Mar 31, 2020

No Fear...

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Memory Scripture: "I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4

Every morning I wake up, and often it feels like groundhog day. Another day, same routine. Again and again.

Can you relate?

I know it is a little different for all of us, some working from home, homeschooling, etc.

Others, leaving their homes to go to work, like my husband.

As I was walking yesterday, easily getting my 10,000 steps these days, I felt a familiar feeling.

I remembered walking with my newborn in our neighborhood, he was freshly 3 weeks old. I would stroll up and down the quiet street envisioning his future. The days were long, but so sweet and quiet. The year was 2001.

This is the feeling I felt when I was walking yesterday. This peaceful quiet, even among the unrest of the world and the unknown, this unshakable and undeniable peace.

One day, after one of my morning strolls with my newborn son, I came back home and the world changed in the blink of an eye.

September 11th, 2001.

My peaceful life turned fearful. Anxiety came upon me and suffocated my lungs.

From that moment on, life seemed like it had two parts. Before 9/11, and after 9/11.

Many days, I wondered if the world would ever be the same. Would my life ever be the same?

I just had this precious baby, and now this?

Almost 19 years later, I can look back and see that life did get better.

Things slowly got back to normal, and the fear eventually faded.

Those were some of the hardest days of my life. Panic, fear, doctors appointments upon therapy appointments to figure out why I could not sleep or breathe.

Anxiety feels like suffocation. I relate it to the "deadly pestilence" described in Psalm 91.

If you are feeling this, pray Psalm 91 over and over. Memorize it. Sleep on it. I have a friend who makes pillow cases with scripture on them. I lay my head down every night on Psalm 91.

(I cannot think of a better gift to give someone right now..check out Renee's shop and her blog!)

19 years later, I have learned the secret to Peace. God's Word.

I have a small CD player that plays God's Word in my home all day long. It is always humming in the background.

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


Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105



Today, I am thankful for that time of suffering. It drew me to the heart of Jesus and to His Word. I have never turned back.

Friend, life will get better. His Word says there is nothing new under the sun.  

In the meantime, what can we do during the pause?  The stillness?

Read His Word. Pray. Memorize scripture. Encourage others around you.

I learned that fear came when I was self-absorbed and filling my mind with the world and its truths.

God's ways and His thoughts are higher. We must fill up on His Truth.


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9


Several times over the past couple of weeks, I have wanted to call wise friends and ask them what will happen at the end of this. I have wanted to get their thoughts and wisdom. I was desperate for answers.

Yet, every time, before I pick up the phone, I hear a whisper in my soul..."You can ask Me, Jill."

So often and so many times we want the world to answer our deepest questions and concerns. Those answers can be found in God's Word.

Every. Single. One. 

Want peace? Read God's Word. Meditate on it.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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


When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. Jeremiah 15:16


We began a new reading plan back in January. We are reading through a bible called, The Daily Walk Bible. You can find it here. 

**It would be an honor for me to purchase one for one of you! If you would like this Bible for you or for a friend, I will draw a name on Friday.

You can email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com if you would like to be entered!

Our Memory Scripture for this week: I sought the Lord and He answered me, He delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4


Let's continue to seek Him daily in His Word and in this season of pause. There will be much fruit and much peace as we draw near.


no more fear,


jill




Mar 26, 2020

The Cup...

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Memory Scripture: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1


Day 11. 

I feel ashamed.

I see now, what I did not see then.

The busy. 

The chaos. 

The averting of the eyes because I just did not have time to talk. 

The quick, "God bless him", every time I would see my homeless friend walking. 

The missed opportunities. Over and over. 

The importance of things that were not important. 


I feel ashamed.

I see now, what I did not see then.

Through this time, this quiet, this rest, this unknown....

God shows me more in the unknown than I ever could see in the "known".

I passed him again today on my walk. My daughter said, "Mom, there he is."

Today, I had time.

I had plenty of time.

What else is there to do these days anyway?

We talked to him, my homeless friend.

He asked where I had been....

I had no answer as my cheeks flushed pink...

"Too busy...I guess...." My words trailed off.

I feel ashamed.

He was thirsty and I could tell. He asked if I could get him a cup...

A cup....

I was standing on Holy Ground.

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14

I was near my house....I told him I would be back with a cup.

Scrounging up some food and water and toiletries....all I could find to help him get through the next week or so, I was ashamed.

I hesitated before throwing in my last roll of clorox wipes.

Lord, forgive me. I am selfish and self-centered. 

The homeless man said he needed nothing, and he was right.

It was me that needed something....

A whole lot of something. Something like mercy, compassion, sacrifice...

Yet, here I was pausing before putting my clorox wipes in a bag for him.

I feel ashamed.

My daughter and I took the bag of things back to him.

He was grateful.

Oh, so grateful.

He has nothing.

I have so much more.

Yet, he is the grateful one.

I had just prayed for the last two days for God to open my eyes. Show me who needs You, Lord. Help me to help others. 

And yet, the irony...

It was me who needed help.

As we are quarantined to our homes...

I see it as a blessing now.

My homeless friend has a van (that does not run) for a home.

The library he spends hours on end in, is closed indefinitely.

Yet, I am complaining about being stuck in a home with water, and food, and children, and pets and air conditioning and warm beds, and laughter and people....

I feel ashamed.

But, He is changing me.

Ripping away the ingratitude, the pride, the self-centeredness....

He is doing a work here. And I am grateful.

My homeless friend has no idea that he is the blessed one.

So grateful. And simple. And has time to talk to others. Not rushing about...averting the eyes.

Change me, Lord. Glue my spiritual eyes open, and help me to see. 



handing over my cup,


jill










Mar 24, 2020

Survival Tips...

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Memory Scripture: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1


Day 9. 

Good morning, friends!

I have a special treat for you, My dear friend, Lisa Inlow, is sharing her heart with you today. Lisa is full of wisdom and she always points us right back to Jesus.

Be blessed by her words!

SHINE Post by Lisa Inlow:

Hello Shine Girls!

Wow y'all these last 10 days have been crazy.  Scary.  Extremely Unsettling.  Anxiety producing.

Here are a few things I'm doing daily to keep my thoughts and fears on the low as in times like these thoughts and fears can definitely and understandably run at an all time high.

Psalm 91, reading it aloud every day with my family.  The words in this passage are powerful.  Grip on to them!  Claim them boldly for your family!  God Almighty's Holy Spirit lives inside of you, stand strong in this fact.

In the morning and morning only, I check the CDC website for the latest numbers for our state and the county I live in, Gwinnett.  Outside of that, I do not watch the news or read articles.  Take this tidbit for what it is, what works for me.  Maybe it will work for you as well.

I am also writing in a journal every single thing, big, small, tiny or seemingly silly, that the Lord has shown me today.  It's "funny" how in times of uncertainty we see and hear our Savior so much clearer.  Take advantage of this and write it down.  It also serves as a reminder on the days to come where we cannot get out of the emotional weeds!  We can go back to our journals and remember how he met us, here, in the awfulness that is currently upon us.

Pray!!!  I'm also praying for those who do not walk with Jesus.  We know our Father allows difficult times as a way to bring his children to His arms.  I'm praying for those folks that they will see their need for the Savior and run to him!

Have you been avoiding your Savior?  Are there parts of your heart that you are holding on to, white-knuckled even though he's been chatting with you to hand it over?  I get it sister!  Release the grip.  It's scary, but it's renewing.  Let Him love and comfort you in that space.  He's so trustworthy.

One day at a time.  Or on some days, one hour at a time.  Grab the Father's hand.  See it?  It's reaching out for you...

It's time to shine.

Philippians 4:6-7
6. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Mar 23, 2020

You are missed...

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Memory Scripture: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1

Day 8.


Well. here we are.

Still homebound.

Are you hanging in there?

I sure hope so.

As I look out my window here sitting at my desk, I see the rain just washing away the yellow pollen that has collected all over my porch and my grass.

Today, I am thankful for the rain that washes away the pollen. 

Today, I am thankful for the blood of Jesus that washes away my sin. 

With a whole lot of down time these days, I decided to create a little something.

As most of you know, a year ago this week, I became YogaFaith certified. It was a long, emotional, and often difficult process.

The fruit has been worth it, though. I wish I had the time to tell you stories of my students. One in particular that recently passed away. He was early forties.

My heart has not had enough time to heal to begin to tell you the story of my friend that passed. It is still very surreal and certainly raw. He was very loved by many of us in my small little town.

Our conversations are forever etched on my heart.

I will say this...

During one of my yogaFaith classes, he asked about a passage I had read in the Bible. A passage about King David.

My friend was very interested in King David and was fascinated by the passage.

So, I guess in a way, I did this for my friend. He inspired me and he inspired many.

He will be missed greatly, but we are forever changed by his presence.


If you have littles at home and you are running out of things to do...

I would love for you to check out a yogaFaith for kids video I made today.

In hopes of bringing a little sunshine to your day.

Click on the link here and it will take you right to it!



Our memory scripture this week is in honor of my friend as well...

Written by King David..

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1


enjoy Heaven my friend,


jill






Mar 20, 2020

Day five...

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Memory Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


Here's a little glimpse of my gifts this week...

Presley singing to us at supper. 

Every day walking (6 feet apart) with friends. 10k steps is much easier these days!

A timely message

this. 

we are the Church

my beautiful friend, Lisa Riser, safely delivering shaved ice to local kids and parents!

My angel of a friend Kim Jaynes picking this up for me today!!
 HUGE surprise and much needed!!

YogaFaith with friends at the track does my heart good. 




SHINE Reading Plan: Go here. 
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Memory Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


Day 5.

I have to admit, I am a bit of a homebody. This homebound state does not bother me....yet.

The thing about being home is.....I have to be careful how much news I ingest.

A little news to stay informed, but if I ingest too much, I can get a little on the fearful side. So, I am really trying to be disciplined in my news intake.

I have also taken to talking on the phone more...which I use to loathe. I am much better at in-person talking. But, I am enjoying catching up with friends and family via the old phone.

My friend, Lisa Inlow, shared something with me that I want to share with you. As we were talking on the phone today, she told me about a group of young people in Africa who prayed Psalm 91 every day for 91 days when Ebola had hit hard in that area.

On day 92, the disease had fled their area.

I am challenged and encouraged to pray Psalm 91 every single day. Even 3 times a day.

Will you join me?

Psalm 91 is very personal to me. I have shared story after story of how that Psalm has set me free from fear and worry. How I taught it to my children at a very young age and we all memorized it together. How my daughter blurted it out on a playground to her 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Lancaster.

Now is the time to pray.

Now is the time pray Psalm 91 together.

God is Present. He is with us.

Immanuel is Hebrew for- God is with us. 

Immanuel has never left us.

Let's call on Him. Grab your families and pray.  Read Psalm 91 together over and over.

His Word will never return void. {Psalm 55:11}

Could this be a time for an awakening of His Church?

To wake up from slumber and call on His Holy Name?

I have counted the gifts and the blessings every single day this week.

I have recounted them with all of you, with my husband, and with my kids

What are the gifts you see?

Name them. Count them. Thank Him for them.

Let's get back to His Word. Read it. Roll around in it. Let it saturate your heart over and over.


praying Psalm 91 for 91 days,


jill






Mar 19, 2020

Day Four...

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Memory Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


Day 4 of social distancing.

Never in a million years could I have imagined such a thing.

But, God knew.

As I am forced to stop, pause, and rest....

I see things clearer.

When we are in a dizzying state of busy, we often miss a whole lot. When life is filled with one activity to the next, schedules have no margin....we miss out on the in-betweens.

Those in-between times are important. Those mundane moments  are actually some of the big moments of our lives.

The tucking in of the children, the wiping of their little noses for the hundredth time, the picking up of the toys, the dishes lying in the sink waiting for suds and scrubs...

So often we look at the big things to define our lives. We get it wrong.

A couple of days ago my Aunt called me. I cannot even remember the last time I talked to her on the phone.

What a special memory it was to talk to her and not be in a mad rush to get somewhere.

My daughter has discovered over the past few days that she really loves to write. She is working on a little story because she has margin now, and much of it.

I enjoy being at home and finding new things to organize and clean. I notice things that have gotten left behind over the past few months, and now I am able to take care of those things.

Daily, I am asking God, "Lord, what do you want us to learn?"

My sweet friend Christa said something that resonated so deeply in my soul. She said that she sees God protecting us from a greater threat. The staying at home, the social distancing, the cancellation of activities...could all be His protection over us.

I agree with all my heart.

The battle is not flesh and blood. The battle is spiritual.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12


My 18 year old son, Joseph, is going to work with his Dad every day. Yes, he would rather be in his dorm on campus, but God has allowed him to be with his Dad, and his 2 uncles for the time being.

I see this as a GIFT.

Joseph is getting to work with his great Uncle Casey every day. Spending time with him, working alongside of him. This will be something he remembers for the rest of his days.

I see this as a GIFT.

My daughter, Presley, is learning new household chores. She is pitching in and enjoying learning new things in the house.

I see this as a GIFT.

She is also working on her music daily. Singing songs, pounding on her piano, and belting out tunes.

I see this as a GIFT.

My husband, Lem, and I are having countless and endless talks every evening. We have covered every subject under the sun because we have nowhere to be in the evenings now.

I see this as a GIFT.

The four of us sit outside every evening eating supper. We have not done this since Joseph left for college back in early August.

I see this as a GIFT.

My father was drafted into the Vietnam war at the tender age of 19. His youth was interrupted along with many others.

This is not the first time that lives have been interrupted.

And, it probably will not be the last.

Let's use this down time wisely. Even if you are surrounded by many children in your home, opportunities abound for teaching during this time.

Tell them stories.

Listen to their stories.

If they are babies. read God's Word over them. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17

Use this time to memorize scripture with your children or your friends. Challenge each other to read the bible and learn scripture.

Text and face time often to encourage each other and spur each other on.

Ask the Lord every single day, "What would you have me to do today?"

Mostly, let us use this time to pray. And pray. And pray.

God is doing something here. We cannot see it yet, but in time we will.

Let us be faithful and obedient as we wait. Let us be still and listen.

As I type I hear the birds outside my window. Not a care in the world.

Let us trust our Father as much as the birds do.

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Matthew 6:25-30

seeing the gifts, 


jill







Mar 18, 2020

8, 12, and 4....

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Memory Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

As many of us are spending more time with our families this week and the weeks to follow, I would like to share an idea.

Lem and I support a precious family doing mission work in Peru, The DuBose family. Josh, the husband and father, sent out an email a few days ago saying that he and his team would be praying intentionally 3 times a day. 8 am, 12 pm, and 4 pm.

Imagine if ALL of us joined him in praying at those times.

As we read through the bible together, there is a common thread of God's actions and His mercy...prayer.

Prayer is the means to open the gates of Heaven and to let God's Will be poured down to us.

I used to think of prayer as an extra thing to check off. Kind of a meaningless one way conversation with God that good Christians needed to have,

Gosh, how wrong I was.

These last few years have taught me that without prayer, my faith is weak. My desires and pleas are shallow at best.

However, when we seek the Lord in prayer, intentionally, diligently, fervently, we begin to see things differently.

Events change.

Circumstances change.

Long held immovable mountains and hearts change.

Prayer increases our faith exponentially.

Prayer reminds us that we have no power, but Jesus does.

"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work." Oswald Chambers

“A prayerless age will have but scant models of divine power. The age may be a better age than the past, but there is an infinite distance between the betterment of an age by the force of an advancing civilization and its betterment by the increase of holiness and Christlikeness by the energy of prayer.” E.M Bounds

Jesus modeled prayer for us so beautifully. 

He taught us how to pray. 

We can be the most innovative, wealthy, intelligent, strong people in the world....

But, without prayer and seeking the Lord, we have no power. 

When we are weak, He is strong. 

I challenge all of us to fall to our knees in prayer every single day. 

There is never an excuse not to pray. 

There is no formula, or no place you have to be to pray. 

You can pray wherever you are, at any moment of your day. 

Constant communication with God brings steadfast faith and miraculous answers. 

Be bold. Be very bold in your prayers. 

I love when my kids come to me and share their hearts....there is nothing in the world like it. 

Surely the Lord feels the same when we go to Him. 

I met a dear friend years ago. Her life reflects Jesus so beautifully. 

Soon after meeting her, I found the secret to her life and her faith. 

Prayer. 

She would go into her work bathroom and fall to her knees all throughout the day. 

She would lift up her co-workers, and all who needed prayer. 

I was amazed by her love for others. 

Praying is the greatest way to love others. 

When  you become a praying person, your face will start to look different. Others will see a gentleness and softness in you that was never there before. 

Remember when Moses was on Mt. Sinai with God?

His face was glowing when he came down. 

Prayer does the same for us. It changes us. Others will notice. 

My friend who prays glows.

She spends a lot of time with Jesus and it literally shows on her face.

Her life is not perfect, but she trusts God and leaves all things in His hands.

Her life is a living testimony to answered prayer.

Will you and your family join us and the team in Peru in prayer 3 times a day?

8 am, 12 pm. 4 pm. 

And everything in between.

Let's come together Church. And pray.

 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 5:20


setting my prayer timers, ,

jill







Mar 17, 2020

Learning from Katie...

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Memory Scripture: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Good morning, and wow.

I haven't had a moment to write, because like you, I have been trying to wrap my mind and heart around what is happening in our world.

Yesterday, I told my children, this will be there 9/11. They will remember these days and they will tell stories to their children and grandchildren about them.

The past few days, I have been reminded of the theme the Lord has been gently showing me for the past several months...

Gratitude.

So, as my family hunkers down at home, and lets go of every activity that kept us whirling...

I look for the gratitude. 

I am seeing my kids more.

I am seeing my husband more.

I am reading more.

My kids are reading more.

We are all praying more.

We are all talking to each other about matters of the heart and of the world.

I am reminded that their are people in many parts of the world who face disease, war, and death on a daily basis.

It forces me to let go of comfort and normal, and grasp new ways and ever changing news.

I tend to idolize comfort and routine.

I am forced to let go of that for now.

I am reminded of Paul's teaching..

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I see the kindness and compassion of others around me. Helping each other. Checking on neighbors.

This pause forces me to re-evaluate all that I hold dear...

And I am grateful for that.

As my family was traveling back from the beach this weekend, I had a moment that changed me.

We had stopped at a gas station, and as I was walking in an elderly couple was right beside me. We were shoulder to shoulder walking in the door of the station.

I quickly reached out my hand to get the door so they would not have to touch it with their sweet bare hands...

The elderly gentleman was quicker.

He pulled the door open, and smiled.

"Please, let me." He said.

Kindness over contagion.

He was a true gentleman and I will never forget his gesture.

A lump formed in my throat, as I so desperately wanted to be like him.

Putting my fears aside to help another.

Trials bring out our true character. They filter out things we don't realize we hold onto.

Doubt, greed, fear, selfishness, pride....

Without trials, we often never see these things.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4


Several weeks ago, I ordered a book for my daughter. She has many times mentioned wanting to go on a mission trip. So, I bought her the book "Kisses from Katie".

Katie Davis Majors went to Uganda her senior year of high school during her winter break. She then decided to go back for a year and delay her college education. She was 19.

Katie volunteered at an orphanage and adopted 14 girls by the time she was 23.

My daughter and I read this part of her story yesterday, and we could not believe how timely these words were of Katie's...

"Many days, I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need and the incredible number of people who need help. Many days I see the destitute, disease-ridden children lining the streets in the communities I serve and I want to scoop up every single one of them, take them home with me, and feed and clothe and love them. And I look at the life of my Savior, who stopped for one

So, I keep stopping and loving one person at t time. Because this is my call as a Christian. I can do only what one woman can do, but I will do what I can. Daily, the Jesus who wrecked my life enables me to do so much more than I ever thought possible. 

People often ask if I think my life is dangerous, if I am afraid. I am much more afraid of remaining comfortable. Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear things that can destroy the body but things that can destroy the soul. I am surrounded by things that can destroy the body. I interact almost daily with people who have deadly diseases, and many times I am the only person who can help them. I live in a country with one of the world's longest running wars taking place just a few hours away. Uncertainty is everywhere. But I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy. 

Jesus called His followers to be a lot of things, but I have yet to find where He warned us to be safe.  We are not called to be safe, we are simply promised that when we are in danger, God is right there with us. And there is no better place to be than in His Hands. 

Katie has life figured out.

I want this.

I want this for my children.

As we take this forced pause in our lives, let's pray and draw close to the Lord in His Word.

Let's also reach out to those in need. Those who are suffering and/or at risk....

Let's be the Church...even though the doors our closed at our own churches...

Let's love on, serve, and check on each other.

Let us find just one.

That's what we are called to do.

Our memory verse this week...

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2


still seeing the good, 


jill





Mar 11, 2020

Wasted time...

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Memory Scripture: "But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:14-15

Oh, Samson, Samson, Samson.

What a fool you were.

As we read through the book of Judges we come to the story of Samson.

Destined by God before he was born to be a powerful force for the Israelite people, God gave his parents instructions regarding Samson's life. If followed, Samson would prove to be a great leader for the Israelite's.

Samson was told by God that his strength would be lost if he ever cut his hair.

It was a secret that no one knew except he and his parents.

Enter a cunning Philistine seductress on the scene...Delilah.

Remember, God had given the Israelites clear instructions on not intermingling with the Philistine people. Their influence was too powerful and it would saturate the hearts of God's people and turn them away from the Lord.

With nauseating nagging and much persistence, Samson finally shared his secret with Delilah.

Before the night was over, she had set him up. The Philistines came into his room, cut his hair, and gauged out his eyes.

He was taken to prison.

As his hair grew out in prison, his strength began to return.

God gave Samson one final chance to destroy the Philistines and live out his purpose.

Samson did.

He ended up killing more people by his death, than when he did while he was alive.

What can we learn from Samson the fool?

Oh so many things.

Be careful who you hang out with. 

There are people who are out to harm and destroy and manipulate. Be wise. 

Do not share secrets with just anyone. Samson was foolish and prideful and shared the most sacred thing he possessed, and Delilah used it to destroy him. 

Use the gifts God has given you right now. 

Pray to stay focused and not lulled by distraction and comfort. Samson lived a lavish life of self-indulgence. God had a big plan for his life, but Samson wanted to live life his own way. Separate from God's plan for him. 

Obey God's commands. Samson mingled with the very people that God had sent him to destroy 

On the positive side, we can learn from Samson's life that God often gives us another chance.

Samson was at the tail end of his life, and he prayed that God would remember him and help him one last time.

God answered.

I wonder how different things would have turned out for Samson if he would have obeyed the Lord and followed His ways.

We have much to learn here.

Are we following the Lord and obeying His commands? Or are we wasting our time here on Earth.

Are we using our gifts and talents to serve Him and others?

Are we getting a little too comfortable in our indulgences and tuning out God's plan?

Are we hanging with people that we know are not God's best for us, yet we cannot seem to shake free?

The good news is, it is never too late. God is always ready and willing to help us get back on track.

Whether we are 9 years old, or 99. He is not done with us.

If you have young kids, teenage kids, or adult kids,  the life of Samson is a great teaching tool. Let us all learn from him.

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." Erma Bombeck

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11


learning from Sam,


jill











Mar 6, 2020

Who's watching you...

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Memory Scripture: "But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:14-15

As the book of Joshua comes to a close, a few things stand out.

Joshua was a student of Moses.

He watched Moses. He learned from Moses. He studied Moses.

The reason that Joshua was able to take over the masses and lead when Moses died, was because Joshua had spent his entire life under the tutelage of Moses.

Everything that Joshua knew was taught by Moses.

His strong faith, his impeccable and unflappable leadership, his boldness and courage....

He learned from Moses.

When Moses died, Joshua was prepared. He had lived his entire life ready for this moment.

Motherhood is similar.

We have those under our care watching us. Studying us. Mirroring us.

When we think they are not looking and listening, they are.

What are we teaching through our words and actions?

I am convicted heavily by this.

What our children learn is often caught and not taught.

Moses did a stellar job leading by example for Joshua and many others.

Moses was NOT perfect. However, he diligently and daily sought the Lord.

Moses did not make a move without consulting with the Lord.

Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. Exodus 33:15

Looking back over the life of Moses, he was destined for leadership.

So are we.

Others are watching us. Always studying us.

How will we respond?

Before Joshua dies, he leaves his fellow Israelites with this charge:

“So fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone. But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15



Joshua was teaching them the same thing that Moses had taught him. 

Fear the Lord. With your whole heart. 

Serve Him. With your whole heart. 

Remove idols in your life. Forever 

Serve the Lord. Both you and your family. 


Our memory scripture for this week will be from this very passage. 

"But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:14-15

As you seek to memorize this passage, live it out. 

Let those watching you learn and take in. 

Remember you are being studied. 

Be a good teacher. 

Your students will pass it on one day. 


thank you Joshua, 

jill

These pictures are from 11 years ago this week! Since it's fun Friday, I thought it would be fun to show you these and all the snow! (Rain has replaced the snow, 11 years later.)















Mar 4, 2020

Peace over Panic....

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Memory Scripture: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

A trip to the Emergency Room with an overnight stay.

This definitely was not on my calendar this week.

My husband has had some shortness of breath for the past almost two weeks. After many suggestions for him to please see a doctor, he finally obliged.

Of course, it was only due to the fact that he began having chest tightness and low energy as well.

Men. They can be so stubborn.

I was dreading walking into that hospital. Germs. Viruses. Diseases. You know where I am heading...it was not where I really wanted to be.

The outbreak of the Corona Virus had just been reported in Atlanta. Yay.

Here we were, in a hospital, surrounded by coughing, aching, sick people.

Yet, I wasn't afraid.

Panic will never bring peace.

Trust me, I have been on the panic side for too many years. It never ever leads to health, peace, and wellness.

The doctors ran many tests.

I sat there stone faced.

Trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Lem could possibly be having major heart problems.

Heart disease is rampant in his family.

I knew this.

Yet, suddenly the thought of it slapped me hard in the face.

My stomach was in knots. Turning and churning.

My mouth was dry and my palms were clammy.

I was not fearful, but I was thoughtful.

Full of thoughts and memories and future plans.

I thought of my friends and family who had very recently lost their husbands. Their faces tatooed on my heart. Their names on my lips as I prayed for them.

Despite the knots in my stomach, I had peace.

I knew that everything would be okay.

Even if they weren't.

I studied the doctors faces as they talked to Lem. The doctors had masks around their noses and mouths.

Yet, here we were. No masks to protect our inhalation. Just breathing the air around us. Hospital air.

Yet, I wasn't panicked.

Several years ago, this would not have been the case. I would have been a crying ball of a mess on the floor.

Growing in our faith, grows us in our peace.

We begin to know and understand God's Faithfulness and Goodness.

When the world around us is flocking for answers and panic stricken...

We, the ones who trust Him, can sleep in perfect peace.

I was reminded of Jesus in the boat when the storm was raging. He slept peacefully. The disciples panicked and woke Jesus up.

Jesus knew His Father. He knew they would be okay.

When we walk with Jesus, we begin to know Him intimately, we begin to trust Him.

Especially when storms are swirling around us.

This world can be scary. People will react out of fear and desperation.

Our foundation must be set on the Rock of Assurance....Jesus Christ.

No other foundation will hold us in stormy times.

The doctors wanted to monitor Lem overnight due to his symptoms.

I slept in a chair next to his hospital bed. My eyes were closed about 45 minutes the entire night.

I watched Lem sleep peacefully. Not a worry was on his face.

He trusted the outcome.

It is in these times that the importance of hiding God's Word in our hearts surfaces.

We must recall Truth. We must recall His Goodness and Faithfulness.

I recounted our life together minute by minute that entire night in that small hospital room. From our dating, marriage, first child, second child, moving houses, teaching oldest child how to drive,  graduating a son, moving son into college, teaching youngest child how to drive, countless days and nights at soccer fields, basketball courts, and volleyball courts....

My heart was filled with gratitude. Panic had no place here.

See the good. 

There is always good. 

The world will tell you otherwise, but we know better.

The next morning, Lem had his final test.

The results were overwhelming good.

We were tired, exhausted, but full of gratitude.

Is your heart fearful today? Do you find panic taking the place of peace?

Recall His Faithfulness. Fall into His Word. Fall at His feet in prayer.

You can rest your heart. You can sleep peacefully in His arms.

No matter the swirling around you, He is bigger than the storm.

Commit these scriptures to your heart when panic invades. Let His Peace wash over you...


When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3


When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2


Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25


Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2



peace over panic,

jill



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