Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Angels Among Us

A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at a women's breakfast held at my church. My senior pastor's wife had messaged me on Facebook and asked if I would consider creating a short devotion to share with the ladies at the beginning of this month. I was pretty surprised to be asked - especially after she said she got the idea to ask me after reading this blog! I guess God can do some pretty crazy things with something as simple as writing on the internet. 
The theme was Angels Among Us, and I knew right away what I wanted to write about. Every year around this time, pastors go into overdrive creating sermons about angels and their huge relevance to Christmas, as well as other significant events in the Bible. It's been overdone, really. I knew I didn't want my devo to be like all the others about that topic, so it got me to thinking - what other kinds of angels are there?
I started digging around in my Bible, looking for angels. There were several different angels at key scenes in scripture, like when Jesus rose on the third day. Mary rushed to the tomb and encountered a real deal Lucille angel, who told her that Jesus was no longer there, that He had risen. The same thing happened with another Mary in a another major scene regarding Jesus - His birth. Angels led shepherds and wise men from far away to a humble little stable in Bethlehem, where they found the Savior. In both of these cases there are actual angels in the scene. There are other angels, though, too.
Mary was at the tomb first - before any of the men, any of the disciples, even before any of the Roman guards could come back and see what had happened. She knew what she saw - or rather, didn't see - and ran back to tell the others. She was an angel to the disciples. She really followed Jesus and trusted Him, trusted that He really would come back from the dead even though it was impossible. She was an angel to Him.
Jesus' mother Mary sacrificed her entire life, reputation, future, and faith all to birth a child before she was married. She didn't question it, ask whether or not she was the best fit for the job, nothing. She just calmly accepted the huge task God had asked her to undertake and that was that. She was an angel.
After seeing this, I realized how many other angels there were in the Bible that didn't have the "technical" status of angel. They don't need the wings, halo, or flowing dress that everyone seems to figure them to have. They can be simple, everyday people. Everyday women. (Sorry guys - remember this was written for a women's breakfast, so you're outta luck here. Sorry!)
Angels can be mothers. We've already seen how Mary dedicated her entire life for God's plan, for His son. It says this in Luke 1:38 -
"And Mary said, 'Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'"
She was completely willing to drop everything she had plans for and become a mother, even though she wasn't married so it would potentially cause her engagement to end, her reputation to ruin and her future to completely change. But she did it. 
Angels can be sisters. In Luke 10 we read about Mary and Martha - two sisters who had completely different views on what serving Jesus was about.
"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who say at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to come help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10: 38-42
Martha is so concerned about preparing a meal, a clean home, and a good image for the Lord that she isn't focused at all on what he is doing or saying. Mary sits at Jesus' feet, listening and learning. Mary has become an angel for Martha, who learns a lesson from her sister that would end up being the most important one she would ever learn.
Angels can be friends. Mary Magdalene had a crazy past - all sorts of pain and hurt had been a daily part of her life for a long time. She fully relied on God to take away all of the demons that had had a hold on her, and she freely trusted him to do all he said and more. That's a true friend - and an angel. Another great example of this is Lydia. Lydia was a businesswoman - something that, in those days, was extremely uncommon. She dealt in purple cloth, a very prestigious trade. Purple cloth was only for royals and the color literally meant royalty, so the people she worked with were not the average people out on the street. Lydia also had a house in a town that the Israelites were supposed to take over. She opened her house to the spies they sent in, promised them a place to stay for as long as necessary, and covered their existence when questioned by people in the town. She put her life on the line, as well as the lives of the spies, her family, and possibly all of the Israelites just by talking to the spies, forget about befriending them, keeping them safe, and helping them take over the town. She was a friend, and an angel.
Lastly, an angel can also be a mentor. In my own life I have several mentors - unfortunately, they too often know better than me. I can be very, VERY hardheaded sometimes. (Can I get an amen?) I don't like listening to other people regarding different things and situations in my life. I want to make my own mistakes. But more than once have my mentors guided me to something better for me than what I had originally wanted. They're angels in real life for me. In the Bible, there's a great example of this found in the book of Ruth. Ruth was married to one of Naomi's sons. When both of her sons and her husband died, Naomi's other daughter-in-law left for home in an attempt to find someone else to marry. Naomi tried again and again to get Ruth to do the same thing, but she refused. In return, Naomi gave Ruth sound advice in several things - including advice which lead Ruth to marry Boaz. While Ruth was an angel for not deserting Naomi and still being her friend and daughter even though her husband was gone, Naomi was an angel for helping mentor Ruth and leading her to Boaz - which would put Ruth in line for being one of Jesus' ancestors. 
Each of us have own angels in our lives that are like the examples here. Each of us have an angel in the form of a mother, sister, friend, or mentor whether we realize it or not. These women and men are placed in our lives for a reason - to help build us up, strengthen our walks with God, and become the woman or man of faith that God has called and created us each to be.
"A person standing along can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:12
The angels in our lives have our backs - God has placed each of us where we are for a reason: to strengthen each other, and to strengthen ourselves. 
In the Christmas season, many times we get so worked up finding the gifts and making sure everything is perfect to really reflect on the reason and the blessings we have. We need to step back and think for a second - what do I really have?
Your NR challenge is this - take a moment to find the angels in your own life. Do you have a mother that is willing to give up everything for you? A mentor who is there to talk to at all times? A friend who stands by your side no matter what? A sister who always has your back? They're there. Take a minute from the craziness of the season and count your blessings. You're surrounded by angels; they're all among us. Do you see them?
Are you in?

-Kimber.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get on my Level.

"Get on my level." One of the best taunts in the world - at least, for my generation. I've heard my brother say it a million times as he plays Call of Duty or some sport or another. Friends of mine have said it to tease each other about something. It's in the media, with celebrities endorsing a product or advertising a game or whatever they're doing nowadays. If you do a Google image search for it, you receive 4,130,000,000 in 0.27 seconds. (At least, that's what Google tells me.) 
So what does it mean? Well, obviously, you have to get on that person's level. They're different than you - in a better way than you are. You're below them. When someone tells you to 'get on their level' in a sport, then you aren't playing as well as they are. If you hear it in the media, then that person is telling you you aren't as successful as they are. It's a taunt.A joke. A ridicule. 
What if it was a good thing, though?
In John 8, we read of a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Like, literally. Some creeps were watching her and a man who was not her husband, and turned them in. The man got away - unfortunately for her, this was common and allowed in those times - leaving her to face the punishments. The Pharisees and scribes have this woman in the town square, waiting her punishment. To be caught in a sin such as this was punishable by being stoned to death, and the townspeople were probably already raring to go, stones in hand. 
The Pharisees, however, see an opportunity to try and trap Jesus - something they were good at attempting, but never successful at. They grab the woman and fling her down at his feet in the center of the crowd that was almost certainly gathered around by then. Starting in verse 4, we read this:
"They (the Pharisees) said to Him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?'"
This woman probably had nothing on, maybe a sheet to cover herself with if she was lucky. Already her embarrassment and emotions are high - she woke up that morning to just another day, with a chance to meet with the man she would be caught with somewhere in the plans for the day. Now she is laying practically naked on the hard ground in front of Jesus, a respected teacher, and surrounded by Pharisees and members of the town. This was not going well for her. She expected the worst to come from Jesus, a judgement fitting of a respected teacher and a follower of the Law of Moses. She probably braced herself for the words along with the stones that would surely follow.
Imagine her surprise, then, as Jesus does something completely unexpected. He doesn't condemn her. He doesn't ridicule her or add to her embarrassment and fear. Instead, He does something completely unprecedented. 
He gets on her level.
Jesus literally kneels down to the dirt next to the woman and begins writing in the dirt. Put yourself in the eyes of those who were there: 
The crowd was probably shocked - what is He doing? Why is He doing that? Does He even have an answer?
The Pharisees were probably confused, and some may have been angry - who does He think He is? He shouldn't be writing, he should be agreeing with us. What is He doing?
The woman was probably the most shocked out of all of them. What is He doing next to me? The others don't want anything to do with me other than to kill me for what I've done. I've made a mistake, and I have to pay for it. So what is taking Him so long to tell them to kill me?
Let's pick up in verse 7:
"And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.' And once more He bent down and wrote on the ground."
So let's review: an adulterous woman is brought before Jesus for judgement. Instead of condemning, He gets on her level not once, but twice, and then tells those so quick to throw a stone that whoever is on a different level and hasn't sinned can throw the first stone. 
Well then.
The story concludes with the people crowded around slowly dropping their stones as they realize the weight of Jesus' words far outweighs the weight of whatever they're holding. Eventually, no one is left but Jesus and the woman. She had to be confused out of her mind, trying to make sense out of the crazy scene that had just happened. Jesus stands up and asks, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She tells Him that no, there's no one left. This is what He says:
"And Jesus said, 'Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'" v. 11
Jesus has made a tremendous impact in the time it took for this story to happen. First, He gets down on the level of an adulterous woman - one of the lowliest people in those days. Second, He tells the crowd to reevaluate their lives before impacting this woman's life. Third, He gets BACK down on the ground near the woman. Then, He gets up, shakes off the dust, and shows how no one is left to condemn the woman, and that He doesn't, either.
There are some major lessons that can be learned from this.
When Jesus shows the woman how everyone has gone, He's showing her who really matters in this situation - just the two of them. The woman doesn't need to have everyone judge her based on her sins. If this was what needed to happen, all of us would last about a week before someone would stone us to death based on our sins. Instead, it's just the woman and Jesus. The only two that matter. Once the matter is taken care of - the woman asks for forgiveness, she sees His love her for, and really doesn't want to do it again - then it's over with. Finished. It doesn't need to be dealt with with other people. They may judge, but who really cares? Her sin, and ours, is only between us and God. Only He can fix us. Why should we make other people try?
Jesus got down on her level - not in the way we see it now, but on a completely opposite way. He was perfect - He did literally nothing wrong His entire life, and here He is getting down in the dirt with an adulteress. He's reaching below His level to someone who is and never can be as good as Him. And He does it twice. Jesus does this and is willing to do this every day. He wants a relationship with us - He doesn't want us to think that He is so far away and unreachable just because He is perfect and holy. While He is those things, Jesus is still right there. He loves us enough to go down to our levels - our sad, sinful levels - and reach out to us there. And He's willing to do it again - not just twice, like with this woman, but as many times as it takes until we get the picture and see His love.
Your NR challenge for this post is this: what level are you putting Jesus on? What level are you on? Do you think that He is unreachable? Do you need Him to bend down and look you in the eye to see His love for you, so He can rescue you from wherever you are? Or are you afraid of the judgement of others, even if you know it doesn't matter? Know this: whatever you've done, whatever you'll do, whatever you've been and whatever you are, God loves you. God cares about you. He's right here, on your level. Will you look up and see Him?
Are you in?

-Kimber.



sorry sorry sorry

Sorry I haven't been posting regularly on here - I feel like I'm saying this all the time lately but it's necessary. Things have been busy and I've been getting some serious writer's block. Yes, it's real and it sure sucks. I have some great ideas but I just haven't been able to word them the way I know they should be and so rather than putting out some garbage posts, I've instead stayed quiet. I'm trying to fix this! Writing right now with some motivation and ideas that I've had for a while so say a prayer it works and hopefully you'll find something new soon.

-Kimber.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

free!

I am a college student. I am a poor college student. I am a poor college student that hasn't worked in weeks, thus keeping me poor. I am a poor college student who loves stuff. Especially when this stuff is music.
Are you poor? Do you like music? Are you not poor and still like music? Then this is your lucky day!
HERE is a link to my friend John Tibb's new album, Swallowing Death Breathing Life. You can literally download the EP right now for free! Or, if you have money, you can leave a donation. But seriously. Click the link. He does some great work, and I'm listening to him right now - you won't regret it! 
Seriously, do it!
Are you in?

-Kimber.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Fairweatherness

As I'm sure everyone in the internet world knows, the Pirates have recently cinched their 20th losing season in a row.
In. A. Row.
Now, I'm not the hugest baseball fan - my brother definitely surpasses me in this - but I enjoy watching it. I don't know everything about it, but I know enough that I can talk about it sometimes. I love going to games - major league games, school games, and simple county league games. There's something I love about baseball. 
While the Pirates were doing incredibly well this season - an unheard of (in Pittsburgh) 16 games over .500 - many people jumped on the proverbial Pirates bandwagon. It was great. We were winning, Cutch was going to win MVP and all of the other baseball trophy award things that I don't pretend to understand, and life was good. People were flashing Zoltans left and right. Root Sports was actually bearable to watch with the announcers being so excited and happy and yay yay Pittsburgh yay. Talk of a center field Z was rampant, the playoffs were real, and Pirates fans experienced something that they hadn't had a chance to feel in almost 2 decades - hope.
Then came the All Star break. 
After the break, the team started their slow collapse. They held their own sometimes, yes, but eventually, the Pirates' ship sailed. (Pun somewhat intended.) People started leaving the bandwagon. Seats were available, and weren't being taken by others. 
Mikey and Big Bob from the Freak Show started the "Quest for .500," filling Twitter and Facebook with images of corgis and Zoltans and old movie stills in an attempt to gain some momentum for the city and their dying hope of the playoffs. The Crazy Italian Guy called in to the radio show religiously, going so far as to get a "No Fairweatherness" tattoo to prove that, in the good times and bad, the Pirates still deserved some fans, and Pittsburgh deserved some devoted fans.
It was a crazy time. 
Unfortunately, as is the way with every Pirates season since I have graced the world with my being, the team started to get the short end of the stick. In short - they stunk. They ended their season and their playoff hopes ended when they concluded with a heartbreaking record of 77-82. 
So many people jumped on the Pirates wagon when they were doing well this summer. People that had no hope for the Buccos for the past 2 decades suddenly were buying the $9 fries from Chickie and Pete's (which, seriously, are delicious and I still have no regrets over this purchase) and flashing their hands in the Zoltan. What happened? The ride got rough, the tables were  turned, and things got difficult. So, they left.
Our walk in faith can be like this, too.
We start out so excited in what can happen - as a new Christian, or someone off a spiritual high, this is an intense time. We can change the world, nothing bad can happen, being a Christian is the coolest thing in the world.
Enter persecution. Enter judgement. Enter a storm in our lives.
How quick we are to jump off of the faith wagon.
Things aren't supposed to get rough, we think. I'm a Christian, we're supposed to have it all together.
If that was the case, I would never, EVER be allowed to be a Christian. Who honestly can say they have it all together 100% of the time? No one, that's who. Everyone has something going on at some point. 
Getting judged in your class for being the only Christian. Having your teacher or professor continually pick at you for your beliefs. Your coworkers tease you for being the goody two shoes. (What does that even mean? Anyway...)
Friends dropping you because you aren't the "fun guy" they used to know. Other girls spreading rumors about you because you don't act the way you used to. Persecution comes from all sides, in all shapes and forms. Who knows when it will strike next?
So here you are - fresh off of your spiritual high, thinking you can take on the world, when instead the world decides to change things up a bit. You're close to your breaking point - 2 outs, bottom of the 9th. 
It's so easy to step back and say, "Hey. I didn't sign up for this. Being Christian is supposed to mean nothing bad happens." Wrong! It says in Matthew 5, commonly referred to as the Beatitudes that "blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." It's okay that we go through storms. In the end, we win. 
It says this in 2 Timothy 3:12
"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."
Every Christian will go through something that will make them want to throw in the towel. It's what happens. It's so tempting to leave, to jump off the wagon, to stop being a "fan" of faith and God and go back to what we were before:
People just waiting and searching for hope.
There's a great reason not to, though. 
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” John 15:18-20
Jesus was persecuted first. He was hated first. He went through storms first. For us. He faced every temptation, every storm, every battle that we ever have or could possibly think of. If He made it, why can't we?
Here's one more, and a fantastic reminder for when we just want to give up the ghost:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Cor. 12:9 – 10
When I am weak, then I am strong.
Sadly, the Pirates tanked this season. They faced some pretty serious storms and couldn't quite make it to playoffs. Does this mean they're out forever and ever amen? No way. They're training. Resting up. Getting better for next season and learning from their mistakes (let's hope...) That's what we should do when we face a hard time in our own seasons of our lives. Rest up. Let God take over. Learn from our mistakes. And move on, better, and stronger, than before. When we are weak, then we are strong. 
What about you? When times get rough, do you tap out? Let the situation or the person win? Take a step back and think. If this is you, take a minute to pray. Realize that God is there - He's not losing, He isn't ditching you, and being part of His "fan base" doesn't always mean things will always go your way. Things will get hard. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. When we are weak, we are strong. - in HIM.
Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen. This bandwagon isn't giving up. No fairweatherness.
Are you in?

-Kimber.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Forgiveness.

Ran across this video on Facebook and it's too good not to share.
Are we forgiving for lesser things in our own lives every day?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thinking

I'm in the middle of my devotional time right now, so this will be short but I had to post it anyways. I just finished the first chapter of "Becoming a Contagious Christian" by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg for the Excel group in leading tomorrow on campus. The entire book is how to have a faith that makes you so on fire for God that it's contagious to others - obviously, based on the title. The first chapter talks a lot about Luke 15, where Jesus tells three parables to the people in an attempt to get His point across. First, that the shepherd that lost his sheep searched high and low to find it, being overjoyed when he did. Second, that the widow who lost a coin tore her entire home upside down to find it, telling all of her friends when she did. Third, the man whose son took his inheritance and left, wasting it and eventually coming home for forgiveness, ran to find his son and threw a huge block party for everyone when he came home. What's the significance here?
Hybels and Mittelberg say in the first chapter that this is the only example in the entire Bible where Jesus tells three stories to get His point across. Obviously, this is something way important to Him - naturally. But why?
In every example, there are three major points:

  • In each example, something of great value was missing to the main character, whether it was a sheep, coin, or a son. We are the "something" that is missing to God. We matter. We have value in His eyes.
  • The thing missing was important enough to warrant an all-out search. God will stop at nothing to make us find Him.
  • At the end of each parable, the main character was so overjoyed that they rejoiced. God throws a party every time one of us is found in Him.
After I finished the chapter in the book, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I had left off the last time I read, in Acts 11. While Luke 15 is well and good, the significance didn't really hit me until I saw this:
"But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'" Acts 11:17
Yes, this isn't directly related to Luke 15, but to me, it was. While I had heard the Luke 15 stories a million times, even after today they never really hit me. Yes, I matter to God, and yes, He loves when I come home to him.
But what does that really mean? All of my past, my sins, my mistakes and shames, are wiped away. Okay. I was dirty. But to God, they don't exist. They're gone - wiped clean. What was made clean - me - is something that no one can ever call common.
Intense. 
Can you say with honesty that you feel like you're made clean, and not common? That you know you matter? Read and try to think about Luke 15 in a different light. It may change your mind.
Are you in?

-Kimber.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cats for Christ

My name is Kimber, and I am a future cat lady.
There. I've said it. No going back now.
Because I got out of my last relationship almost 9 months ago, (wow.) my friends have been asking when I'm going to jump back into the dating pool again. It's gotten to the point where my brother has essentially coined a new phrase in our household - "You're 20 and single."
Thanks, Jamin.

Seriously though, I AM 20 and single. My friends are telling me I'm going to be the crazy cat lady. You know, the one who lives alone in her 4 room house or apartment with 45 cats as company. This, according to everyone in my entire life ever, is my future.
Love you too, guys.
Recently, though, I've been thinking a lot about this whole thing - not the cats, because honestly I am not a fan of cats. (Can't I be the dog lady? Seriously?) Rather, I've been thinking about my future and the relationships I'm going to have.
I posted a while back about My Giant; the man God will (hopefully) place into my life one day who will be my spiritual leader, the third strand in the unbreakable cord of God, My Giant, and myself. Considering my friends are already counting him out, I figure I have to give him a fighting chance. Either that, or resolve myself to a future of felines. 
Not cool.
Without being negative though, what if he doesn't come? What if God would rather claim all of me for Himself, for my entire life? Would it be lonely? Sure - we are, as humans, made to crave companionship, love, and acceptance by other people. Cats can't really fill that void, but if God wanted them to - could they? If He wanted them to, then yes - they will.
Philippians is my absolute favorite book of the Bible. In four short chapters, Paul lays it all out to you straight - no nonsense, just short, sweet, and to the point. I love that. This is what he says in chapter 4, verse 10-13:
"I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
How incredible is that? Paul, who was faced with incredible struggles and trials - from being in jail, to almost being killed - says how he is content in every situation. Paul was cool to sit in jail, and he didn't complain at all. And here I am, in 2012 - whining because I can't find my Mr. Right yet and may have to live with cats?
Pretty pathetic.
While it never says outright in the Bible whether Paul was married or not, one can kind of surmise that he was or was close to getting married. He says in 1 Corinthians that "it's better to get married than to burn with passion" (so it's that kind of party), but he also says that he "has the gift of celibacy." (Not as fun a party.) Whether he was married or not, Paul left all of that behind to focus on God. Imagine that - if he was married, either his wife passed away or he decided to leave her behind to focus on furthering the Gospel. If he wasn't married, then he was nearing a potential marriage before he decided to leave his old life and convert to Christianity. He had it all, or was nearing a point where everything was going to happen - and then he left it. 
And. Was. Content.
That's incredible.
Will I still grumble and complain sometimes about not finding a boyfriend or a potential giant? Possibly. (Probably.) Will I be totally content with the fact that I may be a cat lady in my friends' eyes forever? No. 
But, before I find My Giant - if God decides to place him in my life - then I will learn to be content. I'll take this time to grow closer to the One who wants all of me before He can even consider sharing a tiny part of me with a husband. Or cat.
(Please, please, let it be a husband.)
Your NR challenge is this: Are you single and ready to find someone? Then stop looking. Be content. Take a step back and place your life in God's hands. Walk with Him, and next thing you know, you'll see that special someone right in front of you. 
If God doesn't have someone for you? It's okay. Be content. Know that God wants all of you for Himself, and devote everything you have and all you are to being His and knowing Him better.
And get a cat.
Are you in?

-Kimber.




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Who are you following?

My name is Kimber, and I am a Twitter addict.
For years, I never understood the hype about Twitter. Limiting yourself to 140 characters? Seriously? As some of you may know, I'm not one to limit myself when it comes to something I have to say. (Comments regarding my not posting for a month or much this summer will be ignored. Peter.)
So when I finally caved and got a Twitter account a while back, I really took a while to warm up to it. Who did I want to see tweets from? My friends, obviously, even though for a while it was just like a limited Facebook. Pretty lame. And it took me some time to remember I couldn't send the same things to Twitter and Facebook from my phone since the character allotment is different for each.
Then, I realized I could follow celebrities. I'm not one to obsess over celebs typically, but when I realized that people such as these: Adam Richman (from Travel Channel's Man vs. Food, my favorite show hosted by my future husband. Just gotta get him to love Jesus.), Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5 and also another future husband that needs some serious introductions to Jesus), and Michael Phelps (I'm not going to explain who this is because if you don't know who it is then you've been living under a rock for approximately the last 12 years of Olympics) had Twitter accounts, then all bets were off. I was in.
I quickly became addicted.
What could I say that would make others laugh in less than 140 characters? I could tweet my friends instead of texting so others could see our hilarity and be so jealous. I hate posting pictures of myself on twitter unless I'm with friends, so I made full use of finding opportunities to send a picture. Hashtag, addict.
(#addict. Had to.)
Today, at work, the store was a bit slow. Naturally, the dream team (consisting of some of my favorite people to work with) decided to make a Twitter account for our Subway. We immediately took pictures and sent them to the account. Obviously. 
Jay thinks he's Bolt and Blake's "in charge." Typical.
The first week of August is always the family camp meeting for my church camp, Whitehall. Some of you who have been around for a while may remember me talking about it before. Every year I always go home with something placed on my heart, and this year was no different. I took away so many incredible things from camp this year, but one thing really made me pause and think.
The speaker at the barn this year was amazing. He had a way of connecting to each and every person during each sermon. One night, he was talking about sincerity of our faith. He challenged the group to think about different aspects of their faith and how they measured up - were they on Facebook more than reading their Bible? Were they talking to friends more about silly things rather than asking them about their belief in God?
Were they tweeting as much as they were praying?
Oops. 
Naturally, that stung. Quite a bit, actually. I remember breaking into small groups the next morning during the morning devotion time, where I was a leader, and admitting that I passed 5,000 tweets the week before camp. The group of young girls I was leading laughed, but inside, a part of me cringed. Seriously, 5,000 tweets but not nearly as many prayers?
In the battle of my faith vs. Twitter, who was I really following?
Luke 9:23 says this:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Pretty sure it doesn't say in the New Testament that God has a Twitter and you can follow Him that way. Sure, there are plenty of parody accounts you could actually follow. But is that seriously what you would want? The creator of the universe is inviting you to follow Him daily - far away from the internet, from your phone, and from all sorts of social networking. He wants you to follow Him in every step of your life. 
I will be the first to say that my Twitter addiction is still something I deal with. I have Twitter up right now, but I haven't checked it too many times while writing this post - I think. I may have lost count. I checked my profile and saw that I have 5,199 tweets right now. Still deciding if this is a good thing, or a bad thing.
Anyways.
Your NR challenge is this: step back and take a look at your own life. I did, and found that rather than following God with all my heart, I was following Michael Phelps and retweeting pictures he tweeted from the pool. (Sorry, men that follow me on Twitter. Ladies, you're welcome. And God? Great work.) I have to change who I'm subscribing to. What do you have to look at? Take a look. You may be surprised.
Are you in?

-Kimber.





Sunday, July 15, 2012

NR is my 2nd longest relationship

So I just looked at the date - even though it's changing in 4 minutes - and realized it's been over 2 years since I started this blog. It's crazy what a little push from God can do, along with a lot of encouragement from everyone else. I just wanted to say thank you, from the bottom of my sometimes black heart and the very tips of these busily typing fingers.
I've changed a lot in the past two years, and it's pretty evident by what I've posted. From my first post about Lady Gaga to my most recent about becoming a new creation, it's been a crazy ride and I'm pretty sure NR has become one of the most random Christian blogs ever.
So, basically, because I hate being sappy and I hate long thank you posts because someone is just asking to butt in and be like "Kimber imma let you finish but ______ had the best Christian nonsense crap blog of all time. OF ALL TIME," thank you. Thank you for the almost 3000 pageviews - from all around the world like Latvia (which I have no idea where or what a Latvia is, but thanks dude) to right in my own backyard. Thanks for sticking with me!


-Kimber.
no, it has no meaning other than this is an exciting picture of a philadelphia security guard and myself

You've changed.

A guy from the church I go to every Saturday night recently left to head for Australia to study at Hillsong. How great of an opportunity is that? I've only known Nick for a short time, but I can already see how God is working in his life. I can't wait to see the tweets and hear the stories that he has from all of the amazing experiences God is placing in his life! Nick is going to do something incredible for the kingdom of God, and I can't wait to watch and see.
When I started going to PECC almost eight months ago, I noticed a common phrase among everyone there: "you've changed." Whether or not the phrase actually fit into the conversation wasn't important; the fact that it is said with great timing is. It originated with Nick, along with several other phrases that sometimes made sense, sometimes not so much. Out of all the phrases, though, the one that stood out most to me was that first one I noticed: "you've changed."
It's a funny thing - people change all the time. Whether we realize it or not, it happens. Some changes can be for the worse - hanging out with the wrong crowd, staying with that guy or girl who is clearly not the right one for you, that kind of stuff. We've all experienced it, and we've all had it happen. Those changes are hard to take when they happen to other people, especially ones that we love. They can almost be impossible to deal with if you're the one changing. 
Other changes are for the better - a new job, a new relationship built on Godly foundations, even something as simple as a new hairstyle. These changes are good.
There is, however, one change that can never be for the worse:
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come."- 2 Corinthians 5:16-17
The best change a person can make - throwing away the old, putting on the new and becoming a new person in Christ Jesus.
Talk about a change.
There's a great song by Leeland - one of my absolute favorite bands, ever (go listen to them. Right now.) - that talks about becoming a new creation. (Here's your chance, go listen. Now.)


Like most changes, though, it's something to get used to. It's not like everything will be all nice and happy and filled with unicorns and rainbows and fluffy bunnies and ice cream after you make the change. There is no switch you can flip that completely makes your life absolutely perfect after you become a new person in Christ. Rather, it's almost the opposite. This is the ultimate change, and some people - especially the enemy - will hate the fact that it happens. It's going to be hard. It's going to be a bit scary sometimes. But I promise, it will be worth it. 
When a friend comes up to you and says there's something different about you lately. 
When a stranger approaches you and says how you aren't like other people they've seen or met. 
When God greets you in Heaven and says, "well done, my good and faithful servant."
I've changed.
Will you make the right change for yourself?
Are you in?


-Kimber.

Dinnertime.

When it comes to food, I am a 15 year old boy. That's all I really can say. If you were to look at my mobile uploads on Facebook, a good percentage of them are pictures of food.
Hand dipped ice cream during my Philadelphia student teaching trip.
Olive Garden from a Subway girls' night out.
Chicken wings from wing night at the Pitt Crew's last night after church.
Beautiful, beautiful pub food
And, the ice cream cake we got for my dad for Father's Day. Yes, his name is Cool Breeze, and yes, he is probably cooler than your dad.

End food montage. 
Lucky for me, I have some pretty incredible people that don't mind when I come over and eat all of their food. In fact, almost every Sunday evening I stop over at my second family's house and eat all of their food. It's to the point where I come in sometimes and they already have a plate warmed up on the table for me. Pathetic? Possibly. Awesome? Absolutely. (Especially since they're Italian. YES.)
In church this week, we had communion. My pastor focused on a few verses from Revelation, along with the passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 where it talks about the Lord's supper. Let's pick up in Revelation 3:20
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
In this verse, it says how Jesus is standing at a door and knocking - quite literally, the door to your heart, and your life - and waiting for a response. Do we answer? Do we ignore him? If we open the door and let Him in, it says He will come in and eat with us. 
The meaning of the word "supper" - as in the Lord's supper - in Greek is to "linger longer with you." When God is saying He wants to eat with us and partake in a supper with Him, He is not only saying that He wants to come into our lives and eventually have a beat-all feast in Heaven. He's also saying that He wants to linger and spend time...with us. It's pretty hard to wrap your mind around that.
It's one thing entirely for me to go over to Pete and Ang's house and sit down at their table and have supper, in both senses of the word. Eating leftover lasagna or chicken cordon bleu is a beautiful thing, but the visit doesn't stop there. I stay for a few hours each time, setting aside the food - or not - and spend time with my second family. We look at junk on Pinterest, talk about skits we can create for the drama team at church, call each other meatheads and have a great time. (And for the record, Peter, I just added 'meatheads' to my dictionary on my computer.) It's always a great night, and I always leave excited for the next time when I can come back.
It's like that with God. 
Once day, whenever we can stand before God in Heaven, He will invite us to sit at His table and eat with Him. We'll spend time with Him, and it won't be nearly long enough. It's okay though - we'll have all of eternity. At the table will be every single child of God - from people listed in the Bible, to the person who sits next to you in church every Sunday. It doesn't matter if food will be shared. Time with God is enough, and He is so willing to give it. 
When I drive up to Pete and Ang's house, they never hesitate to let me inside. Mostly I just walk myself through the front door, but regardless - they always welcome me with open arms. 
Are we willing to do that to Jesus?
His invitation to His "dinner party" is a bit different than the normal one. Yes, He wants an RSVP - but He also wants you to realize that this isn't just a "one time thing." He doesn't want to leave. He wants to stay with you throughout your life, guiding you and shaping you into something incredible that only He has planned. He wants to see you next to Him, passing the salt scraped off of Lot's wife in Sodom (okay, maybe that's a bit morbid but you get what I mean) at the supper table. He wants to spend time with you, to linger longer with you.
Will you accept His invitation?
Are you in?

-Kimber.





Lukewarm

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 
Revelation 3:15-16.


Lukewarm.
The mere word makes me cringe, thinking of the meaning:
1. moderately warm: TEPID.
Tepid. Half and half. Not a specific side, not one or the other. Halfway.
I can be half and half sometimes. No specific side.
Yes, I love Jesus. I have a relationship with my Savior.
Yes, I like that guy. I have a relationship with my sins, my past.
No, I want nothing more than to give my all to my Lord. Full faith.
No, I want nothing more than to stay back, give in a little. 
Tepid.
Lukewarm.


Lukewarm.
There are other meanings that I avoid, because of my choices:
2. lacking conviction: HALFHEARTED. 
Tepid: lacking in passion, heart, or zest.
Where is my heart?
I love Jesus. I am sold out to my Savior.
I love other things. I am sold out to worldly issues - dating, friends, relationships, choices I shouldn't be making.
Halfhearted.
Tepid.
Lukewarm.


My works are neither cold nor hot.
There is no sitting on the fence, no in between.
God doesn't want halfhearted people. No children lacking in zest, lacking in passion. 
I want the passion that can only come from a love so great, so powerful, that no other can possibly pretend to imitate it. 
I am afraid. I want to be a fly on the wall, not using my true potential. My true talents. A face in the crowd.
But yes, I say, I love Jesus. I'm all in with my faith.
Then why am I hiding? Why am I afraid to go full out? 
Lacking in passion. Halfhearted.
Tepid.
Lukewarm.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm not bailing, I promise

So, I realize it's been over a month since I last posted on No Restraints. I'm very sorry. My life has been insane and I've been all over the East Coast in the last month, doing some pretty incredible things.


I student taught in inner city Philadelphia for a student class, and realized the call on my heart that God had given me all over again.


I road-tripped with my younger brother to my grandparents' house in the Outer Banks to help them out and get some sibling pre-college bonding time. (Even if we did some extra bonding on I-95 and decided to check out the Beltway through Washington D.C.)

And, of course, I have been working hard at my stereotypical position in society by makin some $5 footlong sammiches for the majority of my small college town.

After all of this, you can kind of see why I haven't posted that often. It's been a crazy month and I'm extremely blessed to have done what I have in the past 4 weeks. However! That doesn't mean I'm stopping with my blog posts. Yes, they're few and far between but I'm trying my hardest to change that. Just bear with me here and I'll make sure to get a new post up as soon as I can! Not much of a challenge, really, but hey - the bigger challenge is on me: to get WRITING!
Are you in?

-Kimber (the not-so-tanned sandwich schoolteacher.)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Giant














My giant:
won't mind that my best friends are the ones I go to all of the time.
won't worry if I don't check up every hour with him.
won't be jealous if I talk to people without asking him first.
won't mind that I stick my feet in between his ankles if we're sitting together.
won't laugh - much - that I have the appetite of a teenage boy.
won't laugh - much - that all I tend to eat is chicken.
won't care that I sing and hum in the car - loudly.
won't mind me blasting the bass in my car on a good song.
won't be bothered by calling me goodnight every night.
won't be ashamed to talk to me in front of his friends.
won't be scared of me and all of my antics. 
won't be intimidated by my faith.

My giant:
will love God first and foremost.
will understand that I need to place God first in our relationship.
will hold my hand, always.
will help me and guide me in my walk with Christ.
will watch stupid movies like The Notebook with me.
will watch awesome movies like The Avengers with me.
will be a solid leader for our relationship.
will read the Bible with me and enjoy talking about it.
will sing with me in the car.
will play football with me when we feel like it.
will tell me how he's doing in his faith, every day.
will be there for me through everything, encouraging, loving, and supporting me every step of the way.

It's a daunting list.
He's out there somewhere, though,
with a list that looks like mine
waiting for me.

My giant:
the man God is waiting to place in my life at the perfect time, to let me be with forever and always.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Proverbs 16:9

"The heart of a woman plans her way, but the Lord establishes her steps." - Proverbs 16:9.


My heart has it's own ideas. Plans it wants to see happen. 
Some are connected to my head. 
Some are from You. Mainly they are from me, 
and are not what I need. 
You don't let me take a step towards those plans, not an inch in that direction. 
No starting leaps to something that won't help me, 
possibly hinder me. You are planning my steps. 
Help me let You draw the map, my life map, my story, instead of me. 
I, who can't even see the road in front of me, 
even the road I'm on, 
trying to take the pen from You, 
the One who created every mountain, 
every valley, 
every shadowy corner and uncertain path. 
Every path less traveled that shall be traveled by me. 
Let me follow Your footsteps, like footprints in the snow, 
clean and pure. 
Exactly what You want for me. 
My heart has it's own ideas. Let them be attuned to Yours. 
Let my heart be the compass to the map You are creating for my life. 
Establish my steps. 
Create my path. 
Lead me down that road You are calling me towards. 
Show me something new at every turn, every bend in the road. 


And let me soar.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grace like Rain

hallelujah, 
grace like rain
falls down on me
washing away my sin, my shame, my secrets, my pain
all taken away by the one act 
that can never be replicated
but that i have taken for granted.
with your grace,
wash my head, cleanse me from thoughts that arent from you
wash my eyes, 
so i may see those you want me to reach
wash my ears, 
so i may listen for your voice
wash my mouth,
so i may speak only helpful, loving words, not ones of hate
wash my arms, 
so they may reach out to your hurting children
wash my hands, 
so they may touch others with your love
wash my knees, 
so i can bow and kneel at your throne without stains
wash my legs, 
so i can freely dance for you
wash my feet,
so i can walk on the path that you have called me to 
hallelujah,
your grace like rain
falling down  on me
finally washing me clean

This time, I will not lose.

Today I resolve to change.
Today I resolve to become a new me,
a new creation.
Time and time again I've said this same promise,
spoken these same words
with the same sincere heart.
And time and time again, 
I've had to be forgiven,
seventy times seven,
but it's okay. You say it's okay.
So I will listen.
This time, I will not let You down.
This time, I will not lose.

Today I resolve to change.
Today I resolve to live out Your word, Your promise to me:
Your daughter, Your beloved princess.
This time, I accept that I will face challenges.
Adversity is not something new to me. It has taken me down, defeated me in the past.
This time, I will not accept defeat.
This time, I will turn to my side and realize You are there.
This time, I will let You fight my battles, instead of trying to myself.
I am no David, armed with stones. I am no Deborah, ready to face an army.
I am simply a small girl, waiting for Her Father to help. You are there, waiting for me to ask.
So I will ask.
This time, I will not lose.

Today I resolve to change. 
Today I resolve to start anew, beginning a new page in my life.
Clean slate, wiped empty and fresh by His blood, His tears, 
His scarred hands taking the blame from mine.
This time, I will make something beautiful out of my scars.
This time, I will recognize Your plan for me,
and stop trying to write my own story.
My slate is clean, but only You can write the words that fill my pages.
So I will watch. I will wait. 
I will read and view as my story becomes one of the most beautiful love tales of all time,
written by the One who loves me most.
There is no second best here, no unhappy endings. No one can have a better story than mine, because mine is just for me. No one can compete with it.
This time, I will not lose.