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A Heart for Missions is Too Full For Guilt

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Mark 10:21

 

Recently as I was preparing to leave for a mission trip, my spirit became deeply cluttered.

Just thinking about it was causing me a lot of worry and pre-guilt. Would I be able to handle being with children in extreme poverty, often with physical and/or mental disabilities? Several people with much more mission experience than I warned me that I would be heartsick, broken, and overwhelmed with my own underserved blessings.

So, I prayed, and I fasted, and then I went to Jamaica—not the touristy part.

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Our Kids Don’t Need a “Before and After”

We all love to see “before and after” photos. Dowdy to beautiful make-overs, overweight to healthy dieters, and of course, messy to neat organizing. Photos like these are inspiring!  (I usually forget to take the “before” photos, but even the “after” photos make me happy—hence the picture of my make-up drawer.)

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How to Claim Truth from Sarcasm

The inscription of the charge written against Him was: The King of the Jews.

Mark 15:26

 

Today I was turning to a passage in my new Bible when something caught my eye. In Mark 15, the words “The King of the Jews” are pulled out, put in all caps, and bolded, like this:

 

THE KING OF THE JEWS.

 

I was right in the middle of another train of thought, but these words leapt out at me and stopped me with these thoughts:

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I Will Cut Off

Read it! Psalm 101

The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

(vs. 4)

Think it through

This past Mother’s Day our pastor (Ken Murphy at Cypress) gave a great sermon from Judges 4 about, among other things, a woman named Jael. Just as a refresher, Jael was the gal who used a hammer to drive a tent peg through the head of a Canaanite military commander. She hammered so forcefully that the peg went into the ground below.

So, that was a fun Mother’s Day story! Truly, Pastor Ken made a fantastic point: sometimes we need to take a sin and kill it. Drive a tent peg through it and be done.

I was strongly reminded of Jael’s story when I read the “I will’s” in Psalm 101:

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Is Alcohol Cluttering Your Spirit?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

-I Corinthians 10:31

 

OK, you may be wondering, why does an organizing lady feel the need to tackle this particular topic?

Because I’m all about clearing out spiritual clutter, and this issue (much like the R-rated movie topic I tackled when cleaning out my basement) may cause some.

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Easter isn’t the End

Read it!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

-James 4:7

Think it through

We’re coming to the end of our Lenten series. Easter is just days away. I’m looking forward to church. I’m looking forward to watching my kids find Easter baskets full of spring and summer treats. I’m looking forward to celebrating with my extended family.

And let’s face it, I’m looking forward to a Cadbury egg.

I’ve done this giving up chocolate thing before, and I know that first taste of chocolate will be almost too sweet, almost too good. It will be delightful, and I’ll be so thankful in that moment—He is Risen that we might have abundant and eternal life!

But soon the taste of chocolate will be, though still wonderful, commonplace. A part of my average day. Or worse, again, a temptation leading me further away from God instead of closer to Him.

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There’s No Substitute

Read it!

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

-I Corinthians 6:19-20

Think it through

As I decided to give something up for Lent, I struggled a bit mentally. Starting with, There’s nothing wrong with a little chocolate. Ending with, I guess I can just have some Reece’s pieces instead. 

Well, now. The Bible says that we should glorify God with our bodies. How glorifying am I being if I switch from sneaking chocolate all day to eating other equally bad items?

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Giving It Up

Read it!

And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

–Luke 5:34-35

Think it through

Ash Wednesday is two days away, so it’s time to think about what I want to give up until Easter Sunday. My sweet momma gives up all sweets (like, even the jam on her toast, Friends). I’ve never been quite that brave!

If you haven’t heard of this practice, it’s basically a modified fast for Lent. Many people stop eating a particular kind of food, perhaps on particular days. Others add an activity, like participating in a Bible study (thus surrendering time).

Lots of people don’t give up anything at all, and if that’s you, I’m in no way calling you out. But I am encouraging you to join me for a Lenton Bible Study Series on Giving It Up… surrendering our hearts to God through the surrendering of something tangible.

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How to Create an Atmosphere of “Yes”

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

I’m a positive gal in general, and I’d like to think that I face life with a great big “Yes!”

But I’m also a planner, and when something outside of my plan presents itself, my knee-jerk reaction is, “No.”

Just ask my poor kids. This is the worst time of year to ask me for anything—my mind is so full of things to arrange that it’s like a constantly shifting puzzle without room for one more piece.

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Get Ready to Beat Your Drum

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum?

 

We all have favorite Christmas songs we love to hear all season… and on the flip side, we all reach out to change the radio station when we hear our least favorite carols (perhaps for the fifth or sixth time).

The Little Drummer Boy hasn’t been one of my favorites. Maybe that’s because it’s not strictly Biblical, or because it’s the story of a child I could no longer identify with… until recently.

During this Christmas season, The Little Drummer Boy has elicited a strangely emotional response in me—even bringing me to tears.

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