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For the Joy

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

In January we tend to set goals, which I love. I already wrote about the best resolution, but another fantastic goal is to serve God with our time and talents. That’s a no-brainer, right?

It is unless we mess it up.

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Perspective From the Cross

Read it! John 19

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(vs26&27)

Think it through

I can’t read through the Gospel of John, thinking about perspectives, without pondering Jesus’ perspective from the cross.

He looked down. He saw his mother, his disciples, his friends, and his loved ones. He cared for them. He saw his killers, and he asked God for their forgiveness.

He looked to either side. He saw two criminals. He encouraged the one who would let him: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

He looked up. He talked to His Father, who I believe heard and loved his son despite the separation brought on by burden of sin he bore.   Then he surrendered his spirit into the Father’s hands.

And through it all, he had the perspective of heaven. Even though he was experiencing things beyond my imagining, he knew the people perpetrating it had no power over him (verse 11). He knew that everything had now been finished so that the scriptures would be fulfilled (verse 28).

He knew that God would win in the end.

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I hate running (my apologies to the Apostle Paul)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24

 

I can’t tell you much I hate running. Hence the reason this has never been my favorite Christian metaphor.

Back when I was Shannon Kelley the College Student, I had to take a gym class in order to get my math education degree. (Even after all these years, my heart cries, why?) I soon discovered that it was basically a running class led by a Drill Sergeant-type professor. During “class,” he ran and talked with the cool athletes up at the front of the pack, occasionally shouting mean things toward those of us at the back. I loathed every minute.

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How Not to Serve Lemonade (or Jesus)

No one wanted my lemonade.

My husband, Travis, and I were serving at a soup kitchen, and my job was to serve the lemonade. I poured twenty cups, arranged them in a neat four by five rectangle, and waited for the thirsty patrons to arrive. And they came… but they all wanted water. I stood forlornly with my hand gripping the pitcher, a dismal failure as Chief Lemonade Pourer.

This is what Travis jokingly calls the “Serve with Shan” effect. Alas, it seems that whenever I participate in a service project there is no one to serve. Three hours volunteering at a donation center with but one lonely drop-off. Six hours at a food pantry with only three shoppers.

And here’s the one Travis teases me about the most: a nursing home visit during which not a single resident wanted to visit with us, despite how I was waiving around my three month-old baby. Didn’t they want to meet my smiling bundle of cuteness?

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Now or Later? When to Reach For Your Goals

Time management is by far my favorite kind of organization.  Nothing clears the clutter out of your spirit like the knowledge that you’re using your time wisely—doing what you want to do and living how you want to live!  If I could spend time with each of you individually, the first thing I’d do is challenge you to write your life goals and assess your priorities.  How do you want to spend your time?

It’s a wonderful exercise, but when we really sit down and think about everything we want to do—personal goals, relationship goals, family goals, activities, ministries, passions, and callings—we’re easily overwhelmed.  We start to hear voices in our heads, pieces of advice from loved ones combined with pop-culture snippets:

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Should Christians Watch R-Rated Movies?

I love movies almost as much as I love books. When my husband and I were dating, our go-to date was a fast-food dinner and a dollar movie. Now that we’re parents, we plan date nights that involve more conversation—but we do watch a lot of movies at home and see every Disney/Pixar movie at the theater with our kids!

 

For Father’s Day, I made over our finished basement into a little movie theater,

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The Closet Clean-Out

How is what you’re wearing right now affecting your spirit? 

Maybe you’re in your jammies, all comfy and cozy.  Maybe you’re dressed for work, classy and confident.  Maybe you’re home with the kids, pretty and prepared for the day.  On the other hand, what you’re wearing may have you feeling frumpy, frazzled and frustrated.

We don’t fully enjoy each day when our spirits are cluttered with doubts about our outfit and general appearance.  Christian women want to be happy and confident about what we’re wearing so our joy in Lord can shine through!  But for that to happen, we have to get rid of the “just OK” clothes in our closet—those clothes that are distracting us from the great outfits we can put together.

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Why a Scripture Scrapbook Series (What’s in it for you)

Read it! Deuteronomy 6

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Impress them on your children. Talk about them

when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,

when you lie down and when you get up.

(vs6&7)

Think it through

I’m a Pinterest lover.

Though I have some “Organizing” boards on Pinterest, only a few of my boards are ministry-specific. It’s a personal account and my boards reflect my heart. I try to pin only the things I think I’d actually do or things that bring me joy… things that inspire me, and that I hope will inspire others.

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My Knight in Shining Armor

Read it! Ruth 2:14-23

“The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law.

“He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.”

She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our Kinsman-redeemers.”

(vs 20)

Think it through

I am fascinated by the idea of a Kinsman Redeemer.

In Ruth, the title “Kinsman Redeemer” refers to male relatives of a deceased husband who had the option to come forward and “redeem” the widow: to marry her and care for her. Without a Kinsman Redeemer, a Jewish widow had very few options. Like Ruth, they were reduced to gathering dropped bits of grain in order to eat.

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