Feb 14, 2020

How do you love?...

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Memory Scripture: "Let all that you do, be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14


When I think of love, I think of Granny Hill.

Granny Hill was my husband's grandmother. I fell in love with her the moment I met her.

She loved well.

When Lem and I were newlyweds, we would often go visit her. In the drop of a hat she would prepare us a home cooked meal.

As the years passed, our lives got busy. We began to see her less and less.

However, when we did make it to see her, her smile never faded. She was always welcoming and happy.

She never made us feel guilty or regretful for not seeing her as much as we had. We were in the crazy throes of toddlers and chaos, and she understood.

More years passed and we had to take her to an assisted living facility.

Lem and I never once heard her complain. Her smile was as big as ever when we would arrive to see her, kids in tow. She would laugh and smile and would always welcome us into her little room with the pictures of grandchildren hung on those faded white walls.

Perhaps what I learned from Granny Hill the most, was how to love others well.

She was kind to us. She was patient with us as our lives got busier. She was always happy to see us. She was warm and friendly. She did not hold grudges or keep records of wrongs. She was present always.

She made anyone in her presence feel important. She always wanted to know how we were doing, never focusing on her own ailments and sicknesses.

She passed away to Heaven several years ago, and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her.

When I get frustrated with Lem, or my kids, I think of her selfless ways.

When I get distracted and busy, I think of how present she was to all around her.

She loved well.

She challenges me to live this way.

She challenges me to love without strings, or conditions, or selfishness.

Do you have someone in your life that challenges you to love others better?

Maybe today you could tell them how much their love has meant to you. I wish I could tell
Granny Hill that today.

I will be able to again one sweet day though.


Our memory verse for this week is:

"Let all that you do, be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14


*Granny Hill and her babies 2008*




thank you Granny Hill,


jill





Feb 7, 2020

Remembering...

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Memory Scripture: I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11

Last night, I crawled up into my bed, hoisting about 6 old prayer journals onto my lap.

I love looking back. I love remembering.

When I need some encouragement, when I need to remember God's Faithfulness, I go back to the ink of my own pen from years ago.

Sometimes I do not even recognize my own writing. It looks different.

My, how I have grown since those well worn pages in my old journals. Yet, some pages that I read, I think--is my faith still that strong?

Prayer after prayer. Plea after plea.

I see how God has answered those prayers years later. The prayers over my husband, my children, my family, my friends.

Prayer after prayer over my parents, their health...God is just so Faithful.

I look back and see the constant repentance. I confessed all of my sins so vulnerably. My children will have a field day with these some day. :)

Remembering produces gratitude.

Remembering produces faith.

Remembering reminds us that seasons do not last forever.

Remembering brings joy.

Are you in a dry place? Do you need a fresh filling of faith?

I encourage you to sit down today. think back on your life.

Look for God's Faithful Hand through it all.

Sometimes, we just have to take the time to look back.

We are so inclined to look ahead, keep moving--that we don't sit still in the present. Nor, look back and remember with gratitude.

Do you keep a prayer journal?

If not, I encourage you to start one.

I promise you will love looking back and seeing God's Hand, remembering prayers answered, and watching the growth of your faith slowly take place.

Our memory verse this week is:

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11



looking back,


jill




Feb 5, 2020

The details...

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Memory Scripture: "A sweet friendship refreshes the soul" Proverbs 27:9


As I read through the book of Leviticus, I get lost in the details. The blood, the sacrifices, the rituals. the rules.....all of it had to be just right in order for their sins to be forgiven.

I was talking to my sister about it all, and she said that it just was a great reminder that God cares about all the tiniest details of our lives. 

Such a great and true statement.

So often we forget this though.

When trivial things happen and knock us off of our feet, we forget to pray. We tend to complain, whine, huff and puff...instead of asking God to help us.

A few days ago,  my son lost one of his air pods. He is so upset. Just this morning as I was reading God's Word,  I thought to myself, I need to pray about this! This is important to God, because it is important to my son.

I could tell countless stories, and I bet you could too, of answered prayers.

Not just big prayers, but the smaller prayers that make up the details of our days.

Years ago, I was using this amazing skincare. I ran out of it, and money was tight.

I specifically prayed that God would help me to find another skincare to use, or to bring us some extra money to pay for the skincare I loved.

The very next day, my friend Kristi, called me. She said that she had tried this new skincare line and did not really love it. She asked me if I wanted it. Still in the boxes, brand new.

When I pulled into her work, opened her car door to retrieve the skincare, it was the exact same skincare that I LOVED. And, had prayed about! A whole entire set of it!

I burst into tears.

Friends, all of these details in our lives...they are important! Reading through Leviticus shows us this!

God is so intricately intertwined in all of our lives. He is in everything. Yet, we forget.

What do you need to pray about today? Maybe it is something you never thought to ask God about helping you with.

NOTHING is too small for God.

He longs to be our "Person". He longs for us to come to Him and share all of these details with Him.

This creates intimacy between God and us.

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23

He can handle all of these small things, and all of the BIG things. We just need to ask Him.



praying for air pods,


jill


*My sweet Joseph holding his newest cousin, baby Jane*



Feb 4, 2020

Keep going....

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Memory Scripture: "A sweet friendship refreshes the soul" Proverbs 27:9

Happy Tuesday, sweet SHINE sisters!

How's your Bible reading going? Even if you are not following along with us in the Daily Walk Bible, I encourage you to read God's Word daily.

I know our days are full, but all of us can find 5 minutes or so to eat from The Bread of Life--God's Word.

A wonderful tool is the YouVersion Bible app. It will READ ALOUD to you. YES! I do this often when I am driving or folding clothes or making beds.

It is an easy way to read God's Word when you are short on time.

Of course, there is nothing like sitting down, grabbing a warm blanket, and soaking in God's Word in a still place. This is always my favorite option to read, but I know it is not always accessible every single day.

A sweet and dear friend confessed to me recently that when she reads God's Word it just doesn't make sense and she gets frustrated. I get it.

I told her that reading God's Word is kind of like learning a foreign language. The more you read, hear, listen, and learn--the more you will begin to understand. God begins to open our spiritual eyes and minds to receive what He is teaching us.

Romans 10:17 tells us, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God".

So, in essence, the more of God's Word that we we read or hear, the greater our faith becomes. 

We are in the book Leviticus. It can be hard to digest. So many laws, rules, regulations. Oh my!

However, when we ask God to show us what He wants us to learn from this, it helps us to have new vision.

Adding a Proverb to your reading will help too. Daily, practical, and always applicable Proverbs! They are like daily vitamins. Good for us!

Keep pressing on. You will be so glad you did. Each second we spend in His Word plants a seed that will bear fruit one day.

The more we spend time in God's Word, the more we get to know Him!

I tell my kids often that we begin to become like the ones we hang out with the most.

So, let's hang out often in God's Word. Slowly, gently, sweetly, we will begin to reflect Him in our daily activities.

If you are struggling with reading your Bible, pray and ask God to help you. Also, find a friend to encourage you and spur you on.

Accountability is HUGE. I have a few friends I get in touch with each week for accountability in my bible reading. It sure helps to know that we are in this together!

I am cheering you on! You can do this! WE can do this!

(Scroll down for a few pictures from my 10,000 steps a day walks! So much beauty to behold all around us!)


soaking in His Word,


jill

A walk at Dusk

Trees make me happy

Ombre sky--just perfection


Jan 31, 2020

Happy Fun Friday...

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"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul" Proverbs 27:9

Happy Fun Friday!

It's my BIRTHDAY!!!! 

And, Justin Timberlake's. (just in case you were wondering) :)

He and I are very similar.

Just kidding.

We have nothing in common--except for our love for dancing!

Despite the rainy weather here in Georgia, I woke up feeling filled and loved.

My sweet sister planned a birthday dinner for me last night and I was reminded once again the importance of surrounding yourself with sweet friendships. (pictures below!)

Friends can refresh you when you are weary, encourage you when you are empty, and love you without conditions.

Sweet friendships really are a gift from the Lord.

We read about Moses getting tired from holding his arms up during the battle. Aaron and Hur came and sat Moses on a rock and held his arms up for him.

That's true friendship.

I read somewhere recently to pay attention to how you feel around people after you leave a conversation with them. Do you feel refreshed? Do you feel loved and encouraged? Or, do you feel lonelier, inferior, or drained dry.

Pray for friends who will lift you up.

And, let's try to BE a friend who will encourage, pray, love, and spur on our friends!

Our memory verse this week, in honor of Moses and his amazing friends....

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul" Proverbs 27:9

And, isn't it so true??

Thank you, sweet friends, for being encouragers to me. For taking the time to read my ramblings. For words of affirmation at just the right time I am desperate to hear them.

I am celebrating YOU today!


blowing out my (many) candles,


jill

*arm lifters*

*Still growing up together*


Jan 30, 2020

I won't go without You...

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Memory Scripture: "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me." Psalm 103:2

Good morning! Rise and SHINE!

Ok, our reading is getting GOOD. I mean, it is always good, but it is extra good today.

Something that Moses said to God stopped me in my tracks. Man, I want to have this kind of boldness with God. I want this kind of FAITH so desperately!

Moses inquired to God, "Who will you send with me into the Promised Land?" 

Moses needed assurance. He needed to know that God would not send him alone into this new place.

Exodus 33:14 says, "The Lord replied, "I will  personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest-everything will be fine for you."

Oh, but listen to Moses' response:

"If you don't personally go with us, don't make us leave this place." Exodus 33:15

Whoa!

Let's apply this to our own little lives.

What if we boldly came before God each day and inquired of His Presence with us?

What if we told Him that we would not make a move, NOR, say a word, unless He assured us He was with us?

I for one know that I should have asked Him this over many situations. Instead I bulldozed on my own and left a mess of regrets.

We so often do not inquire of God. We just do our own thing and then get mad at Him when things don't turn out like we would like them to.

We don't wait on God.

Sometimes, it is in the silence, in the waiting, in the darkness....that He speaks the loudest.

But, we have to be willing to inquire.

 Do you have a decision to make?

Are you confused about what to do?

Seek the Lord, just like Moses did.

Tell Him that you will not make a move without Him.

Then, wait.

And keep inquiring.

Oh, Moses, you are teaching us so much.

Aren't we so thankful for God's Word?

AHHHHHH!

Oh!! One more thing....

Did I tell you that TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY?!

I mean, just in case you forgot...;)


back to my reading,


jill



Jan 29, 2020

Hang in there....

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Happy Wednesday!

Ok, listen up. If you are following along with us in the reading plan, please don't give up.

I know some of the details of our reading are exhaustive. I found my mind drifting as I read this morning.

I am a big picture girl, so details kind of overwhelm me.

Maybe you love all the details of the building of the Tabernacle, and the priestly duties, etc?

I just find myself skimming over if I am honest.

If you are doing the same, don't lose heart!

Something you could try, is to add a Psalm or a Proverb reading to your reading. It will help you to stay in the Word, and to help get you through the details.

His Word is always Fresh Bread for us. Remember that.

No matter what we read in God's Word, it will infuse us with wisdom.

Don't we all need some more of that?

I know I do!

Hey, did I mention my birthday is Friday?

Just in case you forgot...I really love coffee, and jewelry, and shoes, and make-up, and Chic-fil-a.

K?

Just kidding.

But, I do love celebrating.

The older I get the more I appreciate another year to be here. Seriously.

I have amazing people around me that make life FULL, and fill my days with so much JOY.

In fact, I am off to have coffee with some friends this morning, and I could not be more excited!!

It really is the little things...

Enjoy your week, precious friends.

Stay in God's Word, and let me know how your reading is coming along! I always love to hear from you!


off to sip some coffee,


jill

Jan 24, 2020

Fun Friday Challenge....

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Memory Scripture: "Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me." Psalm 103:2

It's Friday!! Cartwheels all around.

How are you doing with your bible reading? Are you following along in the Daily Walk with us, or are you doing your own thing? Inquiring minds want to know. :)

We have made it into Exodus.  (is that an oxymoron?) (ok, not that funny)

Moses enters the scene.

God finds him in the wilderness, beckoning him by a burning bush.

Moses was 80 years old at this time.

EIGHTY!!

Are you seeing a theme here? God doesn't care how old you are. He just wants someone to say YES when He calls them.

Let that sink in, sweet friend.

Moses gave every excuse to God for not being good enough for the job. Sound familiar??

Yep, me too.

This should resonate with all of us. We all, at some time or another, felt we weren't equipped. Or ready. Or smart enough. Or faithful enough. Or cute enough. Or educated enough. Or well spoken enough.

When Moses gives all of these excuses, this is God's response...

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12


I mean, WOW.

How can you argue with that?

I cannot wait to keep reading. We can learn so much from the Israelite people. They so often forgot what all God did for them. Like, HUGE things God did for them!

But, don't we forget too?

I love Michelle's post from yesterday. Worship helps us to remember!! 

After reading her post, I found this scripture and thought it would be perfect for us to memorize this week. It goes right along with worship, praise, and remembering ALL God has done for us.

"Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me." Psalm 103:2

Bam.

How about that.

Let's write this verse on a notecard or 3, and surround ourselves with this reminder to praise and to remember.

Keep hiding His Word in that little heart of yours. You will be so glad you did!

I will leave you with some more pictures from my 10,000 steps a day challenge....


January Sun 1/22/20

My 10k steps walking buddy, Karey.(the younger one on the right!)
Today is her birthday!
Happy Birthday, beautiful friend!
(yeah, it was cold)
1/22/20




And our feet .
YES.
Those are fuzzy socks.
 1/22/20

January sky 1/22/20

This is Bo.
After our walk.
He stayed here for the next 4 hours.
1/22/20

walking, praising, and remembering,


jill

Jan 23, 2020

Even when it hurts...

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Memory Scripture: Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

This friend has been a part of my life for many years.

She is the MOST FUN to be around.

Always smiling, laughing, and just spilling over with JOY.

She has taught me so much, and she continues to point others to Jesus through her example.

Be blessed by her words today. Please make sure to listen to the song she posted as well. Whew!

Welcome to our SHINE table, Michelle (Missy) Thomas.


When Jill asked me if I would want to write a post for the blog my stomach churned and I laughed to myself thinking “oh the irony”... a resounding YES stirred in my spirit but then a wave of reality followed close behind ... You see I am currently in a season that “words” just come hard. I’m sure fighting cancer for the second time in 10 years has a lot to do with it. The crazy thing is during my first battle in 2010 the words came so easy and I shared them abundantly. But this time the struggle is real. Thankfully I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing family and friends that love BIG and continually encourage me with the love of Jesus shining brightly through them!! So how do you share when the words just aren’t there...the enemy would tell me to just give up...NOT TODAY Satan!!!! 
When there are no words...Worship!! 
Music is fuel for my soul ... seriously I love any and all kinds of music. But especially in this season lyrics are like a healing balm to my soul. I wanted to share a song that echoes in my heart: 
Take this fainted heart Take these tainted hands Wash me in Your love Come like grace again Even when my strength is lost, I’ll praise You Even when I have no song, I’ll praise You Even when it’s hard to find the words, Louder then I’ll sing Your praise Take this mountain weight Take these ocean tears Hold me through the trial Come like hope again Even when the fight seems lost, I’ll praise You Even when it hurts like hell, I’ll praise You Even when it makes no sense to sing, Louder then I’ll sing Your praise I will only sing Your praise And my heart burns only for You You are all, You are all I want And my soul waits only for You And I will sing til the morning has come And my heart burns only for You Your are all, You are all I want And my soul waits only for You And I will sing til the miracle comes I will only sing Your praise Even when the morning comes I’ll praise You Even when the fight is won, Ill praise You Even when my time on Earth is done, Louder then I’ll sing Your praise I will only sing Your praise 

The best way to wrap this up I believe is with Psalm 57:7 “My heart is confident in You, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing Your praises.” 
Friends you may not be walking through the same valley that I am, But we ALL have our battles so don’t give in to the enemy...Sing LOUDER still ... When there are no words WORSHIP!!! 

Getting my worship on, Michelle Missy “5ftmissyLinda Brenda,whatever you may know me as :)

Jan 17, 2020

Fun Friday Challenge...

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Memory Scripture: Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Our reading. Can we talk about it?

Oh man. My heart.

I love Joseph.

I need to be like Joseph.

His heart of forgiveness and faithfulness just SLAYS me.

Are you still reading? It's okay if you are reading another plan. I forgive you.

See, Joseph is rubbing off on me.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I cannot get enough of the Old Testament. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph...OH MY!

In other news...

Since taking on the challenge to walk 10, 000 steps a day, I have had much time to ponder and pray. Being outside surrounded by God's Creation will overwhelm a heart.

With so much walking, and seeing cool things I never ever noticed, I started taking pictures of random things.

I find myself going back to those pictures and just filling up with gratitude.

Something about numbering my steps is doing a number to my heart.

This scripture keeps being played on repeat in my spirit,

Teach us to number our days,  that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

When we begin to number things....we begin to see the brevity of life.

Like, when we have birthdays. (mine is coming up, just in case you forgot! heehe)

Or, when we start paying cash for everything. You begin to realize how quickly it goes! (it is true, try it)

God's Word tells us in that Psalm that we actually gain wisdom when we begin to number things.

My son told me about a football player, Kirk Cousins, that created a tower of stones. Each month he takes a stone out of the pile and discards it. It is a reminder that he will never get that time back.

He learned this from a Sunday school teacher using the same verse from Psalm 90:12.

Here is an excerpt from what he said..

As Cousins removes a stone each month, the feel of it in his palm is a reminder of the time passing. But it's the questions that come with each stone that perhaps carry more weight.
"What impact are you making, not only today, but for eternity? What impact are you making to leave a legacy?" he says.
He pauses.
"It's just a healthy reminder, make life about other people, invest in other people, knowing that in the end, that's a life well-lived," he says.
You can find the full article here. 
What a wise young man. 
Let's put this scripture to memory. Let's hide it away in our hearts to remind us the importance of numbering.
I will leave you with a few random pictures from my phone as I was walking my 10k steps yesterday. 
How will you start to number your days? 
Sun peaking through the clouds 1/16/20


My 3rd child, Bo.  1/16/20

These boots shoes are made for walkin'...
1/16/20


The speed limit around our high school..random
1/16/20

Pretty in pink.
1/16/20


counting and counting, 

jill




Jan 15, 2020

Who's your Katie?...

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Memory Scripture: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

The following post was written four years ago. And, I still need the reminder.

Grab a chair, a sofa, a bed, some coffee, and sit next to me, will you?

I love chairs. And sofas. And beds. And coffee. And especially friends.

Happy Wednesday!


Goodbye Katie
re-posted from 1/1/16

At the beginning of every New Year, I get butterflies in my stomach. I feel anxiety come on, and it makes me feel nauseous.

It all started about ten years ago.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My family and I were in Orlando. Everyone was out by the pool at our hotel except for me and my one year old baby. It was her morning naptime, so we had come back inside the hotel room.

She was sound asleep and I had turned on the television.

The Today Show was on, and I began watching it. It just so happened to be Katie Couric's last day on the show. I loved her! I had always loved every segment of hers because she just lit up the room.

They were replaying old segments of her with the saddest music ever. Before long I was crying my eyes out in that hotel room by myself.

She was so darn cute. And smart. And successful. And loved.

Everyone loved Katie Couric. Including me.

And, well, here I was. Alone in a hotel room. Baby food splattered on my shirt. Two day old hair that still had knots in it from riding rides at Disney. Surrounded by baby toys, pink princess floaties, diapers and wipes. Impressive.

I sappily watched Katie's brilliant life being played out on t.v., while my life looked like Loserville in comparison.

She was 49 years old when she left the Today Show.

At that time, I was 30, with not a glimpse of a chance at a life like hers.

I cried. And cried. And cried.

In that moment I made a vow that I would make something of myself. Anything but who I was. A stay at home mom with stained shirts was not the life I wanted anymore. I wanted to be like Katie Couric. I wanted to be loved. Adored. Cute. Spunky. Successful. And well, just more.

 Before I could even wipe my tears and blow my nose, I heard my daughter crying in the other room. Well, naptime was over.

Back to reality.

Back to Loserville.

A few months passed and the year was coming to an end. This was my chance. My chance to make something of myself I thought.

A NEW YEAR, a new me! Yay!

I sat my husband down and talked to him about all of my big plans for the "new me".

He patiently listened. And listened. And listened.

After I spilled my heart out to him that cold December day, all he had to say was this..."Aww, you are just fine the way you are. I love you and that is all that should matter."

Thud.

Not what I wanted to hear. At all.

Words of encouragement are not his thing. Obviously.

So, as the dawn of a new year was on the horizon, a sadness came across my heart. An anxious feeling that haunted me. A feeling that made me wonder if the end of the next year would bring the same boring scenario for my life....the same old me.

With each passing year since Katie left the Today show, I have felt this same feeling. The feeling that tells me that I am just not quite enough. I need to be more to really make a difference. To really be somebody.

However, this year is different.

Something changed.

Something has settled in my 40 year old heart.

40 is a very powerful and biblical number. Story after story from the Bible speaks about the number 40. The Israelites wandered for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. The rain fell for 40 days on Noah's ark when the rain flooded the world. Jesus fasted for 40 days before His teaching ministry began.

There is something about 40 that brings change. Whether it's 40 days or 40 years.

This year has definitely brought a lot of change. A change in our family.  A change in our living situation. And many more changes.

A lot of change in one year.

As I prepared to write this post, I just kept thinking of Nehemiah. I love Nehemiah. He was a cupbearer for the King. Which literally means, he brought the King his cup of wine each day. Yet, God laid it on his heart to rebuild a wall around Jerusalem to protect the people. Nehemiah was so concerned about the people in Jerusalem. They were falling away from their faith and being destroyed by their enemies. He weeped, prayed and fasted for them night after night.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:
Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Nehemiah 1:4-7
Nehemiah led a pretty cozy life. He didn't have to leave the comforts of the King's palace to go help these people, yet, he did.

He ended up encouraging the people of Jerusalem and rebuilding the wall. It was an amazing feat! It only took them 52 days to rebuild it. 52 days!

The people were amazed. Their hearts quickly turned back to God because of  one's man courage, faith, and love for these people.

Here is what I find interesting about this story....

Nehemiah didn't build a whole new city from scratch...he just helped rebuild the wall.

Rebuilding the wall is all it took for restoration to take place and the people's heart to be restored back to God.

Nehemiah didn't have to have great skill, good looks, or much education to do this great work. He just had to hear God's voice, and have the boldness to go and do the job.

There are some areas in my life this year that need a little rebuilding. A little work to repair some of the breeches.

I don't need to find a whole new me to make a difference in this world. I just need to rebuild a few areas God has called me to work on. I just have to say YES to His plan and design for my life. Not for Katie Couric's life.

When we try to design our life like another's we end up having not being of much use in God's Kingdom. He designed each of us for very specific tasks. It is not up to us to decide that our tasks are not "enough". He is the Potter, we are the clay.

What needs a little rebuilding in your life this year?

Your marriage? Your prayer life? Your bible reading? Your friendships? Your finances? Your gifts and talents?

Whatever it is, go, and don't look back.

One of my very favorite passages from the book of Nehemiah is this, "I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down." Nehemiah 6:3

The next time the enemy whispers in your precious ear that you are not "enough". Shoot this scripture right back at him with a fiery fervency..."I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down."

You are enough.

Because God created you in His very own image. [Genesis 1:27]

Imagine that.

You shine the brightest when you are who He created you to be.

A little rebuilding, a little restoration. That's all we need.

Your greatest work has already begun. Before you were even born...

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.
     Psalm 139:13-16


goodbye Katie Couric,


jill

Jan 14, 2020

SHINE Spotlight...


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I have written to you several times about my 10th grade Math teacher. God used her to speak to an insecure, wobbly, and unsure girl...me. 

She has made such an impact on my life that all of my friends have heard stories about her! 

When I am not sure what to do about something, I think back to conversations that she and I have had through the years and remember wisdom that she shared. 

I could go on for years regarding the impact this woman has had on my life...but I will let you read a post she wrote here a couple of years ago. I needed to be reminded of these words. I bet you may too. 

Since writing this post, she and her husband have adopted FOUR daughters. They are well into their fifties and heard the call to foster and to adopt. 

Needless to say, we don't get much time together anymore due to her full home. Yet, still, her words and counsel to me live on. Daily. 

Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea and savor Beth's message to us. 


A High Calling
By: Beth Crowley


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. 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 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. With so much love.

How do you love?...

SHINE Reading Plan:  Go here.  Subscribe to SHINE emails:  Go here. Memory Scripture: "Let all that you do, be done in love." 1...