Put On Love: Life’s Little Black Dress

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Sometimes Scripture passages can be downright daunting, but then we discover how much wisdom they hold. The text appears overwhelming when you first look at it, but then you try it on for size and discover how fitting God’s design is for your life. Colossians 3:12-17 is one of these passages:

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way” (Colossians 3:12-17 MSG).

Sometimes I grow tired of my wardrobe; other times I don’t seem to quite fit into what’s there. There is too much of me to fit into that pair of pants! My grudge holding, fault finding, and angry attitude are like muffin tops over the waistband, revealing how I’ve concentrated on filling myself with the wrong things. I feel like someone has snuck into my house overnight and replaced my spiritual clothing with that of someone much younger and thinner, someone much more holy than myself…

Friends will you join me for the rest over at Family Fire?

Playing in the rain today with

Laura Boggess

…and I chronicle His grace

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Becoming Elisha to your Elijah

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He was out in the field, minding his own business, when the man of God came up and threw his cloak over his shoulders.

It was a proposition. An invitation.

A foretaste of a Man who later would invite fishermen who were also busy about their work to come and follow. The field worker asked if he may say his goodbyes, but he does more than that. He burns his equipment; destroying any possibility of returning to the life he once lived.

“So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant” (1 Kings 19:21 NLT).

The story of Elijah and Elisha may be the most obvious mentorship story in the Bible. It tells us much about both the role of the protégé and the mentor.
Friends will you join me for the rest at Family Fire?

…and I chronicle His grace

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In Pursuit of Him

Sharing over at the High Calling Community.

He is the One great Love of my life. The One Who has absolutely never failed me. He pursues me endlessly and relentlessly. The truth is: I can never pursue Him enough. I want to know Him more, but I get busy. Many times with His business. And I forget that one of His greatest pleasures, as is true of any parent, is to merely sit and “be” with Him.

You see, I prove my pursuit of anything with the amount of time I am willing to give to it. My time with Him doesn’t always look the same. Sometimes, I read His love letters to me. And I weep for the love He has lavished on this broken life. Other times, in between back-to-back appointments at work I whisper His Name, light a candle and breathe deeply a moment. He rushes to my side. Peace comes. Even in the midst of a storm.

I try to spend time outdoors and walk daily. Occassionally I will lament that I am not a runner like many of my friends. In fact, I do not even walk fast enough to raise my pulse. I’ve tried, but I always seem to see Him and, “Be still my heart!” time slows and stands still and I know that He is God. It might be in a piece of lace poking through pavement that stops me in my tracks, or a field of gold or an emerald hummingbird drunk on nector. He offers presents in His Presence. I blush for His goodness to me.

I pursue Him in quiet. Not the kind of quiet my ears can hear, but the kind my heart enjoys. This quiet can come in an echoing gym full of loud children, or in the back of a screaming ambulance. I only need to close my eyes and let Him quiet me. And He stills my jittering insides. Time and space melt away. The sounds of this life grow distant. He is here and now and all that matters, and Heaven’s perspective comes to my momentary reality. Suddenly, I can do anything for He strengthens me.

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I pursue Him in community. I can not become so enraptured in His love that I isolate myself from this world. Though I am not of this world, I am in it. And I am in it, in this time and place for a reason. For such a time as this. I am His Body. Not exclusively, but collectively. I am His Bride in part, not in whole. I must not forget what He loves and pursues. For God so loved the world…

That might mean changing diapers and wiping snotty noses. It might mean doing more than putting a few coins in a homeless man’s cup, but taking him to McDonald’s and listening to his story. It might mean, and this is the hard place, revealing truth and setting boundaries and hoping that the receiver will allow truth to bring freedom. My love for Him drives me to love what He loves.

So there you have it. My heart runs hard after Him and not hard enough. Time, quiet and community. For me, in this holy trinity He is found. When I pursue even a little, He pursues me greatly. My mustard seed becomes a great shade tree; protecting, feeding, bringing life to my hungry soul.

“I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.” Ps. 143:6

…and I chronicle His grace

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Writing From A Ditch

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“We are all ditch dwellers,” Kirk Vander Molen, Director of Missional Integrity announced. My takeaway from the Love INC National Gathering was something unexpected. It pointed a gnarly finger at me, a ditch dweller. The general idea was: How do I identify with the characters in the parable of the Good Samaritan? In truth, I’ve always identified with the Samaritan or one of the other passersby. But here I am challenged to peer over the ditch to the side of the road; dirty, beaten, my hand raised to a hurried traveller and begging help. I have been the ditch dweller more often than I care to admit.

Sometimes I refuse to believe that I am stuck in a ditch and in my pride I turn a blind eye to hands reached out to help me. Other times I am slithering along loose gravel reaching down into pits deeper than mine to other ditch dwellers, and lifting them out. It’s the Garden all over again. I am desperately trying to be God rather than acting on behalf of God. And I feel superior. Better about myself because I am a ditch desperado. All the while, my own ditch is dug deeper.

Because we all have them, you know. A rut. A ditch. A reoccurring failure. Times we have been taken advantage of. Times we have taken advantage of others.

But what if I changed my perspective of service from highway traveller to fellow ditch dweller? What if I allowed my life to be a ladder for others who are reaching out for help and point them to the only One who is called Good? The Good Shepherd. He can heal them better than I ever could. Our problem as ditch dwellers isn’t the ditch we are in or the abusers who left us there, but how deeply we allow ourselves to be healed. Most times we want a quick fix and a hastily applied bandaid. But the Great Physician wants to go deep and wash festering wounds that will soon infect the whole Body. But we turn away from pain until we are so weak that we have no choice. Receive healing or be a different kind of ditch digger. The kind that we all become at the end of it all.

It can be frustrating, dealing with ditch dwellers. Most times, they don’t want our help. They take advantage. They want the bandaid and not the surgery. Though we can see clearly the help that they need, they resist and often refuse. But when we remember our experiences as ditch dwellers, can we blame them?

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Providing needs without introducing others to the Great Provider only insures that they will be insatiably needy. It’s the bandaid before the disinfectant. Encasing germs and grime and in the end only making wounds worse. For there is only one thing we need more than any common cure and that’s uncommon care. And the only care that’s uncommon reaches deep into the deepest parts and dresses wounds creating astounding momentary pain but bringing great eternal health. There is an uncommon call to reach into ditches while remembering that we too are ditch dwellers. This uncommon call begs that we not rescuing alone, but that we rescue in communion with Christ. Only He can transform our ditches into furrowed trenches ready for seed; ready for newness of life. Doing things in our own name only digs ditches deeper. Doing things in His Name transforms ditches into a row in His garden. It turns morning into dancing and creates beauty from ashes. It transforms. And just as I am crawling out of my ditch, I can humbly turn and offer a hand to another…and then place that hand into His.

Four Guidelines to Choosing A Mentor

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We were never meant to walk through life alone, and mentors can help us through our struggles. God is always with us, and he wants us to be involved in each other’s lives, being encouragers of one another. As Proverbs 1:5 instructs, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”

I was going through a very ugly divorce, something I never expected to do. I felt alone, worthless, and vulnerable.

My usually neat home and car were so disorganized and messy that a friend thought my place had been ransacked and the police pulled me over because they thought I was living in my car. Everything was out of sorts. I had a great many friends who let me cry on their shoulder and who would defend me to the end. But it took the words of a mentor to pull myself out of this mess.

“Kim,” she said, “Someone came to me about the way you are keeping house. I know that your environment at home is only reflecting how you feel on the inside, but you must sort through your feelings and your home. After all, you have your son to think about. Would you like me to get some girls together to help you?”

I wanted to run and hide. I was naked and ashamed.

Friend, will you join me for the rest of the story?

7 Attitude Adjustments From the Beattitudes

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Jesus taught his disciples about the priorities of his Father’s kingdom by teaching them the beatitudes. Sometimes they described priorities opposite of what we might expect, and they always showed that blessings come from assuming a Christ-like attitude. Here are some beatitudes that can change your attitude to be more like Jesus:

My dear readers, will you join me at Family Fire?

…and I chronicle His grace

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Conflict: Setting the Scene to Reorient Hearts

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It’s been a long day and tempers flare at home. It seems like everyone needs an attitude adjustment, including you. How do you lead your family toward Christ-centered behavior in the midst of a brewing storm? Noticing how Jesus taught his disciples can help with keeping those temperaments in check. In Matthew 5, for example, as Jesus prepares to teach the Beatitudes, he begins by setting the tone to reorient our hearts.

Here are some tips we can see from the life of Jesus as he taught his disciples.

Friends, I am over at Family Fire with the rest of this article….join me there?

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