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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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Stop the Debate

Read it! John 18

Jesus answered, “…Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

(vs37&38)

Think it through

I imagine Pilate nearly snorting here—“Ha! What is truth?”—like it doesn’t exist… perhaps because I’ve heard that condescending tone before.

Perhaps you have, too.

When I’ve tried to discuss religion with a non-believer (in other words, when I try to share my joy in Christ with them), I’ve had people look me in the eye and tell me I’m elitist, close-minded, and conceited. How could I possibly think that Christians are right and everyone else is wrong? What is truth?

Here’s the thing: there is truth. The Earth and everything on it exists and came from somewhere. We are either here for a purpose, or we’re not. When we die, we either go somewhere, or we don’t. There is reality. There is truth.

Either one religion has it right and the rest are wrong, or we’re all wrong. Saying we could all be right isn’t a choice. You can’t have it more than one way. You can’t say everyone can believe what they want and still be right. That’s ludicrous.

I believe that God created everything, that He gave us purpose, and that if we embrace his son wholeheartedly we’ll live in heaven for eternity. Yes, that’s “just my perspective”—but I know it’s truth in every fiber of my being.

My pastor recently said that we’ll never debate anyone into a relationship with Jesus. What we can do is love people to the Lord. We can overwhelm them with a sacrificial love from a heart on fire for God.  We can show them unexplainable love that points to Jesus like a burning bush.

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Organizing Truths

For our Thought Shots today, I took some quotes from Building Your House and made them pretty enough to remember and share! Read them through to see which ones speak to you, reaffirming what you believe about faithful home organization.

Then, share your favorites. There are so many people out there swallowing the lies about what it means to “succeed” as a homebuilder—and January’s “get organized” advertising blitz is right around the corner! So, please boldly share how we can truly honor the Lord with our homes by posting, pinning, and tweeting these memes through your favorite social media outlets…

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Why “It’s Good for You” Isn’t Enough for Me

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,

but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Ephesians 6:6

 

Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”

He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”

My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)

In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.)  I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)

But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?

 

Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.

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Throwing Off Our Chains

Read it! John 8

“…and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

(vs32&33)

Think it through

Viewing ourselves through the lens of truth is difficult.

Jesus told the Jews that his teachings, the truth, would set them free, but they just looked at one another and shrugged. They were living in a land where they were officially free—free to live and love and work and marry and worship their God. (Sound familiar?)

But Jesus explained that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Not free, but bound by the habit of repeating our mistakes and the consequences of each choice. And we often miss this crucial perspective altogether.

Here’s some truth I frequently fail to see:

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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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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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Holy Urgency—It’s an Emergency!

Read it! Matthew 28

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

(vs 19)

Think it through

Jesus is the Key to Everything.

He is our happiness and our security. He is our day-to-day life and our future in Heaven. He is our sweet life.

One recent Sunday in church, we watched on the video screen as a new sister in Christ told her redemption story and was baptized into the faith. We all clapped, some of us wiping away a tear. Then our pastor started his sermon with something to this effect:

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Why “Venting” isn’t Cool

Read it! Philippians 2

Do everything without complaining and arguing,

so that no one can criticize you.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,

shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked people.”

(vs14&15)

Think it through

The first step to living the sweet life that I really wanted to share with my kids is living with a thankful heart. So I created a page about complaining.

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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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