Tag Archives: Encouragement

A Time Of Peace.

Psalm 76 – The Message

1-3 God is well-known in Judah;
in Israel, he’s a household name.
He keeps a house in Salem,
his own suite of rooms in Zion.
That’s where, using arrows for kindling,
he made a bonfire of weapons of war.

4-6 Oh, how bright you shine!
Outshining their huge piles of loot!
The warriors were plundered
and left there impotent.
And now there’s nothing to them,
nothing to show for their swagger and threats.
Your sudden roar, God of Jacob,
knocked the wind out of horse and rider.

7-10 Fierce you are, and fearsome!
Who can stand up to your rising anger?
From heaven you thunder judgment;
earth falls to her knees and holds her breath.
God stands tall and makes things right,
he saves all the wretched on earth.
Instead of smoldering rage—God-praise!
All that sputtering rage—now a garland for God!

God is a warrior and He has never been, and will never be, defeated. We are his warriors and even though we will win through God’ glory and grace in the end, we will suffer hard blows and devastating defeats. This Bible passage is an encouragement in those dark times. It is a picture of the aftermath of battle with a day of peace and praise on the horizon.

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The Most Honest “To Be Honest”.

Being accepted is something that even the most rebellious and independent person still finds important. Even those who choose to be outcasts want to be accepted by their group of outcasts. I didn’t always get along with my peers, but even when I did not necessarily want to be like them, wanting to be different and unique, I always wanted to be liked by them.

We reach out for this feeling of belonging in so many different ways. This feeling that those around us “get us”, like us, and find attractive qualities in us. Maybe you want to be the funny one, the athletic one, the beautiful one, the musical one, or the geeky one. Whatever you want to be you want your friends to know you that way, to accept you that way, and to praise you for being that way. Am I wrong?

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United We Fall.

Divisions. That is what we have been talking about. God has gifted us all differently and we are to rejoice in our gifts and the gifts of others.

I have always wanted to be an amazing athlete. Growing up in small town Minnesota, sports were everything. It also did not help when your dad is your high school’s coach for boy’s varsity basketball, girls varsity volleyball, and both golf teams. My older brother got an award for playing a sport every season for every year of high school. You can find him on the pictures of the basketball team, soccer team, cross country team, track team, and golf team. And yes, some of these seasons overlapped, and he still did them all. My sister was good as well. Being the shorty of the family we watched her play guard in basketball, setter in volleyball, and run relays in track. She is playing both volleyball and basketball now in college, finishing up her senior year.

The hardest decision I had to make in high school was not to try out for basketball my senior year. I was having issues with my coach (this one wasn’t my dad) and there was no way it was going to be a good season with all of this drama. I felt like I had let everyone down. I had had dreams of storming the court and being the star of the team. I wanted the crowd to cheer my name and for my amazing skills to inspire others.

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Bible School Failed Me.

My church, my Sunday School teachers, my Christian School teachers, my Youth Group leaders, and my Catechism class all failed me.

I went to church growing up, both morning and evening services. I attended Sunday School almost every morning it was offered. I went down to Children’s Church and Children’s Worship and listened to the stories and sang the songs.

In high school I attended youth group regularly and my Jr and Sr year I went to Catechism on Wednesday nights.

I have attended Christian schools from kindergarten through my undergraduate degree.

I thought I had the stories down. I thought I knew all the great Bible characters. Bible trivia was never a problem for me. I even have the Old Testament books of the Bible memorized in order, and I used to have the New Testament memorized as well.

This isn’t supposed to be a list of why I am so awesome, not at all. This is to make a connection to those who have a similar background. This is to show that organized religion can organize around certain ideas and stories and leave out others that do not fit our picture of God’s love and kindness.

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Box Drum Blessings.

What an awesome God we serve.

I hate it when I have a great idea. Don’t you? No? Not all of you? I am sure some of you think that way. Let me explain.

I shared in my last post that I do not like to share. I worked very hard in high school on my appearance. Not just my looks, but my actions. I wanted to be the typical, non-wave making, friendly teenager. I was a little more outgoing in college, but there was still that lingering love-hate relationship with attention.

We love attention, especially when that attention comes with compliments. Some people are more introverted than others, but no one likes to be overlooked all the time. No one wants to be ignore and forgotten by their peers.

We hate attention, especially when it invites criticism. Every time we allow the limelight to fall on us, we run the risk of it exposing our flaws and our short comings along with it showing our genius. No matter how extroverted you are, no matter how well established your self-esteem and confidence are, no one likes to be criticized. No one wants to look like a failure in front of their peers.

This is why I became nervous as I watch new ideas flash across my brain. James and I have recently become the Youth Group Worship Leaders. We have been given the delight of leading the youth group in two or three worship songs every Wednesday before they go into their groups. We want to show them that worshiping isn’t just singing the songs we sing in church. Worship can be crazy songs, meaningful songs, loud songs, prayerful songs. It could be just rhythm or even no song at all. It could be meditation and thankfulness.

We also wanted to get the kids involved. So I bought a cajon, a box drum. We wanted to play the song Mountaintop by The City Harmonic, and that song is not the same without a drum. However, we are without an experienced drummer. So I bought a drum that does not require an experienced drummer! I played it for this time, but we are trying to come up with a time where we can teach some of the youth to enjoy it as well. It would be best if we had two, but we didn’t have enough money for that. So we thought that one would just have to do with now.

Wednesday came, we played. I was filled with worry that this was a poor purchase. I started to worry that the idea of getting the youth involved with worship, starting with this box drum, was going down the drain. No one liked it. It won’t work to teach them. Every one there saw my failure and is now aware and talking about how I think that I am clever but really I am self centered and only a mediocre worship leader. My limelight showed my flaws and I failed. At least, that is how I felt.

“Dear God, please let me know how we should proceed. How can we help these kids become more engaged and fall more in love with worshiping you?”

So during work today I was talking to one of my supervisors, who is also one of the youth leaders, about how we had the idea of letting the kids take turns with the box drum and hopefully finding some who would like to play it. She seemed slightly interested and told me the kids really liked the song we sang on Wednesday. Confidence bolstered. She then went to help a coworker carry the community pop from her car to our break room. “Kristin!” She exclaimed, “There is a box drum in the back of her car that she has been trying to sell for six months. I will make a call and I am thinking the youth group will buy it so we can have two!”

Blessings and encouragement come in all shapes and sizes. Mine looks like a box.