May 30, 2014

But, I really need it.....

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 20:1-44
Find the Reading Plan here.

Summer of Self-control. Still working on it.

This week has been a definite eye opener on some things I need to work on in the self-control area.

My mouth was the biggest area that I thought needed some self-control. However, apparently many other areas need it too.

For example....

My spending.

This has always been an area that needs some tightening up.

It's not that I spend a lot of money, I just push the budget more than I should. I make excuses for putting a few extra items into the buggy, knowing full well that I shouldn't.

Yesterday, I really wanted to go to Sally's Beauty Supply to get some new shampoo and some self-tanner. I knew I shouldn't.

So, I didn't.

However,  a million other days I would have and I did.

Self-control is really not about depriving ourselves, it's about our obedience to Christ.

Our obedience to Christ in our spending, our tongues, our attitudes, our tempers, our appetites, our compulsions, our indulgences.....

Self-control is not a punishment. Really, it is anything but.

God's Word says that it is a fruit of the Spirit. Read that again....a fruit of the Spirit.

We just have to activate that sucker! If we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, then we have self-control. However, we must make use of it.

Several years ago, I was at Wal-Mart and really wanted some gorgeous stationery. We had no extra room in our budget for this $9.00 splurge. Zero.

I really needed {wanted} it.

However, as I sat and stared at the beautiful gold, silver and yellow stationery, my mind was thinking of a million ways to make it acceptable to purchase. After all, my birthday was only a few days away...this could be my gift to myself. {talking myself right into it}

After about 15 minutes of staring at it, I walked away.

My heart sank.

It was hard denying my flesh. Even if it was just a beautiful box of stationery. I wanted it!

Several days later, I was celebrating my birthday with some friends. My friend, Kelly, handed  her gift to me.

Guess what it was?

That very same box of stationery!

Only God!

I cried my eyes out.

She was thrilled and a little shocked that her gift was so loved---that I wept over it.

I told her the story, and she was just as amazed as I was.

God always shows us His love when we allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit instead of our flesh.

"Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives."Galatians 5:25

Be honest with God today about what you need to work on in this area of self-control.

Ask Him to help you and to show you ways to walk in obedience--even when it's tough.

He wants to help us. He desires us to trust Him intimately with the smallest areas of self-control...and even the largest.

If we can pray for you in an area, please let us know. I will leave the comment section open at the bottom of this post. You can post anonymously if you wish.

We will pray.



delaying my trip to Sally's,


jill




May 28, 2014

Summer of Self-Control......

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 17
Find the Reading Plan here

Yesterday was our official first day of Summer in the Hill house.

I had grandiose plans for my children and me.

Somehow, things didn't turn out quite like I had planned.

By noon, I was exhausted, exasperated, and down-right ugly.

My kids were driving me bananas, and I was ready for a mammoth melt-down.

Earlier, on our walk in the neighborhood, I was teaching them about the importance of staying spiritually healthy, mentally healthy, and physically healthy. As I told them our Summer plans for incorporating all three of these elements into our Summer routines, we decided on our Summer theme.

Every Summer we decide on a theme. It usually just happens organically. This year was no different.

Joseph, my son, came up with our theme this Summer.......

The Summer of Self-control.

"It's one of the fruits of the Spirit", he proclaimed. "We could all work on this one, Mom."

I smiled at him and said I thought it was perfect.

Little did I know how desperately I needed this certain fruit of the Spirit. Whew.

Our day went down hill soon after lunch.

It started when I was in the middle of showing the kids a documentary on World War 2 {our mentally healthy element} and the phone rang. It was my sweet and darling {ahem} husband.

When the kids told him we were watching the documentary, he got a little upset that we didn't wait on him to watch it.

He expressed his desire for all of us to watch it together, and I hit the roof. I mean, HIT THE ROOF.

I quickly reminded him that we were still  waiting on him to watch the "Bible" series with him from TWO years ago! My voice raised, my blood pressure sky rocketed, and the kids got a big ol' dose of a momma in need of some self-control.

As I squeezed in another 10 minutes of the documentary, clearly going against Lem's wishes, I smirked a little to myself that I was being a little rebellious towards him. {shameful, I know}

My kids said repeatedly, "but Dad said not to watch it".

Yes, mother of the year over here.

Clearly defiant. Clearly rebellious. Clearly lacking self-control.

Yours truly.

Several episodes of kids fussing, kids talking back, and kids getting on my last nerve....I hit the roof, again. I fell apart like a two dollar watch. And then some.

Finally, I was able to hit the back porch, bible in my lap, and tears on my cheeks.

The kids were probably grateful for my time outside. They needed a break from me. Shoot, I needed a break from me!

My daughter finally walked on the back porch and said, "Momma, it really hurts that you called me a heeven."

"Heeven is not a word, darling. I said you were acting like a heathen. I didn't actually call you a heathen. You were just acting like one in that moment."

She replied, "I'm really not even sure what a heathen is momma, but I think it's a werewolf."

I giggled.

God taught me a lot yesterday. The main lesson being how easy it can be to tell your kids to have self-control, yet easily display to them a lack of self-control at any given moment.

I bet you can guess what the Hill's will be working on this Summer....

Self-control.

How about you?

Are you in need of some self-control in an area of your life?

Join us.

Accountability is a good thing.

Our Memory Verse:
 
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 

Sounds like a fantastic memory verse to me!

I'll keep you posted on how we are doing on this self-control thing. ;)


working on some self-control,




jill

May 23, 2014

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy.......

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 9, 10
Find the Reading Plan here.

This week is always emotional.

The end of a lot of things.

The end of another school year for my kids. The end of having great teachers that teach them.

For some of you, it may be the end of elementary school for your children. The end of middle school for others. The end of high school. The end of college.

Or, the beginning of an empty nest. {oh, I am praying for your hearts as I type this!}

Two years ago, you would find me on the floor, in a puddle, crying my pitiful eyes out.

I don't like change. Let me repeat, I don't like change.

However, last year, God helped me turn the corner with all of this.

This is the verse He gave me:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
Proverbs 31:25

Sounds so simple, right?

That is because it is simple!

God showed me last year that I could cry my eyes and out mope around all day.....

Or I can LAUGH and have JOY in weeks like this.

What was I teaching my children being so mopey and pitiful? Absolutely nothing.

Last year at this very time, we celebrated every single day of that last week of school.

This year, we did the same.

Small little gifts for them after school, later bedtimes, their favorite dinners....anything to lighten the mood in this house. (lighten MY mood, that is)

Our Wednesday Surprise...
silly masks!
God showed me that life is about change. Time will not stop until we are with Him in Heaven.

Each tick of the clock, draws us closer to Heaven.

Now that is something to celebrate!

Are you anxious about change? Are you fearful of the future?

Can I just encourage you today?

I want to tell you to laugh at the days to come! Find JOY in these moments!

Yes, they are fleeting, so even the more reason to celebrate them!

We have to be intentional about choosing Joy, sweet friends. It will not always come naturally.

We MUST choose to live in Joy.

We MUST choose to walk in it each day.

I want my children to remember the times we celebrated together. I want them to have warm memories of smiles, laughter, and joy! Not a momma moping around with her chin on the floor.

 
"The hope of the righteous brings joy"
Proverbs 10:28



Today, they will come home from school with one last fun surprise awaiting them.

Today, I will celebrate change instead of mourning it.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Celebrate life today! Surprise someone today! Go to the dollar store for your kids, buy your hubby his favorite magazine, pick some pretty flowers to leave on a friend's doorstep, leave a kind note on someone's windshield...

Celebrate!!


finding my joy,


jill



May 19, 2014

Bless this mess.....

Today's Reading: Ezekiel 2:1-3:21 
Find the Reading Plan  here.

This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of watching my beautiful mother-in-love get married.

On the back porch of a mountain house with a heavenly view, the two of them said "I do".

As I watched the happy couple all weekend, this verse kept coming to my mind. It will be our Memory verse for this week. It's short, sweet, but oh so lovely.

Memory Verse:

"He will give a crown of beauty for ashes"
Isaiah 61:3

Actually the entire chapter is full of goodness and memory-worthy verses. If you have a chance, go and read the whole chapter. Trust me, you will be blessed!

Life gets messy sometimes.

I was just telling some of my closest girlfriends this past week how I thought a cute, perfect, bow-tied life is what I desired when Lem and I began our little family.

That pretty little package didn't last.

Things happen. Messes happen. Big ones. Huge ones.

Our bubbles get burst. Our hearts get broken. Our "ideal" life suddenly looks like a big fat paint splatter all over a white rug.

The irony of it all, is that Jesus Christ is right there in that mess. He didn't leave because it got messy. In fact, He never leaves.

Somehow we think that when life gets ugly, messy, confusing...that God has left us.

Oh, the contrary.

This is when God is holding us the closest. We just don't always see Him because we are focusing on the big splatter around us. If we just look up, we would see His big arms carrying us right through that mess.

"Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God Who is our salvation!" Psalm 68:19

So, as I think about the wedding of my mother-in-love this weekend, I see the beauty that can come from ashes. I see the hope that can come from hopeless. I see the joy that can come from mourning.

Isn't that just God's way?

He makes masterpieces out of our greatest messes.

He makes sense out of senseless.

He makes rainbows from the rain.

Whatever your mess looks like today, take a second, and thank Him that He hasn't left you.

In fact, go ahead and thank Him for what He will do from this mess.

You may not see it now, but you will see it one day. You will see the beauty from these ashes.

You will smile again.

You will laugh again.

You will have joy again.

His Word promises.

"He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory."
Isaiah 61:3
 


"Instead of shame and dishonor,
 you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours."
Isaiah 61:7



embracing Him in the messes,
 
 
jill




May 16, 2014

Give me more....

Today's Reading: Philippians 3:12-21
Find the Reading Plan here.


Happy Fun Friday!

I hope you have been reciting our Memory Verse over and over this week.

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

As I was unloading an overly full dishwasher, washing endless loads of laundry, driving the kids around the world each day......

I prayed this scripture to God.

As I prayed the scripture, I had a pretty big revelation.

We can say that scripture over and over and not really believe the power it offers.

Or.....

We can believe that Christ strengthens us, and live in that state of powerful belief.

What is the difference in just saying this verse, and actually believing this verse?

Our relationship with God.

The more we know the Lord--through His Word and prayer--the more we believe that what He says is true. The more we believe that what He says, He will do!

The more we believe, the stronger our faith becomes.

"Without faith, it is impossible to believe God" Hebrews 11:6

"Jesus turned around and, seeing her, He said, Take courage, daughter! Your faith has made you well. And at once the woman was restored to health."Matthew 9: 22

"So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2: 5
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"
 Romans 10: 17

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5: 7

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11: 1

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The measure of our strength, is completely dependent on the measure of our faith.

My little girl earnestly asked me recently if I could help her to have more faith. I told her faith comes when we get to know the Lord. Faith comes when we spend time with Him. Talk to Him, read His Word, pray to Him, ask Him for more faith! All of these things grow our faith.

When our faith grows, we begin to really believe and witness the power of His Presence in our lives.

The verses we memorize each week suddenly become alive. They aren't just "Memory Verses", they are Powerful Truths! They catapult our faith from weak and feeble to powerful and strong.

If you are feeling faithless, weak, or powerless today....

Ask God to give you more faith today. Ask Him to fill you to overflowing! Then, when you say this verse, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", you believe it.



asking Him for more,


jill





May 12, 2014

Doing it all.....

Today's Reading: Philippians 1:12-26
Find the Reading Plan here.

Whew. Is it May, or is it May?

My head is spinning these days. Last couple of weeks of school, end of year parties, activities, and a whole lot of other things going on. You feel the same way, right?

I just sat down.

It's 4:24 pm, and I have about 20 minutes to write this post. I sure love y'all!

For the next two weeks or so, the posts will be kind of scattered. I will post when I can, but I still want us to hang out together with our reading. Okay? Pinkie Promise? I don't want to be alone going through Philippians and Leviticus this month!

Many girls have said that along with the reading, they will go to a previous date here on SHINE and read prior entries. Sometimes, you just need a little devotional after you feed on the Word of God. We have 2 years worth for y'all to choose from on here. So, go help yourselves. :)

A good place to start is our SHINE spotlight section. You will love hearing the testimonies of your sisters in Christ if you haven't already had a chance to read them.

With all of that said, let's get straight to our Memory Verse. I needed a powerhouse verse to get me through this week and next. This verse is one of my favorites, and many of you probably already have it memorized.

It's worth repeating this week--over and over.


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


This verse has come to mean a whole lot to this little heart of mine over the past couple of years.

When our little nephew came to live with us in 2012, I gave him this verse as his life verse. He says it makes him feel strong! I told him it is because he is strong because Jesus lives inside of his precious 7 year old heart.

At 7 years old, he gets it. He gets the Power of God and how it infuses him daily.

Sometimes I forget. I forget that because He lives inside of me, I can do ALL things. Not just "some" things, but ALL things.

As I type this, I envision your beautiful faces. Many of you need to know and believe this verse.

Things in your life may seem impossible, insurmountable, overwhelming......

Pick that pretty chin up and look to your Father in Heaven.

He sees you. He does.

He sees how you need Him.

Trust Him to work in your life.

Trust Him to do great and mighty things because His Spirit lives inside of you.

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:5 (NIV)


Just today, I had to take a really deep breath and say, "Lord, I trust you to do this. I trust you."

He can do it all,  and He will.


letting Him,


jill



May 9, 2014

A High Calling....

Today's Reading: Lamentations 4
Find the Reading Plan Here.

Remember when I told you girls about my 10th grade math teacher, and the impact she had on my young 15 year old self? {You can find that post right here}

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce her to you today! She has prepared a powerful post to share with all of you, and I could not be more thrilled and honored.

Without further introduction { please go back and read how much I love this lady on this post}, I leave you with the wonderful wisdom of my godly friend and mentor, Beth Crowley.



A High Calling
by: Beth Crowley

Beth and her beautiful family!


My husband, Guy and I had our family over recently to grill out. These times were precious to us as life and parenting have been so busy through the years. We were all approaching the empty nest stages as one by one our children were launched to colleges, jobs and marriage. Sitting out on the deck as the sun was setting over the trees, my brother in law quietly said, We did it.

 
Many years ago when each of us began our families and only a few of our children were crawling around under our feet, we met for dinner. We were all concerned about the times we were living in and realized that we had no idea what our children would face. We decided to pray together as families for guidance and strength to continue to love the Lord with all of our hearts, and that each of our children would have a genuine growing faith in Christ; that they would have experiences with Him throughout their lives looking back, they would realize He was always with them.

 
Now, here we all sat in the twilight of our child rearing days overwhelmed with the abundance of stories of each child and Gods precious faithfulness to them. They all love Him. And the stories continue. In the past 24 hours each of my children have asked me to pray for them over certain situations in their lives; it is our way. Often Scriptures accompany my prayers and I tell them that it is my absolute joy to pray for them. I want them all to always remember that their mother daily petitions our Loving Father on their behalf.

 
Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias tells the story of a soldier assigned to bombard the front lines while the others covered him. The soldier asked what time it was and waited... When he finally made his way through a volley of firearms to safety, he was asked about the wait. The soldier replied, I knew that at a certain time back home, my mother is always praying for me. He had confidence and assurance in the prayers of his mother.

 
Our children are in a battle for their lives as well. It is a battle for the heart and the soul of their faith. This battle is best fought on our knees. We will absolutely have some sleepless nights... wont you let them draw you to prayer for your family, for your children? I can honestly say that I recognize Gods presence is so close when I am praying for my children. It is what I am designed to do. It is what we are all privileged to do.

 
There have been some troubling times over my family; times of desperation when Ive gone out on my porch at night to cry out to God on their behalf and I had absolutely no idea how the situation could be rectified. I remember whispering, God, I dont know what to do, the way seems too dark...But something happens when you look up at a starry night sky in the quiet of the evening, and realize God is larger and problems seem smaller. I was gently reminded of Psalm 139: 11-12, If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me, even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. God can see through the dark times in our life and our childrens lives.

 
I never intend to trivialize difficulties that exist in our days, but I have to say with so much love that surely there is hope! So often I have talked with women whose  situations seemed dire, BUT we serve a God of hope! It is important to share that anything is possible!

 
Make a lifetime commitment to knowing Christ by beginning your day with prayer and the Word. If you only start with five minutes on your knees in thankfulness, you will see your relationship with God grow through the years with joy in His presence beyond what you can imagine!  It is never too late to begin! God so wants to intervene in your familys life...it happens through prayer.

 
Scripture is filled with stories of godly mothers who clearly lived their faith in front of their children, leaving their influence to the following generation and beyond. But I want to share an unusual one for Mothers Day. In Joshua chapter 2 a young and anything but godly woman was immersed in a pagan society and was a prostitute. Her name was Rahab. Aren't you thankful that however we start out in life, we don't have to end there because we serve a merciful and overwhelmingly loving Heavenly Father?

 
Rahab heard the stories of the children of Israel through the years but when she encountered the Israelite spies, she alone struck a deal. She would hide the spies if they would spare her and her family.  They agreed and Rahab was spared from the destruction of Jericho. But her story doesnt end there...

 
Imagine the changes that must have taken place in Rahab’s heart as she recognized the redeeming grace of the God of Israel. After, she married an Israelite she also became a mother. I just have to wonder when she held her little boy close, what sort of prayers she prayed. Surely she learned the ways of God; surely she was a faithful mother. For her son Boaz became a unique man, considerate, kind and accepting of another young woman from a pagan culture, Ruth. I love to think that prayers from a loving and forgiven mother deeply affected her son and those who followed.

 
This courageous woman, Rahab ends up in the greatest place of honor, in the linage of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So God honored a pagan prostitute and her child when she valiantly believed Him. God redeemed her family line and He can most certainly redeem yours.

 
Clearly there are many many aspects of motherhood we might consider, but this Mothers Day it is my joy to share some of my favorite Scriptures to pray for my children. Wont you join me as we pray for the next generation?  Wont you put your childrens names in the space?

 

When they are not with me...

Isaiah 54:13 And all my children will be taught  of the Lord and great will be the peace and undisturbed composure of my children.

 

For times of protection recite and learn the reality of ...Psalm 91.

 

In times of worry, replace that with crying out to God...

Philippians 4:6-8, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

When they need to understand their uniqueness to God...

Psalm 139:13, 17-18 Oh Lord, you have knit me together in my Mothers womb...

How precious are Your thoughts toward me, Oh God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the grains of sand.

 

For wisdom In times of decision...

Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

 

 In times of uncertainty...

Romans 8:35, 37-39, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Motherhood is a high calling and a sacred trust from God. All that we have in this lifetime, everything and every one that passes through our home belongs after all to God. We have been given a wonderful opportunity to cherish, nurture, love and pray for our children . May they delight to know and follow Christ all the days of their lives...because we ask of God through prayer. Happy Mothers Day, with so much love.

 

May 8, 2014

Ready for Battle.....

Today's Reading:Lamentations 3
Find the Reading Plan here.


Perhaps, nothing is more important than raising our children to love the Lord.

In February, I wrote about the importance of our marriages.  The post was about guarding our marriages and praying over our marriages. You can find the post here.

However, after that post, I really wanted to add a "Part two" regarding praying for our children.

 The Lord kept nudging me to wait, so I did.

As Mother's Day is in clear sight, now is the time for this post.

I will get right to the point...

Our children are on the enemy's radar. Our children are the enemy's main target. Plain and simple.

As one of my dear friends recently wrote to me, "the battle is waging for my babies' hearts, and it is VERY real." Her babies are teenagers.

My babies are not yet teenagers, however, my friend is dead on the money with her powerful and true words.

We must, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors--be on the OFFENSIVE and DEFENSIVE side of this waging battle.

One child's heart is worth a lifetime of steadfast prayer.

Girls, we must have our eyes WIDE OPEN to the battle waging around our children's hearts and minds. Whether your children are newborns, or adult children, we are called to pray for them. Every single day.

Would we miss a day of feeding them? No.

We should never miss a day to pray over them.

The world wants to suck us in, girls. The world wants to steal our eyes, our ears, our hearts, our minds, our attention away from our children.

We are bombarded with activities, social media and interaction, tempting online games, good books, good tv shows, etc. The enemy wants us anywhere but watching over our children.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying those things are bad. However, they can be a major distraction to our mothering hearts if we are not careful.

We must daily pray for wisdom in parenting and discernment over the lives of our children. We must be aware of what our children are seeing us do.

Our children will do what we do.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "What children learn is caught ,and not taught"?

Yes, that is a sobering thought, isn't it?

Our goal is not to raise perfect children. We can just scratch "perfect children" right off the list.

Our goal is to raise children that love the Lord.

Our goal is to raise children the best we can. Not perfect, not robots.

We may even do the best we can and still end up with children that turn away from the Lord. I have to believe and know that they are still in God's hands. They are ultimately His anyway.

It's hard work, it's very messy, it's exhausting. However, it is what the Lord requires of us.

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors." Deuteronomy 11:18-21

The number one way to help us in this fierce battle waging for the hearts of our children is PRAYER.

 "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much". James 5:16

Sometimes, we may not know how to pray, or what to pray.

I enlisted some of my friends to help me with this post. Below is a list of scriptures to aid us in the battle of praying for our children.

Girls, grab some paper, or just copy this entire page! You will be armed and ready for praying over your children, your grandchildren, your students, your nieces, nephews...whoever God has put in your precious path.

My favorite thing to do is to insert my children's names in scripture. So, as you pray these over your children add their names to really personalize it for them and for you.

Hang these scriptures around your house. Write them on note cards and put them in your child's room. God's Word is LIFE. Those little note cards that you hang up will remind you to pray and what to pray.

(1Cor 3:16) " I am God's temple. God's spirit lives in me."

(Prov 20:11) "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right."
 
(Ephesians 1:7) "I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father my give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better."
 
(John 15:16) " You did not choose me , but I choose you and appointed you to go bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
 
(Mat 7:7) "Ask and it will be given unto you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
 
(Mat 6:34) "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow, God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the times comes."
 
(Psalm 34:18) "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."
 
(Dan 5:23b) " God holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways."
 
(Psalm 17:8) " You are the apple of His eye."
 
James 4:8 "come close to God and He will come close to you"
 
This is the day that The Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14

Finally, let The Lord make you strong. Depend on His mighty power. Put on all of God's armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil's evil plans. Eph 6:10-11

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. Gal. 5:25

Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon is someone who lies to a friend and then says "I was only joking." Proverbs 26:18-19

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. 
Philippians 4:8-9

Do everything without complaining and arguing. Philippians 2:14
 
"When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT)
 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
 
"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
 
 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
 
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4
 
There are so many more. Ask the Lord to show you some scripture that applies to your situation at home. He will! He is so faithful to answer because it is His Will for us to pray His Word!
 
If you have not been diligent in praying over your children, please don't despair. It is NEVER too late.
 
God is gracious, loving, and compassionate. He is patient with us. Aren't we so glad??
 
One more thing...
 
There are many parenting resources available, as I am sure you are well aware of. These resources can be helpful, however the greatest resource that you have is through YOUR prayers! It's true!
 
It's not about being a "perfect parent", but being a "praying parent".
 
in this battle together one prayer at a time,

jill
 
 
 


May 7, 2014

Answered Prayers.....


Today's Reading: Lamentations 2
Find the Reading Plan here.


Hello, SHINE girls!

A little heads up, we will not have a memory verse this week. By the end of this week, you will know why. {Curious, aren't you} :)

On the other hand, we will have a GREAT and FABULOUS post today by Kristy Griffin.

In honor of Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I asked her to do a follow-up post from her post  last May. You won't be able to read it without a Kleenex, so go ahead and grab a box or two.

Be blessed by God's faithfulness today, girls!

Answered Prayers
by: Kristy Griffin

Hey Shine Girls! I’m so excited to be able to write this year’s Mothers Day post!! When Jill asked me to write I burst out crying! I’d been praying that God would give me the opportunity to tell the rest of our story! I’ve had the privilege of writing once before, last year on May 29th.

That post was a huge deal for me! The Lord was doing major things in me and in my life at that time. I wrote about fear and about stepping out of your comfort zone, which was fitting because writing that post was ME stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my own personal fears. I wrote that one of my fears was that I might never become a mama…

If you know me, you know that all I’ve ever wanted in my life was to be a mama, to have my very own precious baby. My husband and I waited and tried for 10 years to have a baby!

Girls, this year is extra special for me. You see, after writing that post last May, after The Lord brought me out of my comfort zone and taught me to give Him my fears; He gave me my hearts greatest desire. On June 16th, the day before Fathers Day, we found out that we were pregnant!!! It turns out that as I tearfully typed out that Shine post, my God had already taken away my worst fear by answering my greatest prayer!

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”         -Psalm 37:4

I immediately knew that this baby would be born healthy and happy. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that our baby would be a girl and that I was supposed to name her after her daddy. I knew that God knew ME and He would never give me this joy to just take it away. If He was giving us a child then it was because we were ready.

On Valentine’s Day this year, we were blessed with the most beautiful baby girl I’ve ever seen in my life. We named her Kamryn Allen Griffin.



Born at 7:58pm weighing 9 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches long!

 
 
 
(Kamryn with her mama and Nana)
 
 
 
 
 
My friends, I’m writing this in hopes that you’ve read my first post, because I want you to see what God can do for you if you trust Him. I want you to see how faithful He is!
For years I thought God didn’t hear my prayers. I WAS WRONG! He heard every prayer I prayed. Over the years He gave me strength and comforted me when I would take pregnancy tests and they would be negative or as I sat in church each Mothers Day and watched nearly every lady around me stand up when asked how many mothers were in the room. He never took away my desire to have a baby, but instead gently reassured me that He wasn’t finished with me yet.
Each morning when Kamryn sees me, I’m rewarded with her biggest smile. And before we begin our day I tell her about how much me and her daddy wanted a baby, and that God answered our prayers by giving her to us. I want her to know how special she is and how amazing our God is!
These days my prayers aren’t much different. I still pray for a baby. But, instead of asking Him for a child, I thank Him for loving me so much and for answering my prayers. I pray for my sweet girl and ask Him to protect and watch over her, to comfort and strengthen her as she grows up. I pray that she comes to know Him at an early age, and I ask Him to let me and her daddy be the ones to tell her about Him.
Being a mama is one of the most important roles I play. For years I’ve watched other moms around me and took notes on the kind of mom that I want to be. I want to be the mama that jumps in the rain puddles with her baby and paints her toenails hot pink so that we match. The mama that prays over her baby each night as she sleeps. I want to teach my little girl Gods word and tell her how proud of her I am when she goes to Him on her own! I want to love her daddy so well that she grows up seeing what a happy God based marriage looks like. I want to be that mama…
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.  Praise The Lord!”   -Psalm 113:9
There’s one last thing that I want you girls to know. After we found out we were pregnant we began to hear from those around us about how they had prayed for us over the years. We were humbled and in awe over the amount of people that had felt led to pray for us. And not just our family and friends, but people that we didn’t even know that had only heard about our desire for a child! In His Word it says…
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”            -Matthew 18:20
How true this is!!! God’s ears must have been flooded with the amount of prayers He heard on our behalf! How grateful and thankful I am that so many took time out of their days to mention my name to Him!
Girls, on this Mothers day my heart is overflowing! Each time I look at my baby’s sweet face I’m reminded of just how good my God is.
I’m praying for you today, Shine girls, and I’m so blessed to be able to share in this day with so many of you!! Happy Mother’s Day!
Kamryn’s Mama,
Kristy
 
 

May 2, 2014

Let it go.......

Today's Reading: Jeremiah 49:1-33
Find the Reading Plan here.


Really, you just have no idea how God uses our weekly memory verses in my life each week. I think He wants them to stick. {note to self--be cautious in choosing a memory verse!}

This week's verse has come up in several conversations. Mostly with my children.

"I will contend with those who contend with you" Isaiah 49:25

My daughter had a {very} minor issue at school with a little friend, I reminded her of our memory verse and what Jesus would have her do in this situation.

 {Of course, my fleshy momma bear self wanted to tell her to tell that little friend to stick it where the sun doesn't shine!}

 But, I controlled my emotions...and my tongue. {thankfully, although barely}

She came home that afternoon just smiling and talking about how much she loved school and her little friend that had hurt her feelings. Her little world was just as it should be.

Shew.

Thankfully, God worked that one out quick before I got all "momma-bearish" again.

My little girl is learning that God will take care of her. She just has to trust Him and let Him.

Oh, so much easier said than done.

Right?

Especially the older we get. As we progress in age, the more stubborn, hard-headed, and set-in-our ways we can become.

Or, maybe it's just me. :)


Our Fun Friday Challenge:

What are you not trusting God to contend with? Get real with Him.

Dig deep, and present that request to Him. He already knows it's there anyway.

What's keeping you from relinquishing that pain and hurt to Him? Is there some sort of satisfaction from holding on to it?

I can tell you from experience...holding on to pain, only continues to hurt us. It's true.

There's freedom when we let go. There's healing when we give it to the Healer.

Maybe you have convinced others that you have moved on and are past the hurt, but little darling, God knows better. He sees that hurt and He desperately wants to heal you.

"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed" Psalm 103:6

"He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion" Psalm 103:4

Just recently, God showed me an area that I needed to give to Him. I was not prepared for what He showed me. It never occurred to me I was not trusting Him in that particular area.

One honest prayer later, I was healed. It was truly that quick.

He wants to heal you, He wants to contend for you. You just have to let Him.

Let it go.

"Let it GOOOOOOOOOO"....

{I can't help but sing the song "Let it go" from the movie "Frozen" as I type this! Be glad you are not within earshot of me. Be very glad.}

Okay, I'm cheesy, now you know.


let the healing begin,


jill