Posts Tagged With: Christ

Hidden Ah-Ha’s: We are not Orphans

Growing up on a farm, we “adopted” dozens of orphaned baby animals to raise through the years.

Sometimes it was a family of tiny baby bunnies after a dog got ahold of their mama. Or maybe some kittens who’s mom went MIA. (We always waited for her to come back… but she didn’t.) Perhaps it was the baby calves who were born during a blizzard and took up residence in our bathtub, back porch or garage til they were back on their feet or a new mama could be found for them. Sometimes it was a baby bird who had fallen from the nest. You name it… we probably tried to raise it.

We were a tender-hearted bunch and couldn’t bear to see these little ones abandoned, orphaned and all alone to fend for themselves.

Today’s Hidden Ah-Ha Bible Verse reminds us that Christ feels the same way about us as we felt bout those dozens of abandoned animal babies:

hidden ah  ha Orphan

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” ~John 14:18 NIV

What an awesome promise, huh? Regardless of whether we do have a biological mom or dad (or how loving and Christ-like they may or may not have been) we are NOT alone and abandoned in this world.

Jesus had a tender, loving heart towards us and desires to shelter, love, and protect us at all costs. God has given us The Holy Spirit to do just that.

Jesus promises us that He will NOT leave us as orphans in this messy world– but will be with us. Always.

He actually makes this promise to His disciples after He informs His boys that He will be “going away” (foreshadowing His imminent crucifixion) and they are (rightfully) freaking out because the disciples don’t want Him to go ANYWHERE. Like, ever. He’s the boss. But even more so, their friend and Christian brother.

So I understand their concern.

Although they (obviously) couldn’t talk, I am willing to bet that those little animals that we “adopted” were typically cold, hungry, weak, scared, overwhelmed, unloved and helpless.

I don’t know about you… But I feel like that some days too– even with a loving husband, daughter, parents and friends to cheer me on.

Sometimes, I need something greater. Stronger. More powerful. Holy. Mighty.

I need Jesus.

I’m guessing that you might too.

So dear friends, no matter what you are facing today, be it fear, loneliness, feeling unloved, overwhelmed, remember…

We are NOT alone.

We have NOT been abandoned.

We are NOT an orphans.

We are sons and daughters of the Most High, Most Holy, Most Tender, Most Loving…

We have a Forever Family… In Jesus.

Forever His,
SGK

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” ~John 14:3 NIV

PS: If you are feeling distant from God today or not sure where you stand in relationship to Him, I would love to talk with you about it. Feel free to send me an email via sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com, shoot me a message on Twitter or Facebook or even leave a comment below.

Categories: Hidden Ah-Ha's | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being a Man, Husband and Father for Christ (Guest Blog)

My heart is all a-flutter today… I am SO excited about this post… AND I DIDN’T EVEN WRITE IT! That’s right, after over two years of me writing and blogging, my Beloved Husband has blessed and honored me with guest posting. (BE STILL MY HEART!) His sincerity and love of Christ is sure to inspire you (and the other men in your lives… Be sure to share it with them.) 

Oh. And be sure to leave lots and lots of comments below so Barn will know how awesome this article is… (And so he will write again soon.) 

Get ready to enter into the Jesus Testosterone Zone. 🙂 

SGK

****

Hey folks, I’m Brandon (Sharita’s husband) and I’m guest blogging for my wife today.  I’ll be talking to you about what being a man, husband and father for Christ is like for me.   When Sharita asked (told?) me to guest blog for her, I had no idea what to write about that wouldn’t totally disrupt/turn away her current readers and followers.  So I stuck with what I knew and picked a subject that is a big factor in my life at this time.

Let’s begin with the basics- being a man for Christ.   I feel this starts with salvation, as this is the foundation of any Christian.  Nothing worth any value will ever come out of my relationship with my wife and daughter or other roles I am called to serve if I don’t have Christ as my foundation.  “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” ~Matthew 7:25

My walk with Christ began many years ago and continues today.  When I have an active relationship with God on a daily basis, it helps me to center my life on him.  Now, everything I do is for God instead of me.  My family and job feed off of this unmoving relationship with God.   When I put Christ as a priority, I am much less distracted by the things of this world. 

If I trust in myself, life will fail to reach its fullest potential.  So to all you men out there who feel your relationship with your family or friends could be better, you need to start with your own relationship with God.  All other problems in your life will be much more manageable with Jesus’ help and guidance. It takes patience and discipline, but the outcome is worth it.

My second major role in life is being a husband for Christ.  There is plenty of scripture in the Bible that can be referenced for this task. “Well,” you say,  “I’ll just do what it says and I should be ok.” Ha. If you’ve been married for over 3 seconds you know it isn’t that easy. Just like being a man for Christ, it takes patience and lots of practice.  Again, it starts with your own relationship with God. If my relationship with God isn’t  solid, how can I be the spiritual leader in my house?

Being the spiritual leader will look different in every marriage. In our marriage, my wife has a master’s degree in Christian Leadership and is a certified Spiritual Leadership Coach. Sounds intimidating right?  Well, it is, but it’s not about who has the most experience or who has been a Christian longer in the relationship that makes them “in charge.”

Sharita will frequently remind me that I’m not in charge of her 🙂  Instead,  I’m in charge of the spiritual well-being of our marriage. It’s about being an example, a leader, and a mentor for our wives.  We need to be that rock for her, that presence in marriage that never falters or gives up. The one who brings her back to Christ– every time.  We need to be like Christ, just as it says in Ephesians 5:25~ “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”  Remember, Christ was beaten, forsaken by loved ones, took every sin that was committed then now and to come.  He gave his life for us!  Let’s ask ourselves how we as men can emulate Christ like this in marriage.  I encourage you to pray for the Lord to show you how to specifically do this.  Oh… And guys… Don’t ever tell your wife you’re in charge. 🙂

Finally, my newest role: being father for Christ.  This takes much patience as I have already learned with our 5-month-old daughter.  Patience. I seem to use that word a lot, don’t I?  (I keep telling Sharita we should have named our daughter Patience, so every time I spoke/yelled her name I would be reminded that being a parent takes patience.  Maybe our next kid?)  I try to look at my daughter like God would look at me.  Specifically by loving her, teaching her and forgiving her like God does for me.  God forgives us, his chosen people and also gives us many chances when we screw up. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” ~Colossians 3:13  (Somebody please remind me of this post when Charis is a teenager, ok?)

I will always keep my relationship with God foremost in everything I do. I pray that all you men of God out there do the same.   Why? Because this side of heaven, there is nothing more fulfilling as being a man, husband, and father… for Christ. 

Prayers and Blessings,
Brandon

PS: Please note that Sharita edited this post for grammar because I write so goodly. 🙂

The Famous Daddy Hold

Categories: husband | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

Get Fixed Up (Five Minute Friday)

Hi friends.

After several weeks of sketchy hotel internet, it appears that my on-the-spot Five Minute Friday writing dealio might just work. (But just to make sure, I am throwing out a few prayers. Lil’ help here, J-man.)

Let’s give it a shot.

Quick Five Minute Friday (FMF) background in case you missed the memo. Each week I link up with Lisa-Jo Baker (whose blog/internet is ALSO on the fritz today,) she gives us a prompt and we write– for five minutes.

Simple as that.

And today’s word (no surprise here…)

BROKEN

And go!

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It’s that twinge of hurt you feel in your heart when walk past someone who has wronged you. It’s that inability to let go and forgive after an experience that hurt you. It’s the challenge of not thinking a judgmental thought. It’s even the struggle with giving yourself grace after you snapped at your kid when they refused to nap.

Yep. We are a broken people.

God NEVER intended our world to be like this. Sure, we can blame Adam and Eve for jacking this up (believe me, I try to do that ALL the time) but let’s be honest…. Satan is a crafty devil (pun intended) and we would have messed it up sooner or later. (My guess is sooner.)

But this isn’t a Debbie Downer post. It’s a post of hope.

Because although God never wanted us to feel the hurt and sadness of being broken, He still loves us… and has an incredible plan to get us all fixed up.

It’s not super glue. It’s not a magic wand. It’s Jesus. The One. The Only. The Savior of the World.

They always say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, I AM broke, and need to be fixed up.

I need Jesus. Every day. Every minute. Every moment.

He is my remedy. He fixes me up and puts me back together every time I invite him to… So my challenge for you, today, dear reader, is to look into your heart and ask yourself if you are broken.

Then, ask Him to get you fixed up.

STOP!

****

Thanks for stopping by, my friends… Praying for all of my readers and followers today– if you have areas of brokenness in your life, we have One who can fix us up… (And please let me know if I can help in any way via prayer, coaching or encouragement!)

Much love to you all.

Whole in Christ,
SGK

“All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” ~ Colossians 1:20 MSG

Categories: Five Minute Friday | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Just a Little Splinter

Have you ever thought about how something so teeny tiny can really throw your life in a tizzy?

Consider this… Just missing a payment or two of a school loan can really jack with your credit score. Going just a few miles per hour over the speed limit can impact your driving record when the cop writes out that fateful ticket. Olympic races are sometimes won and lost in just milliseconds.

Sin in our lives is the same way. Just a little “tiny” one, if left unattended, it can really mess with our lives. (Sidenote: there are not “big” and “small” sins… A sin is a sin is a sin. But I think we sometimes consider some “smaller” than others as a means of justifying our actions. But that’s another blog post. Anywho…) I personally think having unrepented sin in our lives is like having a splinter in our finger.

Think about it. A splinter might be tiny. And barely noticeable. Maybe a little painful. But it’s annoying. And we still KNOW it’s there. If left untouched, rarely does it resolve itself… instead, it could get infected and impact our entire being. All of which could be avoided with a little yank of the tweezers.

Same story with sin.

Splinters

Via Ed Munoz @ Flickr

An even more extreme (yet very possible!) comparison came to mind when I thought about the good ol’ Western movie Lonesome Dove. (Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this movie and might want to some day, skip the next couple of paragraphs. Because I’m about to tell you a major part of the story…) Remember in Lonesome Dove near the end of the movie? Feisty former Texas Ranger Augustus McCrae is in a standoff with some Indians… And ends up taking an arrow to the leg. Well, by the time he escapes and gets back to civilization, it’s infected pretty bad.

He wakes up and the local ol’ west doc has amputated the leg that had the arrow in it… And says that they need to remove the other one immediately because gangrene has set in. If they don’t act fast… Gus will die from the infection. But, in typical cowboy (who am I kidding? in typical stubborn humanness) Gus refuses and says he would rather be dead than lose that part of him. Sadly… That’s exactly what happened. Because he refused to take the necessary action to fix the “infection,” he lost his life.

I don’t tell you all this to gross you out or depress you. Instead, it’s just an illustration the gravity of having unresolved sin in our lives. When we let a sin stay with us and refuse to “remove” it or repent, just like that splinter or indian arrow… It can eventually fester, get infected, start impacting all areas of our lives giving the devil a foothold… and eventually result in our spiritual death.

So what are we supposed to do about it? First, we have to quit lying to ourselves saying _____ is just a small sin, a “splinter” in our finger. (We all are tempted to think like this. It is the messed-up-ness of our sinning human selves.) Then, we need to come to God and repent. Nothing fancy. You don’t have put on a production… Just “Hey Father, I really messed up… again. I’m sorry.” After that, we must continue to cling to Jesus and recognize when sin tries to rear its ugly head in our lives, God can give us the strength to avoid it. And if we don’t avoid it? We repent  and try ‘er again.

We don’t (and probably won’t) get it right, my friends. However, we can rejoice in the truth that God’s grace is enough– for all of our sins. He loved us enough to send His son to die on that cross… and He loves YOU today and wants to help you with whatever you are facing. Sin separates us from God– and He desires to walk with you and stay close by your side.

So let’s say so-long to those reoccurring sins. Get rid of those “little splinters” and rejoice in His abiding, abundant, overflowing love.

Sayonara to Splintery Sins,
SGK

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” ~Luke 6:41 NIV

Categories: sin | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Book of Rationalizations

So… What’s your favorite book of the Bible?

If you have been a Christian longer than a day, more than likely someone has asked you this question… (Or maybe that’s just what my nerdy Jesus self talks to my friends about…)

Regardless… Have you thought about it lately? What IS your favorite book?

Some might say any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) because it tells the epic story of our Lord and Savior. Other’s might really dig on Psalms or Proverbs, because it is ancient wisdom/encouragement/songs that apply to us even today in 2013. Yet others could mention Philippians, Galatians, 1 Thessalonians and the like due to the super cool insight that Paul is throwing down.

DSC04901

My favorite book?

First and Second Rationalizations.

Wait a second…

Good catch there. “Rationalizations” aren’t books of the Bible– but friends, you better believe it, I sure find myself turning to them more often than not.

Now, this is not an original Sharita idea… Bret Pyle of Blackaby Ministries International mentioned this as an illustration at a conference I was attending– but the concept of a “Book of Rationalizations” in our Christian walk has stuck with me ever since.

Webster’s definition of rationalization is as follows:

Rationalization~ to ascribe (one’s acts, opinions, etc.) to causes that superficially seem reasonable and valid but that actually are unrelated to the true, possibly unconscious and often less creditable or agreeable causes.

In plain English, to rationalize is to make excuses that kinda sorta seem to be related to the issue/topic at hand… but really aren’t.

If you think about it, we probably rationalize in many areas of our lives, not just our walk with Christ. We say that since we parked a little farther away from the Wal-Mart door, that we can have an extra big slice of chocolate cake for dessert that night. Uh, nice try. Or we rationalize why we yelled at our husband/kids/the innocent check-out person by deciding that we were just having a bad day and they provoked us/deserved it. Again, no bueno.

When it comes to walking with Jesus, our “Book of Rationalizations” is probably referenced more than we think. We decide to sleep in on Sunday instead of getting up and going to church by telling ourselves that “One Sunday won’t matter” or that “Sunday is the day of rest, Jesus would want us to sleep.” (Kind of a stretch, don’t you think?)

We skip out on our quiet time saying that we are too busy and that we plan to do our “Jesus duty” by commenting on someone’s Facebook status “praying for you!” Or we say that because we are participating in a church event tomorrow, that is like spending time with God so we don’t need quiet time.

Or we cut our tithe short, saying that “This month I ‘need’ <you fill in the blank with the ‘need’ here> … God wants me to be happy/knows I ‘need’ it, so it won’t matter this time, right?”

Sigh.  Oh our rationalizing brains. Gah.

Today’s post is not to condemn or make you feel guilty– not at all. But just to bring awareness. I still do it sometimes… or at least I catch myself trying to rationalize my action until I hear God clearing His throat…. “Ahem… Sharita… yeah, how bout you try that again?”

Mmmkkk, God. Sorry. My bad.

Instead of spending our time in the Book of Rationalizations, we can spend our time in the REAL word of God. The more we do that, the better we come to know Him, and the less we desire to rationalize our way through walk with Christ.

In what areas of your life do you find you rationalize the most? How can we as Christ-followers avoid the enemy’s trap of rationalizing our way through life? If you are feeling bold… comment below!

Be encouraged, my friends. Most (if not all) of us struggle with this issue of rationalizing our actions. It’s human nature. But we can cling to the truth that if Christ is in us and we seek Him with all our heart, our actions are sure to follow.

And THAT my friends, is a book you will never want to put down.

Reading between the lines,
SGK

“We justify our actions by appearances; God examines our motives.” ~Proverbs 21:2 MSG

Categories: attitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Seed to Orchard

When I was growing up, I loved field trips.

I mean, what kid doesn’t? It was an excuse to get out of the classroom, explore something new, educational (ish) and exciting (ish.) Plus we got to pack a lunch in a classic paper bag or cool metal (or plastic) lunchbox.

Some of my favorite field trips were trips to local orchards.

It probably stemmed for my love of agriculture… and also my love of food. (Rarely did these trip ever not include free samples of juice, fruit, candy, etc.) Plus, orchards weren’t a super popular deal in Kansas– wheat and beef, yes. Orchards? Not so much.

I am still love visiting orchards and down-homey-agricultural commodities. (And no, not only for the free samples. That’s just a perk.) Each time I visit or drive by one of these super cool businesses, I can’t help but to be impressed. I mean, planting and growing one of these bad boys is no small commitment.

It takes YEARS. Like, a long time before the owners see fruit from their rewards. Apples, if planted from a seed, can take from six to ten years before they bear good fruit. Peaches range from three to five, pecans need up to six years and oranges start bearing minimal fruit at around three years, but don’t reach full production strength and maturity til 27 years.

Good grief. That IS a commitment.

orange tree

As I pondered this truth, I (as usual) was drawn back to thinking about our walk with Christ.

It’s not an overnight process. I mean, seriously, we aren’t growing a Chia Pet here people… This kind of thing takes TIME.

And apparently, lots of it.

In fact, our walk with Christ is going to be a lifelong experience. We will never reach “full maturity” and truly see all of our fruit until we reach heaven’s gate.

But don’t be discouraged… The growth process is very rewarding too!

Just like the orchard owner starts out small, perhaps with just a few seeds or some baby seedlings, God does the same with us. He plants a tiny “Jesus seed” in our heart…. and then events, circumstances and people we encounter over the coming years cultivate us, growing our faith from a leedle-bitty seed into an orchard that anyone would be proud to explore!

God plants us on solid ground– rooted in Christ… Encouraging us to reach for good soil in His Word. He sends sunshine to encourage us to grow upwards… Sometimes comes rain because we need it to grow. Every now and then He will prune back the “unproductive” branches of our lives to ensure we are reaching our fruit-bearing potential. And yes, He even sends the “fertilizer” events in our life– things that kind of stink, but make us grow stronger and healthier.

Then, after much tender care, protection, and nurturing– we bear fruit. As that fruit falls around us, new little baby trees sprout up from our seeds– and the orchard that is our earthly life continues to grow.

Kind of a cool thought, huh? At what rate would you say your current “faith orchard” is growing? What type of Christian fruit do you see in your life? What encourages you to keep growing?

I love the power of God… How He can take empty vessels like you and me… and with one tiny seed (and lots of love!) grow us into a sweet, fruit-bearing orchard!

Growing with God,
SGK

“Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good.” ~Genesis 1:12 MSG

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This is the Stuff…

Ever have one of… THOSE DAYS?

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Things just seem to fall apart, one thing right after the other.

We’ve all been there.

In case you are there today (or were yesterday. Or might be tomorrow) let’s shift our perspective.

Here is one of my fav songs of all time– a great perspective shifter. It’s “This is the Stuff” by Francesca Battistelli.

Pay close attention to the lyrics… and just see if it doesn’t give your frustrated brain (and/or heart) a quick Jesus switcheroo!

What kind of “stuff” does God use to shape you into the person He has called you to be? How do you deal? Spill your guts (well, at least your thoughts) and leave a comment. 🙂

Hope your day is less messed and more blessed– By Him!

Beyond blessed even in the mess,
SGK

“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 3:17 MSG

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Everyday Jesus: More Than an April Fool

Guess what? I am really becoming a huge fan of Mondays here at 7 Days Time– not because it’s Monday (hey, I sometimes still have the attitude of Garfield the Cat in that regard) but I just absolutely LOVE the profound, awesome and talented guest bloggers we feature each Monday with our “Everyday Jesus” series. Today is no exception– meet Shannon. She’s super legit, authentic and an inspirational follower of Christ– and with today’s blog, even though it’s April Fools Day, she ain’t fooling around… 

Filled by Him, 
SGK 

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“But God chose the foolish and weak things of the world.” ~1 Corinthians 1:27

Angry didn’t even begin to describe the emotions swirling within me. Confused. Betrayed. Despondent. That was more like it.

I stared at the ceiling and dared myself to get out of bed. I summoned the tiny reserve of hope deep within, reminded myself I was all my two girls have and stumbled into a new life that seemed more daunting than exciting.

A year ago I was white-picket-fence married with two adorable daughters. Today I would start a new job at which I checked the box divorced.

The ink was still fresh on my updated W-4 when his daily visits started. My lonely coworker wore a Rolex, high-end suits and hopelessness. After a month of visitation, I heard the office gossip. He too was going through a divorce.

Shannon guest post graphic

One ordinary day with his mouth full of stimulating questions like how my pencils were holding up, I felt the nudge of God in my heart to witness to this guy. Faster than you can say unemployment, I silently recounted all the reasons that would be ridiculous.

1)   I wasn’t really on speaking terms with God myself since I blamed Him for my misery.
2)   I’m fairly certain they fire people for getting too “Jesus-y” at work and I was a single mom. Not exactly risk-taking material.

I still don’t why I let God win that day but I did. I gathered courage from the miniscule well of hope that allowed me to face each day and said, “Look I’m not trying to pry into your personal life but I want you to know I’m going through the same thing you are. And even though these are the hardest, darkest days of my whole I still have hope. If you’re interested in finding hope, I’m interested in telling you where you can get some.”

He jumped on my offer like it was a winning lottery ticket.

What I didn’t know is that he spent long, dark nights in a big home, devoid of furniture and faith. He would sit in his sole recliner, finger his weapons and consider his options. One night he stumbled across the Bible his grandparents had given him as a little boy. He cracked the pristine spine to no place in particular and cried out to God.

God sent help.

God sent me.

Six months after I offered him hope, he accepted Jesus’ offer of forgiveness. Six months later… he offered me a diamond ring.

I was foolish, small and unqualified. I brought nothing to the table but a weak voice strong enough to say “yes” to God. But when we listen to God in small things, He in turn does big things in our lives.

And that’s no April Fool’s Day joke.

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Shannon HeadshotShannon is a morning runner, an afternoon carpooler and all-day lover of Jesus.

She is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary living. Shannon finds joy among piles of laundry and miles of carpools and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. She presents the gift of prayer in her free 30 day prayer guide PrePrayed: Preparing for Life’s Events. She is a frequently published author. Most recently, she was a contributing author to Always There: Reflections for Mom’s on God’s Presence.

As a speaker, Shannon is straight forward about her own struggles. She is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the life of her audience with a message of hope and encouragement.

When not writing or speaking, she enjoys her favorite job of wife to Scott and mom to four daughters from kindergarten to high school.

Connect with her online at ShannonMilholland.com or on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Exception

What is your first thought when you think of the word “exception?”

Do you think it is something special? Something unattainable? A person, place or thing that is out of the ordinary?

If so, then you would be right. Sorta. Ish.

Webster defines exception as “an instance or case not conforming to the general rule.” That makes sense, right?

But what about being an exception in the world? Or even more so… In our walk with Christ??

As I was strategerizing (man I love that word!) about this post, a quote from the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” came to mind . It’s been forever since I watched that movie and it sure as heck isn’t Christian-based them. (Few chick-flicky romances are, let’s be honest.) But this is what came to mind…

In short, the whole movie is about a girl (Gigi) who is trying to find “the one.” She’s desperate and clingy and starts getting relationship advice from a dude acquaintance. (If you’ve ever seen any kind of chick flick, you already know where this is going.) Her dude friend Alex tells her that if a guy is into her, he will make it happen. He says that she needs to essentially stop living in pretendland, thinking that every guy who blows her off is going to miraculously change her mind and spontaneously propose just because her cousin’s friend’s neighbor did that and they lived happily ever after. Bottom line: She is the RULE… NOT the exception.

Well, here’s how things end up. (FYI spoiler alert to follow.) At the very end of the movie, Alex and Gigi have a final scene where she realizes that he is into her. He plants a kiss on her and ends with saying “You are MY exception.” (Then you hear my beloved husband making his gagging/retching/vomit noise in the background.)

So what in the heck does being the exception mean for us as Christians?

You, Beloved One, are the exception... Not the rule!

You, Beloved One, are the exception… Not the rule!

If we were all perfectly honest with ourselves, we might admit that we are completely ok with simply being THE RULE. Not coloring out of the lines, not drawing attention to ourselves. Flying under the Jesus radar. Going to church (if we are motivated) and not doing much else.

But God has called us (yes, as in you, me, your family, and your Christian neighbor) to be the exception for Him.

And before you freak out… it’s a good thing. Kind of a difficult thing sometimes, but a good thing. I promise. (And so does He!)

Being the exception for Christ can be found throughout Scripture. It can be present in the big and the little things in life, from loving our enemies to having child-like trust. It can be a boldness found in praying for the cashier or buying a stranger’s lunch just because Jesus nudged you to do it.

Oh, and don’t let the enemy convince you that being the exception is a bad thing. Sure, it is a fine line between embracing your God-given gifts and talents while remaining humble, resisting the urge to be prideful. As long as we know that God gave us this privilege, chose us for this calling to be His and the glory is all for Him… THEN we can be the exception.

In what ways you do feel God has called YOU to be the exception? Is it in your home and family? Or community or workplace? Does being the exception intimidate you or excite you? Be the exception to the rule– and leave a comment below.

I would like to challenge you to do something “exceptional” for Christ in the next 7 days. And it doesn’t have to be “exceptional” by the world’s standards as in big, profound and/or expensive. But exceptional in the love for Christ.

After all… He has called YOU (yes, you!) to be the exception. Let’s make it happen!

Exceptionally blessed,
SGK

“And these God-chosen lives all around— what splendid friends they make!” ~Psalm 16:3 (MSG) 

Categories: God | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Not-so-lonely Road

We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives.

That moment of heart-heaviness. It feels like we are surrounded by darkness. We might be by ourselves or in a crowd of people.

Either way… we just feel straight up lonely.

Lonely, at least in my personal opinion, is one of the most un-fun places to be. Now, true loneliness is a heart issue and is very different from intentional solitude. We all need some “alone time” every now and then, whether it is to rest, recharge, reflect or just  BE.

But being lonely, especially in our hearts, can be a painful and scary place.

Honestly, as a Christian and army wife, I sometimes feel a bit alone in my walk.

Sure it looks long and lonely... but it's not. He promises.

Sure it looks long and lonely… but it’s not. He promises.

This happens frequently when we move to a new place or my husband is gone for an extended amount of time. When we first moved to Georgia, the first several months were some definite lonely-heart moments. Just me, the dog… and the enemy, duking it out in our living room.

Lemme tell ya what… It was exhausting. And way not fun.

Now before you get all up in my Kool-aid about Jesus always being with us, I know that is true. And I drew a lot of strength from Him in those moments. But He has also designed us to be in community.

Recently, I was having a conversation around this topic with great friend and fellow army wife, Sam, while we hung out on an impromptu Sonic date. (Sometimes the best revelations come over milkshakes and cherry limeades.) We talked about the struggle we face when battling this lonely feeling… because while God calls us to live in community, we have to be careful where we plant ourselves.

After all, we are called to be IN the world but not OF the world. (John 15:19) Great theory, super hard to live out. It’s a fine freaking line, one that I have yet to completely figure out. Sometimes, especially in the military realm of life, some of the things aren’t exactly productive for our Christian hearts or minds. Instead, we are exposed to negative seeds that try to take root. (And let’s be honest– the same thing can be said for ALL areas of the world… it’s a fallen world. We have to deal with it. SIGH.)

So whats a gal (or guy) to do in those lonely moments?

First of all, we can pray. Like, a lot. We can beg for Jesus’ presence to fill us up, to be the light in darkness as we battle the heart-lonely feeling. Also, we can recognize when the enemy is trying to attack. (More than likely, he’s lurking– so watch out!) We can surround ourselves with others who build us up– Christians who are genuine in their walk with words, love AND deeds, so that when we are called to go out into the world and walk a new path (military or otherwise) we can be IN the world and not OF it… We can cling to our strong, solid roots in Christ.

Oh, and we can take heart knowing that we aren’t alone in our struggle. So many people, just like you (and me) struggle with this lonely-heart feeling that rears its ugly stinkin’ head from time to time.

Christ understands our struggles. After all, He was alone on that cross when He took His final breath for you and me.

Take heart, dear friends. Christians before and after you have felt the same thing you might be feeling right now. While it might seem like a long path, remember that with Christ and fellow Christians, our path is a not-so-lonely road.

Hand in Hand with Him,
SGK

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” ~John 15:19 NIV

PS: Where or when do you find yourself most lonely? How does Christ show up in those moments? Let us know– comment below.

Categories: heart | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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