Jan 1, 2018

It's Time....

SHINE Reading Plan: Go Here

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews  4:12

Good morning. Welcome to a new year. And a new you.

What's new, you ask?

This is your year.

Your year to finally start reading God's Word.

Consistently.

Daily.

Inhaling it like you inhale your morning coffee, or hot tea.

Exhaling it back out, blanketing it over a cold and weary world.

The world needs you to be fueled up on God's Word. Desperately.

Unless we heed the call of His Word, we are no different than this world. We start to blend in when we don't consistently stay in alignment and in agreement with the Words of our Father in Heaven.

We become stale. Our fruit no longer is ripe.

All the church sitting in the world won't change a stale heart.

Only fresh bread each day from the oven of God's Word will sustain us. Strengthen us. Bring us to life.

There was a time...6 years ago.  I made a decision to read God's Word. Every single day.

I knew it would not be easy. I knew I needed major accountability.

I emailed a few friends. They agreed to read with me.

That email began this blog.

God breathed His Words every morning into my heart and used my fingertips to write.

He was waiting for me to say yes. My whole life.

Waiting for me to trust Him and get to know Him.

Waiting for me to finally be all in. Not just tiptoe in and out from time to time.

Accountability was key.

Knowing that other friends were reading with me, kept me in the Word.

However, after time, I began to crave His Word. Every morning.

I would roll out of bed and before my eyes were even open, my Bible was open.

The Lord meets me every morning, still.

But, I have to show up.

How about you?

Will you show up this year?

Will you daily meet with Jesus and let Him breathe His Words into your heart?

Your family needs you to meet with Him.

Your work needs you to meet with Him.

Strangers you run into day to day need you to meet with Him.

They all need what you will pour back out onto them.

Words of Life. Words of Hope. Words of Love.

Reading God's Word is the only way for this to be possible.

Y'all, we can't fake our way into being His Disciples. We can't just dress up real pretty and play the part.

It's a heart change.

Then, it becomes a mouth change. And a hands change. And a feet change.

We begin to go the Way of Him and not the ways of the world.

People will notice. People will want the peace they see. People will want the joy they see. People will want the radiant glow that comes from time spent with the Lord.

'Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5

Friends, don't let another year go by not being in God's Word.

Reading devotionals and blogs are not the same as time spent on your own in His Word.  Encouraging facebook and instagram posts are also not the same. These things are helpful in our walk, but they are not what our soul truly craves. Devotionals spur us on and encourages us...

God's Word breathes life into us. It feeds the deep hunger of our soul.

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

Make a decision today to go deeper.

To drink the living water from the Well of God's Word.

You will never be thirsty again.


drinking up,


jill

*If you need a place to start, go to our SHINE Reading plan at the top of the page. Print out the reading plan schedule and tuck it into your Bible. It's a good way to keep you on track.


Dec 28, 2017

Let it go...

Luke 23:24, "Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing"

Can I be just real straight up vulnerable with you? [shocking, right]

I came across my prayer journal from a year ago this very day. From time to time, I go back to remember. To see what was on my heart. To see the path of God's faithfulness.

As I flipped back to December of 2016, I stopped on one of the entries. I read it slowly.

I want to share it with you because it may encourage you. It may release some pent up stuff happening in that heart of yours. Sometimes we don't know we are in bondage until we begin to pour our hearts out to the Lord. Suddenly, He releases some long held hurts and injuries.

Here's the entry from December  2016:

Father, I forgive those who have hurt me. I release all of the hurt, rejection, anger, bitterness....all of it. When people reject me, they are really rejecting You. 

Forgive me for not forgiving. Open my heart. Slice it right open. I release all of the rejection, hurt, anger, bitterness--I lay it at Your feet and ask that You heal my heart because it belongs to You. 

My spirit abides in You. 

Father, from this moment on, I walk in forgiveness. I walk in Grace. I walk in Humility. I walk in LOVE. I walk in Joy. I walk in Hope. 

My heart is encased in Yours. It will not be penetrated by hurt and hurt will NOT change me. I am full of JOY. And Hope. And Laughter. And Love. 

I will not be afraid to express love, encouragement, kindness--because of fear of rejection. I will not self-protect anymore. God has my heart encased in His. 

Father, thank you for speaking Your words into me. Thank You for setting me free. 

I am a new creation. Created in the image of God. To live a life of LOVE, FORGIVENESS, GRACE, JOY, MERCY. 

I forgive _____. I forgive_______. I forgive_______. I forgive ________. I forgive ________. I forgive_______. 

I forgive friends who have hurt me. 

I release these loved ones to You. I ask that You bless them in a Mighty way. Pour Your Love over them-fill them with your Joy. Bless their families and give them Joy and Abundance. Fill their hearts with YOU, Lord! Let good things happen to them. Surround them with Peace. 

Lord, forgive me for holding these feelings in my heart. Lord, forgive them. For they know not what they do. 

Forgive me for letting feelings and thoughts eat at me and consume me.  

If I am rejected, I consider it an honor to walk the same road that Jesus walked. Through pain, Jesus loved and gave His life. 

Lord, I want to love like Jesus. Without holding back. 

Thank you for releasing me from these chains of unforgiveness. I am set free today. 

I hold nothing against anyone. What can man do to me? 

If God is for me, who can be against me? Romans 8:31

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:13

Lead me, Father. Guide me down the path of Love, Holiness, Sanctification and Mercy. I choose You. Above all else. 

In Jesus Name, amen. 


As I read this entry, I was amazed at how the Lord had done exactly as I had asked. I was released. I had a fresh heart. I had fresh eyes to see these people as Jesus saw them.

I didn't even realize I had been holding so much inside until I released it to God.

Start this new year fresh. With a clean and pure heart. Leaving all of the baggage of unforgiveness behind.

We cannot live for Jesus if we live in bitterness and hold grudges.  It is just not possible.


freedom,


jill


Dec 18, 2017

Do you need a miracle?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Last night, I sat in the floor of my shower for over an hour. The scalding hot water poured over my flesh. I buried my head in my knees as the water trickled down my body.

I needed a cleaning. Not from outside dirt, but from inside dirt.

My mouth had spoken words that were not grateful or holy. My thoughts had been filled with anxiety, worry and fear.

The day was spent shopping with my husband. Beginning with a beautiful church service, then off to our favorite town to shop.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I felt anxiety writhe my whole being. As we shopped for kids and family, I could feel the mounting pressure. I wanted to run. Far away.

I just felt the overwhelming pull of fear that what we were getting wasn't enough. It would not put a smile on the faces we were purchasing for. It was meager, or so it seemed.

My mouth even uttered the most horrible words perhaps my lips have ever formed..."I hate Christmas."

I know. I know.

What was wrong with me??

My husband turned to me and said, "What??? You love Christmas more than anyone I know."

I shrugged my shoulders holding back tears.

This is the part that I didn't like about Christmas. The pressure that I put on myself. To measure up. To do more than I knew we had. To spend more than I knew we could afford.

This is the part that I teach my kids about. Shaking my finger in their faces about the "true meaning of Christmas".

Yet, here I was...

Full of bitter gall...

Full of anxious thoughts...

Full of the pressure to give a gift that would knock the Christmas socks off of a loved one...

The exact opposite of the true meaning of Christmas.

As I sat in my shower, washing off the crud of my thoughts, and my words....

Hot tears steamed down my face.

The pull of the world was fierce.

The pull of the enemy was fiercer.

Whispers of the enemy's lies were ringing in my ears.

Your gifts will never be enough.

You will never be enough.

I began to do war with those thoughts the most powerful way I knew how...

Reciting God's Word. Over and over.

This time is was Psalm 23.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.

Then, I turned it into these words...

The Lord is my Shepherd, the kids have all that they need.

The Lord is my Shepherd, my husband has all that he needs.

The Lord is my Shepherd, my loved ones have all that they need.

Because, somehow, I had bought into the lie that we needed more.

That I needed to give more than I had.

That they needed to receive more than I could offer.

And the thoughts of disappointed faces as loved ones opened gift that were in my "budget", made me cringe in fear and anxiety.

Was this really what I believed Christmas was about?

Do I teach my children one thing, yet act out the exact opposite of my teaching?

Do I believe that the three wise men's gift to the Son of God had the ability to ruin the whole blessed nativity?

Good grief.

I know better than to believe these lies.

Christmas is not about the gifts.

But, the Gift.

The Gift to us.

To my heart and to yours.

The present of being Present with us on Earth. The Son of God....in all of His Glory.

This past weekend we traveled out of state to see family. One of our dear family members has cancer spots. In so many places.

He received the best news he could possibly receive this week.

The treatment is working. The cells are shrinking. A miracle.

I asked him how he was "doing". I asked him how it felt to have to wait, and wait, and wait....before receiving life-giving or life-taking answers.

He looked me straight in the eyes, his hair short and shorn from treatment, and spoke these words..

"I live in the present, Jill. I don't look back and I don't think about tomorrow. I live in the fullness of today. The present is my miracle."

I felt the air being released from my pent up, stress filled, anxiety ridden heart.

His words popped the hardened bubble of  discontent that was encasing my heart.

The room blurred for a minute. I could just hear his words, almost in slow motion.

Not really his words, but God's words to me.

The present is my miracle.

I had spent so much time worrying about tomorrow and the outcome of my Christmas gifts to others...the money stretching....the time crunching....

That I had missed the present miracle of today.

The miracle of being present.

Not thinking racing thoughts about how little time, how little money....

But, how much.

How much miracle I had.

In each moment. Full of family. Full of laughter. Full of love. Full of life.

The present is my miracle.

Lives lived looking back, or looking forward will miss the miracle.

Lives lived in the present, and in the Presence of Jesus....will be wrapped in the miracle.

Capture your thoughts today. Reign them in. Look around you. Beside you. In front of you. Lock eyes. Lock hands. Lock hearts.

Embrace the miracle of the present.

Embrace the Present--Jesus.

Tomorrow will hold new miracles. But, only if you find the ones today.

The Lord is our Shepherd, we have all that we need.



present,


jill






























Dec 6, 2017

When you don't feel significant...

Commit your work to the Lord,  and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

This time of year always gets my stomach in knots. I get a little anxious about the new year coming up.

I reflect on the past year, and I have that gnawing feeling, again, that my life just doesn't seem significant. 

Ever feel this way?

As I was mopping my floors today, my left side started to ache from bending over with the mop.

My mind was suddenly filled with this scripture, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."1 Corinthians 10:31

I smiled and said to the Lord audibly, "Okay, God, I am mopping these floors for you."

I was reminded in that moment that what I was doing was significant. It mattered.

The world would never know that I took so much care and time to mop my floor for my family, but God knew.

I don't clean and mop because I am a neat freak. I do it because I want my family to feel loved. And welcomed. And warm when they walk through the door each day.

To be honest, most days they have no idea the things I have done each day to try to make this home a place of calm and comfort for them, And, that's okay.

God knows.

One of the biggest struggles I have is feeling like my life matters. Is important. Is significant.

Often, I get my significance tangled up with the world's view of significance.

I forget that in God's eyes...

I am significant.

And so are the things that I do.

All of it.

The tiniest details of my day matter to Him.

Do I honor Him with these details, or am I constantly trying to drum up greater significance for my own pride?

As I was mopping today, side aching,  I heard a whisper in my soul..."They will remember. Your family will remember how well you loved them. "

I almost slipped on my wet floor.

My throat started to close, and tears welled up in my eyes.

Oh, Father. Let it be so. 

When I start to feel insignificant...when I compare my accomplishments to others...

I go back to this memory....


Of being a little girl. Dreaming of the day I could have a family of my own. Driving my children to school each day. Packing their little lunches. Going home to prepare for their return...

God answered those child sized prayers. More than I could ever imagine.

It's not what we do that makes us significant...

It's Whose we are.

It's Who we belong to.

If we submit our work, toilet scrubbing and all, to the Lord...

He will make it matter. He will give us a return greater than we can imagine.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

His Kingdom will be expanded here on Earth because we chose to give our work to Him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

You are worthy.

You are significant.

You matter.


back to the mop,

jill





Dec 5, 2017

When you don't fit in....

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14

As I sit here on my couch, blanket wrapped around my legs, I gaze at our Christmas tree. It's not the prettiest tree, by far.

It has colored lights. Mismatched ornaments. In fact, you will not find any matching ornaments on this tree. It's a jumble of color.

And I love it.

I feel a lot like this tree most days. Not the prettiest, not the neatest, and completely full of  random.

I see this big green tree dressed up in lights and crazy things hanging from it. Trying its best to fit in. To look like the other pretty Christmas trees in the windows.

Surely this tree feels out of place. This is not really this tree's home.

Have you ever felt this way?

We put on our make-up and our clothes, and our best selves. We go out into the world trying our best to just fit in. To not rock the boat. To not be too much.

When our insides are crying out to fit in. To be wanted. To be noticed. To be loved.

There is a man in our town. He's homeless. He lives in his van.

I wasn't sure for a while if he was homeless because he wore nicer clothes. Sometimes even his shirt was tucked in. His body and hair clean and no sign of dirty.

Perhaps, like us, he wants to fit in too.

My husband and I started up a conversation with him one day. He told us he lived in his van. Our suspicions were confirmed. But, I was still confused. He looked so.....normal.

When he told me his name, I almost fell to my knees. His name is David.

Of course, David is my all time favorite Old Testament man. David stole my heart in
2012.

If his name had been anything other than David, I may have easily forgotten it.

I have talked to him several times since that day we met, and something he told me recently has been weighing so heavy on my heart.

I asked him how his Thanksgiving was. He replied: "Just another day."

I had to choke back tears.

This man had no big lunch or dinner with family. He did the same thing he does every day. He sat in his van. He walked around town. Then, went back to his van to sleep for the night.

Just another day...

Have you ever felt that way?

Like, each day is just another day. Just another dish to wash. Just another bill to pay. Just another diaper to change. Just another day without a significant other. Just another day of being unnoticed. Just another day of a job that wears you slap out. Just another day at the hospital begging God to heal your loved one.

Just another day.

I remember a few years ago, some friends and I served dinner at a homeless shelter. That night, I went back home and told my husband, "I feel so at home among the homeless."

He looked at me like I was crazy. Perhaps, I was.

But, I think deep down....we can all relate at times to the feeling of being homeless. Lonely. Outcast. Forgotten. Left out. Misfit. Longing for home.

There's no need for show when you are around the homeless. No need for prettying up, or shining your shoes. You can be yourself and fit right in with the homeless. Perhaps that's why I like it.

I imagine this is how the Disciples felt around Jesus. They could be themselves. Jesus loved them anyway. They could take off their masks and fall to His feet breathing a sigh of relief. They knew Jesus loved them despite their countless flaws.

As I read the book of Matthew, again...

I imagine how Jesus must have longed for His Heavenly home.

This Earth was not His home.

Nor, is it ours.

There will be a day...

Oh, one sweet day...

When we can rest our weary heads in the Mansion of our Father.

We will fit in. All of us.

No one will be homeless. No one will be lonely. No one will be cast out.

There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? John 14:2


come as you are,


jill


























Dec 4, 2017

Hello Matthew...


All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23

Every December, I read through the book of Matthew again. Slowly. Taking it all in.

From the birth of Jesus,  to the death of Jesus on the Cross.

I soak in the words. The story. The miracles.

So often, I get entangled with "religion" and "religious jargon", that I forget the simplicity of The Gospel. The simplicity of Jesus.

I make everything so complex with my over analyzing and over thinking every little thing. I ponder, I judge, I point out the speck in another's eye--as I have a log in my own eye.

Matthew brings me back down.

Back down to a lowly stable. In a deserted place. In a dingy and dirty manger.

Back to The Savior of the world.

Jesus.

As I read through Matthew Chapter One, I studied the genealogy of Jesus. The 14 generations from Abraham to David. The 14 generations from David to the exile of Babylon, and the 14 generations from the exile to the Messiah.

The names in that genealogy.

The imperfect people that led to a perfect Savior.

Only God.

I am relieved as I read the names. My heart floods with joy.

I see names of people who messed up. Over an over.

I see a prostitute's name.

I see an adulter's name.

I see a murderer's name.

You don't know how badly I needed to read this today.

My mouth got away from me yesterday. Again.

Just when I have been reading the book of James with my prayer group, and learning about the evils of the tongue.

Yep.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6

I can vouch for this truth. My tongue was on fire yesterday. Just ask my husband.

Why is it that my tongue usually gets set on fire before church? Huh?

It was so bad that my daughter asked me, "Do you even like Dad?'

I hesitated.

No, just kidding.

I told her I did like him. Sometimes.

But sometimes I didn't.

But, I still loved him.

Still not sure if that was the correct answer to give. But, hey, I am trying.

I do like him. I do.

But, yesterday, I didn't. Ok?

Ok.

So, of course the pastor preaches on the miracle of forgiveness.

Half way through the sermon, I leaned over and whispered to my husband, "I forgive you."

He choked back a laugh.

I was serious.

He didn't see things my way, so I was forgiving him.

He leaned back over and said, "No, sweetie, I forgive YOU."

I rolled my eyes at him and asked God to forgive me for not liking my husband that day. Especially while sitting in church. [eye roll]

We got back home and I was busy picking up things off of the floor, putting up dishes, and just doing my little chores when I remembered something.

I remembered how flawed I was. I remembered how dirty I was. I remember how unclean I was.

I remembered that I would not always get it right. I would have times of failure and fall into sin with my mouth...again.

The Lord reminded me of my posture  when this happens. I hit my knees. I draw near to Him and beg Him for His Love, His Mercy, His Grace. I just cannot muster up this kind of living.

I can only get it from Him.

My kids may see me spout off from time to time at my sweet husband, and I will roll around in regret for a day or two.

But, what do they see after? Do they see a heart of repentance or a heart of rebellion?

I hope it is repentance.

That's what I see as I read these names in Matthew.

Yes, they were not perfect people.

Yes, they were majorly flawed.

Yes, they did not always get it right.

But....

These generations of sinful mistakes....

Brought forth the Son of God.

How would we know we needed a Savior unless we needed saving?

Oh, y'all. I need a Savior.

I need Jesus.

I crave Him.

My flesh wants to run away with sin--especially my mouth.

But, my soul longs for Jesus.

His Power is made Perfect in our weakness. [2 Corinthians 12:9]

God longs to bring forth fruit from even our most heinous sins.

Yet, we often cower and hover in a corner licking our sinful wounds.

We forget....

We forget of His Simplicity. His Peace. His Mercy. His Covering.

His love covers our sins. Not just covers them, but washes them away.

Make room for Him. Invite Him in to even the fleshiest parts of your day.

Fall to your knees and draw near when you mess up...again.

He will always be there to catch you.

still taming my tongue,


jill















Nov 27, 2017

Before you shop....

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Today is Cyber Monday.

Online shopping will be crazy today. Deals, low prices, and sales.

Today begins the mad rush before Christmas giving.

Well, actually, Friday began the mad rush. Possibly even Thursday....for some of us.

Listen here, though.

Lean in close...

Don't get sucked into the world's version of christmas. [yes, with a lower case c]

The world will never celebrate Christ. The world's version of Christmas will fill us with debt, overspending, indulgence, guilt, regret.

Since when did we make Christmas into something other than Holy?

Since when did the size of our checking accounts determine the size of our "merry" at Christmas?'

Yes, giving is a part of Christmas.

But, not when it becomes a debt we cannot afford to pay.

A debt that takes our eyes off of Christ, and on anxiety and worry over bill paying.

Let's determine to be a joy to be around this Christmas instead of a big spender.

Let's determine to love those around us by being present, instead of feeling the need to buy an overabundance of presents we cannot afford.

Let's determine to show Jesus in how we love instead of how much we spend.

Let's determine to be still. To rest in Christ. To rest in contentment.

Joy is contagious.

Joy does not come from the world, but from Jesus.

Joy saturates our hearts when we seek to celebrate Jesus instead of the world's artificial form of Christmas.

Let's make our lists...

But, let's include the gifts that only come from Jesus..

Love, JOY, Gentleness, Patience, Self-control, Peace, Forgiveness.

Let's let it be our mission to represent Christ this Christmas. Not in how much we spend, but in how much we love.

For ever dollar we spend on gifts, let's spend an hour with a loved one. Being present. Listening. Looking them in their precious eyes.

Inhale the Joy of Jesus this Christmas.

Exhale anything that is NOT.

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that don't cost a penny.

joy finding,


jill







Nov 9, 2017

Shut my mouth....

How do I even begin? I am not even sure when it started.

It is so much easier to tell stories of my kids, or loved ones. The stories about what God is doing in my heart are harder to tell. They go deep into the crevices of my soul and often I have a hard time putting the experiences into words.

Alas, I will try.

A few months ago I felt the gentle pull of the Lord away from things that I enjoyed doing. Really good things.

I didn't understand it and even felt selfish for pulling away. I felt a lack of peace regarding things that I had so peacefully enjoyed before.

I questioned my heart. I questioned God's leading. Or was it God's leading?

At the time, I didn't know for sure. I just knew that I didn't feel the ease of peace.

It didn't make sense. I felt I had grown a lot in the past year and had much to share regarding experiences. I wanted to surround myself with people to be able to share what my heart was overflowing with.

But, the Lord asked me to stop. To be still. To be quiet.

Uh, what?

It was an odd thing. Aren't we supposed to live out loud our faith? Aren't we supposed to go out and make disciples?

I was confused. But, I knew that God was not the author of confusion, but of Peace. [1 Corinthians 14:33]

My mouth suddenly felt like it was taped shut. I felt the pull to be quiet, and to pray. And pray. And pray.

My fingers didn't even feel the pull to write. I had no idea what was happening in my heart, so I had nothing to write about. I had plenty of stories to tell, but my heart was drawn like a magnet to quietness and prayer.

I began to discipline myself in prayer. Prayer does not come easy. It just doesn't. It often feels pointless if I am being honest.

We are more prone to "do", and  to "talk" it out.

Or, at least I am.

I would discipline myself in prayer by making it a practice to pray over every single person I came into contact each day. EVERY one.

This led little time for me to talk about myself, or to talk about anything really.

It also led to a lot of listening.

Listening to my children more.

Listening to my husband more.

Listening to the lady that rings up my groceries every Monday morning.

We learn a lot by listening. A whole lot.

I can pray as I listen. It's much easier to do this than pray as I talk.

I thought so much about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, how the Bible said, "she pondered all these things in her heart."[Luke 2:19]

As I listened more intently to the spoken and the unspoken cues of people, I began to feel the deep pull for them to feel the warmth of Jesus. Without me saying a word.

This is hard for a wordy girl.

I mean, how would they know I was praying for them unless I told them? How would they know about all the great things Jesus was doing if I didn't tell them?

Oh, I shudder as I type.

It was all about me. Me, me, me, me.

Did I not think that God could speak to them apart from me?

I liked the feeling of leading someone to Christ. To pointing the way and being the "one" with scripture at the perfect time.

Oh, y'all...

God was [and is] working on my heart.

I began to see the working of God all around me as I sat back, listened more, talked less, and prayed more.

Recently, the most incredible thing happened.

I had been praying for a young mother that I see each week. Every day I would see her, I felt the urge to pray for her. I felt she had lost her way somehow and needed Jesus.  This lasted for several weeks.

Last week, she approached my friend and me. She asked my friend about what church she attended. My friend proceeded to tell her, and then an entire conversation pursued, between the two of them, about faith.

I sat there dumbfounded. And, like a third wheel.

I wanted to jump in so badly and say, "Hey!! Let ME talk to to you! Come and visit MY church! I have what you need! I have been praying for you!!"

So embarrassing to admit my true thoughts.

They continued in conversation, and I quietly walked away.

"God, what are you doing? I have been praying for her! Why did you use my friend to talk to her and not me?"

Slowly, my vision became focused. I saw so clear what God was doing in my heart.

Did it matter who led her to Christ? Did it matter which church she attended?

What mattered is that God heard my prayers, and He answered them.

And guess what? I got no credit. From anyone. NOT ONE PERSON.

But, God knew.

Was that not enough for me?

Oh, the pride. Oh, the stinking pride.

Are we willing to go behind closed doors, to be anonymous....and seek the face of God on behalf of those around us? Are we willing to step back and let God get the Glory?

Or, are we getting in His way. Is our pride keeping Him from answering our prayers.

Are our mouths bigger than our ears? Do we talk more than we listen?

Lord, change us.

Let us be willing to have hearts on fire with prayer, without one person knowing it.

There is a time to pray out loud, and a time to pray in secret.

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. Matthew 6:6

How quickly we say YES when asked if we will pray about something for someone. And, just as quickly we forget.

Are we so busy portraying our wisdom and Christianity that we forget what is needed most?

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

So often, in church and in the world, we are urged to be vocal. To let our intentions and our desires be known. To speak!

Could it be that our loud words are getting in the way of the gentle whispers of God?

In all of our efforts to be great missionaries, are our mouths drowning out our prayers and hushing the Holy Spirit?

Oh, Lord, change us.

Is it possible to lead obscure, quiet, prayerful lives?

Jesus sure did.

He made no commotion about Himself. He often was drawn to quiet places. Seeking the face of God. Often when everyone else was sleeping.

Lord, help us to be like Jesus.

Hearts bent on You and not ourselves.

Help us to be okay with not being in the spotlight. To live obscure lives. In Your Mighty Shadow.


shutting my mouth and opening my ears,


jill