Hope embodied

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13, NIV God is our source and strength. He is the bearer of hope. All true. But as I think about the lovely ...

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13, NIV

God is our source and strength. He is the bearer of hope. All true.

But as I think about the lovely friends God has placed in my life, I’m discovering a correlation between friendship and hope. Read more of this post at the Internet Café (one of my favorite places to share).

Lord, steer me in the right direction

Join me at the Internet Café today as I explore why my default stance is “I wish there was something I could do to help—but since I can’t, I’ll pray.” And pray with me for what I should think instead....

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Join me at the Internet Café today as I explore why my default stance is “I wish there was something I could do to help—but since I can’t, I’ll pray.” And pray with me for what I should think instead.

To You I Sing (A Christmas Prayer)

Silent night Lord, in these moments when the kids are asleep (and I should be), when I’ve put down my work and am lying here, finally still, help me to find You. Holy night Help me to remember why I’m doing all of these things. Why it matters. What it’s ...

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[also on Internet Café today]

Silent night
Lord, in these moments when the kids are asleep (and I should be), when I’ve put down my work and am lying here, finally still, help me to find You.

Holy night
Help me to remember why I’m doing all of these things. Why it matters. What it’s really about.

All is calm
Remind me that when my days are full of chaos and stress, of clutter and demands, that there’s no room left for You.

All is bright
You shine all around, but I forget to notice. I forget to be a conduit of your Holy, loving light.

Round yon virgin, mother and child
But the light shines wherever You are, drawing our attention towards You, the center of it all. We can’t help but gather round.

Holy infant so tender and mild
Oh, sweet, gentle One, You are holy and kind.

Sleep in heavenly peace
I’ll rest in the assurance that You are here. That You are real.

Sleep in heavenly peace
I’ll sleep, wrapped in your peaceful embrace. Amen.

Why pray?

Why do YOU pray? What is it that keeps you coming back? How do you go on when you don’t feel as though your prayers are being answered? (This is also posted today at the Internet Café. I’d love to have you discuss this here, but feel free to join in the conversation over there ...

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Why do YOU pray? What is it that keeps you coming back? How do you go on when you don’t feel as though your prayers are being answered?

(This is also posted today at the Internet Café. I’d love to have you discuss this here, but feel free to join in the conversation over there as well!)

 

 

Insecurity

I’ve been working towards publication of my book for around three years now and I’ve had a contract for over a year. So it really threw me when I got an email from my publisher requesting my official author photo and bio — and I panicked. I don’t want people to see me with my braces ...

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I’ve been working towards publication of my book for around three years now and I’ve had a contract for over a year. So it really threw me when I got an email from my publisher requesting my official author photo and bio — and I panicked.

I don’t want people to see me with my braces and the big gaps left by the teeth I had pulled. I need time to find a good anti-wrinkle cream and figure out how to lighten the bags under my eyes. I need to lose 20 pounds (or, let’s face it, 50). My platform isn’t big enough. My book isn’t good enough. My spiritual life isn’t strong enough. I don’t have enough contacts. I need more blog posts. I’m stressed. I have work piled up for the next few months. I need to make cookies. Balance my checkbook. Take a nap.

Finally, I made myself stop.

Just stop.

And I prayed — what is it, Lord? Why am I freaking out?

[Join me at the Internet Café to read the rest…]

Enthroned on my praise

Please join me at the Internet Café this morning to read about the cobbled-together mess I make of my worship. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. ~Psalm 22:3 (NLT) Most Christians would agree: Praise is important. A critical part of worship, of living for God. I love to worship Him, talk about what ...

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Please join me at the Internet Café this morning to read about the cobbled-together mess I make of my worship.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
~Psalm 22:3 (NLT)

shutterstock_23719012Most Christians would agree: Praise is important. A critical part of worship, of living for God. I love to worship Him, talk about what He has done for me, thank Him for the sweet, kind, generous ways He shows Himself in my life. I know I don’t praise Him as much as I could, but I do praise Him. Sometimes I even convince myself that I’m doing OK. Sure, my actions fall short much of the time — because I’m tired. And, occasionally, pretty self-centered. But I mean well. God knows the desires of my heart. Surely that’s good enough, right?

But then one morning my pastor, Nathan, commented that God is enthroned on our praises.

I sat back. Stopped, overwhelmed with this certainty: if this is true, then we effectively build Him a throne from the praises we offer up.

So I started to imagine… [read more] 

Can I carry you?

This post is being featured today at the Internet Café. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man ...

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roof-photo-788x1024This post is being featured today at the Internet Café.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” ~Luke 5:18-20, NLT

Standing in the center of a clump of people at the altar one morning, as I prayed for a woman who had requested prayer, I felt a new hand on my back. I heard Sandee’s voice. I leaned back slightly into the pressure of her hand. And I rested, knowing that these prayers were for me. I laid down the worries I had and let her words wash over me.

After she prayed, she put her arm around me and squeezed. And said, “I don’t want you to have to go through this again.”

Me either. My dad has cancer. Stupid, stinkin’, honkin’, blasted cancer. I lost my mom to that awful disease nearly three years ago. Believe me, I don’t want my dad to go through this, and I don’t want to, either.

When Sandee prayed for me that morning, I pictured the men carrying the paralytic on the mat. Hauling him up to the roof because they couldn’t get through the people crowding the house where Jesus was. Tearing off mud and tile — they had to make noise and a mess, and people had to be watching, but no one stopped them. And then carefully lowering him down to Jesus, muscles straining, sweat dripping. Because they knew what Jesus could do for their friend. And they knew their friend couldn’t do it for himself.

I went home and read all three accounts of this story (Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5). And noticed something. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the paralytic asked his friends to take him to Jesus. I think I’d always assumed they did it because he asked for their help. I just assumed that the one in need of healing would take the first steps (literally or figuratively) toward the Healer.

But in this case, I think it was his friends. They took it upon themselves to carry him. To put him where he could receive help, help that they couldn’t give him. And when they did, when they fought through the crowds and excavated a hole large enough for their friend, Jesus said, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” And then He healed the man’s body too. As always, the soul was healed first. As always, Jesus knew just what was needed.

And so did the paralyzed man’s friends. They’re the ones who carried him. Like Sandee carried me. Like friends do in this Kingdom. Because sometimes we’re too weak. Sometimes we’re frightened, alone, filled with shame, overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the problem. Sometimes we’ve lost direction and don’t know how to get there. And sometimes we’re not even aware of what we truly need.

So today, my friends, will you please let me help carry you to His feet? Comment below with your needs, or send me an email (kellyostanley@me.com). I commit to lifting you up — or lowering you down through the roof. Let me carry you today. And then, tomorrow, we can each grab hold of a different mat and help carry another. Until we’ve laid the whole world at the feet of God.

Who’s in the spotlight?

I’m always proud to be posting at Internet Café. To read the rest of the article, join me over there. But first, look at how cute I was. And at my dad’s very plaid, very 1970 pants. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish ...

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I’m always proud to be posting at Internet Café. To read the rest of the article, join me over there. But first, look at how cute I was. And at my dad’s very plaid, very 1970 pants.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)

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All dressed up and nowhere to go… Well, I didn’t need to go anywhere because the reporter was coming to see me. Well, to see my dad, but he would also see me. Which is why I put on my very best clothes and asked for something to paint on.

On this day… {read more at the Internet Café}

Evidence of Use

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. Revelations 21:5 What keeps us from starting is often this common fear: What if I mess everything up? Join me at the Internet Café this morning to give thanks to the Creator for the jumbo boxes of 64 crayons with built-in sharpeners....

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And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. Revelations 21:5

156268797 rev

What keeps us from starting is often this common fear: What if I mess everything up? Join me at the Internet Café this morning to give thanks to the Creator for the jumbo boxes of 64 crayons with built-in sharpeners.

God’s Masterpiece

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 If you’re anything like me, sometimes you look at the people around you — pastors, Bible study leaders, friends who faithfully have 5 am quiet time — and feel absolutely, positively certain that you don’t measure up. It’s like looking at ...

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

78483458If you’re anything like me, sometimes you look at the people around you — pastors, Bible study leaders, friends who faithfully have 5 am quiet time — and feel absolutely, positively certain that you don’t measure up. It’s like looking at the giant canvases on a museum’s walls. Even if we don’t understand them, we know that they put to shame our meager scribbles. So much so that sometimes it’s easier not to even try. Not to risk failing. And certainly not to tape our measly little drawings on the wall next to the masterpiece.

[You can read the rest of the post at Internet Café Devotions.]

WINNERS of this week’s giveaway are Geraldine Donoghue and Alison Bliss. Yes, I decided to draw two names because I have a couple extra prizes. Geraldine and Alison, please email me (kellyostanley@me.com) and let me know which item you’d like: Making Manifest, Life After Art, Create Every Day, Lynn Schriner “Amazed” CD or Alana Story “Just Offshore” CD. Stay tuned for next Monday’s giveaway, and thanks for entering!

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