Mar 7, 2019

When you don't know what to say....

Have you ever been in a place where all you could to was call on the Lord?

Maybe it was an entire season of valleys. A season of anxiety. Or fear. Or depression. Or pleading. Or grief. Or desperation.

Your words are gone. Your heart is pleading, but your mouth is completely void of words.

I discovered years ago the Hebrew Names for God. I was completely fascinated. Every time, I would say the Name for God I was in need of and slowly let it roll off my tongue. Then repeat it over and over and over. I could literally feel the Power of His Presence surround me.

Many days, I would just speak His Name over and over. Nothing else could be conjured up to say. And, nothing else was needed.

Many times people ask me to pray for them or a loved one. I quickly go to my reference for the Names of God. I apply that Name to the particular need being prayed for.

For example, a friend who needs healing. I would plead Jehovah Rapha, Lord who heals.

I feel a strong prompting to share these Names with you. Maybe you know them already. Maybe you have no earthly idea what I am talking about. Either way, say them out loud. Let them roll off your tongue and saturate the air around you. There is so much POWER in His Name!



Jehovah Nissi has been my go to lately. The Lord is our Banner. He leads us into victory. I need to remind myself of this over and over.

Here is the thing...

The enemy has to flee at the Name of the Lord. So, let's shout it out!

We have become so conservative and hush hush about The Lord.

Why is this?

We have been brainwashed into thinking that we will offend someone.

Oh, y'all. We need to be offensive! The battle for the hearts of our loved ones will not bow down to political correctness.

I am sick to death of being hushed because I may step on someone's toes. God made those toes! They need to be stepped on and shown the Way to Everlasting Life!

We should never ever apologize for speaking Truth. Ever.

Only when we use the Sword of the Spirit--the Word of God will this battle be won.

We have all we need...

El Shaddai.

El Elyon.

Why are we afraid to speak His Name? Why are we afraid to point others to the Cross?

"We don't want to come on too strong. We don't want to push them away. We need to be careful or we may offend."

I believe this is exactly what satan would want us to say.

Do we not love people enough to stand up for them and point the way boldly to Jesus?

Are we so lulled by sweet worship songs and encouraging words dripping in honey that we miss the boat on spreading Jesus to a hurting world??

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3


The battle for the hearts of our loved ones will never be won sitting on a church pew with crossed legs.

It will only be won on our KNEES crying out to the Lord and speaking Truth unabashed to those in our path.

Lest, we become lukewarm.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would rather that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:15-16


Call on Him, friends.

Call on Him loudly and with boldness!

The world desperately needs to hear.


Jehovah Nissi,


jill




Mar 6, 2019

American Idol.....

1“Do not make idols or set up carved images, or sacred pillars, or sculptured stones in your land so you may worship them. I am the LORD your God. 2You must keep my Sabbath days of rest and show reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. Leviticus 26:1

Raise your hand if you are still with me on our Bible reading journey?

Listen, I know it was tough with a capital T to hang on through the book of Leviticus. Goodness gracious with the laws and the sacrifices and the blood....

OH, but y'all. Hang in there with me. All of this points straight to the coming of Jesus. 

I wish I could look you in the face and talk to you about all of this. We are right smack in the middle of Joshua boldly leading the troops into the Promised Land.

Is anyone else sad that Moses could not enter the Promised Land? Oh heavens my heart breaks for him. I mean, he was chosen and highly favored, but he acted in disobedience. And, God would not allow him to enter the new land due to it.

Has anyone else noticed how seriously God is about sin and especially idols?

If someone was caught with an idol or anything from the foreigners they were killed on the spot. And their family as well!

This speaks to me about the character of God.

He wants purity in our hearts. Not just in our hearts, but in our bodies and outside of our bodies.

He knows the consequences of sin....

It will ruin the whole camp.

My daughter had a little girl on her team years ago that had a terrible attitude. She was also a bit of a bully. The whole team suffered because of her actions and words. They did not win games, not due to lack of ability, but because this one child was causing so much destruction among her teammates.

It is the same with sin.

One itty bitty piece of sin can ruin the whole of our hearts.

It multiplies.

It doesn't stop until the whole heart and mind are obliterated.

Aren't we thankful for Jesus?

He does wash away our sins, yes. However, we still willingly walk in sin from time to time. Sometimes for years.

We think to ourselves "this is my only vice. surely it is not that big of a deal. everyone has to have something, right?"

And, just like Satan whispered to Eve, "Aww, it's okay. It won't really hurt you."

Satan is a LIAR.

Anything he tells you is a lie. God calls him the father of lies.

So, there's that.

God has not changed, y'all. He still hates sin. He abhors it.

Because, He knows what it does to us, and to our loved ones.

He knows how sin slowly leads a heart astray. Into the black pit of bondage.

And idols.

Oh and aren't we so fond of some idols.

You may think not, but I beg to differ.

I am not much different than you. I can name many idols that have cropped up in my life over the years. Seemingly innocent things, yet determined to distract me just enough that I lose sight of what is important.

Our phones.

Yes, let's go there.

I have loved my phone.

Really, I will admit it.

I love getting texts and email and messages! It makes me happy!

But, here is the problem with phones.

They distract us from the present a lot of the time.

I can hear you saying, "Oh no! Not me! I keep up with people through social media and texting and snapchat and facebook. The phone has been a good thing!"

Yes, it can be good. However, it has an addiction attached to it that few want to admit.

What do you look at when you wake up? Over breakfast? Over lunch? Over dinner? Right before bed?

Most of us look at our phones more than we look into the eyes of our loved ones. Did you know you can check your screen time on your phone? Yep. Go ahead. I will wait while you check.

I was SHOCKED when I saw the hours I had been on my phone in the course of a week.

The more connected we become, the more disconnected we are.

Here is a good way to get an honest answer...

Ask your children or your spouse or your mother if you are on your phone too much.

They will shoot straight with you.

And when they do, try not to be defensive.

We are no different than the Old Testament peeps, you guys.

Just different idols surround us. That's all.

So, let's check ourselves honestly.

What has become an idol?

Ask the Lord for forgiveness and let's throw down those idols once and for all.

We can still have phones. But, let's be wiser about them.



goodbye idols,


jill






Feb 26, 2019

When fear overwhelms you....

(Re-Post from 2/24/17)

Not too long ago, I woke up in a puddle of sweat.

It happened again.

Fear-filled dreams and thoughts of worry over my children.

Many, many times, even now, I wake up and check on them. To make sure they are breathing and okay. They are 12 and 15.

Fear has been a stronghold in my life for as far back as I can remember. My parents would describe me as a timid, fearful child.

Over the years, I found a prescription for the fear. Jesus.

However, when my mind is in neutral, like in the dark of night, fear tries to creep back in and make a home in my soul.

There are triggers with fear.

For everyone these triggers are different. For me, they are the same ones the enemy loves to use to take my heart captive to that fear-filled place again. Paralyzed by the black hole of fear.

Fear is what led me to God's Word.

I had tried every prescription the doctors had to offer. Everything.

However, I soon realized, this fear was not a physical ailment, it was a spiritual hunger for the living bread of God's Word.

Perfect love drives out fear. [1 John 4:18]

Fear not, for I am with  you. [Isaiah 41:10]

Do not fear.[Isaiah 41:13]

God's Word became my cure for fear.

I would rattle off Psalm 91 in my sleep.

Psalm 23 became my life verse.

These words are not just crutches to get me through. They are LIFE to my weary and fearful soul.

They breathe peace into a heart stained and tattered by fear.

God taught me to take every thought captive to Christ Jesus. [2 Corinthians 10:5]

He taught me to put on the armor of His protection every single day. [Ephesians 6:10]

He taught me to be of  sober mind and alert because  the enemy roams around like a roaring lion in search of someone to devour. [1Peter 5:8]

I had a decision to make.

Would I live my life being haunted by an enemy who hates me and desires to encapsulate me in fear?

Or, would I surrender my heart to the One who knitted me together in my mother's womb and has a future and a plan for me. [Psalm 139]

Who would I serve? God or fear.

I had to make a choice.

You cannot serve two masters. [Matthew 6:24]

The enemy had me convinced that I could control the safety of my children if I just tried hard enough. If I just worried long enough. The enemy would not stop until I was a crazy, madwoman with no ability to live the life God had planned for me to live. A life of peace. Of rest. Of a sound mind.

The enemy wants the opposite for us. He is relentless in his pursuit for us to live in torment. Torture. Unrest. Lacking peace.

I am reminded of the story of Eve in the garden. She had a perfect, peaceful existence. Satan came and whispered lies into her ears. She began to doubt the love and character of God. She believed after listening to the crafty enemy, that certainly there had to be more.

Isn't that what we are doing when we start to believe the lies the enemy whispers into our ears in the dark of night? We believe there must be something we can do. We must try harder. Worry and fret more. Take control over things that we have absolutely no ability to control.

No rest for the weary.

Oh, but Jesus tells us, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." [Matthew 11:28]

I would not be completely honest with you unless I told you that this is a decision I have to decide to make every single day.

Each day, I am one fall away from the black hole of fear.

I have to choose to trust the Lord with my children and my people. I have to decide that He loves my people more than I ever could and His will is what I ultimately desire.

How do I do this, you ask?

I get in His Word. I inhale His Words of peace and comfort. I find rest in His Word and His Promises.

Another way is by replacing those thoughts of fear with scripture. I used to carry scriptures on notecards with me wherever I went. I would keep them in my purse and grab them when I felt the subtle whisper of the enemy's lies in my ear. Now, I have them on my smart phone. ;)

I also have scripture taped up around my house. In my kitchen. In my bathroom. In my kid's rooms. Anywhere I can see them, and see them often.

The fearful thoughts will not go away on their own. They must be replaced with Truth.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3


“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7


"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Are you struggling with fear of some kind today? I am praying over you. I know the torment of fear. I know it too well.

I am asking God to fill you with His unshakeable peace. I am asking Him to hold you and that you will feel His arms around you. He loves you so much. He longs to be your Peace.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17



fear not,


jill













Jan 13, 2019

Are you lonesome tonight?


 “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14



I have this problem.

Until now, I have been completely unaware of it. 

Here is the thing...

I get up early and read my bible. Every single morning. 

I pray. I journal. 

My day begins about an hour later. 

The day goes on. 

I talk to Jesus. A lot. 

I talk about Jesus. A lot. 

But, there is something I have discovered. 

I don't like to be alone. Ever. 

Really. Like, ever ever ever ehhhhhhhhverrr. 

It is kind of a joke in my family. If my husband goes out of town, I have it all lined up for me and the kids to go somewhere. To be with people. 

Something about the quiet....it makes me feel strange. 

Anxious. 

As long as people are in the house with me, I am good. 

As soon as they leave, I have to find something to do. More often than not, I just leave and find someone to be with. 

My whole life. This has been my story. 

However, recently, the Lord has opened my eyes to this pattern. This fear of being alone. This fear of being by myself for more than an hour or so. 

Perhaps, this is why I write. 

I feel like someone is with me. Reading along. Talking. Listening with me. 

It helps the loneliness disappear. 

Not that I am lonely....

But scared of being alone. 

So, God is working with me on this. 

Day by day. 

One baby step at a time. 

My oldest will be going away to college this Fall. 

God is preparing my heart. I can feel it. 

I think about Abraham and Sarah. 

We have been reading about them in Genesis. 

God had big plans for them. A child! Many descendants!

But, they just could not be still and wait. 

They just kept making their own plans, doing things their own way--hello, Hagar--and everything just kept falling apart. 

Stillness eluded them. 

I understand. 

So very much. 

How about you?

Is quiet deafening to your ears? 

Is it easier to be in a loud noisy environment because at least you have people around you?

Or, maybe you are quite the opposite. Craving some stillness and alone time. Wishing you could escape to a private island--I can see my mother raising her hand. She and I are quite opposite on this!

Whatever the case may be....

Let's learn to get comfortable wherever we are. 

Whether in the crowd, or in the quiet. 

His seasons are for a purpose. 

We grow in these uncomfortable places.  

We become in tune with Him because we are desperate for Him to comfort us here in these places. 


A friend told me recently that God took her through a season of sitting through her grief. Instead of escaping the pain of her grief, He taught her to sit still through it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Sit with it. 

I am trying to apply the same principal with my fear of being alone. 

Acknowledging it. Accepting it. Sitting with it. 

Knowing God will stretch me--drawing me even closer to Him. Feeling the comfort of His Presence in a whole new way. 

Oh, friend. 

Wherever you are...


Be where you are. 

Try not to run from it. 

Try not to wish it away. 

Sit with Jesus. 

He is with you. 

Will you remind me of this too?



finding rest in being alone, 


jill


Are you reading the Bible with us? Oh, please do! Go here and see what we are reading this year. OR contact me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com OR find us on instagram @shinegirlsshine We would LOVE to have you read with us each day!









Jan 8, 2019

Don't stop....

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Genesis 19:29


We are in the thick of some drama here in the book of Genesis. Good Lord.

Today, we read about Abraham and Lot.

Lot was spared being torched to death by fire because of Abraham's faithful prayers over him.

Some friends and I have been discussing this over Marco Polo. [do you use that app? It is pretty cool]

Anyway, we want to know why God spared Lot, if not just because Abraham asked Him to. Lot ended up being tricked into sleeping with his daughters---yes, you read that right. The daughters went on to have babies...and who needs Netflix when we have this drama??

So, I cannot help but see the mercy of God here.

Abraham was faithful. Oh, so faithful.

He prayed for his nephew Lot to be spared from the fiery raining sulfur--and God spared him.

My question to you is this...

Who are you praying for right now?

Maybe it seems hopeless. Hopeless with a capital H.

Maybe it seems like there is no way God could answer this prayer.

Maybe it seems that all of these years in desperate prayer for that child, that husband, that aunt, that uncle, that mother, that father, that friend....

Seem pointless.

Read this story in Genesis again.

God heard Abraham's prayers. And He answered.

Did Lot really deserve to be rescued? I do not know.

But, I do know that Abraham pleaded for Lot's life.

And God answered.

Don't stop pleading for the lives of those around you.

Just when it looks like fiery sulfur will rain down, God will rescue and deliver. In just the nick of time.

Don't stop praying,


jill

Jan 2, 2019

In the beginning...

I cannot quit thinking about Adam and Eve.

What would I have done in their situation? I blame them constantly on the state of this sinful world. And my heart at times.

But, would I have done anything differently?

I would like to think so.

However, Truth has a glaring Light that shines through the places of your heart you thought were hidden. Even hidden from God.

When I settle in with Jesus, just He and I, I feel so much Joy. I also feel so much sorrow.

I can clearly see the state of my heart when I am truly surrendered to Him. He allows me to see the places I long to hide. The ugly parts. Just like when Adam and Eve hid from God after they ate of the forbidden tree. I often try to hide....

The parts that have a hard time loving others.

The parts that don't understand why it is never ever ever easy to do the right thing.

The parts that are prideful.

The parts that know that deep down fear is a mangled mess in many areas of my life.

The part that lets insecurity decide who I am.

The part that lets the words or  lack of words from others decide who I am.

I get sick to death of my own self.

When I get that sick feeling....

I know...

That He loves me.

That He has to show me these things, or I cannot change.

I cannot change what I do not open my eyes to.

We can live a life blind as heck to our own sin.

I have done it.

I have seen others do it.

Mission trips, church attendance, feeding the poor, teaching Sunday school....


Does NOT reflect a pure heart.

Trust me on this one.

A pure heart is aware of their shortcomings.

Aware of the sin that so easily entangles at times.

Aware that it could very well be our child in the same mess as our neighbors.

Aware that the more I stick my nose in the air to people and look down on them because they are not as spiritual as me....than I am worse off than they are.

I am sick to death of judging others.

I am sick to death of being judged.

There is One Judge.

His Name is Jesus.

People may throw stones at you, but Jesus steps up to say..."He who has not sinned, cast the first stone.." John 8:7

As we read through the Bible together this year, my prayer is that He continues to mold us. To chisel us. To shape us into His image.

It just will not happen apart from time spent with Him.

There is a world out there....a world desperate for us to wake up from our spiritual self-righteous haze. It needs us to have a heart like Jesus. To see the broken. The ugly. The mess.

But. we must see it in ourselves first.

Compassion, true compassion, comes from a heart that knows it is no better than the heart of the one who's sins are more visible. Hidden sins are no less than outward sins. God sees it all.

May we take off the fig leaves--and present ourselves to Christ. Broken, scarred, marred, and torn. 

Then, and only then can we reflect Him.


Keep reading, girls. It's only the beginning.


goodbye Eden,


jill







Jan 1, 2019

Dear SHINE Girl,

Dear SHINE girl,

Happy New Year! Can you even believe it is 2019? Goodness gracious. Weren't we just ringing in 2018?

Today marks 7 years of this SHINE girls blog. SEVEN!

If you have been on this journey with me since day one, God bless you sweet friend. And I truly mean, God bless you. You have seen the ups and downs and ins and outs of my life for the past 7 years. Some good and some not so good stuff.

Thank you all for sticking with me. Even through months and months of dry spells. You, dear friend, have hung on with me. I so appreciate you.

When I look back on the early days posts, I often cringe. I have opened up, no I have sliced open, my heart to all of you over the years.  I have left my insides on the pages of this blog. I know it must have been a lot to take in at times...goodness.

The desire of my heart from the very beginning was to read God's Word together. To grow together. To learn together. To hold each other accountable...together.

This has not changed. One single bit.

Although I do not post nearly as much as I used to, I still think of all of you so often. Remembering your sweet words, prayers, and encouragement.

Since Instagram became a thing, I started slowly writing on that platform. It is just easier at times, and faster.

However, my heart will always be here. On this site.

I am going to continue to write to you, if you will let me into your sweet world.

What a privilege it is to have you here as a reader. It is truly an honor.

This year, I am starting a new reading plan. I have purchased the Daily Walk Bible by Tyndale.
 It is a one year devotional Bible. Each day has a reading--beginning in Genesis.

I will post from time to time what I am learning. If you would like to join, I would love to have you. We have several friends on our Instagram page joining. I hope you will too!

My deepest desire is that no matter what reading plan you decide on....you will daily meet God in His Word. Friend, it will change you.

When we meet with Jesus every day, we begin to look more like Him. Sound more like Him. Love more like Him. It is just inevitable.

I am praying for you. I am praying that God will show you great and mighty things this year. I am praying that you draw closer than ever to His Throne.

Seven years. I cannot even believe it.

Thank you for your friendship over the years. I could cry my eyes out thinking of the prayers we have prayed over each other through the years. Truly, it has been the best thing to ever happen in my spiritual walk.

I would love your feedback as we read along. Join me here or on our Instagram account @shinegirlsshine or @lemandjill

You are oh so loved.

Happy New Year, precious one.


Seven years and counting,


jill




Dec 3, 2018

What rules your heart?

Hi, there. I have about 7.25 minutes to write. So, here goes.

I love Christmas, I really do.

However, why is that I get this knot in my stomach every time I look at my calendar. Dates upon dates. Minutes upon minutes.

Sweating pools of liquid as I type.

Today, I was in the grocery store ordering my deli meat. The sweet lady asked me how I wanted my meat sliced....I froze.

My mind went blank...

What?

Ummm, I don't know. I don't know anything because my heart and my mind are cluttered with thoughts.

She finally suggested "sandwich slices"?

I quickly nodded like a moron. Yes, yes, that's what I want. Thank you for being my brain today, precious lady that cuts my deli meat.

My morning fell apart in a matter of minutes today. I will not go into detail, but let's just say that one of my children will be grounded until they are in their mid-forties.

This scripture has been pounding my heart all day, "Let the Peace of Christ rule your heart..." Colossians 3:15

Breathe those words in slowly....

One more time.

Now, think about this....

What is ruling your heart?

Certainly God knew we would struggle with other "things" ruling our hearts, which is why He tells us to "let" the Peace of Christ rule in out hearts.

So many things have been ruling my heart lately.

None of which have been Christ.

Like....

Worry.
Fear.
Anxiety.
Money.
Grief.
Stress.
Busy schedules.
Growing children.

Can you relate?

Take a deep breath.

Stop what you are doing, and ask Jesus to rule in that heart of yours.

It works.

Trust me, I have been asking Him all day long.

I find myself with so many tasks, so many to-do's, so many gifts to purchase, so many everything....

Do you?

But, what if we asked Jesus to be the ruler above all of those things.

What if we leaned into Him even as our calendars fills.

And let Him be the ruler of our hearts. 

We can have things to do. And gifts to buy. And jobs to work. And bills to pay. And kids to raise [and ground] And husbands to tend to...

And still let the Peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

What do you say?


letting Christ be the final rule,


jill