Aug 14, 2016

Leaving the 99.....

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“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 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" Matthew 18:12-14

There is a question I have pondered on and off for the last few years. It is something that wakes me up at night, and causes my heart to beat rapidly in my chest. It has haunted me at times, like a shadow looming over me beckoning me to acknowledge it.

The question is this: What is my purpose?

This question has caused anxiety, fear, panic even in my soul. What if I am not fulfilling my purpose? What if I am not doing....enough?

Some days, I am certain I know my purpose. It seems as clear as a crystal glass. However, other days, I am uncertain of just about everything.

I have asked God, "What can I do for You? How can I be of the most use?"

The answer has not been clear.

Until recently.

I have been reading through the book of Matthew. Inhaling the words of Jesus. Studying His life with a magnifying glass. I want to know Him. I want to really know the Son of God. I want to know the Man that died on a cross so that I could live and be in fellowship with a Holy Father.

His Purpose was so clear. Not once did He ask, "Father, what is my purpose?" He always knew.

How did He know?

He knew because He was in constant fellowship with The Father.

It is only when we stray from Him that we become unclear and confused.

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

The purpose was never self-centered for Jesus. It was others-focused.

Notice how He poured His teachings into only twelve disciples. Twelve.

Yes, more followed Him, but He focused on twelve.

When He was walking in a crowd of people, He felt the touch of one woman at the hem of His garment. One woman.

 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

She was important to Him. Although she was a nobody by the world's standards, she was a priceless treasure to Jesus.

Jesus didn't look to the world to find His Worth, He looked to the Father.

Jesus wasn't after a good reputation, a huge following, or making a name for Himself...

He was after the hearts of sinners. Like you, like me.

He was after the poor, the destitute, the rejected, the neglected, the leper, the adulterer, the prostitute....

He was willing to leave the 99, to go after the one.

You, are the one.

Wrap your pretty mind around that, sweet sister.

So, as I ask Him, "Lord, what is my purpose?"

I now see that it is discovered in the life of Christ.

The question becomes instead:

Lord, what is Your purpose? What are Your plans?

One little change in the pronoun from "my" to "Your" changes everything.

It becomes a declaration of surrender, of trust, of a heart that desires the Will of God over any selfish ambition of my own.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have no purpose because we are not "successful" by the world's standards.

I have never written a book. I have never had a publishing opportunity. My blog has not to my knowledge ever gone viral.

If I look for my purpose in numbers or in crowd popularity, I seem to be a complete failure.

But....

What if God wants me to focus on the one, instead of the many?

What if it is a husband who is not aligned with Christ? Or even an unbelieving husband?

What if it is a wayward child whose heart seems to be hardened beyond repair?

What if it is a niece or nephew who has fallen into sin or a destructive lifestyle?

What if it is a sister or brother that is not easy to love and has even turned their back on family?

What if it is a co-worker who needs to know the Hope of Christ?

What if....

God's purpose for us is not found in the many...

But in the one.

What if our purpose is the very same as Jesus' was...

To make disciples of those in our very midst. Beginning with the one.

What if  leading your husband to Christ is God's entire purpose for your life?

What if teaching your children to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and mind was the reason you, momma, were created?

What if showing the love of Christ to that so very hard to love family member was the reason you are here on this Earth?

Gosh, it sure narrows the road, doesn't it?

Our purpose becomes much more simple.

Simple, yet Holy.

Holy, because it puts the spotlight on Christ, and not ourselves.

That, my friends, is the purpose.

We must learn to disciple and take great care and interest in the life of one. Jesus will handle the multitudes.


finding His purpose,


jill



















Aug 11, 2016

Shine bright like a diamond...

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

Sometimes I think people would think I am absolutely off my rocker if I were to tell them of the things God does. Or the things He shows me to get my attention. I am sure you have stories as well.

At the risk of you thinking I am off my rocker, I will share with you something that happened just this week.

After some intense prayer time with the Lord, I gathered myself up and began to make our bed. The gleam of something big and shiny lying on my husband's side table caught my eye.

I picked it up. It looked like a massive diamond. I mean, huge.

Of course, I knew it wasn't real, but it was in such a random place. It must have fallen off of something. I still have no idea what, but certainly it must have come off of something. But, why was it lying on the side table near my husband's bible? So strange.

Instantly, I recalled a conversation that I had with two friends within the last couple of days. I had encouraged both of them to keep on doing the right thing even when it felt so wrong. I reminded both of them that just like diamonds. adversity makes us stronger and shine brighter.

I am not a geologist by any means, but I do remember reading somewhere that diamonds are formed by very high pressure and heat. Also, usually below the Earth's surface.

The result after the heat, the pressure, and the intense labor, a beautiful diamond is formed.

The same is true with us. Without the pressure, without the hard, without the extreme temperature, we do not become stronger or brighter.

Stumbling across this fake diamond this week was a gigantic reminder to my heart. When things don't seem to be making sense, or working out. When things are hard, when prayers seem unanswered, when the pressure of life is too much to bear....

I will look at this diamond and be reminded of what God is doing. He is doing some intense refining of my heart, in order for me to reflect Him beautifully.

I would never know how to love better if it didn't know the pain of rejection and loss. 

I would never know how to appreciate the simple and the ordinary if it weren't for the complicated and complex seasons of my life. 

I would never have compassion enough to help another if I had not also been in a helpless state in desperate need of a friend. 

I would never know the refreshment of His Living Water, if I had not first been parched in a dry land. 

I would never know the goodness and holiness of the Lord if I had never seen such extreme sin.

I would never know the overwhelming warmth  of a life devoted to Him if I had not first known the darkness of a life without Him. 

I would never know the peace of contentment if my heart had not been strongly rooted in deep discontent. 

I would never know the freedom of being a servant to Christ, if I would have not known the bondage of being slave to this world. 

What you are going through today, will make you stronger tomorrow.

You may not see it happening, but it is.

Just like diamond's are formed beneath the Earth's surface, so is the refining of your beautiful heart.

Without adversity, we will never shine and reflect Christ.

Without the pain of Jesus' death on the Cross, we would never taste the insatiable sweetness of a relationship with the Father.

It's for your good, sweet friend.

Don't fight what He's doing....

but surrender to Him.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

you are a diamond in the rough,


jill











Aug 1, 2016

Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes.....

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"I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

Yo, this is our memory verse for the week.

Okay, I'll stop with the "yo". Just trying to figure out ways to be cool now that I have a 10th grader and a 6th grader.

Apparently, I am the antithesis of cool. Shoot.

Speaking of cool, school starts today for my kiddos. Well, actually, it's not really cool. I miss them.  I miss sleeping in, and I miss my house looking like a tornado roared through it. Just kidding about that part.

This time of year has always been kind of difficult for me. A new school year brings a lot of change. Kids growing up, me growing old, and well, just all that stuff.

Change is no fun.

That's why I love our memory verse.

"I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

 Malachi, sweet Malachi, how timely are your words.

We change. Our kids change. Our circumstances change.

But, God never changes.

Can I get an amen?

Not only does He never change, but He never leaves us as we go through change. He is consistent, steadfast, and ever-present.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh, sweet momma with a kindergartner, a middle schooler, a high schooler, a college aged child, an adult aged child...whatever stage you are in....

He is with you. 

Let me say again, He is with you.

In this ever changing, lightening fast world, we can rest our heads on His never-changing shoulder.

People will leave us, people will hurt us, people will change, we will change...

But, God never ever will.

The entire Bible rests on this fact. Generation after generation, God was with His children. Through change after change, one thing remained...

Him. 

One sweet day when our eyes behold the most glorious sight they will ever see, it will have all been worth it.

Each change, each ticking of the clock, each tear that dropped from our face...

Will have all been worth it to get to be with Him in Heaven.

Time will finally stop.

Eternity will begin.

I cannot wait.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10


until then,


jill