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Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com
Chatty Kelly

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Game of Life


On July 22 last year, I wrote a post about long suffering. If you didn't read it, you can find it here, but this is a quote from that post:

While I am hopeful that my fruit of long suffering has matured, and I don't need to go through more, I am confident that with Jesus I will not lose heart.

On that very day, July 22, 2013, my husband came home from a doctors appointment and let me know that he had advanced cancer. If I'm honest, it felt like I had been sucker punched in the gut.  I thought I was done with long suffering, but it had just begun, and begun big time. So I had to decide whether or not I trusted God, whether I trust him no matter what.  Whether I trusted him throughout the battle with cancer...and even after my husband's death in December.

This was not a quick or easy decision. It took much prayer and soul searching. But in the game of life, I decided that I do trust God.  Here is why. God is like the coach of a team. He cares about his "players" and wants them all to succeed and do their best, but at the end of the day, the coach's job is to look out for the team as a whole.

Maybe you're a batter, who is certain you could hit a home run, but the coach calls you to bunt...or to a sacrifice fly ball.  Maybe you're the pitcher, who knows you've got another good inning in you, but the coach pulls you out of the game.  You're not ready to go, but the coach takes the ball out of your hand and sends you to the dugout.

It's not personal. You may be the coach's best player. But he has to look out for the team as a whole.  Your bunt or sacrifice fly helps another player along. Being pulled out the game may be because you'll played such a great game, that the coach can't ask anything else from you, so he pulls you, and sends in a closer.

The Coach is looking out for both you and the team.  And if you don't trust your Coach, you cannot succeed in the game...of life.

God called me to a sacrifice fly, when I wanted a home run. God called my husband out of the game, when he was sure he had more innings left. With my favorite "player" gone, some of the joy has come out of the game. But I've got to keep playing. God will call me to another "at-bat" and I'll have to do what the Coach says.  And I will.  Because I know God cares about me. I know that God's team wins.

When the game is over, and we've won, all of the players will storm the field, whether they were taken out early or not, together.  And together, we will all celebrate!

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly

Friday, November 1, 2013

Where Do Belly Buttons Comes From? - A children's book

I'm pleased and excited to share an interview today with Dr. Jeff Scott. Dr. Scott is a wonderful pastor, and a dear friend who is one of the best encouragers I have met. He recently authored a new children's book called, Where Do Belly Buttons Come From?"

 How would you describe your new children's book to a parent shopping for their child?

“Where Do Belly Buttons Come From” is a family-friendly story of children who love to visit their grandparents and soak up the love and guidance that grandparents can offer. They love to ask questions to stump their story-telling grandfather. This time, they ask where belly buttons come from and the grandfather tells a wonderful tale that you will never forget. In a nutshell, he says that belly buttons are the fingerprint of God to remind each of us that we are special and we are loved.

 Where did you get the idea for your book?

The story in the “Where Do Belly Buttons Come From?” was originally a children’s sermon I made up in my first pastorate in Texas while working on my doctorate in religion in the late 1980s. I have told it many times since to children of all ages. When I was an adjunct religious studies professor at Radford University and Roanoke College, I even told the story to college students as an example of myth— taking a common everyday object and using it to convey a profound spiritual truth.

In the highly competitive book publishing industry, did you have moments of self-doubt, such as "Why would a publisher pick my book?"

The book is published by CrossBooks, an affiliate of LifeWay. People have always enjoyed hearing this particular children’s sermon. In fact, at Northside Baptist in Mechanicsville, where I am the senior pastor, they actually applauded the first time they heard it. There is great power in story and that is one of the reasons Jesus taught with stories. They draw us in and are the quickest way for us to absorb truth. If I just said God made you and loves you, it would go in one ear and out the other. But if we wrap that wonderful truth in story, we'll welcome it, enjoy it, take it in, and even repeat it. Humor helps as well. When we laugh together, we let down our guard just enough to allow the gospel can spill over into our lives.

My sense was that this story belongs to God and that now was the time to put it in writing to preserve His story for this and future generations of children to enjoy.

I selected CrossBooks because it was the quickest, most effective path to publishing. They offered me access to some wonderful illustrators that could bring the story to life. The nice thing with CrossBooks is that each of their books goes through a theological check to be sure it is sound. So for me, it was an easy decision.

You are a Ph.D., a pastor, a ventriloquist, and now a children's book author! What is next for the extremely talented and gifted Dr. Jeff Scott?

What next? I’ll keep my eyes, ears, mind, and heart open to story ideas that will help me share the gospel in a creative way. When a story is able to communicate the love of God in a way that captures the imagination and wonder of a child, I’ll know I am on the right track. If we can add humor and the themes of faith and family, it will be a winner.

By the way, I am sure you have a belly button. It is there to remind you that He made you special and loves YOU! "You are His workmanship,” says the Scripture. What most folks don’t know is that that phrase can also be translated as “You are His masterpiece.” My wish for you and all my readers is that we grasp the reality of being loved just because we a masterpiece from the hands of the Master! Remember, you are special and you are loved!

Dear Readers, here is a preview video of Dr Jeff's book. (If you receive this as an email, you'll have to visit my blog to see the video by clicking here.) 


 
Dr. Jeff Scott's book may be purchased through CrossBooks, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. What a great Christmas gift it would make!


Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com


Chatty Kelly

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When You Need Help


I don't accept help well. And I wouldn't dream of asking for it. I'm like a stubborn 2 year old, trying desperately to put on her shoes, screaming and crying, yet responding to her parent's offer to help, "I do it myself!" 

But I've come to realize my prideful refusals don't benefit me, and aren't biblical. I love this story in Exodus. Our hero, Moses, is holding up his arms to God, so that his army will win. But his arms get tired, heavy and he can't hold them up anymore. So what does he do? He sits down, and allows his friends to hold him up.

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Exodus 17:8-13

Moses doesn't hesitate to accept the help his friends offer. And as a result, they win the battle. 

Even Jesus, perfect Jesus, counted on his friends to help in times of trouble. He didn't go to the garden to pray alone when his heart was heavy. He invited his friends to go and pray with him. Yes, they did fall asleep and let him down, but he forgives them. Even after Peter denies Jesus, Jesus still asks Peter, his friend, for help. "Peter, feed my sheep."

When life sends trouble your way, follow the examples of Moses. Sit down. Accept help. Focus on God. It's okay to let you friends hold you up so that you can win life's battles

Then follow the example of Jesus. Pray. And ask your friends to pray with and for you. And even when you pray "Father, take this cup away from me," follow Jesus' example and conclude with, "not my will but yours be done." The road that follows may be hard and painful. But it's the road that leads to eternal life.

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Choosing Peace

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have
overcome this world." - Jesus
John 16:33

As I studied John 16:33 the other day, I realized something. First, the thing I think we all notice when we read this verse. It says you will have trouble. Not you might. Not your could. But you will. You will have trouble in this world.

But notice the verse before. Jesus is sharing the truth so that in him, we may have peace. Did you notice he didn't say we will have peace.  But we may.  It is a choice. How often we wish the trouble were a choice! No, we will have trouble, but we may have peace, if we take heart in Jesus.  Are you choosing peace?

It's hard to do! When trouble comes our way, we have a choice. We can choose fear, despair, disappointment...or we can choose peace.  What are some ways we can choose peace?

1. Dispute negative thoughts with scripture.
There are so many scriptures that tell us truth! Instead of letting our thoughts run to the negative, claim truthful and uplifting scripture.

2. Pray
God is in control. He may not change our troubles, but we can believe his word that if we come to him, he will give us peace. Furthermore, we can believe that all things work together for the good of those who love him.

3. Take time to rest, recover and recharge.
Some troubles are big. Instead of being in denial, or trying to go on with the status quo, sometimes we have to stop. We need to rest. We need to recover from our troubles. Then, we can recharge and start again when we are ready.

In this life, we will have trouble. There is no getting around that fact. But with the help of God, we can choose Jesus; and with Jesus we can choose His peace.

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review: Tangerine Morning

Book Synopsis: Tangerine Morning, Jezzica’s Story. Book Two of the Serenity Cove Series. Jezzica Leigh, a young widow, struggles in her relationship with Christ and with starting over. She moves to Serenity Cove and purchases the Sea Glass Bookshop on Main Street, in hopes of letting go of the past and moving forward with her life. Detective Zack Johnston, the first man her heart reacts to since her husband’s death, also represents a world that failed to bring her husband’s murderers to justice. The same criminals that now seek to harm Jezzica. Can Dr. Ellie Clarimonde help Jezzica find her way back to Christ and the freedom to love again?

Review:  I was immediately drawn into the mystery of this book. As a huge mystery fan, I love a "who dun it" and "why did they do it" book. The characters were well developed, and the mystery was exciting. I was disappointed, however, when a little more than half way through the book the mystery was solved. It took a lot of air out of the book for me.

Then I realized, Tangerine Morning is primarily a romance novel with a little mystery. Not a mystery novel with a little romance.  Armed with that knowledge, I would recommend Tangerine Morning to those who enjoy romance novels; or romance novels with a little mystery. It is a sweet romance, and an enjoyable read.

The author, Rita Garcia, is a talented writer, and created a compelling mystery within her romance, and left me wanted more...mystery! But overall, her talents overcame and I really enjoyed the book. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Does Jesus Have a Tattoo? - Interpreting the Bible



"And Jesus is going to come back riding a white horse, and with a tattoo on his thigh!"....

Jesus...with a tattoo? Chapel at my daughter's school started out simply enough. I love the Chaplin there, who is a wonderful teacher and the kids hang on her every word. But Jesus with a tattoo?  I'd never heard such a thing. I leaned in to the mom next to me, "Did you ever hear that Jesus had a tattoo before?" She hadn't.

Upon coming home I began my research, when I found the verse the Chaplin was interpreting: Revelations 19:16:

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  king of kings and lord of lords.


When Jesus returns he will have "king of kings and lord of lords" written on his thigh. How will it be written? It could be a tattoo. If could be a mark similar to a birthmark. For all I know, it could be written in Sharpie. The fact is, it's Jesus. There are lots of ways it could be "written", but the Chaplin shared her interpretation, that the writing would be a tattoo.  And I'm not disputing that fact.

But likewise on the same verse, I could say that Jesus is going to return wearing a monogrammed robe. Because really, if your name or mine were written on our robe, it would be monogrammed, right? So I could interpret that Jesus is going to wear a monogrammed robe. But that isn't what the scripture says. It says his name will be written on it.

There are lots of ways that we can "re-word" scripture to make it more understandable to us.  But we must exhibit care not to over reach. 

Whether Jesus has a tattoo or not, I don't know. Isaiah 49:16 has been translated several ways; having our name engraved, inscribed, written and graven in God's palm. Yet, I have heard some folks interpret it to mean God has our names tattooed in his hand.

Some people are strongly against "The Message" Bible, because it is paraphrased, not a word by word or thought by thought translation. Still others will only read from the King James.

I don't know the answers. Does it matter whether Jesus or God have a tattoo? Does it matter if we read a paraphrase? Does it matter how we interpret, as long as we believe Jesus IS the king of kings, and lord or lords?  I don't know. I just pray that God leads me the way he wants me to go. And that when I get the details wrong, not from lack of trying, that he will forgive me and help me find the answers on the things that matter.

What do you think?

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly

Monday, July 22, 2013

Long Suffering


The first time I heard about long suffering as a fruit of the spirit was in a Bible study. Of course I was used to my NIV Bible translation: "Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

Patience is hard. Like waiting in line at the grocery store when they're calling for snow. Or worse, waiting at the DMV. Or dealing with a strong willed child. And never, ever pray for patience, cause God will make you wait for something, right? Patience is a virtue.

But then someone with the King James Bible read the verse, and instead of patience, she read the word longsuffering. Longsuffing? I actually said something to the effect of, "Who would want the fruit of longsuffering? That is a terrible fruit!"

Several years later, in 2001, my best friend wrote me a letter where she shared the ways I exhibited the fruits of the Spirit. On patience, she said:

The 4th fruit is Patience - another translation is longsuffering. The definition is a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint. I have seen you in situations where this definition could have said, 'here is Kelly.' I have been amazed at your ability to 'let things go' when others hurt you. This is truly God's patience manifested in you.

From her letter I was able to look back at my relationship with my mom. A childhood and early adulthood filled with longsuffering. (Also defined as patiently enduring wrongs or difficulties; patient endurance.) While I was in that phase, I didn't realize it was longsuffering. It just seemed like life. But in hindsight, I see it for what it was. Now I am able to see other times of the fruit of longsuffering in my life, and there are several.

What I've noticed is that longsuffering without Jesus produces bitterness in people. But longsuffering with Jesus makes us hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)


I may have felt broken at times, but I am stronger because of my longsuffering. 


I can't imagine ever praying for the fruit of longsuffering in my life. But I am thankful to have come through it with Jesus. While I am hopeful that my fruit of longsuffering has matured, and I don't need to go through more, I am confident that with Jesus I will not lose heart.


When you experience times of longsuffering in your life, I hope you know that Jesus is walking through it with you, and that together you are achieving eternal glory.


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Kelly Combs is a Christian wife, mom, writer and speaker. You can learn about Kelly by visiting her website at www.kellycombs.com

Chatty Kelly