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