Kelly Elders

Haters

gorilla-1416459_1920I’ve never met a person who hasn’t been disappointed, betrayed, rejected or hurt by someone or something. We will never be able to avoid these moments. So instead of living separated from people, in a constant prison of loneliness or avoidance we can learn some of the best lessons even through pain.

Be Resilient

I bought a pair of Ugg boots when I came to California and took them back home to Michigan during the winter. Even though they are furry and very warm on the inside the outside couldn’t handle the rain or snow. They had no traction for walking on ice which I learned the hard way, and the water from the snow seeped right in and ruined them. They “look” like they are made for the elements but as I discovered they are best used in sunny California when the temperature is a mere 65 degrees!

The same is true with our hearts, we can’t just look like a Christian on good days. We need to keep the elements of this world from seeping in and that includes when people intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. The enemy knows if he can get you to walk offended, rejected and unforgiving that he stops you from moving forward. If you have been dealing with the same hurt for months or even years it’s time to get moving and start forgiving. What happens to you doesn’t have to happen in you.

God is your resilience and He will protect your heart like Rain-X!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

Be Forgiving

Many Christians believe God should go after the person harshly for the hurt they have caused. They want the God of Mercy when they’ve caused the hurt but the God of Judgement to those who have hurt them. Forgiveness is leaving God as the Judge and trusting Him to know what is best. When we sit back and wait for God to cause their destruction it’s silent revenge.

“Do not be happy when your enemy falls, and do not feel glad when he stumbles. The Lord will see it, he won’t like it, and he will turn his anger away from that person.” Proverbs 24: 17-19

 God did promise us this:

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“You make ready a table for me in front of my haters: you put oil on my head; my cup runneth over.” Psalm 23:5

We can trust God because regardless of who doesn’t like us or who doesn’t think we deserve promotion, position or blessings we know that God is the one who promotes or sets down another. He will make sure all your haters will see how merciful God is towards those He loves and restores. He will bless you in front of your haters. All you have to do is come to God’s table and allow Him to feed you, cover you and take care of all the rest.

Don’t be your own hater. You may not think you deserve to be used or blessed by God but go to the table anyways and all those wrong thoughts will be cast down when you allow God to be your Host with the Most!

Be Oily

olive-850336_1920It was in the presence of enemies that God prepared a table. That means you can sit at the table and He will cover you with oil like a welcomed guest of honor while your enemies look through the window and see all that God has done! He is actually protecting you from your enemies while you are eating in peace. Oil is used on sheep and other animals to keep flies away and in the same way God protects us from those things that pester us and cause us frustration. Our enemies are not always other people, sometimes its ourselves and sometimes it’s just life at it’s worst but notice God prepared a table during difficult times. In difficult times it’s important to sit at the table and allow His fresh oil to cover you and protect you.

You can’t hold on to much with oily hands! Disappointment, unforgiveness and bitterness will all slip out from you so stay oily!

Continue to sit at the table and enjoy His blessings.

Recharge

jumper-cables-926308_1920One day after an event I walked into the parking garage and the car next to me had it’s hood up with a woman holding battery cables. We all know what that means, car trouble. The woman couldn’t start her car and needed someone to help recharge her battery. I lifted my hood and we charged her battery. She thanked me and we went our separate ways. On my way home I stopped to have lunch with friends and as I parked my car my battery light went on. Here I was helping someone with their battery and all the while my battery was in trouble.The next day I couldn’t start my car and had to replace the battery.

Leading on Empty

Sometimes we are helping and giving to the people around us and yet we are living depleted lives. When we stay on the side of giving and never stop to receive we will begin to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated with people, church and ministry.  Living on empty will cause you to move from church to church or position to position trying to find out where you feel fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from our relationship with Christ not from our position in church. Serving is all about others not ourselves. It’s not to make us feel better by making us feel accepted, forgiven or righteous. All those things are found in Christ alone. We serve because He invites us to share in His work on this earth. It’s an honor to be able to function as His hands, His voice, His heart and His feet. He wants to use us immeasurably and also keep us filled.

Who wants to help people succeed, grow and walk into their destiny if they themselves are not experiencing all of those things too?

When you have faith for yourself to win in life, it’s much easier to help someone else live by their faith. I wouldn’t want a trainer at the gym to train me if they had a muffin top and a donut in their hand. You can only take people as far as you have been so as you grow you can then propel others forward.

If you have been in the church long enough you have heard people say they can no longer serve because they’re just burned out! “Burned out” people are people who serve on low or empty. The easiest place to hide your emptiness is while you are serving. If you stop attending church people assume you are in a bad place or feeling defeated but how about all those people who volunteer every Sunday on empty. No one notices you are actually starving and serving at the same time. Soon you can deceive yourself into believing you are no longer hungry and instead revert to become hangry.

Hangry vs. Hungry

Have you ever met someone who gets hangry? They are angry cause they’re hungry. They can’t make a decision or they become easily frustrated because they haven’t eaten. This drives me crazy! I want to keep an emergency slice of bread in my purse for people like this. I can’t understand how someone can let themselves get to this point when they have every ability to grab a snack instead of attack. Yet many Christians are so hungry they become hangry. They respond to people out of their hunger and hurt others with their words and all because they choose to live on empty.

God has made Himself available to us for our every need through His Holy Spirit and through His Word. He longs to fill us and wants us not only full but running over. Jesus tells a parable in Luke of a story of a man who prepared a banquet table and everyone he invited had an excuse as to why they couldn’t attend. One man couldn’t attend because he bought a field, another just bought oxen and another just became married. People are still using the same excuses for not sitting at His table. They are working too much, consumed with all the material wealth or their relationships and have no time for Him. Jesus continues to tell the story of how the man sent his servant out to call anyone willing to come. God is filling those who hunger after Him and He is sending out those who love being filled while filling others!

The better you are, the better the quality of what you have to give.

Filled People

Filled people spill over onto others. Have you ever met someone who can’t hold in a secret? They have to release it or they feel they will explode. We need to feel that welling up to want to tell others what God has done in our lives. We should have stories of how good He has been to us and how grateful we are for His goodness. These stories should spill out of us. When we live with hearts of gratitude we notice even the small things that God does on our behalf. We notice and thank Him for the perfect parking spot, the short line at the grocery store, keeping you from an accident and every good thing that happens, each time He intervenes or protects.

Today, choose to focus on the good things and continue to fill yourself with His Word, last Sundays message, a podcast and just conversations with God and as you are consistent you will feel the infilling happen each day. As David Katina said, “Good, better, best, don’t let it rest till the good is better and the better is best.” 

Building A Memorial

As Memorial Day approaches I wonder how many of us have memorials? We see throughout the bible where God asked people to build memorials. We may not gather stones but it’s important that we have a way of remembering how God has impacted our lives.

washington-monument-963358_1280REMEMBER TO BUILD A MEMORIAL

What kind of memorials do you have in your life? Do you remember the first moment you encountered God? Do you remember the moment He rescued you, healed you, lifted you up, strengthened you or kept you from harm?

I had been married about 10 years when we went through a really rocky time. It was the first and last time I considered divorce. Both my husband and I stopped attending church for a time and that disconnection from God began to affect our relationship.  At the altar, on our wedding day, we were not only making commitments to each other but also to God. We invited God into our marriage and had forgotten He was our glue. We attended a new church one day and the presence of God was so great, it was as if it was created for our healing. I found myself at the altar surrendering to God not necessarily for my marriage but for my relationship with God. When I composed myself I looked over and my husband was having the same experience. The moment we both surrendered we opened ourselves to healing. The church gave us a weekend away and during that time we came across a vendor who created simple gold rings on the spot. My husband asked the man to create a pinky ring for me. He gave me the ring and made some declarations to our marriage. The ring is my memorial of when God healed us. We have now been married for 29 years this August.

It’s time to start building those memorials. Find creative and simple ways to remember how good and faithful He has been.

Joshua 4:4-6 “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. 

Joshua was leading the people across the Jordan and it happened on the tenth day of the first month. It was exactly 40 years to the day that they had left Egypt. That was significant to what they were embarking upon. They were crossing over to the land of Gilgal. Gilgal means “the reproach has been rolled away”.

They were leaving behind the past failures, spiritual defeat, and the slave mentality and lifestyle. God was trying to put their focus on what He had done by bringing them out and parting the waters and not on what they were leaving behind as the generation did before them.

If we don’t remember what God has done it’s more likely we will remember what we have lost. God wants us to give us new hope and direction by crossing over yet remember that He brought us over and through!

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Sometimes we build graveyards instead of memorials. We visit what we lost, what died and what was, instead of looking at what God has already done. God wants you to remember every time He showed up and showed off in your life.

MAKE YOUR MEMORIAL VISIBLE

When you have a memorial make sure it can be seen. Can your children see your memorial? Can others around you see them?

Joshua 4:6 Continues…In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

I am sure your children have seen or sensed your worry, your fear, your broken heart, your disappointments and maybe even witnessed your tears but did they see how God answered, lifted or came to your rescue? One day your children will face the same heartbreak, disappointment, worry or fear and will they know how to respond? Will they be able to say they witnessed how you responded and how God came running?

I encourage you to start a blessing book. Record those moments when you prayed for something and how God answered. We should all have moments when God answered. How incredible would it be if when you left this earth you could leave behind all those memorials for your future generations to read and remember.

Building memorials in remembrance of God’s faithfulness will only inspire us to keep believing, thanking and sharing how incredible the God we serve is and will continue to be in our lives.

Don’t Forget to Remember!

 

SEEDS

kitchen-garden-960542_1280I have never had a green thumb and have rarely kept anything alive and still God entrusted me with children. I bought some plants the other day and within two weeks both plants were dead. I’m so thankful that it’s much easier to plant seeds that God is responsible to grow.

PLANTS THAT NEVER DIE

I look back over my life and remember those seasons of planting and sowing into other young lives. When I was old enough to be in Sunday school I was teaching Sunday school, when I was old enough to attend youth group I was teaching Jr. High, and I was 18 years old when I first became a youth pastor. I knew I was planting seeds in children’s lives who didn’t belong to me and I believed that God would honor my future children with people who would love, support, teach and value them as I did for so many. Now both my children are adult age and never once have I been called by the police,  bail them out of jail, been to court  or saw them struggle in their belief of God or their love for God. I know it wasn’t because I was a perfect parent but I do credit God for being faithful to me for all the young lives I loved, nurtured and pointed to Christ. Maybe you have a son or daughter, young or an adult who is living the wrong life and breaking your heart, invest in someone else’s child and sow love, support or prayer and watch God move in your own children. Volunteer in children’s ministry or sponsor a child or youth to camp as a seed for your own children. As you continue to plant seeds you will begin to experience a harvest in your own life!

Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. Galatians 6:7 Message Bible

THE RETURN

Some of you have planted years of your time, love, service and prayers and you need to expect a great return! Serving God is the best investment of your life because it shows up in your eternal life. You have the opportunity to speak into a person’s life that will have an eternal effect on their life and your own. God is a God who loves to lavish his love and blessings on His children.

I remember when we had a food bank at our local church and we always were needing a truck driver who would pick up the food downtown. It started when our first driver was out of a job and decided to volunteer his time driving and not too long he would receive a job opportunity. Then every time someone needed a job they would volunteer and not too long they would receive a job offer! They didn’t sit idle or worry but used their time to sow. Don’t sit in the chair of complaint, get up and start sowing in the area that you are needing the breakthrough and watch God show up and show off!

tree-saves-woman

As a 95 year old woman was asleep in her home an 18 wheeler crashed into her yard. The driver had suffered a heart attack and swerved off the freeway towards her home and only a few feet from her bedroom where she was sleeping. The only thing that kept the multi ton truck from hitting the small home she lived in was a tree that she had planted 50 years ago.

Can you imagine? She had no idea how planting that one seed would harvest in her life but it did. She planted the tree for shade from the hot sun but God had even a bigger outcome planned for her. We may plant out of love and obedience to Him but His return always outshines our seed. Every seed you have planted or ever will plant will show up in your life so start expecting a harvest! More importantly, take time to recognize the harvest and that you serve a faithful God who is the one responsible for the increase.

FROZEN

24e3ad5A Frozen Heart

I recently read an article of a Pennsylvania man who was found dead in the snow. He told his dad he was on his way home in sub zero temperature and when he never arrived his father went out searching for him. The father found his son in the snow, frozen with no pulse or heartbeat. He was taken to a nearby hospital. Doctors could not declare him dead until his body was warm. He was given CPR and chest compressions for over two hours then flown to another hospital where they were able slowly warm the body. Miraculously, as his body warmed his heart began to beat again. He made a full recovery only losing a couple fingers and toes due to hypothermia.

Sometimes in our own walk we can struggle to survive the severe storms causing us to fall and freeze. When others look at us they see death but God will surround you with people who refuse to call you dead!

freeze-wallpaper-1366x768Keep Moving

Have you ever felt frozen or stuck? With no heartbeat or passion to move forward? So many times situations in our life can cause us to get stuck and soon have no passion for the vision ahead. Growing up in the midwest we knew that you could not dress too warm when you went skiing in the snow because you would warm up fast. Movement kept me warm in the snow. It’s when we stop moving, stop reading, stop attending church, stop surrounding ourselves with the right people that can cause us to get stuck. Eventually, our pulse on the things of God slows down and soon our heart stops beating with purpose.

Feed your heart with books, podcasts, inspiring sermons and music but remember nothing can warm your spirit like the Holy Spirit. Spending time alone with God and saying aloud your thoughts, fears, prayers and thankful words can heal your heart like nothing else. Another way to stay warm in the cold elements people embrace each other to generate heat. The same is true when your heart needs warmed is to surround yourself with people who are hot, not in looks but in spirit. Find one person or group that their hearts are pumping and they are excited about their own future and the future of the Church. Once you do this your heart will beat again.

Pump The Heart

Sometimes we find people in the same predicament. Frozen in their ways, no heartbeat for the things of God, and no pulse to the heart of God and we give up and declare them dead too soon. When truly they need someone to shock their heart, pump the heart and warm their hearts again. I know in ministry we can tend to become frustrated or even bypass those stuck but we are called to warm their hearts with love and words of possibility. Sometimes it includes effort on your part. God is looking for people who are strong enough to manually pump the hearts of those frozen due to the elements of this life. The heart was pumped for 2 hours not a lifetime. There was a time the young man had to be taken to a more advanced facility to continue the process. We are all just part of the process. Be willing to get unstuck from that frozen place so you can one day be the one pumping someone else’s heart and love them to life.

 

 

 

 

Am I Enough?

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ARE YOU ENOUGH?

I read a quote the other day that read, “If you aren’t being treated with love and respect, check your price tag. Maybe you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you who tells people what you’re worth. Get off the clearance rack and get behind the glass where they keep the valuables.”

Wow, I can look back and see how many times have I lowered my own price by my actions. Every time I fought back with hurtful words, every time I said I couldn’t accomplish something and didn’t, every time fear kept me from forming relationships, I was showing how I felt about myself. I had to make a decision to stop allowing my inadequacies or insecurities to keep me from doing what I love to do. I chose to learn and keep learning even if it’s slower or different than others.

KNOW YOUR VALUE

We need to know our value. You will protect what you value. We will do our best to protect our children because we value them. We go to great lengths to protect jewelry, important papers, memorabilia but when it comes to ourselves we tend to leave ourselves unprotected. Maybe we lower the price because we see all the imperfections. Like when you find a shirt at a store and it has an imperfection and they mark it down to sell the item. Our value doesn’t lessen because of our imperfections it increases because Christ paid the ultimate price in spite of our imperfections.

Do you daydream or wish you could do something challenging but don’t feel you have the skills, personality, education or support? First, take responsibility for your own pursuit of purpose. It was assigned to you and no one else. God gave you a specially designed purpose that He also equipped you to do. God wants to give you more than you can possibly think, dream or imagine.

Vulnerable= VALUE

Put yourself out there

Don’t avoid people just because you are afraid of being hurt. If you understand the placement and purpose of people in your life you won’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

Each person in your life fall into one of these four groups the majority of the time. Those you add, subtract, divide or multiply.  If you have a subtracter make sure you have more people in your life who add and multiply or you will definitely be in the red, and by red I mean frustrated, empty and angry. You can learn from all group types but avoid Dividers at all cost. Even the hardest person can help develop the best character in you. Everyone near you has the potential to hurt you but rest in knowing that God is your Protector and your rear guard. So instead of putting all your faith into people, put your faith into God. You can only learn forgiveness if you have a reason to forgive.

Don’t be afraid to learn if it gets you closer to your purpose

We may not know all the answers on our way to our dream but God aligns us with people who are already doing what we long to do or know how to get there. Be humble enough to ask for help and be open to learn new things. Being vulnerable increases your value because you aren’t afraid to try and try again.

Allow yourself to fail but not quit. There’s not a successful person who didn’t experience failure. The difference is they chose to keep going.

No Markdowns

When you know your value, you will not allow others to mistreat you. It’s you who teaches others how to treat you. Don’t allow anyone to steal your time, joy or peace. You are too valuable to waste time trying to please others.

I can’t tell you how many women settle for men and friends who don’t value them. Just because someone doesn’t know your worth doesn’t mean you have no worth.

I had a half dollar rolling around in my purse and tried to pay using it until the clerk at a store wouldn’t take it and told me it was worth more than face value. I found out it was worth around $200. When I had it at the bottom of my purse it was still worth $200 even though I didn’t recognize or treat it according to it’s value. How people treat you doesn’t determine your worth but how you respond shows your self worth. Once you treat yourself well others will follow.

No Price Tags

Don’t look to others to determine your worth. Don’t wait for validation from a spouse, leader, pastor, children or friends. Take back the power of value. You don’t need approval every time you volunteer, teach or accomplish a task. You know if it’s overlooked by people it’s seen by God and He will reward you openly. We all like to feel appreciated and should be but being overlooked or unappreciated doesn’t mean your worth becomes less. We will never please everyone but we can please God by walking in faith and knowing that He has made us capable of accomplishing great things for Him and He sees ALL!

Value Has Benefits

You can pull great things towards you when you know your value and believe that you can experience blessings based on God’s goodness and not your own. You shouldn’t feel guilty when you succeed. You were created to succeed! He commissioned you to be fruitful and multiply so be productive today in all you do!

You are ENOUGH to live out your purpose

You are ENOUGH to accomplish the impossible

You are ENOUGH to have great things happen to and for you!

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