Nov 26, 2013

Beauty for Ashes.....

So, it's been a month and a half since I have posted here on SHINE. Gosh, I sure miss all of you.

I had to write today. I just had to.

First, I want to tell you just how funny God is. Not just funny, but just how He keeps my little {or not so little} bootie in check.

Two days after I wrote my last SHINE post telling you girls that I felt God was leading me to rest and take a break--my computer died. Yes, DIED.

How does a perfectly in tact, well maintained computer just up and die?

Hmmm, I think only God can pull that off. What do you think?

I am typing to you now from my son's ultra tiny little laptop. My fingers feel like an elephant trying to keep her balance on the back of a small tortoise shell. Yes, this keyboard is teeny.

This computer was dead too--also two days after my last post. Yes, no coincidence there.

Somehow, I had the nudge to turn it on tonight and check it out one more time before we paid to have it checked and fixed, or buried it one.

It worked.

Moving on with my story, elephant fingers and all.

Today, my family and I served lunch to some precious homeless women and children.

I prepared myself for several days, because I know how my heart and my emotions can go haywire after an opportunity like this. Hormones, tears, and wacky emotions make for a pretty unstable few days for a girl like me.

After much prayer, and many conversations with the Lord, I felt I was ready for today.

Humph.

Shows how much I know.

Quick Newsflash: Before you start feeling condemned or guilty if you have not had the opportunity to serve, let me just reassure you that this is the first time in over a year that I have done this. I don't want y'all to think that we do this regularly and think more of us than we are, because we are not. Mostly, we wanted to do it because we want our kids to have some perspective, especially this time of the year.

Here a few things I learned today:

These women and children that we served are better than me. Really, they are. They were so grateful...not just grateful but JOYFUL! Smile after smile, thank you after thank you. I was blown away at the kindness. I kept thinking to myself..."would I be this joyful if I were in their worn-out little shoes?" I don't think I like my answer.

This verse kept coming into my heart every smile I met: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The last lady I spoke to blessed me the most.

I listened to her as she told me how much she loved football. Of course, my 12 year old son was intrigued. He immediately tuned in, and before long they were talking about the Manning brothers, and all kinds of football things that I have no clue about. I decided to have a seat and prepared to tune out for a few minutes. I mean, football is just not my favorite subject.

My ears perked up, however, when she said this. She was telling us how much she loved the Falcons but how terrible their team is this year. She looked me straight in the eye and asked me this question: "Do you know what those Falcons need?"

I was glad I had decided to sit because I knew this conversation was about to get knee-deep in football talk. I was preparing myself to nod my head a lot and act like I knew an iota about football.

She continued on saying this: "Those Falcons need prayer! We need to go to that stadium and cover that place with the Blood of Jesus Christ!"

I could have jumped out of my little 4-legged chair! Perhaps, I did?

Finally, this precious brown-eyed lady was on a topic I liked to talk about! Jesus!!

We talked and talked and talked after this.

She is a writer. Who has actually published a book. {I verified it on Amazon after I left}

She just had found herself in hard times. She still had her Joy. She still had her Jesus. Really, what else did she need?

I asked if I could pray for her. Right there, with Presley sitting on my lap, hands in her precious hands, we prayed for this sister in Christ.

Here's the really good part....

As I said amen, she continued on in prayer. She began to pray over ME.

Tears in my eyes, lump in my throat. This woman was giving what she had to offer, maybe one of the only things she had to offer.....to me.

"They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." Mark 12:44

After her prayer, I thanked her profusely for blessing me so much. We were kindred sisters in Christ. Both writers, both lovers of Jesus.

More than anything, I wanted to get my purse, scrape up some money and give her something. Anything. I had nothing. No purse, no nothing to give her.

I heard a whisper in my Spirit ,"You are giving her what you have to give her.  Your ears to listen, your mouth to pray, and your heart to love."

We left that church and I was changed.

Presley and I had a long talk tonight. Crocodile tears rolled down her soft pink cheeks. "Mommy, I don't think I have ever seen anything so sad. I want to give them everything I have. I want to give them all of our food. I want to be them, so they can be me."

Lump in my throat the size of the great state of Texas, I nodded. Yes, I understand, darling.

Presley was changed. How could she not be?

She's 8, yet she's changed.

Jesus can open your eyes at any age. 8 or 108, He can and will open our eyes when we ask Him to.

Presley and I then held hands and prayed together. I showed her this verse. The Lord led me to this verse on our drive to the church to serve. I read it over and over before we arrived. It was my Hope to cling to before I walked into a hopeless sight.
   
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,            
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,    
 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.            
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations."
Isaiah 61:1-4

Maybe you need to hear those words today, or maybe you will need to hear them in the future.

Today, I needed this Hope. I needed this Truth to lay my weary, tired, and heavy bleach blond head upon.

As I pulled in the driveway this afternoon, suddenly my house seemed bigger. My leaf-filled yard seemed beautiful, and my messy kitchen seemed not-so-messy anymore. I walked to my bedroom and felt the warmth of the heat wafting through the room. I was overcome with gratitude and thankfulness.

I sat in a bath full of white bubbles immediately. I felt like I needed to wash off the heaviness, the despair, the sadness.

The hot water was pouring out of the spout, and I cried my eyes out. I have cried many times in that tub. This time, the Lord showed me something in my sadness.

As the tub filled with water, just as quick as my eyes filled with tears, I envisioned His Hand pouring in the water. Pouring, pouring, pouring.

The water was my gratitude. The water was the Lord opening my eyes to the blessings surrounding me. My heart, although heavy, was full. Full of Gratitude.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective. Don't we? When discontentment rears its ugly little head again, I will remember this day. I will remember my new friends. I will lift them up, instead of rotting in discontentment.

Will you pray for Vancille and Dalita and Malachi (7 years old) tonight? Will you lift them up to the Father? Even if it's just a one time prayer, He hears us. He will provide.

Yahweh Yireh=The Lord will Provide.

Yahweh Yireh will provide for you, for me, and for those precious souls we serve today.

Praise Him for this with me, will you?

I love you all, and I am so thankful for each and every cute one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.


overflowing with gratitude,

jill


**I have taken off the comment section of this blog, due to a massive amount of spam! If you would like to let me know anything, you can still reach me at our email address shinegirlsshine at gmail dot com. :)

Oct 14, 2013

Keep Reading.....

Many of you have contacted me about wanting to remain on the Bible Reading Plan with us...

GREAT!

To make it really simple for you to still continue, click on this link:

 http://eastridgefamily.org/files/Reading%20Plan/Three%20Year%20Bible%20Reading%20Plan.pdf

This is our SHINE Girls 3 year reading plan. We started this new plan in January of this year. So, we are on year One.

You can print it out, make a link on your phone--whatever you want to do with it. :)

I encourage you to KEEP READING!

We will still read. We will still pray. We will still encourage each other. 

Also, as I mentioned in my last post-- I will still be posting on here. Just not quite as often. I have a couple of SHINE Girl Spotlights coming up to post. So, don't miss out on those.

If you already are subscribing to the blog, you don't need to change anything. The posts will still come to your little inbox. :)

Thank you for ALL of your emails, comments, phone calls, texts---you have NO idea how much I love you all. Whew--tears are a flowing!

Keep SHINE-ing bright sweet girls!

Love you so much,

jill

A Time for Everything....

Dear SHINE sisters,

As I sat down to write you, I opened my Bible for strength and the "words" to say to you today.

You will never believe the verse that I turned to as I anxiously awaited God's leading in this post.

"Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:5. 

This verse is at the very top of this website, it is engraved on a necklace that I wear around my neck that my dear sister gave me. This verse is one of the verses SHINE girls was found upon.

God showed me this verse very early in our ministry, day two or three, I think. It has been our life verse for this ministry.

So, to have it blazing in my face when I opened my Bible just now, is well.....only a Jesus thing. That's for sure.

22 months ago, God asked me to follow this amazing journey with Him. A journey of seeking Him daily in His Word. A journey of pursuing Him like never before.

Many of you have been on this journey with me since day one. Many of you have just joined recently. Either way, my heart is overjoyed at the thought of all of you standing shoulder to shoulder to me as we trek through His Awesome and Holy Word each day.

Learning, growing, falling down, picking each other back up...every single day.

I never knew such a community of fellowship could exist among women, until the Lord showed me with my very own eyes.

The Lord is speaking very clearly to me now. When we are in His Word, we cannot help but to hear Him, friends. It's just that simple.

Last week, I spent a glorious Fall break with my children. I didn't write or blog. In fact, I even sent an email to many of my friends telling them that I was taking a "texting" break. I felt the Lord leading me to a distraction-free week.

A week of hearing from Him, and Him only.

I enjoyed every peaceful second of last week. God was showing me the beauty in the quiet. The whisper of Peace. The fulfillment of Him and Him alone.

My children are still young. As of 14 months ago, we have a third child under our roof. Life is very very full. Like, many of your lives.

The ministry that I desire most, is in my  home.

This ministry must come first if He is to bless me with more ministry opportunities. The overflow of my home ministry, will naturally flow into other ministries--if it is His will.

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones." 
Luke 16:10

This verse has been on "repeat" in my heart for weeks now. God is telling me, "Jill, I have entrusted to you these little small people under your roof. Be faithful in training them up, be faithful in your time with them. My desires become your desires when you are faithful with the small things. The small things are often overlooked when you  focus on the bigger things. Trust me in this."

Everything that we have done on SHINE--the reading, the Monday memory verses, the fun Friday challenges, Serve-day Thursdays, etc...all of this was stemmed from my own home life with my children. We started these things before I ever dreamed many of you would be doing this with us. Hand in hand, day by day.

He was showing me that all those talks in the car, those verses the children and I sang and memorized together...they have all been part of a bigger plan. A plan that could only be fulfilled when the smaller plan was practiced--day in, day out.

As I rested last week in His Presence, and sought Him in His Word, He spoke to me. His gentle, sweet whisper teaching me, guiding me, pursuing me.

He's telling me to rest in Him for a while. In order to pour out to others, I must be getting filled by Him. I cannot run too far ahead, or I will get weary and tired.

Maybe this is a season, and then He will call me back to this online ministry. Maybe this is the end.

I'm not sure. Only the Lord knows for sure.

This is what I do know: I don't want to miss a day with Him. Not even a second. When He speaks, I want to listen. Not just listen, but obey. Even when my flesh cries and doesn't understand, I know He knows what's best for me.

As I am typing this my daughter is brushing my hair. I cannot help but to think of the symbolism of this act taking place.

This time is short with her under my roof.

Our greatest ministries are often the ones right under our noses. The ones that may get overlooked at times.

I encourage all of us--to not overlook the small things. Those small things are the really big things to God. Those small things become the really big things.

Thankfully, God has given me the gift of a Wednesday night group to continue on with through my church. A face-to-face, heart-to-heart group.

SHINE girls will continue. Just not in this format for now.

I will still write, oh yes. My writing is my expression of my love for Him. I will still post what He is teaching me, what I am learning--when He prompts me to write about it.

I encourage you to stay in His Word. Stay accountable in a small group, or a bible study. You may think you don't need this, but you do. We all do.

The Lord teaches us to connect with each other--not just online, or texting or phone calls --but through meeting, praying, encouraging, lifting each other up.

"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, 
but encourage one another, 
especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."
 Hebrews 10:25


Please keep reading His Word. It's Life. 

To continue on with us, you can access the reading plan at this site:

 http://eastridgefamily.org/files/Reading%20Plan/Three%20Year%20Bible%20Reading%20Plan.pdf

{this is actually the whole 3 year plan! we are on year one}

My SHINE girls Wednesday night group and I will still be reading, still be studying, and still be meeting. 

One last note: As I cried my eyes out at church yesterday about this with two of my mentors--Becky Foy and Robyn Bailey-- they both said this:

"Sometimes we miss the GREAT things that God has for us because we get tied up with so many "good" things."

Oh, girls, let's don't miss the GREAT things. Let's listen. Let's obey. Let's follow Him. Wherever He leads.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"
Ecclesiastes 3:1



missing you already,

jill




Oct 10, 2013

Prayer Requests and Praises for October 2013....



Prayer Requests and Praises for October 2013


Homework....

Hey there, lovely SHINE girls!

I hope you are enjoying your week of rest and solace with Him.

If you are one of our "homework" girls, this post is for you. ;)

I challenge and encourage you to read it, review it, and stay accountable in your reading by doing the homework questions with us. :) It will keep you on target, and it will help you to dig even deeper.

Keep reading His great and miraculous Word, girls. You are being changed from the inside out, and it's a BEAUTIFUL sight. You SHINE brighter and brighter each day your face stays close to His. It's breathtaking, truly.

Homework from our reading this week:

1) In 1 Kings 18:25-28 we see the prophets of Baal desperately asking their gods to show themselves. Elijah had challenged their god in a contest to see if their god would show up. Elijah wanted to prove to these people once and for all that his God was the only God. When the Baal god did not show up, the prophets of Baal become so frantic that they slashed themselves and shed their own blood to get their gods attention. Nothing happened.

I'm struck by something here.

Have we not at some point in our walk with our Lord challenged Him to show Himself? Have we blackmailed Him and demanded that He show up because we want Him to do our will?

When we are not walking closely with Him we get our desires confused with His desires. In other words, we walk outside of His will, and then expect Him to show up and make us look good.

If you would like, please share an example in class of a time when you were walking outside of His will, and expected Him to show up. What ended up happening?

The difference in us and the prophets of Baal, is that we do serve the One True God. In serving Him, we must walk where He walks. Follow where He leads. If we are not doing this, we are walking away from Him. We begin to trust our way instead of His, which is dangerous.

2) 1 Kings 19:3: Why was Elijah afraid after his great and awesome victory? Can you relate to Elijah's fear? Have you ever experienced a great and miraculous moment with the Lord, only to be back on your face soon after? Why do you think this happens? Give an example of an experience you have had with this very thing.


3) Read 1 Kings 19:11-15. How did God reveal Himself to Elijah? How does this speak to you about how God can often reveal Himself to us? What must we do in order to clearly hear Him?

Oh, girls, this speaks so much to us. Pray and ask the Lord to receive what He is telling you through these passages. We live in a "seeing is believing" kind of world. So many distractions. Day in and day out. We must make sure we don't look for God in places that He will not be found. Our God is Holy, and He is jealous for our attention. Let's don't let the world draw us away by it's loud and clamoring ways. Be still before Him.  "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10


happy homework-ing,

jill





Oct 6, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for week of 10/7-10/13:

Monday 10/7: 1 Kings 16:18-34
Tuesday 10/8: 1 Kings 17, 18
Wednesday 10/9: 1 Kings 19
Thursday 10/10: 1 Kings 20
Friday 10/11: 1 Kings 21
Saturday 10/12: 1 Kings 22
Sunday 10/13: John 1:1-18

 Hello, sweet SHINE girls!!

This week will look a little different. I will not be posting, but we will still be reading.

Say that last line with me again: "but we will still be reading."

Got it? Okay, good.

Also, we will not have a memory verse this week. I want you take this week and rest in His Presence. Many of us are on Fall break this week. Take this time and soak up His Word. No blog to read, no comments to post or read--just you and God. Together in His Word.

Enjoy your vacation with The Lord! You're in for an intimate and breathtaking ride, sweet girls.

I love you. So much.

He loves you. So much more.

Resting in His Word,


jill

Oct 4, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 12:33-13:34
  • Saturday 10/5: 1 Kings 14
  • Sunday 10/6: 1 Kings 15:1-16

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

Did you just love Amberlee's post yesterday? I mean, wow. She's only 19.

The good news is....no matter our age, God is constantly pursuing us. Yes, precious girls.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”
Psalms 23:6 (NLT)

Do we surrender to His call? Or do we say "maybe tomorrow"?

I pray you surrender to Him if you haven't already. He's waiting. Your life will never, ever be the same. Guaranteed.

So, I want to share something that God has taught me about our memory verse this week. Did you happen to notice the part about "the meditations of our heart'?

Let me refresh your memory: "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart  be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Yeah, this is a biggie.

Sometimes we tame the tongue, but forget to change the heart.

For example: I hate packing lunches. I do. I admit it.

Three lunches for three kids with different likes and dislikes.

I am tired by the time I am done.

I've had a bad attitude about this for a while. Until this week.

Each time I would pack a lunch, I would mumble and grumble in my heart. My heart was not meditating on pleasantness. That's the cold hard turkey sandwich truth. ;)

This week, as I was packing those three lunches, I prayed over those three little children I was packing them for. I prayed for them fervently.

I thanked God for them. Over and over.

Want to know something?

My heart changed.

I started to actually--hold onto your lipgloss--ENJOY packing those lunches! I'm serious.

I decided to apply this little nugget to folding laundry. {which I despise even more than packing lunches if you can believe that}

I prayed over every little bitty pair of pants and underwear. Socks, t-shirts, sheets...all of it.

Not only did I start enjoying it more {shocking!}, but I also started overflowing with gratitude. Yes, right in the middle of a big pile of laundry. Yep, I did.

So, want to know our Fun Friday Challenge?

Find Him in the midst of those mundane tasks. You know those things we have to do over and over, day after day. The things that drive us nuts.

Maybe it's the commute to work, the carpool line, cooking breakfast, making lunches, giving the little ones their nighttime bath, reading with your pre-schooler when you are beyond exhausted, sitting next to a not-so pleasant person at work or at school....

You get it.

Whatever your "thing" is, pray through it. During it. Pray all over it. Find Him in the midst of it.

Your attitude will change. Your heart will change. You will change.

Take the challenge. I dare you.


packing lunches with a smile,

jill



Oct 3, 2013

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 12:1-32

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! I have a very special guest post today, from a very special girl.

Amberlee is my beautiful niece. I was just a teenager when she was born, but I have claimed her as my very own since laying eyes on her. We have always been told we favor, and I happen to think it's true! :)

She is growing up, not just physically, but spiritually. Watching her journey with Christ is breathtaking from a front row seat. 

Be blessed, encouraged, and spurred on today by her post. She's leaving a legacy of faithfulness for many around her. 


Spiritual Facelift
by: Amberlee Crowe

Hello SHINE sisters! I hope this post finds you well. I am Amberlee Crowe. I am 19 years old and currently a Sophomore Musical Theatre major at Anderson University in South Carolina. I also have the privilege of being Jill’s niece (and what a privilege that is!).

Me and my Aunt Jill

I am honored to get to share with you today about what God has been doing in my life as of recent. So, here it goes…but first, just a little bit about how I got from there to here.

After a couple weeks of auditioning at different schools, I knew that Anderson University was where I wanted to be. I immediately felt at home. Anderson is a private Christian school that promotes faith in every aspect of education. I loved the idea of being in a theatre department that lifted up the name of Jesus. On top of all of this, my best friend was going here too. AND we were rooming together…yes, a dream come true.

I began the transition. I jumped in full force. I was in the fall musical, I landed an on campus job, I had a social life, I made killer grades. So many “good things”. Why wasn’t I satisfied? Something was missing. But, what? I am just going to cut straight to the chase: I turned to people throughout my freshman year to fill myself up. I found my identity in friendships and relationships. I was selfish and was pretty consumed with stupid worldly desires. Sounds like I’m being harsh on myself, but I promise you, that is the cold hard truth. (Ask my mom if you don’t believe me…I was a joy to be around during this time…)  

Spiritually, I was numb. I quit seeking God all together because I knew as soon as I did God would do His thing and put me in my place. I was holding out on God so I could experience the world.

I was self seeking and my pride was blinding. Did I want God telling me what to do? Heck no. Because I knew I was in the wrong. I knew that His plans were different than what I wanted for myself.

So to wrap up freshman year…it was fun, it was filled with great opportunities, but I was totally and undoubtedly just not in a good place. My thoughts were at a constant battle. I had something in my head saying “Wake up, Amberlee. What are you doing? You have the potential to impact lives, but instead you are so focused on yourself that you cannot see that” and another louder voice saying “Keep doing what you are doing. The only way to feel loved is to be wrapped up in a relationship. Your worth comes from your successes, Amberlee”.

Summer time came at the PERFECT time. I was ready for long days at the pool and sleeping in until 10 every day (that didn’t happen…these little things called siblings made sure of that).  Summer time came with a lot of free time. That free time turned into me having my nose in books. I spotted “Captivating” in a basket in our den. My mom and every other girl on the planet had recommended I read it and now was the perfect time. I was weirdly nervous about reading the book. I knew that God was going to “call me out” if I started this book. BUT, thankfully, I opened it up by the pool one afternoon and was immediately swept off my feet.

It was like a switch flipped. No…it was like getting hit up side the head with a cinder block. I heard Him loud and clear.

He called to me. “You’re the crown of creation, Amberlee. I will do everything it takes to set your heart free. You sparkle like jewels in a crown (Zech 9:16-17). I have loved you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). How beautiful you are, my darling (Song of Songs 1:15)”.

Wow. These simple truths overwhelmed me. In the best way possible. I experienced His presence like never before. This set a fire in me. A fire that I was determined to spread.

With this new state of mind I began to dig deeper in the word and every day Jesus knocked me off my feet. I finally was beginning to wrap my head around that my satisfaction comes from The Lord. I was understanding that peace and joy come from The Lord. Not things of this world. I recognized that whose you are is who you are.

God took me to the book of Matthew and once again did His thing and slapped me in the face. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-25, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Holy cow. My eyes were open. My ears heard. (Fun fact: this verse made such an impact on me that I got it tattooed on my foot…sorry dad…)


My reminder.

 “Follow YOU? Yes. I’m in. You have me. I’m yours. Now take me.” I refuse to just believe in Jesus but to believe and FOLLOW. I don’t want to just think, I want to experience.

Starting my sophomore year of college I am a completely new person. Now this year has already had its challenges, but I firmly believe that the more comfortable and the closer you are with The Father the more He stretches you.

One way that He is stretching me is to be intentional. My purpose is to teach the kingdom. How can I do this if I’m not intentional with people? How can I do this if I’m consumed with myself?

I am challenged daily by God to reach out, to pray for the broken, to pray for the oppressed, to teach the kingdom. When I made that shift from “all about me” to “how can I further the kingdom of God?” all my troubles, burdens, and issues seemed to diminish.

 What does it look like to wholeheartedly follow Jesus? What changes when we make the shift from “me me me” to selflessness?

I challenge you to allow the Holy Spirit to stretch you. To use you. I challenge you, like I have been challenged, to step into brokenness and pray for wholeness.. Walk in love towards others.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” (Oceans—Hillsong United)

These are not only lyrics to my favorite worship song, but my daily prayer.  I’m praying that God would ignite your heart and that today you would choose to follow. Take up your cross and follow Him.

All in for Christ,

Amberlee 



Oct 1, 2013

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 9:10-10:13

Happy Tuesday, girls! It's gorgeous outside! God sure paints a lovely day when He wants to, doesn't He?

So, apparently some of you love homework! ;)

I did not post homework on the blog last week because I let my small group girls be the teacher and ask the questions. However, back to the homework this week. :)

Stay accountable with your homework! What's the best way to do that? Grab a friend {or a few} and meet once a week, or once a month and talk about what you are reading! There's really not a better conversation that could be taking place than talking about God's Word. You can start your own SHINE group--in your very own little circle of friends.

This week our homework covers:

  • 1 Kings 2
  • 1 Kings 3, 4
  • 1 Kings 5
  • 1 Kings 6:1-7:12
  • 1 Kings 7:13-8:11
  • 1 Kings 8:12-66
  • 1 Kings 9:1-10:13


1) Who wrote the book of Kings?

2) Who did David crown king?  Why did David choose him? What was his relationship to David?

3) The new king's mother was Bathsheba. What do you know about her? If you are not sure, go back to 1 Samuel and read about her.

4) I find it incredible that God brought redemption to Bathsheba and her family. Bathsheba is one of the most well-known women of the Bible. However, her reputation is not a good one. We, as women, often think that our past behavior prevents us from being useful in His Kingdom. Can I just tell you something wonderful? It's a lie. God redeems us, through every sin, through every mistake. Can you think of an area in your life where the Lord showed you His redemption?

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" Ephesians 1:7

5) Read Solomon's prayer in 1 Kings 3:7-9. What did Solomon ask for from the Lord? What was the Lord's response? {verses 10-14}

6) How do you and I obtain wisdom? Find some verses in the Bible to support your answer.

7) David left behind a great legacy for Solomon, and for all of us. David was not perfect, far from it. However, he chose to honor the Lord and walk in obedience, even after he failed miserably.

 Ponder today on the legacy you are leaving behind. What will your children, your grand children, and great grand children remember you by?

Now, think about what you would like your legacy to look like. What could you do starting today, to change the legacy you are leaving behind for posterity?

This is not a question to condemn us, but to encourage us in leaving a legacy of faithfulness. Our children need footsteps to follow, they need the path blazed for them. Let's start today on the path of legacy-making!


8) Solomon was known for his wisdom. What will you be known for?

Fill in the blank: I want to be known for _______________________.


The Lord is faithful and His Word never returns void. Praise Him for the changes He will do in our hearts. Praise Him for the legacy you will leave behind! Lives will be changed, altered, and molded, due to your obedience, faithfulness, and perseverance. Pull up those boots, and get ready to blaze that path, girls! As you walk, know that many footsteps are behind you, following your every move. Lead them straight to Christ, my friends. There's no place like Home.


I love you so much,

jill

Sep 30, 2013

Monday SHINE.....

Reading Plan for the week of 9/30-10/6:


  • Monday 9/30: 1 Kings 8:12-66
  • Tuesday 10/1: 1 Kings 9:1-10:13
  • Wednesday 10/2: 1 Kings 10:14-11:43
  • Thursday 10/3: 1 Kings 12:1-32
  • Friday 10/4: 1 Kings 12:33-13:34
  • Saturday 10/5: 1 Kings 14
  • Sunday 10/6: 1 Kings 15:1-16

Happy Monday, SHINE girls! Sure hope your weekend was lovely. The weather was perfect around these parts. Fall is definitely in the air!

I'm just going to get straight to our Memory Verse for this week....are you ready?

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14




This verse, I have already memorized. Only because God has showed it to me time and time again over the past couple of years. He obviously wants me to get this.
If the words coming out of our mouths are not pleasing, then you can bet your cute little pink lip gloss that our heart is severely lacking in pleasantness.

Or, maybe we are good at disguising our words, making them sound pretty. However, our hearts are far from matching the sugar-coated words.

The Lord knows if our words match the intentions of our hearts. He always knows. 


"You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    You perceive my thoughts from afar."
Psalm 139:1-2


My children and I have a little something we say about our hearts.

When they were really little, I would tell them that sometimes weeds would grow in our hearts. However, they were the only ones that could see the weeds. Only them and God. 

I told them that we cannot let those weeds keep growing. We must ask God to forgive us, and then He will pull up those weeds. Then, when the weeds are all pulled up, roses will grow in their heart.

We are still pulling weeds. Me, Lem, and my children. Daily. 

The weeds will grow, but they do not have to multiply.

My children come to me often to  tell me that they need God to pull some weeds from their little hearts. I usually tell him that I had some weeds pulled earlier in the day, and that God is just waiting there with His weed-puller. 

After we pray, the roses bloom. Instantly.

Are their weeds in your heart today?

If so, it's okay. God is just waiting to remove them.

Your heart will soon be growing a garden of beautiful flowers. 

We just have to ask The Gardener to remove those weeds, so the garden can flourish.


still pulling weeds,

jill


Sep 27, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 5

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

Okay, our week of Love is coming to an end. However, it is really just the beginning.

I pray that God has been speaking to all of us, and He is showing us some areas that could use a little Love scrub. ;)

One day this week, I woke up just feeling really heavy. I needed some refreshment from His Word immediately. My heart was not in the right place about something happening in my little world.

He led me straight to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

 Yep. Sound familiar?

Our memory verse is tucked inside those verses. What a surprise. :)

Here is what He showed me:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 Love never fails. 
 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

The Lord made me see these verses in a new way.

In a personal way. Once again.

About a year ago, we all inserted our names in every sentence that begins with "Love". It was powerful.

The Lord was telling me to do this again. Right in that moment.

I obeyed.

A small note card was tucked in my bible, so I pulled it out, grabbed a pen, and started writing. 

Jill is patient, Jill is kind. Jill does not envy, Jill does not boast, and is not proud. Jill does not dishonor others, or she is not self-seeking, she is not easily angered, and she keeps no record of wrongs. Jill does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jill always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Jill never fails.

Whew!!!

See what I mean? The verse kind of pops into life when I read it like this!

I want to be this way. I want to overflow this kind of Love every single day.

How is this possible?

Filling ourselves with His Word, His Love, His Truth....daily. Not just when our love tank is way empty, and has been for months, years, and even decades.

Do you hear me? Daily.

I challenged my Wednesday night small group this week to make this verse personal in their lives as well. I gave them a note card and told them to go home, and fill in their names in the scripture, just as I had done.

Guess what? 

I want you to do the same.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Grab a note card, or small piece of paper. Grab a pen. 

Write your precious little name in this scripture, just as I have done above.

Read it after you write it.

Powerful, huh?

Now, hang onto it. Put it somewhere you can easily find it. 

When your love tank is getting low, when your flesh is screaming in agony....go to this verse. Actually, say it before it gets close to being empty. Just go ahead and keep that pretty little tank all filled up.

Say it out loud until the Peace comes. Oh, and it will.

You cannot recite God's Word, and not be changed. It is impossible.

"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
 Colossians 3:14

Do you see what it says? Yes, I highlighted it. "Put on love".

This is an action.

Not a feeling.

Let's be clear on this.


Father, change our hearts. Let us not be controlled by fickle feelings. We are strong in Christ. Daughters of the Most High King. We will put on Love. Every day. Turning only to You to be filled. The world cannot fill us, oh, but you can. Let us be known for our Love. In Jesus name, amen.


putting on love,

jill


Sep 26, 2013

Thursday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 3, 4

Happy Thursday, sweet girls!

Today, Lem and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. {how can this be?}

Just a few thoughts on the subject.....

Our marriage is not perfect. In fact, it is far from it.

I am not always in a good mood. {neither is he.}

I am not always cheery. {neither is he}

Some days are hard. Well, many days actually.

My temper and my tongue go haywire at times. {still working on this one}

He has better control over this than I do. {shoot}

If I am honest, I will tell you that marriage is not easy. It teaches me to be a giver, and not always a taker.

I've discovered that when I give, and not always demand my own way, he tends to be more of a giver.

Sounds crazy, right?

My body is not the same, my face is not the same {it has a lot more lines}. However, Lem accepts me and loves me and makes me feel the same.

I have tried to change him, to mold him, to create the "husband" I think he should be.

This does not work.

Let me repeat: This does not work.

When I learned to approach this "without words", as 1 Peter 3:1 tells us, things started changing.

When I learned to quit nagging, persisting, insisting, and demanding he change....

His ears could finally hear the Holy Spirit.

The clanging in his ears from my voice was preventing the Holy Spirit's Voice from being heard.

I thought I was doing the right thing all of those years...

When, in fact, I just had to trust the Lord with him. I had to learn to realize that God loves Lem more than me. I had to realize that God could change him, but I could not.

The biggest revelation was that I was the one in need of change. {say what?!}

My heart was in the wrong place. Always demanding, expecting, and not content unless he was doing what I wanted him to do.

I wanted him to do a bible study, he did not want to.

I wanted to be more involved in church, he did not want to.

I wanted to make him have quiet time with me, he did not want to.

I wanted him to read the bible with me, he did not want to.

I wanted him to quit drinking alcohol, he did not want to.

I wanted him to be like some of my friends godly husbands {and I even told him that many times}, he did not want to.

Notice the first word in each of the above sentences??

Yes, I. Me, myself, and I.

When I let go of my expectations, and focused on my own walk, my own relationship with Christ....

Something incredible happened.

My heart softened. My heart changed.

Not only that, but the icing on the cake was that Lem started to change.

God began to draw us closer, when I stepped back and let the Lord do His thing.

Who knew??

As women, we like to have control over things. We like to tie things up in a pretty little ribbon just the way we like them.

However, what He is showing me....

Is that when I let go. Give Him complete control. Surrender.....

All of those things I try to super glue together.... fall apart.

And the most glorious thing happens....

He turns that mess into a masterpiece.

He sees the act of surrender and obedience, and then He is able to do His Will. His Thing. His Perfect Plan begins to take place.

If you are in a marriage today that is struggling for air, on the brink of separation, in dire need of refreshing....

I encourage you to give it to Him.

Forget about trying in your own power to change things. It doesn't work. Never has and never will.

Surrender that marriage to the Lord. It's His to begin with anyway, right?

I also encourage you to be the change you want for him.

Yes, YOU be the change.

What do you want from your husband?

Be what you want him to be. Be consistent. Don't do it to force a change in him, do it because that's what God calls you to do.

This has nothing to do with your man. This has everything to do with Jesus Christ. Honoring Him. Period.

"Love never fails", my friends.

It will always be the right way.

I will still struggle with my expectations. I will still struggle with demanding my way.

However, I now know that nothing will change, unless I change.

Let me remember this, Father. Help us all to remember.

"We can be confident that He will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will." 1 John 5:14

"Ask anything in My name, and I will do it." John 14:14

"Call upon me and I will answer you" Jeremiah 33:3

"Above all else, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" 1 Peter 5:5


Father, soften our hearts. Help us to not be demanding, selfish, and self-focused in our marriage. Show us how to love without conditions and expectations. The kind of Love that You show us. Help us to put our men first, above all others, except You Lord. Give us the desire to be a better spouse. Give us the desire to be a giver, and not a taker. We ask that you weed out pride, and replace it with humility. Praise You, Father. You want our marriages rock solid, Father. Mend our hearts, repair the breeches, and nurse us back to health in these areas. Forgive us for not showing love. Forgive us for anything we have put before our marriages. Fall fresh on us today, Holy Spirit. We receive.



putting the super-glue away,


jill

Sep 25, 2013

Wednesday SHINE...

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 2

Happy Worship Wednesday, sweet SHINE girls!

So, our memory verse is about Love this week. "Love Never Fails." 1 Corinthians 13:8

Not our kind of flesh-fickle-finicky love....but the kind of Love that can only be given because it has first been given to us.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." John 4:10

As I try to wrap my little brain around this concept, I am struck by the magnitude of this kind of Love.

For example:
  •  Love covers a multitude of sins.{1 Peter 4:8}
  •  Love comes from God {1 John 4:7}
  •  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. {1 John 4:8}
  •  Love does no harm to its neighbor{Romans 13:10}
Do I deserve this kind of Love?

No.

Do I want to receive this kind of Love?

Yes.

Do I always extend this kind of Love?

Yikes, not always.

Why is this?

I don't know.

I saw a sign at a church recently that said: The Loved Love. The Forgiven Forgive.

Wow. Now, that's powerful.

Many times, I have not shown love, and I have not shown forgiveness. In those times, I have a severe peace drought. Like major.

Stress, anxiety, restlessness, agitation, frustration, and much more. 

After much begging and pleading, and finally scripture reading....He showed me the problem.

It was my heart. A heart that was withholding love. A heart that was bottling up the Love that HE had poured into me, and hogging it all to myself.

Well, that got me nowhere. It just made me miserable, bitter, and all puffed up inside.

His Love is made to be poured out. To all around us.

Not just the ones that love us back. 

" If you love only those who love you, what good is that? 
Even scoundrels do that much. 
 If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?
 Even the heathens do that.
  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
 Matthew 5:46-48


If we are not pouring out His Love, we are stagnant. Unusable. Molding from the inside out. 

We were made to pour out, so that He can keep pouring in. 

You and I are colanders. When He pours the water in, it should sprinkle out to all around us.

When our holes get closed up from hurt, anger, bitterness, rejection.....nobody gets sprinkled. Not even us. We rot. We mildew. We expire. 

However, when we open those holes back up....oh, get your umbrellas! A sprinkling is taking place! 

Everyone around us will get watered. What an incredible sight.

Lord, help us to pour out Love. Help us to pour out forgiveness. This is Your design. This is Your plan for us. We long to sprinkle Your Love and Goodness to all in our path. Unclog any holes that have filled up, so we can pour Your Love straight through to others. Thank You for the gift of Your Love! We receive it, we accept it, and we pass it right on to others. 

unclogging,

jill


Sep 23, 2013

Monday SHINE.....

Reading Plan for the week of 9/23-9/29:


  • Monday 9/23: Psalms 72
  • Tuesday 9/24:  1 Kings 1
  • Wednesday 9/25:  1 Kings 2
  • Thursday 9/26: 1 Kings 3, 4
  • Friday 9/27: 1 Kings 5
  • Saturday 9/28:  1 Kings 6:1-7:12
  • Sunday 9/29:  1 Kings 7:13-8:11

Happy Monday, sweet SHINE girls!

I have to tell you, I am so excited today! This week, my husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage!

On one hand, it seems impossible that we have been married that long. On the other hand, I cannot remember life without him. Truly.

This sentiment hit me square in the eyes this past Friday.

Packing my bags for a prayer retreat with our SHINE prayer girls, I came across a picture of Lem and me.

This picture, framed on my dresser, has been there for years. However, that day, I saw it differently.

I picked it up, and looked at the two faces in the picture. Just he and I in snow gear from a trip out West early on in our marriage. Before children.

My eyes spilled over with tears as I stared at the young faces. Barely in our twenties, and full of life, promise, hope and an abundance of LOVE.

My heart swelled with sentiment, adoration, and love for this man that has been by my side for the past 15 years.

I sat down on the bed and thanked the Lord over and over for this man. This life. This journey with Lem.

We are growing up together. Growing old together. Doing life together. Glued at the hip.

Many days I take him for granted. I often put the children's needs ahead of his. Although he would never say that, I know in my heart it has been true.

I was convicted. Not condemned, but convicted.

Have I loved Lem like I vowed to do that beautiful September day 15 years ago?

Probably not as well as I could have, or should have.

I kept hearing in my heart this verse, "Love never fails."

No matter what the circumstance is, love never fails.

I turned the verse around and said it like this: I can never fail with love.

This makes it personal.

No matter my flesh, no matter my pride, no matter my past mistakes....

I can never fail with love.

It will always be the right way. The Lord's way. The higher way. The narrow way.

The next 15 years of our marriage, I will remember this day. I will remember what the Lord showed me. I will remember that I can never fail with love.

If I choose to love, instead of hold a grudge....

If I choose to love, instead of spew angry words....

If I choose to love, instead of retaliate....

If I choose to love, instead of letting pride win....

If I choose to love, instead of demanding to be loved like I want to be loved....

I cannot fail.

Because, God cannot fail.

Love never fails.

We can fail at love, but Love will never fail.

Yes, read that last line again. Until it sinks in.


Our memory verse this week, as you probably guessed:

"Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:8



choosing the way of Love,

jill







Sep 18, 2013

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Psalms 66, 67

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls!

So, I told you the grocery store story on Monday.

On Tuesday, the following day, I had to go back and get something from that same store that I had forgotten on Sunday.

I carried my little item up to the counter, and guess who I saw....that SAME cashier that I had spoken to on Sunday.

My face was beaming with excitement! I could not wait to say hello to my new friend and even tell her how she had changed my heart that day.

She met my eyes with hers, and I {almost shouted}: "HEY!!! So good to see  you!!!!!"

Not even a glimpse of recognition was on her face.

My face fell from a smile to a look of confusion.

She looked at me a little strangely, and said: "Good to see you." 

Crickets.

More crickets.

Again, she had not a clue who I was. At all. Not even an ounce.

We made small talk once again, and that was that.

I slowly walked to my car, as the dry conversation had taken the wind from my sails.

"Lord, what in the world? She had no clue who I was? Really? We had such a great conversation on Sunday. How could she not remember me? I listened to her, I laughed with her. We were friends that day."

As clear as a bell, I hear the Lord say in my spirit, ''The conversation that day was for you, not for her, Jill.  I have been there many times for my children, and they do not remember me. I move mountains daily for my children, and they do not notice. You have been praying for me to open your eyes, and I did."

My heart skipped a few beats.

Then skipped a few more.

I mean, what could I say to that?

Nothing.

That day in the grocery store had nothing to do with what "she" needed. It was all about what I needed. I needed to see the Lord in these small things. I needed to see the Lord in listening to her speak to me. I needed to see the Lord. Period."

Funny how I thought that I had just made her day by listening to her. Ha! I thought she would never forget me. What a joke.

She is the one that will never be forgotten. God used her that day to open my eyes to Him. To open my eyes to see Him in all things--in all people. Even our cashiers.

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
 Hebrews 13:2

Who am I to think that I am so "great" that I can just make someone's day by listening? It's not about me. It's about Him.

It's about learning from the ones we are listening to. It's about being willing to be changed, and not just to want to change everyone around us.

It's kind of like listening to a really good service at church and thinking, "Wow, I wish my husband were here to hear this! He could REALLY use this!!" 

What we don't realize, is that God is speaking to US. We are hearing that message for a reason. To be changed, not to change others.

Leave the changing to God.

He's pretty good at that.


a heart in change,


jill


**OH, and HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY ROYCE CROWE! I LOVE YOU TO PIECES MY LITTLE DARLING!**


Sep 16, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 9/16-9/22:


  • Monday 9/16:  Psalms 63
  • Tuesday 9/17:  Psalms 64, 65
  • Wednesday 9/18:  Psalms 66, 67
  • Thursday 9/19:  Psalms 68:1-18
  • Friday 9/20:  Psalms 68:19-35
  • Saturday 9/21:  Psalms 69
  • Sunday 9/22:  Psalms 70, 71
Happy Monday, sweet SHINE girls! I sure hope you enjoyed this beautiful weekend! 

The Prayer Walk around our schools we held on Saturday was INCREDIBLE! We walked to all 4 of the schools in our community. We stopped, held hands and prayed at each one. Talk about POWERFUL!

The weather hovered at around 67 degrees...yes! The sun was out, the trees were swaying in the breeze, nothing short of perfection for our walk. 

These precious women walked and prayed.
{Love the sun in the background}

Not only did we cover the 4 schools, we also covered 3 preschools. My heart was overflowing when we were finished---7.2 miles later! Yes, my legs were sore, but my heart was bursting with JOY!

I'm still amazed at how prayer changes us. Not just the person on the receiving end, but the one praying. Only God could create such a beautiful cycle.

So, I sat down to write this post and I had a really great memory verse in mind. 

However, after my traditional-Sunday-afternoon trip to the grocery story, God changed my heart.

What is it about the grocery store that produces such God-stories??

I was ready to get home. My groceries were being scanned. I was tapping my foot, trying to make small talk with the sweet cashier. 

She was talking about making candy for her Daddy. She went into detail about how she made this particular candy. 

Each time she would talk, she would stop scanning the groceries. It was definitely a slow process by this point.

Suddenly, I locked eyes with her and the Lord jolted my soul. 

I cannot explain what happened, but I felt this wave of love, connection, and compassion for my sweet cashier. 

I listened intently to the story she was telling me. The Lord was giving me His eyes to see, and His ears to hear. 

Really, I cannot even explain what was happening, except that I didn't want to leave. I was frozen in this space of time. God was showing me what I was missing by being in a hurry. He was showing me what it was like to hear others. Really hear others.

The next few minutes we talked, laughed, shared, and I had made a new friend. 

I glanced at her name tag, and I will never forget her name. 

She is my friend now. 

Only minutes before, she was a stranger, who was too slow for me.

When I unloaded my groceries into my car, I wept. Right there in my car.

I just kept saying over and over, "Lord, thank You. Thank You for letting me stop, and listen. Thank You for freezing me in that moment and giving me a glimpse of what You see."

How many times have I missed something because I was too busy to listen, notice, or really even care?

Ugh.

No moment is wasted with God, my friends. 

At the grocery store, in carpool, walking your dog, at the library.....open your eyes. 

Ask God to use you in these mundane places. Ask Him to open your eyes to what He sees. 

He will. Oh, friends, He will!

"Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders,
make the most of every opportunity."
Colossians 4:5



looking for opportunities,

jill


Sep 15, 2013

SHINE Homework.....

Happy Sunday, SHINE girls!

I have something exciting to share with all of you!

Many of you have emailed me in the past year and asked me about a bible study plan that goes along with our reading. I encouraged you to just gather a few girls and discuss the reading plan together.

Now, I actually have a homework plan and something for you to discuss! This branches off from our SHINE Small group that meets on Wednesday nights at my church.

We have incorporated homework to help us to dig deeper into our reading and His Word.

Each week, for the next few months, I will post homework questions here on the blog. If you desire an extra challenge, this is perfect for you.

Also, I encourage you to gather your own group together and go over these questions and your weekly reading. If you are not currently in a small group or bible study, this is a wonderful way to connect with each other and to hold each other accountable. No workbook required, just your bible, and your homework questions. :)

I will not provide the answers to these questions. :) All of it is for your review and for your guidance in His Word.

P.s...I would LOVE your feedback on the homework. You can email me or comment to let me know your thoughts. :)

Homework for this week:

1) Name 3 authors of the book of Psalms. {You can easily find this by browsing your bible through the book of Psalms}


2) Who wrote Psalm 55?  {yes, this is an easy one}


3) Read Psalms 55 and 56 again, and write down a verse that stands out to you. Maybe because of the turmoil it expresses, or the praise it expresses to the Father.



4) Psalms 57:1(b) says: "I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." Can you find another verse in your Bible that mentions being in God's shadow? What do you think the significance of being in His shadow means?



5) Read Psalm 59. What was David afraid of? Are you surprised by what he is afraid of? Why or why not?



6) Read  Psalm 62:2. How is God like a rock? Describe some similarities between God and a rock.


7) Read Psalm 63:1. How is physical thirst like spiritual thirst? Have you ever been physically thirsty, if so how did if make you feel? Have you ever been spiritually thirsty? If so, how did it make you feel?


8) Read Psalm 64:1-4. David describes his enemies as "they sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows."

We have all experienced harmful words from others. Can you think of an experience in your life that has shown you the power of deadly and cruel words? Maybe it happened to you, or you saw it first hand with someone close to you. I would love for you to share in class {if you are willing} of this experience. You don't have to be specific of the words spoken, just how hurtful they were or proved to be.

9) If you were the recipient of harmful words, I challenge you to replace those words with words of affirmation, encouragement and love. Words that Your Heavenly Father would speak over you, and IS speaking over you.

For example:
Someone says:  "Jill, you are stupid. You will never amount to anything." 
God says: "Jill, you are made in MY image. I made you just the way you are, and you bring me JOY." {Genesis 1:27}


10) Write a short psalm to the Lord. Just between you and Him. Pour your heart out to the Lord who loves you and cherishes you.





Sep 13, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading:  Psalms 58, 59
Saturday 9/14:  Psalms 60
Sunday 9/15: Psalms 61, 62

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! What's your plan for the GORGEOUS weekend we have in store? :)

Guess what today is?

This is the last day of our 40 Days of Prayer Challenge.

Whew. This challenge has been eye opening. No, more like heart-opening for me.

Girls, when we pray for others, even those that we do not like so much, we change. Our icy hearts melt, and we begin to get a glimpse of God's heart. The heart that Loves, Forgives, shows Compassion, shows Grace, shows Mercy, and above all else reflects His radiant heart.

Our prayers release His Divine Plan. What's better than that?

Speaking of prayer, we have an inspiring post for you today!

My friend, Kelli, is one of my very best friends. She is the kind of girl that just lights up a room and you cannot help but to want to know her more.

Here's Kelli and her beautiful family!


Kelli loves the Lord and she is passionate about fulfilling His plan for her precious life.

Be blessed today, girls. I know you will!


How I Transformed my Prayer Life
by Kelli Brooks

Hello SHINE sisters! My name is Kelli Brooks. I’m a wife to Clint, a mother to 6-year-old Bennett, 3-year-old Garrett, and two teeny 4 lb. yorkies, Zeke and Sophie. I’m a social butterfly who is passionate about fitness and wellness, and fervently seeking my Lord and His will for my life. I’ve been friends with Jill for years, but through this amazing SHINE ministry, God has brought our friendship to a much more intimate level, for which I’m forever grateful. 

Jill has been asking me to post since last November, and she has gotten several “no’s” and “not yets” from me! For those of you who know me, I love to talk (a little too much) and a general post on my testimony and journey with the Lord would’ve been nothing short of a novel! The task seemed too overwhelming for this chatterbox! But, this time Jill asked me to post on a specific subject-a subject that has RADICALLY transformed in my life over the past year-PRAYER. I knew exactly what God wanted me to share within minutes. I’m about to share with you the 3 prayer practices that changed my prayer life, and everything else about my relationship with God.

  1. Pray for the DESIRE to pray. Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the DESIRE and the POWER to do what pleases him.” We know that prayer pleases him. It’s the way he designed for us to communicate directly with Him! So he will answer this prayer for you, every time! What does God care about more than anything-more than our behavior, more than our service? Our relationship with Him! So he will give us the desire to pray. And ladies, it works. I can’t even put into words how much this works. It has brought me a whole new meaning to “praying without ceasing”. I talk to him while putting on my mascara. I talk to him while my feet are pounding the pavement on a morning run. I talk to him while I’m driving, taking a shower, cooking dinner, mid-conversation with a friend when asking him to fill me with his words for her…you name it. God doesn’t just saturate the Bible with truths on the importance of prayer and then say “well, good luck with that.” No! He equips us with the desire to pray, and the power to follow through! Can I PLEASE get an amen???
  2. Pray for DISCERNMENT, CLARITY, and CLOSED DOORS. Psalm 119:169 “O Lord, listen to my cry, give me the discerning mind you promised”; Psalm 119:25-32 (MSG) “Barricade the road that goes nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation. I choose the true road to somewhere…I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me, God. I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll show me how.” For several months, my husband and I have been planning to move, and have been seeking God’s will for our family. EVERY TIME I have prayed for God to completely close the doors to things we are considering that are not His will, he has answered in HUGE ways. We were considering a few lots to build on months ago. I prayed that God would close the doors on the lots we were pursuing if they were not his plan. I specifically prayed that if the priciest lot we looked at was not his will, the cost would be an amount that we’d never consider. I prayed that the lots in our budget would be completely removed from the table if they were not his will for us. The next day, my husband calls me: “I just got off the phone with the owner of the lots. The pricy lot is WAY too high. And you’re not going to believe this, but a builder called out of nowhere this morning and put an offer on the other lots. (Side note: the lots had been on the market since 2009!). Now it’s time for a 2nd amen! I was so humbled and thankful for the answer to my prayer that I didn’t have time to be disappointed that our moving plans would be changing again! This is just one example of many where the Lord has answered my prayers for clarity and closed doors when making big decisions.  Don’t be afraid to pray boldly! Our Father says we are to come CONFIDENTLY to the throne of grace!
  3. Pray Scripture. Praying scripture unleashes SO much power in our lives. Where do I even begin? It’s a beautiful form of worship. It tunes us in to the Holy Spirit like nothing else. It gives us a perfect place to start when we are too stressed, tired, depressed, hurt, frustrated, or distracted to form our own words for prayer. Sometimes I dedicate my morning quiet time to going through all my favorite scriptures, and paraphrasing/personalizing them into a prayer in my journal. I’m going to share with you my most recent scripture prayer from my journal. You will recognize many of the verses (almost every sentence is scripture), but I have not listed the verses I used due this entry being written like a prayer Yes, it’s long (I’m also a chatterbox in my journal!), but PLEASE read through it with a prayerful heart and you’ll be blessed by God’s truths!  Enjoy, and thank for allowing me to share a bit of my journey with you!
 Father, thank you for revealing more of my heart to me. Transform me by the renewing of my mind. You direct the steps of the godly. You delight in every detail of our lives! Though I stumble, I will never fall, for you hold me by the hand. Lord, my source of hope, fill me completely with joy and peace because I trust in you. Then I will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit! You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you. Thank you Lord! Help me, Father, to let the peace that comes from Christ control my thoughts. Give me your peace at all times and in every situation. I crave it, Lord! Help me to turn away from evil and do good. Give me the desire to search for peace and the power to maintain it! Oh Lord, that I would conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ-whatever comes my way. For you are working in me, giving me the desire and power to do what pleases you. The same power that is made perfect in my weakness. Yes, Lord! I accept that gift from you Father with an open heart! You are my portion, you alone. I will trust you with all my heart; I will not depend on my own understanding. I will seek your will in all I do, and you will show me which path to take. All glory belongs to you, O’ God, whose power is at work in me! By that power, you can do infinitely more than I can ask or imagine. Blessed are those who trust in you and have made you their hope and confidence. Father, my flesh and heart may fail, but you, my precious Lord, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever! And I am certain that you, who began a good work within me, will continue your work until it is finally finished when Christ returns! Help me to not get tired of doing good. At just the right time I will reap a harvest of blessing if I don’t give up! Thank you for your spirit living in me, making it possible to do what you tell me and live by your commands. Flood my heart with light so that I can understand the confident hope you’ve given me. Help me to understand the incredible greatness of your power-the same power that raised CHRIST from the dead! I praise you, my God, for the promise that there is NO condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus! If I confess my sins to you, you are faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me from every wrong! Thank you for giving your only Son, that I may live with you forever! It’s in the name of this precious Son that I pray, Amen. 

Kelli and her loves!