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Living in the Pocket

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,

as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

I Peter 4:10

 

I went to a Dave Matthews Band concert this summer, and I had many thoughts while I was there. Since the band tends to go on long instrumental riffs, there was a lot of time to think…

I thought about how I’m getting older. When I went to my first Dave concert in college, “Ants Marching” was big. This time, there was a teenage girl sitting next to me who said, “Well, I’ve never heard of Dave Matthews Band, but my dad says I’ll like it.” Wow.

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I Will Sing.

 

Read it! Psalm 108

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.

(vs. 1)

Think it through

This is the last installment of the “I Will” Bible study series in Psalms, and I cannot leave you without talking about the most often repeated “I will”:

I will sing.

If you add in “I will praise” and “I will sing praise,” the promise to sing makes up a really large percentage of the Psalm “I wills”!

Perhaps this isn’t surprising (we are studying Psalms after all, which were written to be sung)—but it’s still significant. And it’s very literal.

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7 Ways to Find Rest at Church

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God…

Exodus 20:9&10a

 

By the time we hit the seventh day of the week, going church can feel like a “have to” rather than a “get to.” We’ve all woken up on a Sunday morning wishing we could stay in bed—but shouldn’t going to church be considerably more refreshing than an hour’s extra sleep?

God didn’t call Sunday a day of rest for nothing. The Sabbath isn’t about “not doing work” (at least not entirely—you can check out what I have to say about that in this post), it’s about resting in His presence and care.

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Open the Stable Door

This is a guest post by my mother, Sharon Kelley.  She shared the following as a Mentor Moment for the young mothers of her church.  When I read it, I cried.  It’s just too good to leave on her hard drive… so I’m sharing it with you.  May you open the stable door this Christmas.  —Shannon

 

So how are the Christmas preparations going for you so far? Are the presents bought? Are they wrapped up with a sparkly bow? Are the cookies baked? Is the tree up? Is the house decorated inside and out? Are the Christmas cards in the mailbox, including a bright and happy family letter? Is your blood pressure rising just thinking about all you have yet to do?

In my own life, my little family of three children has grown to three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. That’s a lot of shopping and attending at least nine Christmas school programs, band concerts, piano recitals and a Tae Kwon Do black belt testing thrown in the mix. Bill and I also have responsibilities to help care for Bill’s 91 year old mom and my 98 year old Dad. Wowsa. It’s a lot in December.

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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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More Jesus at Christmas!

Christmastime can give any mom spiritual clutter. 

All of the extra holiday to-dos and events—and the feeling of panic that hits us when we realize it’s already December [fill in the date]—can push the Christmas joy right out of our hearts.  We hate to admit it, but even wonderful Christian moms like us need to be intentional about keeping our hearts centered on Christ at Christmas!

So this December, clear out some of that spiritual clutter.  Plan and prepare ahead as much as possible.  Skip “traditions” you don’t even like.  Simplify where you can and just do less…but, I also want to challenge you to do more in order to keep the joy of our Savior front and center in your heart.

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Reduce Your Anxiety with Jesus

When you get right down to it, clearing out spiritual clutter is all about reducing anxiety.  The Lord tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).  That’s why I began this ministry in the first place!

God took my four-year battle with a clinical anxiety disorder and used it for His glory.  Without that experience I never would have written a book or started a public speaking ministry, even though it’s not directly what I talk or write about.

Well, until now.  So many women who have read the Organizing You books or have heard me speak share their anxiety struggles with me—from their everyday worries to clinical anxiety to panic attacks.  In order to help, I’d like to share with you a few specific ways that I’ve learned to seek peace in my anxious moments.

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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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I’m All Shook Up

Read it! Amos 9

For I will give the command and I will shake the house of Israel among all

the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground.

All the sinners among my people will die by the sword,

all those who say, “Disaster will not overtake or meet us.”

(vs 9&10)

 

Think it through

How God hates sin. He really loathes it, despises it. Amos takes the first six verses of Chapter 9 to describe how not one of the Israelites would escape His wrath. Their physical death would reflect their spiritual one.

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Meeting Monumental Expectations

Read it!: Amos 3

You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth;

Therefore I will punish you for all your sins.

(vs 2)

 

Think it through:

Amos is relaying some tough love here, no doubt.

God had granted the Israelites an unbelievable gift of knowledge. They had seen the miracles. They had heard His voice and seen the effects of His presence. His laws were hand-delivered to them on stones carved by His own finger. And yet they chose to ignore Him and go their own way into a sinful lifestyle.

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