So often I am completely stilled that the God of the universe would answer my greatest and deepest desire with the story that he has.
From as early as I can remember, I have always dreamed of being a mom. As the oldest of four children, I always felt like I was my siblings' second momma. When I was little and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always “a mom”, or “I want to work with orphans and love them as my own.” It's funny how God plants those little seeds in our hearts from the youngest of ages.
However, God's timeline was different from mine, but gracious. It was perfect. The miracles he has worked in my life have drawn me closer to him in ways that I never imagined possible. He took that desire to care for orphans and children and made it my story through adoption. So, THIS is my story and my greatest heart’s desire is to use all for His glory…
What if we've missed the true point and focus of boundaries?
As Christians, or even those of us who just want to be "a good, moral person", we like to put boundaries on everything, right? Don’t watch R-rated movies… Don’t log on to this website… Don’t hang out with those people… Your clothing needs to at least cover this much… we can only spend x amount of time on social media. We could keep going and going and going.
We love to ask, “What?” What’s the boundary? What’s the furthest I can I go? What’s the line between good and bad?
We’re really focused on WHAT IS THE LINE??! Typically we stop there. But, when a Biblical boundary line is drawn, God never gives a WHAT without a WHY.
Here's what I mean…
You are so blessed. Do you know that?
In case you don’t know quite how blessed you are, let me shoot you some statistics:
But, sometimes we forget, right? We’re surrounded by all this stuff all the time and we start to take it for granted. Or worse, we start to speak a word of ownership over all of these things that simply isn’t true. Do you know what that word is?
The New Year. A clean slate. A fresh start. I am always so inspired as I take down my Christmas decorations, clear out the clutter and get ready for a reset in my life. I like to open up a fresh new calendar with endless possibilities wondering what God will bring into this new year.
Walking into a new year can be equally exciting and terrifying.
What will you have to walk through? What will God use to teach you? What blessings will be coming? What hardships are awaiting me?
The new year is sneaking up on us and, if we're honest, we don’t have it together. So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to offer some ideas on how to walk out the next year with intentionality in a very corny way. BUT, I’ll bet we remember it! Ready?
Let’s start here with this Bible verse:
“The Lord your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love.”
-Zephaniah 3:17 (CEV)¹
The context of this verse is God rejoicing over the restoration of His people. We are now grafted into the family of God because of Jesus. When we turn toward Him, I imagine He celebrates over us like He did over Israel. We bring Him so much joy that He sings! He will “refresh your life with his love.”
So, let’s discover how to live with intentionality in the upcoming year using REFRESH as an acronym. Ready?
This is an excerpt from "This Will Be a Sign to You" , December 18.
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
-Colossians 1:16-17, NIV
God isn’t Santa, He’s sovereign. But, we like to imagine Him as Santa. We desperately seek happiness and fulfillment. So, when something seems bad or a negative emotion arises, we try to run from it. Basically, the rule is this: If it’s bad it’s Satan. If it’s good it’s God/Santa.
The reality is that bad things can happen and God can still be working them out for our good...
This is an excerpt from "This Will Be a Sign to You" , December 15.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:19, NIV
I know. I know. I know. It seems impossible during the holidays. But, resist the rush. If I can do it, you can do it.
As a recovering people pleaser, busy body, and control freak, “letting go and letting God” has been the absolute hardest thing for me. My tendency is to bust down doors instead of waiting for God to open them. It makes more sense to rush instead of rest.
Really, this is a sin- gluttony. This is desiring it all more than longing for God. This is wanting Christmas to be on our terms rather than the way Jesus designed it.
So, what is the true intent behind this season?
This is an excerpt from "This Will Be a Sign to You" , December 2.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
-Luke 2:7, NIV
There are several people mentioned in the Bible who completely missed out on the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
Let’s start with the owner of the home Mary and Joseph stopped by while she was in labor. Jesus literally could have been born in his house and, because it was presumably already full, Mr. Homeowner sent them to the barn instead. Then there’s King Herod who, upon hearing a religious king was born, felt jealous instead of joyous and wiped out every boy baby in order to eliminate any perceived threat to his throne. This last one is the real shocker. The high priests and religious experts even missed God coming to earth. Despite knowing all the scriptures, prophecies, and exactly where Christ was to be born, they never even went to see if He had arrived.
Who didn’t miss Jesus?
This is an excerpt from "This Will Be a Sign to You" , December 9.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
-Isaiah 9:6, NIV
Jesus was born into the business of defying the odds. His job description has always been performing miracles in the meek and mild, glorifying the humble, and bending history in favor of those whom He loves.
Present news headlines make us forget that we have a great God working in our ordinary lives. We dwell on seemingly impossible situations and lose our real hope. We see all the dark places in the world and become blind to the fact that we are the light.
Maybe we forget for a second what the present world is trying to tell us and remember what Jesus has been telling the world for over two millennia...
In preparing for a women’s retreat I taught a few weeks ago, the Lord led me into a deep dive on the concept of peace, sparked by John 14:27…
"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."
I am not an Enneagram zealot by any means, but I have found it an incredibly useful tool for self-awareness and growth. I am a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool Enneagram 9 (with a strong and pesky perfectionist tendency thanks to my 1 wing). Peace is my currency…my idol of choice…my golden calf, if you will. I will beg, borrow, cheat, and steal for a moment of peace. I will abandon all good reason and afore acquired wisdom for a tiny and fleeting chance at the siren we call peace. “I am going to make this ALL JUST RIGHT and then,” I say to myself, “then I will enjoy the euphoria of (the illustrious yet always elusive) peace.”
But this is not how God offers peace, is it? What if I told you that He speaks a better word over us that brings us what we're actually longing for?
Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, Bible teacher, speaker, and worship leader. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to three little girls, Lina, Lili and Ceci. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.