God Don’t Make No Junk

Remember the t-shirts in the 80’s that said, “I’m perfect, ‘cause God don’t make no junk?” Bad grammar aside, the saying was brilliant and I am proud to say I rocked that shirt much longer than was cool, especially since mine was an iron-on appliqué. I had an inordinate amount of self-esteem as a kid, and…

…wanted the world to know it.

Yet somewhere along my way, I lost that confidence and began to question myself. In my head I heard “who do you think you are?” over and over.  Eventually I listened to that voice so much that I forgot the answer.

When it comes to the topic of self-esteem and feelings of inadequacies, women seem to have the market cornered, or so I thought until I heard Marianne Williamson words.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Like Paul the Apostle, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. He was a beacon of hope for many and a bane to a few. In the last twenty-something years Mandela emerged from prison a freed man and has worked tirelessly to free others from their hate, from their pre-conceived ideas, and from their own self-doubt. He has worked to unify a nation that was steeped in tradition and prejudice, and in many ways {small and large}…

…he has succeeded.

I may not be called to do all Nelson has done. My life may never have a movie made about it. But I have a purpose nonetheless.

I am a child of God.

I am called to be light. I am called to love. I am called to use my brilliance, my beauty, my talent, and my ‘fabulosity’ and change the world around me.

Me.

Anything less would be missing the mark. Anything less would be a lie!

I value myself because I was designed by a Master Maker: a brilliant Craftsman. I was made for a purpose. I was made for a dream.

And God don’t make no junk!

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Today’s Post is shared by: Dayna Bickham.  She is a writer and speaker from the Houston, Texas. A wife and mom of two teen girls she loves to cook, garden, and spend time with her family.  Her blog, A Year in the Spiritual Life is about discovering your purpose in Christ. Follow her on Twitter: @DaynaBickham.


Starving your Fears

“Feed your fears and your faith will starve. Feed your faith, and your fears will.” - Max Lucado

My 10-year-old son recently fasted from video games.

Now, he didn’t come up with this idea on his own… nor was I the one who suggested it. But at the urging of someone he trusted, Sam decided to fast from gaming for 4 full days.

Why? As an experiment.

For the past few weeks, he’d been having nightmares and feeling more anxious than usual. Tears and frustration were sitting right under the surface. He found himself scared to be in his room at night.

Sam was dealing with the spirit of FEAR.

And while it’s not a new struggle, it was getting out of hand. So the idea of fasting from video games was the perfect opportunity to see if they were the catalyst for Sam’s worries.

Knowing our son’s battle with fear, we are mindful in what he’s exposed to. His game time is strictly regulated and we have stringent standards for which video games he can play. Movies and television shows are closely monitored and we stay away from books that talk about monsters and evil.

But something was feeding that fearful spirit… and we needed to determine exactly what it was.

“Sam, if video games are somehow causing this fear and anxiety… then a fast from playing will starve them to death. The fear will simply go away.”

The landscape of those four days looked different.

We played Monopoly… a lot. He built countless Lego creations. We sat and talked as a family about what God was revealing to Sam through this time. The kids put on “shows” for me and my husband. Our basement got cleaned out.

But more importantly, we discovered that we did indeed starve that fear.

During the fast, he didn’t have any bad dreams. He was more courageous to stand up to his fearful thoughts and speak truth in response to the lies. Sam was calmer and not as close to tears.

The spirit of fear starved because we removed its food source.

What is causing fear in your life?
• Fear of saying “yes” to what God is asking?
• Fear of being abandoned in your relationships?
• Fear of walking away from that addiction?
• Fear of financial ruin because of mounting bills?

When you allow that fear to fester untouched, you are continuing to feed it.

When you feed it, you are permitting it to grow.

And when you let it grow, it begins to overtake your thoughts and actions.

That’s not God’s design.

“For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The spirit of fear isn’t from God. As a matter of fact, He gave us all we need to overcome it.

And part of that is the ability to starve it.

Sam still plays video games from time to time, but they’re not as important as they used to be. They’ve been exposed as a potential fear trigger. And at a moment’s notice, they will find themselves benched if need be.

What fears do you need to starve?


Lets Pray for Our Kids

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine presented me with a 2-sided, off-centered, black and white copy of a copy 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.  The top of one side read, 31 Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids.

Her and I talk frequently about parenting, how to be better moms, how to deal/cope/handle the different personalities of our precious-little-nuggets -- SO, of course the piece of paper looked to be something worth taking action on...praying specific Biblical virtues for our children.

Admittedly, I folded the piece of paper in half, tucked it into my Bible and didn't look at it again...

...UNTIL a week ago.

You see, my same sweet friend that gave me that piece of paper, last week shared with me that she had dusted off her piece of paper and stated to talk with her 3 kids {ages 3-7}, every morning at breakfast, about these virtues.

She told me that some of the virtues they don't really understand, but others they do -- she also shared that she's seeing fruit as a result of their daily discussions as they are interacting with others they come in contact with.

This encouraged me and fueled me to do something too!

Here’s what I did. I unpacked a “virtue” a day and discussed the daily virtue with my two little nuggets. I wrote about the life changing journey and share my reflection here, with you via email for 31 Days!

Do you want to JOIN me?

There is...P O W E R...in prayer.

Let's pray these Biblical virtues, these scriptures, into the lives of our nuggets.  If it's appropriate and doable, lets create awareness in our children's lives by talking with them openly about these virtues.

I had my amazingly talented graphic designer Sue create this picture for us to make it easy to follow along...

Whether your children are young or old, whether you're expecting or hope to be expecting, whether the children in your life are biologically yours, adopted, step, or they are just precious to you -- you can join in and pray for them!!

Are YOU IN?

Will YOU journey with me and watch how God shows up as we seek Him and believe in Him for our children?

IF so, simply fill out the form below with the date you want to start!  You will receive a FREE printable version of the graphic/poster + an email from me everyday for 31 Days to encourage you along the way with my daily virtue reflection.

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." - Chuck Swindoll

* These 31 virtues were written by Bob Hostetler and published by NavPress to learn more about the author go to his website, follow him on twitter, or connect with him on facebook.  They also offer prayer cards to purchase, you can find them here.


Are You a Fan or a Follower?

In the few moments I had between Kid's Praise and busy kids, I heard an interview on Christian radio that really caught my attention.

Kyle Idleman, teaching minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky was being interviewed about the question: Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus Christ?

Maybe it's because "Tebow fever" is still in the air or maybe it's because we've just completed another Superbowl season, but...

...the question stuck with me.

I began to think about some of the differences between a fan and a follower:

  • A fan is a enthusiastic, jumping on the bandwagon and cheering when things are great. A follower doesn't waver. She sticks close, even when the outcome doesn't look favorable.
  • A fan knows about someone. A follower knows someone.
  • A fan loves the fun, but a follower is willing to work.

For a lot of people, it's easy to jump on the "Jesus bandwagon" -- to go to church and participate in events, to say the right things around the right people and act the part when others are looking, but when the rubber meets the road and life gets hard or popular opinion turns against us, do we stick with Him?

Idleman pointed out that a fan is close enough to be associated with Jesus, but not close enough that it requires something of me. Is this where so many of us hold back?

When it comes time to do something, to speak up or surrender or sacrifice, are we willing? Are we willing to quit sitting on the sidelines cheering and instead jump into the game, even if it means getting bloodied and bruised?

I have often been struck by Jesus' words in Matthew 7, a passage that Idleman also referenced. Upon first reading it, Jesus words seem harsh and rough, but isn't He here drawing that same distinction between fan and follower?

"Knowing the correct password--saying 'Master, Master,' for instance--isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience--doing what my Father wills. I can see it now--at the Final Judgement thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.' - Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG)

The New International Version translates verse 23 as saying, "I never knew you!"

"True knowing comes down to the relationship where Jesus is what matters most" - Kyle Idleman

A fan knows about Jesus. A follower knows Him.

So how do you know if you are a fan or a follower? What is the litmus test to measure our role? We might feel like followers, but to what, or Whom, does the evidence of our lives point?

During the interview, Idleman shared three symptoms that might suggest I'm a fan rather than a follower.

  1. You might be a fan if you confuse your knowledge with intimacy. Just because you know about Jesus doesn't mean that you have a close relationship with Him.
  2. You might be a fan if you have a hard time identifying any sacrifices you've made for Jesus -- it's never really cost you anything.
  3. You might be a fan if you find that you're comfortable. We are called to carry a cross. Shouldering a cross should not be comfortable! There are times we have to step out of our comfort zones.

We can stop being fans and become true followers, and we don't have to do it on our own! For so many of us, we try and try and try only to feel like we come up short and fail again. The blessed news is that we don't transition from fans to followers on our own or by our individual strength!

It is God's grace that invites us, and God's Spirit that gives us the strength to follow.

"We want to make it trying when it really is dying" - Idleman

Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is not about working and trying harder. It's about surrendering each and every day, beginning each day on our knees with a spirit of humility. Sometimes it's not about doing; it's about being.

Abide in Him (John 15).

"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on a solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit--but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." - Matthew 7:24-27 (MSG)

I don't want to just know about Jesus. I want to know Him.
How about you?

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{Idleman has a lot more to say on the topic of fan versus follower. In fact, he's written a whole book on it -- Not A Fan. If you'd like to investigate this idea more deeply, check it out.}


Because of people like you...

People leave "marks" in our lives.  This poem touched my heart as I reflected upon the special people I've been blessed to know, learn from, grow from.  Those who in big ways and in small ways have left me forever changed.  May these words mark your heart like they did mine.

Because of people like you… 

My circle of friends is broader, my faith is deeper,
my life is richer, and my journey of joy in life
continues to unfold before me.

I have witnessed sincerity, generosity,
and patience.
I have learned truth, grace, and perseverance.
I have been shown humility, gratitude, and love.
I now know the glory of
a much greater power—God in my heart.
I have purpose, fulfillment, and peace.
I have choices, family, and security.

Because of people like you…
I am blessed.
I see.
I believe.
I am taught.
I am grateful.

Thank you for loving me when I can’t love myself.
Thank you for teaching me even though
I am not always a good student.
Thank you for showing me even when my mind is closed.
Thank you for instilling in me the values of
a better life even when I resist.
Thank you for saving my life.
Thank you for being a reminder of
what is right when I want to do wrong.
Thank you for the gift of being the person you are.

I am forever changed.
Because of people like you…

- Kate Kriha -


Breakthrough Ministries

We are thrilled to introduce to you our very first “KIP Pik.”  This organization is a perfect example, to us, of what we envisioned when we wrote our overview of How We Are, “Keeping it Personal and sharing your passion could be the start of an organization to help a family in need or a homeless/runaway on the street.”

We are proud to share with you, Breakthrough Ministries, Inc. Teri and I had a chance to visit with the men behind this ministry, and are excited to share with you their story!

Dave Engman had a vision in July of 2009 and launched Breakthrough Ministries in August 2009. This organization is based in Minnesota and exists to end homelessness, while helping people discover the destiny God has for their life. Their mission statement is simple, yet profound, “Leading the lost home,” in spirit and in flesh. They are introducing the homeless to unconditional love and acceptance, and meeting them where they are at, both physically and in the spiritual sense.  In this short period of time, Breakthrough Ministries has opened 3 homes, and are providing housing to 10 men and women who previously did not have a place to call home.

Breakthrough Ministries seeks to serve the Twin Cities homeless. That number is staggering. Research indicates that there are well over 10,000 homeless people in Minnesota. Of that, over 2,000 are sleeping in places that are considered uninhabitable. Places like under bridges, abandoned buildings, cars, etc.

The problems causing homelessness are not always the same. They range from loss of work, family issues, mental illness, loneliness, hopelessness, lack of self worth, rape, incest, neglect, abuse, hurt, etc.  This is the mission field. And it is right here in the Twin Cities and Breakthrough Ministries, Inc. is on a mission!

We had the privilege to talk to two of Breakthrough Ministies residents, Ken and Nick, who after a series of unfortunate life circumstances and illnesses, found themselves living under a bridge and in tents. Amazing men, with amazing hearts, who are overwhelmed with the love that has been poured over them. For the physical roof over their heads. For their safety. For food. For prayers.

Nick said something to us that I will never forget. “Who would walk up to, and want to talk to someone like me, living under a bridge?” Simply answered, Jesus would. And so would the men working at Breakthrough Ministries. You see, they continually are reminded of Matthew 25 verse 40. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

If you’ve got a couple of minutes PLEASE watch this video documentary ~ Breakthrough Ministries Documentary

Keeping it Personal is offering a dollar for dollar match on any donation made to Breakthrough Ministries from now until May 31.  Follow this link to their website and click on the DONATE button ~ simply type the words “Keeping it Personal”  on the second page in the online donation process under Add Special Instructions to the Seller.  Or if you would prefer, checks can be mailed to PO Box 931 – Burnsville, MN 55337 – please write “Keeping it Personal” in the memo.  Even $5.00 would be a significant blessing.   We are excited to be a part of this ministry and walk along beside them as they move forward in their vision and passion, and continue to bless the lives of others.

If you want to learn more about Breakthrough Ministries and/or how you can get involved connect with them by going to their website www.breakthroughmn.org and become a Fan on Facebook.


Who we are...

Keeping it Personal: not as in keeping it to yourself. It’s not, NOT sharing with others or being in your own private thoughts and keeping "it" -- what ever "it" may be to yourself.  Not ‘keeping it personal’ in the selfish sense of the phrase similar to a child who wants this to be “mine, mine, mine” or an adult who doesn’t want to share a good idea, thought, or compliment.

We’re keeping it personal – we’re about the relationship, sharing what’s real on a personal level. We’re taking the “impersonal” out of what society has made impersonal to speed up the process, to get going with the next thing. We want to inspire you to keep it personal in your daily interactions. Inspire you to look for the moments where you can impact the lives of others around you by sharing your experiences and your story. By freely giving compliments and encouraging words to others. We want to motivate you to reach out to others by keeping it personal, by using your special gifts and talents; by being real, honest, kind, genuine. We want to educate you and provide you with ideas that will impact your life, which in turn, you can share to impact the lives of others.

Keeping it personal is what customer service lacks. Keeping it Personal is what can turn an acquaintance into a life long friend. Keeping it Personal is what can give someone hope who is hopeless- because you were transparent and shared a story they could relate to. Keeping it Personal and sharing your passion could be the start of an organization to help a family in need or a homeless/runaway on the street. Keeping it Personal is dropping that personal handwritten card in the mail. Taking action with those lingering thoughts; NOT ignoring them. Keeping it Personal is taking the time to make a phone call to the person who’s been on your mind. The personal touch may be just what one person needs on a particular day to bring joy to their world.

Our mission is to be a daily reminder for people to keep it real by keeping it personal. Through sharing experiences + stories online, we hope to inspire you to keep it personal as you connect with your community and others around you.