Posts Tagged With: love

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.

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Lord Have Mercy (Five Minute Friday)

Five Minute Friday
Hey gang. Tis time for Five Minute Friday.

Here’s the skinny: Each Friday, I link up with Lisa-Jo Baker for this super fun quick writing adventure. She gives us a prompt. And we write. For five minutes flat.

Not overthinking or tweaking or editing. We just write.

Let’s get going, shall we?

This weeks prompt: MERCY

ANDDDD GO!

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The microwave is beeping. The baby is crying. The dog is puking (again– the 5th time today!) on my new beige carpet.

LORD. HAVE. MERCY.

I forget a password to an important online account. I glance at the clock and we are running late– again. The main ingredient I was going to use for supper has apparently passed its prime and smells (and looks) like some freaky refrigerator science experiment.

Lord. Please, please, have mercy. 

Life in this world can be hard. Stressful. Annoying. Exhausting. And on those days especially, I find myself talking to God more so than normal, asking for His supernatural strength, patience and energy.

Oh. And His mercy. Because I can’t handle this on my own. I sin. I fail. I fall short.

No, I know I’m not being martyred for my faith or fighting for my life… But these small challenges in life matter to me. And as we’ve said before– if it matters to us, it matters to God.

So as long as I am on this side of heaven, I will continue to ask for His help, sustainment and yes, His mercy.

And you know what? He always delivers.

STOP!

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Dear friends, I pray that whatever today brings, you cling to the truth that God loves you, cares for you and will help you through it. May your day be filled with His love and mercy as you walk with Him.

Praising our Merciful God,
SGK

“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.” ~Psalm 28:6

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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

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Our Heart and Macaroni Art (In case you forgot…)

On a scale of one to ten… where is your heart with God today? I ran across the post below as I was walking down bloggy memory lane– I remember a brief season when I was disconnected to Him– and how He brought me back around. 

If you find yourself in the same boat (or anywhere near the boat… on the shore, in the lighthouse, whatever) check out this reminder post below… and grab ahold of the love God is offering to you! Oh, and as usual– feel free to comment. 🙂 

Loving Him,
SGK 

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I saw him from a distance. My heart started to pound. I smoothed my hair and gave myself a mental brownie point for wearing my favorite shirt. I considered moving closer to him… but he turned and started walking toward me. My breathing sped up. He was coming. He was beautiful. And I knew I belonged to him.

Pretty romantic huh? Probably sounds like every chick flick ever produced. But I am not talking about anyone tall, dark and handsome (or blonde with blue eyes in my case.) I am talking about God. Our Father. The One.

Perhaps I should back up a little bit. God (obviously) loves us and woos us. Last week, I had a dream where God told me to fall back in love with Him. A few days later, I awoke in a panic, realizing that I hadn’t had my official CRAVE time (quiet meditation) with Him at church in over a month (maybe even two!) I had been doing my daily Bible study during our leave holiday vacation, but my heart wasn’t really focused. My mind was all over the place, and I bet if you pick a page on my journal from the last two weeks, it would be pointless gibberish.

So I needed to fall back in love with God and CRAVE Him. I was still working on my 1000 gift list, but He told me it wasn’t enough. I prayed about it for the next few days and when we arrived back in Georgia, one of our first things to do (after unloading the car and sleeping) was to head to church. Confession: I was tired. Really didn’t want to go.

But I am sure glad I did.

I arrived at CCC and was blown away. The worship song line up was incredible. (Good thing they didn’t play Amazing Grace, or I would have been sobbing face down in the aisle.) I felt myself falling… back in love with God. Then the message sealed the deal. Why? Because for the first time in my experience at Christ Community during Sunday worship, we actually had a mini CRAVE time.

I realized that God wasn’t asking me to do anything but receive His love. That in itself allowed me to fall back in love with Him. He met me there and swept me off my feet. Again. But we have to be attentive to Him and show Him that we care. All of the things we DO for our amazing God like prayer, petitioning, quiet time, worship etc seem so small compared to the beauty and glory that is our Bridegroom Jesus.

But God is our father. And He adores our acts of love, as small as they might seem in our eyes. We are like the child, coming home from school and giving Dad a picture with dried out noodles glued on it. Our small actions are simply love in the form of macaroni art. He doesn’t throw it out. He appreciates it and puts it on the fridge.

How are you going to fall deeper in love with God? What kind of macaroni art are you going to make for Him today?

Receive Him. Fall deeply in love with Him. Give Him your heart and some “macaroni art.”

So in love,
SGK

“Get up, my dear friend, fair and beautiful lover—come to me!” Song of Solomon 2:10 (MSG)

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Everyday Jesus: Under His Umbrella

Remember my good friend Meghan? Well, she’s back with us again today to share another incredible story of how she encountered Jesus in everyday life. This recount is just as powerful as her last testimony– so I pray that it not only inspires your heart but also motivates you to move in the name of Christ! 

Covered by Christ, 
SGK 

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God has recently impressed on my heart how He is my covering. I’m counted as blessed because I get to take shelter in him. He’s showing me how He longs for me to come under His protection and allow Him to shield me from damaging elements in this world. If I seek shelter in Him, He will guide me to do things that I once feared. Under this protection, He’s also teaching me to step out of my comfort zone.

This is a story about when those two things combine.

umbrella

I recently encountered a woman who was not protected from the elements. She was standing at a bus stop on a busy road, in the pouring rain, with no umbrella, and I could see that her fancy hair-do was slowly melting.

(I’m sorry to say it, but) My first reaction was just the thought, “Man, that really stinks! I bet she put a lot of effort into her hair and make-up this morning and now they’re both getting ruined!” Can you tell I was having a grumpy day?

And my second thought was (slightly better), “Oh, maybe I should pray for her. That would nice.”

I was actually going to drive off just feeling pity for her when God nudged me to look down and notice the (hardly used) umbrella on the floor by my passenger seat.

That’s when God spoke and reminded me, “Dear {Meghan}, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that {you} really have it? For instance, you come upon a {woman on the side of the road} and say, “Good morning, friend! {I’ll pray for you! Hope your hair doesn’t go flat!} Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and {drive} off without providing so much as a coat or a {umbrella} – where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense” (James 2:14-17).

Oh goodness, I was a bit intimidated when I realized that God wanted me to actually pull over and offer it to her! It’s not that I treasured the umbrella or anything, but I was intimidated to actually have contact with her and act on my faith. What if she rejected me? What if she thought I was some creep-o?

But could I let myself be guilty of trying to talk the talk without walking the walk? What good would my prayers for her be if she was still getting rained on?!

I knew that I had to listen to the nudge and pull over. So I did just that. I pulled over to the side of the road, rolled down my window, and called out to her. It was really inarticulate, but I was able to get her attention and she actually walked over to my car.

So I timidly said, “It’s raining! You look like you could use an umbrella, and I’ve got one that I never use. So… would you like it?”

She looked shocked and at first denied it. But I insisted, and she said, “ Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! For real? I can’t believe it! Thank you!” She was truly flabbergasted, and the light of joy on her face shone through the rainy day haze around us.

All because I gave her a measly umbrella.

But really, I think she was touched because I saw her. I saw her need, and I listened to God long enough to do something about it. I was able to show her that in this crazy busy world, there is someone who cares about her, and yes, even about her hair-do. I made sure to let her know that the “someone” was God.

So what can you do today? How can you put the love into action? Do not be content to sit back and let your faith grow lazy. Will you settle today for merely talking the talk, or are you willing to go out on a limb and walk the walk as well? Trust me, God has powerful things in store if you will trust Him and put your faith into action.

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meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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Everyday Jesus: A Comfort Zone Emergency…

I love hanging out/talking to/learning from authentic folks who have eyes (and a heart!) for Christ. My dear friend Meghan is one of those awesome folks– and she sure has a great and powerful story to share with you via today’s edition of Everyday Jesus. Hope you are ready for this, because it sure moved me in more ways than one! 

Moved by His Majestic Love, 
SGK

PS: Be sure to share the love with Meghan by leaving your feedback and comments below.

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Have you noticed that God is never really too concerned with leaving us where we feel comfortable? Nope. He’s just not concerned about that at all.

Throughout the Bible, God is shown stretching His people, calling them out of their places of comfort, calling them to be bold and to walk out into the unknown for His purposes. Our God called Abraham away from his home, asked Moses (a man with a speech impediment) to be a very vocal leader, and had the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. He called shepherds to be kings, called men to walk on water, and still calls his followers to trust in Him daily.

I don’t know about you, but I really like to be comfortable. Especially when it comes to sharing my faith. Maybe there’s something in the water, but I’ve noticed that even the boldest Christians will often grow timid when it comes to sharing their faith with strangers.

And God is not satisfied with that. He recently helped me to tackle my fear of getting out of my comfort zone in a place where I least expected Him to show up.

emergency entrance

My husband and I were leaning against the wall in the emergency entrance of a local hospital one late and rainy Georgia night, waiting to pick up two friends who were rushed to the ER after their car accident. Honestly, by that point in the evening, I felt pretty burnt out and tired. I found that the only way to keep my mind from going to negative places (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was actually trying to not linger on thinking about how few people in the ER had insurance and how much that would cost the government…I know, not nice…) was to zone out completely and turn numb to the many people in pain before me.

All of a sudden, my husband asked me if I was praying for Jesus to come into that place. Um… no, far from it!

I was sadly in a place where I didn’t even feel capable (or worthy) of approaching the throne of grace and getting into a spirit of prayer. But his sweet words convicted me, and, at a loss for words, started to pray, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” – there truly is power in His name.

Suddenly, I felt convicted to put my prayer into action. This is NOT the kind of thing that I would normally do. Like I said, I’m often quite timid about approaching strangers and sharing my faith, but God called me to be bold for Him, and then He even revealed exactly who He wanted me to pray with. Not for, but with.

I think that I actually started shaking as I realized that I had to go and actually talk with someone!

I noticed a girl who was writhing in pain in the entrance to the ER. Her mother had come inside to beg the receptionist to let her daughter be seen urgently because she was in much pain, but there was nothing that the receptionist could do. I saw both daughters of Christ, one in excruciating pain, the other burdened with anxiety, fear, and frustration.

Oh God, how many times have I been burdened by the enemy? And how many times have you sent people alongside me to lift me up? In this moment, I realized the human neediness for God’s gracious provision. How could I turn down my role in this?

So I made a choice and let God lead me out of the glass sliding doors towards the two. I simply asked the mother if I could pray with them, and to my surprise she reacted with excitement! I asked the girl her name, but she couldn’t look up into my face. As I sat down next to her and wrapped my arms around her, placing my hand where she was feeling pain her mother and I launched into prayer for her, asking God for His healing presence.

I don’t know that God’s intention was to totally heal the girl physically as much as it was to bring His light and warmth into that place where so many were numb from pain or apathy. After we finished, the girl was able to look up, and she was no longer moaning or writhing in pain. I was able to see her face and affirm her beauty to her. Her mother was so full of thanks and joy after our short time together, and I truly believe that God was able to change the trajectory of her night.

But lo and behold, God changed me in that instance, too. He changed my heart and my thoughts and my will. He allowed me to be sensitive to His voice, to follow His commands, and to be a part of what He’s doing in my city, even if it was on a small-scale. God cares not about the quantity of what we do, but with what quality our heart goes forth where He calls.

Praise and glory to our good Father who is able to heal the sick, cover over a multitude of sins, and redirect an independent soul like me towards His Kingdom’s purposes!

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meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yep. They are your friends. (Five Minute Friday)

Five Minute Friday
Greetings, folks!

It’s Friday, which ’round these parts can only mean one thing– time for a lil speed writing, heart-sharing Five Minute Friday.

For anyone who might be new, here’s the deal: Each Friday I link up with our favorite gypsy mama, Lisa-Jo Baker. She gives us a prompt, then we write. No over-thinking. We just write.

It’s pretty cool to see what Jesus comes up with sometimes when that timer goes off…  So let’s see what He has in store for us today.

Today’s Prompt: FRIEND

Ready? GO!

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You know ’em. You love ’em. You hate to leave ’em. And the good ones? Yep, sometimes they are hard to find.

They are your friends.

They are there in the joyous moments. They are there to wipe your tears. They hug you, love you, feed you, encourage you. They pray with you. They speak the truth in love when you won’t listen to anyone else. And you do the same for them.

Yep. They are your friends.

They might live on the same block… Or in a different time zone. You might see them every day… Or maybe only once a year. You might know them best for the memories you built together. Or maybe you look forward to the gut-splitting memories that are in the making.

Yep. They are your friends.

No matter where you go, what you do… Your friends are there– in real life, online, on the phone, or in spirit. They come is all shapes, sizes, colors, ages. A rainbow of diversity and love. What a beautiful gift, those friends.

And the one thing that bonds you together more deeply than eating an entire bag of chocolate together and swearing each other to secrecy? Your shared love of Christ.

You see, these friends aren’t just friends for now. But they are friends for a lifetime… And beyond. You keep each other rooted in Him, focused on Him, following Him.

And when you discover the sweet, irreplaceable experience that is having Jesus as your best friend… you discover a connection that will last from here to the other side of eternity.

Yep. THEY are your friends.

STOP!

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What attributes do you look for in a friendship? In what ways do your friends lead you to Christ? How can you encourage them to turn to Him in all circumstances?

As I wrap up, I also want to thank YOU for reading… For supporting this ministry with prayer, encouragement, comments. Some of you I know personally, some are a name on a screen. But either way– if we are all striving to live for Christ with the limited time we have– you, sweet reader, are a friend.

Thanks for that. 🙂

What a friend we have in Jesus,

SGK

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” ~Proverbs 17:17 NIV

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Everyday Jesus: An Encounter with the God of All Comfort

Greetings friends! It’s time for another life-changing, heart-moving installment of our “Everyday Jesus” blogging series. Today it is my great privilege to introduce not only a talented writer and dear friend of mine, but also a beautiful woman who has an incredible heart for Christ. Meet Tracy. She’s awesome. She’s sweet. She’s profound. Plus… She’s a K-State Alumni and Military wife (just like me. Thanks, Jesus.) Get ready for a powerful testimony of what it really looks like when we are ALWAYS looking for Jesus– particularly in everyday life.  

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I love encountering the majesty of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father, in the darkest of moments.

Image courtesy of healingdream/freedigitalphotos.net"

Image courtesy of healingdream/freedigitalphotos.net”

You gotta love boarding a Southwest airplane. It used to be chaotic, but now order has been restored to the masses due to the ticket number groupings and vertical beams that Southwest installed in the waiting area. However, before the beams were born, I felt like a herded calf being pushed along. On one particular “cattle call,” my life (and carry-on bag) collided with hers.

The people in front of me were whispering. They seemed irritated, and other passengers crammed in beside them were staring at something. Above the commotion, I heard sniffles. Someone was crying. Our line started to move again. The couple in front of me slowed and moved around a woman who was visibly upset. I instinctively touched her shoulder, walked around her, and turned to look into her face. I offered her a Kleenex and asked if she needed anything. She doubted there was anything I could do to help her.

And the God of All Comfort entered the scene.

I took her by the arm and started to help her down the gateway and into the plane. I learned that she was on her way back to meet her family. She didn’t want to give her children the news that her breast cancer had spread. She was scared and devastated. She said I wouldn’t understand. She had no idea who she was talking to.

God did though.

He chose for me to meet this woman at this particular moment of darkness in our lives.

Days before I sat in the Mayo clinic holding my mother’s hand. We were waiting for another batch of test results. By this point, I was used to seeing her in pain, and I loathed her breast cancer with everything in me. Just when my heart seemed to find hope, the Mayo doctor confirmed that a scan found a tumor in her brain. My heart was dashed into a billion pieces once again.

Stunned, my mother and I found the nearest bathroom, and let our tears flow freely.

Why God?

I began to journal and stumbled across 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. With what little strength I had left, I simply wrote: “If my mom must suffer in this way, then please let me use this trial for your glory. Help me to comfort others, with the comfort I believe you are going to give me.”

As I continued to walk down the gateway with a weeping stranger, all I could hear is “I AM the God of All Comfort Tracy, comfort her as I have comforted you.” Talk about a God encounter! I didn’t care if I held up that boarding line all day–this woman was going to hear my story. Through tears, I told her about my mother and about how her courage and faith in God affected me. She got an ear full about the comfort and strength I’d received from Jesus. As she listened, her tears slowed, and she began to smile. As I helped her to sit, she said thank you and embraced me. I told her that I would pray. And pray I did.

I will probably never see this woman again.

God gave me 5 minutes with her. I believe God knew this was enough. The Kleenex, the touch, the listening ear, the tears, and my testimony were enough. It was enough for the God of all Comfort to be experienced through a hurting and imperfect vessel.

In the end, my mother journeyed through breast cancer for 11 years. She won her battle when she passed from our arms into the arms of Jesus on October 8, 2012. I encountered the majesty of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God the Father in the midst of her cancer.

God still hasn’t answered my question of why. I no longer need Him to. He was gracious to answer a prayer from my journal. I hold onto the memory of that stranger’s smile and call it to mind when I miss my mother. It reminds me that one of my darkest moments has glorified God, and this is enough for me.

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” ~2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV 1984

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Tracy Bio Picture

Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force.  Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves to drink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. She also enjoys chasing their two children, Jackson (4) and Katherine (2), throughout their toy-infested home.  Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at One Degree Ministries. You can also connect with her on Facebook or chat with her via Twitter.

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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

A Simple Gift… In case you forgot

I LOVE getting gifts. Even more so– I love giving gifts. Although it’s not my primary love language– sometimes it sneaks its way to the top. And over the last year and a half or so of blogging and doing online ministry (time flies!) we have continually mentioned God’s great gifts– big and small. (In fact, I continue to work on my 1000 gift list inspired by Ann Voskamp’s book. As of this post, I am over 1500 and still going strong!)

The other day, I was digging through some of my archived blogs– and ran across this one. It made me laugh– and encouraged my heart… so I though that re-sharing it was in order.

I pray it speaks to you– so read, share, comment, enjoy. You know the drill.

Oh– and thanks for being such a blessing and gift in MY life, dear reader!

Jesus Fist Pound,
SGK

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gift

Gifts can come in many, many forms from that engagement ring promising a lifetime of commitment to that forced smile when we open up a “fashionable” sweater from Grandma. God’s gifts also come in many shapes, sizes and colors…

I ran across the following a few weeks ago when working on a project for church and was reminded of it today. The Lord loved us enough to create laughter and allow us to feel joy in our heart. (That’s a gift) He has also given us GRACE. (There’s another one) Sometimes he combines them. (One of my favorite gifts! )

How to Get Into Heaven 

A woman dies and meets St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Peter says to the woman, “Here’s how it works. You need to have one hundred points to get into heaven. You tell me about all the good things you’ve done. They are all worth a certain number of points. If your total is 100 or more, you can come in.” 

“Well,” says the woman. “I was happily married to the same man for 52 years. I never looked at another man. I was attentive and loved him dearly.” 

“That’s great,” says St. Peter. “That’ll be two points.” 

“Hmmm,” says the woman. “This is going to be harder than I thought. Well, I attended church regularly, volunteered my time and tithed faithfully.” 

“Wonderful,” says St. Peter, “That’s worth another point.” 

“One point!” says the woman. “Okay, okay. I was involved with a woman’s prison ministry for twenty-five years. I went into the prison, at least monthly, and shared Jesus with them.” 

“Wow!” says St. Peter. “That’s another two points!” 

“Only two points!” says the woman. “At this rate, it’ll be only by the grace of God that’ll I’ll ever get into this place.”

“Bingo!” says St. Peter. “That’s 100 points! Come on in.”

Praise God for the gift of His grace… because just like this example above, we can’t earn our way into heaven– but he has given us that nonrefundable present. It seems like such a simple gift with no fancy wrapping paper or ribbon, but instead by the body of Christ.  That alone means so much!

No Receipt Needed,
SGK

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

Categories: Christ, faith, gifts, heaven, works | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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