Oct 29, 2019

Quiet.....

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"make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This verse comes to mind often these days. 

Leading a quiet life gets more difficult by the day. 

You would think with one child off at college, and only one child left in the home, life would be quieter. 

It really is not the case. 

Noise doesn't just mean voices and chaos. Noise can be white noise, just buzzing loud enough to steal away our peace and quiet.

Noise distracts us and pulls us away. We are so accustomed to noise, we don't know what to do in silence, or stillness. 

We get antsy. 

We pick up our phones, send another text, scroll another few minutes...and we are right back in the middle of noise. 

Connection is good, as long as our primary connection is God. 

What is our ambition?

Maybe we need to look at our calendars and see what fills it the most. 

Or, maybe we should take a look at our phones and see what catches our attention and draws us in and keeps us from having quiet-er soul. 

Relationships can get noisy too. 

We can over-do conversations and end up saying things we never meant to say. 

We spend too much time talking that we don't listen, pause, and take a breath. 

An older mentor once told me the best advice...

She said that we should not spend more than 10 minutes on the phone with others because it will lead to gossip and/or saying meaningless things. 

She told me this way before social media became a thing...

Her wise words still resonate.

The bible warns us not to become "busy bodies".

Yet we hear that some of you are leading undisciplined lives and accomplishing nothing but being busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:11

Busy bodies are constantly stirring up conversations, gossip disguised as prayer requests, and slander. 

If we are not careful, we lose our way, and our feet come right out from under us. 

I think that is why the first part of the above scripture in 1 Thessalonians is, "Make it your ambition". 

We can become ambitious about many things.

But are our ambitions in line with God's Word and leading a quiet-er life?

I for one, have been off track countless times. 

This verse never fails to draw me back in and reset my heart. 

We can have a quiet heart even in a choatic life. 

No matter how busy we are, it is still possible to have peace and quiet. 

I think of Jesus when the storm arose out in the middle of the ocean. 

He slept peacefully as the others were literally freaking out. 

His Heart was One with God and His connection was peace and quiet. 

Oh, I so want a life like this. Don't you?

How about we start today. 

Grab a notecard or sheet of paper. 

Let's write this down..

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...."

Now, put it somewhere you will see it often. 

Mine will be in the car. :)


quieting down, 


jill



Oct 24, 2019

How will you answer?

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Our church has been teaching on the book of Jonah the past couple of weeks.

I find myself so intrigued by Jonah's life.

God called Jonah to preach to the people of Ninevah.

He refused, and he ran.

He hopped on a boat to escape the call of God. 

God sent a wild storm to get his attention. It did.

The crew threw Jonah off the boat because they were scared to death of "his God".

You know the story, he ends up in the belly of a fish, and the rest is history.

But, here is what strikes me the most...

Jonah ran.

He fled the call.

He chickened out.

He disputed the call that the Lord gave him.

Haven't we all been there?

God asks us to do something....

And we don't.

We make up excuses.

We tell God we aren't smart enough, or holy enough, or cute enough, or wise enough....

And we decline.

My daughter and I had a long talk about this recently.

I asked her about a time when God asked her to do something that was out of her comfort zone.

She told me of several times...

Yet, she said she decided to do it anyway.

She stepped up and trusted God.

I envied her child like faith.

I remembered back to my own youth and wondered if I had that same child like faith at her age....

Why is it so hard as adults to trust God's call for us?

Why do we question Him, and run from Him?

Why do we try to talk Him out of it?

Or, maybe you are like me and tell God someone else is much better suited for that job than you are.

Yikes.

Often through the years, I have prayed for God to open doors to use my gifts and talents for Him.

And just as often, when the door opened, I bailed.

I chickened out.

My insecurities aka PRIDE, talked me right out of it.

"What if I fail?"

"What if I stumble?"

Those thoughts plagued me and they often would prevail.

God had given us individual gifts to use to further His Kingdom.

Are we answering His call to use them?

Is our fear bigger than our faith in the One Who Created us?

Friends, let's learn from our friend Jonah!

What would happen if we trusted God and put our last penny on believing Him?

What if we gladly accepted the call and trusted the Lord to give us what we needed?

His power is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Say yes today.

When the door opens, murky as it may be...

Say yes to God.

Say yes to walking through that door.

You are the perfect fit. The chosen one for that particular calling. Designed by the Master Creator.

What an honor.


just go,


jill







Oct 23, 2019

Parent-hood....

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I think motherhood is the absolute hardest job on the planet.

As much as I love it, it is the most difficult daily task that has ever been given to me.

Hands down, the hardest part for me is walking the walk.

I can talk the talk all the live long day. I can give long winded stories, and teachings, and bible examples of how we are supposed to live....

But, the real impact happens when my children see me doing what I say.

Showing kindness. 

Having patience. 

Turning the other cheek. 

Being faithful with finances. 

Obeying authority. 

Submitting to my husband.

Speaking kindly to my husband/their father. 

Finding time to get in the Bible. 

Prayer time. 

Keeping my word. 

Being a loyal friend. 

Serving others. 


All of these things....I want my children to do and to become.

But, am I doing these things?

Are they seeing me live a life parallel to what I teach them?

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity...Titus 2:7

Momma's, if we don't live it out for them, our words are fruitless.

We don't have to perfect, because we will never be.

But, are we trying, like, really trying to live what we preach?

I have had to have eye to eye talks with my kids when I mess up.

I have cried to them and told them I was wrong, oh so wrong, when I have messed up.

When they see repentance in us, they will desire repentance when they mess up.

We let them know that although we really want to do the right thing in God's eyes, there will be times when we screw it up.

But, what do we do after our mess up?

Do we just shrug our shoulders and move on?

Or, do we fall face down in repentance before the Lord.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart. Psalm 51:17

Pride can be our biggest downfall in parenting. 

We don't want to admit we are wrong. Or that our kids are wrong. 

We turn up our noses and pretend like we don't see what is really happening. 

When we don't acknowledge sin, either in our hearts, or the hearts of our kids, we make a grave error. 


Hardening of our hearts start to happen, and hardening of our children's hearts. 

We get numb and immune to sin. 

The cool thing to do as a parent these days is to look the other way. 

To not acknowledge when our child is walking in sin, or down a wrong path. 

We don't want to be "that parent". 

We don't want to embarrass our children. 

We don't want them to be shunned. 

For heaven's sake, what have we become?

Are we not parents anymore?

Are we not the ones who are supposed to teach, guide, lead, rebuke, and discipline our children?

When did we become so okay with letting our children stray?

Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death. Proverbs 23:13-14

We must pray for eyes to see. For hearts to discern. For strength to discipline our children when it is easier to just let it go.

We must use this time wisely. This time with our children under our roofs is fleeting.

There will always be distractions to pull us away from parenting our kids. We must pray for wisdom and alertness.

When it is easier to just scroll our phones or leave the child at home because we need to get away....

We must remember that this time is sacred. These moments are treasures...for such a time as this.

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15

Surround yourself with other mothers who desire this same thing. Iron really does sharpen iron.[proverbs 27:17]

Hold each other accountable, support and encourage each other. We need it, all of us do!

Find a group of girlfriends who will pray with you over your family. A group of friends that you can be honest with about your kids, and who will sincerely pray with you for them.

These friends are PRICELESS.

I have a handful of friends that will pray for my family, my husband, and my children. They will encourage me, and they offer wisdom when the path is murky and unclear.

These women are gifts from the Lord. They know all the good, bad, and ugly, and they pray.

Motherhood can be a lonely path. Find good, solid, trustworthy, friends to walk it with you. Pray for God to send them to you. He will!


Keep persevering, friend. There is so much fruit to behold. Keep planting those seeds. Keep praying. Keep immersing yourself in scripture. God will do the rest.


marching on,

jill



Oct 22, 2019

Are you persistent?

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We have landed in the book of Luke in our bible reading. If you have been with us since January, we are almost finished with the bible!!!! Can you believe it?

If you have not followed along with us, or have fallen out of practice with your reading, it is okay!

I encourage you though, wherever you are, try to find some time today and this week to open God's Word. Just a few minutes a day is a good start.

You will be forever changed.

Today, I came to a passage of scripture and I found myself re-reading it.

The passage is found in Luke Chapter 18, The persistent widow.

The widow persistently goes to the judge's house and asks him for justice on behalf of a suit against her enemy.

Day after day she persists.

The judge, who is not even a godly man, finally gives in.

Why does Jesus tell us this story?

I believe it is because He knows how quickly we give up.

We shrug our shoulders and move on, instead of continuing to ask the Lord for specific requests.

We lose faith because we do not see an immediate response.

Our faith fades, and so does our answer to prayer.

We often just give up too easily.

We can be persistent about many things in life, but when it comes to prayer, we tend to lack the passion and persistence.

What if we began to be like this persistent widow?

Showing up every single day at the door of the Lord and presenting our requests to Him?

Not just when we felt like it, but every single day just like this widow.

Here is why this story is powerful...

It shows so much faith in the heart of the widow.

She is not giving up.

She knows an answer will come, but she must keep requesting.

It is almost child like, right?

Yes.

And, that is the point.

A faith so big, it reminds us of a child.

 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4

Friends, when did we stop asking God?

When did we stop knocking daily at His door?

Why did we give up so quickly on our request?

Let this passage of scripture, spoken by the lips of Jesus encourage us today!

Luke 18:1-8
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

persisting in prayer, 

jill

Oct 17, 2019

The struggle is real.....

A few days ago I was visiting my daughter's high school. As I was leaving, I noticed a group of girls walking together. One of them turned around and looked me right in the eyes. I smiled at her and she hesitantly smiled back, and looked down at the floor.

The exchange was a little odd.

However, when she walked off, I noticed something.

She had a different walk.

Her legs would not straighten out. She walked with a limping stride.

She had a disability of some sort.

I watched her walk off with her friends. She looked back one more time at me and kept walking.

A soft lump formed in my throat. Tears stung my eyes.

She was probably around my daughter's age.

I prayed for her right there in that hallway.

My prayers for her were not because I felt sorry for her....

I prayed for her because I realized something in that moment.

Sometimes our struggles are physical and visible....

And other times our struggles are hidden on the inside.

The inside struggle is the one I am too familiar with.

However, this teenage girl...

Everyone that has ever watched her walk has seen her struggle.

The struggle to keep her feet in sync.

The struggle to walk in step with her friends.

Such a seemingly simple task....

But not for her.

For those of us who have inside struggles....

We know what this feels like.

We want to just feel like everyone else.

We want to be able to have a coherent string of thoughts.....

We want to be able to carry on a conversation with people....

And not feel the struggle.

Whether it be depression, or grief, or anxiety, or fear, or obsessive compulsion, or racing thoughts, or worry.....

We struggle to maintain sanity.

As my eyes met the eyes of this beautiful teenage girl, the first thought that I had was this:

We all suffer. Some suffering is visible to the human eye, and some suffering is not. 

When I left the school, I headed straight to Wal-Mart. Because, if you live in a small town, that's where you go.

As I was exiting my car, I saw a man about my father's age. He was trying to get into his car. His back was so hunched over that he could barely see in front of him to walk. His face grimaced as he took the few steps to his car door.

He was in excruciating pain. I could see it so clearly.

I wanted to run over to him and tell him that I understood!

I know this pain.

Not physically, but the pain on the insides.

The kind that makes your stomach ball up into knots and your mind feel like it has run away from you and it will never feel right again.

Lord, why are you wrecking me today?

I remembered eating breakfast with my daughter that same morning. We were cheerfully finishing our food when a woman slowly passed our table. She was eaten up with arthritis or something of that nature.

She was not very old. Mid forties at the most.

But, she struggled to get the door open to the bathroom.

I was so struck watching her that I didn't even think to help her.

But, a young man saw her and walked over to her to open the door.

I sat there dumbfounded.

I witnessed the kindest exchange between two people.

And the news stations tell us we hate each other.

I beg to differ.

What I witnessed was pure kindness. Thoughtfulness. Sincerity. Love. Service.


I asked the Lord again after remembering that exchange...

What are you doing to me, Lord? You are wrecking me. 

I remembered a prayer that I had been praying.

For my eyes to be opened. At all times.

To not miss those around me.

To see what God sees and to notice what He notices.

He was answering that prayer.

Oh friend.

Whatever your struggle is...

Whatever your suffering....

You are not alone.

He sees you.

He is also putting others in your path to see you. To pray for you. To show kindness to you.

He loves you.

Whether your suffering is visible or not...

It is always visible to Him.

Let these words from Isaiah Chapter 55 bring your heart peace. They sure do mine.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
12 You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
    Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
    they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” Isaiah 55:8-13



keeping my eyes open,


jill









Oct 2, 2019

Hope Rises...

We have come to the part in our bible reading that I have been longing for. The part that many of us are a little more familiar with...

The New Testament. 

As I read the words of Jesus today in the book of Matthew, I felt like I was breathing in oxygen. Much needed air for my lungs. 

The Old Testament ended with the book of Malachi. It would be 400 years until another word would be heard by the Lord. 

400 years. 

Can you fathom?

As you know, I have been in a weird season. A season of change. Big change. 

I have sought the Voice of the Lord over and over in my sadness over this change. 

I have cried out to Him, wondering if He heard me or if He even cared. 

Honest and heart wrenching words have fallen from my lips to Him. Words have spilled from my heart onto my prayer journal. Many hard to read because they were written with such haste. 

I have asked Him to feel me with Faith. With HOPE. With Belief. 

I have begged Him to open my eyes to see the GOOD. 

God's people must have felt this way for those 400 years. They must have felt the hopelessness. They must have wondered, "WHERE ARE YOU GOD?"

With tears pouring down my cheeks, I have asked Him the same question. 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I have clung to this verse. I have said it over and over and over again. 

It is certainly no accident that I am currently in a bible study with dear and precious friends studying the life of King David. 

He had every reason to be hopeless. 

Every reason to feel alone and abandoned in those early days of being chased by a madman by the name of Saul. 

His emotions and his heart is written all over the book of Psalms. 

His faith. His doubt. His concerns. His fears. His hope. His belief. His questioning. 

All of it intertwined into words for His Father in Heaven. 

Oh, can't you relate to him?

So, when Jesus comes on the scene in the book of Matthew, I exhale a sigh of relief. 

All the waiting....all the wondering...

Is the Messiah ever coming?

King David did not live to see this day....

He lived on the pre-side of Jesus. 

We have this opportunity...for such a time as this...

To live on the post-side of Jesus. 

Yes, He was there all along. 

But, the final coming of Jesus, in human form...

This is what the our ancestors from the Old Testament were waiting for. Hoping for. Desperate for. 

We have this great honor of God's Spirit dwelling in us. His Holy Spirit living and breathing inside of His believing children. 

There is NO more darkness. 

There is NO more hopelessness. 

HOPE lives inside of us. 

HOPE dwells among us. 

Our feelings will lead us astray. 

Our emotions will tell us lies. 

TRUTH defeats those feelings and lies of abandonment. 

Do you see?

We lack faith...we lack hope....

Because we are not seeing what our eyes need to see. 

We are not hearing what our ears need to hear. 

Yet, He speaks. 

Softly. In a whisper. 

Beckons us to hear Him, and to see Him. 

Hope begins with a step.

A step of faith. 

Opening our bibles. 

Even in our doubts.

Reading the words of Jesus. Over and over again. 

Until the Hope rises up. 

Filling us so full of faith and hope that we just look plain silly to those around us. 

Just like David did...as he danced in the streets almost naked worshiping the Lord. 

I dare you to hope today. 

I dare you to be open your bible and be filled with the words of Christ Jesus. 

The world tells us there is no hope. 

God tells us the opposite. 

Hope lives. 

Hope rises. 

Hope dwells. 

Dare to look different than the world. 

Dare to hope when all seems lost. 

Dare to put your last penny on Jesus and His Word. 

His Word never returns void. 


clinging to Hope, 


jill





Windows...

As she burrowed her head underneath my arm pit, I felt the wet tears soaking my night shirt. Her hair was a matted mess. Blonde strands stic...