Guard Your Heart

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(c) April Kelsey

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. ~ Matthew 24:3-13

Guard your heart. I’ve often heard this phrase in the context of dating: “Don’t get emotionally entangled. Your heart belongs to God and it’s possible to give it away.” But I don’t think guarding one’s heart has anything to do with dating. It’s far more important than that.

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Year-End Confessions: Back from the Ashes

 

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(c) April Kelsey

Hello, Dear Readers.

As you can probably tell from the (in)frequency of my posting, 2016 has been a tough year, and I’ve been fairly quiet about it. I thought it was time to let you know what I’ve been up to and what has changed for me.

I started 2016 in the grip of grief. I had recently said goodbye to someone who meant a great deal to me, and there was no getting over it quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever grieved so long or so hard. Basically, I cried off and on from January to August. I was also diagnosed with a deformed vertebrae in my lower back and spent most of the summer in physical therapy. My mother-in-law lived with me from May to October to help with my kids. Continue reading

I Have Not Obeyed

Hello, dear readers. I hope you are well.

I have a confession. A couple of months ago, I felt God calling me to a season of deep rest. And I have needed it. This has been a very difficult year. I have experienced a great deal of stress and battled chronic pain. My emotional reserves are entirely depleted.

But I knew what deep rest required: a sabbatical from blogging. I didn’t want to do it. I love interacting with the community I’ve built here. I love it when my words resonate with others and they write to tell me how much something I wrote helped them. And I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled a lot this year with envy. There are other wonderful bloggers out there, who have more time than I do, who can post twice a week and, therefore, have a larger readership, more exposure, and more opportunities to speak or guest post on other blogs. I want those things, too. And I know the cost involved in taking time off.

I also know that the moment I hit ‘publish’ on this post, I’ll likely be flooded with a hundred topics to write on.

But it’s past time to obey.

I need rest. I need to breathe and sleep and meditate and pray and read. I need to do art. I need to nurture myself. But most of all, I need to press my ear to the silence and find the heartbeat of God. I need to be carried for a while. I have no grand words of wisdom, prophetic insight, or spiritual instruction. I’m just an empty, broken vessel waiting for some glue.

If you feel inclined to pray for me, please do.

I’m hoping I’ll be back to some light blogging by November 1. I’ll keep you updated on my return. If I feel up to it, I may republish some older posts to keep the blog going. In the meantime, please be blessed and take care.

P.S. I love you all. Please forgive me if I haven’t answered your email.

When Con Men Use the Bible to Sell Evil

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“Snake oil” medicine bottles. From Wikipedia.

It’s been interesting watching the presidential election unfold in the U.S. It is truly revealing the hearts and intentions of those who claim to follow Christ.

For example, I’ve seen articles and videos from so-called prophets and church leaders insisting that Christians should vote for a certain orange-tinted candidate. And not just insist, but actually shame those who have declared they cannot vote for such a person. A few days ago, I read an article by one gentleman who says Christians who dare oppose said candidate for moral reasons are Pharisees…just like the people who crucified Jesus.

Really?!

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Leaders, Where is Your Discernment?!

pearl pig2I wasn’t going to write about Donald Trump. I wasn’t going to feed the narcissistic machine. I assumed he wouldn’t get this far. I assumed the bluster would blow over after a while–that people would realize who he is and let him fade into obscurity.

When he said Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her…wherever,” I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without respect.

When he mocked a respected POW from the Vietnam War, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without honor.

When he belittled his opponent by threatening to expose his wife’s mental illness, I said surely now people will see that this is a man without mercy.

When he shamelessly ridiculed a disabled person, I said surely now people will realize this is a man without empathy.

When he called his own supporters idiots and insulted members of his own party, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without loyalty.

When the newspapers began to expose his shady business practices and multiple lawsuits, I thought surely now people will see that this is a man without integrity. Continue reading