Feb 242015
 

I couldn’t be patient.  This week has been a processing/evaluating myself week.  Have you ever had one of those?  It’s one in which every activity, response, and thought is met with consideration as to the why behind it.  “Why am I reacting so angry right now?  Why is this person frustrating me so much?  Why can I not get past my own stuff and hurried self to look the checker in the eye?”   And as these, what seemed to be character flaws arose, I realized I am not up for this “Love it up”challenge.

And then I realized the answer to the why’s.  I was relying on my own strength and power to love like Jesus loves.  There is no way I can be patient like Jesus, unless I allow the fruits of His Holy Spirit inside me to do it.

Here’s where you and I MUST begin this challenge.  GOD LOVES YOU AND ME!  For those of you who are thinking, well, that’s obvious, go with me for a minute.

The God who created the world.  Who is ALL powerful.  ALL perfect.  Over ALL.  Loves you.  Stop.  Rest.  Close your eyes and time yourself for 60 seconds to only think on this one reality.

Be still and know that He is God.  And that there is NOTHING you can do or not do to make this God STOP.  Loving.  You.  Now.  And ALWAYS.

To know about God’s love is one thing, to believe it is another.  We can so fall into Satan’s lies of negating the love God has for us when we are in a trial, questioning our current circumstances, question God’s character, have unfulfilled expectations, have been waiting for too long, are wrestling with our inadequacies or have lost hope.  These are ESPECIALLY the times we as God’s children, who believe in His Son Jesus, to rise to faith in the true promises of God’s Word.

Will you believe this truth today that God loves you?  And so much so that He sent His fifth child, no, not fifth, His ONLY Son to die for you?  If this is the truth you need to hang out in for the next 15 weeks and take in all the attributes as a better understanding of His great love for you, do it friend!  Because each of these 15 attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13 explain God’s love for us.

It is only when I am holding onto, being filled with God’s love that I can rely on it.  And when I can rely on it, go to the bank with it, that it propels me to love Him back and love other’s through Him.  He then gives me the strength and ability to overcome my fleshly, hurried, impatient self – And so we know and rely on (or believe) the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  1 John 4:16

A song was also at the forefront of my mind all week.  It’s one I sing to my little girls every night (mainly because my Mom started singing it to them and they wouldn’t let me not sing it to them as well).  The song couldn’t be more simple, but couldn’t be more crucial for our own personal, deep, walking through the day reality.  “Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh, how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus….because He first loved me.”

I began to acknowledge 3 realities I must lean into in this “Love it up” challenge.

  • FIRST-Just like the song,  I need take stock in the truth that Jesus loved me first and loves me just as I am (1 John 4:11, Romans 5:8).
  •  SECOND-The only way I can love others with the love of Jesus is by following the first commandment to love God with my heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37).
  • THIRD-When I am receiving God’s poured out love for me and loving Him in return there is a supernatural outpouring of love that flows out of me to others.  I have the strength and power to love the unlovable (Ephesians 5:1-2).

So within this above reality and below reality of patience defined I want to extend the “Love is patient” for one more week.  We then can rest in and grasp the love of Christ for us and confidently walk in His “patience” this week.

Love it up-15 in 15 Challenge Details:

Within a given week I will write about/define the given love attribute early on Monday.  Then we will have Monday to Monday to pray through, act on, write on it.  On Wednesday of this same week, I will recap the previous week’s love attribute/give you a download of my “love journey”.

Love is Patient Defined:

Webster’s defines the word “patient” as:

  • “able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people; able or willing to bear”
  •  “done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying; not hasty”
  • “Bearing pains without complaint”

Likeminded words to keep at the forefront of our mind this week are:

We can also know when we are not being patient by recognizing what the opposite of being patient looks like:

The definition/thought that was highlighted to me above was the “able or willing to bear” and the “not hasty”.  To be with people.  And wait.  To endure and bear hard, painful stuff with others.  To talk with others in spite of their incapabilities, insecurities, and inadequacies.  To respond without anger.  To be still.  To not hurry, hurry, hurry.  24/7.  This is our call of the week friends.  To know and BELIEVE in the love God has for us and to spill out His “patience” everywhere we walk.

 

 

Jillian


Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 172015
 

It was a typical morning, trying my best to put together a cute outfit, and preferably something different than the outfit from yesterday.  But in the midst of style thoughts, a decorative fixture in my room beckoned my attention as it never had before.  It was a cross.  One that had been hanging on our wall for over 6 years and I had never truly noticed it.  It wasn’t the intricate wood working, or artistic designs that I had my eyes fixed on.  It was the verse written on it.

It always protects, always, trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

It was if these words were being burned into my mind, heart and soul.  I began to think about and evaluate my current love odometer.  Do I do what I can to protect my daughter’s from harmful words/unkind actions of other’s?  Do I trust my husband?  Do I hope for the best when talking with my friends?  Do I continue to pray with perseverance, not just a one time prayer for a neighbor in need?  And do I do this ALWAYS, or just sometimes?  This is what we as believer’s in Jesus are called to, to love unconditionally.  ALWAYS.

I couldn’t get this scripture and evaluation of my current love odometer off the brain when I went for a run later in the day.  And so I continued to pray for God to work out this unfailing love in me.  His unfailing love in me.

God speaks to us in so many ways and He tends to speak to me through repetition.  Of a verse.  Or through giving me a physical example in nature or everyday living which is attached to a scripture.  His Voice is connected with His Word.  And He confirms His Voice through His Word.  And when I am bombarded with a specific scripture, theme, concept, word coming up again and again in my thoughts and heart, I recognize it is Him.  Leading me like a Shepherd.  And so here I am writing.  In response to His Voice.

I pulled up my Bible Gateway App on my phone for the scripture of the day as I typically do.  And wouldn’t you know, it was about this unfailing love I had been ever contemplating.  In fact it was simply a little further up in the 1 Corinthians 13 passage I had read on my bedroom cross.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but always rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

As I continued to pray.  I felt confirmed in my Spirit to act upon this 1 Corinthians passage.  But how?  1 John 3:16,18 came to mind, This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother’s and sister’s.  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  

So I counted the love attributes.  15.  This number wouldn’t leave the forefront of my mind.  My very first thought when contemplating the number 15 unfortunately brought up a season of struggle for me; “The Freshman 15”.  Freshman year in college.  Having to daily put on the will of steel in saying “no” to the donuts, hamburgers, and cookies galore.  It was a season of fear rooted in saying “no” to putting on weight in this season.

In contrast, what if instead of fearfully focusing on not “putting on” weight, I (spiritually speaking) “put on” love?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Putting on love is what we as believer’s are called to do (For Pete’s sake the 1st and 2nd greatest commandment Jesus even said in Mark 12:30-31 was to Love God and then love others).

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:12,14 (bold added)

So I am pumped up and compelled by the Spirit to focus/practice/live out one of the 15 love attributes (as described in 1 Corinthians 13) each week for the next 15 weeks ( fittingly launching this right after Feb 14th, the day of love).  And I am inviting you to join me for the “Love it up-Putting on 15 (love attributes) in 15 (2015)” challenge.  To love God and others.  And really do it.  In action and in truth.

 “Love it up-Putting on 15 in 15” Challenge Details:

1.  Pray for God to provide opportunities for you to practice putting on the designated love attribute of the week (I am praying for you too my friends!).

2.  Write down one or more specific situation(s) during the week in which God’s love through you was evident (Example- Could be an outward display: through giving to another or an encouraging word.  Or an inward restraint: of using self control to not express unkind words to another.)  Keep a “Love 15” journal and/or share your stories here online.  (I will also be posting my “Love 15” stories each week.)

3.  Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 (read over each week, think about and talk to God about ways to practice loving others)

 Simple, right?  No.  But life changing, faith building, and joy instilling?  Yes!

So this is week 1.  Our first love attribute of 1 Corinthians 13 is LOVE IS PATIENT.  I am praying for you.  This week.   To have opportunities to practice patience in your work, family (kids, husband, parents, sister’s, brother’s), church, neighborhood, and with yourself and your God.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 022015
 

When it comes to food, I am all about the new.  Trying various online recipe’s for dinner, a friends’ raved about dessert for small group, and always ordering the “special” at a given restaurant is what.  I.  do.

My husband, on the other hand, sticks with his tried and true Chicken Marsala at Olive Garden, cookies and cream icecream flavor, and Papa Murphy’s Cowboy pizza.  I am pretty sure my food mantra is, “If you try it, you might like it” and his is something like, “If you try it, you might hate it” (not literally of course).

But for some reason, my try the new mindset does not transfer to other areas of my life so easily.  For instance, I have my regular running route I have used for years.  I know the distance.  I know the houses along the way.  I know how long before an uphill.  And how long before the desired downhill.  So to suggest trying a new flavor of path is to welcome radical living in my small world.

But today was a new day.  A day of embracing the extreme living.  A day of throwing caution to the wind.  A day where predictability was a past time.  It was the day to run a fresh, green, unknown, untried running route.  (And at this point the majority of you are saying, “She needs to get out more.”  And as I write this, I would absolutely agree with you.)

It was one of those strange fall day’s in Oregon in which the sun was shining.  My mother and father in law came to watch my youngest, and with my meeting being unexpectedly cancelled, the couple hours to myself was wide open.  A run with the Lord seemed like about the best thing I could think to do.  (I had slipped into my non running mode during these cold, wet days and it was time to pick it back up again.)  And it was.

Something in me called to go a different path.  Risk a little.  Try the new.  “Now, new food I can do”, I thought to myself, “New running path, this seems just a little too out there for me.”  But the wild hair inside me wouldn’t let up and I felt my shoes veer the opposite direction.  Of normal.  Expected.  And comfortable.

The path was rocky.  As opposed to my typical smooth concrete.  I ran through an orchard of tree’s.  My eyes were highlighting landscape all around me.  All was well.  Until my worry train brain joined the party.

I wondered where this path lead.  Would I get lost?  Would I get too far out and be too exhausted to finish the run back?  Would there be a lot of traffic?  Would the uphill’s out number the down?  Would the path take me to a scary section of town?  My mind was running faster than my feet were.

Just as I started to pray to calm my inner crazy, a dog from off in the distance was running full speed at me.  And barking.  Loudly.  And continually.  The inner crazy was back.

I stopped running to see if that would make a difference with the animal.  No.  I walked.  Still coming full speed.  I looked around to see if there were any houses, other paths to escape to.  No such luck.  I thought to myself, “Mace is always a good idea to bring on a run.”  But of course I didn’t have that great thought beforehand and it definitely didn’t help my current situation one bit.

Somewhere in all the trying and failing and scared for my life feelings, I prayed that God would help me.  Then I just kept running, the only thing that was left to do.  And praise God.  After what seemed to be the longest 3 minutes of my life, the dog turned around and went back to wherever he had come from.  Didn’t care where or why.  Just breathed in and out and felt real thankful.

This journey on the new road wasn’t over.  There is more of this story to tell.  But I took one thing away from this first section of the new path-true living is embracing the new.  In all its rocks.  Discomforts.  Questions.  Doubts.  Scares.  And humility.  In all its maneuvering of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and people.  Anticipation of what’s up ahead.  Highs of overcoming challenges.  Joys of brilliant God ordained moments.  Our God beckons us to take His hand and walk with Him on the new path He has for us in this current season.  The question is, will we?

What new person(s), project, ministry, job, attitude, perspective, or way is God calling you to this season?  If you don’t know, will you take some time to talk with Him/ask Him?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 

Isaiah 43:19

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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