Sep 22, 2014

If not you, then who?

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 


I wasn't planning on posting today. However, you know how God can put something on your heart and you just HAVE to talk about it? Yeah, that's where I am. 

First, I came across this incredible little hidden verse in our reading last week. It KNOCKED my fuzzy pink socks off! 

"I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly." Psalm 40:10

When I read scripture, I apply it personally. I apply it to my life, my world, my people. 

This verse spoke to me on so many levels, I wanted to SHOUT it from my rooftop to anyone that would listen. 

Will you do me the honor of being the "great assembly" today? I sure hope you will. For a few minutes anyway.

I have to be honest with you and tell you that all of this prayer that we have been doing has put me in a very tender and vulnerable place with the Lord. Prayer draws us intimately close to Him, and it softens our hearts more than anything else can. 

As my heart has been pulverized by His faithfulness and His affection, I begin to get a glimpse of His love for us. Just a glimpse because the totality of His love would overwhelm me and knock me out cold. 

Not only do I see His love for me, but I see His love for us. Slowly my eyes are being peeled open to a world in desperate need of a Father. Our Father God. 

I have a new sense of urgency for our fellow men, women, and children across the globe. I have a sense of responsibility to do.....something. Part of doing what I can, is having eyes that are opened.

Opened eyes are the first step. They can only come by a heart willing and asking for them to be open. 

As I cried my ever-lovin' eyes out in the car last week over something, I got angry. 

I was angry over some things happening to children. Some information was shared with me, and my heart broke into a million pieces. 

I cried out to God. I may have even yelled at Him. I told Him I didn't understand. I told Him that He had to do something. This wasn't fair for these children.  He had to act. Immediately.

My spirit was weeping to my Father. Not just my spirit, but my flesh, every ounce of it. 

When we know the unconditional love of the Lord, we can share our honest feelings. We can yell, scream, pitch fits....because we know He will still love us. He is our Father. 

This is where I was last week. A tantrum mimicking that of a 3 year old in my car. 

God, me, and my tears. 

Soon after my rant, I turned the radio on. I was tired. I was worn-out emotionally and I just needed to be swept away by some good music. 

The song the Lord hand-picked for my ears to hear was this:

"Do Something"
by: Matthew West

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something 

I asked God immediately to show me what to do. 

His response was simple....

Jill, I want you to pray. 

This was not the response I had wanted to hear. I wanted a direct command of action. Something I could sink my hands into, to feel like I was doing...something. 

Again, I tell you to pray. If not you, then who? Who will pray?

A peace washed over me like I had not felt in a long, long time. 

A peace only perfect enough to come from Him. My Father. 

Yes, Father, I will pray. 

I wonder how much of our world could be changed if we were to pray more, and talk less. Really, I wonder. We talk about how things need change, how horrible things are....

When God desires us to simply..... pray. 

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" James 5:16

What if it just started here, today, with all of you. What if all of us chose to pray for our world today. Nothing too wordy, or too fancy. Just simply, "Thy Will be done with Your people, Lord, Thy Will be done."

Will you join me? Will you stop today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week and pray for our world?

God hears us, sisters in Christ. Oh, He hears us! If He can hear little ol' me in the car out here on a lonely country road, He can hear ALL OF US! We are HIS! He hears the cries of His people....

"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." Psalm 18:6


My hands are shaking as I type this because I feel the urgency to do something. His people are waiting on our prayers. Will you join me on your knees?


Psalm 46:1-7

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.




if not us then who,


jill

Sep 20, 2014

We have a WINNER.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.


We have a winner in our SHINE Girls Give-Away!

The winner receives my absolute favorite prayer book....EVER. "Prayers That Avail Much", by Germaine Copeland.

My daughter, Presley, drew the winning name!



Congratulations to
 ERIN WALKER!!!


Please email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com to let me know how to get this book to you. :)

I am so excited for you, Erin! Yay


[Girls, If you have a SHINE prize that you would like to donate for our next give-away, let me know!]

Happy Weekend, SHINE girls. It is GORGEOUS outside here in Georgia!! I hope you all are enjoying your day!


going back outside,


jill


Sep 18, 2014

Forever Changed....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

If you haven't entered or SHINE girl Give-away, it's not too late! Go here and enter. I will draw a name tomorrow!

As I thought about our next prayer focus this week, I knew I had to ask my friend Erin Davis to post.
Erin is one of the girls in my prayer circle group. We text or talk to each other daily. Erin has taught me so much through her walk with Jesus. So much.
The thing Erin has taught me the most is how to pray. I mean, like, really pray. 
Erin has the gift of prayer. Like you have NEVER seen. 
She will kill me for telling  y'all this...BUT! Erin will go into the bathroom at her work, HIT HER KNEES, and pray. I am not joking. 
She has taught me so much! If you don't have a friend that will hit her knees to pray for you, start praying for one today. I am not kidding! Pray, today. 
Be blessed by her words today. God is doing some awesome things in her life. 

Forever Changed
by: Erin Davis

Give me Your eyes for just one second

Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing

Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see




This song was my heart’s prayer during all of 2013. This is also the year that we started on a journey known as foster care.
The Lord called our family very specifically to love these foster children. I was beyond excited and ready to begin this journey with Him.
I wanted to be His hands and feet. I desired to help the hurting, mend their wounds, and love the “least of these” in my community.
I envisioned ministering to these children, teaching them about Jesus, and witnessing to their parents.


We became an approved Foster home at 4:30 pm on March 20th, 2014. The first foster child walked through our door at 6:30pm that same day.


And in the blink of an eye…my eyes were open….reality hit…and it tore me apart!


I was overwhelmed!!!!


Were these things really happening to children in my own backyard?
How did I not know?
Why aren’t people outraged about these things?
Why had no one told me?

I realized that I had been living in a bubble. I chose not to see past my own nose.


I paid no attention to the strange faces staring back at me at the store, at the local park, or even in the pews of my own church.
My eyes were not open to the pain and darkness surrounding me…or maybe…I did not care enough to see it
Chad and I have had the privilege of loving 8 children so far through the adventure called foster care.
Despite the darkness of their situation, these babies are a LIGHT that SHINES so brightly in my world.
They are DAILY reminders of God’s unending LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY in a fallen world.
They have done more for me then I could ever do for them. They are precious and we are beyond grateful that He allowed our family to be a part of their story.
I am FOREVER changed.


One thing I know for sure…
I can never go back to the way I was.
My eyes have been opened.
The need is too great.
I can promise you this…
An adventure waits for anyone willing to partner with Jesus!
Begin with simply asking Jesus to open your eyes!  Get on your knees and pray for your neighbors! Open your heart to the unlovable, the outcasts, and the broken. And then wait and watch as God does the rest!
Your life will NEVER be the same!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6


Sep 17, 2014

Count your blessings, not your problems....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

Remember my friend, Kim, that I told you all about? You can read the story about her here.

Well, I just want to share her latest Caringbridge post with all of you. I know you will be just as encouraged and inspired as I was.

Take a moment, and let Kim's faith spur you on today. You will be blessed, I promise you this.

Want to follow her journey? Go to Caringbridge.com and search for "Kim Jaynes". You will be so glad you did. She's an amazing girl. See for yourself.

Thankful for things BOTH big and small
by: Kim Jaynes

I have heard people say that when you are faced with a trial in life, your perspective on things alter completely! And I can tell you from this experience so far.....nothing could be closer to being true!

When I first got the diagnosis my mind started scrambling......past, present, future!

Each week brings more questions.....What if, What about, What next, and so on!

Every pain or ache causes me think that my entire body is cancer ridden! One with this disease tends to become hyper-vigilant and probably a little on the hypochondriac side too!

Of course death has crossed my mind (on more than one occasion). After all, cancer is the leading cause of death in women (lung cancer #1, breast cancer #2).

I am well aware that we all will die one day!

But, do I want to die from this??......I can answer with a resounding NO!

I have asked, told, and begged God to spare me in this life for a LONG while!  It is not that I am afraid of dying and what happens after this life because I know my salvation is secure!

BUT....I am not ready to leave this earth and the people I love who are still in it! I do not think God is finished with me and my purpose on this earth yet. So my prayer is that my "one day" is many, many, many, many, many..........days years away!!!

There have been some really, really hard days!

There have been some hard days with sprinkles of good throughout!

But there have also been some really good days and those far outweigh the bad!

In all of it, there moments to be cherished and I am so thankful for that!  Moments that are big and moments that are small!  I treasure each and every one! Because when your mindset changes to "this may be the last time I......." you tend to see things with a new set of eyes!

This weekend we had the chance to see my oldest son Dylan do his thing in the Vandy (Vanderbilt College)band. He attends Belmont, but marches for Vanderbilt!

It was me, my man, and our three gifts from God! I cannot imagine anything more precious than time spent with family!  I felt great all weekend, we ate, visited, laughed, and were all together!  This was a BIG thing and for that I am so very thankful!

There are many little things that take place on any given day.  Before getting breast cancer these things would, most likely, have gone unnoticed or at least were not seen as a blessing. But now that I tend to focus on the blessings and not on the business of life I can see things a little more clearly.

Hugs from a teenage son, a middle school girl wanting to sit in my lap, a text from a college boy, a husband who starts my shower in the morning, a mother who keeps our laundry clean, friends cooking dinner.......little gestures of love that can get so easily lost in the hustle and bustle of life!



So my advice to you.....soak up your blessings both BIG and SMALL!  

Put God first and be the Jesus that your family and friends need to see (especially your children!)

Slow down and enjoy your family! Family should always take precedence over all other things but God!

Show some love to those around you.....give up on the gossip and time wasted being mad!

Count your blessings and not your problems!

All of our days our numbered.....what if we all lived like today was the final number???

If you have hair...count that as a blessing.....the most frequent question I have had so far is......."has your hair started to come out yet?"

Well...it started last Tuesday and I was hoping it would hold on through the weekend! And it did (another blessing)...........but I could knit a hat from the pile that came out this morning! As well as the strands that continue to let loose as the day progresses.

So today....is shaving day!

I have opted for a wig but you may see me in a bandana or hat! Who knows....we will see!  I am not looking forward to being bald....but things could be so much worse! So if bald is as bad as it gets....then I will take it.


" Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17



Tallying up the big and the small gifts,
Kim

Sep 15, 2014

Eyes Wide Open.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them." Psalm 44:3

God has been doing something to my heart over the past few months. Since last November, actually.

I confessed it to my prayer girls recently, and now I will confess to all of you.

He is literally crumbling my heart.  My eyes have been opened to things I never saw before. Sometimes, I want to close them back.

I have a very close friend that started fostering children this year. She told me the exact same thing this past Saturday evening. "Sometimes, I wish I could just go back to being comfortable. My eyes have been opened to the hurting, and it is very uncomfortable", she said.

When God gets a hold of your heart, it literally crumbles. It feels like a pulverization process. It becomes tender and delicate, and easy to bruise.

That's what's happening here. With me.

Tears come almost daily now. I see things that I never noticed before.

For example, I was in a local fast food restaurant recently. I noticed the manager. She was small, with a petite build. She was so friendly. Several times she asked us if everything was okay.

I then saw her cleaning the table behind us. She was so precise, so intentional, about making that table clean. As I saw her lean over to brush the crumbs off of the seat, I broke down crying. Yep. See what I mean?

God prompted me to pray for her. Right then, right there. Not out loud, but in my heart.

I wondered what her life was like outside of the restaurant. Was she loved? Was she a mother? Was she married? Was she.....happy?

Her life inspired me that day. I saw the passion in her eyes for making sure others were taken care of. She was a true servant.

She was literally living this verse out:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

The next day I was in my local grocery story. The cashier never made eye contact with me. She seemed sad. I tried to make conversation with her, it didn't work out too well. I prayed for her immediately. God was prompting me again to pray on behalf of His people.

Soon after, my foster mother friend gave me some details of the child that was just placed in their home. Again, my heart crumbled some more.

On the way to take my kids to school the next morning, I had a long talk with my children. I shared with them the stories of the broken families, broken homes, broken children that surround them. The heartbreak they endure.

I encouraged them to look for children around them at school. Lonely faces. Distant eyes. Withdrawn behavior.

Seek them out, I pleaded. Talk to them. Smile at them. They are hurting. Pray for them.

I want my kids to have opened eyes. I want them to see those in need. I want them to do something. I want them to pray.

This week we will be intentional about .....

Praying for our community.

We are all surrounded by great needs. Great hurts. Great pain.

Our prayers are a bridge to Jesus for our community.

Will you be a part of building this bridge?

How can we do this?

Start praying for your cashier. Your bank teller. Your child's teacher. Your fellow co-workers. Your students. Your waitress. The family sitting next to you at church. Your mail carrier. Your trash pick-up people.

Pray for anyone that comes across your path each day.

Get ready for some big walls to crumble in your heart. Get ready for your eyes to start burning due to God prying them open to the world around you.  The people who were just "people", now become those you will fervently pray for.

Prayer changes our hearts. Prayer opens our eyes.

The greatest way to show love to others is to pray for them.


my eyes are still burning,



jill



Sep 13, 2014

A SHINE girl Give-Away....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 


I am loving this intentional praying stuff. I mean, I love to pray, but when I am faced with something very specific to pray for, it infuses my prayers with even more purpose.

We have covered marriage and children. Next week, we will cover another important aspect of our prayer life. You will just have to wait until Monday to find out. No sneak peaks. ;)

So, I have something AMAZING to give away to one of you. I mean AMAZING.

This book was introduced to me two years ago by my friend, Lisa. We were having lunch and she told me about this book. I knew I needed it.

Lifeway bookstore was located [conveniently] right behind the place where we were eating lunch.
After we ate, we headed right over.

I picked it up, and was hesitant at first because of the cost of it. It was a hard back book, so it was more than I expected.

To be honest, I needed some new mascara that week and I was contemplating the book or the mascara. Seriously.

The book was purchased. The mascara had to wait a few more weeks.

Purchasing this book was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It has changed my prayer life.

Why?

Because it is God's Word in prayer form. It covers any and every possible scenario in your life that needs prayer.

The pages in my book are worn, highlighted, dated, and written in. I have cried many tears while praying the prayers in this book over my family, my friends, and my loved ones.

I want you to have this book.

Prayers that Avail Much
by: Germaine Copeland


I just purchased a copy and will give it away to one of you beautiful SHINE friends!

Here is what you need to do...

Just comment under this post. Your name, is really all I need.

If you happen to already have this book, please still enter. You can bless someone HUGE by giving it to them. It's a game changer in our prayer lives. Trust me.

I will draw a name next week. Spread the word to your friends! Bless them by the opportunity to receive this book and begin praying God's Word more intimately than ever.

You are loved, SHINE friend. You are fervently prayed for. Day in and day out.


with so much love,


jill

Sep 12, 2014

A Soul in Need....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 


"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1


What is your soul panting for today? Really, think about it. If you were to look back on yesterday, the day before, the day before that, last month, last year...

What does your soul panting look like?

Is it for peace peace in your home or marriage?

Is it for healing?

Is it for financial relief?

Is it for joy?

Is it for the well-being of your children?

What if our soul only panted for God. Nothing else.

What would that look like?

How would that change our days?

I think it would change our days drastically.

When our soul is panting, the only fulfillment is God.

We fill our lives with so many other things....fillers. 

Fillers can never take the place of God.

If we are too busy for God, we are too busy.

If we are too busy to pray, we are too busy.

Life is chaotic. It's spinning. It's busy.

We often find ourselves running in circles exasperated by the end of the day.

Some days we plop in bed, and remember that we didn't pray once that day. Not once.

Our souls are panting for God. Dehydrated, empty, starving.

If you see a hungry man on the road, do you give him advice or do you give him food?

You give him food. He doesn't care about your advice until his belly is full.

When our souls are empty, hungry, and thirsty....

We need to feed it with God.

Our lives will be so much more effective and productive after we spend time with Him and feed off of His Living Word.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Meet with God today. Wherever you are. Stop. Be still. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Read His Word, and let Him breathe life back into your weary soul.



a panting soul,


jill



Sep 10, 2014

Getting Specific.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 



Praying for our Children
by: Lisa Inlow

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always, pray continually, giving thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is a tough passage to live out, right?!

In this post I'm going to focus on praying continually...for our children.

For me, prayer is a state of mind.  It's part of my day.  I talk to the Lord about everything.  And so many of those prayers, are for my 2 kids.

I'm going to rattle off scenes and scenarios, painting pictures of my days and how praying is just part of it.

We quote Psalm 91 together, a lot.  Other times I quote it aloud in the car, on my walk or just doing my thing here in the house.  I have also recently, typed it out, printed it, and put it in my kids backpacks.  I picture it as full on armor on their backs!  Praise Him!!

While picking up in their rooms, or honestly, walking in their rooms, then promptly walking out (disaster areas I tell you)...I will sit on their beds, my hand on their pillows and pray.

Things they are experiencing now, behavior or obedience issues.  Other times their spouses, and the type of home they are growing up in now as little ones.  Asking too, that my children, and their future spouses love HIM, above each other.

There's something about their beds and pillows.  I guess it's the quiet and still of night.  I ask the Spirit to speak to them during those hours.

A bunny trail thought if I may.  I tap on my kids hearts and tell them to start listening to the Quiet Voice.  I explain how He works, whispering gently, nudging them the right way.  I tell them ways the Spirit talks to me.  And how we have to learn what that voice sounds like.

I also pray for my kids when I'm folding their laundry.  Their socks, I ask Him to guide their feet.  Keeping them on the path of Truth.

I get really specific on this one too.  Asking Him to not have my daughter walk into frat houses when she's in college (she's only 6, but hello, pray now!).  I pray her feet will not take her to backseats of cars, into bars or places the Spirit urges her not to go. "Lord, give her the confidence to walk the other way"...

And with my boy.  I pray about his friendships.  His sensitivity to the Spirit.  That he and his little sister will be friends, forever.  That no matter their age, they will enjoy each other, long into adulthood.  And I pray, that the Light of Christ will shine through him, drawing others in.

What a joy to go to the Throne on their behalf!!  Ah, I love it!! To pour out my mom heart to the One!  The one who knit them together, inside of me!

Will each of you join me?


Dear Father, We love you so much!!  We come to you and pour out our deepest desires and concerns on behalf of our children.  Thank you Almighty God for your crazy love for each of us!!  Amen.