Not For Sale

Generally there are four seasons every year but for most of us across the Continental U.S and Canada, we can add two more. “Construction and Garage Sale” Season. Often here in Michigan,when the climate gets warmer and the ground has thawed, our streets are flooded with construction vehicles that are fixing roadways, sidewalks or simply just building new ones.

Garage Sale season is in full swing when we see homemade signs on the corners of intersections and at the end of neighbourhood streets. Some even linger long after a sale is finished (Yup, a pet-peeve of mine), advertising everything from childrens items to small appliances, from clothing to lawn furniture. The thought is that, “anything you want, you will probably find at a garage sale”.

oscar the grouch

During this season, I am often reminded of a children’s book we had in our home. When our children were little we would read to them and as they learned to read they would gravitate to this book as well. “Trash to Treasure: that’s the Grouch way”, a Sesame Street Golden book written by Liza Alexander. On the show and in the book, Oscar the Grouch, lived in a garbage can and pretty much grumbled, whined and complained about everything. He was a grouch and lived up to his name well. In the show Oscar had an “uncanny” (punn intended) way of taking trash and making it into something useful. If he was real, he would have been great at selling things at a garage sale. Convincing people that sometimes one person’s trash is useful and can become another person’s treasure.

Does your trash have a price?

For fifteen years I was faithful at going through our house and finding things in order to host our own sale – things we didn’t want, that didn’t fit, or were just taking up space. It became a once-a-year routine almost. Sometimes I would go in with a neighbour or another friend so as to have company and help for the day or two we were open. It was fun (for the most part) meeting people, getting money for whatever it was we were saving for at the time, hanging out and having great conversations with a friend over the scheduled time.

Over the years, I began to enjoy the whole experience less and less. It was more draining than fueling. The pricing, the setting up, the signs, making less money for the same amount of work only fueled my desire to quit. I had run my course of hosting garage sales and soon would discover that shopping at them was not appealing either.

What changed? What happened to my passion, my desire to take my trash and turn it into treasure? It was a season, one that lasted fifteen years.

I also have trash that has a price. So do you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.  It is sin, but it really is trash. Unlike the stuff in our homes that we don’t want around but we put a price tag on, sin needs to be unloaded permanently without expecting anything in return.  It is garbage and belongs in a bin at the foot of the Cross. For some of us, we might feel that thebin needs to be a barrel or anything from a U-haul truck to a semi.

Why the Cross you ask? Because that’s where we get the top price!! Jesus Christ poured out His blood for our sin. We are called to confess, give Him our sin because He has already paid for it in full. No sale price, no discount, no return policy. He paid ONE price for ALL the sin in the world. As followers of Christ, our job now is to simply acknowledge and confess the sin that lingers and embrace the forgiveness He has already given us.

When we embrace His forgiveness we are more apt to give forgiveness freely.

Sadly, so many believers go on thinking (and living) as though “their sin is still for sale”. They struggle with completely embracing the forgiveness Jesus gave them at the Cross. They hold on to their sin as though it were a treasure and if they were to “put it out there”, they might face rejection and that would be more painful than the understanding the comfort of forgiveness. The “for sale” sign that hung on my heart came down when I was just a teenager. There have been times over the past thirty years that I have treasured sin in my heart. Sometimes it was because of fear, while other times it was because of a lack of understanding that I was TRULY and COMPLETELY forgiven!!

 

Unfortunately, I found myself surrounded by people who also lived the lie that forgiveness was difficult to fully receive. As I spent more time in The Golden book, the Holy Bible, I grew in my understanding of my sin and found great comfort through confession and forgiveness received through the blood of Jesus.

 

The enemy’s role is to keep unbelievers in the dark and the believer from finding freedom in their faith journey while trying to destroy their witness. He uses sin to keep us trapped. God transforms our sin into His glory. He takes our trash and turns us into His Treasure!!!

 

How about you?

Are you treasuring sin?

Have you received the FULL price for your sin?

Do you still have a “for sale” sign on your heart?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey,

Kinita

 

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Shake It Up

Summer is here!! The kids are home and the competition for my time has begun. I don’t know about you, but I welcome the change of seasons. Our kids are a little older so they don’t need a lot of attention. For the most part they find things to do on their own. They mostly just need me available. There is one area in my life, however, that is also often challenged at this time of year as well. However, I don’t give into it because it really has become a non-negotiable priority in my life.

My Quiet time, time alone with God, devotions whatever you prefer to call it.
A time when it’s just me, Jesus, my Bible, my journal and a hot cup of coffee. I’m a morning person so the best time for me is really before the kids get up. There is such an incredible love story between the covers of The Holy Bible and my desire to hear it is one thing that draws me to it everyday – BEFORE I get into my story of the day.

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John 15:5, “I am the Vine; 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.”

Now, before you get upset and defensive that “you don’t have time, your kids are smaller and they always need you, etc.,”. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. When my kids were little, I was overwhelmed because I thought I was supposed to have at least an hour of “alone time with God”. That was an expectation put on me that re-enforced my inadequacies and once again gave me the message of not being good enough. Not cool. It was an expectation put on me by people. A mentor / friend at the time encouraged me to start with 5-10 minutes of focused time with God. Just with a scripture. She was teaching me how to live out Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added to you”. That includes time. Before I knew it, I was up to an hour and loving every minute of it.

Have you ever judged a book by it’s cover? Assuming you know what the book is about by its title. For example, if you saw the “Holy Bible” (which, by the way, has often been shortened to the “Bible”…makes me wonder if someone took the “Holy” away in hopes it would remain a secret??) Would you assume you knew what was between its covers?..sadly, many Christians do.
Spending time in the Word showed me how to live a life as a God-pleaser and not a people-pleaser. Along with several other life lessons I didn’t know I needed.

Please know that I’m not putting any expectations on you. I believe, as a follower of Christ, it is crucial that we spend quality time with God. Undivided attention to our Creator God. Let me just ask you, if finding time is a struggle for you, could it be an issue of time management or priorities?
Let me assure you, we all have time, we just choose to use it differently. We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

Maybe it’s time for you to start something new, perhaps you need a SHAKE UP of your routine.
I have some ideas that might help you in this stressful season of your journey and help you SHAKE IT UP!!!

Perhaps one verse a day till you get through a whole chapter or book of the Bible.
Scripture is always key, but how you receive it and apply it to your life is what makes the most difference.

Maybe understanding your learning style will also help you to grow intimacy with Jesus.

For auditory learners, you might want to listen to scripture or a sermon on a CD or downloading a podcast. For some people it works to exercise and listen to a download at the same time. Personally, that doesn’t work for me because it doesn’t allow me undivided time with God. I have (undiagnosed) attention-deficit-disorder (ADD) and it makes it harder for me to concentrate. Don’t get me wrong, I love to multi-task so I add my favourite worship music to my workout playlist so I can continue growing my intimacy later in the day.

For visual learners, journaling or writing out prayers is a great way to express what we are learning after we have read a passage. For me, it not only helps the passage “stick” in my heart better, but as I listen, the Holy Spirit helps me see applications to various areas of my life.

Tactile learners (if you don’t know what that is, you aren’t one :)), ok so you like touching things as you learn. While I do the dishes I like to pray. Often it’s a time of confession because the soapy water on my hands reminds me that God has cleaned my heart with His blood. I do “thank-you” prayers for all those that have used those dishes. I ask God to grow “servant hearts” in my children (that’s probably on the days that I’m grumbling that nobody is pitching in for the cleaning!!)

Don’t just listen to my suggestions, seek God’s direction for your own journey.

Whether you choose to “shake it up” in your spiritual routine, or crack open The Holy Bible for the first time to find out what The Author is really saying, remember God loves you very much and is waiting with open arms to greet you………Your Sister At Heart……Kinita

 

 

Stay In Your Lane

IMG_0847(the man in the left truck seems to be motioning the man in the other truck to “stay in his lane”.  Chitwan, Nepal, 2014)

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I love writing. Years ago if you would have asked me if I did, the answer would have probably been “no”. But now, decades after graduating from college I reflect on the experiences the Lord has given me and I find great inspiration to write about them. From friendships to marriage to parenting to ministry, there has been so much to learn about and so much to write about, as the Lord leads.

To use a driving / car racing analogy, in my life the Holy Spirit has been the “pace” car. I haven’t always followed His lead very well. In fact, during my young adult years, I would go ahead of Him and then reap the consequences of my actions. I would lose my direction, allowing fear and anxiety to set in. I learned that life is not a circle (like a track) where we are free to go ahead of the “pace” car and still successfully arrive at the finish line. The track of life is open-ended. I learned through my struggles of competition, misappropriated anger, disappointments, health issues, difficult children etc., that I needed a pace car. I needed Jesus.

What locked it in for me was a prayer that my pastor taught us at church. Not only did he share it with us, he was living it as well. The prayer was this, “Lord help me to listen to and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit”. I wrote it on a 3×5 card and put it on my nightstand so I would see it as the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning. Over time, by the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, I surrendered.

I could see a change in my heart, my choices, my pace, my desires, and my longings. More importantly, my husband and those close to me saw a change and a growth in me. I wanted what God wanted for me, I chose to go at His pace. I longed for my heart to break with the same things that broke His heart. I longed to serve Him with all of me. My desires became about Him and not about me. I learned how to get out of the way and let Him lead. I have a ways to go, but these days, my response to His leading is much quicker.

We have so many choices in life. So many “lanes” to travel in. But God calls us to live in the lane that is specific for each of us. Some would refer to it as “our calling”.

My calling is my responsibility. Your calling is yours. I can’t enter your lane until you have given me permission. You can’t enter into mine for the same reason. You can’t tell me how to parent my children, you can only encourage me on the journey. Don’t get me wrong, suggestions are great, when invited. I can’t tell you how to lead your ministry if you are the worship leader, but I can certainly encourage you in your role.

The Bible teaches about “walking with one another”. We need to do that. It doesn’t tell us to go around telling people what to do. By now you might be saying, “you are telling us what to do!”  Yes, because by choosing to read this blog post you have invited me into your journey.

Since we each have our own lane or calling, whatever you would prefer to use, God wants to join us in that lane. God has called you to something. Jesus wants to be your “pace” car, your guide and example. He gives us the Holy Spirit as our companion for the journey.

Just like I have been hoping you would join me on this journey of my love for writing, He is waiting for you to invite Him into your lane.

Your life is your race, not someone else’s.

Will you choose to continue and finish the race set before you with a pace car that will always remain ahead of you? Or will you choose to keep your eyes on someone else’s journey with the desire to be like them?

Stay in YOUR lane.

Be YOURself in the journey.

Keep YOURself connected to Jesus!!

Thank you for joining me on my journey.

Kinita