Mar 172017
 

I’ve been thinking.  A. lot.  Which is somewhat detrimental to my overall efficiency throughout the day, but sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit, right?  But seriously, read the below with caution because I warn you-my below journey caused me to do some serious soul searching, heart changing, life risking stuff and will offer you to do the same.  But the beauty is, if you are willing.  With a little spice of courage given from our good God.  The end result is a true, never turn back, rockin it with joy, purpose and freedom kind of life.  So buckle up and get ready for the ride my friend if you so choose.

Now, has your mind ever been a little slow to catch up with what your heart (nudge from God) is telling you to do?  And then the result is absolutely nothing.  Changes.  In.  Your.  Life.  For.  The.  Better?  And you wonder why?  Where I end up is hanging out too much of the time is in a state of mental denial and rationalization, equaling a paralyzed state.  My paralyzed state is my control or comfort state though and to change feels as though I were cutting off an appendage of my body.  Graphic?  Yes.  But sorry, you’re getting the real and raw rather than the sugar coating today my friends.  Here is where the “cutting off of the appendage for Jesus” happened for me this week:

This concept of claiming my identity as a “servant” of Jesus has been my “thing” during these weeks leading up to Easter.  It has been an eye opening season of recognizing, by God’s grace, some food, drink, activities which I regularly cling to for comfort.  And let’s be honest, I have known this for awhile but like I said up above, the mind was a little slow to catch up with the heart.

No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other,or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money. 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?”  Mt 6:24-25

The Matthew Henry Commentary gives this insight, Serving Jesus looks like this:  “It is something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them.  God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world.”

The words “devoted” and “despised” stood out to me in this verse.  And I thought about my “unwind rituals” in the evening after a long kid and chore filled day.  I felt the Spirit gently bring this question to my mind, “What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  Immediately with this one question, I was able to determine which “desires of the flesh” had become my master instead of Jesus.  Ouch.

Do not love the world or anything in the world.If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:15

So guess what?  I am finishing off the rest of the weeks before Easter with some “dying”.  To.  Masters.  Other than Jesus.  Am I a little scared?  “Yes.”  But am I confident by the power of His Spirit I can do this in His strength and in “cutting off this appendage” I am only being strengthened and equipped to step into the “next” plans He has for me?  Knowing the Kingdom rewards are real and best when we trust and obey Jesus?  “Yes.” I can take Him at His true Word every time, “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19  And “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Mt 6:333

  • So I challenge you, my friend, with the “cutting off the appendage” question-“What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  And whatever comes to mind, are you willing to give it up with me and trust God to bring you His all surpassing joy from being obedient as you make ONLY Jesus your Master you are DEVOTED to?
  • What needs to be repented of/confessed/layed down in your life in order for you to die to the flesh in order to embrace the true, abundant life in Jesus?
  • What area of your mental thoughts needs to come “in sync” with your heart/Spirit’s leading so in unity you can bring glory to the Name of Jesus?
  • How can I be praying for you?  Email me at jillianmwillis@gmail.com

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 012017
 

So, I set out with a strategic plan, that’s right people.  My spontaneous, right brained self was in a giving mood-it was time for the dormant logical, mathematical left brain (in which my husband uses every minute of the day) to have a turn in the driver’s seat.  Although this activity felt strange, I pushed through.  And I did have to verbally process it with someone or I am pretty sure my brain would explode.  And I digress.  All this to say, I came up with a Lenten season plan-No sugar or carbs (oh the joys of fasting-or as I call it, Getting rid of the thing which, if someone asked you to not incorporate this in your day or week, you get a little eye twitch because it doesn’t feel real fun or even possible.)  Ouch.  Since pretty much most of what I eat involves one of these (not really, but you get the point).

But in all seriousness, fasting is a spiritual discipline which only benefits us as it draws us closer to looking more like Jesus-submitting to the Father’s will and way and not our own in our day to day (and this ultimately is true life and freedom). I want to eat healthier, I want to “go to” my God for direction and comfort in the day and not have a looming donut dancing in my mind’s thoughts.

And now we get to today.  Today, some celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  6 weeks of preparation/a season of grief in remembering Christ’s death on the cross in anticipation of the end-the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.  I have to admit, having not grown up in a church which partook in the Lenten season, or held an Ash Wednesday service for that matter, I was not quite sure what this day entailed.  So, I got pulled out all the spiritual stops and googled it (sorry to the Lenten scholars out there who are cringing and finding some flaws in my below summary) and here’s what I found:

The distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on people’s foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness.  The primary purpose of Ash Wednesday entails the biblical roots involving creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation.  It is also centered around the scriptures, “weep with those who weep” and  “confess your sins to one another.”

Pastor Mark D. Roberts says:

What I value most about Ash Wednesday is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are.  

So, in light of Pastor Roberts words, I confess to you my imperfections, on this Ash Wednesday: Because in spite of all my left brained efforts of carefully strategizing my no sugar/carbs fasting plan beginning today, I am drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte as I write this post.

You got it, a sugary sugar drink with extra sugar is what I ordered this morning at my favorite local coffee shop.  What a way to kick off the Lenten season as I forgot and failed right from day. 1.  Wow.  Pretty sure this 6 weeks is going.  to.  be.  long.  But I tell you this because our God is not up in heaven shaking His finger at me at this moment, because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, He is extending grace, grace and more grace mixed with some of His crazy love.

And so I encourage you to join me for the next 6 weeks and prayerfully consider something you could “let go of” in order to focus more on what God has for you in this season/year.  And if you aren’t perfect or you forget or you fail or fall to temptation, will you remember my  “failure from day 1”?  You are not alone and His promises of “His grace is sufficient for you” and “His mercies are new every morning” and “His love never fails” are for you, as they are for me today.  

And no matter whether you choose to incorporate a strategized fasting plan or not this Lenten season, will you promise me one thing?  Bask in the grace of our loving Father God and listen to this song by Hawk Nelson and “live like you’re loved” today-  Because we have life in His death.  No shame, no guilt, we are only more than enough as we walk in the freedom and love and identity as a child of God.  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 072017
 

I was humbled this morning.  And it’s not the blatant humbling process I undergo on a regular basis when literally fall on my face and must somehow regain composure with a laugh to let others know the ER run is not needed this time.  You see, my klutziness is a given.  My defensiveness and inability to “let IT go for the sake of relationship” seems to “trip me up” and my deep, inner self-righteous self is left out there for all to see.  And it is in this “pride fall” I lay today, causing me to wish there were golf mulligans (or do over’s) in real life.

Of course we were at the happiest place on earth, oh I just realized you might be thinking of something different, to clarify we were at McDonalds play place.  I recognize my Mom points just went down the tube, but when the only other option on this rainy, no school day is cabin fever, there is no shame here to claim, “I’m lovin’ it”.

I walked in with my girl crew-one on the hip, and the school aged ones sporting an eclectic ensemble from Fancy Nancy Easter dresses to soccer socks with stars and patterns galore.  My look was somewhere in the middle of these and so we were representing fashion at its finest people!

As the older girls ran to check out the tubes, the little one and I were on our way up to order my “lovin’ it” coffee.  A haphazard looking man (finally someone on my same page) greeted us quickly with a, “If you could let me order first that would be great because I am late for a dentist appointment and I am only going to order an Egg McMuffin.”  (I thought in my mind in response, “I am sure he thinks at the looks of our girl crew that we are going to buy out the place with happy meals, but little does he know the reality of my “one coffee please” order.  He thinks he knows me and is judging me, but he has no idea.  My mental defensives was on a roll in these couple seconds.)

I wish I didn’t have to use the “hind sight is 20/20” phrase so often.  I wish the Spirit would speak with a little louder voice to overwhelm my flesh nature instincts.  Ah but my pride.  Gets.  In.  The.  Way. 

And so my response was the jaded, “I guess you can go, but all I was going to get was a coffee,” and my tone and walking away nonverbal language only lovingly complimented my words.  Gotta love how I am the poster child for this verse in this moment-“let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6.  J   Even as the words left my mouth I thought about the THINK analogy I use with my girls to check to make sure their conversation is, “True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind”.  Talk about a Mom of the Year award for hypocrisy at its finest.

I have to say I felt bad but it was too late to do anything about it.  But what happened next made me feel like the scumb of the earth.  As I went to pay for my “1 coffee” order, the gal at the register said, “Oh, actually it’s free.  The guy before you said he would pay for your “1 coffee”.  Ouch.  I was just killed with kindness-when what I really deserved was a consequence for my pride filled, defensive driven, grace lacking attitude and actions.

I could barely drink the coffee.  I once again had been “tripped up” and humbled by my inability to respond out of the Holy Spirit’s fruit of “self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness”-I mean, just pick one and we would have been good to go.

But in our times when we trip up, mess up and fall is when we most need to look at the kind filled, grace filled face of Jesus.  And understand “His grace is sufficient”.  And He still desires to use us for His good purposes, in spite of our “falls”.  So I picked my “shot to the ego” self up and went to the place I know I can always find Truth.  Grace.  And hope.  God’s Word.  Because at this pivotal point when I fail, shame is right there to suck me in.  And take me down, down.  But just like when sin and failure hit Adam and Eve in the garden and their response was to hide from God in shame, so this is where we still go today when we sin and fail.  But we must fight this desire to hide in shame and look up to the opposite of shame, which is glory.  Jesus came and died so we no longer have to live in shame, so why are we still “shaming it up when we should be glorying it up”!

When you are thinking shame, instead think, my God has given me glory!  We are forgiven.  Given grace in all the weakness.  And sent out to continue on in glory, and giving glory to His Name!

And in that very moment we are running away to hide, God grabs our hand to stop the motion, and grabs us with two hands on our face, looks at us in the eyes, and says, my beautiful daughter,

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  Isaiah 60:1

And it is sitting in this true purpose and hope, with this book in my lap, that my heart, mind and spirit finds rest.

I wonder if a past “failure” or possible future “failure” is on your mind today.  Will you bring it to Jesus, the grace giver, and receive His “always coming” grace?  Will you sit with the “grace filled book”/the Bible today to enrich your heart, mind and spirit?

How can you extend grace and forgiveness, like Jesus extends to us, to someone around you who is more than “on the naughty list” in your book?

Talk with the Lord about someone you can “kill with kindness” this week as we contemplate on the kindness our Savior extended to us on the cross and continues to extend to us when we mess up?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 272017
 

Somebody.  Help.  Me.  Were my inward groans as I laid on my living room floor while my phone rang.  I Literally.  Couldn’t.  Move.  The Jillian Michaels 6 week Abs workout had devastated my body.  And the run from the day before completely sealed the deal.  As I processed with my own thoughts, since that was my only option at this point, I contemplated my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions-Getting back into the 6 week Women’s WOW Hour:  Where waking up early is lifegiving.  Sure I had gotten up 1 hour early to spend time with God for 30 minutes and exercise for 30 minutes atleast 4 days a week last year at this time, but today is a different day.  And my current sprawled out posture is speaking louder than any past success.  My brain began the rationalizing train-This year presents new challenges of a toddler addition to our family.  The baby weight seems a tad more than I experienced with my 2 other girlies.  I have taken on more responsibilities as Mom, wife, student, minister, ect.  The weather is colder outside than last year.  The mid day time seems much more appealing.  I was in need of a booster shot of hope.  And speaking of shots, my rabbit trail mind went to the horrendous episode I had this week with my 1 year old getting her vaccinations.

The nurse meant well, but frankly did a terrible job.  She accidentally touched the needle while in the midst of giving the final 5th shot.  So as my screaming child just having had shots in both legs and arms is looking at me with questioning, pain filled eyes the nurse says, “Sorry, I have to go get another shot because I contaminated this one.”  Nice.  And 10 minutes later, as I have just soothed my sweet baboo to a non snotty nosed, gasping for air state, she gave her one more shot.  And this.  felt.  like.  Absolute.  Abuse.  As our day was completely shot (no pun intended, well actually it was), I contemplated why I put both of us through this pain.  And my only comfort was this fact:  The future benefits far outweighed the current pain.

All that lovely shot story to say, just like vaccinations future benefits far outweigh the current pain, so disciplining ourselves to wake up early to meet with God and exercise future benefits far outweigh the current pain.  We call exercising regularly, getting up early and prioritizing time with God disciplines for a reason.  It hurts.  But the current hurt is NOTHING compared to the INTENSE JOY, PEACE, HOPE, STRENGTH, HEALTH and PURPOSE-ultimately LIFE we get when we.  Get.  Fit.  Fit for the day-mind, body and Spirit fit.

Fit is not a destination, it is a way of life.

As I continue to lay on the floor, I am encouraged and I want you to be too.  I want you to know if you start WOW Hour this Monday, January 30th and follow through with these disciplines for the next 6 weeks, you.  Are.  Not.  Alone.  I am in.  You will have me and hopefully I will have you for some sweet accountability.  And here our some inspirations to get our minds, Spirit, and body prepared for the upcoming WOW Hour 6 week Challenge.

Inspirations as we embark on the WOW Hour 6 week Challenge:

  • From the Chronicle’s of Narnia:  As Aslan said to Prince Caspian when he said, “I don’t think I’m ready”, so I say to us, who may not feel able or ready for this 2017 WOW Hour 6 week challenge-“It is for that very reason I know you are.”
  • From my physical trainer friend:  You gotta practice to get better
  • From a wise person:  No pain, no gain!
  • From the Bible:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1
  • From Jeremy Camp, words from the Song “Give Me Jesus”:  In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus
  • From and unknown person:  I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday
  • From an unknown person:  “It is not easy, but it is worth it,” “I CAN and I WILL” now repeat that everyday.

Join me in the WOW Hour 6 week journey starting this Monday my friends and watch as you see your mind, body and Spirit change for the better.  You can implement my workout plan of 2 Jillian Michaels 6 week 6 pack Abs videos and 2 30 min runs a week or make up your own 30 minute exercise routine!  Watch as you get healthy and whole to live out the ordained purpose today and in this year that God made you for!  You’ve got this because our good Father has got you!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 172017
 

 

Striving for the unattainable perfection of tomorrow is like a hampster running a wheel and going nowhere.  Fast.

I have a new grace filled, hope filled, peace filled picture as I fight for Jesus to take hold of me in my day rather than the anxiety which has plagued me in the past.  Visualize this clip:

“A little girl dressed in white, strolling on the beach with colored vibrancy from the Son/sun and blues, whites, and creams textured beneath.  She kicks up the sand, hand in hand with her heavenly Father.  He stoops down to be at her level.  And she is unaware she should have a care, because of the where-in which she has chosen to be”.

This is where I want to be.  Today.  And everyday.  On this ALL love, no expectations, only grace filled walk with my Father throughout the day.  Because I have struggled with anxiety in the past, I continue to rely on God to free me from this tendency to worry.  And because I am learning to walk in my “freedom beach walk with God”, I have a heart to pray for others in similar chains.  The Lord “puts in my path” others with my similar anxiety struggle and just this week I prayed for God to release His peace to guard the hearts and minds of 3 friends in my same boat.  So if you are in this pattern of guilt/worry/stress/anxiety hampster wheel, I.  Get.  You.  And would love to pray for you (send me an email or comment below my blessed sister).

Because sometimes, you need to stop the running to begin the thriving.

P.S.  For my friends with clinical diagnosis’ of depression and anxiety and bi polar and others, please hear this message with hope and not discouragement:  Do I believe we live in a fallen world with troubles and chemical/biological ailments that plague us?  Yes.  Do I believe we have a sovereign God who uses the wisdom and medicine of doctor’s as a part of His plan and purposes for us?  Yes.  Am I trying to say if you only do the below 3 steps what you struggle with will be gone forever? Not necessarily.  But I am saying we serve a God who is the God of all hope, a God who is faithful, and a God who is the ultimate healer.

 So Lord, today, meet my friends who have not been relieved of this biological struggle with anxiety.  Meet them in their frustration, questions, and fears in the unknown.  Thank you that you promise to never leave or forsake us.  You are the Omnipresent God, with me right now and with each of my Sister’s in Christ who are hurting right now.  Here’s the deal:  We are ready to be used by You, in all our given ailments and troubles, for.  Your.  Glory.  No matter what you choose to give or what you choose to take away.  Your.  Will.  Be.  Done.  And we praise Your Name today, because You are worthy of it.  Thank you for your true Word and Spirit which is THE Solid Rock we stand on in times of unknowns.  And we “press on to win the goal to which we are called heavenword in Christ Jesus.”  And today-we “fix our eyes on You, Jesus” for the next step we have in Your powerful Name.  Amen

3 “anxiety free/peace for me” steps with Jesus in 2017:

  1. “Your day, Your way” saying to start the day– before my feet hit the floor each morning this is my mental mantra.  Spending time in God’s Word, even if it is one verse, for 1 min before the “have to’s” begin WILL.  BEAR.  FRUIT-Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit, lifegiving fruit, in which our God dictates the day’s happenings and we respond to His Spirit’s leading.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. REFUSE to RESUSE the worry thoughts of the enemy-When the “worry monster” begins to fill our thoughts, we say, “No way!”  Satan may be cunning and persistent, but he is more than predictable.  He tries the “same old negative, doubt filled, hopeless filled”/ areas we are weak in attacks to derail us from our “walk on the beach with God”.  WE.  CAN.  CHOOSE. what true, lifegiving thoughts we will think on today-Choose the “Way, truth and the life”/Jesus thoughts! We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 and …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
  3. Recognize His Perfect Peace Doesn’t involve the “Being Perfect Piece”-Since we serve THE Prince of Peace, who gives to ALL believer’s freely, we need only recognize we WILL NOT find relief in looking to some “keeping up with the Jones’s” item of this world or “if I only”/comparing our bodies or personalities to someone else, or expectations for perfection in any given area.  Our identity is as a HIGHLY valued Daughter of the King and it is ONLY in receiving His “forever-like Christmas present” of peace amidst the worlds troubles which we find rest.  Pray “Jesus Your peace” in. the.  very.  moment.  you feel anxiety.  And then, “trust in the Lord with all your, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) as He begins to bring healing and hope for your mind, body, and Spirit.  Get off the “hampster wheel” of anxiety which gets you nowhere and grab Your Father God’s all knowing/all loving “sand hand”, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 and Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

Are you currently struggling with negative swirling thoughts or an inability to find rest and peace in the busyness of the day?  Our God wants to meet you and give you His peace, will you ask Him for it and ask another to pray for you?  

What in your life are you trying to control and it’s not working?  What can you let go of today to be able to let God be God and you practice a deepening trust in His timing and will?  (I would love to pray for you personally, but also know you are gettin’ prayed for sister, by me, whether you like it or not-“May His freedom, peace and grace be yours as you “beach walk” with your heavenly Father, today”.)

What area do you have high expectations, close to the need to be perfect in, and what is your process for handling when things are not “perfect”?  What new system can you implement to hear God’s true words of “therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” and act upon this rather than the world’s, others or your own pressures you are striving for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 082017
 

Hey my friends,

To be completely cliche, but know I am genuine-hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I am slowly getting back into the new groove.  Making some needed changes-for example, GOING. TO. WORKOUT.  I know this is not a new discipline to strive for in January, but once again, seriously genuine about getting my body a movin!  I wonder as you look over your 2016, what stands out to you as some old and “not so lifegiving areas” which were not workin for ya.  And then as you are “out with the old”, what new spiritual, personal health and wholeness, or areas as a mother/wife/friend/worker you can discipline yourself to in 2017?  Now is your time to shine.  His mercies are new every morning and there is hope.  for.  you.  today.

So 2 options to consider for this January 2017-get in God’s Word more and get your body moving more.  If these 2 are resonating with your Spirit but you wonder, but how.  can.  I.  fit.  this.  in my already busy, I’ve got your back my sister’s!

Check out this free 6 week women’s video devotional series, starting Monday, January 30thWOW Hour: Where Waking Up Early Is Lifegiving!  Start out 2017 with a new lifegiving habit;  6 weeks of inspiring stories to encourage and hold you and/or you and a group of friend’s accountable to be in God’s Word and exercise!  Prioritize your wholeness and health as this program will bring you peace for your mind, body and Spirit- you’ve got a couple weeks to get a friend or two to join you on this journey.  Praying for you. to. rock. this.  I will be joining you so you will not be alone!!

And below here are some of my favorite bible study methods and workouts which you can incorporate with WOW Hour or just do on your own!  Just so you know….i am praying. for. you.  So get goin’ with Jesus in 2017, you.  will.  not.  regret.  it.  Look out for the life of enjoyment and purpose you’ve got in store with a Father who we get ALL good gifts from!

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it … I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.  John 10:10

4 OPTIONAL BIBLE STUDY METHODS

  1. Dear Father, Dear Daughter MethodThis journaling method is how I structured my book, “Sing Over Me: A Women’s Devotional through the Psalms.” It is us, His daughter’s, writing to our heavenly Father, and then listening to hear what He says through His Word and Spirit to apply to our lives.
  • Pray, read (in God’s Word), then write to God. Then see if there is anything troubling your heart or mind.  Write about this to God.  As you write, be transparent.  Ask God questions about the specific situation.  Always end with what you need from God in this particular situation and the truths you know about Him and His Word.

 

  • Be still and ask God to speak. Then write down His promises- “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” 1 Sam 3:10b  Make sure you are away from distractions and loud sounds in order to quiet your heart and mind before God.  Listen until you have wisdom, an impression, a picture, a verse, or overall peace about what you just wrote to God.  Write down any scripture and/or impressions you receive during this time of listening.  Do not be discouraged if you do not seem to hear anything, God loves to spend time with us in the stillness and He refreshes our heart, mind and Spirit when we are obedient to spend time with Him-even if we aren’t aware of it.  Write down promises and encouragement you found from God’s true, living Word.  Continue to sit in silence and practice the discipline of waiting to hear from the Lord.  Persevere in this discipline of listening to God.  I know I find it extremely difficult in our busy culture to drown out the noise of my own mind, but even more reason for us do as God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” ps 46:10.
  1. Free Flowing Method
  • Pray for God to speak to you as you read a passage from His living Word (Heb 4:12).
  • Get on your computer or grab a notebook and pen and write what comes to mind! The key is not what we write about, but that what we say is honest and from the heart.  God desires to meet us right where we are, not where we feel we should be or want to be.  He wants true intimacy with us.  Just like there is no right or wrong way to talk with God, there is also no right or wrong way to write to Him.  We can simply tell Him what is on our heart.  If we are concerned about a particular relationship, we should write about it.  If we need to ask Him for forgiveness, we can write down our apology.  If we are excited about an answered prayer, we can express our gratitude.  If a particular scripture is resonating with us, we can expand on it and dig deeper in order to apply it to our current situation.  God has made us all unique, so use your own creativity and style as you write to Him!
  1. A.C.T MethodSome of us need a structured format or plan when starting a new habit. I am similar. I thrive under others’ good ideas for how to do things!  First pray for God to speak to you and read from God’s Word, then:
  • Ask- Write down your prayer requests, God says “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
  • Confess-Your sin, repent and turn to God for His refreshment and peace (Acts 3:19).
  • Thanksgiving-To God for specific ways He has blessed you, for what He has done for you, or simply for His character traits; write down your gratitude for our Father who is the giver of ALL good gifts in this life and the eternal life to come (James 1:17) .
  1. S.O.A.P Method – S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Each S.O.A.P. entry can be one sentence, or it could be pages and pages of thoughtful note taking. Each day will be different as you move through digging deeper into God’s Word.
  • Scripture-After reading a chapter(s) from the Bible, write down the verse(s) which “the Spirit highlighted”/resonated/you had a pull to read over again
  • Observation-Write down what you observed or what truth stuck out to you in these scriptures.
  • Application- Think on how you can apply the verse(s) to your day, week, life, etc. and write about this.
  • Pray-Write out a prayer to God based on how your mind/heart was renewed to God’s ways instead of your prior ways of thinking/acting and ask Him to help you apply this truth in your life.  

30 MINUTE WORKOUT OPTIONS:

  1. Sign up for and train for a race (running or walking): If you are signing up for a 5K,8K,10K, or half marathon race the Hal Higdon training plans were what I used and found helpful in my training:  http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51137/Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program
  2. Do a workout DVD with the exercise of your choice-pilates, step, yoga, dance, boxing, Zumba, ect.
  3. Do a YouTube workout with your favorite trainer
  4. Walk the hills in a nearby neighborhood
  5. Do a Daily Burn or some other Workout program App on the computer/Ipad/phone
  6. Do a workout class at the gym
  7. Swim laps at a local swimming pool
  8. Go on a bike ride (on a stationary bike or outdoors)
  9. Lift weights combined with a step machine, tredmill or sedimentary workout machine at gym or home
  10. Dance in your living room to your favorite 7 songs

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 142016
 

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life.  Ezekiel 7:4-5

My 11 month old daughter is too much.  In a scary, oh what do we have in store for the future with this red head sort of way.  But also in a laugh my head off, can’t get enough of the “Elaine style” dance moves and sporadic scrunch up the nose, in and out quick breathing.  And if you thought I was giving her a bad break and stereotyping her for her hair color, think again.  When the Bible Study nursery workers say they tell any new volunteers, “Just to warn you, if you hold THIS one, you have to be able to take a punch”, you know there is some fire in those little veins.

This morning my 2 older daughter’s turned on some dance music.  Of course it was 0 minutes to spare before the “Mama school bus” was a leavin, but this didn’t seem to effect them in the least.  Immediately, baby #3 girl is rockin it.  (And by “it” I mean she is trying to walk, but falling looks inevitable) But the music compelled her to give the regular “6 steps and fall” a go. again. and again.  And though I admired her perseverance to “rock it”, it had to be somewhat defeating as the other sister’s “walked it AND rocked it” all around her.

Then, as if her current “rocking” wasn’t challenge enough, she added in her latest trick to the show.  The constant clap.  I am pretty sure this was equivalent to our pat the head, rub the stomach, while hula hooping sort of exercise.  And let me tell you.  This effort was astounding.  Not because of the outcome (no new walking skill was achieved).  But because of her ability to smile and love every minute of her time.  Falls and all.  I wish you could have seen the clap, clap, clap, walk, walk, fall pattern which brought not only her so much joy, but me so much love for her in that moment.  She was loving living.  And I was loving watching her-love life.

I took the older’s to school, but came right back and put on some “Jesus music”, as I like to call it.  I wanted to see more.  More “rockin the love” from my baby girl.  And I got my wish-and then some.

The first song which came on I had never heard before, but put into words my heart in this moment.  The chorus resonated deep, “Live like you’re loved”.  I began to wonder if I, like my little girl, walked, clapped, smiled and loved every minute of being alive.  I wondered if I lived like I should-With love for life.  With abandon.  With freedom.  With carefree, non anxious thoughts.  With the ability to get back up when I “fall” through failures and troubles and trials.  With gratefulness for this very breath I breathe.  With anticipation for the “next” God is calling me into.  And with courage to say “yes” to it.  All because I.  Am.  Loved.  And I.  Am.  A.  Child.  Of.  God.  And so.  are.  you.

If your life feels boring, one question-how’s that workin for ya?  If you feel insecure and inadequate, one question-how’s that workin for ya?  If you are mastered by/numbed by or comforted by addictions of food, drinks, clothes, media-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  If other’s opinions and strengths determine your worth-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  If you are going through the motions in your day-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  I asked myself these questions and came to one conclusion.  I was made to live. loved.  To live.  differently.  And this is what’s gonna work for me.  Living like I am loved is THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE.

I want to live with the roots of my Father’s love spreading down deep so I can thrive as a fruit bearing tree for His Kingdom.  As we lean more and more into our true identity and name as the “Loved One” by Jesus, “seeking first His kingdom”, then we are in for it-in a good, way good sort of way.  As we “arise shine, for our light has come” we bring hope to this hopeless, troublesome, pain filled, dark world.  And we begin to see ourselves more like Jesus see’s us- a unique creation, created by The Creator, with a creative purpose to fulfill here and now.  And this is something to clap and smile about (just as my youngest daughter did), as we are walkin and “rockin” with Jesus, as His loved child, today.

In what ways could you live differently because of this 1 truth that you’re identity is a loved, child of God?

What about God’s love for you brings a smile to your face?  How can you thank God today?

What area of your life needs God to breathe life into it?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 212016
 

My daughter was dealing in what I like to call “extremes” this week.  Grade school pictures.  Happened.  And even though I tried to reassure her of the positives, her phrase to sum it all up to her Dad when first walking through the door was, “I got my school picture and it is %100 bad.”  And the bad does not stop here people.  This week just keeps comin’ at ya.

Emotions.  Oh to know and understand them.  This is the real chore.  With 3 girls under 7 in tow and home.  The 2nd “extreme”  came out while consecutively keeping a hula hooping session underway (she has watched her mother multitask and fail miserably, so I am sure her subconscious competitive spirit was in full swing).  “I came with my best friend to play the game with everyone, but when the circle came to my turn, they skipped me.  And my best friend didn’t even stand up for me.  And so I said, ‘Well, I guess you just don’t like me and don’t want to ever play with me.  You are not my friend anymore.’ ”  (Of course this is the reader’s digest version for you all.  I would be happy to expand the what was a 30 minute conversation of wading through tears and story plot if you email me.  And don’t have a life.)

The words of making up possible reasons or excuses for the others wasn’t a good idea.  The mama “Jesus teaches us…” only made the hula hooping the main event.  And the mama empathy seemed to move the slow faucet drips to a constant waterfall of tears.  So I was at a loss.  Once again.  In mothering.

But I couldn’t help but think to myself- “Man, she is definitely making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ (don’t you love the intense analogy I used here).  If only she could see herself through the eyes of Jesus and me, to stand on truth here instead of focusing on the wounds of other’s.  Then her “NOT’s” mindest and heart could be propelled into the present and future as an opportunity to empathize with other’s in their times of woundedness and exclusion and find strength and unfailing love in the arms of Jesus.  He is the ONLY one.  ONLY Savior.  ONLY friend.  Who will never let her and us down.

As I looked on my daughter with self pity, the pride came before a fall as I found myself living in dual mindsets as her this week.  “A little birdie told me” of a conversation which happened among some of my dearest friend’s.  In which I wasn’t there.  But even though I had recently layed my heart and soul before them, without knowing it they crushed it.  Because when looking for someone to fulfill a specific role in ministry, my name wasn’t considered.  It was NOT a factor.  I was NOT considered.  Picked.  And at this point, I also, like my daughter, when to the “extremes” or the I’m “%100 bad” mindset.  I won’t deny it.  I was wounded.  And this is where Satan earns his paycheck.  I went to the dark place.  I didn’t believe God would ever use me, because He must think like everyone else and consider everyone else but me.  Because I am NOT.

Memories of 7th grade NOT being picked for the basketball team came to mind.  Of being the 8th bride in the “7 brides for 7 brother’s” Musicale (if you didn’t catch the gist there, I was NOT in the show due to their only being 7 brides and not 8.  Sorry if I just insulted your intelligence by explaining this joke, my husband tells me I am real good at doing this.)  And so.  the NOTs kept.  On.  Coming.  But I remembered what to do when “100% bad” hits.

Go.  To.  my heavenly Father.  And be.  In His lifegiving company.  And Sit.  Asking His Word to speak to me.  (Getting His download of me instead of others’.  And at this point I KNEW Satan was real upset.  So good!)  And let me tell you-I came out fully loved.  fully valued.  fully gifted.  fully rebuilt.  fully strengthed.  fully geared up to be sent out to serve.

I wonder if you are in a “%100 bad” mindset/circumstance today.  Well guess what?  When in the dark pit, there is one best thing to do.  Look up.  To Jesus.  And allow His light to shine on in.  Or maybe, like my daughter’s hula hoop, you are in a round and round and round cycle of negative/untrue/”hula hoop lies” thinking towards yourself and/or someone else and don’t know how to stop?  Will you ask God to enter into this place and guide you into all Truth?

And so I pray for you today, my sister, the same prayer I prayed for myself.  “Lord come and speak and help and renew.”  The outcome being the 100% bad mindset of “NOTs” (that other’s, ourselves and the enemy infiltrates our minds with) strangely amounting to NOTHING.  And we find ourselves humming the true song of the love, hope and purpose in the mighty name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Message)  Strength from Weakness

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 032016
 

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us…..Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this-heart and soul-will ever regret it.”  It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be:  the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help.  “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”  Romans 10:3-15 (excerpts from the Message)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  1 John 5:14-15

“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

Only 1 out of the 4 “Daughter dates” happened. And I though I don’t have any tattoos on my body, I have this memory tattooed on my Mama heart, mind, and Spirit.  Never to be erased.

It began with some morning love.  In the form of a Mom and a Mocha, an oldest Daughter and a Drink of White Chocolate Cocoa.  Quality conversation reigned.  And the quality of it wasn’t in the topics at hand, but the ability to be oh so present.  With the eyes.  Ears.  And heart.

Our 2 part date meant a quick change after breakfast to “do nature”.  I call my daughter the “Creature/Nature whisperer” because if there is a tall tree, a stream, and God’s animals/insects present, she is all in.  Having caught the spotted creation and caught the joy of simply being in God’s creation.  Her “do nature” request was for her and I to visit the nearby stream and look for creatures.  Simple.  Was my thought.  I knew the spot where we were headed was a playground for insects, lizards, salamanders, dragonflies, frogs, butterflies-everything which made her heart happy.

I prayed out loud, with her, that God would help us find a creature (Why do I tend to pray those “already know this will come true”/”knowledge by my own insight and sight” kind of prayers?).  I went in with conquering hope because I knew odds were more than good.  For our treasure hunt to end real well.  But after an hour of muddy clothes.  Ice feeling feet.  And questions from my daughter such as, “Do you think God will let us find a creature, Mom?  We prayed.  I just want to find one creature!”  My hope was dimming.  It was one of those times where you don’t know how to answer your child.  “Come on God, come through!  One creature is all!”  I prayed over and over again to myself with a tear on my lid.

I was flabergasted.  Frustrated.  And feeling faithless.  “Let’s go to the other side and check things out girl,” I said trying to sound cheery while doubting the decision as I spoke.  As I lead the way I wondered why my response to all this had left me real emotional.  “I mean, what’s the big deal about finding a creature, right now and right here?” I thought to myself.  And then I realized why.  This time spent with my oldest was precious and hard to come by these days.  I felt it was “my time to shine” with her.  I knew it was time I may not have much of this coming year juggling 3 and with full school days.  I had placed high expectations of conquering in the hunt (for creatures, in which she so often was successful without my presence) and answered prayer front.  But now coming up with a “no go” on both accounts.  Was too much for me to comprehend myself, let alone explain.  To this 7 year old innocence.

My daughter interjected with an idea, “Hey Mom, you know how uncle prayed and people got healed on their mission trip?  I can pray and ask God to make it so my feet don’t hurt in the ice water and I can look better for creatures that way!”  She prayed real simply, a childlike faith prayer, “God, help my feet not hurt in the water.”  Then she proceeded to walk in the water with ease.  “Look Mom, Jesus helped us!”  I replied, “Praise Jesus!”  But to be honest, my heart behind my words lacked something.  Even in the face of a mini miracle of love from our Father to His child, my fixated self couldn’t let go of what I didn’t have.

But time was our enemy.  The call from the husband came and we had to call it quits.  With no creature to show for it.  Then the conversation which I felt far from equipped to have.  Happened.  I prayed for wisdom from God as I stumbled through it with such things as, “I know it’s disappointing, I know we prayed.  But we know God is good.  And He has a reason for not answering our prayer right now…..”  I remember my girl saying after what felt to be circular ranting, “Oh, like God may have not wanted us to find a creature because it would have bit us!  Right, Mama?”  “Right”, I replied as my daughter was the teacher in that moment.  My heart left heavy and faith felt dried up but I had.  To.  Trust.  In the not.  understanding.

As we picked up our bikes and our spirits to head back, I noticed a fluttering white on the path.  “Wait!”  I yelled.  “Stop!”  And there was a white butterfly in front of us.  Our one creature.  My daughter “did her thing” and slowly crept.  Creeped.  And grabbed it to put in our jar.  Faith.  Like.  A.  Child.

Our God responded to our prayer with a “Yes”.  But it was in His way.  His place.  And His timing.  He is on the throne.  And we can trust Him completely in our all.  Because He.  Is.  Faithful.

Is there something troubling you or that you currently are trying to control?  Will you remember the truth that anyone who calls “Help God, will get help” and that He “hears our prayers”, trusting God for His “higher ways”/outcome with this decision/person/circumstance?

How can you, as God’s most prized creation, glorify Him today?  What part of God’s creatures and creation can you thank Him for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 272016
 

“Your reality is like good medicine” were the words of a song which I woke up to on repeat in my mind.  And then the song turned into a thoughts about a challenging “reality” moment I encountered with my daughter a couple Sunday’s back.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were stil ltrying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10 

I was having somewhere between a teaching and all out frustration moment as I went over the “do’s and don’ts” church etiquette with my 7 year old daughter.  Do-“stand when everyone stands during the worship songs.”  Don’t-“Drink your tea during worship time.”  Do-“Sing the words to the songs.”  Don’t-“Talk to your friend.”  Don’t-“Go to the bathroom.”  Do-“Close your eyes during the prayer.”

Check. Did my good Christian motherly duties.  At the time, basking in what felt to be some amazing “training up my daughter in God’s Ways”, I held my head a little higher than before.  Our family row was looking.  Good.  (Oh and nothing could be wrong with this, “I’m too good for my britches”, scene.)  We were doing all the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

At this point, by the grace of God I was able to step off my pedistle and look down for one moment.  And I smiled.  Differently.  Deeper.  Better.  Truer.   Than before.  Because my smile this time wasn’t based on how other’s would see us.  Or how my daughter was responding positively to forced “do’s and don’ts”.  It was based on what I witnessed as I watched my 7 year old daughter respond with spontaneous/made up motions to the worship song we were singing.

I sang “Jesus paid it all”- her arms elongated out so wide her face was stretching right along with them.  I sang, “All to Him I owe”-her hands moved crazily all around in a circular form.  I sang, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-her clinched fists on her heart and face in despair.  And finally, “He washed me white as snow”-her clenched fists opened fiercely and broke open.  Freedom.  In.  Jesus.

This was an act of authenticity and freedom in my daughter and her relationship with God.  She was doing her own thing.  She was responding to Him.  Not because of what anyone told her to do.  Not because of what would “look good” to those around.  Simply because she was being herself.  With her loving Father.  And loving every.  minute.  of.  it.

5 questions to test your authenticity in your relationship with God and others

  1.  What are my motives in making decisions?  What is your process you go through when saying “yes” to a particular commitment, activity, decision?  Does it involve weighing in how other’s will respond to you or think of you if you say “no”?  Does it involve what you will get out of it selfishly or what you might get in return if you do it?  If so, you are not being true to yourself, them, or your God.  Respond with “yes” only in obedience to your Master God, who is the only one you are serving.
  2. Do my actions match my words?  We want to not only speak truth in love to others, but show it as well.  Are you the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting friend or just a nice voice over the phone?
  3. When was the last time you “made a fool of yourself” for Jesus?  Following our God is risky and when we step out in faith/out of our comfort zone we don’t always respond in a typical, earthly standard sort of way.  If we are never “looking strange or making strange decisions” in the eyes of the world, we are probably living more by sight than by faith.
  4. What does your time with God look like?  If it is a “going through the motions” based on “checking off” the list of devotion, bible reading, prayer based on self imposed or other’s imposed rules and standards, it may be time to mix things up a little.  Maybe it’s time to be spontaneous with God and “bust out some motions to the worship songs” or go on a coffee date or walk in nature or spend time with Him doing what you love to do with a friend.  Take time this week to get out of the “box” and do something new with Jesus.
  5. What am I afraid to approach God about?  If you can answer this genuinely, then you are at a great place.  Because the cool thing is He already knows about this and wants to love you/help you through it.  He always in “gentle, gracious and humble”.

“Reality is like good medicine” my friends (in which I always seem to find out the hard way of pride coming before a fall.)  But if we allow our loving God to search and test our hearts and motives and come to a place of repentance for our yucky stuff, then we will live in that sweet spot.  We live in the reality of our song from above, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-meaning we all are sinners, but we have hope because… “He washed us white as snow” through His death on the cross.  The Holy Spirit gives us the balming medicine to “lead us into all truth” about how we can have “more of Him and less of me”.  Don’t resist this reality and good medicine He offers!  The more we lean into the reality of who we are and why we NEED Jesus, the more freedom, peace and joy we will experience.  The more abundant life and purpose filled living we will walk in.  May your day today be one in which you run to the arms of your loving.  heavenly.  Father.  And may you run with grace to Truly. be. yourself.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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