Wednesday, March 30, 2016

In God's Hands?

"Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19"  

I used to say (and believe) this phrase. It served as a logical excuse for when things didn't go as I had planned. But lately, I honestly think this phrase is just not right. 

Deuteronomy 30:15 (NLT) reads: "Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster."

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) reads: "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"

In these verses, God is telling the Israelites that He is giving them options and that their choices will be witnessed and verified in heaven and on earth.  So if "Its all in God's hands..." why did He offer them options? Why did He tell them to choose?  

Here are my thoughts on this well intended phrase:

I firmly believe that my future is in God's sight as stated in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe He knows the beginning from the end and all that lays in between. I believe that He has a plan for my life and that He sets me up to succeed. That He gives me options that will help me along the right pathway. But I also know that He chose to give us free will so that we will love, follow, and trust Him because we want to.

So why do I think the phrase "Its all in God's hands" is not entirely true? Well, honestly, my life is a reflection of the choices I've made. I can choose to live below my destiny or embrace it. I can trust Him to only give me good choices, so I will need to recognize His voice (see John 10:27. NLT) over that of the enemy, who also has a voice (see Revelation 12) and offers me choices. 

As a life skills coach, I encourage my neighbors to become the best version of themselves they can become. But that will not happen by accident. Just as God created me on and for a purpose; my life is in my hands, to work on purpose to make a positive impact in my community for the sake of eternity.

Think of it this way: if I choose to not do my job, who will? And if someone chooses to step up and do my job for me, who will do theirs?  If it is truly all in God's hands, we would not have choices, options, or responsibilities! He'd do it all for us just like Jesus did on the cross - take it all upon Himself and give us an "easy out." And no, the cross was not easy for Jesus and life is not easy for us, but the very same God who gave us free will, has provided a way for us (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), He set before us life and death, blessings and cursing...but it is up to us to choose.

Create your tomorrow by making the right choice, do your best in everything you do, consider that your future in in God's sight...but it is in your hands.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Can't Explain Jesus

I get all fluttery inside just thinking about Easter.  Can you visualize Mary running from the graveyard shouting that she had talked with Him? How about the look on Peter's face as he tucked his head into the empty tomb? Emotions from elation to sadness, from excitement to doubt, from disbelief to acceptance!

I think that the most glorious sight we could ever behold, not including His ascending to heaven or Him returning in the clouds, would be that empty tomb! In my head, that empty tomb shouted to Mary and Peter:  "Hey y'all, you ready for THIS, He ain't here! He has risen; He did what He said He was gonna do, whatcha think about that?!" And then, the Holy Spirit rises up inside me, giving me a smile on my face, a tear in my eye, and a feeling in my gut that many of you know all too well!

I would love to try and explain the love I have for Jesus Christ but mere words just can't explain it or Him. He has to be experienced. Every person for yourself and here's why:

Jesus didn't live, die, arise, ascend, and then leave us alone do take on the world - oh no! He told those in the upper room to tarry till they were endued with power; and then He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and direct, to comfort and enlighten. It is this same Spirit, the one that rose Jesus from the dead, that moves mountains, closes doors, opens seas, this same Spirit is alive in each believer. It is the breath of God in us! And let me tell you neighbor, once you've experienced Him within, you completely understand why words just can't explain Him.

If you are reading this and have not asked Him inside, to fill that void within, to give you a portion of the Holy Spirit and if He is dealing with you right now (the flutter in your gut? That's Him knocking), ask Him to forgive your sins, to fill you up to overflowing, to grant you the ability to FEEL Him inside...and then trust that it is done.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Great Place to Start!

This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it.” 
Psalm 118:24 (ISV)

"Okay, let's get this day started!"  I sat on the edge of my made-up bed, fully clothed and ready to start my day. My schedule included taking my son to school, answer e-mails and complete a report for work, babysit my sick grandson, pay bills, balance checkbook, fix supper, get Bubby from track practice. Oh! And watch the new episode of The Flash tonight!  And suddenly, instead of it being 7:00 am – in my mind - it was bedtime. Just that quickly, I had teleportated to the end of the day I had just started! Suddenly, my cell rang with a courtesy call from my husband "Hey sweetie, I forgot to tell you, it frosted last night - you may want to warm up the Jeep before you head out."  And that phone call catapulted me into scurrying mode, and what started out as a busy yet peaceful second day of spring suddenly became yet another hectic morning. And I found myself just wanting to get the day over with already.

Does this ever happen to you?  Are you are thinking "Lady, that's my life every day?"  Yeah, mine too! But here are a few tidbits I have accumulated over the years (and I need to put them into practice more!) that can help:

1)  Start each day with some personal quiet time
2) Plan your week in advance – allowing time for some         
     spilled milk and frost
3) Make prayer and time with God your top priority
4) Set aside some time for something you want to do
5) Learn to deep breathe slowly and on purpose
6) Look for the beauty in ordinary days

There's a lot more but hey, this is a good start actually, it's a great place to start!

Have a blessed week - 

In Christ with Love and Compassion,
Coach Kelly

Friday, March 18, 2016

Simple Disrespect

I hate disrespect. I don't care if it is aimed at me, another person, an animal or an inanimate object. Lately I've been thinking about the impact it has on our society and can't seem to find a good answer to the problem.
Many folks, and most of our neighbors, are kind, respectful individuals. But as a nation, respect for God, authority, and humanity seems to have declined to the point of extinction.   This is a problem that cannot be legislated away, it isn't the fault of schools nor churches. This is a problem that started developing at home. But its solution starts with each individual. The problem of disrespect can be stopped by listening to, and following, those gut instincts God Himself gave us.

Its simple really, if your gut says its wrong, guess what? It is! Listen to your is seldom wrong.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Rooted in Christ

Nothing tastes as good as that first tomato or ear of corn from your own garden! And thankfully, spring is right around the corner; so it's time to start getting the soil ready for our gardens! Last summer, as I hoed row after row of corn, okay to be honest they are very short rows, I remember not really thinking of anything, just working to get the job done and about how sweaty my tee shirt was. (Some ladies perspire but thanks to our mom's genes, my sisters and I, we sweat!)

Anyways, I don't think I told John this, but one day after a week of hard rains, as I hoed the corn, one of the plants popped out of the ground. It looked just like a jack-in-the-box as it popped up and flipped over! I swear, if I hadn't known any better, I would have sworn I had pulled it out on purpose!  I stood there, looking down at the silly thing not knowing if I should put it back in the ground or toss it. But I pushed it back in, gave it a little water, and prayed that it would take root again and grow.

I don't remember if that plant was one of the few that produced, but one thing did take root: As I hoed, the Holy Spirit brought Mark 4 to mind.  That is the story Jesus told using the parable of the sower and how some seed fell in good places taking root while others fell into places where they just couldn't. I remember how God spoke to my heart and revealed that recent rains done a couple things:  1- for some of the plants, the rain forced the roots to go deeper, making the plant more sturdy; 2- but for others it caused the surrounding soil to loosen up, and since the roots weren't well established, those plants became wobbly.

+ + +
Neighbors, the storms of life can do the same things to us. Sometimes life makes us stronger in Christ - causing us to go deeper into relationship with Him (you know, we talk to Him more, lean more on Him for support) but other times our faith is uprooted by life's storms (we blame Him or stop talking to/trusting Him).  But the truth of the matter is that He never leaves us. Just like my uprooted plant, its furrow was still there, its "hole" too, but for some reason, its roots were not strong enough to hold out. If it would have held on for just a few more days, the pull of the sun would have up righted it as its roots pulled deeper into the soil.

+ + + 
Neighbor, if you are struggling with the roots of your faith, if life can easily uproot you, I encourage you to hold on! If you need a shoulder to lean on, please find someone to help you get back into place with God. A church family, a trusted Christian friend, even a good Bible teacher on TV - but find someone who can help you reestablish your roots into the true Foundation.  I love the promises of the following Bible verses. They have helped me a lot during times of upheaval and I promise they can help you as well: John 15;  John 16:33; Matthew 8:26

Stay strong and hold on,
In Christ with love and Compassion,

Coach Kelly

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Simple Things

Leonardo de Vinci wrote:
"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication."

I doubt that I am alone here but I am willing to admit that sometimes I over-complicate life. Which is odd since I am very organized. I have a notebook for this, a bag for that, and electronic file folders within a folder within a folder. But the problem comes when I get a new tool. When I get something new, instead of donating or tossing the current one, I keep and reuse. So it gets a little complicated trying to find my stuff.  I have even coached myself: "Dreama, seriously, pick one bag and make it work for all your projects and contracts. Keep things simple!" But again today, I looked at my cute and functional bags, and picked one, and started moving my stuff... all in the name of organization.

Now I am not quite sure how this made me think of my relationship with Jesus...but it did.  So I asked myself if I over complicate my relationship with the name of religion?

+ + +

Micah 6:8 reads: "The Lord has told you what is good. He has told you what He wants from you: Do what is right to other people. Love being kind to others. And live humbly, trusting your God." (ICB). Yet, personally, I find myself thinking there has to be more to my salvation than this...right? Surely, I have to do something more than just believe in Jesus, be kind, trust God, and live humbly? But since God uses the simple things in the world to stump the wise, maybe salvation is that simple. Maybe God didn't make it as hard as religion deems necessary. Maybe the bondage of religion is as damning as the bondage of sin...maybe Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is enough. Maybe living to please Him is as simple as trying to live LIKE love those less perfect than ourselves [please sense my sarcasm], to genuinely smile at strangers...and mean it! Maybe trusting Him with our imperfections and trusting that He can make beauty from ashes, is enough to reach heaven. 

In other words, maybe turning our tarnished past into a mirror reflecting His perfect love is as simple as believing and living in Him...maybe to Him this life truly is one of His Simple Things.

In Christ with Love and Compassion,
~Coach Kelly

#YourLifeCoachingWV #BeyondTheMirror

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Promise or Warning?

I am 48 years old and I have never seen such amazing displays of rainbows in all my life! This past year or so, I have seen double rainbows, multiple rainbows, and rainbows that literally hit the ground.  Yesterday, I had the unique experience of driving under a rainbow - now that was pretty awesome!

Until yesterday, I only considered these sightings as inspiring promises.
Genesis 9:14-16 reads: "It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 

But yesterday, as I passed under the bow, it hit me: these pretty things also hold a warning about "what comes next."  Somehow we tend to hold onto God's pretty promises but overlook His blatant warnings.

2 Peter 3:7 & 10 read:  "7 But the heaven we see now and the earth we live on now have been kept by His word. They will be kept until they are to be destroyed by fire. They will be kept until the day men stand before God and sinners will be destroyed. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare."

+ + +

Like a lot of folks, I find myself getting "stirred up" by news feeds or Facebook posts promoting hate, racism, immorality, etc. but if I am only getting myself in a tizzy, what good is that to anyone else?

So I have to ask myself "What am I doing to share God's love with this hurting world and can I do more?"  Maybe the answer is simply yes. I can pray more, talk with God often, read the Bible and then apply it, live fully, love deeply, forgive often, and be the best person I can be.

I believe that if every professing Christian, if every good or spiritual person, if every American would start striving for peace,  we can persuade God (See Exodus 34:14) that we are worthy of another chance...

In Christ with love and compassion - Coach Kelly

He knows the Stars by Name

Photo Credit: Dolly Sods Facebook Group - Unknown Hey y’all.       After journaling morning prayers and reading a devotion, Psalm 147:4 ca...