Mar 26, 2021

Stop running...

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

 As the hammering and sawing and drilling persist, I want to run far far away. 

Our bathroom is being renovated and I am about to lose my mind. 

The dust is unbearable. The noise is unimaginable. The mess is unending. 

I keep peeking in that little bathroom each day to see the progress being made. 

Each day, I just see a big ol' mess. Dust, wood, nails, plumbing lines....oh my!

Since the project began last week, I have left my house each and every day to stay away from the noise and dust.

Finding errands to run, eating lunch with old friends, visiting with my mom over and over....anything to avoid being here. 

But today...

Instead of running, I find myself in the basement. Hammer still making that nerve racking sound, I find solace on our basement couch. 

The Lord spoke to my heart as I sat down and became still. 

He pointed out my tendencies to run. 

Running when things get hard. 

Running when work needs to be done on my heart. 

Running when I know I need to sit, be still, and rest. 

Running when I get uncomfortable. 

Run, run, run. 

He sweetly reminded me that the bathroom would be finished soon and that I would enjoy for many years the renovation of that little space. 

He also reminded me that before the beauty can begin, the renovation has to proceed. 

Sitting snug on this couch, I close my eyes and let out a long sigh. 

I picture the Cross. 

Hammer hitting nail into wrist...

Hammer hitting nail into feet...

Horrible, messy,  painful. 

I think of Jesus' very own mother watching close by. 

How did she not run??

How did she have the strength to sit there watching this hammering, listening to the cries of her Son, listening to the spew of words from those torturing Him...

How?

Mary knew. 

Mary knew the beauty was coming. 

She knew this was not the end.

She knew that the pain and the suffering and the cries would have to happen before the best part of the story could happen. 

The part of the story that forever changed my heart and your heart. 

The part where Jesus is resurrected without a blemish on his body. 

The part where we can be reconciled to Him forever. 

Mary knew. 

When my children are struggling, going through hard times and difficult seasons....

I want to run. I want to pull them up and carry them and take away their pain as we flee. 

However, I remember Mary. 

She never fled. 

She sat still. 

She watched. 

She prayed. 

She never ever left the scene. 

Are you in a season of doubt, hopelessness, grief, suffering?

I get it. 

How are you dealing with the pain?

Let's learn from Mary. 

She was unwavering in her faith. She knew that beauty was just around the corner. She was not about to run away and miss it. 

My bathroom will be finished soon. 

It will always be a reminder that the mess was worth it. 

The loud hammering, the constant in and out of dirty boots...

It led to a pretty space. A space to bathe and relax and get ready for the day. 

The mess will be worth it. 


no more running, 


jill




Mar 15, 2021

Drunk on prayer...

 As we come to the book of 1 Samuel in our reading plan, I have to stop and let it all soak in. 

If you have drifted off in your reading, or perhaps not reading at all, now is a good time to hop on the reading plan with us!

It is getting good. I mean, all of God's Word is good, but, it is about to be take your breath away, cannot put the Bible down kind of good!

Eek!! 

Today we read about Samuel. Oh, Samuel, Samuel, Samuel. 

Hannah prayed for a child desperately. She prayed so fervently that the priest, Eli, thought she was drunk!

Have you ever prayed like that?? Oh, I sure have and it is not a pretty sight. 

As she (Hannah) kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk  and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”

 “Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” 1 Samuel 1:12-16

Does your heart just ache for her, or what? Ahhh. I want to hold her close and tell her that her story is about to change. That God is about to do something so BIG that she will never ever be the same!!

Eli, the priest, follows up with these words...

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:12:17

The Lord answered her on-the -knees, swollen eyes, raspy screaming cry for a child prayer. 

He answered, just as Eli said He would. 

Samuel is born to Hannah, and the foreshadowing of  Jesus unravels. 

Samuel ends up being the last Judge of Israel and anoints the first two Kings...Saul and David. King David is in the lineage of Jesus!

As a child, Samuel grows up under the tutelage of Eli. 

God calls to Samuel in the middle of the night, and it takes 3 times for Samuel to realize it is actually God calling Him. 

I get chills every time I read Samuel's words..

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10

Samuel is a great prophet and God uses him to begin the pathway to the birth of our Savior,  Jesus Christ. 

However, without the prayers of his mother, Hannah....Samuel may have never been born. 

Hannah never gave up. 

Hannah kept praying. 

Hannah pressed on. 

Hannah did not care what others thought of her as she wailed out to God for a child. 

Hannah promised God her child. 

Hannah delivered on that promise. 

God blessed Hannah with more children after Samuel.

But, Samuel is the one that God used to foreshadow the coming of Jesus...

Hannah played a huge role in the life of Samuel. 

I think of my own role as a mother. 

This job of endless duties, constant serving, unnoticed work, and faced pressed to the floor prayers...

Could it be that God uses mothers in mightier ways than we could ever dream or imagine?

Oh, I believe it to be true with all my heart!

Sometimes it seems like we will never ever see fruit from these long days, the hard parenting decisions, these constant begging God for answers and wisdom prayers.

Just yesterday I was in my car praying the same prayer over one of my kids for the billionth time it seems. Lord, it just seems so...monotonous at times, I cried out to Him. 

Then, this morning, I read about Hannah. 

Such HOPE. Such PERSEVERANCE. Such PRAYER. 

Hannah never stopped praying for her hearts desire. 

I want to be like Hannah. 

After reading about Hannah and Samuel, I grabbed some notecards and wrote some scriptures on them and dated them. 

I tucked them underneath my daughter's bed, in between the mattresses. 

These scriptures are the cry of my mother heart over her life. 

I remember doing this when my kids were little. When they were fearful of the dark...

I tucked scriptures of faith underneath their mattresses. I played a little CD of scripture songs softly in their adjoining bathroom. 

God's Word will never return void. God's Word is the Sword of The Spirit, slaying lies of the enemy. I want that tucked underneath their bodies as they lie down to sleep each night. 

Reading about Hannah reminded me of the power that God has given me as my children's mother. Power to pray over them. Power to speak Truth over them. Power to fight on their behalf when the enemy is relentlessly trying to win their hearts. 

It may seem monotonous many days. This praying and reading scripture and praying some more. 

Oh, but one sweet day, we will see the budding of fruit. We will see the full blown harvest if we keep on persisting in our prayers...I believe it to be true because God tells us over and over to keep on praying. 

Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. Matthew 21:22


learning from Hannah, 

jill






Mar 11, 2021

Waiting Room...

 I read something recently that grabbed my attention and has not left my thoughts.

The article was explaining that our modern culture is the first culture in history that has valued youth over age. 

This certainly is true. So much attention is placed on women to look younger, feel younger, act younger. All of the models, actresses, and anyone in front of a camera is groomed to appear younger and more vibrantly youthful. 

Anyone not like the way they look a with a softening filter app to enhance the picture?? Be honest. 

It is pressure. The older I get, the more I feel it. 

God and I have many conversations about this. Lord, just let me grow old gracefully and with JOY. Even when I do not recognize my face in the mirror, let me smile because I will, Lord Willing, be full of much more wisdom! 

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. Job 12:12

With all of this said, there is so much to learn from the aged. I could sit at the feet of many, many dear loved ones that have passed and that are still around here on Earth. 

Their wisdom is just unmatched. 

Yesterday, in fact, I was sitting in a podiatrist waiting room. 

(I have been having foot pain for years and I finally decided to have it seen about. See, I have some wisdom to gain still. A whole lot!)

I was by far the youngest patient in that waiting room. 

Surrounded by sweet elderly folks, I began to lean in to listen to some of their conversations. 

I will never forget something I heard. 

A lady was expressing compassion for loved ones that were not able to see their family members in nursing homes due to Covid. 

She was shaking her head and saying that those poor people were left alone wondering where their family members were. 

The lady then began to tell a story about her very own husband. He is in a nursing home, a Veteran. 

She said she has not seen him in months because they are not allowing visitors. She slowly began to soften her voice and whisper that he must wonder where she is. His mind was not good and he probably kept forgetting that she was not allowed face to face visits. 

She turned her face to the floor and wiped her eyes. 

Clearing her throat, she looked back up and looked up into the ceiling, almost as if she were talking to the sky. 

This is what she said: "It's funny. The old song I learned back in elementary school is what I cling to these days. You know, the one that says, "He's got the whole world in His Hands...."

Her voice trailed off as she whispered the words to the song. 

I swallowed hard and sat there still and quiet in that waiting room feeling like God had just spoken. 

Perhaps, He did. 

He speaks. 

Let's listen. 

Especially to the older generation. They have so much to say. So much to teach. 

Wisdom oozing out of their hearts and mouths. 

I am desperate for drops of that wisdom. The world is desperate for that wisdom. 

What is stealing your peace? What is taking your joy?

Maybe we just all need to sing a few verses to this old bible school song...and let His Peace wash over us.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

He’s got the whole wide world in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

 

He’s got the wind and the rain in his hands.

He’s got the wind and the rain in his hands.

He’s got the wind and the rain in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

 

He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands.

He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands.

He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands. 

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

 

He’s got you and me sister in his hands.

He’s got you and me sister in his hands.

He’s got you and me sister in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

 


He’s got ev’rybody in his hands.

He’s got ev’rybody in his hands.

He’s got ev’rybody in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.


still singing, 


jill





Mar 4, 2021

Lukewarm...

 Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

As I read through the Old Testament, now into the book of Joshua, I see a clear theme. 

Obedience. 

Even the greatest bible men and women struggled with it at times. 

Abraham. Jacob. Moses. Joshua. 

These men were so very faithful to God, yet, at some time or another they partially obeyed God in a situation. 

Partial and/or delayed obedience...is not obedience. 

I have learned this the very hard way. 

There have been times that I have felt the conviction of a certain sin...but I put off fully obeying God in that area. I would convince myself that it wasn't "reasonable" to be able to fully obey, so it would be just fine if I delayed and/or partially obeyed Him in that area most of the time. 

We, as a church, as His people, have gotten very lukewarm. We are passionate and loyal to many causes...except the One that desires our loyalty the most....God. 

Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

We are lukewarm, at best. 

Many times we say all the godly and right things, we check off our missionary duty list, we have our 5 minute quiet time...but our hearts are not surrendered. 

We convince ourselves that it is just too hard. Certainly God doesn't expect all of our obedience. He should be happy with what we can give Him and not ask for so much of us. 

Herein lies the problem. Due to prideful hearts, we negotiate with God. We try to make deals with Him to lessen the work of true surrender and discipleship. 

Can I just be really honest?  Many of us are failing at being His disciples. Many of us parents are failing at raising up a generation of disciples. Because it is just too....hard. 

The Truth is murky these days. We have no center of Purpose or Gravity. We just do what we feel like doing...quoting scripture along the way. 

We make our own rules. We set our own standards of holiness. We are lacking God's wisdom desperately. 

As parents, we have become very lackadaisical with our very own children. Often our children are ruling the roost, having their way and their say...whether we ever realize it or not. They are posting pictures and words on social media that would sicken a mother's poor heart and break it into pieces. 

Yet, we just do not bother to check on them. To monitor their devices or their social activity. 

I have heard many parents say, "My kid needs privacy. I trust them."

Gosh, we need wisdom. 

Teenagers are not capable of making sound decisions because their little brains have not fully developed. They do not yet have foresight to see consequences of certain behavior. 

Their consciences are still being formed and molded as well. That is why we can see a very strong sounding Christian teenager on stage being a leader at a church event, and then by the weekend they are posting pictures of their heads hung over toilets partially clothed at a party. 

They do not yet comprehend the dire consequences of disobedience. 

However, as parents, we know the consequences of sin. We have lived it and we know it is real. 

We have the knowledge and the ability to teach and guide our children...but so often we just don't. 

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

Our culture today defies obedience. Our culture believes that we should do what feels right. Our culture does not prize wisdom, obedience, or honoring authority. Our culture scoffs and mocks holiness. 

Our children are being taught to love themselves. To put themselves first. To make themselves popular and well liked at all costs. To be crafty and mischievous. To love pleasure and leisure over discipline. 

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Lord, forgive us. We are unknowingly failing as parents. I will be the first to admit my own failures. 

We must sober up and wise up. 

Our children's lives are on the line. 

Today, let us repent. Let us ask God for wisdom. Let us fall to our knees and ask Him to help us be obedient. 

Our children will see us. They will learn from us. They are always, always watching us. They see more than we think they do. Yes, it is a hard and holy calling. No one has ever denied this. 

But, He is Faithful. He will help us. He will lead us. He will guide us. We must be willing to obey Him. At all costs. 


repenting, 


jill









Write it down...

  Rise and Shine sweet friends! If you are following along in our Daily Walk Bible , I hope you are soaking in the goodness of Psalms each m...