Author Archives: kateredding

Exodus 38, Proverbs 14, John 17, Philippians 1

I have a friend, William who has been incarcerated for 12 years. He was wrongly accused of a terrible crime and sentenced to 20 years without parole. One would think he had murdered someone or burned down a house but it was nothing even close. This friend of mine has been in prison since 2004 and watched his daughter grow up through letters, pictures and occasional supervised visits. About a year before he found out about the charges (the incident had occurred years prior), William came to faith in the Lord and was excited to live a live centered and focused on Jesus. He became involved in our church, was a hard worker and would lend a hand to anyone in need.

Though my friend wasn’t imprisoned because of his faith, he has a thing or two in common with Paul who was unjustly accused. To be honest, our family worried quite a lot about William’s faith when this initially happened for two reasons. First, he was a new believer and second, he was being imprisoned in Mississippi so visitation and support from his newly found church family would be impossible.

But each and every time I read Paul’s letters to the churches I am reminded of William because William surprised us all! Instead of shrinking back, giving up and throwing in the faith towel, William pursued Christ with the little resources he was given in prison. His faith is put to the test each and every day from knowing he is unjustly serving a harsh sentence and missing his daughter to being bullied by others around him who don’t want to hear his “preachin”. And William would never admit it because he is too modest but he is changing the minds and hearts of those around him. There have been prison guards who act differently today then they did before. There are family members and friends who look at his example of faith and ask William how? William has opportunities each and everyday that most of us never will and instead of being angry and unfruitful, he listens to the Holy Spirit and speaks when he is prompted. There are still very tough days for him. But his faith and perseverance inspire m

12 I want you to know, brothers,[e] that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard[f] and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. 14 And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word[g] without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 ESV

There are times our family talks with William and he encourages our spirits and other times we encourage him. He has truly learned to be brought high and down low. He has a purpose and a calling he wouldn’t wish on anyone else but knows he is right where the Lord wants him.

Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. Philippians 1:19-22 ESV

 

I have not seen William in 12 years but we have written back and forth hundreds of times and have speak on the phone several times per month. We are continuing to pray for his early release and that the governor would pardon his sentence. We are praising the Lord together that he is God’s messenger in a very dark place that is in need of the Light.

Dear Lord, thank you that you who began a good work in each one of us (including Williams) will be faithful to complete it! Even when our circumstances appear differently than we hoped or dreamed, you are loving, faithful and merciful. Strengthen each one of us to do your will and avance your kingdom through your sweet gospel message! Amen.

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Exodus 12, Job 42, John 3, 2 Corinthians 12

Have you ever experienced an earth shattering, life changing, stop you right in your tracks kind of event that tuned your world upside down? Just a few years ago, my family’s lives were changed when were in a horrible car accident that landed me in shock trauma for a month and another 10 months recovering. It was one of those experiences that will definitely go down in our family’s history book as a game changer.

Just today I was talking with someone about something completely unrelated to our experience and realized that I  think of life as “before the accident” or “after the accident”. It has left a mark on our family mentally, spiritually and physically. Our trials, our pain, the lasting effects of trauma still rear their ugly head on a daily basis. Not too long ago, I was really caught off guard and convicted in my own self pity. You see, when there’s a life altering event, things are never the same again. I was fortunate to survive the accident and be put back together by some great surgeons and we, quite literally, experienced a miracle but there are lasting effects that friends and family don’t always see. There’s the day to day pain, medications for permanent nerve damage, intersections to avoid because it’s too hard to see and difficulties traveling in any type of moving vehicle, bus or plane . I am not the same friend and mom I was before and often tire quickly and have difficulty with even mundane tasks.

In reading Paul’s word, I am convicted and reminded that these weaknesses I now experience in my life are a reminder of how big my of God is. Not just that he saved me from death in the accident but so much more than that.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

We learned so much from that blink of an eye moment in time three and a half years ago. We learned how to rely on the Lord for strength. We learned how to accept help from others and lean on our brothers and sisters in Christ for prayer and support. The good and fruitful things we experienced from the hardship was far greater than bad. When I feel the pain in my neck or the numbness in my arm, I am reminded of my weaknesses. In my weakness, He is strong. And like Job, the Lord has blessed us beyond measure and far greater than we could ever imagine.

Sometimes we don’t understand the things we are going through and there are certain experiences we never will. But we can be sure that the Lord has a purpose in everything.

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you” Job 42:2-5

 

Dear Lord, help me to boast only in my weakness and in your strength. Thank you for having a purpose in everything, even when we don’t understand. May we decrease so that you may increase! 

kateredding

 

 

 

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Exodus 10, Job 28, Luke 13, 1 Corinthians 14

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Even without a sense of humor, I can enjoy a good knock knock joke from time to time and even know a few to share with others. It’s been a new thing in our house recently with my boys receiving a joke book. Interestingly, not long after receiving the book we read together from Luke about the person knocking on the door to heaven and wanting access. You never know what the Lord will use to get some great conversation going, although this topic was no laughing matter.

Their questions in relation to the door, the master of the house and the people knocking were ones I have asked myself many times. Would the friends and family in my close circle be able to enter through that narrow door? But Jesus flipped that question around from “would a few be saved? To “would YOU be saved?”. Though it is important to think of others around us that may need to hear the good news of the gospel, it’s important to resolve this matter in our own hearts first. Taking it a step further, we discussed who Jesus was really addressing: the churched. Much like today, there are many people who attend church and say they believe in Jesus. Are they merely acquaintances of Jesus or do they have a relationship with him?

So, it was my turn their questions around. Boys, the gate is narrow and the door will close once and for all. There won’t be second chances or bribes. No explaining or any amount of whining or crying will change the outcome. Will you be on the outside knocking or in the inside, safe and secure?

25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Good people, church goers, volunteers at the helping up mission and the people who find the cure for cancer are all great people may not be entering through that narrow gate but the imprisoned, evil and yes, even politicians may be entering may. It’s not about what we do or don’t do but who we place our faith and trust in.

This may seem backwards but boy are we thankful that our loving Father created a way to eternity with him. The boys and I ended our time thanking the Lord and praying for others around us that may not know the way just yet!

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Genesis 46, Job 12, Mark 16, Romans 16

My life has been spent in the perfection mode. Go big or go home. There’s been no event that wasn’t taken to the highest or best it could be. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with wanting to do everything with excellence but perfection can be overwhelming. Perfection and lead one to spin her wheels, waste time, and feel depleted and useless because the end result was is what was expected or longed for. This strive has left me feeling useless for the kingdom of God and totally overwhelmed with where to begin.

Compassion International battles the world’s hunger crises, A21 fights human trafficking and Samaritan’s Purse helps people who are victim to violence, oppression, disaster and disease. My family and I have donated to organizations like these who have a HUGE mission and purpose. They are helping hundreds of thousands of people and literally changing the world. And when I think of the great commission, that’s exactly what comes to mind, world change. But still, I feel so small and helpless in these global fights for victory over the effects of sin in our world. Does my donation really do anything? I can’t see the fruit of my few dollars.

Mark, like all of the gospels outlines the Great Commission, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved and whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16. The world is a very big place so this is a quite overwhelming to one who likes to do everything perfectly.

What I’m learning as I get older is that very few of us will change the world but we can and should be changing someone’s world. Jesus changed the world obviously by giving his life for us. But if we go back and look at his ministry, how was it that he spread the gospel? Through 12 people. His reach was actually small but it was powerful. Then those 12 people reached a few more people and the so on and so on. They changed the world one person at a time.

I have always admired the “greats” in the bible, you know, those listed in the hall of faith; Abraham, Moses, Noah, Sarah, Rahab! Their faith was great and they rose to true greatness. So much so that they were listed in the bible. That’s always been my goal (not to be listed in the bible) but to do so something so great for the kingdom that my name is remembered.

I am encouraged and reminded that world change and greatness really does start small and small is not forgotten. Starting with the people God places right in front of me, loving and serving them, that is where to begin. Saying, “Here I am, Lord” as Jacob did is always the first and most crucial step forward. As Paul closes out his letter to the Romans, his list of ladies (and some gentleman) make my heart sing for joy! These people were “no names”. They didn’t get their own book of the bible or even their own chapter yet they are there. Names we have literally never heard of before like Phoebe, Andronicus, Junia, Urbanus, Stachys and Apelles; 27 in total. They did small. They didn’t go unnoticed. Just as Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, the one whom he had cast out demons, the one who was “worthless” and scarred, so he sees and uses each and every one who is willing to say those all-important words, “Here I am, Lord!”

Start small. Be 100% to a few. Change the world for someone.

Lord, your message was clear and your approach unconventional but you changed the world! Thank you for reminding me that there’s no need to be overwhelmed changing the world. Thank you for each and every “no name” person mentioned in your word that encourages me to say day after day, “Here I am”. Give me the courage and boldness to spend my time doing small and helping one person at a time! Amen.

Kate

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Genesis 31, Esther 7, Mark 2, Romans 2

favor

  1. Something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act
  2. The state of being approved or held in regard:
  3. Excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment

 

When I read these stories of Jacob’s release from Laban, Queen Esther’s victory over the Jew’s death sentence and the Jesus’ healing of a paralytic and the calling of Levi, only one word comes to mind; favor.

Favor, grace, mercy, love, I knew of these terms much less before I had children. Not to say you could never understand these if you do not have children of your own but there’s something that changed in my life the minute my first child was born. As they grow, I understand these terms to a much greater degree, seeing the Lord through the eyes of a parent. I have always had a difficult time understanding how a perfect God who created everything could find joy in me. How could he know my sin and my failings and still love me. Then came my three….

Just yesterday was a very trying day in our household. Tantrum after tantrum (I thought we were out of the terrible two’s!). Disobedience, disrespect and outright defiance was tossed around our home like it was acceptable. It was the end of a long week with Dad gone for work and a day off school. Tired children and a tired mom did not make for a good combination. With each and every episode, my own anger would increase. What started with a time out, ended up with alone time in their bedrooms and removal of privileges.

As I sat down to read, pray and write, I was convicted of my own sin in the handling of the situation. My natural tendency is to fly off the handle when I am disrespected and move to judgement and punishment. In parenting, it is still important to quickly address and correct bad behavior, teaching and guiding your children in the truth of the Word, but the balance between truth and grace can be difficult to find in the moment. As their mom, my goal in correction should always be heart change.

My conviction came from Romans, a timely assignment!

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you the Judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself-that you will escape the judgment of God?

My sinful reaction in anger does not get to the heart of my children and it’s not how God reacts to my sin. Like Romans 2:4 says, “It’s the riches of God’s kindness and patience that leads us to repentance”.

By evening, after all the conversations, scriptures and apologies, my heart found favor in my children. Even after a long day, my heart STILL wanted to give my children good things and bestow on them grace and mercy. That is simply a reminder, a tiny glimpse of the incredible love the Lord has for his children and his desire for heart change over better behavior. His favor is not because of our good works and behavior but in spite of them, praise the Lord!

 Dear Heavenly Father, there are not enough words to thank you for your undeserved love and favor for me and my children. You are a good, good Father. Thank you for gently and lovingly pointing out my sin and leading me to repentance and back to you. Amen.

kateredding

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Genesis 17, Nehemiah 6, Matthew 16, Acts 16

Why am I so set in my ways and rely on myself? Even after years of trusting Jesus for my salvation and growing deeper and deeper in relationship with him, I still find my self-dependence remains one of my strongest qualities. Over and over I fail. I try again, succeed slightly and fail again. Start. Fail. Repeat. Etc. After some self-reflection I have realized a few interesting things about myself. One, I don’t often bring the Lord my issues and problems. Maybe I think they are too small or insignificant for him to be concerned with. Sometimes I think, “I got myself into this mess, it’s on me to get myself out of it”. It’s not that I think he can’t fix/heal something, it’s that I feel unworthy. And number two, I very easily and all too often forget what he has done for me…..without any help from me!

I forget my past and all the Lord has done for me and I forget his promises for my future. I forget that I can come to God empty handed. He can create where there was nothing and multiply the small. Thankfully, I realize that I am in good company. In my failures and inadequacies I can say, “But God!”.

 

Abraham attempts to fulfill God’s plan for him to become the Father many nations with his son Ishmael.

But God….

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.[f] I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. (Genesis 17)

Nehemiah was threatened repeatedly by his enemies and faced many trials during the building of the wall.

But God……

15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. (Nehemiah 6)

The disciples forgot the miracles Jesus performed with just a few resources.

But God…..

But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? (Matthew 16)

Paul and Silas sat helplessly imprisoned.

But God…..

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. (Acts16)

Dear Lord, as many times as I try to rely fully on you I still slip back in to my old ways. When I look back, I am always blown away by your presence and power in my life. Help me to remember the truth of your word; without you I am nothing, with you, all things are possible. Help others to see your mighty works in my life and come to you love you like I do! Amen.

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Genesis 2, Ezra 2, Matthew 2, Acts 2

I am always excited for a new year to begin. It’s a fresh start. I am ready for change and willing to open my ears and my heart to listen to the Lord.

It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to his children and moves them…..

The Spirit made man with his breath.

“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7 (ESV)

The Spirit moved the people of Israel out of exile and back to their land.

“Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. The whole assembly together was 42,360, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337, and they had 200 male and female singers.” Ezra 2:1, 64-65 (ESV)

The Spirit moved the wise men to the Savior and then moved the Savior away from danger.

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”              Matthew 2:1-2, 13 (ESV)

The Spirit moved in mighty power

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  Acts 2:1, 38-39, 41 (ESV)

Where would we be if the people had not listened and obeyed the Holy Spirit? It’s a glaring reminder to me that they Holy Spirit speaks to his people and moves his people to accomplish his will and purpose.

 

Dear Lord, thank you for your beautifully woven Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to speak and to move me both physically and spiritually. Help me to be watching, waiting and listening for your still small voice and give me courage to obey your whispers. Amen.

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