Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Lamplight of Decision

by Danetta Kellar

Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

When darkness fell our first night in the remote bush country of Kenya, I was prepared. 

The lanterns were full of kerosene, flashlights of various sizes were fresh with new American batteries, and candles lay all in a row on the table, beside them a box of matches sealed nice and dry in a tightly closed jar. I was ready for the inky blackness.

Snug in our little mud house, we felt safe from the darkness as long as there was a source of light. 

That is, unless we had to venture outside for any reason. With the descending dusk also fell a helpless feeling of entrapment. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Lesson of the Creek

by Danetta Kellar

I never tire of sitting by the roaring waters of the creek that winds around two sides of our family cabin. 

Built by my uncle when I was a small child, the refuge represents years of family gatherings. Folks have come and gone over the decades, but the flowing of the creek has never ceased.

In all my years of watching its waters, I have never seen them flow uphill. 

Down, down, down they go, singing all the way. Mossy boulders lie strewn about as if a giant was interrupted in a game of marbles and left them scattered. But the water finds its way around them, even changing the surface of the rocks, smoothing their rough sharp edges. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Christian or Follower of Jesus?

by Danetta Kellar

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

I once lived in a culture where the word Christian was politically charged and grossly misunderstood

The imported soap operas rife with adultery and betrayal came from Christian countries. The news of shooters entering high schools and gunning down innocent teachers and students were Christians. The cities most famous for drugs and gangs were in Christian nations. 

One of the first questions we were asked when meeting someone for the first time was, “Are you a Christian?”

We would answer, “We are followers of Jesus the Messiah.”

A simple distinction from the normal label opened the door for meaningful conversation and dispelling of misconceptions about our beliefs. 

Now I live in the United States, and the word Christian is politically charged and grossly misunderstood. I never expected that to happen.

I am finding that semantics matter as much here as they did when I was an outsider in a foreign land, misunderstood and maligned.

As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility for the way we communicate and represent our faith. We are ambassadors, representing Christ to those around us. Daily, diplomatic ambassadors around the world labor to accurately represent their nations to foreign cultures and governments. As ambassadors of Christ, we must seek to do the same. 

A follower of Jesus follows him. Daily. 

A follower of Jesus studies his teachings and seeks to emulate them. A follower of Jesus is not ashamed of the gospel.

The world is hungering for authenticity. For truth. Transparency. 

Your life is a window into what it means to be a Christian and the way you talk about it can make all the difference.

Think about it.

What words do you think have become misunderstood and misused in today’s faith conversation? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

All About a Cup: A Tale of Coveting

by Danetta Kellar

I used to think that coveting was a condition of material wealth. 

After all, in a society where most anything one could want is available at most any time, the choices are endless. And with social media and photo enhancing, everyone’s life looks enviable. If we see it and we want it, we don’t have to wait long to have it, if we must. 

My misconception changed when I moved deep into the bush of East Africa to live among a tribe whose material possessions consisted of only the most basic, utilitarian items. 

One day after a hot and dusty afternoon of hand-digging the cornfields for planting, the village wives gathered under the spreading acacia tree for chai. Squatting on their lean, sinewy haunches, colorful cloth wraps hiked up above their calves, the women stirred the pot and chatted. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hope for Single Mothers

by Danetta Kellar

For my dear single co-laborers in motherhood. You know who you are.

Being a single mom is hard work. 

Motherhood does not often take a vacation, get a sick day, win the lottery. Like a lioness, the single mom scours the landscape to provide for her children. She is a defender, a provider, a protector. 

She is also exhausted.

Single mothers do not have time to curl up in a ball in the corner and cry tears of self-pity. 

They are too busy caring for their children. Working. Sitting up late after the kids are sleeping, poring over bills, splicing and dicing the budget to squeeze out another dollar for necessities.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Promise in the Rain

by Danetta Kellar

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” -Isaiah 55:9-11

Deep in the ancient city of North Africa, behind tall walls and heavy wooden doors, our home nestled at the end of a quiet street. Its massive courtyard was surrounded by long salons, their tiled mosaic walls lined with colorful couches and piles of plush pillows. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

An Ever-Present Help in the Storm

by Danetta Kellar

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3, NIV 

Tucked deep in the woods along the bend of a creek, I sat in the cozy cabin kitchen sipping my coffee. 

Pulling a fleece blanket snugly around my shoulders, I leaned back and savored a rare feeling of deep rest.

The plaintive cry of an animal outside broke the morning stillness. Assuming it was a bird, I took another bite of my toast and enjoyed the background noise of nature.