Sunday, November 22, 2009

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
-1 Chronicles 16:34

These are a few of the things that I thank God for everyday:

*Jesus being sent to this earth to die for my sins so that I may live eternally.
*My husband, Jordan, for loving me so much and being my best friend. He is too good to me.
*Caroline and Peyton, my dogs, because they always know how to make me happy.
*My parents for always loving me even though sometimes they don't agree with the things I do, giving me everything they possibly can/could, and trying to protect me from all evils.
*Unemployment for showing me that God is control of every situation and that my worrying will do nothing for me. Also for showing me how God works in mysterious ways.
*My brothers for making me the person I am today. Without their constant picking and joking, who knows how tender-hearted and serious I would be today. I'm also thankful for their love and support through the years. Also for marrying such wonderful women to give me the sisters that I have been longing for. And for giving me 3 wonderful nieces.
*The two jobs that Jordan and I now have. We are finally happy and couldn't be more thankful for the places that God brought us.
*My in-laws who always teach me something new and for the good times we have together.
*My freedom and my brother and sister-in-law who safely returned from Iraq this year.
*The best friends in the entire world who always know what I am thinking and how to make me smile.
*Neighbors who are friends.
*My church, Rushing Wind Christian Fellowship, for being a true sanctuary to everyone regardless of their color, bank account, or past.
*Our house, cars, and everything else that God allows us to have and keep.
*My job at Landrum Middle School for preparing me for my current job. I knew all those hoops I was jumping through was not just for show..God knew.

I'll probably continue to add to this list throughout this week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mary or Martha

So, I've started reading Chasing God Serving Man. It's a book that describes how Mary (the God chaser) and Martha (the man server) both are important in ministry. So many people throw Martha under the bus because she didn't fall at Jesus' feet, but instead worried about the house and the meal. The main point this book makes was Jesus not also human? He loved the worship from Mary, but he needed the nourishment from Martha.

Matthew 8:20 says, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Jesus felt that he didn't have a place where he could feel comfortable, except Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha. He loved Bethany because the needs of his divinity of humanity were found in Mary and Martha. There are both Mary and Marthas in the church. I know I am a Martha. I need Marys to meet the worship side of Christ.

We have our gifts as women of the church. These ladies need to love one another and not work against one another. Tenney, the author, describes the division between Mary and Martha as an argument between siblings in the backseat on a road trip. Our father does not want us arguing about particulars, but working together!! Tenney does warn Marys of trying to find the Holy Spirit when he isn't there, but welcoming him when he comes. He also warns Marthas of being too pushy and walking all over Marys.

Matthew 25:34-36 says, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." Marys and Marthas have to work together to meet the needs of our Savior and of the church. Which are you?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Matthew 7:20--"So then, you will know them by their fruit."

So many VBS songs confuse young minds about what it means to be "fruitful". I have to say that it took me a long time to understand it exactly. The Bible refers to fruit and farming so often. This week, I had a strange revelation. I have been reading about self-control and concentrating on Galatians 5:19-25:

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

These lists are not exhaustive. I'm sure there are many other sins that cause the Holy Spirit to hide deep within us. I'm also sure that there are other ways that we can show others Christ within us. However, these two paragraphs go hand in hand. You cannot have both. They cancel each other out. I went through and noted on a scale of 1-10 how sinful I am and how fruitful I am. If you know me at all or have ever read my blog, you would know that self-control is my weakness...or maybe it is kindness. Either way, I am not showing people Christ when I cannot control my thrashing tongue.

If I would have rated myself five years ago, things would have been different. Being a follower of Christ causes me to constantly change. It is a never-ending self-improvement process. I am striving to minimize the sin and increase the fruit. "They" say we should have 5 fruits a day...I'm working on my 8 fruits everyday!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Weekend Challenge

Of course everyone knows that I have been reading So, You Want To Be Like Christ?. I am currently reading the chapter about surrender. Today's section was about studying Christ. Chuck Swindoll references Hebrews 12:2, "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--than exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And how he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God." We are to be Jesus' apprentices, learning how to listen and follow God. I think of my student teaching experience which was apprentice-like. I had studied for three and half years how to be a teacher, but then I got to try it out myself with people to help me become the best educator possible. We are to be the exact same way with Jesus. He studied God, did what he was supposed to do, and reached the finish line in heaven.

I need to stop just studying the Words of Christ and put them into action. Philippians 2:3-4 crawled all over me this morning; it says, "Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." Jesus was the most selfless person; he did whatever God asked him to do. Every person has their own agenda, even the most Godly people. My goal for this weekend is to push myself aside, my curious ears and degrading mouth, and lift and encourage people with my words and actions. I am also reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Jesus laid it out in three steps, but the process is so much harder.

We'll see how this goes...hold me accountable if you're reading this and I challenge you to try it too...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Perfect People

We know there's no way that we can be perfect. We've been taught all our lives that the only perfect person is Jesus Christ. So, why do try to act perfect? So many people cover up their insecurities and shortfalls, but we all have them. Our "imperfections" make us different from others.

God has really been working on my heart about this topic and he has sent me several devotions and pieces of scripture that have led me to this post. It all started during mine and Jordan's unemployment. God really comforted us and brought us through that time with confidence, not in ourselves but that our Almighty God would always take care of us.

I have also been reading about how to become more like Christ. Of course I'll never be perfect like Christ, but my readings are teaching me how to have a more Christ-like character. I have recently been reading in So, You Want to be Like Christ?" about uncluttering our minds and slowing our pace. We try to fill our minds and lives with things so we don't have time to think about how we have fallen short. God tells us in Psalm 46 to be still and get to know him. Silence makes people insecure. Chuck Swindoll puts it so well, "Insecure people need to stay busy; they need the constant attention of a fawning multitude. Unless that changes they will forever be shallow, underdeveloped people." I see this so often! Chuck also said that people will see you as confident when you have a peace and contentment within. The only way to have true peace and contentment inside is to spend time with Jesus.

The other thing that God has shown me about these so called "perfect" people is their lack of understanding of the body of Christ. I see this in men, women, and children. People are jealous of a skill or attribute that another believer possess. I know first hand that people don't like me because I can cook/bake and because I'm a leader, but I can't sing or take care of the sick. I see kids get angry at other kids because one can color better than the other. In 1 Corinthians, we are told that every person is given different skills and when we work together we are like a body. Only Jesus could do everything. We have to work with others to accomplish everything that Jesus could.

We cannot be perfect people. We (this includes myself) need to accept our imperfections and be content with ourselves. I am glad that I got to put this out there because I feel like preaching sometimes! It's so hard for me to understand others...especially other ladies!

So in the words of Natalie Grant..."There's no such thing as perfect people, There's no such thing as a perfect life, So come as you are broken and scarred, Lift up your heart and be amazed, And be changed by a perfect God."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life Updates

I just feel like I need to blog and document all the great stuff that's been happening in my life.

Business has been picking up at Jordan's work. We are praying that they will have tremendous sales the last few days of September. We feel pretty confident that Jordan's job is secure, but there's always a little bit of us that still worries. This week will be a very interesting one...we could use prayers!

On Wednesday, Jordan had some car problems and our family mechanic, Keith, said that it could cost $150 or more. We were panicking because right now we don't have that kind of money. On Thursday morning I was called to substitute! God always works things out! And God even worked out the bill. A mysterious donor paid $20 and my day of subbing will cover the rest. PTL!

On Thursday, Jordan and I began running. I thought if I was conditioning my heart to be more like Jesus and focusing on the goal of heaven, I should condition my body. It was very refreshing and somewhat spiritual.

I had an interview with the City of Spartanburg on Friday! Yes, you read correctly...I had an interview! It's for a position as the educational coordinator for the Weed and Seed program. It's a great program that weeds bad things out of bad neighborhoods and plants good programs instead. I would be helping 20-25 kids from K5-6th grade with their homework and catch up with their academics. I think the interview went really well. This is just a part-time position, but the director said that it could turn into a full-time position. I hope to hear back from them this week!

Friday night we had to attend a tattoo contest at Harley Davidson of Greenville. Jordan was a judge. It went terribly. A few posts back, I wrote about some friends of Jordan's that I thought were two-faced and using him. I think those friends drew the last straw on Friday night. I pray that my sweet husband will not allow those people to use him any longer and he will cut ties with them.

Today we celebrated my daddy's 60th birthday!! I wanted to do something special for him because he has been somewhat depressed about getting older. Most of the men in his family have not lived this long, so it feels weird to him. I couldn't get a great gift like my love language would usually have me do, so I threw him a party. It didn't turn out like I had originally planned, but it was a nice gathering of friends and family. I'm so glad to have my daddy!!

Life has been full of ups and downs as always, but I feel good about what's coming at me! I'm such a lucky girl to have a thoughtful husband, supportive family, and fun friends!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn is Offically Here!!

Fall is my favorite time of the year! There is something hypnotizing about the crispness in the air (even though we aren't feeling that yet), changing leaves, football games, pumpkin patches, and all the other wonderful things that come with this season. I am praying that God will make just as wonderful changes in me as he does with nature this autumn.

I just started reading, So, You Want to be Like Christ? by Charles Swindoll. I have never read anything by him before, but I love listening to him on His Radio. I am reading about becoming more intimate with God. He wrote about when he was a new Christian and how he was so in love with Jesus. I started to do the same thing. I was only eight years old when Jesus wiped my slate clean. I loved to tell people about Jesus and
I prayed about the craziest things. I remember one time I really wanted it to rain for some reason, so I went to the front door and said, "Dear Jesus, I would really like it to rain." Amazingly, it started to rain shortly afterward. There is something so special about a new Christian. Swindoll references the Ephesians when they first learned of Jesus and how they were so excited. Later in Revelation, Paul writes about how the Ephesians forgot about their first love. I have visited Ephesus; I even stood where Paul preached!!! It was mostly just ruins, but this was a city that was divided by religion. There is a huge temple to Artemis. People would come to worship this shrine. Swindoll describes it as the Las Vegas of Jesus' time. Imagine trying to be a Christian in that sort of environment. Although the Ephesians were excited about Jesus, the pressure from the world caused them to "chill". It's so sad to see this same loss of excitement in most Christians. I am praying that this fall that God will help me shed all my fears and become like a new Christian.

I have been a Christian for more than 16 years! That's crazy (but wonderf
ul) that Jesus has been in my life that long. I am happy to say that I know our relationship is more intimate today than it was even a year ago. But, I know that it can become even deeper. To become more intimate with God, I will be trying to imitate him.

On a side note, I just finished reading Multiple Bles8ings by Kate Gosselin. If you think that a reality-TV star's memoir can not bless you, think again! It was such a blessing to read about how they struggled, relied on God, and how God provided. Each chapter began with a verse that was uplifting and encouraging. I recommend reading it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

While I'm Waiting

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Takeing every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

"While I'm Waiting" By John Waller

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Purpose in Pain

It seems that most of the Christians that I know are experiencing some sort of trial or test. We have come under attack! I know for Jordan and I the war hasn't let up for almost a year. We have fought some major battles too. I think Peter was so smart when he wrote, "Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever." 1 Peter 5:8-9 The Devil caught us napping, well actually honeymooning, when we thought nothing in the world could take away our happiness. Since then, there hasn't been a day that we are not ready to take on Satan and his games. Yes, his antics still surprise us, but we're ready to fight.

So, Satan is going to throw stuff our way, but I love to hear 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it." God won't let Satan push me beyond my limit. There are Christians all over the world experiencing tests and temptations. Jesus even faced tests and temptations! Our test has been nothing compared to Jesus' tests leading up to the cruxifiction. He cried out to God begging him not to allow this to happen, he was arrested and mocked by a mob (about 2000 according to the Greek word speira), and ALL of his followers fled and/or denied him. So, Jesus was being taken away by a bunch of angry people who wanted him dead and he was all alone, except for God. HELLO! We'll always have our relationship with God and he'll always be there for us! But, Jesus had to go through all these tests just so we could have eternal life.

Now, I ask myself, why is God putting me through this trial? Why is God putting so many of my close, committed-to-Christ friends through tests? Why does our test seem to never end? Because there is some purpose for this pain...there is some good in this "bad". So, I'm begging God to show me what the purpose for this pain is so I will have something to look forward to. I secretly dream that one day we're going to be so filthy rich and never have to worry about a thing, but God wants us to remember our humility and this "low" in our life. We'll see what his purpose is though!

I was reminded also reminded that I don't have to fight Satan by myself. God reminded me of the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6. Elisha's servant was scared because an angry king had sent an army to destroy them. Verses 15-17 say, "Elisha's servant got up early, and when he went out, he saw an army with horses and chariots all around the city. The servant said to Elisha, 'Oh, my master, what can we do?' Elisha said, 'Don't be afraid. The army that fights for us is larger than the one against us.' Then Elisha prayed, 'Lord, open my servant's eyes, and let him see.' The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." I'm not fighting! God has my back! My human nature tells me that I have to fight for myself, the survival of the fittest, but the fittest is my Savior and Lord who fights for me.

So with all that said, my favorite verse for this week, so far, is Romans 12:12, "Let your HOPE keep you joyful, be PATIENT in your troubles, and PRAY at all times." I'm not going to let Satan steal my hope and joy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Worry Warts

Worry Warts are what I like to call zits or pimples because I only get them when I worry. I am starting to get one on my lip. I am trying not to worry! I try not to think about Jordan's job situation, my lack of employment, our bank account balance and just trust in my Lord and Savior to provide what we need. I know he will provide! He provided the entire nine months that Jordan was out of work.

I have been asking God for a job. I have applied for several part-time positions that I am qualified for and sometimes over qualified, but I have not heard back from one of them! Jordan told me I needed a hobby, but my hobby, shopping, requires money. So, I decided to look into volunteer work. I am signed up to answer phones at His Radio's Share-A-Thon and I am driving once a month for the Greer Christian Learning Center. I was also asked to mentor one of my former youth group members *the biggest honor in the world* as she begins a youth ministry at her church! I see that God is using my abilities to do his work. This has been a very humbling experience. I came across Psalm 37: 4 one day. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I am doing work for the Lord and I am still praying that he will fill my desire for a job.

After meditating on that verse for a few days, I decided to read the entire Psalm written by David. I did this before my prayer time today and I found verse 5, "Open up before God, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done." I had the best time praying. I opened everything up to God and left nothing hidden; I am trusting that he'll take care of it all. Verse 5 is also very comforting because of the things that I have been praying for...He's got it taken care of. If Jesus was really a homeboy like the t-shirt used to say, I could imagine him saying, "Kelly, I got dis!"

As I continued reading Psalm 37, a few other verses stood out to me. The Psalm was talking about evil people that try to get in the way of God's people. Verses 18 and 19 say, "God keeps track of the decent folk; what they do won't soon be forgotten. In hard time, they'll hold their heads high; when the shelves are bare, they'll be full." This verse spoke to me more than I can write about. I should not be ashamed that I am unemployed or don't have a lot of money. I will hold my head high. God is going to provide for me!

The last comforting verses I found in Psalm 37 were 25-26, "I once was young, now I'm a graybeard--not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets. Every day he's giving and lending, his children making him proud." My prayer is that I am making God proud with my life and that he will not abandon me because I give him the glory for everything.

So, hopefully, if I stay in Scripture and continue to find these awesome passages that comfort me, maybe my worry warts will go away. Until then, we'll all have to deal with the bump on my lip!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Faith Under Pressure

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
When down-and-outers get a break, cheer! And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer! Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don't ever count on it. You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down is scorching heat, the flower withers. Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem. Well, that's a picture of the "prosperous life." At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortuante. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Don't let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, "God is trying to trip me up." God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and become a real killer.
So, my very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift come out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

James 1:2-18 from The Message

This passage really helped me get through today. I was awakened with a text that said Jordan may not have a job for much longer if business doesn't pick up. Of course I couldn't go back to sleep, so I came in the living room and started praying. As I was praying, God told me to open up the Scripture and read. Well I have been reading from Jeremiah, but he told me to go to James. When I get to the first page of James, the first title is "Faith Under Pressure". Wow! That is exactly what I needed to hear! As I began reading, the first verse that popped out at me is the verse that I bolded above, verse six. I had spent a while praying that morning, but I was still worrying. James told me that I should ask God and not worry any longer or else I would just be tossed about like wind-whipped waves. That was exactly what I was still feeling like. So, I began to pray again and gave it to God. I am trusting.

The next thing that stood out to me is the extended metaphor about prosperity. Nothing ever lasts forever. Everyone has their times that they are tested and I suppose we are ready for our next test...a little sooner than I would have liked, but I'm ready!

I'm still praying about the last part that stood out. "There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle." This past week there have been several times when a few people have tried deceiving us and have been very two-faced. I'm praying about how to handle this situation. I don't want to call these people friends, but they are a part of our life...for now.

My Fairy Tale Gone Wrong

When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of getting married. I dreamed of a big house, lots of money, and always having what I wanted. Isn't that what every girl dreamt of? Marriage started off that way...but then my fairy tale went wrong.

Jordan and I had a perfect wedding on July 19, 2008. Our honeymoon was so perfect we thought we had dreamed it all. I had a job as a teacher and Jordan was working for a company close to our house. One November day as I was cleaning up my classroom, I got a phone call from Jordan saying that he had been let go from his job. Wow...was that a shocker for me! We were now to live off of my small teaching salary.

We survived, but then things started to get rocky where I was teaching. I never could do anything right and when I changed one thing, my principal said that I was doing something else wrong. I believe there were some hidden motives, but that's another story for another day. It eventually came down to me either resign or my contract was not going to be renewed. To save any hope of a future career in teaching, I resigned. I had been praying for God to open the doors that needed to be opened and close the doors that needed to be closed. He closed that door and still hasn't opened a door for a job.

In July, I knew my last paycheck would be coming and Jordan still did not have a job. At the beginning of the month, a company started calling him and he was hired on July day before our first anniversary. It's a small company so with this economy things change daily. Like today, Jordan's boss said that if sales don't rise then there may not be a job for him anymore. Trusting in GOD!!

We have learned a lot in our first year of marriage. We have learned how to be humble. We have learned that God will ALWAYS provide. And the hardest lesson of all was patience. We really appreciate all of our friends and family who have helped us along the way.

So even though marriage has not been the fairy tale that I dreamed of, I would not trade it for anything. Jordan and I are more in love and closer than we ever have been.

This is me and my life is constantly changing, but I love my life.