Thursday, December 27, 2012

Post Christmas Blues


Every year after Christmas it was the same thing. I got the post-Christmas blues. It wasn't that I didn't get what I wanted. The presents I received were great, everything I could hope for. It wasn't that my family didn't meet my expectations, we spent wonderful time together. For some unexplainable reason, I got the blues.

Then I realized why. I was looking for "something" in Christmas to make me happy, to fill me up and to give me joy. And that is the danger of Christmas celebrations, and why so many people get depressed during the holidays. Because we are celebrating a day or even a "season," instead of a person, the person of Jesus Christ.

When I go to your birthday party, I don't expect it to make me happy.  I'm there to make you happy. It's your birthday, and I'm celebrating you. And so it is with Christmas, Jesus' birthday. We should be celebrating it to make him happy, not us. Yet, somewhere along the way, we lose our direction, and find ourselves looking inward, instead of upward.

It isn't about the presents. It's about His presence. It isn't about our relationship with family members. It's about our relationship with Jesus. It isn't about us having peace. It's about us having the Prince of Peace, Immanuel - God with us.  It was never about focusing on us. It was always about focusing on Him.

If you're feeling the post-Christmas blues this year, I invite you to look to Jesus. Not to make you feel better about you. It's not about how we feel. It's about who we are in Christ:  Forgiven. Redeemed. Renewed. When we focus on those things, we can't help but feel the joy and peace that was lost in the wrapping paper; and found in the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and the man He grew up to be.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." 
John 14:27

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, December 21, 2012

Is Christ in Christmas?

"They're trying to take Christ out of Christmas!" That's a comment I hear often in the Christian community this time of year. We get so indignant that someone should say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," But here is the thing:  They never put Christ IN Christmas - we did, coupling the birth of our Savior with a pagan holiday. 

In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival (or winter solstice) hoping to take the pagan masses in with it.  Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

The exact date of birth of Jesus is unknown. In fact, most scholars believe he was born in the spring (shepherds keeping watch over their sheep is a hint). Yes, we Christians choose to put Christ into the pagan holiday. And now we scream so loudly when the "pagans" try to keep him out.

Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter, is another example of us coupling our sacred event with a pagan event. The English word "Easter" is believed to be derived from a spring festival for a pagan goddess, Eostre. And don't forget the Easter bunny and eggs, also pagan symbols that we've try to revamp into a Christian holiday.

Don't get me wrong! I love Christmas! I love having a special time to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, and give gifts to those I love. A time to celebrate family, bake treats, decorate, and sing songs of His birth. I just can't justify getting angry at those who want to take Christ out of Christmas, when they never put him there to start with.

There is no Biblical mandate to celebrate the birthday of Christ. Unlike remembering the Sabbath, or communion, where Christ clearly said, "Do this to remember me," we don't see evidence of a yearly celebration of Christ's birthday. So I think to take a stance against those who happen to utter "Happy Holidays" is arrogant.

And maybe, just maybe, if instead of getting angry we showed them God's love, they might be able to find Christ in us, and then have a reason to say "Merry Christmas" after all.
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, December 19, 2012

Crowned


It started out like a normal shopping experience. Two cashiers were checking out customers from one line at the retail department store. The customer, an older woman, was disappointed because they only had 1 sweater left. The sales associate offered, "Let me go check the back room."

I'll admit it. Selfishly, I was annoyed. One less cashier meant a slower moving line. But soon enough I was up to the other cashier and began checking out. As I did, the first cashier, Lori, came back. "I found them!" she exclaimed to the now thrilled customer, continuing, "It was a 'Thank You Jesus' moment."

I finished my purchase and walked away. Lori was clearly a Christian, and showing it both by going the extra mile for her customer, and giving Jesus the glory. This deserved a crowning moment! 

Recently I became award of "Crowned Women's Ministries." It's a lovely ministry that provides crown necklaces as outreach tools. You can either wear one, and give it to someone when they compliment you on it as you share the gospel with them, or give it to someone who needs encouragement. I had mine in my purse, just waiting for the right moment. 

I got back in line.  As I finally made my way to Lori, she remembered me. "Back again, huh?" I handed her the crown necklace in it's pink pouch. "I heard you say 'Thank you Jesus,' and thought it was a crowning moment. I'd just like to remind you that you are chosen, wonderfully made, dearly loved and a daughter of the king," I told her, using the verbiage on the back of the necklace card. 

"You don't know what this means to me!" Then she looked me in the eye, the way you do when you're being serious with someone and said again, "You don't know what this means to me. This is the 5th day that I haven't been crying." She leaned over the retail counter and hugged me, and I said "Jesus loves you" and went on my way. As I walked away I heard her exclaiming joyfully to a co-worker, "Can you believe that?!!"

Honestly, it's scary to put yourself out there as a Christian. The reason I love "Crowned by the King" is that there are so many ways to use it out as an outreach tool. I used it to encourage. I don't know what Lori's been going through, but I know that she's had reason to cry, yet still she was thanking Jesus boldly in a retail store. She deserved to be crowned, and I'm so glad Jesus used me to encourage her.

Who can you encourage today?  Check out Crowned by the King ministries, and learn how you can bless women. I can honestly say I was almost moved to tears, and I was as blessed as my sister in Christ, Lori.
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, December 17, 2012

Where is the Light in the Darkness?

Where was God during the Sandy Hook school shooting? How do you explain the unfathomable? I don't have the answers. But I thought I would share something my Pastor said on Sunday.

Jesus is the light of the world. Imagine a lighthouse. It doesn't stop the darkness. It simply emits light to aid navigation in the darkness. Jesus is there to show us the way, even in the darkness of the evil. He didn't stop the evil, but he is still there shining the light, showing us the way if we look toward him.  

A sailor can chose to ignore a lighthouse, and may crash into dangerous coastlines or reefs. And people can chose to ignore the Light, Jesus, and cause the world to come crashing in on themselves and others. 

Jesus came to be our Immanuel - God with us. He is still with us. Even in the midst of darkness, he is shining his light. Seek his guidance, and reflect his light to the world.

 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

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, December 13, 2012

Everyday Matters Bible for Women - Review

How does one review a Bible? It's not a stretch to say, "This book will be life changing! It's the best book I've ever read." But no, I'm not reviewing the contents of the Bible, rather the features of this Everyday Matters Bible for Women (NLT). 

This is a beautiful Bible and would make a wonderful gift for a woman in your life. It is a hardback bound Bible, with a dust jacket that matches the hard cover. It has a beautiful blue cover, with pink flowers on the front, and my favorite little feature, a hot pink bookmark!

But beyond the cover, this Bible offers so much more. It features twenty-four disciplines—or practices—that position us to receive power and strength to do those things that we cannot possibly do on our own and make everyday life fuller and deeper. Each discipline is represented by a colorful icon whose illustration is a reminder of its meaning.

The contemporary language of the New Living Translation combines with content from today’s foremost Christian leaders to help readers understand and apply spiritual discipline.

Every discipline is explored in four ways:

• Everyday Matters. Two-page articles introduce major themes and focus on an essential part of understanding and practicing a discipline.
• Everyday Profiles. Profiles of twenty-five Biblical women highlight a particular discipline.
• Everyday Q & A’s. Short articles delve into a difficult aspect of the spiritual practice and offer practical help on incorporating the discipline into your daily life.
• Everyday Reflections. Selections illustrate ways to personalize and apply God’s Word to your own situation.

More than 300 articles and features by more than 140 of today’s most well-known Christian leaders and writers, including: Kay Warren, Priscilla Shirer, Elisa Morgan, Nancy & John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Liz Curtis Higgs, and Lauren Winner.

Special Features include . . .
• 4-color throughout
• Color-coded icons identify each Spiritual Discipline addressed in contributors’ material
• How to Use This Bible in a Small Group Study 

 The only negative about the Bible is that the Chapter names are printed on each page in a pale gray font. Because the names are not prominent in a dark font, it would make navigating the chapters difficult for someone who is not familiar with the layout of the Bible. 

Overall, I give the Everyday Matters Bible for Women 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

Monday, December 10, 2012

Filled Up and Prayed Up


'Tis the season for family events, and lots of them. Most of the time family events are wonderful. Still, sometimes they can leave you feeling stressed and sad if you don't have the "perfect" family. (Who does?) Unmet expectations, and baggage from our past are dragged into the "fun, festive" events of the season, making for some rough interactions. But I've learned a secret.  If I'm filled up and prayed up - I don't get fed up!

Filled up is simple. I don't look to my extended family to define my worth. So what if they make that little jab, don't notice all the hard work I did preparing, or don't like the gift that I thought they'd love. I have filled up my "love tank" with my value through God's eyes. These are just a few the verses I fill up with, but you should pick your own.

"Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me." Psalm 27:10
"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will 
take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, 
but will rejoice over you with singing” Zephaniah 3:17
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
God’s special possession...." 2 Peter 2:9


Second I make sure I am prayed up. Before an event, I spend special time in prayer. I ask God to guard my mouth against saying anything to hurt any of my family, and to guard my heart against harmful words that may be aimed at me, intentionally or unintentionally.  I pray for my family members to not be hurt as well. I pray that I may remain an adult, and not revert back to childhood family dynamics. I pray.

Now, I truly enjoy family events...usually. But even when I am weary, I am no longer hurt. Because I know who I am and who I am no longer. I am a daughter of the King of Kings...and He thinks I am to die for!

Why not try getting filled up and prayed up before you next family event?  It truly makes a difference, and you'll discover when you're filled up and prayed up, you won't get fed up and let down.
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, December 5, 2012

The Real Thing

I remember when I used to drink caffeine free soda. I convinced myself that it tasted the same, but when I went back to real soda.  Mmmm, there was a difference. The fizz, the burn, the buzz.  Real soda trumps caffeine free.

I remember when I used to eat fat free frozen yogurt. I convinced myself that it was the same as ice cream, but when I tasted real ice cream. Oh, there was a difference. The smoothness, the richness, the flavor. Real ice cream trumps frozen yogurt.

I remember when I thought that going to church was enough. I convinced myself that it was enough to believe in God, and go to church, and be a "good person." But when I started a relationship with Jesus, spending time in the Bible, with real prayer (just talking to God!), and praise (honoring him with my words) - Gracious, there was a difference. The relationship, the love, the peace. Relationship trumps religion.

Have you missing out on the Real Thing? Accepting Jesus as you Savior is a wonderful thing. But the relationship is what makes a difference. Once you experience spending that time with Him, and fullness that accompanies it, you'll never want to go back to lesser things.

Spend some time in the Bible today. (I recommend reading Isaiah 55). Read it out loud and feel the words. Drink in God's love, feel the joy and peace. Praise him. Experience the Real Thing, taste and see that the Lord is good.

I've recently started a new job, and my blogging has dropped off as a result. 
Please accept my apology for not writing consistently, as I start balancing 
the additional role of working mom in my 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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The High Cost of Free

FREE!!  It's a word that gets our attention. What could be better than free? Lately, I've been considering the high cost that often comes with free.

The other day, as I grocery shopped, I saw Pretzel M&Ms on sale, buy one jumbo bag, get one FREE! The M&Ms weren't on my list. But suddenly I was contemplating not having just one bag, but TWO JUMBO bags of M&Ms at my house. After all, one was FREE!!  But then I considered the 10 pounds I'd lost over the past 6 weeks, and realized that while "free," I would be paying a high cost with my weight. There was a price to pay for those free M&Ms. I left them at the store.

Adam and Eve paid a high cost with their "free" will. God told them not to eat from a certain tree in the garden. And though all the other trees were available, they were "free" to decide to eat from that tree, even though God said no. They did. The cost they paid was separation from God, leaving the perfect garden of Eden, and bringing sin into the world.

We too have free will. We can choose to accept Jesus as our Savior, or not. Many people every day choose by "free" will not to accept him. And the cost associated with that "free" is death. Eternal death. 

The cost of sin is death. And that is a high price to pay. But we sinners can be made free in Christ, by using our free will to accept his free gift of eternal life. The high cost of our freedom was paid by Christ, so that we can be free, indeed.

So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. John 8:36

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, November 5, 2012

God and the Election

Election day. The results will decide the person who will lead the United States of America for the next four years. Does God decide who our leader will be?

I don't think so. This is only my opinion, but if you read 1 Samuel 8, you see the people wanted a king. God didn't want them to have a king. He had Samuel warn them all the ways the king would harm them, but still they wanted a king, so God said "Listen to them, and give them a king." God knew it was a bad decision, but he let them, because it was what they wanted. Free will. And they had to live with the consequences of their decisions.

We, the people, still have free will. And we will decide who we want to be our president. And whether or not God thinks he is the best candidate isn't necessarily relevant. Because God gives us free will, and we will have to live with the consequences of our decision as a country.

But one thing I do know, is this. Once that person is elected, it is up to us as Christians, and Americans, to support our leader. Romans 13 is clear that we must submit to governing authorities.  (Except in instances where doing so would be a violation of God's laws.)  Does that mean we ignore all their rules? No.

When Daniel was under King Darius, the administrators tried to find him in violation of any laws, but could not. They said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God." (verse 5). Daniel obeyed all of King Darius rules, until he was told he had to worship King Darius. That was against the first commandment (No other gods), and so Daniel disobeyed this one edict. But make no mistake, after Daniel came out of the lion's den, he didn't reject King Darius. He continued to serve him, and prospered under Darius' reign. (verse 28).

We don't know who will win the election. What we know is that God will let us be ruled by whomever we chose. And once that choice is made, we need to serve our President. Most importantly we need to serve our God. Because regardless of who wins the election, the King - God, will still sit upon His throne.

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, November 1, 2012

Less of Me, More of He

Saturday I am speaking at a women's conference in Williamsburg. I am excited, prepared, and ready. But I am also fighting a cold. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. Today I just feel tired and a bit achy. As I think back to each time I have a speaking engagement, something like this always comes up.

The first time I ever spoke, my oldest had the throw up bug, and I left with great concern about her. Once I pulled a muscle in my back, and another time my computer crashed! At first I chalked it up to spiritual warfare. And it could be. But today I had another thought.

Today as I told someone I wasn't feeling "100 percent," a whisper came to my heart.  "Good," said God, "Less of you means more of Me." When I am weak, He is strong! If I were to go speak feeling 100%, I would think that I did a great job. But when I come to the table empty, tired, broken, down, and people still are moved, then I cannot dispute that it was Jesus, not me!

So though I'm under the weather, and not myself, I am peaceful. Because less of me, means more of Jesus. 

{The Lord said,} "My power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
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, October 29, 2012

How Losing 10 Lbs Prepared Me for Spiritual Battle


I recently lost 10 pounds. It was not easy. There were lots of times I felt hungry. There were yummy treats I didn't eat. But each time I made a good decision my confidence boasted and made me stronger to make another good decision.

I also decided that I would exercise a minimum of 15 minutes daily during my weight loss program. I hate exercising! But I would drag myself to do it, mentally saying, "I hate this!" throughout the program. Then a strange thing happened. The other day as I started exercising and my mind started thinking of quitting (as I always do), I realized that the thought of not exercising was worse than the thought of exercising. My will had beaten my flesh, and now I desired the exercise. 

Losing weight is not a spiritual battle. So how will it help me to fight a spiritual temptation? I am confident that my will is stronger than my flesh now. When I come to a spiritual battle, a true battle of the flesh, temptations, my will can confidently and boldly stand firm, with the help of God. I know my will has beaten my flesh before, and that it can again.

What spiritual battles, or battles of the flesh, are you fighting today? Will you boldly command your flesh to obey your will? Will you fight with the spirit of self-discipline that God gave you?  Nothing is impossible with God on our side. Stand firm against the devil. With God's spirit and a strong self will - you can stand firm. You have a spirit of power - empower it! 

 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7



 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, October 25, 2012

Are You Your Best Self Ever?


"Dear Me, I love myself your the best self ever!!"  
(sic)

This sweet message was written by my 8 yr old to herself. Honestly, my heart soared when I saw it. What a wonderful and healthy self-image!

At 8 years old, I was often found crying and when asked why, I would respond, "Because no body loves me." Growing up with an alcoholic, mentally ill mother took away my feelings of being love-able by anyone, even myself.

But chances are, even if you've had the best of childhoods, the world may have stolen your self-image.  The world screams, "You're too fat, too old, too poor." The worlds says "You are not enough." When was the last time you said to yourself, "I love myself. I'm the best self ever!"?

God made you. And while sin gets in our way and causes pain and consequences, the truth is we are God's masterpiece, created by Him to do the good works he prepared just for us. God loves us so much that he allowed his perfect son to die to take away our sins, so that we can spend eternity with him.

Maybe you don't feel like a masterpiece. By the end of this summer, I'd gained weight and was feeling badly about my appearance. After being dejected for a few weeks, and feeding my sorrows of course, I realized that I was the person equipped to change myself. It wasn't easy, but I created a plan, stuck to it, and as of yesterday I have lost 10 lbs. 

Every issue isn't as simple as losing weight. But with hard work, determination, and most importantly, the help of God, we can face and work through every issue. Sometimes we may need the help of others as well, but we can work to improve our situation.

Next time life is hard, remember God is great, and he made you! So look in the mirror, and repeat after me,
"I love myself! I am the best self ever!"

For we are God's masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to do good works that God prepared long ago to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10 (ISV)

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, October 22, 2012

Do You Glow in the Dark?


My daughter was so excited with her purchase. Glow-in-the-Dark Putty! She couldn't wait to get it home and see it glow. Imagine her disappointment when it did not glow at all. Luckily her older sister was there to save the day.

"You have to charge it," she said. "Hold it under a bright light for a while, and then it will  be able to glow in the dark." It had to have a source of light to glow.

As Christians, we need to learn a similar lesson. Without God, we cannot shine. We have to be "charged" by God, and then we can let His light shine through us. We are then equipped to go and spread His Word, letting our light shine so that people will see our good works, and glorify God in heaven.

But like the Glow-in-the-Dark Putty, we will eventually lose our power to glow. How many Christians have you seen who either burn-out, or who become mired in sin? We wonder how it can happen to someone who was so committed to Christ? Simple. They failed to re-charge.

It is wonderful to serve God. But we must also take time to rest, to draw close to God, and to recharge and renew our spirit. Then we can glow-in-the-dark and be a light to the world. And as we draw closer to God when we recharge, He will be able to mold us, like putty, to walk in His will and His way.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6


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, October 18, 2012

An Interview with Jeff Williams - Marriage Coach

After attending a marriage coaching seminar by Jeff and Jill Williams, I knew I had to share with my readers some of the things I learned. I hope you will enjoy this interview with Jeff Williams: author, counselor, and marriage coach. The questions are in black text. Jeff's answers are in blue text.

1. For many people conversation looks like this:

Speaker #1 - I loved the movie last night.
Speaker #2 - Me too! My favorite part was the crash scene.

Or even worse:

Speaker #1 - I loved the movie last night.
Speaker #2 - Are you kidding? It was horrible! I can't believe you liked it.

But you teach loving listening, where the 2nd person takes on the role of listener, versus speaker. A conversation might look like this:

Speaker: I loved the movie last night.
Listener: What did you like about it?  
(Simply use a portion of what the speaker said to ask an open question that invites them to share more.)

The listener directs the conversation back to the speaker.  This was a new concept for many of the people at the seminar.  How can we retrain ourselves to be better listeners, and stop turning the conversation back to ourselves?  

Be prepared to give the gift of listening.  Then, observe yourself for "conversational generosity".  Notice how much "air-time" you are giving to the speaker vs. how much you are using to talk about things you want to say.   Most of us want to love and be loved.  Listening from the heart communicates loving concern, and while it is simple, its not easy. However, great improvements don't take that long when a person uses every conversation as an opportunity to grow in their skill. 

2. Some speakers are actually looking for feedback from their listener. They are waiting for encouragement to continue, solutions to their problem, or a road block that signifies this isn't a "safe topic."  So that when they are actually listened too, without judgment or input, it makes them uncomfortable.  Why do you think that is?  

Because generous listening is rare in comparison to advice giving.  You can solve awkwardness simply by asking a person what they would like from the conversation.  "It sounds like you might be asking me for advice.  Would you like to know what I think?"  If they say yes, you can ask them if they would mind if you asked some questions to better understand their situation (by the way, this is a key problem-solving principle pointed out in the book, "How Great Leaders Make Great Decisions".  

Get as much information as possible before deciding on a solution to the problem.  Practically, in everyday conversations, if a person is asking for your advice, take 5 minutes to ask questions about their thoughts, feelings and desires. For example, "What do you think? What outcome would you like? How do you feel about this situation?"  Great questions percolate from our intuition about the important aspects of a situation.

Indeed, this is a very different way to have a conversation, so a heads up to the person with whom you are speaking is important, "I've learned some asking and listening skills that have helped me to have better conversations than simply giving advice.  Would you mind if I asked some questions and clarify what I hear you say by reflecting back to you?"

3. Marriage Coaching seems to have become a passion for you and Jill. You moved from not only being a Professional Clinical Counselor, but to marriage coaching. You've even written a book on the subjectWhere does your passion for marriages come from?

The day my father told me that him and mom didn't love each other anymore was one of the saddest days of my life.   I still painfully remember sobbing the day dad had that conversation with me.  Things were never the same. Paradise was lost.  

As I began to yearn to have someone to spend my life with, I also yearned to have it go differently; to last.  And what began as a personal passion eventually became a professional passion.  I left college wanting to know the answer to two questions, "What makes relationships work, and what does God have to say about it?  So it was off to a Seminary to study Counseling Psychology, and the question began to be answered.

My wife Jill and I served marriages professionally and personally (together in our church) as best we could, all the while praying and yearning for more and better.  Providentially, it was then that community leaders of the city in which my parents divorced asked us to lead an initiative to reduce divorce, raise the rate of marriage and lower rates of cohabitation, all for the sake of child welfare. (The research is conclusive that being raised by married parents is better than any other option).  

Through that initiative we had to learn the state of the art in relationship education, and later combined principles, process and skills of Christian Relationship and Leadership Coaching to pioneer the model you know as marriage coaching, which we used to save our own marriage when it hit the rocks during personal and professional difficulties a few years later.  

Today, we are passionate about sharing the hope we have through transformed hearts using state of the art skills to help as many couples as possible to heal, strengthen and protect their relationships and to train as many couples to train as many couples as possible, globally.

4. If individuals want to learn more about marriage coaching, or would like to get their own marriage coached, what steps should they take next?

The quickest and most cost effective on ramp to learn about and self-administer Marriage Coaching for one's own marriage is to read the book, "Marriage Coaching: Heart Hope and Skills for a Great Relationship", available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle, or signed copies directly from us.

Next is to receive coaching for your own marriage from us, or couples we've trained.  Contact us at Jeff.gtre@gmail.comJill.gtre@gmail.com or 937-717-5591

The number of sessions varies, but great progress is usually accomplished in 4-6 weeks, sometimes solely with couple's sessions on a weekly basis, and sometimes with supplemental individual coaching sessions.  Endorsements from couples we've served and persons who refer to us can be viewed at www.graceandtruthrelationship.com.  (Half of our clients are served by voice/video {phone, Skype, facetime on iphone, etc}).  
The third step that some couples take is to be trained to coach other couples.  We do that through a not for profit organization we created Great Relationships which offers three levels of training (the website is in process).  

Level I focuses on your own marriage (and takes it further than reading the book.  Some couples go through training while being coached privately. Level II activates couples to begin coaching other couples, and Level III is for couples to become trainers of groups of couples to use coaching in their own marriage and to train them to coach other couples.   

* * * 
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, October 15, 2012

What Temperature is Your Marriage?

What temperature is your marriage? Is there something simmering beneath the surface waiting to boil over at an inopportune moment? Or has it cooled off completely, from constantly being put on the back burner? 

The secret to a good marriage is good communication. But where do you start? It seems many marriage conversations revolve around who is picking up which kid from what event, and what's for dinner. Real communicate involves sharing from the heart. And it doesn't have to take huge chunks of time, that today's couple doesn't have. So where do you start?  With the daily temperature reading.

The daily temperature reading is an exercise my husband and I recently learned at "How to Coach Your Own Marriage" seminar, presented by Jeff and Jill Williams, authors, marriage coaches, and Jeff Williams is a Supervising Professional Clinical Counselor. The daily temperature reading involves sharing five (5) different things:

1. Appreciation
2. New Information
3. Puzzles
4. Complaints with a Request for Change
5. Wishes, Hopes and Dreams

How does it work? Each category is shared back and forth like a tennis match. First the wife might share something she appreciates, then the husband. They each moves on to New Information. Puzzles are next, sharing something that is concerning you. 

But wait! This isn't a time for problem solving! After you share your puzzle, your spouse shares theirs.  This is all about communicating what is going on inside your heart, mind and life. This is not a time for long discussions in any of the categories.  Because if you had time for long discussions, you'd be having them right? This is about taking 15 minutes and sharing with one another about your life, your day, your dreams, and keeping an open line of communication.

Next comes complaints with a request for change.  What this doesn't look like is "You never take out the trash!"  That is a complaint and an attack. What it could look like is, "I notice because you're not in the kitchen as often as I am, you don't see when the trash is full. Would you be willing to check the trash can every evening before bed so you get into the routine of taking it out before it's overflowing and I'm complaining?" 

Finally comes Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams. This is just a fun way to share something you're thinking about that you'd like to do. Keep is simple, but not necessarily small. It's totally fine to say, "I'd love to travel through Europe when the kids are grown." It could be a new mom stating, "I want to sleep through the night!" Or for me, "I want to publish a book." Speak from the heart. Nothing is too big or too small.

This daily exercise can keep you and your spouse having an open line of communication, keep the temperature of the marriage from getting too hot or too cold, and give you a better understanding of what is going on in your partner's world. Then when you have more time together without interruption, like date night, you can explore the things you've been talking about in depth. If scheduling a date night seems tough, try to schedule lunch together while the kids are at school.  Kids too young for school? Try a babysitting co-op, where you keep a friends children one Friday, and she keeps yours the next.

It's too easy to get into a rut, where your spouse becomes more like a room mate than a partner. These daily temperature checks can keep you close, even when the world is pulling you apart. Then hopefully your marriage's temperature will be just right, and no one will end up burned. 
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, October 12, 2012

1 Message: Review of a Film by Jefferson Moore


After recently reviewing I am Gabriel, by Echolight Studios, I was excited to have a chance to review another of their movies, 1 Message.

1 Message is the story of Becca, a young breast cancer survivor.  Through flashbacks, we learn that by worldly standards, Becca seemingly had it all: beauty, a great figure, and a successful fiance. After her cancer diagnosis, and treatment, she loses all of those things, and becomes depressed and agoraphobic. But then she meets a friend on-line.

Through his encouraging emails, Becca learns what truth is. "We are all of infinite worth." "Our bodies are just gift wrapping, the real treasure is inside." "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared." The biggest truth Becca learns is about forgiveness and Jesus.

The movie has a positive Christian story line, and shares the importance of belief in and encouraging others. It also shares the important message to breast cancer survivors (just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October) that the real treasure of us is on the inside. 

However, at over  2.5 hours, the movie was too long.  Because it was a drama similar to a Hallmark or Lifetime for Women movie, it didn't have the action to warrant that much time investment.  And for me, as someone who likes the end of a movie to be wrapped up with a pretty bow, the ending left me wanting more. (I'll leave it at that, so I don't spoil the ending for you.)

I think the movie was a solid 3 out of 5 stars. As Christians, I believe in supporting Christian films, and this movie would be a nice chick flick to watch on a cold, rainy afternoon when you had the extra time. It is inspiring, encouraging, and honors God. That's a pretty good find, and a rare one at that, for a movie today.

Here is a trailer for the movie. If you are reading this post through email, you will have to visit my blog to see it.


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, October 9, 2012

The Rest of the Story

Imagine picking up a book, reading the foreward, loving it, and then stop reading. "I just don't want to leave the foreward, it was so good, I just want to focus on that." Crazy, isn't it? The reason we buy a book is for the story, not for the foreward. The foreward simply gives us a small taste of the delight to come.

Yet, as Christians, that is often how we live our life. We fear the end of it. We want to stay right here in the "foreward," when we know the best part of the story, eternity, is what comes next. God wants us to live out every day of our lives for his glory. But we shouldn't fear death. "Death has been swallowed up in victory." (1 Corin 15:54)

The story of my life is a good one, but I prefer to think of it as the foreward. Because death is not just an "epilogue" at the end of my life. It is not the end. It is the beginning.And if we love God, we need not fear the end of our days, as they only begin our eternity.
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, October 2, 2012

Be Careful What You Grow

I don't garden. I don't know the right time to plant certain flowers. I don't know the pruning schedule, and I only recently learned that "dead-head" is not only a term for those who listen to certain types of music, but also refers to caring for flowers. I don't know much about gardening, but here is what I do know. You don't plant weeds.

Those that garden know that time and care is spent preparing your soil, and planting your flowers. They also know that regardless of the care and planting, that weeds will come. It seems odd that you have to work for flowers, but that weeds come with no effort. The work comes in the weed removal.

Our thought gardens are the same way. If we want to have lovely thoughts, we must plant them. We must prepare our mind and work to maintain healthy and happy thoughts. Seemingly not so with the negative thoughts. Like weeds, they come on their own. And like weeds, if we allow them, they will take our thought garden over.

Weeds not stopped spread, choking your yard or flowers. Negative thoughts not stopped spread choking your mind. Suddenly your marriage, your situation, your life is filled with negativity. Like weeds in your garden, you can stop the negative thoughts, but it takes work!

Pull those thoughts from your mind, whenever they spring up. Cultivate your positive thoughts. Fertilize your dreams and goals. Deadhead your setbacks, and keep tilling!Your may have to work to make your thought garden bloom. But not only will you enjoy the harvest, but those around you will enjoy the beauty that comes from growing good thoughts.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8


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, September 26, 2012

Being Bold in Prayer


Last Friday my older daughter tried a new eye product. On Saturday morning she woke up with her eyes swollen, red and running. She looked terrible! We gave her an antihistamine and put cold compresses on her eyes, but they really didn't look any better all day. We threw out the eye product, but it seemed that while through out the day her eyes would look better, by the next morning they'd go back to square one.

Finally on Tuesday we decided we'd better take her to the doctor. I called the doctor on Tuesday, and they said call back Wednesday at 8 am, and they'd fit her in if they had a cancellation. In Bible study that day, I asked for prayer that the doctor would be able to fit her in on Wednesday. But the gal that prayed asked that my daughter's eyes would get better.  

When my daughter came home from school that afternoon her eyes were greatly improved, and this morning they weren't swollen at all. I thought about my prayer request. I always ask God for the least thing I can. I am not one to boldly go to God and ask for big things. Is it because I don't trust him? Is it because I don't feel worthy? It is because I want to give him an "out" if he decides to answer "no" to my request?

James 1:6-8 in the Message Bible says this:
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

I thought the woman who prayed at Bible study was asking too much, yet God answered. What I learned is that I am asking too little.  Are you going to God boldly in prayer? He may say no, but it doesn't mean he doesn't have to power to say yes. Trust God today to answer your bold prayers, for his glory.

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, September 17, 2012

A Letter to Teenage Me


Dear Kelly,

You are dearly loved. Not by him. By Him. By Him who created you, who knit you in your mother's womb. He, God, delights over you with singing! He wrote your name in the palm of His hand. He sent His only Son, His dearly loved only Son to die to pay the price for your sins, so that you could have eternity together.

That's right, you grew up to be a Jesus Freak. But it's okay! You see God isn't that scary God who sends you to hell, that you've worried about and tried to please (and failed) your whole life. Yes, he does judge, but He doesn't anxiously wait for your to mess up so he can send you to hell. His desire is that all should come to know Him and have eternity with Him. He is slow to anger, and quick to forgive.

My advice to you, young Kelly, is to remember that love shouldn't have to be earned. And love shouldn't make you fear. As a matter of fact there is no fear in love - but perfect love drives out fear. Don't be afraid. I know you feel alone, unloved, worthless. But even if no person on earth ever loved you, God's love is enough. (But - spoiler alert - you have a loving husband, and two precious daughters who adore you....not to mention lots of amazing friends).

I know you feel lost. But Jesus came for the lost. I guess what I am telling you is ALL the things you are so concerned about don't really matter. Believe it or not, Jesus is the only thing. You will have trouble, but Jesus overcame the world so that there is a happy ending...happily EVER after.

My advice to you is hold you head up, and live. Don't try to fix people. Those that want to change, do. You can't make people change, sad as that may be. (It's that whole free will thing. If you feel bad, imagine how God does will people reject all He is offering.) No matter what you do, Kelly, your mom isn't going to change. And it's not your fault. You are lovable. She is not loving. Realize the critical difference in those two points.

You are dearly loved. You don't have to earn it. You never did. Love yourself. Jesus loves you, and you are worth it.

*signed - the much Older and slightly Wiser version of you.*

What would you say in a letter to your teenage self? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Note: Emily Freeman at chatting at the sky has a new book for teenage girls called Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try-Hard Life. She is offering an invitation for bloggers to write letters to their teenage selves. Teenage girls need encouragement and love more than anything. Visit Emily’s blog for links to other letters.




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, September 13, 2012

*GIVE-AWAY* - I Am...Gabriel movie


If you read my movie review last week of I Am...Gabriel, then you know how much I enjoyed the movie. I think it should be a part of every Christian family's movie collection. That is why I am so excited that I can help make that happen for two of my readers. 

A. Larry Ross Communications, who provided me the review copy, has now provided me with two additional brand new DVD copies of the movie for giveaway!

So leave me a comment on this blog post telling me why you think you'd enjoy this movie. (The comment must appear here. Email entries cannot be accepted). I will randomly select two winners to receive one copy each!

DETAILS:  To be eligible to win you must provide a valid email address with your comment, and if selected you must provide me a valid U.S. mailing address, within 14 days of my email notification to you.  Entries will be received until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. The two winners will be announced here on the blog (and notified by email) on Monday, Sept 17.




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 11, 2012

Sin Watchers

A friend of mine was sharing with me her success on Weight Watchers. The program works by tracking what you eat. Each food is assigned a point count, and you are given an acceptable number of points daily to keep you in the healthy range. For instance, if you are given a target of 26 points a day, you could have 4 for breakfast, 8 lunch, 10 dinner and 2 snacks of 2 points each.

Counting your points is eye opening! While fruit has zero points (eat all you want!), a slice of chocolate cake has 14. You quickly learn that everything you eat has a cost, both literally and figuratively. But if you meet your goal, and stay within 2 points of it, you become a lifetime member.

As Christians, I can't help but notice sometimes we act like we are on "Sin-watchers." We have an "acceptable number" of sin points we allow ourselves to stay in the "godly" range. Telling a white lie might be 1 point, while jealousy is 2. But as long as we stay away from the biggies, like adultery (12 points) or murder (15 points) we're okay.

God doesn't see it that way. You see the acceptable point range for sin is zero. So every sin counts against us. Jesus said that sin is so offensive to God that lusting is as bad as adultery, and calling someone a fool is equal to murder! Still think you're in the "acceptable" range?

But Jesus died on the cross to pay the cost of our points. He took on all of our sins, so that when God see us, he only sees the fruits (zero points!) of Jesus' sacrifice. 

In some ways, it would be good if there was "Sin-watchers." We could watch our points accumulate and be more aware that everything we do wrong has a cost. We would take better care of our behavior, and be more appreciative of the sacrifice Jesus made so that our points don't add up against us. 

Losing weight is hard! And so is being godly.  But with Jesus as our Savior, when we step on the scales of justice they'll point to "forgiven" and we'll meet our goal: Eternal lifetime membership. 

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, September 7, 2012

Mixed Up



My 8 year old made this bracelet for me. She strung each bead and presented it to me with pride. Of course, I love it! 

My 13 year old however later whispered to me, "Some of the letters are mixed up. You should take it apart after she goes to sleep and redo it." The funny thing about her comment, is that I too suffer from perfectionism and not too long ago may have entertained that same thought.

But not anymore. My younger daughter worked very hard on this gift for me. It is not perfect, but it is by her own hands. And when I see it, I am filled with love and I smile at her imperfections, because I know how hard she worked and that she did this for me. Even with the mix ups, you can clearly see what it was meant to be. "Kelly."

I believe that is how my Heavenly Father sees me. I try to do things for Him, but more often that not I end up mixed up. I might submit a devotional for publication that is rejected. I might tell someone the gospel, but they reject it. I might try to be godly, but gossip. I'm not perfect.

But because of Jesus, God knows I work very hard on my gifts for Him. They are not perfect, but they are by my own hands. And I believe, when He sees them, He is filled with love for me and smiles, because He knows I work for Him.

What failures are holding you back from working for God's glory today? He loves you even with your imperfections. You are more special to Him, that this bracelet is to me. You are His, and He made you! He forgives our mixed up messes, and sees what we were meant to be.

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, September 3, 2012

I Am...Gabriel - Movie Review


From the DVD: "Promise, Texas is no place to raise a family: the fields are dry, businesses are failing, and kids can't wait to grow up and move away. Some folks say the town is cursed. Just when things are at their darkest, a mysterious boy wanders out of the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on his back and a strange mat tucked under his arm. He has a message of hope for the people of Promise, but it's hard for some to receive. The slow death of this small town reflects the condition of their own parches souls. When the boy demonstrates the love of God through signs and wonders, they begin to discover the power of prayer. Still, not everyone in town sees his presence as a gift, and the Sheriff is on a mission to expose who the boy really is. In the end, with his back against the wall - surrounded by skeptics - the boy is forced to reveal his true identity."

My review: I was excited to watch I Am...Gabriel,  produced by EchoLight Studies, if for no other reason that the star power attached to it. Directed by Mike Norris (Walker Texas Ranger - his dad is Chuck Norris), and starring John Schneider (the movie credits him with Smallville, but he will forever be known to me as Bo Duke from Dukes of Hazzard,) and Dean Cain (Superman in Lois & Clark), the movie has recognizable names that you often don't find in Christian productions. The movie and star power didn't disappoint! I Am...Gabriel makes several important points. 

First, "if you lose hope, you lose everything." The town is hopeless, filled with brokenness, emptiness, guilt, anger and sadness. The young boy, "Gabe," has the ability to speak truth to the town people's heart and give them hope.

Second, prayer is critically important. When Gabe asks a woman, "Do you talk to God?" she answers, "I go to church." "But do you talk to God?" he presses. The woman admits she really doesn't. He encourages her to pray, and make a prayer mat like his, not only for herself but for everyone in the town of Promise. Like many "good Christians," she sets to work making the mats and shares with Gabe in great excitement the number of mats the women in town have made. He gently reminders her, "Making the prayer mats is one thing. Using them is the most important."  As a Christian who often gets wrapped up in "works" and misses the relationship with God, I related to this interaction.

The Dove Foundation gave this movie a 5 out of 5 rating, and I couldn't agree more. If you are looking for an uplifting, inspiring, feel good movie for the entire family, I highly recommend I Am...Gabriel. It will become a family favorite that you're sure to watch again and again.

*

Here is a video trailer for the movie. (If you are receiving this post via email, you may have to visit my blog to see the trailer.



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

I received a free copy of this movie to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes Being Stuck is a Good Thing


It started off simply enough. We were sitting around the restaurant table, the evening of our first full day of vacation, sharing about our favorite parts of the day. My husband, ever the diplomat, shared 2 things, one about each specific daughter.

"I enjoyed biking with G, and jumping the waves with C." Then as an afterthought he added, "And of course I enjoyed spending time with mom." How my 8 year old responded was the thing, "Well you might as well," she said. "You're stuck with her."

Stuck with me. In an 8 year old's mind we were married, that was it. Stuck together. And you know, that may not be a bad thing.

As a formerly divorced woman, I know that there are some big problems in marriage. But I also know that we sometimes make little problems big. What would happened if we lived our married lives as people who "might as well enjoy it, we're stuck together." What would happened if we quickly forgave the little things and worked hard to fix the big things. Would the big things become smaller if we let them go?

Not all of them. My first marriage contained some "big things,"and I'm glad I'm not stuck there . But the words of an 8 year  old can give all of us some thing to think about. Marriage is hard. But you might as well enjoy it...and stick it out.

Marriage should be honored by all. Hebrews 13:4

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, August 23, 2012

Children's Book Review - Rosie and Scamper


Rosie and Scamper is the first book in the four book series "Sonrise Stable," by Vicki Watson. It is a sweet series that, in the words of the author, are "stories about family, friendship, horses, and a great God who works all things in our lives for good." 

While learning to ride at Sonrise Stable, eight-year-old Rosie dreams of the horse shows she will win with her pony, Jet. Two years later, nothing is exactly the way Rosie planned it -- she's riding a new pony, Scamper, and learning that life isn't always easy. But it's as Rosie reaches out to the new girl next door that she truly begins to see that God works all things together for good in our lives.

Sonrise Stable is owned by Rosie's Grandma, (and names Sonrise - not Sunrise - to give "Grandma" a chance to share her faith.). Grandma is a strong horsewoman who loves God. Rosie loves to visit Grandma and learn about horses, but her adventures also give Grandma lots of opportunities to teach Rosie about Jesus. 

This series would be wonderful for any young girl who loves horses, adventure, or reading about other girls. The main character in the series is 8, but the book is written at higher reading level. I would recommend this book for 9-12 year olds, or for the advanced younger reader. If you have a hard time finding reading material for your advanced reader that is appropriate for her age, this would be the perfect book. It is also great if you are a parent or grandparent who likes to read chapter books to your younger kids.

My daughter enjoyed Rosie and her adventures, and I think the young girl in your life would too.
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


I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Are You a Singing Hypocrite?


Has this every happened to you? You're at church, singing a praise song, and suddenly as you really pay attention to the words, you realize they don't reflect your personal life at all. You realize that you have become a singing hypocrite.

This happened to me a few Sundays ago. We were singing "As the Deer," and as we sang I realized that what I was saying didn't match my life.

"You alone are my strength, my shield." God ALONE, my strength? I am most likely to pull myself up by my won boot straps, than to lean heavily on God to be my strength.  My shield? Do I allow God to protect me? Or do a live a calculated and careful life, trying hard to keep out of harms way, protecting myself. I live a safe life. Do I trust God...alone...to be my strength and shield?

"To You alone may my spirit yield." Yielding to God alone? I think I'm more like the Apostle Paul who said, "I do not understand the things I do. I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate."  It seems I yield to the things I shouldn't, yet when God tells me to do something - my stop sign comes out. I lack the trust to truly yield to God.

"You alone are my heart's desire." God alone as my heart's desire? Then why I am running to the coffee and dark chocolate all the time? If you were to ask me my heart's desire I might say being a mom, writing a book or seeing my future grandchildren grow up as heart's desires. God, ALONE, as my heart's desire? I've got some work to do.

So that was when I realized I was a singing hypocrite. Or am I? Maybe that was a divine moment with the Holy Spirit to change me. Maybe that was the moment where I stopped being a hypocrite, and started focusing on God, alone. Maybe that was the moment where I stopped singing a song, and started singing a prayer. How about you? Are you ready to stop singing about it, and start living it?

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, August 3, 2012

Rules and Laws


My kids have lots of different rules they must follow. They also must distringuish the implication behind the rules. For instance, some rules are non-negotiable. "No R-rated movies." My 12 yr old knows that this rule is not only in place at our home, but even if she goes to a friend's home, she still may not watch an R movie, even if her friend is allowed too.

Then there are negotiable rules. An example is our livestyle of moderation. But my kids know that if they are at the grandparents house - anything goes! They can watch more TV and eat more dessert than usual, realizing that when they come home the moderation rules come back into play.

Finally there are rules where the meaning can change. Playing outside until dark may mean coming in at 4:30 in the winter, and 8:30 in the summer. Yet, my kids do a great job of understanding what the different rules mean and which are negotiable.

I've recently been studying God's rules...his "laws." Did you know that there are civil, ceremonial, and moral laws in the Bible? Civil laws were the laws of that day to maintain order in society. An example is Gen 9:6, "Who ever kills a human being will be killed by a human being." That isn't a requirement. It is a civil law, like today we have the death penalty. "Drive 55" is an example of civil law. We have our own civil laws today, and are not bound to the civil laws of Israel's Biblical era.

Next are ceremonial laws.Ceremonial laws include the animal sacrifices and atonement. They were required before Jesus came as the last blood sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. We are no longer bound to ceremonial laws because Jesus fulfilled those laws.

Finally, there are moral laws. The moral laws are still in effect today. They show us our wickedness, because we cannot keep them perfectly. They show us our need for Jesus, and they show how we should act and treat each other. The moral law keeps it's followers from being perverse.

It can be confusing negotiating all the laws. But I'm glad to have discovered the different types of laws, as I try to learn more about what God calls me to do. I don't have it all together, but this is what I am understanding thus far. 

My kids do a great job keeping up with my rules, and they know they are in place because I love them and care for their safety. I'm thankful for my heavenly Father who has his rules and laws in place for us, for the same reason.
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 30, 2012

What Would You Give Up to Win?


The Olympics have started. I love watching the events, the feel good vignettes, and even the Olympic commercials. While the Visa commercials have been my favorite Olympic commercials through the years, this year Citi has some great ones.

My favorite commercial is here. (If you are reading my blog via email, you may have to visit my blog at www.chattykelly.com to see the actual commercial.) 



Some of the lines from the commercial include "I haven't ordered dessert in two years." and "I haven't watched TV since last summer." When you think about the time spent training, and all the items that these athletes give up, it's staggering. Yet, I'm sure none of them say, "Boy, I wish I would have watched more TV and eaten more dessert" when standing on the medal stand.

As followers of Christ, there are some things that we must give up. Some of the things may seem pleasurable,  like dessert to an Olympic athlete. Yet, when we are disciplined and obedient to God's word, we will succeed.

The Apostle Paul said, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." (1 Cor. 9:24-25)

I am thankful for grace and mercy. But I can't just lay on the couch and expect to get a medal. I must run in a such a way to get the prize. I must live my life actively for Christ.

Are you living in such a way to win the race? It takes hard work and dedication. And yes, we have to give up some worldly things. But at the end of our race, we won't just get a gold medal. We'll spend eternity on the streets of gold, with our heavenly Father; a crown that will last forever. Run to win.

Question: The Olympic athletes all have trainers and coaching. Are you keeping godly people in your life to train, coach and hold you accountable to walk the Christian walk, and run to get the prize?
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