Hope in Christ
Its seems a major focus in our lives according to the bible should be cultivating a deep, unwavering, HOPE in the promises of Jesus Christ, in the person of Christ, in the truth of Christ. Wow, how can we begin to look at what this means?

Who: Jesus Christ. The Son of Man. Son of David. Lamb of God. Light of the World. The first born of every creature.The Son of the blessed. The everlasting God. The mighty God. God my savior. The God of all the Earth. Emanuel, God with us. The King. Jehovah my God. The strong and mighty Jehovah. The Lord of Righteousness. I am. The upholder of all things. The beginning and the end. The alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. The Life. The Word. My Messenger. The Prophet of Nazareth. The servant O Israel. Messiah called Christ. Anointed. The Lords Christ. The bridegroom. The Great Shepherd. The root of Jesse. The Vine. The righteous branch. The tree of life. The bread of God. The Lily of the Valley. The Light. The morning star. The strength to the children of Israel. The strength to the poor. A refuge in the storm. The Rock. A shadow from the heat. The builder. A sure foundation. A living stone. The offering. The advocate. The High Priest. The Gift of God. The salvation of God. The redeemer. The peacemaker. The Truth. The faithful witness. The Amen. The Just One. Holy, Holy, Holy. The last Adam. A commander. A leader. The Captain of Salvation. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. The Prince of Life. The HOPE of His people.

What: What is hope? Definition: an expectation or desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust. A feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.
Why: When we say we hope in Christ, we are saying that we believe that Jesus Christ died to save the ungodly – You, Me – and the soul purpose for that, is that we might not receive the wrath of God, which all of us deserve, as we fall short of the glory of God as long as we have breath. The purpose of His death was to erase the debt of our lives to God, and replace that debt with an eternity of being in the presence of God. In that, we have put all of our HOPE in Christ, the Son of Man. The HOPE in Christ is that His peace that passes understanding will be glorified in our lives as long as we are on Earth awaiting being reunited with the King. Our HOPE in Christ is that this life that is dead to sin, dead in its trespasses, is not for us, but the life that Christ residing in us reveals, is the will of God, bringing glory to Him at our expense, which in turn is not an expense at all but an honor, a gift of mercy and grace from which we reap the blessings of His pure and perfect love.

When: Now, of course. The beauty of God is that is that He does not withhold His love from us. Ever. It is unfathomable. When we doubt or are anxious, he lovingly extends his hands, not to pull us out to avoid the pain, but to walk us through the pain with a strong and mighty grip. That we might be blessed that he is with us in our times of need. That we might share the truth of His love with others as they are depressed or lonely or feeling worthless, or let down, or forgotten. Right now is the time to turn to Christ for help with your fears, for guidance with your confusion, for compassion with your pain. Right now is the time to stop putting your hope in yourself or in karma, and put your hope in Christ that you would be welcomed in to His glory to experience the most perfect and true act of Love. To experience the effects of sacrifice and the submission of God to his people for his people. Now is the time to turn over your attempt at controlling more and more only to feel emotionally drained, spiritually empty and physically weak. Now is the time to soak in the Help that God has gifted all of us, that for some crazy reason we all are in need of.

Where: The Bible. A friend who knows Jesus. A church. A church family. A trusted Christian website to point you to Jesus. Celebrate Recovery. Worship music. Regeneration. ReEngage.

Please share this with a friend in need if anyone comes to mind!!

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Weakness, whilst not wearing a bra.

Woke up this morning, to this insane person in my home. Ya. She was yelling at my kids, of which, one of them was stomping around the house saying he was never going to school again. She was yelling about how the other one didn’t unpack their lunch from yesterday and the sandwich had rotted and smelled up the lunch box, so the lunch for today would now smell like rotten yesterday lunch. 2 of my kids got in the car to go to school while this lady stayed behind screaming for my other kid to “get her freaking shoes on!” Asking why shes never ready. As if every day, is this 10 year olds, first ever experience with getting dressed, eating food, or participating in this bazillion year old mystery of the indefinite, continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole, also known as TIME, which is measured by…..a clock, TO HELP GET TO WHERE WE NEED TO BE ON….TIME!
Eventually, they all ended up in the car and man did they drive off quickly! I assumed they made it safely to school.

I’m pretty sure the crazy lady wasn’t wearing a bra.

Okay, okay the crazy lady is me. She’s you. She’s probably all of us at one point or another if we are honest.

Sometimes Im able to acknowledge and address my more embarrassing moments, If I pretend like I was watching someone else behave like me… weird I know.

But we all have moments of weakness that tempt us to be short, quick tempered, angry, impatient when the schedule is running behind.

Its crucial that we never stop being intentional about responding well in these weak moments. Crucial.

How can we do a little spiritual inventory to shine light on these moments?

Just for today:
1. Identify the time of day or circumstances where you notice you are weak to be triggered into your weakness. My weakness tempts me to yell, be sarcastic, and impatient.
2. confess and share your weaknesses to close friends so they can check in with you on how you are doing with yielding to the Spirit in those areas moving forward.
3. Confess to God, asking for forgiveness for your oversight in these areas. Ask Him to guide you in a response that honors Him going forward, and to help you quench the desire to blame and humiliate others, when you are feeling things are out of order or your control. Ask Him to give you wisdom, when the schedule doesnt go as planned.
4. Ask for forgiveness from your children. (Or whoever you’ve dumped your bucket of verbal vomit on ) Share scripture with them that supports why you are asking for forgiveness, as well as scripture that supports your desire to behave differently. Yes, even do it with your friends, family, coworkers, etc.

Verse to meditate on when your tongue gets the best of you
Proverbs 17:27 says “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding, is even tempered.”

Can we take today, and even if it’s just for today, and acknowledge that being quiet and having restraint is a virtue? Its womanly. Its manly. Can we, even just for today, in our moments of weakness or temptation to anger or frustration, be quiet for one minute to ask God what He wants us to say or not to say, before we say it?

Yes, yes we can.

Nobody wants to have to say, I forgot my bra because I was too busy screaming about moldy lunches and the concept of time, with my children who are all under 12. Nobody.

Bless those little, fuzzy Christmas socks off!

mountains nature arrow guide
Photo by Jens Johnsson on Pexels.com

Christmas season is totally here. We are fully committed, no turning back. There are lists being made, schedules being re-arranged to include Christmas shopping, buying Christmas party outfits, organizing teacher gifts, and making all the Pinterest marshmallow snowman crafty crafts. We are baking all the cookies and throwing all the ugly sweater parties. We are restocking our wrapping paper supplies and buying up all the scotch tape. Our date nights have turned into shopping sprees together and we are scouring the web for sales on honey baked hams. We are locked in people, LOCKED. IN.

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Oh yay, Advent; another long term, daily commitment that reminds me I am horrible at long term, daily commitments.

OK so first of all, I love Jesus, mmkay? Secondly, I have a pretty solid track record of not following through on long term, daily commitments. These two things do not, logistically, go well together. They just don’t. When you love Jesus, The Holy Spirit pulls you, tugs at your heart, knock’s quietly at the door to your soul, woo’s you to make changes in your life in response to what Christ did on the cross for you. One of those changes for me, is follow through on commitments.

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Parenting tip: Don’t hug, or talk to tornadoes.

There are times, during my parenting life, when I honestly have felt ripped the heck off. Like even though I remember times, multiple times even, when people told me, better yet warned me, that parenting is “hard”, I feel like those exhortations didnt exactly, or even come close to, explaining what I, as a parent, would be experiencing.

Let’s talk tantrum /emotional outburst department.

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Let Christ kick depression right in the you know what!

Sometimes its hard for me to discern what is my conscience and what is the Holy Spirit. Maybe when I grow up, it will be as clear as day, but for now I typically spend 3 hours and 48 minutes daily, trying to figure out who is talking to me. “Is that me, or you, God?” “Okay just say it again…. wait, I’m not ready.” “Okay go, wait, that’s not what you said an hour ago…. wait… is that me or you?!!” “Um hey, I have to go so if it’s you, then tell me the same thing in a hour, cuz then I’ll know its for sure not me, because I will literally forget this entire conversation like in 10 minutes…if its me.” If you don’t go through this, you’re lying. Again, maybe someday I will “walk in the spirit” full time, like all flowy and cool, but for now, I’m just arguing my way in and out of it, and I’m totally fine with that.

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Encounters with The Holy Spirit, from an average dork, at best.

I dread encounters with the holy spirit. Honestly, I do. Its terrifying, I’m sweating, I’m wondering if anyone else is noticing how awkward and nervous I’ve become over the past few minutes.

These occasions are not beautiful to me, in the moment. They are dreadful. Dreadfully promising. Ugh, is that a real thing?

Today we had family pictures. Yes, planned, professional family pictures. First time for all six of us to be in a photo shoot, together.

I could write an entire post about family pictures, but I will narrow it down to this one, factual statement; trying to not have a heart attacking, emotional breakdown in the process of preparing all the things, that lead up to being prepared for family photos, is a real thing.

After the shoot, my daughter was supposed to have soccer practice, but we got an email that it was canceled , so we decided to go out to dinner.

A normal, semi-chaotic dinner was under way, as usual for us Klinges. Some of us argue about kids menus and the others wonder if they should have salad or a double bacon burger… yes we have food issues.

As our order is placed, my attention is drawn to the family who is being seated in the booth directly behind us. It is a husband and wife with their, about 10 year old daughter,  and an older women that may be a sister of the husband or wife. They are excessively paying attention to the young girl, and although I cant hear them talking, I am alarmed. I cant stop looking at them and my heart is racing.

Our food comes and I am distracted the entire time. I am awkwardly looking at my husband, I am not engaged with my kids. They are talking and I am not listening.

These thoughts that say “something is  wrong, ask them if they need prayer” keep flooding my mind. And mind you, I’m like trying to eat my dinner and just be normal.

My husbands back is to their back, so they have a booth seat in common. We are almost done with our meal and I ask him in a whispered voice “can you hear what they are talking about?” He says no. I’m frustrated because I dont want to talk to these people, honestly. Remember, my heart is racing outside my chest. I just want to pay and go.

I am keenly aware that the The Holy Spirit is not only with me, but with THEM, and hes trying to send THEM a message.

Ugh!! I quickly realize it’s not about me, and my sweaty, awkward, nervousness and comfort.

So what do I do? After we pay,  I tell my family to get in the  car while I stay behind and fumble to put left overs in a box, in a really long and aggravating way. Yes that’s right, I dont have the guts to say ” I’m having a moment with the holy spirit and I’ll meet you in the car. No, no I’m literally shaking and spilling alfredo sauce all over the to go box.

My kids go to the car. Nows my chance. My chance to what??? To Make a complete fool of myself to these atheists who are loving life and have not a care in the world and are going to laugh at me when I ask them if they need prayer?? These are the dumb thoughts that go through my mind.

I get up and walk over, literally my heart beat is in my throat. And I blurt out “I’m so sorry to interrupt you, but is there anything you need praye for?” Immediately the mom looks all around with tears in her eyes and says “did someone send you over here?” I said “no, no we were eating dinner in the booth behind you and ever since you sat down I felt like God was telling me to come and ask you if you needed prayer.” The adults immediately started to well up with painful tears, and the mom said “our mother just died and her viewing is tomorrow.” The other woman put her hand over her mouth in disbelief. I was welling up.

I’m not sure I can accurately explain to you what is going on in this moment.

You see, there are millions of moments in our days, where the Holy Spirit is not giving you direction. Should I put my pants on first or my shirt? Should I buy Kirkland brand or Bounty?

Millions of undirected moments.

Then there are the times when The Holy Spirit uses you and when you say yes, He takes over.

That is what happened tonight. I looked at the little girl and asked “so it was your grandma who passed away?” Her eyes were filled with tears and I cant even imagine what she was thinking, but her look, her eyes were amazed at me. The mom answered for her, choking back tears with her hands on her daughters shoulders “yes, yes her grandma.” I looked at that little girl and I told her ” God sees you and he is always with you.” I looked at the rest at the table and said ” I’m so sorry for your loss, but God is with you. And I will pray for you.”

They said thank you, maybe a hundred times, and then I left.

I was in tears. They were in tears.

I cannot comprehend the impact that encounter had on those people.

God loves people recklessly. And he does it through super average dorks like me and you.

So my final thoughts? I don’t know man, I’m so undeserved of these encounters. God uses those who are willing. Dorky and willing, that is where its at.

 

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts on Christians and homosexuality.(Gasp!)

“Heterosexuality does not get you into heaven.” Tim Keller.
In fact, thinking that the things you DO or DO NOT DO will get you into heaven, will actually probably get you into hell. Its called self righteousness. We have become obsessed with what we are, or are not, DOING.
 
Every single one of us needs outside help, help from outside ourselves. Because, essentially, we are all sinning just “as bad” as everyone else. When you start thinking that you are not as much of a sinner as the next person, or that somehow you have risen to the top of your Christian life where your fight against sin is not as serious as others, I say to you, be ready for your demise and I pray it doesn’t delay its arrival until you are standing at the gates of heaven.
 
Jesus talks about greed 10 times more than homosexuality.
 
Greed. Do you know what greed is? Greed is the pursuit of gain for self. It’s the pursuit of gain, for self. It is NOT being rich. You see, some of us Christians think being greedy, is simply having too much money, or maybe being a work-aholic in order to make more money, so we excuse ourselves from the conviction of the sin of greed.
Interestingly. Deceitfully.
 
I was greedy yesterday. I wanted more than what I had. I can look around my house and find an overwhelming amount of evidence of greed. Things to make my life easier, for my gain.
 
I can also compare myself, up or down to make myself appear more or less greedy. I’m not greedy compared to lets say, Donald Trump.Yet in the same breath I can say I’m extremely greedy compared to Mother Theresa. So where does that actually leave my greed status? Its probably not something I should be proud of.
I hear a lot of Christians who function in the capacity of what is or isn’t sin, as if that knowledge is what gets you into heaven or on the right side of Christ.
You can be a gay Christian. You can be practicing homosexuality and love Christ.
You can be a greedy Christian. You can be practicing the pursuit of self and love Christ.
The greedy sinner, who denies Christ as his savior, goes to hell, for the wages of sin are death.
The homosexual sinner, who denies Christ as his savior, goes to hell, for the wages of sin are death.
The heterosexual sinner, who denies Christ as his savior, goes to hell, for the wages of sin are death. Romans 6:23
No matter the adjective used to describe the noun ‘sinner’. No matter. He goes to hell for the denial of Christ, for without Christ he is bound to death from his sin.
The greedy sinner, who puts his faith in Christ and repents, will be fully forgiven of his sins, producing a change in the desire to sin, and will have eternal life.
The homosexual sinner, who puts his faith in Christ and repents, will be fully forgiven of his sins, producing a change in the desire to sin, and will have eternal life.
The heterosexual sinner, who puts his faith in Christ and repents, will be fully forgiven of his sins, producing a change in the desire to sin, and will have eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.
Key word: ANYONE
 No one, stops sinning completely.
Once a believer accepts Christ, The Holy Spirit produces awareness of our own sin, and the desire to stop it.
Yet we will not escape our brokenness until Christ returns. When we put our faith in Christ we are not slaves to our sin, nor defined by our sin. Galatians 4
A conundrum, indeed.
So much to chew on.
You Christian, are not capable of being fully aware of the depth of your own sin, let alone condemning someone else to hell for theirs. I am not capable of being fully aware of the depth of my own sin. Repenting from my own sin, is a full time job, that I should probably be fired from for lack of performance.
I guess to close, my final thoughts are this; we should move the spotlight from sin specific behavior, and place the spotlight on freedom from all sin in Christ.
There is power in the name of Jesus. He came to save, every single person.

Holiday Traditions

The idea of tradition is so alluring to me. I want my kids to grow up having pride in traditions of their childhood. I want them to pass on traditions they loved from the memories they will never forget. But I have to say, I have some fears about my “tradition game”. My side of the family doesnt really have any traditions, for some reason or another. Reflecting on this truth has made me sad at times. When family life is hard, things like traditions kinda get pushed into the gutter, to be washed away into the storm drains, with the next rain.

Luckily for me, I married into a family who has traditions!

My husbands side of our tribe, has laid a foundation, deeply rooted in family tradition, for the most exciting, most looked forward to, most anticipated, most talked about holiday of all holidays, federal and state combined. This holiday is Thanksgiving. It is filled with generations of grandparents, aunts and uncles, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, in-laws and cousins. Many, many cousins. There is endless hours of music playing, puzzle piecing until our vision is blurred, gaming board games and card games and dress-up games and karaoke and turkey trots. And of course, the food.

This gathering is tradition.

What makes this holiday so heart gladdening, you ask? I’ll name a few of the all-time top ranked reasons, for me at least.

Where most families might anticipate the roasted turkey, maybe a lamb leg or even a prime rib, some of us, on this day of giving thanks, anticipate something far more valuable than rubies.

The ham.

For it is not just any ham, no, no this ham even far outweighs the infamous HoneyBakednot even merely a honey baked ham. It is Aunt Kelly’s ham. It is a ham sent straight from the love factory of heaven. It is slow roasted in a 7-Up, brown sugar, cherry juice marinade. Did you hear that? Yes, soda, plus sugar, marinade. My perfect piece has an outer shell of glory that once you bite into it, the ham molasses begins to ooze out down your throat and before you swallow one bite, your taste buds are screaming for the next bite of sweet bliss, and maybe for a brief moment I wish I was not a christian and the rapture would be upon us so that I may be left all to myself for one moment with this glorious heaven ham.

Now this ham is not for everyone. I’m not even sure its for me. You literally get a cavity just from passing by it. Yet I look forward to it, every year.

This ham, is a tradition

The gathering usually consists of up to 75 relatives, who travel from all over the western half of the US. They come bearing food. They come bearing  and musical instruments. They come bearing suitcases and rental cars. They come, they all come.

Then there is the Klinge Sing. We have printed, song books. The song books contain the lyrics to Christmas carols, oldies but goodies, songs that the youngest generation of teens have suggested, and hymns. From Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer to May the Circle Be Unbroken, there is a song for everyone from child to matriarch. We set aside a special time, that usually lasts for hours, to sing and play music. The song books are passed around, and there are not enough for everyone, so you get close and share with your neighbor. There are shakers and clappers and everyone can sing along, play along, tap along, or just watch if their singing voices should probably not be shared with people who can hear. But no matter what, at any moment during the Klinge Sing, if you pan around the room, you will see, that every single person is smiling.

The Klinge sing, is tradition.

But I have to admit, the whole tradition thing is a bit intimidating. I have some fears about my own “tradition game”. I feel like all the other families have all the great traditions. And I look at me, and I’m like “what have I brought to the tradition potluck?” Nothing. But I dont stay there. I refuse.

I may not have any family traditions that I have brought into our family, but my husband and decided a few years ago that we would be intentional about making new traditions. And so far, we have a few. And they are awesome, for our family.

So whether you have old traditions or new traditions, just keep doing fun stuff. Fun stuff is fun stuff and if you keep doing the fun stuff, then fun stuff becomes the tradition, right?

As our traditions are to be continued, I hope yours are as well!

Happy Thanksgiving!!