May 282015
 

Have you ever been apart of something that was so beyond you and your ideas/giftings/norm that the only explanation was God?  Well, the below story- is my testimony- to give God glory.  (Don’t let the previous rhyming lesson your desire to read on.)

Self-seeking versus Kingdom seeking moment-#3-My brother-It was another being moment with God and as I prayed through the highlight real of those in need around me, I was compelled to pray for my brother.  Sure, he could use prayer, but there were no urgent/needy requests at the surface, so I pressed into the Spirit for the specific words to pray.  I saw a picture of him leading worship at his church on Sunday.  Today was Saturday.  I prayed for his upcoming worship gathering the next day, even though this was not an uncommon thing for him to lead (since he is the worship pastor).  Then I believed I was supposed to text him to encourage him in this.  I texted,  “Praying for your anointing during your worship time tomorrow bro!”  (At this point I wasn’t exactly even sure he was leading/on a team, but responded to what I believed to be the spirit’s prompting.)  After I sent the text I looked back at that word “annointing” I used.  Curious.  I was prompted in my spirit to use this word, but this word was not in my regular wheelehouse of encouragement phrases.  But we are called to live by faith. In obedience.  To what we believe our God is asking of us.  No matter whether it feels silly, doesn’t make sense, or wouldn’t be our traditional way of speaking or acting.

Truthfully I lose track of what day it is these days because everyday my main goal (other than “being” with Jesus) is simple, “try not to throw up as much as you did the day before”.  But somehow as my mom was saying a prayer over our breakfast, it popped into my head that today was Sunday.  Then immediately after this Einstein realization the same picture of my brother leading worship filled my mind.  I felt compelled to pray again for his worship time.  So I did the “add on prayer” after my mom was done (don’t judge me, I know I am not alone in this!) in a quick asking of the Lord to bless my brother’s worship time this morning.

The next day it was evident why I had had the promptings to pray for my brother.  My brother called in pure excitement.  He had lead worship like any other Sunday.  But this Sunday was different.  A guest speaker asked if he could speak a word he believed the Lord had for the “piano player”, my brother.  The speaker said he was “annointed” by God to play music for many, many people.  In a time when my brother is at a crossroads, the prayers, text, prompting to use the word “annointing”, speaker’s word played into my brother feeling affirmed, loved, and led down the path God has for him.  Wow.  I am amazed.  How God would love me enough to let my sick self play a part in His heart for my brother.  What an honor.  To pray with Kingdom thoughts other than our own.  To act on Kingdom promptings.  To be with the Kingdom Maker.  To experience the joy of participating in and witnessing Kingdom miracles.

Oh Lord, may my self needs and ambitions die today.  May your will be done here as it is in heaven.  May I seek You.  First.  Thank you for the gift of simply being in your presence.  May your agenda, ways, words, thoughts, attitude, character and Kingdom be first on my to do list.  Today. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33

What thing, activity, or person(s) are trumping seeking God’s Kingdom/will in your day today?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 252015
 

Do you sometimes get caught up in thinking your doing for God is what counts?  Does the being with God and loving/seeking His presence become simply a “side effect” of the primary mission to do for Him?  When all is stripped away.  All our spiritual giftings.  Good outreach services.  Times of praying and counseling others to Jesus.  Times of giving to those in need.  When ALL THE GOOD we have done and are doing is taken away.  Will our foundation still be rooted in loving God?  And are we okay with this being enough?  This question of “am I enough for you God?” is what the Lord has been answering for me today.  (A quick peak ahead to His answer to this question for each of us, His children, it’s always “Yes”.)

Self-seeking versus Kingdom seeking moment-#2-Serving by being This morning verse about the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:28) which are made by God and bringing glory to Him by simply “being”.  We are not of value to God by what we “do” for Him, we are of value to Him simply because we are His children.  Our primary job is to stay connected to Him.  Yep.  That’s it my friends.   And in a season of feeling incapable to perform any typical household/job/motherly duties, being homebound in pajama’s all day and with seemingly all spiritual giftings on the shelf, this truth from God’s word was LIFE to me.  As I did what I could do-be.  with.  my.  Father- I felt the Lord nudge me, saying, As you stay connected to me, you can pray for those I lay on your heart.  This was a new mission for me.  One in which I gladly took on, for a way to get beyond my “self”.

Later that day, I was reading through the chapter in Ephesians that included the “verse of the day” on my fabulous Bible Gateway phone app (I love this because I can read a scripture in multiple versions and have my bible with me wherever I go).  Many of the verses were lifegiving for me, but one took me completely off guard.  And I got giddy.  Because it was Holy Spirit birthed.  My brother’s name blinked on and off in my mind like one of those florescent Vacancy hotel signs as I was compelled to read and re read, and re read this particular verse.  My mission was clear-pray for my brother and extend to Him this lifegiving verse I believe God had for him.  Wow.  Praise God.  Prayer actually changes things.  Don’t ever by into Satan’s lie (one that I had begun to entertain) that “You are only useful to God when you are at full health, full energy, full spiritual ability.  Praying is just for those on the sidelines.”

My friends, we have bought into Satan’s lies that to be busy for God is to be with God.  We need more people to lean into loving God rather than loving the work for God.  We need more people to confidently step into the game in which praying without ceasing means winning the game.  We need more people to find deep rooted trust in God even when life’s circumstances are a mess.   We need more people to grasp in their entire being the TRUTH which is this-To receive true joy, freedom, peace and purpose in life is to focus on one mission- Being.  With.  God.

Let’s be with God today.  For that purpose alone.  Let’s allow Him to love our tattered, worn, people pleasing, control seeking selves.  Let’s allow Him to renew our minds with His perspective and refreshed, rest filled balm.  And as He does this, let’s throw our arms around Him in love.

Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin… Matthew 6:28b

What would you have to change in your life in order for “being with God” to take priority?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 222015
 

In the lives all around us the self-driven, self-seeking, self-esteem wishing priorities are evident.  And somehow we must find a way to step of the “self train” and enter into something better, bigger and best.  Something I am finding to be even more challenging than normal in my current state.  “Oh my Jesus, please show me how to lean into this ‘Love is not self seeking’ challenge’.”

Seek.  First.  His.  Kingdom.  And ALL the rest (the future worries, present pain, past hurts, current frustrations, current unknowns) will.  be.  taken.  care.  of.

Self-seeking versus Kingdom seeking moment-#1-My mother-Based on my current state, I keep checking the month to make sure it’s not April and that this “self seeking” love characteristic was simply God’s way of playing an April fools joke on my sorry self.  Turns out, “no”.  No joke.  Just real world lessons for me.  Jesus style. So-this word “self”or “it’s all about me” should pretty much be plastered to my forehead so those unknowing souls can quickly get caught up to speed about my current bedrested, all day sickness, pregnant self. Talk about feeling self-ish, self-reliant, self-undone.  This is more than humbling.  I find it much more comfortable to be the giver rather than the receiver.  Taker of the meal to the needy family, rather than being the needy family.  One extending a prayer of healing for a sick friend rather than hearing another’s prayer for me.

But as I sit in the “receiving” state, my mom, gets the “love is selfless” award of the year (and truly should receive this award for each year of my life).  Let me give you some examples:  she forgets to get dressed until halfway through the day because she is tending to my cold wash rag, eating every hour and a half, massaging, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, and two girls’ needs.  When we found out I was pregnant and that it fell over my husband’s work planned 3 week trip abroad with his college students, she put her entire life on hold.  For me.  She has lived in my house and taken care of my oh so many needs, and let go of hers.  My mom is currently clothed as a real life Saint at the moment.  Truly.  The selfless love of Jesus.  Pours out of her. Onto a needy soul like me.  And I am forever grateful.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Phillipians 2:4

Who do you need to thank today for their selfless acts of giving to you?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 152015
 

For greatness.  For a specific purpose.  For bringing glory to God.  For the walk of faith.  Even on the days when you feel anything but useful.  Anything but hopeful.  And anything but special or worthy.  How do I know?  Because God says so.  And what He says goes.  What He plans happens.  And even before you were created, His sovereignty of your destiny was already laid out.  Which gives me comfort in my couch laying, naseau overshadowing, and helpless feeling day today.  I am hanging out on this TRUTH from His living and active Word and I extend this hang out session to you too today my friend-

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.  

Psalm 139:13-16

If I am being honest with you, I have struggled more with this pregnancy than any other to stay in a place of peace in Jesus.  As much as I desire to live without fear of another miscarriage, the reality of the past seems to be the large readerboard in my mind.  My question to the Lord lately has been, “how do I live in Your reality of peace and joy and thankfulness in my now when the fears keep creeping in?”  Although I wanted the one sentence solution/quick fix all response from God, I didn’t get it.  What I recognized is I am on a journey with Him.  A journey to live more often than not with “Jesus peace” in this pregnancy.

Our loving heavenly Father so desires to give us exactly what we need.  And on this “Jesus peace pregnancy journey” He has been doing exactly that.  Not in the way I expected though.  In a step, by step, by step with His kind of rhythm.

Here are the 3 peace strategies He has taught me thus far on our journey together:

1.  Fixing my eyes on Jesus rather than anything else only changes everything.  When I fix my eyes on the pain of the past, it is like I relive that pain all over again and actually bring many “what if’s” into question for my present and future.  To focus on fears is to focus on the false of life.  Fears are a skewed perspective.

forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead Phil 3:13b

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Heb 12:2a.

2.  The only way to get rid of the fears and falcity broadcasting in our minds is to actually switch the station to Truth.  It’s like when one song is playing in the background and you are trying to remember how another song goes but can’t because of the current melody being broadcasted.  Unless you turn off the current song/fear message in your mind, you will not be able to focus/remember the new song/God’s true Word.  We must recognize when past or the “what could be” fears are playing in our mind, turn them off, and think about Truth-

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

 This has been a necessity for me lately, a daily decision to turn on the new song-have my mind renewed by Jesus! (…be transformed by the renewing of your mind Ro 12:2b).

3.  It is an illusion that I can control outcomes of this pregnancy, other people, or my future.  ONLY God is in control and it is under His sovereign plan and in His loving hand I find peace.  Today’s scripture for the day once again focused on God as our Maker, the Creator of life and all that is good-

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  Ecclesiastes 11:5

It is my choice, it is your choice, today, to choose to sing the song of fear in our mind or the song of truth and life.  It is my choice, it is your choice, to give over anxiety, worries and things beyond our control to the ONE who is in control anyway.  It is your destiny, it is my destiny, before we were even a kidney bean size in our mother’s womb to enter into the great, hope filled/life filled/joy filled/peace filled plans God has for us-right.  now.

What fear song tends to play in your head in this season?  What new song would God have you be broadcasting from His Word of truth instead when the fear song begins to play?

What areas of your life are you trying to control the outcomes?  Will you give your worries to God in prayer right now, asking for His peace instead?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 122015
 

Do you ever want to throw the Proverbs 31 mending, cleaning, encouraging, perfecting everything woman expectations right in the trash?  Have you ever been or are currently in a season of waiting, neediness, helplessness, or unproductivity, pain, or trial?  Does this verse- “I am weary God, but I can prevail…” -resonate most accurately with your now?  If so, I am right with you my friend.    It is in this verse, the Proverb directly before Proverbs 31, that I camped out this Mother’s Day.

Pregnancy from the pit of you know where.  Extreme exhaustion.  And vomiting.  All day.  But a thankfulness to God to be able to muster up a smile and “that is such a beautiful green candle you made for me honey.  You know I love green,” comment to my wide eyed 6 year old.  Laying on the couch.  Or bed.  Were the big changes of scenery my body stammered to.  A beautiful rose boquet was brought to my side.  I forced a smile and “thank you” while the only thought in my head was, “Please move them quickly because my blood hound sense of smell is about to due me in”.  I got some reprieve from the toilet bowl and slept being awoke to a sweet 4 year old with another gift for her sick Mom.  Again thankfulness for weakness turned to strength to respond with a hug and “I see you made this green cross.  It looks like it took a lot of work and I love the color and design you did.”  Cancelled dinner plans with extended family and instead I turned in to bed at 8 am.  This was anything but a Proverbs 31 serving Mother’s Day for me.  But I can’t say the same thing for my Mother.

My mother anticipated all the same fun plans I had for Mother’s Day only to have each of them cancelled.  A lovely dinner out with extended family.  Not so much.  Presents from her daughter.  Not a one.  A relaxing day at the spa.  Nope.  Time to put up her feet.  Not when she was waiting on “sick me” hand and foot.  No, her Mother’s day wasn’t at all what she had envisioned.  But I didn’t hear one complaint.  Not one “poor me” comment.  Instead, she so beat out the Proverbs 31 woman in my mind.  With her self-sacrificial service in cooking.  Cleaning.  Caring for.  Her husband.  daughter.  And grandchildren.  On.  Her.  Special.  Day.  What an example.  Of being Jesus’ hands and feet to other’s.  Even on THE day of the year when all would say it is her hands and feet that should be being pampered.

A Mother’s Day I will never forget.  For three primary reasons.  1-Because my weariness and sickness humbled me so I could recognize I will not always be able to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman.  And that’s okay.  We need to receive help and strength from God and other’s in our “unable to” seasons and give thanks to God for His provision and sustaining, loving hands that get.  us.  through.  the.  day.  2-I got to witness a Proverbs 31 woman in action.  And I thanked God for the blessing and example my Mother was to me.  3-I realized unfulfilled expectations though a real bummer can be opportunities to seek out and thank God for the small glimmer’s of joy found amid the clouds.

My prayer for you and I is this:

May we give all our burdens and pain to the loving Father who cares and see’s us.  May we find grace and peace as we allow God to help us in our times of need.  May we embrace God’s provision and thank Him for it as other’s are His hands and feet to us.  May we let go of our own or others’ expectations for us because we know the expectations of our heavenly Father are  never overbearing or burdensome.   May the Lord give us life, freedom, and joy in our titles of mother and/or wife, and daughter of the King.  May we always fix our eyes on Him, finding purpose and hope in this and every season.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1b-2a

How can you express your gratitude to God for His provision of your needs in this season?

What self imposed or other’s imposed expectations do you need to let go of in order to allow God’s true expectations to reign?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 052015
 

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

My grandmother always quoted my grandfather in an old golf saying, “Never up, never in” she would yell to the scared sole ready to make a difficult putt into the final hole.  As somewhat frustrating as this scenario was at the time, I cannot help but think how these words ring truth to my now.  Character traits of fear, hesitancy, and timidness are not found in Jesus, neither should they be found in us, His followers.

To “swing” our clubs to win the hole parallels how we should live our lives faithfully in whatever season we find ourselves in.  If we seem to find ourselves on the OUTS of normal routines, we live IN to this season of gratitude for God’s provision and the gifts of receiving love.  We are called to live life with Jesus, to be faithful to what He is calling us IN to in the now, and to do it all in the grace, power and strength of His given Holy Spirit.

I know I am called to a new IN with Jesus, but right now all I feel is on the OUTS.  Of pretty much everything I was IN before.  The news of this pregnancy was most definitely God ordained.  (And it seems whenever I mention something in my life to be “God ordained”, it usually involved “not being ordained” by little ol’ me.)

And if I am honest with myself I am having to be vulnerable in my mourning the loss of all my INs from before.  Today I sit in the reality how I am OUT:  Of my previous calling as Worship Pastor at my church.  Of all leadership/life giving commitments.  Of every activity in general.  Of commission to be giving/serving in any capacity to my girls, friends, family and neighbors.  Of schedule with the Love it up-Putting on 15 love attributes in 2015 blog writing.  Of the carpool.  Of my regular Bible reading.  Of control in my bodily functions so much so there is a slim chance I will finish a conversation without having had to go puke at some point.  Of the luxury to plan what tasks will be accomplished in a given day or week.

I am out. Of. my. mind.  in. overwhelming. weakness.

And friends.  This is where I live.  Today.  But I am compelled to write.  Because I believe when we are called OUT of a particular season we are called IN to a new season.  (Another way to look at it, a friend said the other day, “When we are called FROM something, we are called TO something else.”)  And this is where my hope is found.

That even though I feel on the OUTS, I am IN the midst of God’s loving hands.  He put IN me the new life of a growing baby.  It is IN this growing of this baby that I am put IN a state of reliance on God and others.  I believe the Lord nudged my heart to lean IN because this would be a season of receiving.  Refreshment from the kind texts of close friends.  Meals from the body of Christ to keep my family nourished and cared for.  Daily help from a servant hearted mother.

This is what I believe my Father spoke to me in ministering to my heart, but I also believe this is for each of you as well:

Your worth is not determined by your season in life.  Your worth is not determined by your productivity in the day.  Your worth is not determined by the numbers of friends or opinions of friends.  Your worth is IN My Son, Jesus.  Alone.  You are fully loved.  Beautifully and wonderfully made.  And permanently secured in My grace filled arms.     May you stand firmly IN My truth and love today, My precious daughter.

What season/calling/activity do you find yourself OUT of? (something you have found yourself doing in the past but for whatever reason are not currently doing.)

What season do you find yourself IN today?

Will you ask the Lord if you are “swinging your club” to being faithful IN this season? 

Are you looking to anything other than Jesus to find your true worth?  If so, will you lay this down before Him and allow Him to fill you with affirmation and wholeness in His loving arms?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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