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What Stirs Your Affections?

Earlier this year my Young Adult group went through Matt Chandler’s video study on Philippians, “To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain.” I have to say, I was SUPER excited to do it because I had already read the book and loved it and was ready to share that with my closest friends. Pluusss…I just love Matt Chandler…

There was a thought in the series that really struck me. Chandler is asking you to look at your life and think about what stirs your affections for Christ and causes you to passionately pursue Him. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it before. From the book:

“What is it that stirs you to know Him, to love Him, to worship Him? It will probably look different for a lot of people. It will have to involve the Scriptures, because that’s how God speaks to us. It will involve prayer, because that’s how we speak to God. It involves worship, but we have to remember that worship is bigger and more expansive than singing songs in church. What is it that incorporates the Word and prayer and ultimately builds your heart in worship?” pg.98

He goes through several things that build his love for Christ and let me just say, I’m pretty sure he and I are kindred spirits. Most of the stuff on his list is on mine too. But I wanted to share with you a couple things that stir up my affections for Christ. I want to be clear that these aren’t just things I like in the way that I love cozy blankets but they are things that actually cause me to love and worship Christ more than I already do.

The first would definitely be early mornings. There is just something about waking up early and watching the sun come up as you do your devotions. There is a quiet beauty during that time that makes my heart whisper thankful prayers to the Lord.

Secondly, listening to others who are passionate about their faith. Being in the presence (or, ummm, screen) of someone who SO obviously loves Christ and is excited to share about Him and what he has done encourages me to love Him and serve Him better!

Thirdly, SNOW. I’m already prepared for some negative feedback on this one. I don’t know what it is about snow but it makes me giddy. I literally start giggling like a little girl and laugh (out loud) with joy when it snows. That God would create something so unique, soft, and beautiful is just amazing to me and I love it! It adds a beauty and quietness to winter.

The last one is probably weird. Music. Worship music, yes! Singing praise songs by myself or, even better, with my brothers and sister in Christ is a beautiful thing! But it doesn’t even have to be that. Have you ever listened to movie scores before? Like from awesome, epic movies? There is something so moving and incredible about them that causes me to worship God. I thought at first it was because I was relating it to what I knew was happening at that point in the movie but I’ve listened to scores from movies I’ve never seen and it can still happen. Classical music can have the same effect. The pure beauty of music itself screams out glory for the Creator!

The book also addresses things that can steal your affections for Christ but I want to talk about that in my next post (whenever that comes.)

What about you? What are some things that make you love and rejoice more in our Savior? What stirs your affections for Him?

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2018 in books

 

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The Pit of Despair (Link)

I really enjoyed writing this guest post! Lamentations is soooo under-rated. Click below to head on over to Guys With Bibles and read it!

The Pit of Despair

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2018 in Bible

 

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To Coffee or Not to Coffee?

Growing up our family never drank coffee. My Dad hated the taste of it and my Mom didn’t like any sort of hot drink so I never even tasted coffee until I was an adult. Although we did have a coffee maker we would dust off for guests occasionally and pull our can of years-old coffee out of the freezer to make for them. I actually felt hugely bewildered and almost betrayed the last time I went home and watched as my Dad got coffee at church and found out my Mom drinks it every day. I was in shock. Apparently it’s a thing for them now.

Which I’m okay with because I love coffee. When I moved away from home, my world opened up to the wonderful smell of it in the morning and I grew to enjoy it. It wasn’t the caffeine (a little bit of caffeine makes me pretty shaky), I just loved the taste and the boldness in the morning. I didn’t drink it every day (also a HUGE tea fan…) but a lot of days.

You are probably wondering if I actually have a point with these ramblings or not. Guess you’ll have to wait and find out, huh? Fast forward to 2016. When I started having seizures, I was told that caffeine is a big trigger for most people. I did a little testing with myself and found that to be true. I figured that would be the case since I was already sensitive to caffeine. So I veerrryy sadly cut coffee (uh, because every sane person knows decaf is gross) and my favorite black teas out of my diet to prevent seizures.

Fast forward again (boy, we are just flying through time today, aren’t we?) to about 3 months ago. I was REALLY struggling. A major side effect of my meds is depression. They actually monitor you for it and ask you about it at every appointment. People, it’s a really hard place to be in. To force yourself to take medication that is (finally!) working for one thing but really hurting you emotionally. The meds were also making me SO tired and foggy that I was struggling to do anything. Every day was a battle. As weird as this sounds though, my relationship with the Lord was close. I was learning and growing in Him but struggling at the same time. It’s hard to explain.

And one day, I had had enough. I wanted some coffee and by golly I was going to have some. I did use a small amount of wisdom and got half-caff. It didn’t taste good at all but within a few minutes I could feel my brain becoming clear. The fog was dissipating some. And while I felt a little what I call “seizury” (I think I made that word up), nothing happened and my day ran better.

I have drank half-caff coffee pretty much every day since then. One cup. Actually using the amount they recommend. (Which is new for me. I was always dark roast all the way.) I have a little more energy, and my thoughts are better and more focused. I don’t live in that darkness that was hanging over me before. As best I can put it, the coffee is fighting the depression in some way. I absolutely DO NOT want to be put on medication for it because I know of side effects from those. (Can I mention here that I’m not recommending coffee as medication and if you and your doctor decide anti-depressants are needed, I’m not saying it’s wrong at all! I just don’t want to go that way.)

And the reason I’m telling you all this is because people keep mentioning that I look better and seem like I have more energy. Sometimes I’m at a loss of how to respond to that because for me, it feels fake. I know it’s simply the coffee. And if I were to take that away, things would go right back to how they were before. Back to foggy Kimmy, unable to accomplish or understand what she needs to do for the day. Is that who I am or is Coffee-Kimmy who I am? (Oh thank goodness, I’m just redeemed-Kimmy!)

So I contemplate and pray about this often. Does that seem ridiculous? Praying about coffee? Maybe it is and maybe I’m overthinking it. Anyway, in the interest of being transparent, I wanted to share and get your thoughts on the topic.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2018 in epilepsy

 

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Sinner or Saint?

If you’ve known me very long or ever been in any sort of Bible study with me, you probably know that I can be kind of mischievous when I so choose. For instance, if someone is trying to skim over a difficult topic or passage, I’m going to be THAT person who points it out and forces the group to discuss it. My best friend can tell when it’s coming and sometimes I get a warning glance from her (which is usually ignored) and then she just sighs. 🙂

Sometimes though, if I want to really get a group going, I’ll make one of my favorite statements:

“Well, I actually don’t think we should say we are sinners. We are saints.”

And then I just sit back with a smile and listen to all the protests go on around me. People whip out their Bibles like they are ready to excommunicate me. Arguments start. It’s great.

After the dust settles and everyone is ready to listen, I bring forth my evidence. Let me start by saying that all of this only applies to those who are saved. If God has NOT redeemed your soul, then you are a sinner and that word is highly applicable. And it was for every. single. person. BEFORE we were saved as well. In fact, we are such sinners that Ephesians 2:1 says that we were DEAD in our trespasses and sins. That’s how fitting the word is.

But if you read just a little further down in Ephesians you come to these verses:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7

Something changes when we become saved. Actually, everything changes. But one thing in particular that I would like to talk about is our standing before the Lord. Once we are saved, when God looks at us, ALL HE SEES IS CHRIST’S RIGHTEOUSNESS! I mean, how incredible is that??! He doesn’t see our sin, but he sees what Christ did to redeem us! (Disclaimer: Not an excuse for sin. Read yourself some Romans.)

Furthermore, did you know that out of the 9 letters that Paul wrote to churches, in 6 of them, he starts out using the word “saints?” He either says “called to be saints” or outright calls the believers “saints.” He also uses it liberally throughout his letters as he refers to his brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul definitely thought that word was fitting for believers. (Galatians….not so much…)

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is my favorite one and so of course I was curious to see what it had to say on the word sinner. One thing it said was, “It is used in contradistinction to saint, to denote an unregenerate person; one who has not received the pardon of his sins.” Believer, that is not you!

So, here’s the part in my conversation where someone usually goes, “but, but” and stumbles around for some words. Let me help you out. I understand, friend! Of course we still sin and need to ask God’s forgiveness constantly. That’s not what I’m saying at all! I think the problem comes in because some churches have distorted the word saint to mean a perfect person and they worship man instead of God alone but that’s NOT how the Bible uses it. The Bible refers to us as saints not because WE are perfect but because our REDEEMER is! Totally different. But it does refer to believers numerous times as saints.

Because, in God’s eyes, we are no longer sinners. That train has left, that slave isn’t here (another one is lol.)

We aren’t sinners; we are saints that sin.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2018 in theology

 

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An “Epic” Review

I recently had the blessing to travel across the country for a good friend’s wedding. And by travel, I mean fly, because if you know me you know that I get carsick pretty easily so if it was a road-trip, the word “blessing” would probably have been dropped from that sentence.

Anywho…I always take a book with me when I fly and sometimes I actually read it and sometimes I just sit like a creeper and people-watch. But this time I brought a book I had actually been saving for my next flight, as weird as that sounds. It’s small, short, and even weirder for me, I have NO IDEA how I got it or it’s study guide! So while you may have been thinking I was being stuck up with my blog title, the title of the book is actually Epic, and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

I got through security for my flight pretty fast (because I’m a good rule-follower) and since it appeared that the people-watching chances were slim, I opened the book right up. Seriously guys, I hadn’t even read the back cover. I was going in blind on this one, which is really new for me. It’s by John Eldredge, who I don’t know much about, except he wrote Wild at Heart, which I’ve never read.

The very first line of the book hooked me because he referenced my favorite movie, Lord of the Rings. I was immediately intrigued. He also had a quote by G.K. Chesterton and I thought, “Gosh, he’s off to a great start!” The book is about telling the gospel with more of an “epic story” perspective. I’ve never read anything that referenced SO many well-known movies and books: Chronicles of Narnia, Little Women, Gladiator, Titanic, Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, The Odyssey, Stars Wars, and so many more. It was insane!

It was quite an interesting perspective and while I can’t say I agreed with all the theology (mainly the section on free will), he came at it from an angle that was really different from anything I’ve ever read.

But after a while I started to notice something. It wasn’t quite fitting anymore. Instead of trying to show how the gospel had similar themes to some of our movies, it seemed more like he was trying to make the gospel fit into the movies’ themes. I think he was letting his imagination run away a little bit.

Because while God’s story is incredible, amazing, and (I would even agree, epic,) it’s not one of our movies. It is written by a supreme Creator, not humans. And somehow comparing it to our flawed stories relentlessly gave it less meaning than reading it how it was actually written, in God’s own Words. 

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in books

 

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Birthday Cookies

Today is my birthday. I woke up this morning at 5am with an unusually bad headache. Like really splitting to be honest. I did not want to be awake and I did not want it to be my birthday. I certainly did not want to get on stage at church this morning for the ministry minute I was scheduled for and excitedly explain how Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes work.

I had made a point of telling Natalie that I didn’t want a point made of my birthday. Honestly it’s been a stressful month. Coming off your parent’s insurance when your work’s insurance doesn’t kick in for a few months is hard and there are a lot of details to figure out. I wasn’t happy about the day and in fact, had pretty much forgotten my birthday was coming up.

But I don’t like to be grumpy when other people are trying to celebrate so when my Sunday School class sang me Happy Birthday, I smiled and thanked them. And I did the same for every sweet person that wished me well. And I successfully got my ministry minute pulled together (with some awesome volunteers!) and smiled the whole time.

I got home from church and tried to give my attitude a stern talking-to, but the screaming pain in my head just made me lay on the couch, wishing I could enjoy the beautiful day outside.

And then suddenly, I got the urge to bake some cookies. I know that sounds weird but I haven’t baked anything for no reason in a while and I (almost in a daze) got up and started getting out the ingredients. It wasn’t until a few minutes later, when the dough was finished and I was getting down my cookie sheets, that I saw what had happened.

I looked down at the dough and realized I had just made the cookies from memory. My memory. I had remembered. This is my Dad’s family recipe and I’ve had it memorized since I was at least 10 but the last time I tried to make them, I had to call my Mom because I couldn’t remember it. And I hadn’t made them since.

Yeah, I know. It probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. But it was to me. And I was so thankful that I burst out crying like a little baby.

This has been a hard year. Harder than most people know. And as I sit here typing, I know my problems aren’t all gone (still have a whooper of a headache.) But I am thankful for what God has taught me and for the fact that he is continuing to lovingly teach me.

Even if it’s with cookies.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2018 in encouragment

 

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Inquiring of the Lord (Link)

I’m super excited to say that today I have the privilege of being a guest poster? (postest? postee? eh, whatever) over at my friends, Guys With Bibles! Click the link below to read my post and check out their blog while you’re over there!

~Inquiring of the Lord~

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2018 in blogging

 

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