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Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Our sick trip to Walmart last night. Cookies make life better.

I’m no longer taking questions for my upcoming Q&A Vlog. I’ve selected 3 questions with topics ranging from how to help a family member who is a stripper, to how to know your calling, and a question on long distance dating! I’ll post it when I find my voice….which is currently lost in my sickness! Can’t wait to post my answers!

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Well, we are sick again. It’s been 5 weeks straight yuck. This time it’s the chest, throat, nose, and head.

I’m pretty tired of the (excuse my language) pooping, puking, and snot. I’m an upbeat person. But a person can only take so much of that nasty and being indoors.

I’d be lying and pretending if I told you there hasn’t been some dark moments. But I am learning lots through all of this about being a mom. One thing specifically that I want to share.

Motherhood is all about focusing on one thing at a time. You might be about to slap me with a “yeah right.” Just hear me out.

There’s some pretty bad moments in motherhood and life. Like when my husband is trying to finish his sermon on a Saturday night, and I feel the urge to get sick. He takes the screaming baby while I run to the bathroom, cleans him up and changes his diaper (Husband is amazing, by the way). Only for me to come out of the bathroom, take the crying baby, and be puked on by that baby. (TMI? True story.) Its almost comical all that can happen in 3 minutes.

Sure I was upset. Yeah, I kinda wanted to just wanted to sit in the floor and cry with Solomon. And OK, there was definitely a little feeling of self-pity. But there’s been A LOT (too many to count) of moments like these in the last 5 weeks. It only takes ONE of these to ruin a whole day.

Here’s my advice. If you want to make it, focus on the moment, and move on in the next moment and focus on it. We women too often let moments and feelings carry on and bleed into others. So feel all the feelings a person can feel while getting puked on, recognize them, and move on to the next thing. Here’s why. The next moment might be good, or great, or hilarious, or ironic, or just plain happy. You really don’t want to miss it, I promise. They are all part of this adventure, so don’t let any of those bad things ruin the good things!

If you don’t tackle life this way, I think you’ll find yourself feeling pretty down and sad most of the time. But give my advice a try. I think you’ll see at the end of the day that even though there were some bad moments, the good really does outweigh the bad.

How is this possible? I know you probably know this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. God is in control, and He really does care about you. And if you are a mom who cares, then you are probably a good mom. Just thought I’d remind you.

Chin up!
KR 🙂

Philippians 4:3-9
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

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I know this person who is utterly offended by the Gospel. At surface level when we talk, she smiles understandingly, nods, and even listens. But when I push a deeper understanding, when I push the concepts deeper, she always gets offended and either gracefully retreats or harshly engages in argument. It never fails.

I am, of course, talking about myself.

If we are honest with ourselves the Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend us. Why? Because it is offensive. The Bible even calls its message offensive in Galatians 5.

Does the Gospel offend you? If you are not offended by it, I think you should evaluate what it is you believe. Maybe you believe in the gospel of being a good or accepting person. Maybe you believe the gospel of not doing bad things. Maybe you believe the gospel where it’s all about you.

Why the Gospel of Jesus Christ offends: (According to Galatians 5)

1. Grace.
People love the idea of forgiveness and grace. The gospel is all about forgiveness and centered in the concept of grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved(B) through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We all love forgiveness and grace, but the Gospel becomes offensive to some when we believe we have done everything right. The Gospel offends “good church people,” when forgiveness and grace is extended to all people, especially the people who have hurt them personally.

You see, the grace of the Gospel is a great equalizer. It dethrones the high and mighty. It dethrones the religious. We all need God’s grace.
It’s very easy to believe in a gospel where your moral efforts and good works are the center. You can feel good about yourself, because you are better than someone else. But faith in yourself is not faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bibles says, “No one is righteous, not one.”

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about Jesus doing the greatest work that we could never do, taking the punishment of the all sin and taking the punishment of our good works done with the bad intentions of self-worship.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend your moral, selfish heart. Grace gets you out of control and off the throne. Grace turns a heart to worship Jesus.

2. Grace.

Some people love the idea of forgiveness and grace, but become offended by the Gospel because of its claims of sin and human depravity. The Bible is clear that some “individual rights or choices” are wrong and deserving of punishment. It shines the light on our hearts of selfishness, greed, and pride. The Gospel offends those who believe that they get to decide what is right and wrong for his or her self, because ultimately, we don’t like to have our wills crossed. Let’s face it, we feel like we deserve to live our lives how we want. Some people are offended by something that claims that they need grace. They are offended because if they say they need grace, they must admit that they live their life for their own gain. They must admit that they need Jesus.

The Gospel says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” The Gospel says that everyone sins, that every heart is selfish and prideful. Grace is again the great equalizer. Jesus loves us all so much, that He took the punishment we deserve so that we can experience His grace, His forgiveness, and His love. That is, if we will put our faith in Him instead of ourselves.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ should offend your sinful, selfish heart. Grace gets you out of control and off the throne. Grace turns a heart to worship Jesus.

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The older I get, the more I understand how much I need Jesus. Whether I think I am proud and significant because of my own good works or just wanting to justify my selfishness and sin, I need the grace of God every day. Every day of my life, I have to draw my significance, love, and joy from something that lasts. Every day of my life, I have to remember that Jesus loved me so much that He died for me. That through faith, I have received a grace I don’t deserve from someone who loves me more than I can even comprehend.

His grace is so amazing.

Every day of my life, I have to preach the Gospel to myself.

What Gospel do you believe?

KR:)

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One of the #1 reasons Christians don’t share their faith in Jesus Christ with the people in their lives is simply because they don’t know how to start the conversation. Some say that they don’t want to come across like a “Jesus Freak”. Other people feel like they freeze when an opportunity arises. Believe me, I understand I’ve been there before, and that’s why I want to give you some simple tips to overcome this problem! These are things you can and should start doing TODAY.

Simple tips to help you start talking about Jesus:

1. The Overflow of Your Heart Rule:
The Bible says, “Out of the overflow of your heart your mouth speaks.” This rule works for everything. If your heart is bitter, unforgiving, skeptical, fearful, obsessed with Beanie Babies…etc. your words will reflect this! My heart is in love with my amazing husband David, and my words reflect this! The same is true with Jesus, and this is where we must begin, my friends.

Who or what has your heart?

I think this is a valid question to ask. Maybe the reason it’s hard for you to talk about Jesus is because He’s not the center of your life and heart. The more that Jesus Christ is your love, your strength, your joy, your peace, and your life, the more you will naturally and easily talk about Him with others.

2. Be Aware:
Realize that every day God really does have someone for you to share Him with. Ask Him throughout the day who that person/s is! Life is pretty pointless if we aren’t sharing Jesus, and God doesn’t have a pointless life in store of you.

3. Know Your Testimony.
Ask yourself these questions-

What has Jesus saved me from?
What has Jesus done in my life?
How has his love changed me?
What does my relationship with Him look like?

Now write your answers down. Sometimes a little clarity goes a long way. Spend time reading over or even memorizing your answers. Eventually someone else will ask you one of those questions, and you will know exactly what to say!

4. Small Talk:
Serve in a local church and be a part of a smaller Christian community. This is important because you will be around people who talk about Jesus. They will ask you questions about Jesus. It’s good practice and it’s good input. Good input creates good output.

5. Evaluate What You Depend On:
For strength, peace, joy, hope, in good times, and in bad times depend on Jesus Christ. If you already do, take note of that. At some point someone is going to comment, “Why are you so happy?” “How can you have strength when things are so bad?” Jesus is your answer.

6. Pain:
Pain is a universal language. Pain is the reason that Jesus came, to save us and set us free. When you see pain, you should see a conversation about Jesus. You should see how he answers and heals all of our pain when we come to Him.

7. Good Advice:
If you are a Christian you will be asked for advice. The wisdom and peace and confidence of Jesus compel others to ask for your advice when you need it the most. This may seem daunting, but if you have good advice this could be a great conversation. And let me say, YOU HAVE GREAT ADVICE. Jesus really is the answer to any problem. Look past the outside and go straight for the issues of the heart. Jesus is always the answer to the longings of the heart.

8. Nature:
“The heavens declare the glory of the Lord.” Nature is always a pointing towards redemption, a move from death to life in Jesus. Creation sings the praise of our Creator. It’s an easy proclamation of Christ; use it!

9. Romance:
Romance tells the story of Jesus. The Bible says that marriage is a picture, a metaphor, of the love of Christ. (Ephesians 5) Unfortunately in the broken world there is so much brokenness in the name of love. Luckily Jesus’ love is the perfect love and answer to every broken heart.

10. Conversation Starters and Follow Up Questions:
Come up with your most comfortable way to start conversations about Jesus with new people, and use it frequently. They can be as simple as:

“What do you believe about God/Jesus?- Would you like to hear what I believe?” ,
“Do you attend church?- Would you like to go with me some time?”,
“What are you passionate about?- Why are you passionate about that?” ,
“What is your story?- Would you like to hear my story?” ,
“What/where do you feel like your purpose in life comes from?- What is your purpose?” ,
“Do you know Jesus?- Can I tell you about Him?”

Now start talking!

There are many more, but these are what I use to help me. How do you talk about Jesus? Comment with your tips below.

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So often I find myself in this horrific cycle of white-knuckle Christianity. I can keep myself from the sins of murder and adultery (do-the-right-thing sins), but go down in flames on the insecurity, jealousy, and pride in my mind. Is there a way to truly change your own thoughts? Are Christians doomed to have it all together on the outside, but be shamed by the deepest closets of our hearts with the secret sins of our minds?

Two weeks ago at North, I was standing in the back of the room during worship available to pray with anyone who desired it. A young girl I’d never met before rushed up to me in a panic and asked,
“I have to know, what is joy? How do I even know if I have joy?”

This is a question that David and I have really been talking about. We started a series on joy at North, and I find myself wondering is joy possible? It’s hard to be different, to do the right things, and especially to think the right things. And let’s be honest, you are what you think. What you think about determines the kind of life you live.

As Christians we tend to stop there. We enter the battle of the mind, struggle through our thoughts, and fight until we are weary. But what I am beginning to believe is that we need to unearthed an even deeper problem. We need to stop treating the symptom and find out the problem.

The problem is our joy.

You see, we will ultimately spend our time thinking about the very thing we think we will give us ultimate joy. This means that ultimately we aren’t led by our thoughts; we are truly led by our desires. So I guess the question is, What do you REALLY believe will give you joy? (success, comfort, safety, accomplishment, beauty, perfection…ect?) Those things drive all of your thoughts and ultimately your actions: good and bad.

Once you’ve made that assessment, there are 4 things you need to know about your answer.

1. That thing or person will let you down and ultimately fail you.

2. Because you believe that thing or person will give you what you want (joy), it has control over your happiness, thoughts, and ultimately your actions.

3. Because it has control over your happiness, thoughts, and actions, you have a spiritual worship of that thing or person.

4. You will never be able to experience true and lasting joy. (1 John 2:15-17)

When you think about the pain and suffering of the world, when you face hardships and trials and loneliness, and finding out that true and lasting joy is unattainable can make life feel worthless, pointless, and bleak. As Christians, we have Christ as our example. And luckily, He was well acquainted with grief, loneliness, pain, hardship, abandonment, and ultimately a horrific death. Unbelievably, He did it all with joy. How?

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus laid aside everything and went to the cross for the JOY. What is that joy? His love for His Father and His love for you. Ultimately Jesus could do the difficult work of the cross and face every hardship in this life, because His mind was fixed on His joy. His mind was fixed on His love for you.

Proverbs 10:24 “What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.”

It’s time that we make right the desires of our heart. It’s time we make Jesus the desire of our heart and pour out our love and affection on Him, who is so deserving. He will never fail you or control you. Only He will give you true and ultimate joy.

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Scripture Meditation:

Psalm 37:4
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

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Book Recommendation:

Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional” by Jim Belcher

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Check out the first 2 sermons on JOY! These are so great to hear and helpful for your heart!

“Joy For The Lonely”

“Joy For The Fearful”

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Question:

How has Jesus given you joy?

My answer:
“My Secret Battle”

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I used to work for Center for Science and Industry in Columbus (COSI), and do experiments for school groups. I love experiments!

Last week I did an experiment. I wrote a list of everything that I find myself continually worrying about, the things that always come up. I have to tell you, I spend a ton of time worrying. If you have never done this, try it. It was absolutely shocking.

I easily filled up a page of things that fill my mind up every day. These things ranged from pleasing my husband, parents, having a certain image, worrying about money, wanting to be cared for, and secure…

The first thing I realized was that there were certain things that were consistent worries, and that patterns emerged. I found that I could condense my worries into several categories, (deep breath), here are mine:
1. fear of failure
2. worrying/desiring to succeed
3. worrying/desiring to be special

I realized that many of my fears even fit into all my categories. For example: my worries to please my husband and be a good wife. This is a fear of failure, desire to succeed, and be special. Interesting. Ok, pretty harmless things at first glance, but God has begun to show me is that so much of my life and my MIND is tied up with these worries. And as I spent time praying about this I realized that even my categories can be condensed into one big giant category: a desire to have VALUE.

I realized, I have a desperate desire to be valuable. It’s what i spend all my time thinking about. It motivates so much of my life. And I’m caught in this game of striving and failing to attain it. It’s a mind obsession. It is a lifelong goal. I can just about bet, that if you try this honest experiment, you will find this true for yourself. We long for, we worship, our own sense of value. We want this desire to be fulfilled. If only we could just have peace. It’s amazing that our own quest for value from the things around us can keep us striving and keep us away from the peace we seek.

Matthew 6:25-34
I’ve read these verses so often, but for some reason God illuminated it to me today. I love that Jesus doesn’t just fix our problems; He goes after our hearts always. He says, “Are you not more valuable than this?” See Jesus knows our need to feel valued, and He knows that because we haven’t accepted the value He has given us; we cannot accept His peace. He knows that if we KNOW how much HE values us, that we would lay every care and worry at His feet. We would have His complete peace. He knows that we wouldn’t just stop worrying about our bodies, our clothes, and our relationships. He knows that we even surrender the big worries like sickness, survival, and death.

Today, Jesus wants to quiet you with His love. He is offering you rest.

The answer is so simple: You are so valuable to Him. You were so valuable that Jesus gave up the splendor and worship of Heaven, to die for you when you were in your ugliest, dirtiest moment. And He did it all just so He could be close to you again. Take His value and place it in your heart.

Stop worshipping your own value. And put your eyes on Jesus. He doesn’t just offer peace; He IS peace.
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Isaiah 26:3-9a
” You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust. The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.
The path of the righteous is level; you make level the way of the righteous. In the path of your judgments, O LORD, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.”

Precious Asaph, who prayed over my family in Kenya in 2007. He went to be with our Lord shortly after this picture was taken. You can see the peace and joy in His face 🙂

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– Try the experiment yourself
– Are there any patterns that emerge?
– Do you live in peace and walk in His value?

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