Tuesday of Holy Week – The Pursuer

Jesus arms outstretched

Tuesday was Jesus’ last big day in public before His crucifixion on Friday, so what did He choose to do?

He could have spent the day healing people, doing another Sermon on the Mount kind of thing where He taught the interested multitudes, or fed those in need. We might have expected to see the kind, gentle, Good Shepherd Jesus reaching out to the needy throngs one last time.

But that’s not what He did with His last public hours.

He spent the day primarily with His disciples and the religious leaders. The religious leaders! The ones who dogged Him and tried to trap Him at every turn. The ones that He knew wanted to kill Him.

When Jesus and His disciples got to Jerusalem that morning, they went to the temple; the very place that He had boldly cleansed the day before. He knew when He got there that there would be repercussions. The religious leaders were not happy about the loss of revenue, but they also weren’t happy about having their authority publicly questioned and trumped.

So they began harassing Him, asking Him question after question, which He brilliantly answered. In the process He told them that they were in error because they didn’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. The Pharisees, Sadduccees, and experts in the Law? Gasp! He called them blind guides, whitewashed tombs that were beautiful outside but filthy inside, hypocrites, and snakes. Yipes!

But He also told them to love God with all their heart, soul, and mind.

He kept reaching out to them. He kept giving them opportunities to acknowledge their sin and repent.

He confronted them, but He also offered them life. He did everything He could to get their attention.

He was also making sure that the people listening and His disciples understood how wrong the current religious system was. How cold and void of love and compassion it had become.

So unlike Jesus, who grieved for them, His people. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem … how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37)

This is what the persistent, ever-loving, heart of God looks like.

Even the religious, hard-hearted, most arrogant people aren’t excluded from the invitation to receive Jesus and know God. Oh, He is generous!

“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them” (Hosea 14:4).

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14).

God my Father, Jesus Christ, how I thank You for pursuing me. Thank You for confrontational words and open arms. Thank You for exposing me so You could heal me. Thank You for a love that keeps coming after me. Thank You, my relentless Pursuer.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Monday of Holy Week – The Refiner

temple

Holy week is the most significant week in the church calendar.

And the most significant week for each person who encounters Jesus Christ.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, when Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem kicked off this action-packed week that culminated in Resurrection Sunday. Most people know what happened on Palm Sunday.

But what happened on Monday? What are we supposed to think about or observe as we prepare for the end of the week?

Monday was a busy day for Jesus.

He started it off by walking from Bethany to Jerusalem with His disciples. Along the way, he saw a fig tree whose leaves promised fruit but had none. It was symbolic of the religious leaders of Israel who talked a good talk and walked a good walk, but had no real relationship with God. Jesus cursed the tree to show His disciples the severity of spiritual hypocrisy.

When this little group reached Jerusalem, they went to the temple. Jesus was horrified to see it being used by cheats and liars so in a godly display of righteousness, He drove them out, purifying His temple and, symbolically, His people.

Again, He was showing His disciples the difference between real faith and fraudulent display.

Monday evening He went back to Bethany, near Jerusalem, to spend the night. His friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived there, where He had recently been anointed by Mary in a lavish display of love. So it’s possible He spent Monday night in the company of friends.

So what’s the meaning for us of Monday during Holy Week?

The big take-away is this:

Before He begins to withdraw with His disciples in a couple of days, Jesus boldly and publicly expresses His desire to purify His people … us. He is our Refiner. He reveals and roots out our dark, deceitful places. He drives out our harmful habits and destructive tendencies. He wants us pure.

He fights for us! He will not leave us to our crooked practices but comes after us with His loving zeal.

Lord Jesus, I am Your temple. Cleanse and purify me for Your purposes and glory. Sweep out the lies, fear, and anger.  Turn over the insecurity and pride. Drive out anything that doesn’t have Your name on it so that I am wholly Yours.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

 

 

 

Crack the Cover

You have an amazing resource in your hands! Let’s journey through it together.

Don’t Be Who You Aren’t

girl with camera

Almost five years ago, I stepped out into independent ministry. I left the comfort and safety of working for a trusted organization to start writing and speaking as God directed. It wasn’t scary as much as unknown. I didn’t know anything about branding and websites and marketing. I simply did what I knew God was telling me to do,  and tried to figure it out as I went along.

I made some mistakes (okay, a lot of mistakes!) but God used those to grow me in ways I sure didn’t see coming. I’m grateful for every misstep along the way that eventually led to God’s best and, in the process, made me more like Jesus.

Probably the biggest mistake I made was in letting people who didn’t know me, try to brand and market me. All I wanted was to communicate God and His Word. That’s what I love to my core and know in my bones! It’s my heartbeat. My ultimate passion.

But I was told that that really wasn’t enough for branding and marketing so, not knowing any better, I tried several suggestions from professional people over the last few years, none of which were really me. I got some great opportunities to speak and write, but internally, I knew I hadn’t found my sweet spot – my God spot.

Last year I finally figured it out. It was there all along, but it had been derailed. I went back to who I actually am. A Bible lover and communicator. That’s it. And God assured me, it’s enough.

With the recent release of WORD, I’m in my God spot.

I now know I’m the Bible Activist. I will preach and write and stump all day long for God and His Word.

If you want to talk about sports, recipes, clothes, vacations, marketing trends, or even church trends, you won’t find that here. I can direct you to some great people but those things aren’t here.

Here, you will find God. You’ll be delighted by Him, surprised by Him, and challenged by Him. His Word here will inspire, confront, and change you. You’ll also be introduced to other people who passionately love the Word of God like I do.

You’ll be part of a community that loves God and loves His Word.

This is a place for God lovers and Bible lovers, as well as God seekers and Bible seekers.

There’s a trendy, hipster-type little phrase that’s making the rounds right now …

Do you.

I like that. Do you. Don’t do someone else. Don’t do only what’s expected. Don’t do part of you.

Do you!

The God you. The real you. Because it’s enough.

 

It’s a WORD Party and You’re Invited!

WORD graphic 11

You are officially invited to join the fun with a Facebook party tonight that will be full of prizes and encouragement, as we celebrate the launch of my new Bible study and video series on Psalm 119 – WORD!

GO HERE to pre-register and get an exclusive freebie.

WORD by Kelli

I’ll be online during the party, answering questions and sharing about the inspiration behind WORD.

The videos that go along with the workbook are now available at the tab above that says WORD – VIDEOS or by clicking here.

One person who has gone through the study and watched the videos wrote this:

Right off the bat in this study, I was convicted of areas in my life that need more Jesus and less me! I was reminded of the constant dialogue that is supposed to be a part of my daily walk with the Lord; the one that is all too often set aside in the busyness of life.

I was also reminded that God doesn’t need me to stop everything (although, that is also important) to talk to Him. Scheduled time with the Lord, quiet time, matters, but too often – I skip the daily dialogue because I feel guilty that I haven’t slowed down and given Him the time He deserves from me. He doesn’t NEED me … I NEED Him. He just wants me to spend time with Him. Amazing how much love and forgiveness is there if we only accept it.

WORD Kelli 2

Another WORD participant sent me this note:

Such a great study! I am going through it slowly on my own. And I am really loving how it helps me to become more grounded in His Word.

Don’t miss out on what these two and others are discovering. WORD is a catalyst to knowing God!

Join the Facebook party tonight for a chance to win a free copy of WORD as well as other fun prizes.

CLICK HERE to get to the party at 9:00 EST tonight. If you pre-register you get a freebie!

I hope you’ll join me. I would love to “see” tonight.

WORD is Out!

It’s here!

WORD is out. It’s available to you, your church, your small group, your family, your school … whoever wants to know God better.

WORD is the study of Psalm 119.

It’s a catalyst for knowing God.

It’s an experience in His Word like no other.

It’s designed as a six-week study, with video downloads that you can play on your smart phone or on a huge screen.

Or, simply go through the book as a personal devotional or over a cup of coffee with a friend.

Watch the short video above to catch a glimpse of what you’ll encounter in WORD.

No matter where you are in life: your age, your past, your concerns, your questions, your circumstances, or your years of Bible study, I invite you to walk with me through Psalm 119. If you honestly seek God, I guarantee that not only will He be found but He will astound you! (WORD)

Click here to get your copy and start the Psalm 119 experience!

 

 

Don’t Stop at the Obvious in 2015

New Year 2015

At the end of every year I ask God what He wants me to do differently, beginning January 1.

Several years ago He impressed on me to become more intentional and more sacrificial in my relationship with Him first and then in life in general.

The first thing He showed me to do was become more serious about fasting, not for health but for spiritual discernment. So every January now, I go on a long fast. So far they’ve lasted 21 days but I’m thinking about stretching it this January (2015) to maybe 25 or 30. Still praying over that one. I won’t go into detail at this point but I will say that I have seen amazing things happen as a result.

So what is God asking of me in 2015? I sensed He wanted me to do something sacrificial that would impact me in a BIG way. It didn’t take long once I began praying over it for me to see what it was. Ouch! This one is going to hurt. Since I’ve seen such benefits from the long fast, I look forward to it. But this new challenge … gulp.

I don’t feel free to share the specifics yet but here’s why I mention it at all …

God always wants more for us. He always wants to take us deeper and higher.

You may be setting new goals such as working out more, eating healthier, organizing your office or home, and keeping your car clean. All good things, so go for it. However, everyone needs to do that. Those things don’t stretch us any differently than they stretch the person next door. I’m not saying they aren’t important, or hard, or issues of obedience. But they are basic life disciplines that every person needs.

Don’t stop there! Ask God what HE wants to do in, through, and for you. Tell Him you’re serious about this. You’re serious about wanting what He wants. You don’t want the status quo – you want BIG and you’re willing to do what it takes.

If you want a relationship with God that explodes your life, tell Him that and see what He says about your 2015.

 

Nothing New for Christmas?

Is there anything fresh to say about Christmas?

I’ve been thinking and praying for the last few days over what new inspiring thing I could share about Christmas. I’m a creative, so usually my thoughts flow like water.

But as I pondered Christmas this year, God kept bringing me back to the manger. He seemed to be saying, “Just keep looking in there. There doesn’t need to be anything else.”

God wrapped in skin is enough!

The only Person who chose to be born so He could die, is enough.

In fact, it’s really too much. Too much to comprehend. Too much to pay back. Too much love to absorb.

So we simply gaze in awe.

Who needs something new to ponder when what we already have is more than enough to last a lifetime?

merry christmas green 2

 

 

What to Do with Fear

Deut 316

Have you been dealing with feelings of fear lately?

There surely have been other times in the history of the world when people were gripped with fear, but I’m going out on a limb and guessing that this is one of the worst times of fear. It’s no doubt fueled by social media and the media in general, but there’s no denying that unsettling global events are unfolding.

The top two disturbing recent stories are ebola and the advancement of evil terrorists in the Middle East. It’s almost impossible to avoid news stories about them – each one worse than the one before. There’s a collective awareness that we could get sick or be killed at any moment. That’s always true but it feels more “real” now.

God tells us not to fear. Period. Around 365 times He says that.

Do not be afraid. Don’t be troubled or afraid. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Don’t worry or be afraid of threats. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Do not fear bad news. Be not afraid of them.

Two main reasons not to fear:

1) It’s unbelief. God promises us He’s in control and will do what is right for us.

2)  It renders us ineffective. Fear means our focus is on the wrong things, meaning it’s not on God, so He can’t get our attention to use us as His representatives. We lose our witness and we lose opportunities.

But ebola and terrorists are alarming so how are we to feel? What do we do with our fear?

1) Admit it to God and ask for His help in rejecting fear.

2) Intentionally fill our minds with the truth about God.

3) Choose to believe what He says is true.

4) Choose to believe God is ultimately in control of how everything plays out.

5) Replace fear with praise. Sing praise songs or read Psalms about praise.

6) Focus on His presence in and with us. Nothing can come against us that He hasn’t allowed.

7) Believe that His grace will be enough for whatever we face.

One last word of comfort … the number of our days has already been determined. Nothing is going to change what God has already declared. If He said you’re going to live 82 years, then you’re going to live 82 years. No random event is going to alter that number.

Surrender your fear to God and live in His powerful blend of confidence and peace.

 

An Easy Way to Bless Someone

gift from MA

Sharing the love of Jesus is as easy as a bag and a marker.

On my first day teaching WORD – Psalm 119 in 22 meditations this week, a friend brought me a thoughtful gift in this bag. Of course I love the gift, but the bag was just as great!

So simple but so meaningful.

Not only did it say something personal to me about my situation but it included Scripture to nourish my soul.

Next time you want to do something nice for someone or God prompts you to share Him, don’t agonize over how. Just remember …

a bag and a marker.

” … your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (GNT)