Mar 4, 2015

Where you go, I'll go....

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Moses said something to God that has not left me. I actually came across this scripture a few months ago when I was praying for God to lead me in something that I was doing. 

I had specifically asked Him to show me the way I should go and to make it very clear which way to go. 

Then, I came across this verse: Then Moses said to Him, "If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here." Exodus 33:14

Bam. 

In other words, if you are not with me in this endeavor, I am not budging. I will sit here until the cows come home unless you go with me, Lord. 

Wow!

What if we had this same mindset? What if we refused to budge until we had God's peace in moving forward in our plan?

I'm impatient. I admit it. 

Even when I feel like God is leading me a certain way, I often RUN to the next step instead of listening for directions. 

I don't like details or directions. Just get me to the end result, please. 

However, when we skip the details of the journey, we get to our destination unprepared. 

Waiting for God, and being patient in the journey creates a dependency in our spirits on God. 

It took 40 years for the Israelites to finally reach the Promised Land. God had some serious work to do in their hearts before they could be trusted with the treasure ahead of them. He could not trust them with this new place unless He knew they were serious about leaving their "pagan-minds" behind. He was not going to settle for half-hearted children. 

In the journey, we must begin to enjoy where we are. Not always  rushing ahead to the next thing. God has something wonderful right where we are if we choose to see it. 

The journey for the Israelites proved to be one of the most MIRACLE laden times in the entire Word of God. The miracles occurred on the journey. Isn't that encouraging?

Yesterday, at my morning bible study, I told the girls that I often chased after God's blessings instead of chasing God. I wanted what He could give me, more than I wanted Him. 

My desire for the Promise Land was greater than my desire for Him. 

Yikes. That is so hard to say. 

Listen to the scripture that changed my desire, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple." Psalm 27:4

I began to pray this prayer every single day. I wanted desperately for Him to be my only desire. 

He answered this prayer. Of course He did. 

He knows what we need. 

We need Him, and Him alone. 

Are you on a journey that seems like will never end? Are you struggling to see the Promise Land in all of it? 

Or maybe you see the Promise Land, but have no idea how to get there. 

Lend me your precious ear if you will...

Let Him be your only desire. 

The journey will NEVER be mundane or fruitless if He is what you desire the most. He will show you things on your journey that will leave you speechless and in awe. 

Trust Him with every twist and turn, never looking back. 

The journey will prepare you for your destination. You can be sure of that. 


You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 
Psalm 16:11


where You go I will go,


jill



Mar 2, 2015

Dear Jesus.....

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Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7

Sitting down to write this post, I began to pray that God would give me His Words, not mine. As I put my fingers on the keyboard, my husband walked in the room.

He is carrying my daughter's little journal that she keeps by her bed. She loves to write, just like her mama.

He will kill me for telling you this, but I will take the risk.  His eyes were filled with tears as he handed me her journal. "I could not love my little girl more", he tearfully choked out the words.

Expecting to read a journal entry about how much she loves her daddy, or something to that affect, I started to read what she had written.

Before I tell you what she wrote, I want you to know that God uses our children daily to speak to us. We often overlook what they say because they are so young. However, a child hears her Father's Voice much clearer than we do. Her ears are more in tune because the noise of the world hasn't started clamoring in it's loud and intrusive manner.

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Presley Jane's [10 years old] journal entry for March 1, 2015:

Rise Above. 

Dear Jesus,

 You are an amazing friend. Thank you for giving me amazing friends. Help me to be like you. Please shine your light through me. Please help me to be kind and encourage my friends. God, please don't let me criticize or try to change who they are, but instead encourage them to be who they are. In Jesus name, amen. 

Also, help me with fear. Don't worry about anything instead tell God about everything. Ask and pray and give thanks to him. Philippians 4:6

love, 

Presley


I corrected the spelling for y'all. Spell check would have gone hay wire if I would have put her exact spelling.


My heart is changed.

Really, I have nothing to add to her words. They speak truth, simply and profoundly.

I've seen my daughter go through some things this past year. It is very difficult to see your child struggle. I want to rescue her, save her, and protect her from all of it.

Then, I read this.

I see that she is getting it. All of the words that make us as parents cringe sometimes to say. The words that sound foreign and wrong when your heart is heavy with hurt for your child. The words that you know your child needs to hear, God's Truth, but your mothering flesh wants to correct and avenge the situation.

Then, I read this.

When your child struggles with something, like fear, that you yourself are still trying to conquer, on a daily basis.

Then, I read this.

Lord, help us all to have hearts like children.

To see through their eyes, and to love like they love.

Pure Love.

Pure Faith.

Pure Hope.

Pure Trust.



We have a lot to learn,


jill




Feb 28, 2015

Are you lonesome tonight?

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[Yes, the title of this is from an Elvis song. If you know me, you know I love Elvis. Please, love me anyway]

It never fails to amaze me how scripture can come alive each time you read it.

I remember reading in Exodus, these very passages, a couple of years ago. The Lord spoke so much to my heart at that time. He showed me how I had tendencies to be JUST like the Israelites in the wilderness. Always complaining, Never satisfied. Looking to someone or something else, instead of Him, for direction. The list could go on.

He showed me that my constant desire for "what was ahead" instead of enjoying Him in the present was keeping me from being content. He is all I need. The end. He is enough. The end.

Fast forward to reading through Exodus in this season in my life. I see a different teaching.

I have shared with some very close friends, and now with you trustworthy friends, that I often struggle with loneliness. It's no fun. And I just do not get it.

Even surrounded by family and friends, I can get extremely lonely.

As I read about Moses, the thing that strikes my heart so hard about him is that he must have been lonely!

So far, the reading hasn't mentioned him being lonely, but I just have a huge inclination to believe that he struggled with feeling lonely.

The Israelites often were upset with him. They even tried to go back to Egypt because they were so miserable and without hope and faith. EVEN after God led them through the Red Sea and crushed the Egyptian army, these Israelites still did not believe that God was with them.

Can't we all be a little like the Israelites?? Despite a mighty work by the Hands of God, we still fall into unbelief once the goodness and awe has worn off.

So, back to Moses and his loneliness.

Although he was surrounded by thousands of people, his heart must have felt alone.

Did he have anyone to bounce things off of? Yes, he did have Aaron and Hur. However, he was still the one leading. The one in charge. The one that had to relay God's messages, even when the messages were not what the people wanted to hear.

If we are honest, don't we all struggle with loneliness at times? Feeling like no one could possibly understand what's happening in our hearts? Feeling even at a loss for words of how to describe what you are feeling?

Just this week, I was having one of those days.

I was driving. As usual.

I picked up the phone to call my husband, Lem, he did not answer. I needed to talk. I needed to share. I needed him to understand. Even though I did not even understand how I was feeling.

After he did not answer, I racked my brain for someone to call that I could just spill it all out to....

No one came to mind.

Yes, there are plenty of people that would have listened. But, really, truthfully, that is not what I needed.

I needed God.

Right there. Right then.

Immediately, I went to the Lord in prayer. Sobbing my ever-lovin' caked on mascara eyes out.

"Lord, I don't get it! Why do I feel this way? What is happening? I know You know how I feel, but I need you to help me understand this."

As soon as the words left my lips, I heard a gently whisper in my spirit. "You need Me, Jill. The loneliness is a deep and gaping need for Me. Don't try to fill it with other people. Come to Me."

I sobbed some more.

Right there in that moment, I realized that this would be a life time struggle. My heart will never be completely content until I am Home with my Lord. Loneliness will always be a signal of my Home awaiting for me one sweet day.

It's a longing that is unexplainable. No one and nothing can fill it. But God.

As I listen to the stories of others that I talk to, I realize this is true. Loneliness can disguise itself in many ways. Through addiction, depression, anxiety, fear...so many masks.

What we really crave is Him. 

Moses is no different. Although he was chosen to lead the people to a new and wonderful place, his heart must have been in a deep and lonely place longing for his permanent residence with God.

The Promised Land that Moses was leading these people to would never take the place of their need for God. It was a gift from God. A promise from God. But, never was it intended to take the place of God.

If you are lonely today, lift that sweet chin up to your Father in Heaven. He gets it. Oh, how He gets it. He is waiting on you to come to Him. Drop everything else, and go to Him. NOTHING can heal that lonely spot but Him.

I'm thankful for women around me that understand and will encourage. I'm thankful that I have women around me that point me straight back to Christ when I am in this place.

Maybe you are not in a lonely season, but I will bet you my favorite lip gloss that someone very close to you is lonely. Seek them out. Pray for them. Pray with them. Point the way to Christ.



lonely for Him,


jill






Feb 20, 2015

Forty.....

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We are right smack dab in the middle of reading about Moses. Moses, one of my favorite people in the Bible.

I think about Moses constantly, even when I am not reading about him.

He inspires me to trust God, despite my obvious lack of ability. He inspires me to listen to His Voice, even when others may not get it or think I have lost my ever-lovin' mind.  He reminds me to trust God's timing, even when it seems impossible that the land of milk and honey will come after such a long journey.

But, today, I am not writing about Moses. No, not today.

I am writing about Jesus.

As Lent begins, for the next 40 days, I still find myself in a state of mourning over the state of our world.

I cannot shake the images of 21 men losing their lives because of their belief in Christ.

We are those men.

We are those men.

The only difference is, we are still on Earth, and they are united with the Father in Heaven.

I cannot stop praying over our world.

Two night ago, I woke up covered in sweat. I was awakened by a voice telling me to "Pray for Church 213".

Church 213 is a local church that was just burned to the ground over the weekend. As far as I know, I do not know anyone at this church, yet, I am mourning for this church.

Even in my dreams, God reminds me to pray for Church 213.

However, I think I get why God is asking me to pray for Church 213.

We are Church 213. 

We are being burned to the ground. All over the world.

"You are dust, and to dust you shall return" Ecclesiastes 3:20

Our faith is being tested, by the sword. Literally.

Yet, I am consumed by my own needs. My own comfort. My own desires.

Myself makes me sick at times.

Who do I love more? Myself or Christ?

I really want the answer to be Christ.

For the next 40 days, I want to rid myself of self. Fill myself with Christ.

Will you join me in prayer?

Will you participate in Lent with me?

When Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days without food, He lost Himself to the Call of His Father. To minister to us. To pray for us. To save us.

 It was all for us. 

I want to starve myself from the food that my flesh feeds on for the next 40 days.

The things that separate me from Christ. Fear, Pride, Self-loathing, Self-love, Approval of others, the desire to be comfortable...the list goes on.

"He must become greater, I must become less." John 3:30

In order to point others to Christ, we must take the spotlight off of self.

Instead of a 24 hour prayer challenge, how about a 40 days of prayer challenge.

We need it. The church needs it. Our world needs it.

Desperately.


40 days of Him,


jill

Feb 18, 2015

God help us...




I am sickened by the news. Words cannot convey what my heart feels. Going through the motions of every day life has become difficult.

People are hurting. People are suffering. People are dying. At the hands of evil.

Our Christian brothers and sisters are being tortured because of their faith.

Why should I be surprised? God's Word clearly tells us that the Christian people will be persecuted for believing in the Son of God. Persecution is nothing new to our faith.

Jesus' disciples were all persecuted for His Name.

Yet, my heart still hurts.

I know this is how our world will play out until Jesus returns, yet I cling to His comfort and peace as the days grow darker here on Earth.

The more I hear the news of Christians being persecuted, I think to myself, "How can a person not believe? Everything in the Bible that was prophesied has come true and is still coming true."

There are approximately 2500 propehecies in God's Word. Do you know how many have come into fulfillment thus far? 2000. Yep. 2000.

 "Since the probability for any one of these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance averages less than one in ten (figured very conservatively) and since the prophecies are for the most part independent of one another, the odds for all these prophecies having been fulfilled by chance without error is less than one in 10 to the 2000th power (that is 1 with 2000 zeros written after it)!" [excerpt from www.reasons.org]

Friends, if you need proof of His Word being true, it's here!

I keep hearing this verse in my heart from Isaiah, and it reminds me that God is all knowing and none of this is a surprise to Him.

Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you. Isaiah 60:2

Yes, darkness is here. Evil is here.

Yet, so is God.

His Kingdom will prevail.

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

I am also reminded of Habakkuk's prayer:


Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;

    in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3:1-2


What can WE do?

We pray.

Fervently.

Just like Jesus did.

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

We must make the time to pray.

We must remove ourselves from whatever we are doing during the day and pray.

Find a closet. A bathroom. Anything.

Or in your car. Cooking dinner.

I have a friend that goes to her bathroom at work and hits her knees [literally] and prays throughout the day.

Jesus set the example for us. We must follow Him.

The lives of many around us, including our children, are desperate for our prayers.

For the next 24 hours, I implore us all to pray in unity. Lifting our voices high to the One who hears, and answers. Will you spread the word to your friends and family? All who will pray?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

We have to wake up! Our eyes have been pried open to the evil around us. This kind of evil can only be overcome by prayer.

Read Mark 9:20-29 if you have a minute. Jesus removes the evil spirit in a boy at his father's request. The father is plagued with unbelief. Yet, the father admits his unbelief and asks Jesus to help him overcome his unbelief.

After healing the boy, the disciples asked Jesus why they were not able to heal the boy, and this was Jesus' answer:

"He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer" Mark 9:29

Though unbelief can plague me at times like this, I will call on the One who can restore my belief. The One Who is greater than the evil that is in the world.

Through prayer, my belief will be restored, and the world be shaken on behalf of the Power of God.

Will you join me for the next 24 hours in prayer?

He hears our cries and He will answer.

Maybe we cannot go to a foreign land and proclaim the gospel,  or start a street ministry spreading the good news of Jesus. BUT, we can pray!

Our prayers are needed just as much as our service.

What if it were our children being  beheaded? Certainly, we would be desperate for our Christian brothers and sisters to pray on our behalf.

Let's pray,


jill



Feb 17, 2015

Avoiding Extremes....

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This post has nothing to do with our reading. But everything to do with our peace.

I wrote this on my personal blog back in August. I had to look back on it, because I can get stuck in fear. Over and over.

The Lord is nudging me to post it here for you girls to see. Maybe some of you can relate and will find some freedom today. That is my prayer.

Avoiding Extremes

When bad things happen around me, I tend to go in lock down mode.

Let me explain.

When I hear the horrible news of children getting cancer, or young mothers and fathers coming down with deadly diseases, I panic.

I tend to think that surely there is something I can do to protect my loved ones. Surely if we consume more organic fruits, veggies, and vitamins, we will be spared.

God recently pointed me to some of the most powerful words in scripture that He has ever shown me. He may as well have knocked me over the head with a brick. It was that profound.

It was a normal day. I had visited our local "health" food store and spent more money than was in my budget that week. Of course, I rationalized it as "doing something good for my family."

I came home, and went to one of my favorite health/natural living blogs. I was making sure I got all of the vitamins and concoctions that she had told me that I needed to keep my family "safe".

Check. I had everything. We were "safe".

Later that day, I was having my quiet time with the Lord. Just sitting there doing my thing, flipping through the Bible and asking Him to speak to me.

He did. Big time.

Here is the first verse He showed me:

“Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it.
 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.
Isaiah 8:12-14


I was fearing what people fear. I was putting my faith and trust in worldly things instead of in Christ Jesus. It was crystal clear what He was telling me.

The next verse He showed me brought such a relief to my soul. I will write this verse down and tape it up in my kitchen. Maybe even tattoo it to my wrist, although it is long, so maybe my thigh. :)

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." I Timothy 4:1-8

God is telling me that I should not fear what goes into my body, or what does not go into my body. He is bigger than vitamins, organic chicken, and phosphate-free soap. Pray before eating. Give thanks to Him before eating. Put my trust in Him, not the cleanness of my food.

He is the One that keeps me safe. If I reverse the order and make "safety" an idol, I move Him out of first place in my life.

If I look to the world to "preserve" my temporal body in a way that is out of balance with my trust and faith in His protection,  then I live in a self-made, self-protected illusion.

My goal here on Earth is to work on the eternal treasures, not on the temporal. My body is temporal. It will not be with me, at least in the sense of how it is now. My spirit will go on, the gifts of the Spirit will live in eternity.

The Lord freed me that day. He was telling me to pray before I partake in any food. Give thanks for that food. And enjoy.

I am set free from the self-condemning thought of not always being able to feed my kids organic, grain-fed, grass-fed, or whatever else kind of "fed" I am told I should be feeding them. I cannot keep up. I never will. The list is too long.

I will instead pray for guidance from Him, and not the world. I will pray for Him to lead me in this daunting task of motherhood and protecting my kids. I cannot do it without Him. I cannot do it with the world's wisdom.

However, I can do it with His help. With prayer, and thanksgiving, I can do this. I can live a guilt-free, fear-free life of freedom in Christ.


"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." Galatians 5:1

My prayer is that God will take away any desire of my flesh that wants to "preserve" it. I am asking Him to preserve the "eternal" in my life. To not just preserve the eternal but to grow it and give me craving and burning desire for those things.

The fruits of the Spirit that will live on in eternity....


 love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.

I want to grow these fruits. I want to focus on these things and not self-preservation.

Please hear me when I say that I am not saying we should neglect our bodies and abuse them with things that we know to be hazardous. Or, that we should not have a desire to be healthy.

I am saying that our desire to be healthy should be kept in check and in balance. Our desire to be physically healthy should not overrule our desire for our spiritual health.

We should read labels, we should be aware of what goes into our bodies. However, we should be the most concerned with the eternal fruit that comes forth from our spirits.

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17


"It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes. Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city." Ecclesiastes 7:18-19

I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not in charge. I never was. God is sovereign, and He always has been. I will trust Him, I will listen for His voice, and I will enjoy life instead of fearing it.


breathing a sigh of relief,


jill


Feb 16, 2015

Help me with my kids please....

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As I finished the last chapter in Genesis, I closed my Bible and had a moment of silence with Jesus.

Tears flooded my eyes because I was not ready for this book to end. I had grown close to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The words on the pages of my bible came alive in my spirit and my heart.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I prayed this prayer:

"Lord, I want to be like them! Please give me a heart to follow Your commands. Not just follow Your commands, but to teach Your commands to my children. Lord, let my children love Your Word! How can I teach them to love Your Word? Show me, Father. I want them to crave Your commands and Your Truth more than anything in their precious lives. Please help me to teach them well, Lord. Not just by my words, but by my actions."

I opened my Bible back up and started the book of Exodus. After reading two chapters, I wept to the Lord again. Y'all God's Word is tearing me up!

I am changed each time I read it. My heart desires more and more and more. His Word is Alive. It's true.

His Word is teaching me about motherhood. In a profound way. Although the Old Testament was written over two thousand years ago, it still resonates with us. Exactly the way God intends it to do.

Our spiritual ancestors are teaching us how to pray for our kids. How to teach our kids. How to live a life of faith for our children to bear witness to.

In a world that tries to annihilate our children daily with pornography, addiction, perversion, body image issues, material wealth, and so much more...

We are not left without a weapon to fight back! We have God Almighty on our side! NOTHING else can fight the enemy and his fiery lies like God's Word and prayer.

The two combined are the deadliest combination we have this side of Heaven. We must use them.

 "..in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. " Ephesians 6:16-17


"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22


For many years, my weapons sat dusty on a shelf. My Bible was never opened. Ever. My prayer life was stagnant, unless I was extremely desperate.

His Word has changed all of this. His Word has taught me how to be equipped. Equipped to fight the battle the enemy wages against me and my family.

Never again, will I be without my weapons of warfare.

Our children are in the fight of their lives and they have no idea. The dangers are lurking on social media, in their schools, outside of their schools, everywhere.

The battle is REAL.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. " 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy is on attack and we must learn from our spiritual ancestors.

We MUST pray.

We MUST teach them God's Word.

We MUST be diligent over their comings and goings.

Who are they hanging out with? Who are their friends on social media? What kind of comments are they leaving on friends pages? What kinds of comments are being left on their pages?

We MUST open our eyes.  The enemy is waging war on the hearts and minds of our children. God has given us the job of protecting them, equipping them. If we don't, who will?

Our churches are wonderful, but they are only an accessory to us in raising our children. It is not the church's job to be the sole care giver of our children's spiritual growth.

It us up to us...the parents.

We must quit being so defensive over our children, and scared of hurting their feelings when we tell them "no". We are not called to "make them happy", we are called to "train them in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it." [proverbs 22:6]

We must come together as parents and support each other in this daunting task of child-rearing. When we see a child in danger, we must love the child and the parent enough to shed light on the situation. We must be able to talk to each other as parents and express our concerns over each other's children.

When we shut down and become defensive over our children,  it blinds us to truth, and our children are left paying the consequences of our pride.

Not sure about you, but pride went out the window when I birthed my first baby! Nothing brings us to the lowest rung of the humility ladder like our children. Just when we think we deserve a "Mother of the year" award, they will do something to knock that title right out of our prideful little hands. Oh yes. Every time.

For the record, please always let me know if my children are in danger. Whether they are in danger of a bad reputation,  poor character, or  actual physical danger--I want to know. If you see my child or hear of my child doing something that could endanger them, please love me enough to tell me. It may sting and hurt, but I cannot help my child if I do not know they are in danger.

Our society and culture has spoken fear into the hearts of parents. Fear of "getting involved". Teaching us to just "mind our own business" instead of helping each other out when we are in need. Fear of being "too overbearing" or not "politically correct" as parents.

This is contrary to God's Word.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

We must love each other enough to pray for each other. Support each other. Encourage each other. Speak the truth in love when needed.

We must love our own children enough to open our eyes. Check their phones. Check their computers. Check out their whereabouts. Regularly.

If they have a phone, Ipad, or tablet, remove them from their rooms at night. [I learned this from my pastor]. Put them in a place where they cannot access them. Our children may not like it, but one day they will thank us for it.

 Ignorance is not bliss when raising our children. Ignorance is dangerous.

If we are too busy to do this, we are too busy.

God never intended for busyness to take the place of raising our children.

He has equipped us with everything we need to fight the enemy as he battles for the hearts of our children. We must be prepared for warfare.

A war needs an army. An army of believing parents. Standing together in the trenches, outside of the trenches, and equipped with God's Word and prayer.

Even with standing on the Word of God over our children, and praying the daylights over them, our children may still stumble. And greatly.

This is a call to persist. At all costs. Never give up on God's plan for your children. He can do mighty things with a mistake-filled life. Just ask Jacob, and Moses, and King David.

"Instead of your shame you will have a double portion" Isaiah 61:7

As we fall on our faces before God and ask Him to help us in our parenting, let's remember to:

-Pray.
-Read His Word daily.
-Pray for accountability in parenting--friends, family, neighbors. Others that can help keep watch over our children.
-Ask God for wisdom in parenting. Ask Him all day long!


"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5


Gosh, Genesis has taught us a lot, hasn't it?

Let's keep reading,


jill



Feb 12, 2015

The struggle is real.....

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When our children hurt, our hurt is quadrupled. We want to take their hurt away immediately.

Several months ago my daughter was struggling. I was trying to talk her through the struggle, and give her wisdom along the way. She did not want to receive it. She kept re-hashing over and over the hurt until finally tears were flowing.

I stopped her mid stream of her tears and prayed with her. I could barely get out my amen before she went over the incident again. And again. And again.

I wanted her to understand that the pain is real. Yes. However, re-visiting the pain was only opening the wound for her.

Desperately, I wanted her to see my perspective and how I could see that everything was going to turn out okay. She would be fine. She would eventually forget, and barely be able to recall this pain.

However, at the moment, her 9 year old perspective was skewed. She was hurt. And she wanted to stay there for a while.

Okay, I get it.

I gave her another day before talking through things with her again.

She was still there. In the pain.

Ugh.

I asked her if she was ready to start learning some things to counteract pain when we her feelings are hurt. She said no.

Alrighty then.

Well darling baby girl, I am going to teach you anyway.

As I was encouraging her to go straight to prayer in times like these, she said it was just too hard to pray when she was hurting.

I get it. Oh, do I get it.

I was jolted by the fact that I also feel too hurt to pray sometimes. I want to wallow in the pain and mull it over in my head. In fact, even asking others to pray for me becomes an attempt to talk about it again. Yikes. Often I am not asking sincerely for prayer, more for a vent session. In my head,  the more I talk about it, the more it will make sense. Nope, not the case.

The next thing I told her to do was to go to God's Word to counteract the hurt.

If words were what hurt you, find scripture that encourages you and speaks the Truth of who you really are.

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14

If loneliness is what burdens you...

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

If a broken heart is your struggle...

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

I told her that we aren't born with the knowledge of scripture. We must study it, know it, and recite it if it is to be our Sword against the enemy and his lies.

"Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:17

"I have hidden Your Word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you" Psalm 119:11

She asked me what "so that I may not sin against you" meant. I prayed a quickie prayer for God's wisdom and told her this: Sometimes when we are faced with a battle and feel hurt or overwhelmed, our flesh wants to fight back with sin. For example, gossip. Or hurting the other person that hurt us. Or, wanting to slap the fire out of someone. [well, sometimes we do!]

I told her that seeking God's Word for wisdom would lead us to the choice that would honor God and bring our hearts the most peace.

It's not just scripture memory or recitation, it's forming a relationship with the One Who we are studying. We begin to know Him, we begin to believe Him. We begin to take on His Character.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." John 1:14

Her eyes were searching for understanding as I spoke. I prayed that God would convey to her heart the message in a way that she could understand. He knows her heart best.

Again, as I spoke the words to her, I felt His Light shining bright on areas of my heart where I needed to apply the same wisdom. Times when I was hurt and wanted to pull away, fight back, return a hurt, or build a wall....

I hear Him whisper, "Love them anyway."

This is hard no matter how long we have been walking with the Lord. I do believe it can get easier the more we practice it though. Or at least that's what I am banking on!

Often we will find ourselves at a loss. We want to do the right thing, say the right thing, but we just don't know what to do.

I get it.

Here is where God's Word comes in and lights the way.

"Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light for my path" Psalm 119:105

I am so tempted to take control of the situation for my children. I want to tweak it and twist it and make it fair and just. Or at least my version of fair and just

How are they ever going to learn to lean on God if I do, though?

How will they ever know the peace that surpasses all understanding unless they seek the Lord for guidance?

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

My job is to point my children to the Lord. He is the Rock that will hold. Not me.

Early on in this SHINE ministry, I struggled with what to write about. I was worried that many could not relate to my struggles.

Sweetly and right on time, God reminded me that pointing the way to Him was all He asked of me. The rest was up to Him.

It takes all the pressure off, friends. As mothers, as friends, as leaders, as teacher...

Just point the way to Him.

He will do the rest.

"It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4


let's point the way,


jill