Jul 20, 2017

Unmet Desires...

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[original post 4/13/16]


"Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." Psalm 37:4

For many, too many, years, I took this verse to mean: When God grants me the desires of my heart, I will delight in Him.

Even if I didn't express it out loud, I viewed my taking delight in Him only after I had received my current "desire".

If we really think about this, haven't we all had conditions on our love and delight in God?

We say all the right things at bible study, we can quote scriptures off the top of our heads...

But, do we really take delight in the Lord?  Is He really our One True Desire?

I love how King David, my favorite man in all the world, states His desire for God. Read what he says to God and let it take your precious breath away.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4
 
One thing David wants. One thing David seeks. The Lord.
 
This scripture is one I have taped to anything it will stick to. I desperately want God to be my one true desire.
 
However, when my hopes and dreams don't pan out the way I feel they should, that desire for Him can disappear. Oh, I can fake it with the best of them. I can smile my way through church and worship and small group. I can post flowery scriptures on Instagram declaring my love for God and His Word.
 
But, the Lord knows my heart. He knows the wall I have created because of the unmet desire.
 
Isn't it funny how we think we can punish God by pulling our heart away from Him for not granting us these desires? When all along, we are the one suffering from not delighting in Him. He surely is grieving over our messed up thinking. If we only knew how much He loved us and delighted in us. If only we knew that the answer to our sorrow and our hurt was found in Him. Not the unmet desire.
 
Oh, y'all. This is so personal to me. I can write about this because I know this so well. It has just been very recently that God has shed light on my heart regarding this very thing.
 
I have wrestled with Him. I have argued with Him. I have told Him how I could not believe Him or trust Him if He did not give me this desire. I have believed the lie that He has forgotten about me. Or worse yet, not seen me at all.
 
When all the while, the desire my soul was created to long for, was right there all along. In Him.
 
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1
 
Our hearts can lead us astray in desires. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that "the heart is deceitful above all things..."
 
We cannot be lead by our hearts but by our God. By the Holy Spirit Who dwells inside of us breathing God's desires into our souls.
 
Any desire, let me repeat, any desire, that overshadows our love for God will never work out for our good. Ever.
 
We can pray for better marriages, for our husbands to pray more, to have better children, to have more money, to have more discipline in our eating, to have babies, to get married, to have a boyfriend, to meet the man of our dreams, to get that job we want so badly....
 
However, when we make bargains with God to attain these things, we suffocate our desire for God. Those desires, even good ones, become idols.
 
“You shall have no other gods before me.“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  Exodus 20:3-4
 
Our hearts grow cold when our demands are not met. We act like rebellious children when we don't see the fruit of our desires.
 
He is the fruit. He IS our One True desire.
 
Can we wrap our brains around the fact that we have ALL WE WILL EVER NEED. HE IS ENOUGH. END OF STORY.
 
I don't put that in all caps to yell, but to remind myself. To remind my own heart of what is at stake when I think something besides Him will make me happy. It just will not. It is a lie that the enemy loves to help us to believe. A big, fat, stinking, ugly LIE.
 
In Matthew 22:34-40, the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up by asking Him what the greatest commandment was. They thought He would give them an answer that they could dispute and prove that He did not know what He was talking about. Oh, they were so wrong.

34  Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Any answer besides this one could have become an idol to us. We will never ever be led astray in our desires if we Love God and desire Him above anything else. And then right below that one, loving others as we love ourselves. Whew. Talk about piercing straight through the bloody walls that encase our beating hearts.

Jesus didn't "desire" to be hung on a cross and tortured. He desired to delight in God by doing the Will of God.

THIS, is where we find the missing piece to the gigantic hole in our hearts we have been trying to fill up with all the wrong stuff. When we die to our man-made desires and make HIM our One True Desire above anything or anyone else, we suddenly have all we ever need.

Don't be mistaken, God wants all of it and more for us. He loves us more than we can even begin to comprehend. But, He wants our hearts above it all. Completely, and utterly devoted to Him.

After all, we are and always have been His desire. We were created by Him, and for Him.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11


desiring Him alone,


jill
 

Jul 19, 2017

The Secret Prayer...

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[original post 7/17/16]

My husband and I share many intimate conversations together. Things that we discuss just between the two of us that are special and treasured. We dream about our future, and the future of our children together. We express concerns and observations of things happening around us. This openness creates a secret and rare vulnerability between us that I cannot put into words.

These talks are sacred between the two of us. Many of the things on my heart, I have never shared with another living soul. They are meant to be kept between the bond, the unity, and the love between the two of us. When we took an oath before God on our wedding day to be submitted to one another, our spirits became one. God sees us as one as well. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Romans 8:26

Our prayer life is the same. When we approach the Father in prayer, it is a time of deep intimacy and lavish openness of our hearts to His. We express things, even if not spoken in words, they are expressed through the groaning of our spirits.The bible tells us in Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

Jesus teaches us about the power of prayer in secret. Not just prayer in secret, but the power of giving in secret, and fasting in secret. Take a look at Matthew 6 verses 6-18. Here's an excerpt...

6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 

When reading God's word, hang onto things you see repeated over and over again. Make note it it, and store it up in your heart. Like a good Father to his children, He reminds us so we will not forget.

In my own personal prayer life, I have seen the power of prayer in secret several times over the last few years. Honestly, I didn't even realize the prayer was in secret at the time. These requests were just so deep and so personal in my spirit, that I kept them between the Father and me.

One experience that I will share from a couple of years ago is that of a prayer over my husband. It was regarding a trip he wanted to go on with some friends. He would be gone several days and something in my spirit just was not at peace about it. I never told him my concerns. Instead, I took my concerns to prayer.

I wasn't sure why I was so hesitant about this trip for him, but I was. I asked God to grant me peace for him to leave if His will was for Lem to go on the trip. I also reached out to three friends and asked them to please pray for an unspoken request for me and my family.

At the time, I wasn't sure of my motives for wanting him to stay home. I wanted to be clear the motives were not selfish, so I spared sharing the details with my praying friends. I just asked them to pray.

About a month later, my husband came to me and told me that the trip he was planning on going on had fallen apart. Nothing was working out for he and his friends to be able to go.

Bewildered, I gasped out loud.

I could not even believe it.

God had answered this prayer, and I knew it was only God that could have made the details come together for the trip to not take place.

I never did tell him that I had prayed about that trip. The things that God had done were so personal and so intimate and so intricate, I wanted to keep it between He and I. Also, I did not want for one second for Lem to think that I had prayed him out of going. It would have put a shadow on future trips he wanted to take with the fellas, and I did not want the enemy getting a foothold there.

I love when Lem is able to get away with his friends to hike and camp. I love it because he loves it. It makes him smile, and it makes him excited! So, not for one second did I want him to think that I had manipulated the situation for him not to be able to go.

Another time that God answered a secret prayer was one I love to share to anyone who will listen. If you have heard it, I apologize in advance.

A few years ago I was running out of my favorite skincare line. I had purchased it for myself  from some money I had received for my birthday months before. I loved it so much and I wanted to order a whole new set! The cost would be...a LOT. Way over our budget. Especially for fancy skincare.

I had rationalized in my head that I deserved to get it. I specifically remember thinking, "This is the ONLY thing I splurge on. I deserve this for myself. Plus, I will save my husband on a face lift because my skin will be firmer due to this awesome skincare line." 

Eek!

I logged on to the website to order this outrageously expensive skincare. I had everything I needed [wanted] in my cart online. I scrambled for my credit card to put it all on there, praying that the bill would not come for at least 30 days. I wasn't ready for a fight with the hubby any time soon.

I began to type in the numbers, and I stopped. Conviction seized me. I couldn't do it. My husband had clearly marked our budget boundaries just that very week, and this was not even close to being in the equation.

Shoot.

I logged off of the site feeling sad and feeling sorry for myself.

Silently, I prayed that God would forgive me for almost stepping into disobedience.

Are you ready for what happened next?

The very next day, a friend called me on the phone.

She asked me if I would like a bunch of skincare that she had purchased a few weeks ago. She said she did not really like it, but she didn't want to go to the expense and the effort to send it all back. Plus, she knew I was a huge fan of that particular skincare.

YES!! I would love to take this off of your hands!

I was beyond elated.

Y'all that afternoon, I went to pick up the skincare she had left in her car for me at her work. It was DOUBLE what I had planned ordering online the day before. DOUBLE. There were even some items that I wanted to get, but knew there was no way I could at that time.

I was absolutely blown away. That big gold bag of skincare was a gift from my Father.

He heard my secret prayer. I didn't even really ask Him, I just asked Him to forgive me for disobedience. Yet, He knows the desires of our hearts, doesn't He?

I share these things to encourage you that the Father loves to lavish us. He loves to be one on one with you in the secret place of prayer. Just the two of you.

In my case, those secret times of prayer have built my faith stronger. I think if I would have asked a lot of people to pray, I would have missed out on a chance in intimacy with my Father. In my flesh, I may have thought that it was certainly not because of my feeble prayers that it was answered. I would have not felt the same intimacy with Him, I believe.

Please don't for one second think that asking for prayer or group praying is not powerful. It is!

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

However, I do believe that there is a time for intimacy as well. A place and time to pray secretly those deep groans and desires. He will lead us how to pray, and with whom to share our prayers, we just need to ask Him.

I have learned in these secret prayers with my Father, that He is most concerned about the well-being of my spirit. My faith and belief are of the greatest concern to Him. More than a prayer being answered, it is about my oneness with Him. The intimacy that develops when I share my heart, my desires, my confessions of sin, and my whole being with Him. It is the power of what happens during that process that ends up being the greatest miracle. The answer to the prayer is just the icing.

What is it that you need to approach your Heavenly Father about today? Oh, friend, go to Him. Go to a secret place and pour your heart out to Him. Believe that He hears you. Believe that He will answer. 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8


praying secrets,


jill

Jul 12, 2017

Where everybody knows your name....

God uses the most random of places to speak to me. Can you relate?

This time it was at Walmart.

As I was checking out my groceries recently, I looked up and saw this beautiful girl waving at me with a big warm smile.

Sheepishly, I smiled back at her. She looked familiar. Maybe a past babysitter? Did we go to church together? How do I know this sweet girl?

My brain was empty. Nada. No recollection.

A few minutes later as she is leaving, she comes right up to me and says, "Hey, Jill! How are you? How is Presley doing?"

Suddenly my brain came back to life.

I had met her a few weeks ago at our local orthodontist office. I had spent at least 30 minutes in her office discussing braces for my little girl.

When my brain finally charged back up, she and I chatted and talked for a few seconds in that Walmart checkout line.

As she walked off, I sat in amazement that she remembered my name. And my daughters name. We had only met once.

I was struck by how comfortable she made me feel by the one simple fact that she called me by name.

It felt good to be remembered. It felt special.

I got in my car and prayed that God would help me to be more like this young girl. More in tune with people. Listening to them as they talk. REMEMBERING their names.

Our names are so precious to God. In fact, our names are engraved on His Hand.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:16

When someone calls us by name, it shows intimacy. A knowing.

Remember the story of the Samaritan woman at the well? [John 4:1]

Jesus approached her and talked with her. He knew all about this perfect stranger. She could not believe how much he knew. How could He know so much?

Because He loved her.

One of my favorite shows growing up was "Cheers".

When people walked into the bar called "Cheers", everyone said the persons name that walked in.

In fact, the theme song was, "Where everybody knows your name".

One of the lines of the song says this:

Sometimes you want to go...
Where everybody knows your name,
and they're always glad you came....
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.


Oh, but isn't this true?

Don't we all have this deep desire to be known? To be loved? To walk into a room and people know your precious name and they are so glad to see you?

I know I do.

That day in Walmart. I felt loved.

I felt remembered.

I felt known.

I believe God used this sweet girl as a reminder to my heart to do the same to others.

Love others by knowing them.

Love others by remembering their names.

Love others by being glad to see them every time you see them.

What a simple way to love others.

It doesn't take extravagant gifts, or extravagant planning.

I'm so challenged to live this way.

Will you join me?

Thank you, Miranda. I will never forget you. Or your name.


cheers,


jill












Jul 11, 2017

Check yes or no...

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[original post 7/10/15]


A few weeks ago, I had to make an important decision. Basically, it was a yes or no decision. I didn't want to make it. So, I kept putting it off and putting it off until it came right down to the wire.

For weeks, and even months, I had been praying about this decision. Even after much prayer, I was still not getting a clear answer from the Lord.

Nothing was clear.

However, clear or not, I had to give an answer regarding this decision.

Ugh.

Here is the real deal: I didn't want to say yes. At all. I found a thousand excuses why NOT to say yes.

Saying yes would mean a big commitment. Saying yes would mean stretching me beyond my comfort zone. Saying yes would mean saying yes with a big fat bad attitude about it.

My answer came yesterday.

I was running around the track with my son, Joseph. We were about halfway finished.

I was drenched with sweat, and ready for this run to be DONE.

It was hard. Much too hard to be doing at 10:30 in the morning, sun blazing down.

While I was making a turn around one of the bends on that track, I remembered a story from the Bible. It was from Matthew 26.

Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. He would be crucified on the cross that very same day, and He knew it.

He had a choice. He could run away. He could say "no" to what was ahead. He could have easily said, "You know what, I have done much for the Kingdom. I want to just chill for a while."

As I re-read this scripture, I noticed that God didn't come down and say to Jesus "This is what you should do."

No. Jesus made the choice after much prayer in that garden. Jesus was so close to God in prayer that the choice became clear.

Jesus knew that the harder choice would lead to the greater outcome.

Jesus knew what had to be done, although His flesh was screaming in pain.

As I pondered this story of Jesus, I knew my answer.

Just like running is torture to me, the outcome is good in the end. I feel refreshed. I feel accomplished. My body is secreting toxins, and I know I will be healthier because of it.

I knew that by saying "yes" to this decision, it would stretch me. It would take me out of my comfort zone and put me in a vulnerable situation.

Being out of our comfort zone, and feeling unequipped is exactly the place He wants us.

We lean on God in these times.

We are desperate for God in these situations, because our flesh is incapable.

"His Power is made perfect in our weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

As soon as I made up my mind that the answer would be "yes", a rush of peace washed over me.

After all  of these months, praying, and praying, and praying.

The answer was just a simple, "yes".

If I am honest, I am not "thrilled" about this "yes".

But, is life about just always being "thrilled?" No.

He will stretch me. He will grow me. That will be the "thrilling" part.

I am learning that what makes my flesh happy, is not always best for me.

It's what makes my flesh cringe, that is usually the best choice.

Are you facing a hard decision today?

I encourage you to pray. I encourage you to seek His Word.

Go for the harder choice.

God will do great things through you when you say no to the comfortable and yes to the uncomfortable.

Wait and see.


just say yes,


jill




Jun 29, 2017

I got crowned....

Well, yesterday I finally received my crowns.

Not the ones you are probably thinking.

The crowns that go in the mouth. You know, the dental kind of crowns. [insert an eye roll]

I have put these off for the better part of a year. Maybe more, but who's counting?

Dread is an understatement.

I abhor dental work of any kind. I get anxious. I get fearful. I just don't like people's hands in my mouth. Ever.

As I drove to the appointment, I asked my daughter to pray.

I felt some peace as she prayed a sweet prayer.

But, soon after, my stomach was in knots again.

When I arrived, they took me back. They plopped me in that big leather chair, and my hands were shaking. Really, I mean shaking.

I was thinking of every excuse possible to escape. I could tell them I was sick and needed to go. I could tell them there was an emergency and I needed to flee. I could tell them this was all a big mistake and I was fine without having crowns in my mouth!

Suddenly, I heard in my spirit the words, "Be thankful, Jill."

Huh? Who said that?

Thankful for what??

Seriously??

I immediately began praying. Not out loud. Because you know, they already think I am looney.

I thanked the Lord that I was able to have dental work done. I thanked the Lord that I could afford to pay for the "crowns" in my mouth. I thanked the Lord for my dentist and all who had studied the mouth and teeth and knew what the heck they were doing.

I prayed for our missionary friends, The Dubose's. Josh Dubose and his family are in Peru doing missionary work, and helping with the dental needs in that area. I thought about the many needs they must come across every single day.

I thanked God for how blessed I was to be able to have medicine to numb my mouth when many others do not have this privilege.

Eventually, my heart stopped racing. My hands stopped shaking, and I began to feel a huge rush of peace.

Half way into our little crowning session my dentist said, "Jill, you are so much less anxious than usual. I know you don't like dental work, but you are extra calm today."

I gave him a crooked, numb-mouthed smile, and said, "Prayer is powerful."

Replacing my fear and anxiety with gratitude changed everything. Instead of just praying for the fear to go away, I replaced the prayer with thankfulness and praying for others.

Maybe this is why Paul tells us:

Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18


Are you dreading something today?

Pray and give thanks.

Peace will come swiftly. Just ask my dentist.


newly crowned,


jill

 

Jun 28, 2017

Guard my stinkin' mouth...

[original post 6/27/14]

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."
Matthew 15:8
 
 
This verse hits to the core of my beating heart. It only hits so hard on my heart, because I have been "these people" that it so pointedly describes.
 
In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I was "these people".
 
If any of you precious ones would have been a fly on the wall of my closet that day, I think you could just go ahead and bury me in my worn-down flip flops.
 
Die, I tell you, I would die. Willingly at that.
 
My day was rolling along pretty well. A few bumps here and there, but for the most part, smooth as butter on my gluten-free toast.
 
Lem came home. Lem is my husband if you need a reminder.
 
We had dinner as a family, did our "family time" thing, and rolled on into the night time.
 
Lem jumped in the shower to wash off his hard day of work. I cleaned dishes, whistling while I worked. I may have even had a smile on my tired face as I reminisced about what a pretty good day it had been.
 
However, all of that was about to change. In the blink of a dirty dish.
 
After the dishes were clean and the kitchen was tidy, I went to our bedroom to talk to Lem about his day.
 
I walked through the bedroom door and saw our precious little 15 year old dog lying on our bed.
 
Normally, this may be a sweet sight to some folks, but not here, not in our house.
 
Why, you ask?
 
Because our little old doggie will relieve her bladder on our bed....every single time.
 
Not just sometimes, but every single time she gets on our bed.
 
I quickly jumped into action.
 
Hurriedly, I grabbed the dog, and put her outside while I held my breath thinking about the puddle that she probably left on our bed.
 
I went back to the bedroom, and sure enough.....
 
A big, fat, wet, puddle was awaiting me. Soaked right through to the mattress.
 
Before I could clean it up, Lem comes out of the shower, and sees the crime scene.
 
He sees the puddle and falls apart like a two dollar watch.
 
Now, I am just being honest here. Lem doesn't fall apart very often, he's usually calm as a stinkin' cucumber. However, tonight, my calm cucumber turned into a red hot jalepeno.
 
Accusations were coming out of his mouth so fast it made my blonde head spin.
 
He was upset with me that "this happened".  I shouldn't have let her on the bed. Blah, blah, blah.
 
I was stunned with disbelief that he actually believed that "this" was my fault.
 
Here's the part that will make you feel like mother, wife, and woman of the year after reading {you're welcome}.....
 
The next thing I remember, I  was slamming the bedroom door, and running to the closet so I could scream without the kids hearing me. At least I was somewhat thinking rationally, right? {pitiful, Jill, pitiful}
 
Words were flying out of my mouth so fast they would have knocked you out cold if you would have been within arm distance from my spewing mouth.
 
The last thing I remember was calling Lem a bad name. In a very loud voice. Possibly several times for dramatic effect of course. {bowing my head in dramatic shame}
 
Also, the name I called him begins with a proper name...."Jack".
 
To be fair, the definition of the word I called him can be found in Mirriam Webster's dictionary, I will have you know.
 
The definition of the word I used for him states this:
  • a male donkey
  • a stupid person

I meant exactly that definition at that exact moment.

As soon as I called him the male donkey, I opened my bedroom door to find my children standing there, mouths wide open in horror.

I died. Right then and there. DIED, I tell you.

No words, just a red face full of guilt as I saw their mouths gaped open in awe of what they had just witnessed.

My daughter immediately said, "You called daddy a bad word!!"

My response was, "Yes, and I will continue to call him a male donkey until he quits acting like one!"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Well, girls, there you have it.

A bad day in the life of yours truly. Your bible study girlfriend.

I was not so SHINE-y that day.

Somewhere along the way,  my heart got messed up. Those words that spewed out of my mouth, the hatred coming from my lips, was from a heart that was covered with some yuckiness. Some unrepented yuck.

Now, I know we all have bad days, but for me to fall apart so quickly and so hatefully, showed a big underlying heart problem.

My heart was far from God.

My lips were living proof of this.

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him "unclean", but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him "unclean". Matthew 15:11

My unclean words were embarrassing. Especially due to the fact that my children witnessed the whole blasted thing.

I will let you in on something that I have recently learned though.

Sometimes the tool that God uses most for us to bless people with, can become the very tool that we fall deep into sin and flesh if we are not careful.

For me, it is my tongue. God can use it to bring teaching, encouragement, exhortation, love.....

However, in an instance, if I am not guarding this tongue of mine, it can be used very destructively. It can harm and wreak havoc if it is not protected by God's Word and His Truth.

I have a friend who has incredible spiritual discernment. However, if she is not careful, her flesh can quickly use it to "judge" instead of "discern". These words came out of her very own mouth.

I have another friend that has a passion for good health and taking care of her body and helping others with staying healthy as well. However, she must stay very in tune with the Lord so she doesn't fall off track with becoming overly obsessive with her health and fitness. She has to constantly maintain in check and balance with the Lord so that she honors Him and not the flesh in her passion for being healthy.

Are you following me here?

We must make sure we refine the tools that He gives us. We must make sure to sharpen them and guard them against sin and our flesh.

The enemy wants nothing more than to turn our God-given gifts into a full-blown disaster of the flesh. The enemy does not want us using our gifts in the way they were meant for us to use them. He wants to distort them and disable them. Pure and simple.

What spiritual gift has He given you that may need extra guarding and refining today?

Guard the spiritual gifts and tools He has given you, and ask God to help you use those tools for His Glory and nothing more.

In the meantime, I will have my tongue under lock and key.

"set a guard over my mouth oh Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips" Psalm 141:3

My kids and husband will thank me for this.



armoring my mouth,


jill

Jun 27, 2017

Do it well.....

During the Summer days, I have the opportunity to have many "teaching" moments with my children.

These are not my children's favorite days.

Their hearts are not always giddy with excitement to hear another lesson from their mama.

Go figure.

One of these teaching days became a lesson for my heart, just as much as theirs. Isn't that always the case?

The day started with chores for my kids and for myself. We had just returned from vacation and there was much to do. Unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, blah, blah, blah.

I noticed my children were not thrilled about their day full of chores.

I also noticed the things that I asked them to do were not done well.

They had half-heartedly done these chores and it showed.

Not only were the chores not done well, but they apparently left their good attitudes in Orlando where we had just returned from.

The thing is, my attitude was on the same level as theirs. I was ill. Discontented. And, just not thrilled about coming back from the happiest place on Earth to regular life as a house wife with a house full of kids on these longggg Summer days.

Before I talked to my kids, I sat on my back porch and talked to Jesus.

I asked Him to give me joy in these days. I asked Him to give me a thankful heart on the days that were long and there was much to do, and little fun to be had.

A bible story came into my mind almost immediately as I was praying.

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
2
“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.

29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Matthew 25:14-30

I underlined the words that stood out to me as I was sitting on my back porch praying.

Well done.

Well done.

Those words were ringing in my ears.

Sometimes, I don't do things well. I just do them to get them done. My heart is not in it. I grumble, I moan, I complain, and I am lazy at times with the things I need to do.

My attitude affects my performance.

Why not do everything well?

Why do I pick and choose the things I want to do well in?

What if in everything, I chose to do well.

Not perfect, but well.

This was what had been missing in my kids hearts, and in mine.

We were just drudging through.

We were not choosing to do our chores well.

We were just going through the motions to get them done.

I though about my parenting. My marriage. My friendships. My house work. My exercise. My eating. My serving. My chores.

What if in everything I put my hand to, I chose to do it well.

A light had been shed upon the discontent and grumbling of my heart.

God had shone a revelation into the cracks of my attitude that needed some major adjusting.

I jumped up, sat my children down on the couch and shared with them my heart about all of this doing well stuff that God had just revealed to me.

I told them there will be many, many days and jobs and chores that seem pointless.

But, if we do them well, God will see. He will reward us because we have been faithful with the small things.

I told them that they may be in a job one day, and they may hate it. But, do your job well. Instead of wishing you were somewhere else, do the job in front of you well. God may be preparing you for the next job. Prove faithful where you are.

Doing what we have at the moment well, determines our next step.

If we don't do well with little, we will never do well with much.

Ahhh!

So simple, yet so profound.

Am I faithful with the money I do have, or am I always wishing for more?

Am I faithful with the body that I have at the moment, feeding it well, exercising it well, or am I just always wishing for another body?

Am I faithful with my job, do I show up on time, and do well? Or, do I just get by because it's not my dream job and I just want to bide my time. Doing well at this job, will determine my next job.

Am I doing well with being a mama? Or do I just try to get through each day in one piece.

Am I doing well with being a wife? Or am I just going through each day sulking and wishing my life were different.

Am I faithful with the small house I have, or do I complain and dream of a bigger house and bigger lifestyle?

Could it be that we will never, ever get the greater blessing , if we don't do well with the small?

God is not looking for perfection. Jesus fulfills that role.

He only wants us to do well with what we have.

So, the next day, I was leaning over the sink doing a boat load of dishes.

I decided to take my time. To wash those dishes well.

I prayed as I washed them. I thanked God for the people that had eaten off of those dishes.

My attitude suddenly changed.

Oh, how I long to hear the words of my Father in Heaven, "well done, my good and faithful servant".


What is on your agenda today?

Do it well.

It changes everything.


doing well,


jill






Jun 22, 2017

Me, Myself, and I....

For the past 10-12 years or so I have kept a prayer journal.

I have stacks and stacks of them in a bookcase in my house. From time to time, when I am in desperate need of hope and faith filling, I look back on the pages of these journals.

Answered prayer after answered prayer.

I have also seen prayers that have yet to be answered. Or at least not answered in the way I had hoped.

Although, after time, I see the weaving of God's plan in a way that I had not expected. Often very different than what I had prayed.

But, I see His Hand. In all of it.

About a year ago, a friend pointed me to a profound concept of prayer. I had poured my heart out to her regarding a specific prayer I had prayed for many years and seemed to see no fruit of this prayer.

She changed my perspective and my prayers from her response.

This wise friend told me that instead of praying for those desires, to pray for others that desired those things. Pray for God to fulfill their longings. Pray for the people and not your desire.

For example, if our prayer is to be able to have children,  pray for others that cannot have children.

If our prayer is to adopt or foster children, pray for the children to be adopted and fostered. Pray over those children like they are your very own. Covering them with prayer from the tops of their precious heads to their little feet.

If our prayer is for relief with our finances, pray for the homeless. Pray for those that are destitute without a place to lay their weary heads at night.

If our prayer is for friendship, pray for the lonely, the widowed, the neglected. Pray for God to surround them with relationships and friendships.

If our prayer is for our marriage, pray for the marriages of others. Pray for God to restore the marriages of those around you.

If our prayer is for us to grow our ministry, pray for the ministries of those around you. Pray for God's blessing and favor over them.

If our prayer is for healing, of any kind, pray for the healing of those around you.

Y'all, her words changed my life.

They were not really her words, they were God's words.

Look in your Bibles to the Lord's Prayer. The prayer where He teaches us how to pray. Notice something...

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you,"
Matthew 6:5-14
 
 
Notice here, how Jesus prays for "us", not "me".
 
A simple word, "us". Yet, profound.
 
It's not about "me", it's about "us".
 
I also notice this with Nehemiah's prayer. Nehemiah's heart aches for the lost people of Israel. He confesses his sins to God, and their sins. . [Nehemiah 1:4-10]
 
God hears Nehemiah, and blesses Nehemiah to do a HUGE work for God's people.
 
So, as I look back over my prayer journal, I see a lot of prayers. Mostly for myself.
 
I see a big lack of prayer for others.
 
Yes, I wrote their names and asked for God's blessings over them, but I did not really intercede for them like Jesus tells us to.
 
I have also had times of fasting over the years. I fasted in order to receive something for myself. A blessing, a gift, something.
 
Mostly, my fasting was not done in intercession for others. It was for myself.
 
I think about Jesus on the Cross...
 
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", were His Words.
 
In His greatest suffering, He prays for others.
 
May we learn from Jesus.
 
May we intercede for others in a way that puts our desires on the back burner.
 
7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Matthew 6:7-8
 
The Father knows what we need before we even ask Him.
 
Let that sink in.
 
Could it be that in all of our groveling, moaning, begging, pleading for ourselves in prayer, we have missed the greatest thing that was needed?
 
To pray for others.
 
Earnestly.
 
Fervently.
 
Could it be that the answer to our prayers lies in praying for others?
 
Could it be that our greatest healing comes from our pouring out, sweating tears of prayer over the needs of others?
 
When we pray for others, God changes us. Our disposition changes. Our hearts are softened. The well-being of others becomes so important to us that we anticipate excitedly to see the answer to our prayers in others lives.
 
We become more like Him when we pray like Him.
 
For the needs of others.
 
As a mother, when I see my children put another first, put their desires aside, to help or bless another...I want to bless them profusely. I swell up with pride and want to fill any need they have because of the outpouring they have shown to others.
 
Surely, our Father feels the same.
 
Intercede on behalf of others.
 
God will take of your needs.
 
Watch and see.
 
 
changing my prayers,
 
 
jill