Jan 21, 2021

Brick Walls...

 As I was quietly soaking in God's Words yesterday morning, I came to a passage I had read many times before. This time it really hit me. I circled it and wrote it down in my prayer journal. 

But I will make Pharaoh's heart stubborn so that I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the Land of Egypt. Exodus 7:3

Have you ever been in a situation that you really believe was God's will but there was nothing budging in the matter? You thought you heard Him clearly on what to do and suddenly you face a brick wall?

Sometimes those brick walls can be people. 

I remember in high school I dated a boy. We hit it off so very well and I thought for sure we would last forever. 

However, his feelings did not match mine. After about a year, I noticed a change as the relationship began to fall apart. 

I was heart broken. And confused. 

My prayer life suddenly jumped up a few thousand degrees as I asked God, "Why??"

Many many years down the road, I see why. 

God did not have him in mind for me. 

The boy's heart had turned away from me, and it was all for a purpose. 

A greater purpose was in store for me, even though at the time I could not see it. 

Just recently I had a mini, okay major, tantrum with God. 

I locked myself in my room and I told Him I was mad at Him. I let out every single angry thing that I felt He had done to disappoint me in a certain situation. 

I told Him that He was mean and that He was not good. 

It felt real satisfying to let it out. 

He knew I was feeling all of those things anyway, so I really let Him have it. 

For so long, I would have thought that it was unholy and unrighteous to talk to God that way. 

But, I have come to realize that intimacy creates honesty and openness. I knew He could handle my tantrum. He has heard it before. 

A few hours later, I apologized to Him. I told Him that I would trust Him even when I did not see a shred of evidence of good in that certain situation. 

Moses must have felt the same way. 

God had called to Moses from a burning bush for Heaven's sake! He gave Moses a clear and precise message. Moses was unsure and doubted that he was the one for the task because of his stuttering problem. 

God convinced Moses with these words..

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? Exodus 4:11

Moses finally gave in and accepted the task to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. 

However, Moses was met with a brick wall....Pharaoh. 

I mean, surely God could have made this a little easy for Moses, right??

Which leads us back here to this passage..

But I will make Pharaoh's heart stubborn so that I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the Land of Egypt. Exodus 7:3

This delay, this brick wall....had much purpose. 

A greater purpose than Moses could see in his limited human vision. 

The delay in deliverance caused many, many more Israelites to believe and to be convinced of God's Faithfulness and Goodness. 

Could the delay, the brick wall, the unresponsive heart that you are facing be all a part of God's Master plan for greater deliverance and miracles?

I certainly am starting to believe it. 

When we face these brick walls in our lives, let's learn to trust Him as we bang up against it. 

He is creating something greater on the other side of it...we will see soon enough. 


pressing into the bricks, 


jill

**Join us as we read through God's Word together in one year! We are reading The Daily Walk Bible. 



Jan 14, 2021

He sees you...

 It has been 7 days since committing to a 52 day journey of fasting, praying, and seeking God. 

The events of last week in our country brought a heaviness I cannot describe, yet God also brought a stirring to my heart of some kind. 

An odd combination of grief and heart palpitating awareness that God is calling us to do something. I believe that something is exactly what Nehemiah did...pray, fast, seek. 

For the past several weeks, I have heard a whisper in my soul...Faithfulness. 

It speaks as I open up my sleepy eyes each morning, and as I lay down to sleep each night. 

Scripture after scripture, I see God sweetly beckon us to faithfulness. 

Just this morning as I was perusing the book of Psalms, I came across this treasure..

I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. Psalm 101:6

Lord, show me what this means, I reply back to Him after reading. 

A couple of weeks ago, I started a new secret prayer list. 

Lean in close and I will share just one  of those secret prayers....

I asked God to help me be more faithful in  being a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, and neighbor. 

This desire to be faithful is woven into every moment of my day. From getting up early to spend time with Jesus, to being more thoughtful about how I spend my day. It seeps into how I take care of my house, and how I take care of my people. I think about faithfulness as I go to Target or Walmart and ask God to help me be faithful and prudent with our finances. 

Faithfulness is obedience. In the smallest of things, to the biggest of things...it is what we do with our time. What we do with our money. What we do with the day in and day out activities....

Faithfulness is doing the hard work of loving those that are very difficult to love. Faithfulness is to keep persisting in prayer even when we feel like there is no way on Earth God hears us. Faithfulness is choosing to hold our tongue when we are wronged and praying for our enemies instead of throwing stones back at them. 

I see this faithfulness woven into the men and women of the Bible. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Moses, David, Ester, Mary, Ruth, Paul, John, Peter.

Slowly, I am seeing....God doesn't want my productivity, He wants my heart. A heart of faithfulness. 

This routine...this day in and day out desire to be faithful...it can seem mundane and small. 

No one sees these small faithful things we do. 

Oh, but God does. 

He is El Roi...

The God who sees me. 

These things that we repeatedly do, they begin to create a foundation of faithfulness in our hearts. 

These small acts of faithfulness, they begin to change our behavior. They become the habits of our hearts. 

These habits can create great dividends in God's Kingdom plan here on Earth. 

Nehemiah...I come to again. 

His faithfulness produced miracles for many to see as he built the walls of Jerusalem in a record shattering 52 days. 

In the dark hours, when no one else sees us caring for our babies, washing the 30th load of clothes for the day, getting up before the birds to just sit with Jesus, quietly praying for the needs of those around us, checking on that sweet widow who lives down the road, driving once again to our workplace wondering if we will ever get a promotion..

These habits. These things we repeatedly do...They become holy ground when we do them unto the Lord. 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human master Colossians 3:23

When the work is hard, when the day is long, when our hearts are weary, when our souls are depleted, when our faith is wavering, when there seems to be no end in sight, when the miracle seems out of reach, when the marriage appears to be destroyed, when the relationship is shattered, when the illness lingers, when the wound keeps festering...

We fall into the arms of our Faithful Father. 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9

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

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24


El Roi...The God who sees you. 

Keep going, sweet friend. 


He sees you, 


jill









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Jan 7, 2021

52 days...

 As I woke up this morning, groggy, puffy eyed, and sleepy, I grabbed my piping hot cup of liquid consciousness (coffee), and settled into the well worn spot on our couch. 

Turning my Daily Walk Bible to today's reading, I was hit with a breath of relief. Today was day 7, the day to rest and review from my reading. 

I needed the break today. Today, I just wanted to sit, be still, and talk to Jesus. 

However, after a few minutes of prayer, I felt led to open my Bible again. I needed a fresh Word. My heart was troubled over the news and the world and the utter chaos happening in the heart of our nation. 

Pages gently open fell to the book of Nehemiah. 

My eyes came to this passage, like they were in Neon lights on the page...

They said to me, "Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire. 

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of Heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4

Nehemiah follows this with a heart wrenching prayer to God. 

Nehemiah feels helpless, broken, and utterly in despair for the people of Jerusalem. The Jewish people have come back from Babylonian exile to a city in ruins. 

Can you relate to Nehemiah? 

Me too. 

My heart is broken over terror, and intimidation, and unrest, and anger, and ugliness, and injustice, and hearts turned toward evil.

However, I have a choice. Just like Nehemiah had a choice. 

He could sit and stew and talk to all his friends about how crappy Jerusalem was and how life was just terrible for the Jewish people, and fear and worry, and wring his hands...

Or, he could pray. He could fast. He could seek the Lord. 

And, that is exactly what He did. 

We are faced with the same choices. 

Will we post videos and comments and opinions and thoughts and point fingers at those who do not think like us?

OR, will we still ourselves and pray. And fast. And seek the Lord. 

God used one little fella by the name of Nehemiah to help rebuild a great big wall around Jerusalem. To bring honor back to the Holy City. 

ONE man prayed, fasted, and sought the Lord. 

ONE man listened and acted. 

ONE man sought the help of others and built a massive wall around Jerusalem in a record breaking, 52 days. 

Friends, we have a mission. It has never been more clear. 

We must pray. We must fast. We must seek God. 

Our phones, and tablets, and tv's, and newsfeeds, and selfies, and social media... need to be replaced by prayer and stillness and seeking. 

We may not be called to build a wall, but we are called to love those around us. To serve those in our own homes, in our own neighborhoods. To pray, encourage, love on, notice, listen, and be PRESENT with. 

We are called to do the thing right in front of us. To love the people RIGHT next to us. 

The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

How will we ever shine the Light of Christ if we continue to stay in the dark corners of fear, worry, laziness, disobedience, separation, and self-protection?

Nehemiah could have stayed in the comfort of The King's Palace. He could have kept his cozy little daily routine as being the cupbearer to the King, and minded his own business. 

Instead, Nehemiah mourned and grieved and PRAYED for the people of Jerusalem. He was moved to tears and more so, he was moved to PRAY. 

Only after much praying, fasting, and seeking,  did God prompt him to act. 

The enemy so often for us is distraction and apathy. 

We are just too busy. 

Or we just really do not care. 

If you are in a place of business and apathy, drop to your knees and ask God to STIR your heart! Ask Him to open your eyes and to SEE what HE SEES. 

Pray, and don't stop praying. 

Do the thing right in front of you. 

It's the faithful little things that bring about the most KINGDOM change. 

Stay faithful. 

Faithful in prayer. 

Faithful in fasting. 

Faithful in seeking God in His Word. 

Friend, there is NOTHING more important. 

When we come to the end of our lives...these distractions of media, and phones, and tablets and tv's...they will fade away with zero eternal significance. 

However, when we leave behind a faithful heart of prayer, and fasting, and seeking God...

He leave behind a harvest of fruit that keeps on producing eternally. 

Let's heed the call to pray. Let's heed the call to fast. Let's heed the call to put down our phones and pick up our Bibles. 

52 days. 

I am committing to 52 days of prayer, fasting, and seeking God. 

Please consider joining me. I much prefer accountability. 

52 days. 

Let's heed the call together. 


putting away distractions, 


jill










Jan 4, 2021

I dare you to hope...

 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

In 2012, I began the journey to know God more, to really pursue Him. 

Along the way, Hope has been my life line. When things around me were dark, darker than a moonless sky, Hope was the anchor that kept me alive. 

Today, I took some folded laundry to one of my children's bed rooms. My throat closed up tight when I saw the mangled mess of sheets and underneath a worn, tattered bible. 

The memories came flooding back. 

Those nights, oh so many nights, I sat on the cold tile bathroom floor praying for a miracle for this child. 

It was not so long ago when I was sure the enemy would win the battle for this child. 

Really, it is not my story to tell, it is my child's. 

However, I can speak about the part that I went through. 

The waking up in a puddle of sweat, running to the child's room to make sure they were still breathing. 

Fear overwhelmed me for this child. 

Nightmares, so vivid that I would wake up screaming. 

The fear that this child would take their life overwhelmed me. 

Really, I had no reason to believe this would happen. The child had never mentioned such a thing...

But, I knew the sound of hopelessness. 

I knew the smell of it. 

In my early thirties, sitting in my shower, head buried between my knees, praying God would wash me down that drain. 

I knew the scary thoughts that would come to my mind. The thoughts that life would be better....without me here. 

I knew that you could love Jesus with all of your heart, but still have something wrong with your brain. When you would give your left and right arm to feel normal again. 

One day, I opened this child's prayer journal, the journal I insisted this child use, to document the feelings. To write to Jesus. To be able to look back on and see the Hand of God....

I shuddered. 

There in bold black ink the word...

Hopeless. 

That was almost three years ago. 

So, today, as I walked into this child's room, I saw firsthand the picture of Hope. 

That bible mangled up between covers and blankets..

Hope. 

A story I can relate to in God's Word...the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe. 

She had been bleeding for 12 years. TWELVE. 

Surely, she was hopeless. 

Surely, she was desperate. 

Hope won. 

As soon as she touched the hem, Jesus felt her touch. With all the crowd surrounding Him, He felt the healing power come out of Him. 

In the book Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors, she says this about the woman...

Hope is the great expectancy of this woman that Jesus will help her. Hope is our great expectancy that we will know Him in all our circumstances, even the seemingly hopeless ones. 

Hope is this mocked-by-the-world, nonsensical reaching through the crowd just to touch Him. To the cynical, it seems like a waste. Why reach in such a crowd? Everyone is touching Him. You're wasting your time. What if nothing happens? 

We risk great embarrassment to hope in this way, don't we? But the reaching shows something about the woman's heart, something about my heart: a faith undeterred by the world or our circumstances, a faith that believes in what we cannot see. My expectancy grows my heart toward God, grows room in my heart for more of Him, and allows me to see Him here, wherever here is. 

Jesus turns to her and says, "Your faith has healed you."

I believe Hope is what led her there. 

How about you?

What is it that you need to keep hoping for? Believing for a miracle for? 

Have you given up on God coming through for you?

In a strange way, I am grateful for those dark days I wrote about above. 

I never would have drawn so close to Jesus without those days. 

Suffering brings about something that nothing else can....Hope. 

What if we exercised our faith in this way? By hoping, by reaching, by showing God that no matter what our circumstances tell us, or what the world tells us...

He is our HOPE. And, He is enough. 


reaching for that hem, 


jill




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