Posts Tagged With: walk

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

Categories: growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Aftermath of our Path

It is Friday… It is Friday… It is Friday, Hey, Hey, Hey, HEY! <Feel free to sing this outloud to the same tune from Little Rascal Buckwheat’s rendition of “I got Two pickles.

It IS Friday and that can only mean one thing– It’s time for our weekly Friday Flash Mob, writing style.

Here’s the deal: Each Friday, I link up with The Gypsy Mama. She gives us a prompt. Then we write. Unscripted. Unedited. For five minutes flat.

Too easy right? Well then, let’s get to cracking.

Todays prompt: Path

Ready? GO!

*****

The bags are packed. My water bottle is full. Pup is leashed up. It’s go time.

We are out to discover a new running path. We begin our walk/jog/hike in a beautiful spot. Trees surround us. Birds whistle cheerfully. The sun gently warms our neck. It’s gonna be a good day.

Off we go. This is awesome! Trotting along, I sing quietly to myself. I talk to the pup. Our new path curves a bit.

HOLY CANNOLI. That’s a big freaking hill. Um, that wasn’t in the plans.

Meh, it’s just one hill. We can do it. We trudge on. The sun is getting warmer. Beads of sweat form on my brow. My calves are screaming. We get to the top. And there in the distance, is another beast of a hill. Ugggg…

Walking on our chosen path isn’t always easy– both literally and figuratively. When Jesus called us to follow Him, He didn’t say it would be easy. But He said it would be worth it.

Our paths are going to be filled with hills, curves, broken areas, bridges that have gone out, detours, sweat and maybe even a snake or two.

But we must keep walking. One foot in front of the other, following after Christ. Because after all… Our path, no matter how hilly or sweaty or snake-infested, has a heavenly destination.

Tie on your tennis shoes, bring your water… Because the aftermath of our path is heavenly.

*****

Know what I love more than  Friday flash mob writing? Your feedback. I would love to hear about the current path you are on… Are you facing a hill? What’s around your next bend? What keeps you motivated to press onward to reach that glorious path-walking aftermath? Please leave your comments below!

And now… I must get started on my path for today! Many blessings to you… and as always, if you have any prayer requests, leave a comment, send a message to 7 Days Time Facebook page or email me at sharita{dot}knobloch{at}gmail{dot}com.

Following After Christ,
SGK

“Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.” ~Psalm 16:11

Categories: Christ, Five Minute Friday, God, path | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

Thirst No More (Factor of 7)

Ever been thirsty?

I don’t mean a smidge thirsty like “Yeah, I could use a drink (of water.)” I mean, “Holy cow, I am so thirsty my throat feels like the Sahara desert.”

We’ve probably all been there. At least a little bit. (I experience this phenomenon anytime I do a long run without a Camelbak water pack strapped on myself. Or when I talk too much. Either way.)

When you get that thirsty, soda pop (oh, I mean Coke for my southern readers) won’t suffice. Water. H2o. That’s the remedy.

Jesus is the living water… So my beloved husband and I tried to sprinkle around some Jesus water through our latest “Factor of 7.”

On Sunday after church, Brandon and I set out on a mission for Jesus– not only to give literal water to those who might be thirsty, but  to plant (and water!) a little seed of Jesus love. We were going on a walk of epic proportions.

Unlike our previous Factor of 7 experiences, this one was a little different. Instead of taking $107, God called us to get a little creative. (And get fit, apparently.) Here’s what we did: We bought two cases of water (that’s 48 bottles.) We loaded up Brandon’s army assault pack and set out to walk, hand out FREE bottles of water  and pray… for SEVEN miles.

As usual… God blessed our journey.

This Factor of 7 experience was by far the most challenging to date. Not only was it physically challenging to haul full (and cold) bottles of water around for seven miles walking in the Georgia heat (See: sweet sunburns and sore muscles), but it was also the most spiritually challenging. I was concerned about God’s logistics.

When you are walking on paved trails, you really don’t encounter many other folks on foot in the middle of the day. Bikers are on a mission (and usually already equipped with water) and runners are also in their zone, not wanting to stop or carry a water bottle for any distance. (Hey, I totally feel them– it’s hard enough for ME to keep my feet moving on a run without worrying about where the next trash can is.)

About three miles in, we had only given away 5 bottles of water from our first 24 pack that was in Brandon’s bag. I was starting to panic. “God, did you really tell us to do this? Or am I making this up? I know that One is Enough, but I just need some affirmation that this is from you.” 

Right after I finished my prayer (and as a drop of sweat dripped into my eye) I looked to the left of the trail. We had walked into a lower income section of town and there was a run down hotel… With several people sitting outside in the heat, listening to music on a Sunday afternoon.

I asked Brandon if we should venture off the trail and hand out water… His answer, of course was yes… So we branched off our path… and became ridiculously blessed.

The folks sitting there were so excited to receive what we were offering. We passed out water and took down prayer requests. Just as I thought my heart couldn’t experience any more joy, we turned around. Behind us, a single file line of children had formed… ready to receive their free bottle of water.

We passed out all but three of our remaining bottles in under a minute. Each child was incredibly grateful– some of them so much so, they came back asking for another bottle for a sibling or parent. We told each child that Jesus loves them. Their smiles about melted my heart.

Whew… 7.17 miles is a long way to walk on a Sunday– but so worth it.

Brandon and started the trek back to the car to refill our depleted supplies. After restocking, we finished out our final mile. In total, we walked for 2 hours and 30 minutes for 7.17 miles. We took down 22 different prayer requests and gave out over 34 bottles of water.

Our bodies were sweaty. My hair was fuzzy. Our skin was sunburnt pink. But our hearts were full.

And 34 people were less thirsty (for water AND Jesus) than when we started.

Here’s to being thirsty no more,
SGK

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:13-14

PS: Have you ever given anyone a drink of “Jesus water?” How did it go? Leave a comment below to share you experience! 🙂

Categories: accomplishment, adventure, Factor of 7, fitness, generosity, God, Jesus, kingdom, prayer, sacrifice, serving | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Comfortably Close

Loose-fitting T-shirt? Check. Comfy black stretchy yoga pants? Check. Barefeet? Check. Perfect temperature? Check. Diet Dr. Pepper within reach? Check. Recliner engaged? Check.

Uh, yes please. Epitome of comfort. I want to go to there.

 Ahhhh… I love to be comfortable.  I am gonna take a guess that you do too. Take a moment to think about when you are most comfortable… Where are you? What are you wearing? What makes you comfortable? It is an INCREDIBLE feeling. What more could we ask for?

Believe it or not, we CAN ask for more… We can ask for God to make us uncomfortable. But that is really, really hard for us (ok, me) to swallow. Seriously, just the THOUGHT of being uncomfortable on purpose makes my stomach flop. Every inch of my flesh screams… Bu..Bu…But… Nooooo!!! I don’t wanna! (Insert two-year-old stomping tantrum here.) If I am comfortable, I would love nothing more than to stay like that—for as long as possible.

But staying comfortable sometimes leads to complacency. If we are comfortable and we don’t NEED anything else, why would we seek the Lord? We have it all handled and we feel fine right where we are. Pshaw. TOO. EASY.

A while back, I blogged about praying for faith like Abraham.  (Read the post “No More Cornflakes here for the full story.) This concept of praying to be uncomfortable is just as challenging as requesting faith as strong as Abraham. But when we are uncomfortable, whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritual… THAT then when we have the greatest opportunity to be closest to God.

 When we are uncomfortable… we realize our weaknesses.

When we are uncomfortable… we seek the Lord more than before.

When we are uncomfortable… we understand God’s goodness and faithfulness at a deeper level.

When we are uncomfortable… we have an opportunity to glorify God.

Think about folks you might know who have answered an uncomfortable call to be obedient to Christ. I am sure that most missionaries, ministers or Christians don’t go where the Lord has called them expecting to be comfortable. (Although that would be a pretty sweet perk. And motivating.) But when we become uncomfortable—we discover that we can be oh-so-comfortably close to Christ.

Confession:  Sometimes, (ok, a lot of the time) I am uncomfortable in my role as a minister. As a writer. As an army wife. As a speaker. But it is in those moments when I feel closest to God.

When was the last time you were uncomfortable? What did God do for you in that season? I would LOVE to hear about it. Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

Do you have the courage to pray for God to make you uncomfortable? Drop what you are doing right now and pray: “Lord… Please overcome my flesh-goal of maintaining comfort, and if it is Your Will, make me uncomfortable for Your Glory.” 

You don’t have to sell everything you own and move overseas. (Unless of course He tells you to.)  Comfort levels differ for everyone. Perhaps your level of comfort will simply be asking the cashier how you can pray for them today. Or maybe it is helping out a neighbor who is, uh, less than cooperative. Consider any opportunities that God might be calling you to step out and be uncomfortable.

One thing is for certain—no matter how uncomfortable The Call might make us or how far it takes us from our recliner, yoga pants and Diet Dr. Pepper… If we answer our call, it can make us more comfortably close to Christ than ever before.

Comforted by being uncomfortable,
SGK

“For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” –Matthew 11:30 (AMP)

Categories: adventure, attitude, call, Christ, Comfort, dependence, glory, God, life, Live | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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