Mar 30, 2013

Saturday SHINE.....


Today's Reading: Numbers 31

Happy Saturday, SHINE sisters! I have a special Easter treat for you today. :)

Your SHINE sister, Mary Kay Jackson, is posting. If you missed her story from November, go here and catch up. It is very inspiring!

I will let her explain why she is posting today, but it will truly bless your socks off!

This SHINE girl is making a difference! She is shining brightly in the country of Africa. 

Read, and be blessed. 

Happy Easter!


Dear Shine Sisters,

Easter greetings from “the Dark Continent”, which of course, is a lot less dark these days!  Here, we will wear our black funeral cloth  as we go to Good Friday services.  The services will be long – Africans love funerals, and who deserves a bigger funeral than Jesus?  Our longest worship experience ever was our first Good Friday service here in Ghana.  We were in church for 6 hours!  Sunday morning, though, the streets will be dazzling under the equatorial sun as everyone heads off to church in new, bright white clothing, and the air rings with greetings of “Christo asore!” – “Christ is risen!” in Twi, one of our local languages.  The Light of the World shines brightly in the darkness of Africa!

Mary Kay and Charlie

 But what I really want to share with you this morning is an amazing “God-incidence” we were all a part of last week.  Yes, you were involved, too!  And I want to introduce you to a friend of mine.

Didn’t you just love last Friday’s Fun Friday Challenge?  It was so refreshing to spend the day focusing on the Living Water, even as we got a sip of physical water.  We soaked up the Word like a sponge, didn’t we?  I bet you even drank more water than usual.

When I read Friday’s post, however, I knew I had to get on the internet as soon as possible to send Jill a comment.  And Friday my power was out all day, which meant no internet or computer at home, which meant a trip into town to the internet café (closed for renovations that day) or the lobby of the Holiday Inn to send my mail.  You see, the UN has designated March 22 of every year as World Water Day!  Can you believe it?  Isn’t it amazing that God had us celebrating World Water Day, even though Jill didn’t even know about it?

We don’t tend to think about water so much in the US.  We take it for granted that when we turn on our taps we will have safe, clean water flowing out.  Every time.  But according to the UN, 780 million people (that’s one out of every eight of our brothers and sisters), almost half (42%) of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, don’t have access to clean drinking water.  According to UNICEF, 600,000 children die in Africa every year from diarrheal disease.  Water-related disease is the number 2 cause of childhood death in Africa after malaria.  Rural African families, usually the women and girls, spend much of their day fetching water for various household uses, often having to walk several miles carrying a heavy load.  But the picture is not all bleak; progress is being made.  Since 1990, 2 billion people worldwide have gained access to safe sources of drinking water. 

Yagzuri Latrine

 Now, on to the introduction.  Since Jill asked for water bottle photos, I couldn’t resist sharing these two.  This is Helen from a little village in northern Ghana called Yagzuri.  When the photos were taken about a year ago, by my friend Kim McGee, she was 2.  Helen could easily have become one of those statistics in the paragraph above.  Her village had a couple of open, contaminated hand-dug wells (think Jack and Jill without the little house on top) and no sanitation.  So when Helen had to go to the bathroom, she would just squat wherever she was and go. 


Helen getting water from a well

Helen's water bottle

Now, thanks to the vision and generous hearts of a church in St. Louis, Helen’s chances of making it to her 5th birthday and beyond have gone up dramatically.  Her village now has a deep well and pump, so she can have plenty of safe, clean water  to drink.  And she can go to the bathroom in a well-kept community latrine.  And she knows firsthand that Jesus loves her, because she has seen that love shown to her by new friends from halfway ‘round the world.  I only wish I had thought to put a Bible verse on the water bottle we gave her.  But thanks to Jill’s inspiration, we will be doing that in the future!

This Easter weekend, I am traveling to the north again to visit Helen and other children like her.  I will finally be showing my sweet husband, Charlie, some of my projects in the north, like Helen’s borehole and toilets.  Because he is usually teaching (he is a math professor at Ashesi University,www.ashesi.edu.gh), he doesn’t normally get to travel with me and has never seen any of my projects.  I am excited to share Helen’s story with him, as I have shared it with you.  We also will be arranging for the next set of 8 wells to be drilled in April and May, before the summer rains come.  And on Sunday we will don our white outfits, shout “Christo asore!” and dance with abandon as we celebrate again the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, the Living Water of the world!

With love for you all, my dear sisters!

Mary Kay

Mar 29, 2013

Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Numbers 30
Saturday: Numbers 31
Sunday: Numbers 32

Happy Fun Friday!!

Girls, it's GOOD Friday! Jesus died on that rugged cross today...for YOU! For US!

I can hardly stand it. Talk about some mercy being poured out. Whew.

 OUR FUN FRIDAY CHALLENGE:

I really want this mercy thing to stick, girls. I really do. Not just for me, but for ALL of us.

Showing mercy to those in our lives that we deem "unmerciful", can be a huge leap in our faith journey. We want the mind of Christ. We want the heart of Christ.

We must walk with Christ. We must follow Him when He says, "show mercy, sweet daughter."

What situation has the Lord brought to your attention that needs mercy? Who has He brought to your mind?

Grab a small piece of paper and write it down. Bring it into the healing warmth of His Light.

Nothing hidden in our hearts, in the dark, dark, recesses can be healed unless they are brought out. We are not fooling God when we keep them hidden. The Lord sees that place. He longs to heal it for you.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6

Maybe you are great at showing mercy--to everyone but yourself. Maybe you need to pour out some mercy to that beautiful person staring back at you in the mirror.

Sometimes we hang onto something we did or didn't do, said, or didn't say....and deny ourselves from receiving His mercy.

 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"
 1 Peter 1:3

After writing down your "mercies", put them in a cup like this:

My Mercy Cup


Let this sit somewhere you will see it. Let it be your reminder that you must walk in mercy. Every day. 

Holding nothing back, just pouring out mercy as if you are waterfall of mercy.

Everywhere you go--practice mercy. Out-mercy those around you. :)

Let that Mercy cup overflow with small pieces of paper. It will be your visual, that you are pouring {overflowing} with mercy. 


mercy triumphs,

jill


Mar 28, 2013

Thursday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Numbers 28, 29

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! How's your memorizing going? I know these beatitudes are pretty easy to memorize, but it's important that they stick. :)

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."

At first glance, this verse seems so easy. Doesn't it? I mean, easy in the way of applying it to our lives.

How hard can it be to be merciful?

{clearing my throat}

It can be HARD. Yes, I mean HARD in all capital letters.

When I realized that this verse would be our memory verse this week, I cringed a little.

I knew it was "reckoning time" with God.

He knew I needed to dish out some mercy on a particular situation going on in my life.

Sometimes we get so deep into a season in our lives that we can't quite see clearly. It becomes lopsided, and upside down, and side ways, and just all jacked up.

I've been in that exact position for several months now. The position that no matter which way I turn, it just seems hopeless and full of frustration.

The more I try to untie the knot of confusion, it just gets more tangled up.

A lot of the problem has been my lack of mercy in the whole thing. I wanted to figure it out. I wanted justice to be served and served swiftly.

 However, it's just not happening. {at least not in the way Jill Hill thinks it should be} 

Just this week, though, God has given me a total and complete revelation. {angels sing!}

After praying about this memory verse and asking Him to show me areas where I needed to show mercy, He did. Oh, and did He!

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; 
knock and the door will be opened to you" Matthew 7:7

...and He opened that door. Wide!

He gave me a mental vision of  me tied up in a huge knot. Desperately, I was trying to untie the knot and "fix" the situation.

He then showed me a big wide-open space in the knot...a safe, and quiet place. A place to rest, lay my head, and just abide in Him.

The outside of the knot was all a part of the process that I could not see. I could not see it because I was {and still am} inside of the knot. 

He was showing me that He's got this figured out. Just because I could not see what He was doing, didn't mean that He was not working on my behalf. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."
Isaiah 55:8

This is the part where "mercy" comes in. 

I was feverishly trying to untie this seemingly impossible knot from the inside, when in fact, all I needed was to have an outpouring of mercy. This act of mercy would free my hands and allow me to find the space in the knot where He desired for me to abide.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust."
Psalm 91:1-2


Why do we hang on to "mercy" instead of pouring it out and letting it heal the situation? Why do we stuff it back down, hands on our hip, lips pouting, and wait for God to show up BIG and take over? Why do we want and fully expect His mercy on us, when we are not willing to budge on showing mercy to those who we feel are not deserving of this gesture?

God  showed me that I needed a heart check and a pride check. 

When we deprive others of mercy, true mercy, we get a little "big headed". It makes us feel superior and in control. We then forget, that we will be held to that same standard if not careful. 

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."

Let's put this scripture another way:

The merciless will not be blessed, and they will not be shown mercy.

Yikes. It's kind of scary when we put it that way, isn't it?

Can I just say that since the revelation He gave me this week, I have felt lighter? Like a million pounds lighter. I don't have to figure out this crazy knot. I can just rest in the middle of it, knowing that my Sovereign God is working it all out for good.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
 Romans 8:28


Do you find yourself in a knot today? Can I just urge you, as your friend, to rest there. Quit trying to figure it all out, and just abide in Him today. 

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." 
Hebrews 4:16


finding mercy in this knot,

jill

Mar 27, 2013

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Numbers 27, 36 {yes, the numbers are not consecutive, it's okay, read anyway} :-)

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Turn up the radio and worship your King today! Praise Him unabashedly today. Give Him your BEST, not just your leftovers today.

Before, we go any further....

I want to wish my AWESOME sister, Angela,
 a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

I love you, my incredibly beautiful, amazing, gifted sister!!

Top from left: Angela {my beautiful sister!}, Me, Lori Griffin
Bottom: Elan Crowe and Kim Jaynes
We just took this picture on Sunday as we celebrated my sister. I love these girls! We are all like sisters to each other. Isn't sisterhood the best?!

Okay, moving on...:)

Speaking of sisterhood, my precious friend, Mary Balicki is posting today on Mercy. Our theme for the week.

Grab a blanket, a cup of coffee {or like me, some hot tea!}, and be blessed by her words.

Mercy me
by: Mary Balicki

The kids got off the bus Monday afternoon and I immediately asked my "middle" to bring me her homework assignment.  She asked to play outside (well, of course she did, it was only 45 degrees with mega gusty winds).
 
No, ma’am…homework first, I replied. 

A few moments later she was standing in front of me declaring that she didn’t have her homework folder in her back pack and they must not have homework this week.

Um…I don’t see anything about that from your teacher, Sloane – are you sure?? 

Yes ma’am, she said.  We don't have any.

I was puzzled but distracted by other tasks.  We needed to leave for soccer practice in a couple of short hours.  My toddler, Miss Gabby needed to get up/get changed from her nap and then figuring out dinner before we had to leave. 

So, I stopped short of e-mailing her teacher to ask her about the lack of homework.

Fast forward 15 hours...

At 5:30AM the next morning my oldest was tapping on my elbow asking me to wake up and help her make lunches.  

Wow.  

She is my “sister wife”.  Hello, all of us need one. ;)

Help me.  I did not turn-in early enough the night before for such a wake-up call as this but she persisted.   

Begrudgingly, I threw on my favorite sweat shirt/wool socks, followed my oldest to the kitchen and tried to shake off my weariness.

Audrey and I started on the lunches (I also started on my coffee) and as we did, I checked Sloane’s back pack for her snack supply as she has to have one each day. 

For this reason, I keep a stash for the week in there at all times.  That way, she never turns up “snack less”.

As I zipped through the smaller pocket in the front of her back pack, I saw her burgundy HOMEWORK FOLDER boldly staring back at me.  What in the world???

Really???  My mouth dropped open and I immediately thanked God for the blatant help this morning.  We were up entirely early enough to complete homework over breakfast. 

I went in and got Sloaney out of bed.  She was still groggy as I expressed my disappointment over her deceitfulness. 

She didn’t argue or attempt to proclaim her innocence.  She was guilty and I knew how she felt.
My mind went to the verse from this week. 

Mercy…that I definitely don’t deserve - - giving it back - - when it isn’t deserved. 


I showed Sloane all of the mercy the Holy Spirit could muster in my frustrated heart and after her homework was complete, lunches were made, breakfast was eaten and teeth were brushed.  We prayed. 

She asked for forgiveness for blowing it and lying when she knew she had homework.  She thanked God for waking Audrey up extra early and having the time to complete her work.

We hugged and kissed and I told her she wouldn’t play after school for the rest of the week as her punishment.  She asked what else she could do for me.  Be still my heart.  

The mercy she was feeling was taking root down deep.  I reminded her that I was showing mercy because of God and the mercy He had shown me through Christ.

She smiled and it felt like she understood in her seven-year-old way.

How about this revelation:  

I am no better than Sloane.  I have hidden my homework in my back pack.  I have lied and said that I didn’t have any…I am guilty of every foolish blunder. 

Mercy always takes us back to the undeniable cornerstone, the literal foundation of our faith.  

Forgiveness. 

C.S Lewis wrote, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

I need to be shown mercy every.single.day.

Lord, help me to be able to show mercy when it’s my turn at the mercy wheel.  

Let us use Your overwhelming mercy as our guiding example.

Thank you for this truly awesome gift in our totally undeserved mercy. 


Mar 26, 2013

Tuesday SHINE....


Today's Reading: Numbers 25,26

Happy Tuesday, SHINE sisters!

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to an incredible woman of God. Her blog was sent to me by a  very good friend. The timing of this post that she sent me could not have been more God-breathed.
The day that this post was forwarded to me, I was having "one of those days." You know exactly what I mean.

I hope this post reaches down deep into your heart and resonates there like it did for me.
Be blessed by Candace's post today. You can find more of her inspiring words here.

Candace's Intro:My name is Candace Roberts and I am a wife of 14 years and a mother of 3 amazing gifts.  There is nothing special about me besides the fact that I am a daughter of the King.  My children, however, are something else. My oldest, Jordan, is 12,  Nathan is 10, and our little Chinese princess, Katherine Hope is 3.  Last year we journeyed to China to bring her home and this year we hope to bring home a sister for her, Naomi Grace.  We recently have begun the challenge of schooling at home and though it has taken everything in our heart and soul, it has been the most amazing blessing.  I write to open the eyes of the world to the glory of God.




Be the Light

Lately, I have felt the weight that comes with the living in a broken world.  I find myself yearning to go back to Egypt where my eyes were shut tight and my small world, though without much point, was comfortable enough to keep me hidden.  God has done so much with me in the past couple of years.  I have changed...my heart has changed...my mind has changed...my life has changed...and just when I think "Surely, He must be done...He HAS to be done" He begins to work again.  I used to love to read about the Israelites and their quest for the Promised Land.  It always made me feel pretty good about myself (surely I would have never behaved that way!)...until God came for me.  Until He called me out of Egypt and set me on a path for the place He created me for.  I might have been content to stay safe and comfortable, but He is too faithful of a God to let me waste my life, all the while praying that I wouldn't.

It wouldn't be so bad if this were an easy road...the road that leads to your purpose...the road OF your purpose.  Jesus looked at His disciples on that road one day and said "Whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood has no part in me." and He watched the majority of them turn their backs and walk away.  After all, wasn't it enough that they had followed?  Wasn't it enough that they had listened?  Wasn't it enough that they believed in His work?  That they got excited when there was a miracle... that they sat under His teaching?  Now He was literally asking them to consume Him... to take Him inside themselves...to become like Him.  As His eyes lingered on those who were abandoning Him, He turned to the rest of His disciples, "Don't you want to go too?"  And Peter answers with a question that often resonates in my soul and brings me to my knees, "Where would we go, Lord? Only You have the Words of eternal life." I'm NOT going back to Egypt...there is nothing there for me.

I have to believe that at some point, every Christian comes to a bend in the road.  Before we reach this narrowing of the path, our walk with God has been relatively easy and uneventful.  We have watched Him do great things in our own lives and in the lives around us.  We have had some good ole' fashioned fellowship with Him.  We have been regular church attenders, kept our lives pretty clean, read our Bibles, and sang some great worship songs.  And suddenly we face a season in which we feel the stakes raise.  He wants more of us.  He is not content with our service from Egypt.  He is ready to take us further.  He is ready to take us into the purpose for which He created us.  And we look at that narrowing...we see the bumps... we see the giants... we see the battles that await us, and we have a decision to make.

My decision was made, because, like Peter, I knew that there wasn't another option.  He was it.  He IS it.  He is the only thing that keeps me from being a complete and total waste of oxygen.  I decided to follow and now my eyes are opening and I do not like what I see... I do not like it one bit.  I see a world full of corruption and greed.  I see babies being abandoned in streets like trash.  I see young people being enslaved to all kinds of demonic powers.  I see girls being sold as slaves for their bodies.  I see addiction is on the rise and mental illness (much of which is simply a lack of belief in truth) is completely out of control.  I see a world of darkness around me...almost everywhere I look.  And saddest of all, I see a church asleep...the light of the world dimmed almost to extinguishment...the city set on a hill that cannot be hidden, broken down and dilaphidated.  Its members content to love the world, live like the world, and defend the world, all while trying their best to have an appearance of Jesus.  The command to "go into all the world and preach..." nearly forgotten and left to a remnant of people usually labeled "uptight Jesus freaks"...as in "you are taking this Jesus thing entirely too seriously.  Lighten up. Have some fun. Joy. Grace. Fun. That's what Jesus is."And this is hard.  It is hard to live every day with this knowledge...with eyes wide opened...and the heart of Jesus within you that longs to fix it.  

Yet in all this brokenness...all this hardness...all this emptiness... He gives hope.  We have hope because God used 2 out of 12 to eventually lead His people into the Promised Land.  We have hope because God used 11 out of hundreds to begin His Church that the gates of hell, no matter how hard they rage today, have NOT prevailed against.  We have hope because God is well able to use the remnant of His people...the ones who will follow Him past the bend in the road and into the difficulties and sufferings of bringing light into the darkness. We have hope that God has done and will do the impossible.  

Can I tell you that you ARE the hope?  Will you let Him open your eyes to a world that is crying out for you?  Will you do SOMETHING in a world where doing nothing is the norm?  Will you stop complaining and start asking Him where you fit into the solution?  What are you created for?  Don't waste your life away in Egypt...there is nothing for you there...YOU are the light of the world.  Be the Light.


Mar 25, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 3/25-3/31:


  • Monday 3/25: Numbers 23, 24
  • Tuesday 3/26: Numbers 25, 26
  • Wednesday 3/27: Numbers 27, 36
  • Thursday 3/28: Numbers 28, 29
  • Friday 3/29: Numbers 30
  • Saturday 3/30: Numbers 31
  • Sunday 3/3: Numbers 32

Happy Monday, SHINE girls! 

We are continuing on with Numbers this week. We will be finished by next week though and moving on to Mark. {insert BIG happy smile!}

Our memory verse for this week is the 5th  Beatitude that we find in Matthew 5. {Can you believe we are already on the 5th one?} Wow!

"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
Matthew 5:7


Mercy. Mercy. Mercy.

One of my favorite words in the entire English language.

Write it down, print it out, memorize it girls.

This one needs to root deep into our hearts. Way deep.

I won't keep you. Go get your Bible, read our Numbers reading, and ask for the Lord to open your heart up to some Mercy this week. 


mercy seeking.

jill




Mar 22, 2013

Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Numbers 20
Saturday Reading: Numbers 21
Sunday Reading: Numbers 22

Happy Fun Friday SHINE girls! What a week! Are you glad it's Friday? Me too!

So, I left you with a LOT to chew on yesterday. Hope it went down smoothly. Mine was a little tough and chewy, but I managed. ;)

I have a really neat Fun Friday Challenge for us today! Are you ready?

To conclude our week of "hungering and thirsting for righteousness", let's  make this stick. Shall we?

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Grab a water bottle. Any kind, any color.

Write your memory verse on a note card or a piece of paper. Or type it and print it out. My printer died, so no cute font on cute paper for me. :(

Next stick it on your water bottle with some tape, or whatever you have lying around to stick it with.

Here's my water bottle. 


Fill the bottle with water, unless it was already filled.

I want us to carry this bottle around with us all day long. Everywhere.

Keep refilling it when it's empty.

Here's the good part: Every time you take a sip from it, think about God. Think about drinking from the Living Well of His Goodness, His Mercy, His Grace, His Love.

As you are sipping on it, say out loud or in your pretty little head, our memory verse.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6


I want us to get this. I want this to go deep into our parched little hearts, and root there.

I want us to be so thirsty for Him, that we cannot live without thinking of Him, and praising Him.

"You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water."
 Psalm 63:1 

Let this challenge be seared into your mind and your heart. Never forget our gaping need for His filling.

Our souls are dry as a bone without Him.


"But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
 John 4:14

Get refreshed today, girls.


sipping from His well,

jill



Mar 21, 2013

Thursday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Numbers 18:8-19:22

Happy Thursday, SHINE sisters! Is this week flying by, or is it just me? Maybe it's because Numbers has picked up the pace a bit. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE all the words in the Bible. However, some stories just take a little longer to get through, you know?

I've never been big on numbers, anyway. Numbers in the numerical sense. Counting, adding, anything math-ish....blah, blah, blah. 

Just not my thing. 

So, when the Bible speaks of the number of sacrifices being made in explicit detail, I get a little lost. A little distracted.

 My mind wanders to other things--i need to call the dentist, i need to go to the gym today,  wonder what I can scrape up for dinner, did I wash Lem's underwear, i desperately need a pedicure, Oh, and my fingernails--yikes! where's that cute nail polish, did i leave it at the beach....

 {The Lord knows this is how I operate, He made me this way.}

Moving on. 

So, our memory verse has had me thinking, pondering, and praying ALL week. 

Am I hungry for Him?? Am I really hungry for Him?

Oh my, how the Lord knows how I have in the past filled my heart with everything but Him.

I would cram everything into this God-sized hole thinking it would fill that void that only belongs to our True Love, The Father. 

For me, it wasn't a substance, but it was a a lot of other things. Things that I would literally crave, because there was such emptiness there.

Since I'm prone to being an open book, I will just share with you what those things were.

Approval. Being liked. Being sought after. 

Oh, yeah. That was me. 

I looked high and low, in every dark crevice I could find to get an approval fix. It's true.

My desparation for approval only drew me further from Him. I would go on approval binges, seriously. 

For me this is what it looked like: Calling the friends I knew would tell me what I wanted to hear. Getting on social media and blowing it up with "please, please look at me!" phrases and such. Oh, yeah.  Let's just let it all hang out, shall we?

The fix would come. I would be on a high. Then guess what? I would crash and burn. Every single time.

Maybe you don't have an approval addiction. Maybe it's something else that you fill that hole with.  {Oh, and trust me I have many more things I've tried to stick in that hole, we will just stick to this one today.}

Friend, let me tell you from personal experience, there is NOTHING in this world that can fill you up, and satisfy that void, like Jesus Christ. NOTHING.

When the Lord showed me, after much misery over my crashing and burning, that I was looking in all the wrong places--I then had a choice.

I could believe Him, and start filling that gaping hole with Him. OR, I could believe Him, but not really trust Him with that hole. 

Not trusting Him with that hole for me looked like this: Continuing to go to the places I knew I could still get my fix. Just in case, He didn't show up for me. 

Oh, I'm cringing now. The truth hurts.

I've learned {after many failed attempts of not trusting Him} to trust Him. Believe Him. 

Instead of devouring the world and the many things luring me to get my fix, I started to allow my heart and my mind to be lured by Him. 

Girls, there's nothing else more satiating. 

There is a verse that keeps popping up everywhere I go. I love when He does this. It's His reminder to me that I desperately need Him. No matter how far I think I've come, I'm just a "fix" away from being back in that empty place.


"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."
2 Chronicles 16:9

Do me a favor and read that verse again. Let it sink in.

Friends, where are your hearts? 

Are you hungry for Him?

What is the first thing you crave each morning? Is it Him? Or is it everything but Him.

Do you just go to Him when you have tried everything else and realize it's not filling you up?

Or, are you maintaining your heart by a daily dose of filling that empty space with His Word, and His Truth. 

Did you know that physiologically speaking we often mistake thirst for hunger? Yes! Often times, we are feeling the craving for water, but instead go straight to food. Meanwhile, we are dehydrated and don't even realize it.

It's the same way with these "fixes" we get ourselves into. We choose the wrong thing to fill that hole--and end up dry as a desert. 

Let me just shoot real straight.....

We often go to others for this filling or this fix. We go to Pinterest, to Twitter, to Facebook, just looking for that cozy scripture, or that perfect inspirational quote from someone we admire. We long to find someone who can give us just the "spring" we need to get us feeling good. To get us back on track. To get our "fix."

The enemy will use any tool, even seemingly innocent ones, to draw us away from seeking The Father. When we start to use these tools as a "replacement" for our time spent with Him and His Word--the enemy wins. We lose. Every time. 

Can I just be real?

Let's quit looking to be inspired, and let's start looking to get infused. 

Infused with His Word.

Infused by Him.

Oh mercy me! I think we will stop here. I think I've given us enough to chew on today. 
{i may choke!}


stepping on my very own toes,

jill 

Mar 20, 2013

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Numbers 16:36-18:7

Happy Worship Wednesday, sweet SHINE girls! You know what we do today.....we WORSHIP! Sing praises to your King today! He loves hearing your precious voice--in tune, or out of tune--just sing!

First, we have a SHINE give-away drawing to get to! My little Presley drew the name last night.  Before she drew the name, she said: "I need to pray about it first, Mommy."

Be still my heart.

So, after her prayer, she chose....


TORI JOHNSON!


Congratulations, Tori! Emily and I will get this CD to you really soon! Now you have some awesome music for your Worship Wednesday! Email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com and let me know how to get this to you.

Now, on to our post.

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce Katie Smith. I met Katie recently though a mutual friend. She is such an incredible lady.

When she sent me this post, it was exactly what I needed to read that day. Amazing how God does that, isn't it?

Be blessed by Katie's post today, girls. It's so, so, good.


Mind on Target: Glocks and God
BY: Katie Smith

#1 The mind is a powerful tool.
#2 Use it...don't let it use you.

My husband is exceptionally talented with a gun. He's also an excellent teacher. He's taught me to shoot with confidence, and when he was in town last month he served as my "coach" for a Glock tournament in Griffin. He participated in the tournament too, of course, and it was a surprisingly awesome "date" day. What was even more surprising is how the Lord began to teach me a lesson that day that's been ongoing ever since...

It has to do with the mind, and how destructive it can be if we let our thoughts wander from the ultimate goal.

During one round of the shooting tournament, I let my mind relax, just for a moment, and I started missing the targets. It was a downer for my score, but I learned from it. In a later round I almost made the same mistake, but I pulled my focus back in and made my hubby proud. :)

We started talking about how important it is to keep the mind focused...I related it to my running, and he to his weight lifting, and both of us related it to this time in our lives when he has to be far away from us for a few more months.

Also, while he was home there was a time when I felt myself spiraling mentally. I was following a trail of thoughts to somewhere I didn't even want to go. It was really killing my joy. At first I just rode the wave, and then the Lord (praise!) got a hold of my heart.

I told myself, "STOP! Just stop. There's no joy there."

I prayed and prayed to keep the negative thoughts from coming back. Trying desperately to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5). I thought of IV's and my conversation about the mind...I had to reign it in!

The next morning the Lord gave me this verse:
"Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord."
Psalm 104:34
I posted it on my kitchen window. I had it memorized almost immediately because I just couldn't stop saying it to myself. I wanted to be glad in the Lord, and I was...I am!

Since then, I've been thinking, praying, and studying about the effects of the mind. The negative effects when we let it go places it shouldn't, and the positive effects it can have when it's trained and used appropriately. He gives us clear instructions on what to think on in Philippians 4.

From studying God's word, to shooting a gun, to maintaining healthy relationships, to running a marathon, to sticking it out when times are bad, and to not losing focus when times are good...a steadfast mind is necessary if we want to live purposefully, bringing glory to God. We should discipline ourselves "for the purpose of godliness" (1 Timothy 4:7).

We could be like the Israelites who complained in the desert (as we SHINE girls have read in Numbers 11) and let our minds control us. How quickly they forgot the works of the Lord! And boy did it annoy Him!

A better choice is for us to remember the things the Lord has done - that He's formed us, we're His servants, and He will never forget us (Isaiah 44:21).

It brings great reward today and forever:

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock."
Isaiah 26:3-4

What's even better? We don't have to do it in our own power! "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name,He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:26).

If we keep our focus on Him, He'll do the rest. His love never fails!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GoYgi0sdOqc

Mar 18, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 3/18-3/24:

  • Monday 3/18:  Numbers 15
  • Tuesday 3/19: Numbers 16:1-35
  • Wednesday 3/20:  Numbers 16:36-18:7
  • Thursday 3/21:  Numbers 18:8-19:22
  • Friday 3/22: Numbers 20
  • Saturday 3/23: Numbers 21
  • Sunday 3/24:  Numbers 22

Happy Monday, sweet SHINE girls!

Of all the Beatitudes, I believe I've found my favorite. It's our Memory Verse this week, and it speaks volumes. 


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

This verse means so much to my heart. Too much to expound on this early Monday morning. :) 

I will let you get straight to the meat of your day--His Word. Go feed on it, girls. It's your protein, and your greatest thirst-quencher. 

Going without His Word for a day, is like going without food for a day. It's true.

We need the Word like we need food. It's that simple.

Pull up your chair and feast, sweet girls. It's all you can eat. :)


devouring,

jill

**Don't forget to tell enter the SHINE drawing from Friday! I totally forgot to draw a name this weekend, so I will give you another day to enter. :) Yes, I love you. ;)