Archives

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:

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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.

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

Do You Really Know Your Love Language?

I just finished reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Again.

I adore this book and think it’s applicable to all kinds of relationships, from marriage to friendships to family relationships. So, to help celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to read it again—this time thinking about my kids as well as my husband.

If you haven’t read it, the gist is that we all appreciate certain kinds of love more than others. Many, many of you will have read this or at least will have heard of it. You probably think you know your love language and that of your spouse (and possibly kids).

You might be wrong.

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

What’s a Little Chocolate?

Read it!

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

-Matthew 6:16

Think it through

I feel like I should tell you that it’s not like me to be all, “Look at me, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent” on a blog. Or anywhere… at least I hope not! Though I usually tell my family what I’m giving up, I try not to talk about it a lot.

Let’s say that I’m going to an acquaintance’s house for dinner and she serves a beautiful chocolate dessert. There are two ways to go about not eating it. One way is to say, “Oh, it looks so good and I’d love to have it but I can’t, I gave it up for Lent…” with a put-upon sigh. Another way is to smile and say, “Oh, no thanks,” possibly adding an “I’m just stuffed” (only if I am, which I probably would be).

Which one would be the hypocrite way—the way that I would have received my attention?

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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.

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

Food Makes Me Happy… Doesn’t It?

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.”

—John 6:32

 

You know how certain phrases become part of a family’s inner language? Someone says something so cute or funny that your family members keep repeating it… until it simply becomes a part of what you say to each other. A unique family saying with a special meaning all its own.

When my little sister was just a few years old, she inadvertently created one of our favorite family sayings. She looked at her dinner plate, heaved a huge sigh of contentment, and said dreamily, “Food makes me happy.”

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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.

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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:

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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.

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!

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,

Read more… →

Thank You for Supporting Our Ministry!