Hello and thanks for stopping by my blog. If you’re looking for specific resources, be sure to check out the topics in the column to the right. Otherwise, feel free to look around! ~ Kerry

Monday, October 26, 2009

Realignment . . .

This morning I read Psalm 26, and verses two and three really stood out to me:

“Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.”

Knowing that God is holy and all-knowing, we may be hesitant to say, “God, test me, try me, examine me.” But King David had an accurate view of God. As we read the psalms, we see that David knew God’s unfathomable power as his Creator and sovereign King. David knew God’s unending supply as his Sustainer and Portion. David knew God’s limitless wisdom as his Teacher and Guide. David knew of God’s justice as his Standard and Judge . . . But David also knew God’s love as his Shepherd and Redeemer (“for your love is ever before me”).

I’m so thankful that God is who He is! As we understand His full character, our trust in Him will grow. Absolute trust brings us to the place where we can we join our hearts with David and say, “Test me! Try me! Examine me! For I know of your love, and I want to walk completely in your truth!”

We can be assured that tests and trials are for our ultimate good. And we can know that when He points out something in our character that is offensive to Him, that He is leading us to truth and life. David said it this way in Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT), “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Reading this psalm this morning prompted me to pray . . . Lord, I want my trust to grow to where I humbly walk through tests, allowing them to accomplish Your purposes in my life. May I daily allow Your Word to point out those things in me that are offensive to You, and may I submissively align myself to Your Truth—completely trusting Your love every step of the way!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reflections on "Humility"

Everyone struggles with pride and self-centeredness—it is the tendency of all humanity. The Bible has a lot to say about it—like “pride comes before destruction,” and “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

When I met with Dr. Gary Smalley to film the Secrets DVD, he shared his new understanding of true humility. He said humility isn’t putting ourself down—it is completely depending upon God. It was such an interesting conversation that it prompted me to think more about humility.

When you think about it, we are all completely dependent upon God. After all, He is the Creator and we are the created. Our existence, everything we have, and every experience are from His creative hand. Quite honestly, every breath we breathe and every beat of our heart is a gift from Him. Pride believes we are self-made and self-sufficient. And some in their pride even deny His existence.

While we are all totally, 100% dependent upon God, the proud refuse to accept their dependency. However, the humble awaken every day to acknowledge God and admit their dependence on Him. Jesus describes this dependency in John 15. He says that God is the Gardener, He (Jesus) is the Vine, and we are the branches. And as a branch, our job is to stay connected and dependent; then everything we need will flow in and through our life like fruit on a branch.

Take a look at what Jesus says,
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

Every day we have to choose to acknowledge our dependence on Him and work hard at staying firmly connected to the Vine. When we are connected, we can trust the Gardner will feed, water, and prune the branches (us) at just the right times. He will make sure we have enough sunshine to grow and enough storms to strengthen our connection. And we can rest knowing the type of fruit that we bear is completely up to Him.

May we all experience the grace He gives to the humble!

Friday, October 16, 2009

25 Things That Hinder Respect and Love

Recently, a friend of mine spoke for a marriage retreat on a cruise. [I know what you are thinking, “Where can we sign up for that assignment?!” I’m wondering the same thing. :) ] Since she taught a couple of the Secrets sessions, she added the following list to Session Four. When she e-mailed it to me, I thought it was worth posting.

As you read through this list, take a few minutes to give yourself a quick review. Make sure you are not doing anything to make your spouse feel disrespected or unloved. Remember, this is a self-test—not a spouse review! We are only responsible for our own behavior. As we sow respect and love, we can expect to reap respect and love.

A Person Feels Disrespected and Unloved When Their Spouse…

1. belittles them in private or public
2. manipulates with the silent treatment
3. prioritizes other relationships, work, or hobbies over their marriage
4. fails to take their opinions and feelings seriously
5. neglects their own responsibilities
6. hides things or fails to communicate about major decisions
7. is selfish
8. neglects personal spiritual health
9. won’t leave the past alone
10. doesn’t provide verbal affirmation
11. simply accommodates them sexually
12. fails to respect their role as parent or undermines their authority
13. lacks appreciation for their contribution to the family
14. talks negatively about them to parents or children or friends
15. nags them, especially if they are aware of the problem
16. has lost the ability to have fun
17. lacks interest in their career or activities
18. is rude and careless with their words
19. is careless of their appearance
20. consistently assumes their motives are wrong
21. negatively compares them to others (“Why can’t you be more like Bob?”)
22. is unwilling to change
23. lacks self-control
24. breaks promises
25. compliments others, but not them

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feelings…Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Feelings….

Jesus told us, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35)

Have you ever really thought that? Jesus commands us to love. He doesn’t suggest it or highly recommend it, He actually commands it.

So many times we think of love as a feeling. And we can have a tremendous amount of guilt when we don’t “feel” loving. How can Jesus command a “feeling?” Tom Holladay in his book, The Relationship Principles of Jesus, says you cannot command an emotion, but you can command an action.

Love is so much more than a feeling…it is an action! When Jesus commands us to love one another He is not saying, “Feel loving toward one another.” He is saying “ACT loving toward one another.”

Tom Holladay says—
“When faced with the challenge to act with love, no matter how we may feel, there is something in us that rebels. We think, ‘I don’t feel right about that. I’d be such a phony to act with love toward someone when I don’t feel love. It’s not real if I don’t feel like it. I’d be a hypocrite.’

“Yet we do things all the time that we don’t feel like doing. If you woke up this morning and didn’t feel like going to work, you wouldn’t call and say, ‘I don’t feel like being a work today, so I’m not coming. It would be very hypocritical for me to come to work this morning.’ No, you go in anyway…

“Do you think Jesus felt like dying on the cross? Of course not. Jesus didn’t face that morning thinking, ‘I feel like experiencing the most excruciating pain, the most anguished disgrace, the most wrenching burden of mankind’s sin.’ In fact, the night before his death, he prayed in Gethsemane, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.’ In Jesus’ prayer we see that he didn’t follow his feelings. Instead, he prayed, ‘Yet not my will, but yours be done’…This kind of love can only come from God!”

We cannot allow our feelings to determine our actions! When we respond with love, even when we don’t feel loving, we are not being hypocritical—we are being obedient.

As we are fully submissive and obedient to Christ, we can allow HIS LOVE to flow through our responses and actions! I have discovered that when I don’t feel loving, but I choose to act in love, my feelings quickly begin to line up with my actions.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:9-12)

Joy and our obedience to the command to love are interdependent… hmmm… something to really think about…

Friday, October 2, 2009

Raising Kids in a Difficult Marriage

For 20 heartwrenching years, Frances prayed for her husband to find Jesus. Their marriage was far from easy--but Frances held onto God, and He gave her the strength to set an unforgettable example for her four children.

Melvina, one of Frances’ daughters, shared with me three memorable things her mother did during those 20 difficult years:

“Mother was faithful to church. Attending church without your companion is not always easy. But her determination to be faithful to church, with or without Daddy, taught us values that shaped eternal destinies for generations. As a child, I remember how people at church loved us. We could hardly wait to get there. As His children, we learned that 'in joy or in sorrow, today and tomorrow . . .' Jesus will walk with us. We learned that He answers prayer and that He will save our lost loved ones.

“Depending on the Holy Spirit was also a top priority for our Mother. She experienced the Holy Spirit in the way that the book of Acts speaks of. And the Fruit of the Spirit of JOY prevailed in our home. Even under the heat of a companion who is under the heavy conviction of the Holy Spirit, mother just kept praying, loving, and believing . . . never giving up until the answer came!

“Mother, by example, taught her children to ‘look for the good in people.’ Never once did I hear her put Daddy down or speak of him in a negative manner. (Yes, it is true, children are more perceptive than we realize of how things are at home.) Bitterness and resentment can be planted deep in the hearts of children by a broken-hearted parent transferring their pain to a child. But we rose up and called our Mother ‘blessed’ and continued loving our Daddy and praying for him until he came to Jesus. Today, my three siblings and I have not had to deal with bitterness. Instead we rejoice!”

Whether or not your husband knows Jesus, we can all consider the impression we are leaving on our children! Someday in the future, we’ll share Frances’ full story—I know you’ll be encouraged!