coach teaching and training their team, when the players execute the plays as they’ve been taught, more ground is gained and the coach is pleased.  The team is heading in the right direction.

Doing things God’s  way won’t come without obstacles and challenges, but it will produce more wins than losses.

 

He gives us the freedom to make our choices, just like my children had freedom.  But, the consequences are never worth the rebellion.  Never.  Trust me.

I’ve heard the Bible referred to as a “book of instructions” or an “owner’s manual for life”and those labels have some significance to them.  But, the difference in using the book as just a manual or instruction book and reading it for it’s overall purpose is very different.

The One who wrote the book…He is the book.

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

John 1:1

When we read and study the Bible, the best part of our learning isn’t in the rules or commands, it isn’t in the answers we’re looking for or the list of do’s and don’ts we may find.

It’s in those pages that we see who God really is.  How He loves us.  His character.  His heart.  The motivation behind Him giving us those commands.

Mama’s have their children’s best interest in mind when they teach them.

Coaches have their team’s best interest in mind when they instruct them.

God has our best interest in mind when He gives us wisdom through His word to help us make wise choices.

We make our own choices but then our choices make us.

Let’s be careful.  Let’s be teachable.

Let’s be grateful for the freedom to choose and the knowledge that the One who helps us to make our choices does so out of love.

 

 Reflect and Respond:

Have you always seen the Bible as just a book of rules?  Do you imagine God pointing His finger with a never-ending list of to-do’s? I challenge you to turn your thinking around and see it as a play book.  A book with direction and wisdom meant for your benefit.

Are you curious when you see Christians study the Bible?  Are you wondering where the freedom is in that?  Ask someone you know to help you understand why.

Praying for us all to to rest in the security of His Word,

Kellie

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Keep Your Sword Sharp, Ready For Battle

 

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Have you ever had a dream that was so real that there was actual truth to it?  A dream where you knew even in the dream that God was in it.  In the story, in the lesson learned and in the thoughts that lingered once you woke up?

 

That’s the kind of dream I had recently.

 

 

This dream was an attempt by the evil one to convince me that God leaves us in times of fear.

 

Ya’ll, he didn’t say a word, all he had to do was to look at me.  He used fear and intimidation to chase me away from my security, and he had me running scared for a minute.  Just for a minute.

 

 

This is what I woke up with…these principles…they are truth, they are timeless, and they are transforming if we allow them to be.

 

  1.  There are two powers that are at work in the unseen.  Two.  They both have abilities that we cannot even fathom.  Abilities that would blow our minds!  We have to know who to grab hold of.  Who has our best interest in mind.  Who can hold us safely from the other.

 

“…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 6:12

 

2.  Satan has 2 tools that he loves to use on us.  Fear and intimidation.  Let’s be aware when we feel these creeping into our thoughts. They are not from God.

 

It might look something like this:

 

“If you leave this boyfriend/girlfriend, you’re risking being alone for the rest of your life.”

“If you take that job offer, you may fail and wind up with no income”

“If you leave your abusive husband, he’ll come find you.  May as well stay put”

“If you stay in your young marriage, you’ll never experience being wild and free”

“If you post that blog, no one will read it”

“If you start that ministry, people will talk about you.  You wanna live in a fish bowl?”

“Adoption?  Fostering?  Too expensive!  You could never afford that!”

“Get that t.v. on credit.  You’re expecting a crowd over for the game, right?  You’ll look dumb if you don’t have top-notch equipment”

“Gotta watch your back everywhere you go now, people just can’t be trusted anymore”

“Better not let people know you’re a believer, they’ll think you’re all ‘odd for God’ and back away”

“Don’t speak to those people at church, they stink and have no teeth.  They’ll think you’re taking pity on them and everyone else will be staring at you”

“Homeschooling?  Ha!  He’ll never be smart enough for college.”

“Public school?  Ha!  He’ll lose his sweet innocence and be indoctrinated by the government all on the same day.”

“Private school?  Ha!  You’ll never be able to afford it AND your family will think that you think you’re better than they are!”

 

Do you see how this plays out?

Fear.  Intimidation.

 

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:17

 

3.  When we are in the company of those that do NOT have our best interest in mind, we will eventually begin to look more like them and less like ourselves if we stay there.  Our outer appearance can change.  We can become unrecognizable in a matter or sheer moments.  We have to know who we are, whose we are and surround ourselves with those that will encourage us to stay close to the Lord.  We have to pay attention and recognize when we are being taken down a path God never planned for us to take.

 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

I Corinthians 15:33

 

 

4.  The Word is a literal sword when it comes to the devil.  It scares him off.  Stay in it.  Memorize it.  Eat the words.  Keep it sharp.  Swing it.

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Ephesians 6:17

 

5.  We who are born again believers of Jesus Christ, we are never alone.  Never.

This is where satan would like to have us thinking that we should be afraid.  He wants to create an atmosphere that has us convincing ourselves that God has left us to be tested.  Like He’s standing over to the side rubbing His chin, shaking His head thinking “let’s see how she’ll do now…bahahahahaha!”

No.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

When you feel fearful or intimidated, there are some things you can do immediately.

  1.  Pray.  Call on the Lord.  Talk it out with Him.  Tell Him what’s going on, how you’re feeling and what your fears are.
  2. Trust.  It’s a decision.  It’s intentional.  It’s a verb.
  3. Move.  He will lead you away from those fears.  Follow quickly.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Psalm 56:3

What are you afraid of?

What is satan using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

Who is he using to intimidate you and keep you paralyzed with fear?

The evil one is  not afraid of you.

But he IS afraid of your heavenly Father and THAT is the good news!

Let’s quickly recognize when we are being bullied and remind the master bully-er who we belong to…and then let’s act like we believe what we say and keep moving even if we are trembling when we do!  Let’s lean hard into God’s word-which is unchangeable, immovable and trustworthy.  And let’s let others see, especially in the wake of recent events, that even through our own concerns, and yes, sometimes, fear…that we have an anchor that holds us in a place where peace and comfort are found.

For those of us who intimately know the only true source of security and peace, we must swing our sword for those who just can’t.

Prayer.

It’s an obligation and a privilege to do so.  Jesus did it.  Let’s follow His example.

Praying with and for you,

Kellie