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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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What Basketball, Books, and Jesus Have in Common

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

 

I had an interesting dream last week. My little Oliver, who is 5 years old, was at the park down the street. Someone had taped a white “x” on the blacktop underneath the basketball hoop. Oliver was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

Then suddenly I was looking at a different boy under a different hoop. Think Opie from Mayberry—it was clearly the 1950’s. Someone had marked an “x” in the dirt underneath the hoop (no, I’m not saying they didn’t have blacktop in the 1950’s—this was a dream, people). The boy was standing on it, holding a basketball, looking up, ready to shoot.

And I thought, Basketball hasn’t changed. He’ll either make it, or he won’t.

And I was so deeply comforted.

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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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God’s Circle of Protection—Get on in

Read it! James 1:19-27

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

(vs 22-24)

Think it through

How could I make a scripture scrapbook for the kids without including the Ten Commandments?

And how could I write a blog post about it without realizing how hard it can be to keep some of them? It’s hard to tell the truth all the time. Not coveting is a challenge. It’s even hard to rest on the Sabbath.

 

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Are You Grown Up?

Read it! I Thessalonians 5

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and though.

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless

at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(vs 23)

Think it through

I don’t want my kids to think I have it all figured out. I don’t.

I try my best to apologize when I’m wrong. I admit it when I don’t know all the answers. I fess up when I’m in a cranky mood and trying to turn it around.

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Wanting More and More and More…

Read it! Psalm 42

As the deer longs for streams of water,

So I long for You, O God.

(vs 1)

Think it through

The scrapbook I purchased had a “nature” theme (for those of you who are wondering, it’s a K&Company Smash I purchased at Michaels, my veeeeerrrrry favorite store). What sold me on that particular book was that one of the pages had a deer on it. Perfect for Psalm 42:1—and I’d already decided that I definitely wanted to include that verse!

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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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When Our Efforts to Serve God Don’t Pan Out

Read it!: II Samuel 7

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and he said:

Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family,

that you have brought me this far?

(vs 18)

Think it through:

David had a great idea. He wanted to build a beautiful, permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant, which had been housed in a series of temporary dwellings. This idea seemed so right, so true, that he couldn’t wait to get started! But then Nathan, a prophet of God, told David that God said the job needed to wait. Building the temple wasn’t work for David, but for one of his sons.

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