Jul 31, 2012

Tuesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Acts 10

Good morning, SHINE girls! I am typing this little post as I sit in a big comfy bed looking out an array of windows at the waves crashing onto the shore.

Yes, I am at the beach! Don't be jealous. I have 4 kids in tow and they are all fussing in the next room as I am trying to form this post. ;)

I have asked my friend, Lisa, to post today. Put on your seat belt and hang on. It's good stuff, girls.

Read it, pass it on, and be blessed.

I love you, SHINE girls.


Tuesday SHINE
by: Lisa Inlow


Proverbs 16:24 Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Ephesians 4:32a  Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted...

I Corinthians 13:4  Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.


Women are so hard on women.

We make quick judgements or jabs, our hearts are icky.

We make comments, which can be very hurtful to the other women, though most times, we are so caught up in our own jealousy or pettiness that we don't even think about how our words hit her heart.

She is too over-dressed.  Or under-dressed.

Wears too much make-up.  Or not enough.

We are jealous of her warmth and how others gravitate to her.

We see all she "has", shiny car, big house, big diamond...and our hearts grow hard.

She is able to stay home, while we work full-time.  It's hard to be close to her.

Or she works full-time, resulting in the ability to go on cruises, have her kids in numerous activities and have designer jeans and handbags.  We make judgements...

She talks about the Lord too much...or not enough.

She's too straight-laced, prudish, boring.  Or...the opposite...

We've all been on either side of these things.  Or we've shared or heard from other women who have been on either side.  Or we simply have witnessed these types of situations.

How many times have I made a comment, gotten in the car and been horrified as I realize my comment was a result of my own jealousy or insecurity.  I'm embarrassed as I sit here in my own sin...

A few months ago I had to call a friend back after 2 weeks of the Lord prompting me.  Oh y'all I was sitting at the fountain @ The Avenue, my daughter running around the fountain.  I called her, told her that I was so wrong to make an off-the-cuff comment, that was "funny" at the time, but it was a jab.  I asked her to forgive me.  She was gracious, of course.

I then asked the Lord to keep that situation fresh on my heart as I was determined to stop acting like such a fool.

I think stopping this type of behavior, thoughts, comments, takes a lot of work.  Repenting.  Making every effort to fill our hearts and minds with things from Above.

Memorizing Scriptures on love, peace and encouragement.  Praying!!

When driving to small group, Sunday morning church, play group, the gym...wherever we are meeting...pray, asking the Father to have every one of our words be encouraging.

If I am going to see someone who triggers icky-ness in me, I tell the Lord that I want to love her as He loves her...view her, as He views her.

What about our daughters who are listening and learning....how to treat others.  Are they mirroring our behavior in school with their friends?  Are their text, Facebook interactions, conversations in the backseat similar to ours?

What about the other women who are watching from afar?

The mother at school who does not have a relationship with the Savior?  Is she hearing encouraging and uplifting words from us that are pointing her to Truth?

Let's bring it back to the bottom line...what does our Heavenly Father think?

I know all women are not back-stabbing mean girls.  Some of you may be thinking, "Wow, what kind of friends does Lisa hang out with"?!  Ha, ha!!

But I do think more often then not, comments or opinions made while smiling big, chuckling or laughing...can be hurtful.

Ladies we need to build one another up!

Start today!

What woman's face has been flashing in and out of your mind while reading this...pray for her.  Confess your icky heart, asking the Father to help you love her, as He loves her.  Stay consistent with that prayer.  It does not happen overnight.  But stick with it and experience victory!

Dear Father, we women desperately need you in this area.  We all can be rotten, You know this.  But today, we are done with this.  Today we ask for Your forgiveness.  It's time to view others, as You do.  In love.  Reaching out and encouraging with words that bring warmth and encouragement.   In Your precious Name.  Amen.

Jul 30, 2012

Reading Plan for the Week of 7/30--8/3....

Reading Plan for the Week of 7/30-8/3:

  • Monday 7/30: Acts 9
  • Tuesday 7/31: Acts 10
  • Wednesday 8/1: Acts 11
  • Thursday 8/2: Acts 12
  • Friday 8/3: Acts 13
Father, 

Thank you for another week to serve You. How truly blessed we are to wake up to a new day.

Yesterday is behind us, thank goodness. Today is a new day. A new day to forgive, to love, to honor, to submit, to reconcile, to obey.

We humbly bow down before Your Throne and ask that you protect us and keep us safe from the enemy. We belong to You, Lord. We are washed in the Blood of the Lamb of Christ.

Anoint us with Your Grace, Your Favor, and Your Protection. 

Give us wisdom, Father. Your Word says that if we ask, we shall receive. 

Lord, we are asking. Make our paths clear. Show us the way. We humbly follow You. 

Where You go, we go. Where You stay, we stay.

In Jesus name we pray,

Amen.

"But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. 
Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ.
 It's like a fragrance that fills the air."
2 Corinthians 2:14

Jul 28, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises Week of 7/28-8/4.....



Please post your prayer requests and praises under this post. We love lifting you to the Father, daily. Our SHINE prayer team is ready and waiting to intercede  on your behalf.

Keep praying. Keep believing.

Jul 27, 2012

Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Acts 8

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! How has your week been?

I wish I could look you all in the eyes and get your answers. Seriously, I do. My heart longs to hear your stories, all of them.

Aren't we glad we serve a God that hears all of our stories? That listens to every detail of our lives and cherishes every word?

What a friend we have in Jesus. Truly.

I want to be a friend like Jesus. I really do. I want to listen to others, have compassion, share in their joy and in their tears. I love me some good stories. Sitting beside a close friend and hearing about their lives makes my heart burst!

Do you have a friend that listens to you? Like, really listens to you? Isn't it the best? They don't interject their opinion, or their take, they just listen. Oh, what a treasure this kind of friend is!

I am so grateful to have several friends like this. I hang up the phone, or leave the conversation feeling refreshed and loved.

Jesus is the ultimate friend, though. He is the example for all of us to follow. He is always there. Always listening.

Today's Friday Challenge is:

Take the time to be a friend today. Listen to someone. Really listen to them. Look them in the eyes and hear their story.

We love others the most sometimes when we hear them. Really hear them. We don't have to have all the answers, they just may need a listening ear.

When I am upset and go to Lem, sometimes I tell him, "Don't say a word. Just LISTEN. If I need an answer, I will tell you!"

Relate?

Let's be listeners today. Tuning ourselves out, and tuning others in.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
 be sympathetic, 
love as brothers, 
be compassionate and humble...."
  1 Peter 3:8

tuning in, 

jill

*Notice the new design on our blog? A big HUGE thank you to Erin Sanchez @ Erin Lauray Studios. She is FABULOUS to work with! I love her creativity!
**Also, SHINE t-shirts are coming soon! They are not ready to order yet, still working on shipping details. I will post a picture of these awesome shirts soon!




Jul 26, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading : Acts 7

Happy Serve-Day Thursday, SHINE girls!

It's Thursday, so you know what that means! Serve someone today in some way. Even the smallest gesture of service and kindness goes a very long way. Think about how you feel when someone goes out of their way to serve you. It feels good, doesn't it?

My love tank is overflowing with thankfulness today. There are too many reasons to list why, but I will just name a few:

  • God's Word
  • SHINE girls
  • My church, Eastridge Community Church
  • Summit Church in Madison, Ga 
  • My unconditional loving family
  • My incredible friends--the old friends, the new friends and friends to come. 
  • Another day to worship Jesus
Shall I go on? I think I will spare you the list. You have your own list of thanksgiving, so I will not bore you with the details of mine. 

Do you know how I have learned to overcome many obstacles in my life? Obstacles such as sadness, anxiety, worry, bitterness, jealousy, anger etc.?

Thankfulness. 


It's true. 

If we are thankful, our perspective changes. Our hearts are shifted back into the right place. 

Those obstacles that I listed above shift our hearts out of place. Then we scratch our heads wondering why we have no peace. 

What gives us peace? Thankfulness.

If we are thankful in all things, we will have peace in our hearts.

The Lord desires our hearts to be in tune with his. Thankfulness is just the tool for the tuning.

Sometimes it's hard to be thankful when things around us seem so bleak. Oh, but girls, when we can get to that thankful place, everything starts changing. 

If you were sitting across from me, I would take both of your hands and squeeze them with excitement! If you only knew how much your Heavenly Father loves you! It would completely overwhelm you. You probably could not even handle just the thought of it!

Perhaps that's why we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. If we were to actually see His Spirit and His Love, we just may faint from the awesome sight. Our flesh could not handle the intensity of His burning Love and Desire for us. 

Oh, don't we love to be loved and desired? Is there a woman reading this that doesn't long to be desired?

I don't think so.

Think about that, girls. Focus on His love for you and let thankfulness set in. You will not believe the change. You will see things differently. You will see things from His perspective. Can you even fathom?

Serve someone today out of the overflow of your thankfulness. 

I love you girls, and I am so thankful for each of YOU!

heart overflowing,

jill




Jul 25, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 6
Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Turn up the tunes and celebrate the Lord today! Remember how we learned that David loved dancing before the Lord?

Let's dance for Him today! Even if it is just in the privacy of our kitchen while throwing dinner together. Do a little jig for HIM! ( I can hear my sister laughing. She gets a kick out of my dancing style. Or lack of.)

My son told me this week that even though dancing at children's church during worship time intimidated him, he does it anyway because he remembered how David danced before the Lord!

Oh, this little Momma's heart was proud!

So, if my 10 year old can worship the Lord in dance...so can WE!

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy"
Psalm 30:11

Did you love Lisa's post on stewardship yesterday?

Me too.

God has been working with me on this very issue. Stewardship.

He wants me to be a good steward of my time.

Oh, yes. He has been pounding me with this one for the last few months.

Time is the most precious thing we have, girls. What we give our time to, is what we love. It is.

What do you give your time to?

Seriously, think about it.

Now, I know that jobs and housework are duties that we must perform in our days. However, are there other things that take our time that may not be best for us?

A couple of years ago,  I took an inventory of my day. I wrote down everything that I did on the hour.

At the end of the day I looked at the list and shuddered.

I circled the things on my list that would have eternal benefits. .

Motherhood and being Lem's wife were pretty much the only two that made the cut.

Yes, I am being flat-out honest.

My days had a lot of extra time, and the way that I chose to fill those moments were definitely not the very best for me.

Not that what I was doing was bad, it just wasn't best.

Girls, our time is precious. The Lord wants to use our time to further His kingdom. He wants us to be better than mediocre. He wants our best!

Do you want to be a mediocre parent? Do you want a mediocre marriage? A mediocre friendship? A mediocre job? A mediocre life? A mediocre relationship with the Father?

Me either!

I want His best for me!

Don't you?

Let's challenge ourselves to take an honest look at our days. Are we pleasing Him in our spare moments? Or do we have "fillers" throughout our days.

Fillers are non-nutritional girls. Would you want your kids eating a bunch of junk that had no nutritional value, just to have something to put into their stomachs?

Me either.

Let's fill our days with the good stuff girls. The stuff that pleases Him.

"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah."
Acts 5:42

Did you hear that? It was from our reading yesterday. The apostles NEVER stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news! Hello! I would bet my last tube of MAC lipgloss that they were good stewards with their time. Not just good, but excellent.

They knew the urgency of their days. Thank goodness for their urgency, or we may not know the good news of Jesus.

Let's follow their example, girls. Starting today.

filler-free,

jill



Jul 23, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 5

Happy Tuesday, SHINE girls! How are you doing with your 40 Day Prayer Challenge? We are on Day 30!! Can you believe it?

Are you hanging in here with me? Are you seeing some changes going on in that little heart of yours? 

Girls, prayer doesn't just change the things around us, it changes US. It melts away the "me" and replaces it with the "HIM"!

That's the good stuff, girls. Keep praying. Keep changing. 

Today, my beloved friend, Lisa, is posting. 

Be blessed by her wisdom, friends.

Stewardship, 1st grade style

My son has a lot of Lego's.  A lot.

When one of them comes apart, for whatever reason, he does not put it back together, instead puts it in his room, tossing the lose pieces in the "Lego bin", then proceeds to grab another Lego...plays on.

Result?  A room full of un-playable (not a word) Lego's piled on shelves.

Enter mom.

Boiling point.

This is what I see.  Irresponsibility.  Yes, he's not even 7.  But here's my point.

Like most things, if I don't teach him how to take responsibility for the little things, Lego's, who will?

Of course with maturity I would hope would come some pride in his things, but do I sit back and wait until he's 12 or 15 to start talking about this?

I believe stewardship, taking care of what our sweet Father has blessed us with, and in a boy's world, Lego's, is extremely important.

I mean, hello, Lego's aren't cheap.  Well, his first ones were 3 years ago, but uh, they are not now.

When I see them disheveled on shelves I see dollar signs.  I see countless opportunities of teaching...responsibility, stewardship, the blessing of having so much, respecting Daddy's hard work to provide such fun toys, etc etc etc.

I'm sure some who are reading could be thinking that I'm taking this all a little too seriously, and you may be right.  But I'm okay with that.

I know in the long run this can only benefit my son.

We will spend the majority of our day in his room.  He is annoyed at me, you can be sure.  But as we sit on his floor and I teach/explain stewardship and responsibility, I see a young man, not a boy.

Like my relationship with my heavenly Father when he sees a mess in my room.  I know as he teaches me why it's not working, that He's doing it out of pure love for me.

Motherhood is hard.  But I do embrace this role and for whatever reason am able to see past today.

Before long he will be grown...this is my time to teach.

3 days later....

Since we spent 1/2 the day in his room, he and Jenna have played, basically non-stop with the Lego's.


In my mind, that was the Lord confirming that I was on the right track as I tend to analyze and question myself after I've taken a hard stance on something in mothering.  Especially when it can seem very anal...to be honest.


But as I stood in Max's bedroom doorway this morning watching them play, I again, knew I was on the right track.

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the Week of 7/23-7/27.....


  • Monday 7/23: Acts 4
  • Tuesday 7/24: Acts 5
  • Wednesday 7/25: Acts 6
  • Thursday 7/26: Acts 7
  • Friday 7/27:  Acts 8



Father,


Thank you for each and every sweet and precious heart that reads this SHINE blog. My heart overflows with Thanksgiving for every last one of them!


Lord, I ask that you be with them all this week. Protect them. Comfort them. Bring them Peace. Wrap Your Big, Strong, arms around these girls and love the heck out of them!


Oh, Father, you know how my heart breaks for our girls that are hurting. Our girls who are going through very, very hard and difficult times. Our girls who have suffered loss. Our girls who are suffering through an illness. Our girls that are battling depression, anxiety and emotional turmoil. Our girls that are pushing through a difficult marriage. Our girls that are struggling with body issues. Our girls that are struggling with their past. Our girls that are unsure of their future. Our girls that are pushing through some forgiveness stuff. 


Jesus., bring them Your Perfect Peace. Bring them Your Healing. Bring it now.


Meet them right where they are. 


We are running to your arms.


In Jesus' Holy Name we pray,


Amen.

Happy Monday, SHINE sisters!

all my heart,

jill

Jul 22, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises for the Week of 7/22-7/28.....


I had a breakthrough yesterday. A “Saul” breakthrough. For those of you that have been with us since the beginning, you know that Jill encouraged us to pray for the “Sauls” of our lives way back in February. Those people who your heart had closed down to because it hurt too much. 

For me, that person in my life who I had almost completely given up hope on until we read 1 Samuel and I understood that David loved and respected everything God ordained. Even a King who was evil and unjust... Even my Saul who was so, so wrong.

My Saul looked surprisingly different to me yesterday, sounded different, responded so differently. IT WAS CRAZY! I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

Even for a prayer that is 10 years old, even for a prayer that I was pretty sure God wasn’t listening to anymore---those prayers matter, they matter to HIM. But, can we be faithful?

I had a moment of clarity during this Revelation with my Saul. A moment where I looked down at the ground and thought, this is my Saul and my Saul doesn’t sound like my Saul has always sounded before. Almost in disbelief, I am praying today for my Saul. With a new found zeal that only comes with a burst of a break though. :o)

Please post your prayer needs below. We are honored to pray for you and with you. Even for those old, crusty prayers that you and I had almost given up hope that He was listening. He IS! Also, you may always click on the prayer request button on the right of your screen to access this page throughout the week.

God bless you, girls! I love you!

Rebekah
 

Jul 20, 2012

Friday SHINE winner......

Want a little good news this Friday afternoon?

We have our SHINE weekday give-away WINNER!

Our SHINE girl cake carrier that rocks the house down, goes to......

Women Who Pray!


Otherwise known as Teddi Holt!

Teddi just so happens to be one of our SHINE prayer intercessors! Girls, this lady can pray the roof off your house! For real!


A BIG HUGE thank you to our SHINE girl donor!
(She wishes to remain anonymous...
but if you want to know how you can order one of these
awesome cake carriers, I will spill the beans. ;)
Shhhh, don't tell her!)

We will have a new SHINE girl give-away soon!

In the meantime, keep SHINE-ing bright! I can see your glow all the way from my little country drive-way! 

Teddi, email me and we will arrange getting this cake carrier to your table!

Happy Weekend, SHINE sistas!

grace & peace,

jill

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 3

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

Your Fun Friday Challenge today is:

Catch up on your reading today. :)

Use today and this weekend to catch up if you have missed anything in our reading or on the blog.

Staying in His Word is our purpose here, girls. Let's stay on track.

Also, the SHINE weekday give-away drawing will be today, so make sure to enter your comment under the give-away post. 

Happy Friday, girls! Make it GREAT!


Jul 19, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 2

Happy Serve Day Thursday! Who can you serve today? Pray about it, and go and serve with those little hands and feet of yours! Jesus lived His life serving others. Let's follow His example, girls!

Acts 2 brings Peter back into our lives. Oh, how I love this man! Remember, we learned how passionate Peter was and how he loved Jesus so much? So much, that he denied Jesus 3 times...in a row?!

Yes! That's our Peter! Completely flesh and human. Very, very real.

We can relate to real, right?

Chapter 2 explains the Holy Spirit pouring into the disciples and the awesome experience of them speaking many different languages because of this new Power bestowed upon them. The Holy Spirit Power!

Those around them thought that they had gone crazy! They actually accused them of being drunk!

My favorite part happens next: Peter Speaks Up.

Peter boldly stands up among the crowd and explains the reason they are speaking these languages and that God is fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament right before their very eyes.


"In the Last Days," God says, 
   "I will pour out my Spirit 
      on every kind of people: 
   Your sons will prophesy, 
      also your daughters; 
   Your young men will see visions, 
      your old men dream dreams. 
   When the time comes, 
      I'll pour out my Spirit 
   On those who serve me, men and women both, 
      and they'll prophesy. 
   I'll set wonders in the sky above 
      and signs on the earth below, 
   Blood and fire and billowing smoke, 
      the sun turning black and the moon blood-red, 
   Before the Day of the Lord arrives, 
      the Day tremendous and marvelous; 
   And whoever calls out for help 
      to me, God, will be saved." 
Acts 2:14-21

Not only is Peter bold enough to be the one that stands up to explain what's happening, but he is quoting the Word of God and beckoning those listening to be saved along with them.

Oh, what a sight that must have been! I hope Heaven has a HUGE movie screen that plays this part of history over and over again so that I can see it in visual form. A big bowl of buttery popcorn, a Coke with crunchy ice, and sitting next to Jesus watching the disciples receive the Holy Spirit on a big screen....now that's Heaven.

Girls, are we bold like Peter?

What are we keeping our mouths shut about that needs to be spoken?

Are we sitting by waiting for someone else to have the boldness to speak Truth? Is there something happening that needs to be brought to the Light?

What are we waiting for?

If not us, then who??

We have the same Power that Peter does, girls! Holy Spirit Power!

Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, we can do all things! 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." 
Phil. 4:13

I challenge you today to be bold in your faith. Stand up for Truth. Don't sit by and let Satan deceive those around you. Speak Truth and Life. Boldly.

Point others to Truth, girls. God will take care of the rest. 


speaking up,


jill


Jul 18, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 1

Hot Dog! We are moving on to Acts! I am doing the Worship Wednesday happy dance over here!

Nothing against Ecclesiastes, but A) it was hard to follow at times and B) it was a pain to keep spelling out on the blog every day! :)

ACTS! Here we come!

A little about Acts: Research shows that is was probably written by Luke, the Phsysician. Also, research shows that it was written around AD 63 or even later.

I am not a "research-y" girl, but I thought it was important for you to know who wrote it and when it was written. It's just good to know these things. :)

In the first chapter today, it describes Jesus' triumphant return from death on the cross and His teaching on Earth during those 40 days back on Earth.

Did you catch that? 40 days? Sound familiar?

40 days is very significant, girls. Hence, our 40 day Prayer Challenge.

I have to admit, Jesus may as well have titled this first chapter of Acts, "To Jill Hill. Read this.Yes, you."

Several things speak to me.

 First, in V. 3 it says that "He gave them many convincing proofs that He was alive..." 

I would have been the one that said, "Hmmm, not really sure if it's you, Jesus. Can you show me a few more miracles, just so I can be sure?"

How many times does the Lord have to show me the same signs over and over before I say, "Okay!  Got it! I believe You!"

Secondly, the disciples were told in V. 4-5 "not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes upon you." (I am paraphrasing here)

Hello? Don't you think they were beating down the door to get to telling the world about Jesus being back from the dead? They were filled with awe and wonder and joy, and yet Jesus told them to hold off until He told them it was time to leave.

Oh my gosh. My impatient little heart just skipped a beat or three! The Lord has to tell me all of the time to WAIT. He has plans in the making, and He needs every piece to be in place before I burst through the door.

Are you following me?

The disciples then asked Him when we would restore the kingdom to Israel. Boy, they were on FIRE and ready for the Lord to deliver on the Promises they knew were coming!

Jesus then told them, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power, when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the Earth."

Oh, girls! Hold me back! I just jumped out of my chair!!

Don't you know the disciples felt the same way?

They were READY!!

There was just one thing though. They had to wait for God's timing. They had to wait to receive the Holy Spirit so that they could be filled with God's power to reach the ends of the Earth.

So, this brings me back to the old "pushing through" thing. Girls, God has this all worked out for you. You just have to wait, be patient, and push through with your faithfulness.

The pushing brings the Power.

Yes, we have the Holy Spirit. However, we also have to listen to Him. Listen for His nudge. Listen for His voice of Truth. Listen for His timing.

Imagine a pregnancy. The entire 9 months the baby is growing and growing and growing. After about 5 or 6 months, the momma who is carrying that baby is READY to deliver. Time is molasses when you are pregnant.

You just want to see the end result. The baby.

However, what happens if the baby comes too early? The life of this child is in danger. The body is not formed completely and it has not had time to fully develop.

This is what happens when we don't push through to the end with our faith. When we give up too soon, or jump ahead of His plan, we are in danger of receiving a premature outcome. An outcome that is not fully developed will not bear fruit.

We must be patient, girls. Every detail of His plan for us takes time. It is so intricate that we cannot even begin to imagine the incredible fine details.

What are you pushing through, friend?


  • Your marriage?
  • Your job?
  • Problems with a friend?
  • Problems with your children?
  • Your faith?
  • An unfair situation?
  • Jealousy?
  • Pride?
  • Anger?
  • Bitterness?
  • Depression?
  • Loneliness?
  • Your shaky financial situation?


Lean in close and look into my blue/green eyes (or imagine you are) and let me tell you with 100% assurance, that He is Faithful. He will deliver on His Promises. The best is yet to come, my friend.

There will be days when you are tired. You are worn out. You are ready to throw in the towel. You are ready to give up.

Don't!

Keep pushing. Keep praying. Keep reading His Word.

He will not fail you.

pushing through to His promises,

jill


Jul 17, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Ecclesiastes 12

Good morning, SHINE girls! How's your prayer challenge going? Are you staying in touch with Your Heavenly Father? Oh, I hope so!

We are finishing up Ecclesiastes today and moving on to the book of Acts tomorrow! Good stuff in Acts, girlfriends. Good stuff.

So, I had another testy day last Saturday. Remember last week I told you about my Taco Bell experience?

Well, this one takes the cake. (literally.)

I woke up Saturday morning with a spiritual hang-over from the past week. VBS was AWESOME, and God was just a'working all around me that week. It was a week full of heart filling and heart spilling, if you know what I mean.

Well, my spiritual hangover caused me to be a little grumpy that Saturday morning. (surprised?)

Presley had an early morning birthday party to get to and I was in charge of getting their early to take pictures of my friend Kim's little girl. It was a surprise party, and Kim wanted me to snap pictures of her coming in. I was honored to do this for her.

I showered, put on my make-up, flat-ironed my frizzy hair, and put on my brand new, clearance rack Old Navy top.

It had been beckoning me from the hanger for the last two weeks. FINALLY, I could wear it. Yay!

I glanced lovingly at this adorable top in the mirror one last time, and headed to the kitchen to grab my keys and go to the party.

Lem walked past me in the hall and said, "Are you wearing that?"

My face turned 50 shades of red.

"Yes, don't you like it? It was really, really cheap at Old Navy....and I love it!" I replied.

He gave it one last look and walked on by.

I could have spit nails at him.

I ran back to my closet, grabbed every shirt off the hanger and wailed that I had nothing else cute to wear.

As I was pitching my nice little fit, Presley walked in and asked if I was really going to wear that "weird" shirt to the party.

I was at my wit's end.

I told Presley to go and get in the car while I found a replacement top for these people that OBVIOUSLY had no sense of style. Good grief.

Finally, I found something old and worn 100 times over, and headed to the car.

Presley almost knocks me down as she comes running back in from the car looking for paper towels.

She had spilled her sweet tea all over the cloth seats in our small car.

I don't remember what happened next. Let's just say, it wasn't good.

Okay, so moving on.

We got in the car and headed to the little birthday party. The Holy Spirit convicted me. Again. 

I apologized to Presley, and I apologized to the Lord for blowing it...again. 

After the birthday party, we headed to another birthday party. I was feeling better, and my mood was lightened. (a little, anyway.)

We finally got home from the second birthday party, and we had a few minutes of down time before heading back out to another party. Yes, another one.

I took off the ugly, worn 100 times shirt, and put on a comfy white t-shirt and my running skirt.

I needed to breathe for a few minutes before racing back out the door.

I was still grumpy. My cute top that I had so happily purchased, was not-so-cute apparently. And to top it all off, my house looked like a small atom bomb had gone off while we were away. Nice.

I was spiritually drained and dry. I wanted to just kind of disconnect from the Lord for a bit. I was having a pity party to say the least.

The Lord clearly spoke to me right then and there in the midst of that dirty house and my comfy white t-shirt.

He is literally beckoning me to stay in tune with Him. I can feel Him tugging at my heart.

Girls, this is the last thing I feel like doing. I am tired. I am worn out. My house needs a good scrub. The last thing I want to do is hit my knees and pray.

Seriously, Lord? Now?

He tells me to pray for these faces that I am seeing in my mind. Not only to pray for them, but to write their names down to remember to pray for them.

Seriously?? Right now?

My laundry is overflowing and my toilets need sanitizing. Do I really have to stop and pray? Can't I just pray while I am scrubbing? (I may have even rolled my eyes at this point. Don't judge.)

Against my fleshly flesh, I obey.

I look for some paper to write down the names and do not see any in my path. Instead, I grabbed a wet/dry marker and wrote the names of these people on my bathroom mirror.

As I wrote each name, my heart melted with each pen stroke.

After each name was written, I put a big heart around the names and wrote Jeremiah 29:11 inside the heart.

The Lord had just given me the biggest visual. He knows I am a visual girl.

He was telling me to quit looking at my reflection in that mirror. He wants me to see their reflection when I look in that big mirror every morning.

If I am seeing them everyday, my heart is back to where it needs to be. It will remind me to pray.



He was pushing me. Pushing me to fight through my flesh, and pray to Him. Although everything inside of me was telling me to disconnect and keep on with my little pity party.

I (against my flesh) obeyed.

I prayed for about 10 minutes. Lifting these loved ones to the Father, and re-focusing this heart of mine to Him.

Despite my grumpy self and pity party flesh....I pushed through.

Seconds later, the doorbell rings. 

Oh, shoot. Who in the world??

Here I am, tears running down my face, hair is disheveled, and I am bra-less. Yes, you heard me right.

Presley runs into the bathroom and says that someone is here to see me.

My mind is racing. To see me?? Really??

I go to the door and a friend is standing there holding a big, beautiful cake carrier. She has decorated it and personalized it just for me.

(This friend and I had just met at the birthday party that morning, and she just so happens to be the same one donating the cake carrier for the weekday give-away this week.)

She gracefully hands me the personalized cake carrier and tells me that she just thought that I may like to have a cake carrier for myself as well.

my push present. 


Lo and behold.

Little did she know how much the timing of this gift meant to my heart.

I thanked her profusely and then hugged her.  Bra-less and all.

When she left, I stood there in awe of what the Lord had just done for me.

He was teaching me right then and there.

I must have been a sight for sore eyes standing there in my foyer bra-less, holding that beautiful cake carrier, and mouth wide open in awe of the Lord.

He was showing me that when I push through this flesh and obey, there is always something good waiting on the other side. I have to trust Him. I just have to.

Girls, are you hearing this?

What are you having to push through? Does it seem like it will never happen? Does it seem like you have been pushing longer than you should have to push?

Keep pushing, friend.

He is making you stronger. He is making your blessing BIGGER.

With each push, you are getting closer and closer to that cake carrier. You are.


will never stop pushing,

jill


"For I know the plans I have for you,” 
declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Jul 16, 2012

Reading Plan for the week of 7/16-7/20.....

Reading Plan for the Week of 7/16-7/20....


  • Monday 7/16: Ecclesiastes 11
  • Tuesday 7/17" Ecclesiastes 12
  • Wednesday 7/18: Acts 1
  • Thursday 7/19: Acts 2
  • Friday 7/20: Acts 3
Welcome to Week 3 of our 40 day prayer challenge! We are on Day 22! Yay!

Dear Lord,

We need You. We honor You. We praise You.

Lord, cleanse our hearts and turn them to You in all that we do. Purify our hearts and our souls so that we can serve You and further Your kingdom. 

Thank you for this life that You have given us. We have another day here on Earth to praise You! We have another day to worship You! We have another day to tell others about You!

Give us boldness, Lord. Give us courage. Give us strength today and every day. 

Father, help us to be faithful in the small things today. Even the things that we think do not matter, help us and remind us to push through and remain faithful.

You are watching us, Lord. You want us to show You that we are serious about being faithful! Even when we think others are not looking, Lord...YOU are watching us! You see the small acts of obedience and faithfulness and You will bless us for them!

Praise You, Father. 

Protect us, protect our loved ones today and this week, Father.

In Jesus name we humbly pray,

Amen.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much"
Luke 16:10


Jul 15, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises for the Week of 7/15-7/21.....


 It’s incredible that God doesn’t need our hands and feet to get things done…. He created the heavens and the earth. He could “do” anything that He wants done, right???  God allows us to be involved in the incredible things he is doing in each of us. (((WOW))) These events in our lives are the fertilizer and rich soil for which to grow our faith.  THAT IS A BLESSING!

Thank you, Lord , for allowing us the privilege to be a part of Your work. We recognize that prayer is the only way to be plugged into the work(s) You are doing in our hearts and lives. Prayer is also the only way to hear and feel Your Holy Spirit’s direction. We want to know you intimately, Lord, and receive every gift of wisdom and direction You have in store. We want to walk along side you and likewise, walking in grace and peace. We pray that each SHINE girl will grow in faith and relationship with You as we continue on our prayer journey. Be with us, Father, as we want to honor and reflect Your love each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Please post your prayer requests and praises in the comment section below. Our prayer team is honored to lift each of you up to our Heavenly Father.

Jul 13, 2012

Friday SHINE give-away....

Remember our "Tell me something good" challenge?


Well, guess what?


I am about to tell YOU something good, again!


We have an AWESOME SHINE girl weekday give-away!


Hooray!!!


I love this gift SO much, that I do not want to give it away! However, since I LOVE you girls so much...I will!


Our donor asked to remain anonymous, but I will just say that she is an incredibly talented and sweet girl! We are so blessed to have her SHINE with us!


Here is the prize....


A personalized SHINE Girls Cake Carrier!!

This is the back!
Do we love this scripture, or what??!!

The winner will be the talk of the party with this cake carrier! It doesn't even matter what the cake will taste like, everyone will be wanting to know all about the SHINE cake carrier!


Okay, here's how you win:

Tell me your favorite sweet treat!!

Ready, set...GO!


(as always, email me if you are not able to post. shinegirlsshine@gmail.com--and I will post it for you!)

"How sweet your words taste to me; 
they are sweeter than honey." 
Psalm 119:103

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Ecclesiastes 10

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!! Wow, what a week it has been around here!

We are on Day 19 of our 40 Day Prayer Challenge! Almost half-way there! Yay!

This week has been a very FULL week for me--in every sense of the word.

My church had VBS all week, so my kids and I have been consumed with fun, long days and late nights. Great memories made, and heart strings pulled because of some precious children that I had the pleasure of meeting.

Throw in the praying, fasting, and forgiving that all of us SHINE girls have been doing this week, and it makes for an INCREDIBLE spiritual HIGH!

So, yes, FULL. That's where my heart is this morning. No, not just full, but overflowing.

My favorite radio station, 104.7 The Fish, encourages their listeners to call in and "tell them something GOOD" on Friday's. I LOVE this!

I am all about some GOOD news! Nothing makes my heart skip a beat like hearing my loved ones spread some of the "good stuff" going on in their lives. I love to hear others stories. I could sit at your feet all day and soak up listening to the goodness going on in your lives. For real, I could.

So, our Fun Friday Challenge today is:

Tell me something GOOD!

I want to hear it! No, not just me, but WE want to hear some good SHINE girls news!

Comment under this post, or email your good news to me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com. Speak those blessings out LOUD, friends! It blesses others and it blesses the Lord to see you speak your good stuff out loud!

Here's my good stuff:

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. I could not agree more. So, here ya go.

These are my new favorite friends.
My friends and I go and play with them on Thursdays, and they
are one VERY big reason my heart is OVERFLOWING.

Need I say more?
VBS with them all week....
and  so many other precious children.
Oh, my heart just cannot take much more goodness!!
Good stuff.

Jul 12, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Ecclesiastes 9

Happy Serve-Day Thursday, SHINE girls!

I have a "serving" challenge for you today.

Are you ready?

I want us to serve someone today by forgiving them.

Yes, you heard me correctly.....forgive.

God has been hammering my heart this week with this "forgiveness" word. He is in a relentless pursuit for our hearts to be purified and cleansed by forgiveness.

Girls, when we hang onto our hurts and our pride, we cannot be used by the Lord as He so desires to use us.

When we choose to not forgive, it is like being glued to our seats. We see all the "action" of the Lord working around us, but we cannot seem to get out of our chair and be used.

The glue is the build-up of of an unforgiving heart. It is. Pure and simple.

Do you feel disconnected when you pray to the Lord at times?

Check your forgiveness meter, friends. If you are carrying around even an ounce of that ugly "unforgiving" stuff, it will put a wall between you and the Lord. It will.

Picture this:  Jesus hanging on the cross as the people are hurling insults and accusations at Him. He looks up to God and says, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Girls, it's time to forgive.

Let it go. Free your heart to be in perfect communion with the Father.

He forgives us daily. We need to follow His example. Right now.

Serve someone a big, beautiful plate of forgiveness today. Go to the Lord, and tell him you are ready to let it go. You want to be un-glued from your seat and get on with your beautiful life.

He is beckoning to do some big stuff in your life, girls.

Let Him.

unglued,

jill

For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6: 14

Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? [As many as] up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven! Matthew 18: 21-22

So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses. Matthew 18: 35


Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. Colossians 3: 13

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. Mark 11:25

Jul 11, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Ecclesiastes 8

Happy Worship Wednesday, sweet SHINE girls! Celebrate your Heavenly Father today by praising Him through worship! He loves to see your heart in full-on praise!

Today is day 17 of our 40 Day Prayer Challenge. We are moving right along on our prayer journey!

Okay, I want to encourage you for just a minute.

Let me just be bold and say that these last few weeks of prayer have not always been the easiest. Ok, let me clarify. Praying is not the hard part. Nope, not the praying part.

The hard part is getting closer to His Light and seeing my sinful heart magnified 1000x. When I am closest to Him, I get a better picture of myself. In other words, the closer I am to Him, the further I am from myself. Make sense?

It's like He is a mirror. Bright and shiny and beautiful. From far away, I don't look too shabby. However, the closer I draw to Him, the clearer my reflection becomes, and I start seeing the stains all over myself.

Not pretty.

However, if I don't ever get close enough to Him to see the stains, I don't know that they need to be removed. Are you following me?

So, during our prayer journey, please know that there will be times when you literally feel your spiritual growth. Growth can bring pain. It just does. It's natural.


Growth involves cutting off  the nice fatty comfortable flesh, in order to produce the best possible fruit in your life.

The closer we are to Him through prayer, the more we are growing.

Growth=good.


Girls, the Lord designed all of Creation for growth and change. Look back at a picture of yourself from 10 years ago. See the change? 

Or how about a picture from 20 years ago? Hello, major change.

We were created for change. 

The question is: What kind of change do we want?

Are we content with just settling into natural physical change?

 Or are we ready for some spiritual change, and some spiritual growth?

I don't know about you, but I want spiritual growth! I don't want to be at the same place with the Lord that I am today 10 years from now.


I want to be wiser! I want to be bolder! I want to be better!

So, how does this growth thing look?

  • Growth comes when we offer forgiveness instead of hanging onto our pride.
  • Growth comes when we choose to not say those things to our spouse that are sitting on the tips of our tongues waiting to jump off and insult and injure.
  • Growth comes when we keep our mouths closed when a gossip session is taking place at the table with our girl friends. 
  • Growth comes when we choose not to compromise our witness and example when it would just be easier to "jump in" instead of being the odd-girl out. 
  • Growth comes when we suffer through the seeming isolation of being more concerned with the approval of Jesus than the approval of others. 
  • Growth comes when we feel like we don't have to make excuses anymore for choosing God's best for ourselves instead of  the crowd-pleasing mediocre.
  • Growth comes when we persevere through injustice and trust in the Lord to make things right. Instead of trusting in ourselves.
  • Growth comes when we are okay being last instead of first.
  • Growth comes when we desire to serve instead of be served.
  • Growth comes when we encourage a wayward friend instead of condemning them.
  • Growth comes when we can humble ourselves when we need to admit that we were wrong. 
  • Growth comes when we are not willing to sit by the side lines waiting for someone else to make a difference, when WE can make a difference.
  • Growth comes when we can turn the other cheek to someone who has hurt us.
  • Growth comes when we can lie down at night and sleep in peace instead of anxiety, knowing that our lives are in the Lord's hands.
Girls, that's what growth looks like.

Keep praying, and you WILL keep growing. It's inevitable.

embracing the growing pains,

jill




Jul 10, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Ecclesiastes 7



Good morning, SHINE girls! Day 16 of our 40 Prayer Challenge! You are all doing so great!

Proud as a peacock for all of YOU!

Imagine the sound of Heaven shaking and trembling with our prayers! Is that cool, or what?

Speaking of praying, I have a little story to share.

My family and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to the beach last week. It was so much fun! Nothing beats having my little family under my wing at all times. NOTHING.


We made the 5 hour drive back on Saturday, and finally arrived home. Home sweet home.


The house even seemed to smell different. Does that ever happen to y'all??


Anywho, we got home, unpacked, and I opened the pantry.

Zero, nada, nothing. Shoot.

The cupboards were barer that bare. I sighed, and grabbed my notebook to make a grocery list.

I perused the fridge once again to double check the things we needed. My family would need dinner, and they would also need to be fed breakfast before church the next day. (as for me, i could survive on cereal and coffee. so, i was fine.)

I made my list, checked it twice, grabbed my keys and headed out the door for a quick grocery run.

Presley runs after me and says she wants to go too. My face dropped. Literally.

I think I sighed a little too loud. (maybe even muttered under my breath a teeny bit.)

Lem then tells Presley to go and put on her shoes so that she can go with me.

I was not happy. (that may be a little bit of an understatement.)

I was grumpy, tired, and all I wanted was a really, really quick trip to the store. Normally, I LOVE when Presley goes with me because she is a big help and we have fun together. Today, was not the day for help though. I just wanted a few groceries. No help needed for this tired momma on this trip.

I could feel my blood boiling because Lem had assisted her with the decision to go with me. My mouth sprung open before I could put an extra large filter on my poor choice of words.

It was too late. I told Lem exactly what I felt about him and how selfish I thought he was. (yikes!)

Oh, and did I mention that both kids heard every single word? (double yikes!)

Presley ran into her room, and my heart broke into a million pieces. Maybe even a zillion. (no exaggeration there.)

After a few minutes of hanging onto my pride a little too long, I went and scooped Presley up and told her that I would LOVE for her to go with me and that I was just really tired.

I felt so guilty after my childish outburst that I even begged Joseph to come along with us. (hello, guilty conscience.)

Now I have two kids in tow, I'm still tired, I'm still on the grumpy side, and now throw in a handful of Mt. Everest sized guilt. Not a good combination.

We got into the car, and I blared praise music the whole way to cleanse my unclean heart. The louder the music, the deeper the cleansing. Or so it seemed.

By the time we got into town, my guilt was off the charts. So, what's a momma to do?

I pulled into Taco Bell to feed them dinner. (yep, I really did.)

As we pulled into Taco Bell, I apologized to my children. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I confessed my bad decision in not being nice to Daddy, and for being so ugly to them and to Daddy.

I asked them for their forgiveness.

Well, guess what? They had already forgotten about the whole incident. Go figure.

Girls, the Holy Spirit pricked this heart of mine hard in that car. I was so convicted by my behavior, that I felt like I needed to be dunked in a big ocean of Holy Water to come clean. For real.

However, I knew that the Lord had already forgiven me. My children were the examples that reminded me  of His grace and forgiveness. How quickly they had forgotten and moved on. (While I sat there soaking in my guilt and ugliness.)

The next morning, I thought back to the whole incident. I wondered if I had not been so purposeful and intentional in prayer these last couple of weeks, if I would have been convicted so quickly of my sinful behavior.

I wondered if I had not been so intentional in prayer, if it would have been a week or two before that guilt surfaced, meanwhile festering into bitterness in my heart.

Even as I type, I hear the Holy Spirit whispering a resounding YES in my ears. I have gone down this path before, and it not a pretty sight. The longer I go with unrepentant sin, the harder my little heart becomes. It's not a fun process, girls. Learn by my mistakes, please.

So, I beg you not take for granted this precious communion with your Savior these next few weeks.

Girls, He is speaking to you. He is close to you. You cannot even imagine the proximity of His face next to yours.

Listen to any ounce of conviction that He may bring to your heart. Follow through quickly with repentance. Sin is not worth hanging onto because of your pride, girls. Trust me.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God;
 and renew a right spirit within me."
 Psalm 51:10

This verse is taped on a notecard on the mirror in my bedroom.  (see picture at top of post) 

Do you want to know why?

Because, I need it every single day

My heart gets unclean daily. I need the refreshing cleansing of my Father's forgiveness, every day. 

It's like antibacterial soap to my heart. It literally sanitizes it. 

If you don't have Psalm 51:10 memorized, do it today. 

You will be so glad you did.

Keep praying, girls. Big things are going on in that pretty little beating heart of yours. Big things.

heart in detox,

jill