Featured Slider

Where do you belong?


There's one word that keeps coming to my mind, one theme of continuous learning right now, and it's the idea of really belonging. 

This word belong, I'm guessing that we all tend to like the sound of it. It's a concept that we all want for our own and would give up all we've got at times, just simply to say that we too belong.

It deals with our identity and who we're really meant to be. It deals with heart issues and sometimes even the scared parts of bent up lives.

It affects us at the very center of our being, this whole idea of belonging. So, let's go ahead and ask the question, what does it really mean to belong? Why does the word bring a stir of desire and an ache for possession?

The meaning of the word runs along two parallel tracks, two different ways of looking at this grand idea of belonging. It means to have a close or intimate relationship, and doesn't the whole world want more of a relationship, more of that love and attention that we are all longing for? 

And then there's the second view on what it means to really, truly belong. The second look will show us that it also means to be a possession- to simply be someone's. 

We might wonder at that, and ask ourselves if that's something good, and something worth wanting after all? We might ask ourselves if we really do want to be a possession? 

And yet, all along isn't there this craving in each of us to know just exactly where we fit? To know we have a place and a space that's made just for us?

This idea of belonging means to be just exactly where you are meant to be, and in a world that's often gone crazy, doesn't every single beating heart just want to know where they're meant to be? Doesn't every running, confused soul just want to know what they are really meant to do? Don't we all ache deep down to simply know where we belong?

And yet, in order to belong you've got to accept that you are owned. You've got to accept not only the belonging, but also the idea of being another's possession.

There's one fact in all of this that will make a world of difference to what our belonging really means. Perhaps you've already asked the question, but let's spell it out right here in case you haven't- 

Who do you belong to?

After all, there has to be an owner to every thing that is marked "owned". There has to be a possessor that goes along with every possession. 

So, who? Who is it that you and I belong to? 




There is a God who desires to have you. Yes, the same God who hung stars in the sky and formed each and every mountain peak. There's a God and He has a desire to have you and I.

He wants us to belong, not only amongst His acquaintances, but among those that are the very closest to Him.

Remember? To belong means a close and intimate relationship. That's what He's holding out to each and every one of us- this invitation for each and every weary heart to finally belong.

He gave everything that He could possibly give just to be able to offer the very greatest invitation. He spent and spilled His very own blood on a cross in order to reach you with His most important question, "Will you belong to me?"

How can any searching, human heart overlook the grandness of this offer? 
An offer from the Author of Life.
An offer from the only One who could ever redeem you, remake you, restore you and free you.
The only One who breaks every human chain and sets every prisoner free. 
The only one who loves you everlastingly.
The only One who never leaves.
The only one who is righteous, holy and perfect.
The only one who is deserving of worship wants you to be forever found in His closest presence.
And if that doesn't bring your heart low in a humble, holy adoration, then friend, I don't know what on earth ever will. 

And yet, there's this part of the belonging that you and I don't often take time to consider. It's like we're reaching up for all of the treasure without counting in the fact that there's a real cost. 

You see, you are truly His possession. A prized possession. And when a prized possession leaves it's rightful owner, there is a vast amount of trouble. When a a prized possession takes a look at the empty treasure of this world, it pains the One who paid such a high and costly price simply to call you His.

See, we like to make it light. We like to skip over what we're actually doing when we take a little break to fit in with the world. But how in heaven's name do we ever turn our eyes away from perfect, eternal love? And when we take our eyes off of His holy perfection, what are we really trading it all in for? A cheap and deadly counterfeit. A shadow of light in a world of dark, when Heaven's light has already been opened up to us. 

We're His. We're forever belonging to Him. We've got a place that's made especially just for us at the greatest table your eyes ever could dream up.

We've got more love flowing down and over us than any of us knows exactly what to do with. And don't let us kid ourselves on thinking one drop of it is deserved by us. Undeserved and Unreserved it all flows down on us.

Our hearts are fragile and our hearts are quick to turn away. But I ask you today, won't you look at the Master of your life and see once more the love in His eyes?

Don't go and trade in the only real reason for hope in your life, for a moment of the world's cheap and fleeting version of a treasure. 

You've got something eternal. You belong to a Forever King. Stay in your place of belonging.

"You are not your own, for you were  b o u g h t  with a price. 
So  g l o r i f y  God in your body."
- H E B R E W S  6 : 1 9 - 2 0 - 

Because we all have our own list of distractions


I bet you know just what it's like, that feeling of trying to get something done and getting everything else done that wasn't meant to be done instead. You get a hundred distractions through the form of mental lists or screens lit up, and pretty soon you're caught wondering where the time's gone since it isn't showing up in the project you were meant to complete.

A world of distraction, that's where you and I live. A world that seems to make it easier to do everything you never intended to do and harder to to what you set out to accomplish. 

Distraction can take on just about any type of form. It can come as a need for constant communication or news, it can come in the form of keeping up a certain appearance, making sure you've got a top-notch reputation. These days it seems to come at us ten thousand times through the form of a lit up device.

We can even be distracted by our games or our hobbies, the things that were only meant for fun all along. 

You and I can be terribly quick to give away every ounce of precious time to something that will never even give a drop back to us.

Time is precious and comes with a limit for each of us. So why are we so eager and quick to spend it on the trivial?

If it can't possibly bring glory to our worthy and great God, then why do we have such a pull to give it our all? 

If it isn't capable of bringing about real community and creating gospel-love opportunities, then why do we invest so much of ourselves into it?

When it's all said and done, how much of your life will you hold in your hands once all that is earthly has been drained away from it? 

How much of our lives have we invested in what will last?




I am guilty of giving in to a thousand distractions from how I ought to live. I'm guilty of a thousand investments in the unneeded and unimportant. 

Cutting out distractions doesn't cut out all the joy. It's more like cutting out more space in life to fully enjoy your time. Cutting out all of those distractions cuts out enough space for a greater amounts of peace. 

There's something beautiful that happens after we learn to invest well. After we've given our all to what really matters most, we begin to receive in multiplied form. We gain greater treasures and deeper amounts of riches when we invest our time into those most-important things.

And just what is it that you and I gain when we put down the distractions and live fully invested? We gain back treasures such as the beauty of friendship gained, experiences fully enjoyed, and a life full to the brim of well-lived days. 

The truth of it is friends, you and I have been given a task to do, live well and live fully for a King who deserves glory. We're never going to get far in our goal if we spend all our time in trivial things. 

Invest well today, friends. You'll never regret the time you give to loving the lives around you.

We've all got a list of distractions, start by naming yours. Once you've named it, you'll sooner recognize it and you'll learn to turn away from it, because nothing that distracts from Christ is ever worth your time. 


"Is anything you're doing here adding up to anything that matters? 
And in the end, is what you've chosen ultimately about Christ and His kingdom?"
- A N N  V O S K A M P -

If you’re feeling a little lost in life



Have you ever felt lost in life? Maybe you've been going for awhile, just doing your very best to stick with the plan and get to the end. You think you've got it set in your head, just what will be ahead, and then life goes and takes a turn and you're left somewhere else instead.

You know, it doesn't take some great big catastrophe to knock us down off of our feet and remind us that we're little more than a frail human life.

No, sometimes all it takes is the reminder that we can't see what's coming ahead in the days that are yet un-lived.

You don't have to have an earth shattering event take place in your life, for you heart to suddenly flounder into what-if's and what-am-I-doing-here-in-life?

Sometimes all it takes is a moment's pause and a little reflection.

Chances are, if you're human than you know well how it feels to sense that you are lost.

You've come to crossroads that don't seem to come with any direction. You've come to seemingly blank spaces that don't seem to have any form of progression.

You've up and lost your way, without one bit of your own trying. You've simply come face to face with the fact that you are a limited human.

You're dealing with the reality that you don't have all the facts in life, and you're dealing with the idea that you're less than qualified to live out this life.

But friend can I remind you that there's a God up above who isn't ever capable of becoming lost.

Right now you're going back and forth on what you ought to do. Right now you're searching far and wide for whatever is the best choice. And friends did you know that there's a God up above who really does know it all?

He knows the options that you can't even see yet. He knows the end destination of every road that you could end up walking down, and He cares enough about you to never leave you in your lost and sorry state.

He's a God of direction and a God who has order, and He'll never leave you stuck to figure it out all on your own.

And yet friends, did you know that this God who loves to lead, can also see the value of a much needed wait.

He'll always lead you on, but He won't ever rush past the treasure gained through a little bit of a wait.




So, let your disorder and your confusion be organized into peace and submission, as you look up above to the only Perfect One.

Give yourself over to the One who knows the inner workings of your heart and is the only One capable of following a perfect plan.

Maybe the truth of it is that in all of those times that we've begun to feel lost, is when we're really the most found. Because there's nothing greater than coming to terms with the reality of your own inability.

Maybe the sooner we each come to grips with our great weakness, means the sooner we can reach our hands up to the sky for His unfailing wisdom.

So, to every lost and weary heart out there in this vast and beautiful world, hold on tight to the One who sees every moment. Hold on tight to the One who holds you the closest. Hold on tight to the One who goes before your every step. Hold on tight to the only One who was able to pay the ultimate price to set your life completely free.

When you don't know where on earth you're meant to go in life, place yourself right there in front of His light, and trust that in His time, He'll always lead you right. 

Soon you are going to find that the greatest lamp is His Word, and the greatest Light is now yours when you walk ever and only in the presence of your Lord. 

A letter to the friend with a stirring in their heart


Hey there Friend,

So here you are with your little bit of treasure. You were built with the ability, made specially to do something extraordinary. You feel that stirring in your heart to do just exactly what you know you were made to do. You feel that rumbling in your soul to take a step out and put your treasure to it's very greatest use.

I get it friend, because I'm right there with you. 

Right now maybe you're working a 9-5 that you wouldn't have wished for, or maybe you're stuck with no time to try out the things that you long to do.

You dream when you've got the space, but that's about the end all for you right now. 

Maybe you long to reach more people, to use it all for His good. You wonder why God hasn't given you a greater opportunity. 

Maybe you don't have much clarity at all. You just know that there might be something more than what you're living right here and now.

Maybe your a dreamer, with ideas that others say just can't become reality. Maybe you're a planner and you're just too afraid that you might make a mistake.

Well, no matter where you're at, who you are, or what you've got, can I clue you in on something grand today?

This God of the universe, this maker of stars, this Very Greatest Designer that you and I adore, He's the one who made you and He's the one who gave you the treasure that you hold tight in your hands.

The treasure of a beautiful talent.

Truth is, this talent has a far greater purpose than what your grandest dreams can come up with.

This talent was made and fashioned to be used for His Grand Story. The One that's all about rescuing souls and putting His glory on display. The One about a coming King who rescues His own and brings them to eternal glory.

That treasure that you're holding in your hand? It's meant to fit inside of this Story in some beautiful way.

But here is what you've got to remember-this God of the Galaxies and Maker of Beauty, He never really does things in the way that you and I would plan.

He asks you to simply surrender that treasure up into His grasp, and let Him use it in the place that it fits the very best.





Sometimes He asks you to wait until His perfect timing is here, and sometimes He asks you to take a leap that looks like it might just kill you. No matter what, He asks you to trust and obey.

So, to the hearts that have a stirring and a longing to use what they've got in a bigger grander way, remember that The very One who formed that longing will put it to it's very greatest use.

He's orchestrating something glorious by the perfect combination of willing vessels with their treasures held up in surrender to Him.

Learn to listen, learn to wait, but above all learn to be willing and obey.

And if you ever struggle with doubt that this God that you're living for really does have a desire to use you and your treasure, well, just go ahead and read these verses here below-

"And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker...-those who do every work and those who design artistic works. And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of works for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded."
{ E X O D U S  3 5 : 3 4 - 3 6 : 1 }

Chapter thirty six goes on to show the beauty that is accomplished when each person is doing just exactly what they were made to do with the treasure in their hands. 

This is the God that you and I serve, a God who doesn't forget the inner workings of our heart for even just a second. The God who patiently waits until it's the very best time. A God who wants to use you in the very best of ways.

Our task today is to listen. To listen for His grace in leading. To listen for His gentle words of Guidance.

So to my fellow friends with a stirring in their hearts and a treasure in their hands, I'm right there with you, in the midst of the times of confusion, and the prayers for instruction. With the aches that come with desiring more. 

Hold fast to The God who does it all,

In His grace,
Amanda


P.S. If you relate to these words in any sort of way, I'd sure love to hear from you! Tell me a bit about the dreams He's placed in you. You can always send a note to amanda@thesplendidordinary.com

One of the greatest keys to building community


One of the greatest points of interest today, is our craving for community. You can find it just about anywhere- within the church or in a secular world, for the introvert as well as the extrovert. It's what we're after, and it's our main desire.

And friends, I'm caught up with it right along with the rest of the world. I love community. 

When I learned not to care



I remember back to the days when I was the one who used to care.

This word caring is usually linked with something that is a little more positive, but it all comes down to what it is you’re caring about.

We should seek to care, by all means. Don’t ever let caring break away from your being. But take careful watch over what it is that your heart begins to really care about.

When we don't see the good


There's a list of things that we lack, but it would seem that near the top of that great list of lack would be the word consistency.

If you're in need of proof of this, just turn your pages to the book of Exodus. 

Exodus, the book that's packed full of demonstrations of our God's power, and yet the Israelites couldn't seem to make up their mind on whether or not this God who held everything in His hands, was bigger enough to see them safely through.

And how often do we find ourselves living just exactly how the Israelites did?