Jan 31, 2014

The Good Stuff.....

I love today. Want to know why?

It's my birthday!

Yes, I am not one of those who shy away from telling people my day of birth...I shout it from the rooftops!

When you get to be my age, you celebrate BIG! :)

My friend Lisa and I share this day as our birthday. How wonderful is that?

When I found out she and I shared the same birthday it made our friendship even more special!

Aren't we as girls, just giddy about celebrating? It's just so much fun.

When we get new lip gloss, new hair products, new shoes, a good deal at the mall....don't we like to celebrate and tell our friends?

Yes!

We like our friends to get in on the good stuff! We want our friends to share in the discovery of good things or good deals we find, right?

That's why I love sharing a birthday with Lisa. I get to share being giddy, excited, and all of the birthday FUN...with her!

As I prayed for all of you yesterday, I realized that we as women need to be the same way with sharing God's Truth with each other.

Sometimes we shy away from sharing God's Promises and Truth. Why is that?

I'm asking myself the same question here.

Sometimes we even have an easier time sharing God's Promises with strangers than with those under our own noses. Those family members, neighbors, or even friends that are hard to love. Hard to talk to. Hard to be around. Just plain hard.

We may even have a very good reason for estranging ourselves from them. They may have been hurtful or said hurtful things to us or those close to us.

Why do we think that these hard people are not on our radar to show God's Love, Truth, and Promises? Why do we think they are somehow excluded from God's command for us to love?

Hmmm.

Maybe, just maybe, God is waiting on us to show these folks His love, before He wants to move us on to bigger ministry opportunities. Gulp.

We often miss the trees for the forest. I know I said that backwards, but think about it.

We often think outside the box, when God desires us to think inside the box first. Then, He will move us on outside of the box.

If we truly want to be God's disciples, we must ask Him for the desire the compassion, the boldness, to share His Love with all around us. Even the ones we would rather not.

As we study the life of Jesus in Matthew from our reading plan, I am ever encouraged by His Love for others. Even when those "others" betrayed Him. {hello, Judas}

Jesus shared all that He knew about God with those around Him. He didn't keep any of that good stuff for Himself...He shared!

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Share the good stuff with others today. Pray for the desire to tell those around you about the Goodness of Christ.

Maybe it's someone you see every single day, and have not thought twice about them being in your path. Could it be that you will be the one to show them the Love of Christ? Could it be that God is using you to shine the light of His Truth into the darkness?

Someone shared the goodness of Christ with you somewhere down the line, right? Someone certainly shared it with me.

I am so thankful that they did. I am so thankful that they were willing to show me His Love.

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude." 1 Peter 3:8



ready to share,

jill


**Follow our reading plan with us. You can find it here.



Jan 30, 2014

Remind me.....

There are some days when I wake up and just need a reminder of God's Truth and Promises.  I just need His Word. I need the Words of My Father to wash over me like fresh April rain.

Really, there are no other words with more Power, Strength, Comfort, and Peace.

Yesterday as I had my quiet time, I was led to a few verses in Psalm. I said them aloud to the Lord, over and over, and didn't really say much else to Him.

It's not that I didn't have plenty to say {I always do!}, it's just that I wanted to speak to Him using His Words, His Promises. I wanted to stand on His Truth, plain and simple.

Sometimes we just need to know His Word, say His Word, believe His Word. There have been times too many to count, that I have been tormented by fear. In a ball, on the floor, tormented.

In those moments, I would get my Bible, open it up and start repeating His Words out loud. Over and over and over.

To be honest, in those raw moments, I did not believe those words to be true for me. I thought they were true for everyone, except for me.

How wrong I was.

I have learned that just because I didn't believe His Words to be true for me, made them no less true.

Are you following me?

For example, you may not believe that I have children. However, does that make me not have children? No.

You may not believe God's Promises for you, however that doesn't make them not true.

So, for me, reading His Word out loud in those moments of complete despair, something in my heart changed. Something in my head changed.

I started to believe Him.

The more I said His Words, knew them, believed them....the stronger I became. The grip of fear subsided which each Word of God I uttered from my shaking mouth.

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

In my prayer journal yesterday, I asked the Lord to show me how I could help others believe Him. How can I help other women struggling with believing Your Promises for them, Lord?

This blog is an incredible way for me to share, encourage, and be encouraged. So, today, I long to share His Truth with you. I long for you, yes you, to believe Him. Really, really, believe Him.

As I journaled yesterday, I just wrote psalm after psalm of His Promises, His Truth.

I want to share a few with you. When you need to believe Him, but are struggling with believing Him...please turn to His Words. Penned by Your Creator just for you, precious you.

"Surely, Oh Lord You bless the righteous, You surround them with Your favor as with a shield." Psalm 1:12

"In the morning, Oh Lord You hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:3

"Lead me, Oh Lord, in your righteousness, make straight Your way before me." Psalm 5:8

 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad: let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5:11

"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night." Psalm 1:1-2

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16:5-6

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:8

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11

"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8 

"I am confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

"The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.: Psalm 28:7

"The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles." Psalm 34:17

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:6


Even as I write these words, every single one of these words, my heart is strengthened.

Maybe you don't believe Him. Maybe you do.

Either way, I urge you to daily remind yourself of His Word. His Truth. His Promises.

The enemy wants you to forget. He wants you to bow down the fear that God has forgotten about you, or that God never knew you.

What a lie.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.


As I type, I am lifting each and every one of you up to the Father. Asking Him to pour His blessings of Love, Grace, Peace, upon you. My prayer is that you start believing Him--today. The more you get to know Him in His Word, the more you will start believing Him. 

He can be trusted. 


believing Him,


jill


**Follow along with us in our daily reading plan You can find it here.

Jan 27, 2014

No Shame in His Game....

A few weeks ago, one of my children did something that was completely against the grain of their character.

I was so moved by their remorse and repentant heart.

Through tears, and tears, and tears, this child spilled their heart out about this folly. I listened and we prayed together.

Being a mother, I wanted to fix it all and just make my child's little world all better. I wanted to wave a wand over this folly and make it go away because of the depth of sadness my child was experiencing.

As I tucked the child into bed that very same night, my child said that they felt such shame and embarrassment. They were afraid of what I thought of them and what other people would think of them.

I read this child the scriptures of "who God says they are" that I posted last week.  I read these scriptures over and over until this child fell asleep.

The scripture that resonated the most was this one....

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

During this ordeal the Lord revealed to me that the way I felt about my child, and the heaviness of my heart, was how He feels every single time we are led astray by sin. He hates to see us suffer. He hates for us to have to pay the consequences for the sin.

The Glory of His Grace and Forgiveness for us removes all guilt, shame, and suffering. Not only that, but in return He offers us more than we even thought was possible....

This brings our Memory Verse for this week:

 "Instead of shame and dishonor,
 you shall have a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy"
Isaiah 61:7

This doesn't even make sense, does it?? I mean, even though we fail, even though we stumble and fall right smack into a pit of sin.....

Because of His Great Love for us....

He picks us back up, dusts us off....

Removes our shame...

Removes our guilt.....

Forgets the past and what we have done...

Promises to bless us with double for our trouble....

And....

Give us Joy everlasting!


Yet, we don't always believe that do we...

We get stuck in the shame....

We get stuck in the guilt....

All the while, God is just waiting for us to let Him dust us off and pour His Grace upon us.

Shame is never God's game, friends. If you are stuck in shame....

It's because the enemy is whispering shame in your precious ears.

Read that memory verse again, sweet girls. Bask in the sweetness of God's words to you.  


The thing that I hope will stick the most with this child {and myself} is the depth of our Father's Love. The Grace of His Love that covers all of our ugly sins, and robes us in pure joy and righteousness.

 "For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and draped about me the robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. The Lord will show the nations of the world his justice; all will praise him. His righteousness shall be like a budding tree, or like a garden in early spring, full of young plants springing up everywhere." Isaiah 61:10


shedding shame,

jill


**Join us in our SHINE daily reading plan.You can find it here.

Jan 24, 2014

What about me??

I wanted to write this post on my personal family blog. For some reason, I was not able to sign in or post it.

The Lord laid this message on my heart so strongly this afternoon, I could not wait another minute to post. Again, I wanted to post it on my family blog. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to post in on here because this blog has a lot more readers. Brutally honest here. I was scared.

The Lord spoke to my heart, "are you afraid of what people will say more than you desire to be obedient to Me, Jill?"

Yikes.

Okay, got it.

So, here goes. A post that's been lying on my heart for the past few weeks.

Remember a few posts ago I mentioned that the Lord had been working on me and my "agenda".

Agenda in this sense meaning, "what I want out of life".

How can I be successful? How can I make a difference? How can I, I, I, I....?

Following me?

It all started when I told you girls about my funk at the end of December. Not feeling..."enough".

Something has struck me. Let me rephrase, The Lord has struck His Word and His Thoughts on this subject so hard on my heart that I can hardly move.

Practically my whole life I have been searching for who "I" am. What was I born to do? What am I good at? Blah, blah, blah...

God is telling me this:

"What can you do for others? Why all this focus on you, you, you? Did I send my Son to die for you so that you can self-analyze your purpose every day of your life? I sent My Son to show you by example what your purpose is. He was sent to draw others to Me. He was sent to show the world what self-less love and sacrifice really looks like. Your purpose is to do the same."

Okay, I am really paraphrasing here. I mean, when the Holy Spirit gives you insight, it is really hard to put into words. Even for a writer.

We spend our whole lives trying to live up to what the world approves as "successful". We want to be known for our deeds. We want to be inspirational. {I really hate that word}

Where is Jesus in all of this?? Where is the desire to put God first in all things, and others second?

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

I see nothing in this verse about putting ourselves, our needs, our desires first. We are to put Him first, others second. The end.

We can even use God as a soap box to stand on for our purposes. Ouch and double ouch.

Sometimes we expect God to line up with what we are envisioning for our lives because we have decided to make Him a part of it, and then wonder why He doesn't bless our plans. {yep, guilty}

He is the Potter, we are the clay. Period.

God is teaching us to throw out our agenda. It's worthless!

Our agenda is others. Period. Exclamation point!

I am in tears as I write this because it has taken so so so long for me to be receptive of Him telling me this. It has taken a heart desperate and empty enough for it to be able to finally receive this Truth.

I remember several years ago waking up at the crack of dawn to be with Jesus. Just me, my coffee, and Jesus.

My darling little wide-eyed Presley Jane woke up and stomped right into my date with Jesus.

I was furious.

She had disturbed my quiet time with the Lord! How dare she!

In an instant, God took my heart and squeezed it tight in His Disciplining Hands. "THIS is your ministry, dear Jill. Your time with me is good, but this is where I need you to be used. This is where I am found. In the presence of your children, your husband, those around you. If you isolate others in order to be with Me, you are missing it."

Gulp!

Imagine my dismay. He set me straight in an instant. I wanted more more more of Him. I was even willing to sacrifice being loving and doting to my little girl who just wanted to be next to me and snuggle. I had wanted to push her away thinking that she was invading my Jesus space.

Oh my.

How terribly wrong I was.

When we are too busy studying His Word, attending church, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school, making ourselves known in the church.......that we push away others that need us.....

Well, we are in the wrong, sweet sisters.

Big time.

We crave alone-time as women. We think that if we don't have this time alone we will suffocate.

Oh, sweet, sweet friends, it is completely the opposite.

When we face Jesus at His Throne one sweet day, He will never ever ask us how much "alone time" we were able to have.

He will ask us this: What did you do for others? How did you spend your spare moments?

God is not concerned with us making something of ourselves.....He is concerned about us helping to make something out of others. Just like Jesus did for us. Jesus never focused on Himself. 

His agenda was simple: God first, then others. 

Whew.

Tears are just a pouring.

If if were not for my precious children and my husband, I would not have stories to write. What a bore I would be! Those moments we think are mundane, hard, tiring....those are the moments He is Present. Those are the moments when our lives are being lived out....either for others or for ourselves.

I am choosing to live for others.

I am choosing to stop analyzing my life long enough to reach out to those under my very not-so-little nose.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:12-16

Let the world have inspirational people, motivational people. There's enough to go around, that's for sure.

What the world needs is humility, others-focused, willing to serve and not be served kind of people.

You will never see these people in the spotlight. Oh, but you will see them. You will see them in the teenager who was saved from a life of danger because someone was willing to mentor them or spend a little time with them.

You will see these people in the faces of former sin-dwellers that now have the HOPE of Jesus because someone was willing to put down their agenda long enough to hear their stories, and love them anyway.

 "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a]  and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b]  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28


it's not about me,


jill



Oh Joy.....

Sometimes we can take life way too seriously. I mean, life is already pretty serious, but we can still have some Joy and some fun!

Fridays are my fun day. Actually, I try to put some fun into all of my days, but Friday is the day I am intentional about lightening up and having some fun.

Why is it that when we become adults, suddenly, we lose all the color to our world and we see things in black and white?

That's what I love about being around kids! They see everything in color! They notice the little details that we often miss as adults.

"And He said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Now, many of us are facing life altering trials. Earth shaking trials. The Lord is aware of this. Yet, He still tells us to have Joy.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength" Nehemiah 8:10

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Ask the Lord to fill your heart with JOY today! Ask Him to remove anything hindering your little heart from experiencing His Joy. The Joy that He desires you to receive!

Now, do something with that Joy! Surprise someone, spread some sunshine wherever you go, be a bright spot for those around you. Despite your circumstances, maintain that Joy!!

Have lunch with a friend, put a sweet note in your husbands car, take your kids out for ice cream after school, or just take them to the park....it's free! {wear warm clothing!!} :)

I've noticed that as my children grow older they lose a little of the spark and awe in their eyes. When they were little bitty, almost anything would make them joyful and wide-eyed.

Perhaps, we are not setting a good enough example for them. Perhaps, we are not joyful when we should be. Perhaps, we need to show them what a heart full of JOY and wonderment looks like!

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

Go, spread Joy my friends. The world is in desperate need of some Joy-givers!


spreading some sunshine,


jill



Jan 21, 2014

Back in the saddle, girls.....

There's something you need to know. Are you ready for this?

If you have been following SHINE for the past year, you have learned 43 verses from God's Word. FORTY THREE! That's huge, people!

I prayed and asked the Lord if we should continue on with our scripture memorization. Uh, I got a resounding YES from Him. I mean, why wouldn't we memorize the Holy Word of God??

You also need to know something else. Many times I have had women ask me how they are to know when the Lord is speaking to them or if it is just their thoughts they hear.

This is what I tell them: When you are face down in prayer, when you have His Word hidden in your heart, you will hear Him speak.

What does it sound like and what does He say? He speaks through His Word. He answers you through His Word.

For example...If I am praying for something specific, or need to know how to handle something, I will recall a scripture that we have learned. I hear it in my heart or visualize it in my head.

 It will sound something like this:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

This is not coincidence girls. This is God searing His Word to our heart. This is God giving us His direction for the path we are to take.

It is not always immediate. Sometimes the Lord wants to continue drawing us to Him, resting in Him, and finding Peace in Him before He directs us. This takes trusting Him, trusting His timing, and trusting that He knows best. We must not get weary during this time. We must continue to seek Him, knowing and believing that He is hearing us and will direct us.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" Galatians 6:9

When we combine reading and memorizing His Word with prayer, an explosion takes place. We are blown away by the magnitude and depth of His intimacy with us. Little old us!

Not one of us is more special to Him than the other. He loves us all with the same magnitude and force! Really, He does! We are all the apple of His eye.

But, is He the apple of ours?

That's were the intimacy gap occurs.

We sometimes take Him for granted, just go to Him when we are desperate, blow the dust off of our bibles when we have tried every other solution and nothing is working.....

We may still hear Him speak, because He is so good like that....but, we miss out on the opportunity of relationship with Him. We miss out on the opportunity to realize His Presence is with us always. He is always there, waiting to guide us, direct us, lead us.

Often we prefer a quick fix to our need, instead of the Healing He longs to give us.

Will you join me in planting the seeds of His Word in our hearts? There is an abundant harvest awaiting to be produced in our lives, girls. We just have to take the time to tend the garden.

I am going to keep it real, I need accountability in this. I get tired, weary, and sometimes want to take a week off from memorizing. So, I really need all of you to help me.

Let's encourage each other! Let's nudge each other, push each other a little harder to plant these seeds every week.

Here is our 44th Memory Verse:

"A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart"
Proverbs 21:2


{This verse is in our Proverbs Daily Reading for today.  Remember, a Proverb a day I posted about last week?}
Funny how the Lord works. He has been teaching me a lot about having my own "agenda" and if that so-called "agenda" comes from a pure heart. {gulp}

 A post on that later. ;)

Come on girls, let's saddle up on this horse and get moving! Let's saturate His Word all over our little hearts!


Join me, partner? 


lacing up my riding boots,


jill


**Join us in our Daily Reading Plan, you can find it here. 

Jan 20, 2014

Love the one your with?

I have two children. They are very different. One is just like me, the other is just like my husband.

Can you imagine which one I "get" the most? Yeah, the one who is just like me.

I try to "get" the other one, I really do. Some days are better than others.

 Other days, I just get exasperated. Why can't this child just do what I say?

Marriage and parenting have been the biggest growing-of-my-heart experience. Ever.

They have both taught me that life is not always about me. People are different. Very different. People don't see things like I see them. People don't feel things like I feel things.

 What's wrong with these people??!! {kidding}

Something about marriage and parenting changes your heart in a way that you never knew needed changing.

Here's the thing though--I have to be willing for God to use Lem and my kids to change my {often selfish} little heart. Some days, I don't budge. I pout, I whine, I am discontented.  

I have gotten angry, lost my temper, spouted unkind things to those precious peeps that live under my roof. 

Somewhere along the way though the Lord revealed something to my heart.....

He revealed that when I love them, serve them, and keep my mouth in check--regardless of how they are treating me--something glorious happens. Something only He is capable of doing.

The unruly kink that developed in that situation straightens out. My heart no longer feels hard, selfish, or angry. When I do what He tells me to do--even when it goes against the very grain of my stubborn flesh--a miracle happens. Peace resides. 
"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:9

In turn, when I demand my own way, demand that I"m right, demand that they do what I want them to do..... an ache develops in my heart. An ache that comes from a heart pent up with selfishness. An ache that needs to be set free with an outpouring of love. 

So, when I come across a person, a situation, or whatever that I just don't "get", I now see that I don't have to "get" it. Who ever told me that I had to understand things or people to love them? 

I don't think God tells us to only love those that we we "get". Only have compassion on situations that we understand. Only give your time and talents to things and people that deserve them. 

Uh, no. 

Jesus tells us this: 

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

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

"The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31


Who have you decided to give up on because you just don't "get" them? Who needs the love of Christ poured out on them even though they are different from you? Have  you shunned someone the Lord has deliberately put in your path for you to demonstrate His Love?

Aren't we glad that God doesn't use those same standards with us? I mean, who in the world on this earth--besides Jesus--would be worthy of the Love of our Creator??

Why do we think we are above showing this kind of love to those that we don't "get"?

Perhaps this is why Christians can get a bad reputation. We can get busy trying to be Holy, that we miss the whole entire message. Love one another. 

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude." 1 Peter 3:8

Are we willing to step out of our comfy little church seat and pour some love on a world that desperately needs Christ? 

I'm not even talking big mission here.

I'm talking loving our husbands, our kids, our parents, our hubby's parents, the family member with too many problems for us to care about anymore, our neighbors, our co-workers, the man or woman we pass every single day and never even glance at, the friend with one too many problems for you to listen to, the waitress with a bad attitude, the cashier that moves a little too slow for our busy schedules.....

Ah, are we getting the picture here?

Jesus is our example. In every area.

Let's see what He would say....

"35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:35-40



starting to "get" it,


jill





Jan 17, 2014

Spread the Word....

So, yesterday we were reminded of who we really are.

Not sure about you, but after reading those scriptures again, I noticed I had a spring in my little step! I felt lighter, more confident, and mostly I felt wrapped up like a Hershey Kiss in the Father's Love.

Why do we often forget how much He loves us? Not just loves us, but adores us.

Your Fun Friday Challenge:

Now that we've remembered the truth of who we really are, enlighten someone else of who they really are.

Send them a text, leave a note on their car, call them for heaven's sake on the phone, or even more unthinkable---go SEE someone face to face and let them know how loved they are!  Tell them how much the Father adores them and how they are the "apple of God's eye".

Who doesn't need to hear that? I know I do. On a daily, if not minute by minute basis.

Love someone enough today to share the incredible news of God's Love for them! They may have forgotten, or they may have never known.

Here's what you can do: Take one of the scriptures from yesterday {or any scripture that you choose}, and write it on your note to them, or your text to them, or however you want to share it.

God's Word brings healing and restoration and breaks down the enemy's barrier of lies. Set that friend free, girlfriend!

Okay, here is what I need you to do next. Promise me that you will, okay?

Sometimes we {I included} will skip over scripture if it looks long or lengthy. Do not skip over this today. You will miss the whole point of our challenge if you do. I've just stopped typing and prayed for you as you read this.

Okay, go...


                                             "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim 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,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
  and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    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." 
Isaiah 61:1-3

You may need someone to pick you up off of the floor after reading that. God's Word will knock you out of your squishy little house shoes! 

I can hardly stand it.

Just the mere reading of those words -God's Words--brings a big fat dose of Freedom and Truth.

Drink up, girlfriends.


"so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" 
Isaiah 55:11


let freedom ring,

jill

Jan 16, 2014

Who are you anyway?

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

Sometimes we just need  a little reminder of who we are.

We are constantly reminded day in and day out of who or what we are not.

I am very leery of social media. If we are not careful, we find ourselves unhappy when we linger too long on those sites. 

We see images, conversations, discussions. These things can get in our head and into our hearts if we are not careful.

We see happy (or at least it seems) families. We see witty and charming updates. We see friends or not-so friends looking fabulous. We see people at parties...smiling, dancing, and just so darn happy!

In turn, we can look at ourselves, our lives, and feel a little discontented. Or maybe, if we are honest, a lot discontented.

As I was praying about this topic and for the Lord to lead me in this post, I opened straight to Luke 21:34.

"34 But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the [a]giddiness and headache and [b]nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the [c]business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose;"

Several things in this passage stand out to me:

  • be on guard
  • hearts overburdened
  • depressed
  • self-indulgence
  • drunkenness
  • worldly cares
  • business of life
  • trap

We must guard our hearts, at all times. This also means guarding our eyes, our ears, and our time. 

The world will bombard us with what we are not. We must combat the world {the enemy} with what we are.

As I found myself in funk I posted about, I had to say some truths over and over to combat what the enemy was telling me. 

I had to stand on God's Truth and what God says about me. Why? Because what I say about me, and what the enemy says about me is a big fat lie.

We must arm ourselves with the Sword of Truth if we are to slay the enemy and his lies.

A precious friend of mine told me that her daughter had been struggling with "who" she was. My friend gave her daughter scriptures to affirm who her daughter really is. 

If you are feeling less than what God says you are, I encourage you to read these scriptures. Write them down, and post them around you. 


"I am the righteousness of God in Christ" 2 Corinthians 5:21

"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I set you apart" Jeremiah 1:4

"God holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways" Daniel 5:23b

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

"You are the apple of His eye" Psalm 17:8

"You are made in the image of God" Genesis 1:27

"You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears in your bottle and recorded every one in your book." Psalm 56:8

"You have formed my inward parts; You have woven me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13

"His heart churns for you" Hosea 11:8

"If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath" Psalm 34:18 (The Message)

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands" Isaiah 49:16


"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Maybe a friend needs to hear these words. Maybe a child or a teenager in your life needs to hear these words spoken over them.

Just last night, I read these words to Presley. She had a tough day at school. She was very upset, and in need of some consoling. The Words of her Father were just the healing she needed. As I read the scriptures to her, she welled up with tears.

"Does God really think that about me?" She asked. 

Oh yes, darling. And so much more.

God's Word brings healing. God's Word brings affirmation. God's Word brings Truth.

As I read them again to myself, the magnitude of His Love for me overwhelms my heart...just as it did Presley's.

How can we possibly believe anything or anyone but  our Creator, our King, our Father?

My son plays basketball. His team has not won a game. Want to know the problem? 

The team has a good defense, but a terrible offense.

Meaning, they can hardly score a goal.

Good defense is great to have. However, they must have an offense if they want to win. No baskets, no points, no win. 

Same thing with your heart. You can defend and guard it all day long, however you must be on the offense as well. Throwing those scriptures of Truth right in face of the enemy's lies. 

Believe what God says about you, precious friend. He cannot tell a lie. 

"God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind"
Numbers 23:19


learning to play offense,


jill



Jan 14, 2014

Back to the Basics....

When a new year starts, we make all kinds of resolutions and goals. Even if we don't write anything down, or speak them out loud, we often review our lives from the past year and set out to change things or make some things happen.

Our spiritual lives are probably one of the biggest areas we want to work on. Right? We long to get closer to Him, and spend more time with Him.

If you are stuck trying to figure out where to start or how to start, I want to share a few things with you.

It's very, very basic. Which is good for a very basic girl like me. {basic with some episodes of drama thrown in from time to time}

Pick a time of day that works best for you.

Morning is my time. It just works. The house is quiet, I have coffee. The end.

Here's what I do after settling into my "spot" on the couch:

Word of warning: try very hard not to check your phone before starting your quiet time. I know it is very hard. If you have to check it, set a one minute timer. Make sure nothing is an emergency, then turn your phone off. Or at least on silent. I know from experience what a distraction our phones can me. It will suck your time away and before you know it your little quiet time window is over. :(

Okay, first I read our SHINE reading plan. It only takes about 10 minutes--if that. I like to do a little commentary search on it too. The best commentary I have found is at enduringword.com Check it out. You will be so glad you did.

After that, I will read the Proverb of the day. For example, today is the 14th, so I read Proverbs 14.

Can I just point out something? We can never read enough Proverbs. Ever. Proverbs are the basic instruction manual for everyday life. I need instructions.

After reading Proverbs, I spend time in prayer. I have some prayer books that I use often, but if they are not close by, I just pray. Pray, pray, pray.

A couple of days during the week I will write in my prayer journal. This takes the place of my prayers. I will write my prayers, instead of speaking them. It's powerful because it's permanent. I can go back and see what God was doing, and has been doing over the course of my life through prayer journals.

That's it.

Really, that's all.

Simple, right?

I always look at my days like an outline. I have a basic idea what I need to do each day, and then I ask God to fill in the rest.

Even with my cleaning schedule. If I don't have some sort of outline for each day, nothing will get done. It just won't.

I like the Lord to direct and order my steps every day. Let me rephrase: I need the Lord to direct and order my steps each day.

 "Direct my footsteps according to Your Word, let no sin rule over me." Psalm 119:133

Our God is a God of order. Look at the rising and setting of the sun. Look at the seasons. The months of the years.The days of the week. The hours in a day. The minutes in an hour.

"God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33

You get the picture.

My days can be chaotic. This is just how life rolls sometimes. Or many times.

However, our spirits don't have to be chaotic. The unsettling around us, doesn't have to cause unsettling inside of us. 

One of my favorite verses of scriptures is:

"How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!" Psalm 84:1

Guess where His dwelling place is?

Inside of us! 

If we are believers in Christ, if we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on a cross taking our sins with Him, and God rose Him from the dead 3 days later....

If we know this to be true, then we know and believe that He dwells inside of us.

"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you..."Romans 8:9

Maybe your basics today begin with acknowledging Jesus Christ as your Savior. If this is the case, Oh, what a joyous day this will be for you!

If this is your story today, I encourage you to find someone to pray with you, and talk to you if you are not sure what to do.

I am available to talk to you as well. Always.

I pray in Jesus Name, that the Lord will put someone in your life to encourage you on this journey, and pray for you along the way. Jesus loves you and He is desperately pursuing your beautiful self. You better believe it, precious one.

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

Life with Jesus is so very simple. It's not a bunch of rules, regulations, hoops to jump through, or medals to earn.

It's just about receiving the Gift of Him. The Great Exchange of our sins for eternal life with Him.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it.

You can believe Him, sweet friend. He died for you.


back to the basics,

jill



















Jan 10, 2014

Say Yes to Cracks....

I have to be honest about something.

Sometimes I just get into a funk. I hate that word, but that's the only word that can I can use to convey what I'm trying to say.

At the very end of this past December, the funk came.

Not exactly sure how it began, but oh did it come. I was sunk so deep into that funky hole, I couldn't tell up from down, left from right, or top from bottom.

This particular funk had to do with me feeling like I was not "enough".

Suddenly out of the blue, I was pelted by the enemy with thoughts of inferiority. I was worthless. Or, at least that's what he was trying to tell me.

I believed him for a short time.

I cried my eyes out to my poor husband about what a loser I was and how severely lacking I was at just about everything.

Poor Lem. He listened, he really did.

His only words after my hour long pity party were: "Don't worry, just be happy."

REALLY??? {steam coming from my nostrils}

Your're quoting me a song in response to my heartfelt plea and earnest desire for affirmation???

Good grief.

Lem is just a happy-go-lucky kind of fella. Which is exactly why he's so good for this drama queen of a wife he married.

I decided to take my lament somewhere else, as my lament to Lem didn't quite get the response I needed.

So, I spewed my sadness all over my mom and sister one day. {God bless them for listening}

The response was much better and more soothing than that of my sweet man's.

However, I was still just in an utter pit of despair. {drama, drama, drama}

When I {finally} went to the Lord about my funk, He was quiet. Too quiet for my taste.

Yes, He was hearing me, because yes, I was making sure He did.

However, He still wasn't "fixing" it for me. At least not in the way I had wanted.

I wanted to feel affirmed by Him. I needed to know from Him that I was "enough". That what I was doing with my life was "enough".

I even looked into going back to school or getting a part-time job to fill my need for the desire to feel like I was "enough".  My stay-at-home mom job suddenly seemed pitiful and ordinary.

The school thing didn't work out. Neither did the job finding thing.

I now know why....

As I was looking around trying to fill this "enough" void, I was getting deeper and deeper into the funk pit.

All along He was whispering to me that my worth is not tied into a job, or who the world thinks and says I am. My worth comes from being His Daughter--the daughter of a King. That alone is MORE than enough.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I hear it like this, "I am enough for you, Jill. My Power is the strongest, when you are the weakest."

Yesterday, I was at the gym with my friend, Danielle. She was telling me about a book that I need to read. I don't remember the name, but she said that the author talks about being a "crack filler".

Meaning, we have a purpose every single day of our lives when we look around us. We just often overlook them. Honestly, I have no clue if this is what the author meant, but God spoke to me as soon as my friend said those words...."crack filler".

{side note--the word "crack" makes me giggle. i have boys in this house. "just say no to crack" is said a lot around here. okay, the end.}

Suddenly the clouds parted and I saw what He was telling me. {angels sing!}

I was looking for BIG things to do to feel "enough". I was looking for ways to make my life seem fuller and more "worthy".

All the while, God was telling me to "fill in the cracks where you are, Jill. You're purpose is found there."

The cracks surround me.

Whether in my marriage, my children, my nephews, my nieces, my neighbors, my friendships, the lady at Ingles, the dear friend who just lost her third child, the mother who is taking care of her one year old just diagnosed with cancer, the friend who's daughter was in an ATV accident and has severe neurological issues....the cracks are everywhere.

These cracks need attention. They need care. They need love. They need.....crack fillers.

What happens if these cracks go unnoticed, unseen? The whole thing falls apart. Then, it's a big, huge mess.

"Fill the cracks, Jill. That's what I am calling you to do right now." I heard the Lord so clearly tell me this in my heart yesterday.

Ironically, I was scrubbing toilets when He spoke this to my heart. I was on my knees performing a task that has to be the worse household task imaginable. But, it has to be done, right?

Crack-fillers don't always get noticed. They often get overlooked because what they are doing is so small {or so it seems}, that others may not even take notice.

Oh, but friends, God sees! He sees every little crack your little hands are trying to fill.

As I got to the sink to clean it, I noticed a small crack in the tile. The crack will need sealing, or the whole sink could be at risk. Or so my husband tells me. ;)

God was speaking so loudly to my heart that I kept shouting over and over as I cleaned, "I want to be a crack filler!! Show me some cracks, Lord!!!"

If anyone was listening or could hear me they surely would have thought I was on some kind of crack.

Listen closely stay at home momma, working momma, working grandmother, grandmother taking care of her grand babies, teachers, church volunteers, school volunteers, friend in the shadow.....

You are a crack filler exactly where you are! You are filling a major crack that God needs and desires you to fill.

It may not look like it to the world, but God says that He will leave the 99 to go after the ONE in Matthew 18:13-14.

"And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."

We are that one.

YOU are that one.

The lady at Ingles is that one. Your sister or brother in need of a Savior is that one. The aging parent needing some help is that one. The teenage nephew or niece going down the wrong path is that one.

We are often so busy chasing after the big things {the many} that we miss the little things {the few}.

I am blessed to be able to witness many crack-fillers around me. My mother and mother in law, are some of the biggest crack-fillers I know. They fill cracks in my life that I didn't even know needed filling.

It doesn't take money or any special talent to be a crack-filler, just a servant's heart. A heart willing to see the small needs. The needs of one, instead of  just the needs of many.

Your Fun Friday Challenge: 

Be a crack-filler today. Look around you and find a need that you can help with. If you are not called to go to Africa on a mission trip, don't feel useless. God has a crack for you to fill here! Right under your very little nose. Possibly even right under your very own roof.

Be kind to your husband, laugh and play with your kids, write an encouraging note to someone, call someone, cook a meal for a friend, spend some time with a teenager in your life that is dying for some guidance....the cracks are endless.

Notice the small things today. Focus on those little cracks that could become a  mountain of a mess if less unattended.

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first, must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26


out of the funk and into some cracks,

jill


Jan 8, 2014

God's Who's Who....

Every once in a while I come across a post that I need all my peeps to read. I never hog good info. I always want to share to the world!

This is one of those posts. Suzanne is an incredible writer, teacher, and role model for me. Although, we have never met.

Be blessed friends.


God's Who's Who
by: Suzanne Chambers

Ever since I was a teenager, I've read books and heard talks that sought to inspire the recipients to reach for the stars, dream the big dreams, do the impossible.  Those messages are appealing and inspirational indeed.  And I am all for doing things excellently, not shabbily.  But today, I'd like to examine these messages through the microscope of Scripture and see if perhaps we need to exercise caution in our reaching and dreaming and doing....


First, I concur that we should heed Colossian 3:23  Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.   Christians should be known for being the best workers, most cheerful attitudes, and of greatest service to the organization.  The problem I have with some of these books and talks, though, is that the last phrase of this verse is often unheeded.  They don't encourage us to do great work for the Lord's reputation, but rather to enhance our own.  How to "get ahead", how to "succeed", how to "have a great career/marriage/kids" etc. Including "how to have a big church...." as opposed to how to advance HIS fame.

Next, on the "dream big" thing.  Check out this verse and see if you think it is consistent with that mindset.....

I Thessalonians 4:11,12

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.   


I know I am in unusual territory.  I know it doesn't sound right for me to suggest to teens and young adults "Don't aspire to be great.  Just aspire to lead a quiet life and work hard and treat people right"  I now that doesn't make for great conference speeches or book titles or conversation fodder.  But isn't that exactly what this passage teaches? 

Work hard, yes.  But not to advance your own interests.  Be ambitious, yes.  But let your ambitions be to lead a life that is not "grand" or "admirable" but rather one that treats others right.  Sometimes grand things do indeed come but they should come from God's hand, not from our pursuit, for His fame, not our pleasure.

The world will probably not make note of our accomplishments if we obey these verses.  Most likely, we won't be applauded or acclaimed or emulated very much.  At least not here.  But check out what God says in Malachi 3:16  Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

A book of remembrance written for the Lord Himself.  Better than any earthly listing in Who's Who.

**Visit Suzanne's blog at www.livingletters4.blogspot.com for more inspirational posts.





Jan 6, 2014

The L word......

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8

Love.

A four letter word that gets tossed around like sailboat atop a stormy sea.

As women, we say this word a lot. Or maybe, we don't say it enough.

Maybe we long to hear this word said more often to our aching little ears.

As this year begins, I am attentive to this word like never before. Perhaps, it is because I need to work on love. In a big way.

I love my people. I really do.

Do I really love them though?

I can only really love when I have the Lord Jesus living inside of me. "God lives in us and His love is made complete in us."1 John 4: 12

Jesus absolutely resides in this little heart of mine, but do I fully activate His Love towards others...even those that I claim to love on a daily basis?

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

Here's the part I often struggle with. Do my actions convey my love?

Yes, I am a wife. Yes, I am a mom. I do mom and wife things.

However, what motivates these actions?

Is it love? Or, is it guilt, duty, obligation, affirmation, a show for other to see, or maybe to get something in return? Are my actions based on pure and godly motives?

The rubber meets the road right here.

I long to love. All people. At all times.

I really do.

This kind of love can only be possible by a heart completely surrendered to an unconditional loving Father.

Often our flesh gets in the way of this kind of love. We get hurt, rejected, thrown away, taken advantage of, misunderstood, overlooked.

It hurts. Big time.

Or maybe, others don't quite live up to the expectations we have for them. They disappoint us, they fail, they continually fall on their face. Do we turn our back on them and walk away?

Whatever the case, giant walls begin to form around our hearts. Love suffocates. It never gets released.

We justify this because we have been hurt.  We have been let down. We have been made a fool of. We justify withholding love because our hearts have been bruised, stomped on, broken in two.

If we are at all familiar with the life of Christ, He withstood all of those things. Times a million.

What did He do?

He loved.

If He is our example, and we are His disciples, we must do the same. No matter what.

This message steps on my little painted toes too. Really it does.

Who needs to be shown love today, my friend? Who have you turned your back on because of their actions, their betrayal, their hurtful ways?

Jesus challenges us to love them.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8

I said it out loud in this way to make it personal to my heart: "If I do not love _______, I do not know God, because God is love."

I filled in the blank with a hard to love in my life. Or maybe it's not one person in particular, maybe it is a group of people. A race, a culture, another religious group....

Contrary to what society says, it is not naive to love. Oh, how we miss God's message when we fall into that trap.

Love is anything but naive.

"Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7

Let's determine to love this year. Love like Jesus loved.

Walls will crumble. Hearts will be restored.

The greatest evidence of God's presence and work in us is displayed in how well we love.

Let's make a mighty love display for the world to see, shall we?


crumbling some walls,


jill







Jan 3, 2014

Whatever you do.....

Sometimes the Lord will just lay a verse on your heart and hit replay until you finally "get it" and start really living it.

This happened to me on Monday.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men....."
Colossians 3:23

This is the verse.

As I had a conversation with a friend about her marriage, I heard Him speak this verse into my spirit, again.

As I fed 5 kids at my table last night, exhausted from the days activities, I heard Him speak it to my heart again.

When supper was finished and I was scrubbing the seemingly endless dish load, I heard this verse again.

Suddenly, dish rag in hand, I stopped in my tracks.

Bubbles from the soapy water were covering my arms, and I began to "get it".

My life is not my own. It never was. It never will be.

It's His...The Lord's.

All that I do is for Him. Or at least it should be.

I smiled from ear to ear as the realization of this verse hit my heart like a thud.

This is how my life shall be lived. From now until I face Jesus face to face.

Although I have heard, memorized, and read that verse hundreds of times over the last couple of years....today, I got it.

Do everything unto Him in...

  • my marriage
  • my parenting
  • serving others
  • my finances
  • my chores
  • my conversations
  • obedience
  • submission
  • loving others
  • forgiving others. hello.
What is it that you need to do as unto Him and not for mere men?

Maybe, this should be our new year's resolution...Do everything, yes everything, unto Him.

If we start this in our very own little homes...imagine how our world would change.

Oh, and did I fail to read you the rest of this scripture? Get ready for this...

"Whatever you do , work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive and inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Umm. Hello.

My heart is resolved to live out this verse. Not just this year, but every year.

Won't you join me?


getting it,


jill














Jan 1, 2014

A Quiet Resolution....

Happy New Year, sweet SHINE sisters!

Gosh, I miss y'all.

Today, especially, I miss you.

On this day, two years ago, SHINE girls began. Little did I know what the Lord had in store for this  ministry. Goodness gracious,

I think we have all grown leaps and bounds. Reading His Word tends to do that.

The Lord has had me in a really weird place for the last few months. It all began when I stopped posting on this site. I knew it was what He was asking me to do, and it was hard to understand why.

Three months down the road, I have more clarity.

A rest was in order.

Even "good" things need a resting period.

I'm not good at resting. Just ask my mom.

I don't do naps. Yuck. Ever.

I don't like to sit and just "rest".

It bores me.

Oh, but when the Lord says "rest", He means it.

When we rest in Him, we stop long enough to hear Him even more clearly. We hear things we often cannot hear because of the noise of not resting.

Just recently, I was asking {more like begging} for God to give me clarity on something.

I begged, groveled, and begged some more.

I was searching every scripture, every conversation, everything I could get my dry and chapped little hands on. Nothing was speaking to me. Nothing was clear.

"Lord, where are YOU??"" I asked Him one day in the car, tears streaming down my face.

I heard Him speak in my spirit, "I am the Quiet One, Jill. The soft whisper. You won't find me in the loud. You will find me in the quiet."

My heart had been loud. Anything but quiet. In my frantic search for Him, I had lost Him because I was speaking over Him. Yelling over Him, to be honest.

I was so desperate, that somewhere, somehow, I had muted His Voice in my Spirit. Oh, His Voice was there all along, but in my loud, unbelieving, untrusting little heart, I had lost the ability to hear Him.

Since that day, I have committed to quiet my heart. When my heart is quiet, He speaks. Not only does He speak, but I begin to hear Him speaking.

What does a quiet heart look like?

It's being submissive to Him. It's honoring Him. It's trusting Him. It's not planning the what-if-God-doesn't-come-through scenarios. It's saying, "Your will be done, Father. Not my will."

Oh the irony of a New Year's Day post about resting and being quiet.

The world is telling us to "make plans!", "change your life!", "new year, new you!".

Although those things are fabulous, remember where our Father is found...in the still small voice. In the whisper.


11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Kings 19:11-15

God was not in the loud wind, not in the earthquake, not in the raging fire....

He was in the gentle whisper.

turning up the quiet,

jill

Still want to read along with us? Go to:

http://eastridgefamily.org/files/Reading%20Plan/Three%20Year%20Bible%20Reading%20Plan_1.pdf

You can download the plan there. We are on Year Two of this plan. It begins in 1 John.