Jackson Five Friday: Divine Appointments and Obedience

Hey Friends,

Do you believe in divine appointments? I do. In fact, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, divine appointments and messages are all around us.

Last month I went on a hike with a friend. It was one of those “we finally did it” kind of things. I first met this friend before I moved to Tennessee at the end of 2015. She made a huge impression on me from the first meeting, and one time probably more than three years ago she said, “we should go for a hike sometime.” We share a mutual love for a nearby park with lots of trails, but when we finally followed through on our hike, she took me to a new place that she frequents. We took two of her sweet dogs along, one lead the way for her and the other followed right behind her. The dog that followed hardly knew what to do with me. It looked up at me like, “Okay this is awkward. Are you right on her heels or am I?”

I had some big things happening in my life that week and I felt like I talked her ear right off. I hate that regrettable over-sharing feeling. But anyway, we had a lovely time and thankfully I didn’t do all of the talking.

Because she ended up telling me about how powerfully God had answered her prayers when she read and prayed through the book, Draw the Circle, with her husband. Right then I told her, “Oh I’m going to order that book.” I just knew it was a divine message for me. But, did I order the book? No, I didn’t.

Days slipped by, then weeks. I didn’t order the book. But God sometimes sends reminders. Last week the author of the book, Mark Batterson, was interviewed on That Sounds Fun, which is the podcast of Annie F. Downs. I promptly ordered the book. In fact, I’ve ordered it for a couple of friends as well.

Here’s a quote I’ve already come across, “We can’t plan God-ordained opportunities. All we can do is seize them.” So true, and I can testify that you feel a lot more content when you seize them.

Do you have something you know you are supposed to do because the still small voice of God told you to? Maybe it’s as easy as ordering a book, or maybe it’s something a lot heavier.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James‬ ‭4:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

May we make obedience to doing the next right thing a priority this weekend and always!

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: “I See You”

Hey Friends,

I’ve been thinking about the many pitfalls of social media. It can fuel envy and comparison. It can lead to an identity rooted in the approval of others. It can falsely reduce the complexity of life, and make it appear like some people have it all together. They don’t. Social media can also flat out lie to you.

A lie I’ve seen a lot recently is “I see you.” The thrust of the statement is that the forgotten or lonely or oppressed or struggling are recognized by some influencer. It’s one thing to say, “Newborn Mamas, I feel you. Getting up to feed and change baby every two hours is exhausting. Trust me it’s going to get better!” No matter the severity of the struggle, sincere sentiments like “I’ve been there” and “I get it” and “You are not alone” are comforting. But “I see you” is different. I realize it’s an expression, but the fact is the person doesn’t “see” you at all. They are on a device somewhere and your personal crisis is wholly unknown to them. I don’t think we were designed to offer theoretical comfort, to be burdened for others in such a detached, impersonal way. Nor do I think we can be satisfied with such comfort.

The more loving thing to say, is the truth: “God sees you.” He knows all about it. He loves you no matter what and He cares about your situation and your feelings. He not only literally sees you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.

The “I see you” bloggers could also offer the wisdom that is actually needed: “I wish I could help, but you need a face-to-face encourager. Get involved in a local church. Don’t just anonymously attend a Sunday service. Join a small group or a Bible study. Go to Sunday School. Go to Wednesday night dinners. No matter how hard it is at first, continue to seek real biblical community where you can be seen, loved, and understood. It is not always easy, but it’s always worth it. Find a church that is serious about loving its people and plant yourself there.”

The corollary is that if we truly desire to “see” hurting people, we’ll stop posting about it and go see them. Be the shoulder to cry on, the attentive listener, the speaker of truth that the hurting actually need. Being there for someone in their hour of need, or more likely in their intermittently needy life, is not always easy but it’s always worth it. Find a church that is serious about loving people and serve there.

Technology can be used for good. I’ve been writing this blog for more than eleven years and through it I hope I’ve spurred others on. I’ve certainly been spurred on by readers and commenters, and my posts are mostly reminders directed at me. But relationships based in technology cannot be primary. We need in-the-flesh relationships. We grow closer to Jesus in the midst of the body, the physical body, of believers.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”” ‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭16:9a‬ ‭

His loving eyes go to and fro, He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. But I hope you also have Christian friends who will see you and love you this weekend and always.

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Weigh-In Culture

Hey Friends,

Have you had a good week? My Monday started with a green smoothie spill in the passenger seat, which is really not how you want to kick things off, but things trended more positively after that. But I will admit many aspects of our culture bring me down more than cleaning up a smoothie.

For example, I find the incessant weighing in on everything exhausting. And I don’t mean weighing in like at Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. I mean how many people compulsively weigh in on daily events. I imagine it stems in part from social media, and all the liking and hearting. But what does it say about us that endorsing or condemning is now the norm on every little thing?

In a viral obsessed society, if a public figure says something worthwhile, there’s a rush to re-post. Oh yes I am for that. Yessiree, I am for that.

Granted this is undoubtedly preferable to the converse: someone somewhere says something objectionable and it’s like hungry horses racing for the barn. Everybody and their brother needs to weigh in. I am anti that. Oh my gosh, so offensive, so misguided, so uneducated. I condemn that, believe you me!

Forgive the irony, as I sit here using words to weigh in on the rabid weighing in, but I think our lives should speak for themselves. Unless I’m talking to you face-to-face about some issue in the public domain, I hope I am unlikely to condemn or condone much of anything. I condone Jesus and anything that points to Him. But I hope and pray my life reflects that without using a single syllable, verbal or written.

Please Lord let my life –my calendar, my prayer journal, my bank accounts, my choices, my values–reflect You. Help my life to speak so clearly and loudly that I don’t need to use words. Well, except here on my weekly blog. But even then Lord let my words be authentic, let them to somehow reflect You, even though I am the worst of sinners.

May all of us use words to bless others in real life relationships and not to rely on the impersonal means available to us through modern technology. This weekend pat someone on the back or hug them tight instead of liking a post or pic. Let your investment of time, money and talent illustrate your views, knowing that actions not only speak louder than words, actions accomplish a heck of a lot more.

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Proverbs‬ ‭10:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Let’s cherish deeds over words, and truth and love always,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Treadmill Worship

Hey Friends,

Do you listen to a lot of Christian radio? I tend to go in cycles. I love all kinds of music, but if I’m in a rut then listening to Christian music always helps. Yesterday I spent very little time in the car, but heard the song Symphony twice. It’s impossible to listen to that truth without it impacting you.

In the last week I’ve implemented a different kind of encouragement. In September we got DirecTV, which for the first year includes Sunday Ticket (every NFL game that is played is available for my four fans to watch). There has been an outpouring of praise and adoration over this. From the boys’ perspective it sounds like calling DirecTV was my most shining moment. And I don’t even watch TV. I hardly know how to turn it on, and cannot tell you the number of a single channel. I did try it pay attention when the install guy was here so I could pass on some tips to the boys. As the guy was scrolling through the guide screen something popped out at me: The Hillsong Channel. I did not know such a channel existed but last week I found it, blared it and watched it from the treadmill. It was a worship service for which I did not know a single song, which I found pretty odd because I know a ton of Hillsong songs.

But how cool to combine exercise and praise — two of life’s surest mood boosters! Technology is insane. I can be in the privacy of my own home, running and belting out tunes with sold-out Aussie believers. The lyrics are right there on the screen and I can measure my heart rate while wearing the dumbest looking get-up in history. I have no excuse for not carving out time to exercise every day.

After all, if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and it is, then taking time to care for it is imperative. Plus caring for your body shows how God’s design and commands intertwine. You do something for one reason: take care of your body because it literally houses the Holy Spirit, but the benefits are far reaching. For starters you physically feel better, you physically look better, your brain is clearer, and you have more energy. Similarly, you may look at the Ten Commandments as restrictive but if you live them you quickly see that it’s the same thing as exercise: obedience brings a whole host of benefits. God wants what’s best for us. Treating our bodies as temples is what is best.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Please God help me to do a better job of living out Your will for my life. Help me to remember I was bought at a price. Help me to glorify you in all I do.

Hope your weekend includes some calorie-burning praise!

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. The picture of the green smoothie above was consumed while writing this post. It was as delicious as the view is beautiful. Come see me and I’ll blend you one.