Oct 162015
 

Love always protects...1 Corinthians 13:7a

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  John 17:15

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16

It seems everyone wants to protect me from just about everything these days.  (Being pregnant somehow brings out friends, family and even stranger’s “Mama bear instincts”)  Here are a few of my latest conversations:

  • “How about you stay home instead of traveling to the East Coast.  I would hate for you to encounter difficulties on the plane and/or being so far from home”, says my Mom, and quickly grandma and husband agree.
  • “Mama, you shouldn’t eat that pizza because it will make you puke,” says my youngest daughter.
  • I thought it would be fun to go hiking with the family at Silver Creek Falls, my husbands response was, “Um….no….there is no way I am allowing you to walk up hills and slippery areas where you could easily fall.”
  • An everyday comment from my girls and husband to each other and the dog is, “Stop-be careful of Mama’s tummy!”
  • “Now let me do those dishes while you go sit and rest honey, I don’t want you to overextend yourself,” says Mom.
  • While in the checkout line at Safeway the conversation between the checker and person behind me in line was, “Now I don’t want to see you in this store any more until that baby comes because I don’t want you to have this baby right here in line” says the checker.  “Well, I think we could deliver this baby if we had to so no worries, we will take care of you”, says the stranger behind me.

And the above is only a handful of the conversations over the last couple months.  Even the strangers who pass by me on my outdoor walks treat me like I have the plague by nonverbally moving off the sidewalk onto the street.  I guess protecting me against them bumping into my large belly.

If I am being honest, most of the time the “we are protecting you” interactions and conversations occur I have an immediate inner reaction of, “Get off me!  I don’t need this protecting!  I can handle this on my own.”  I feel as if I am being held back from the good everyone else gets to do.  I feel unable.  Weak.  Boxed in.  A dagger to the pride.  And these emotions are the focus.

But when I consider the reality and heart behind where my loved ones are coming from, I recognize it all boils down to they.  Love.  Me.  And are showing it.  By protecting me from potential harm.   Protecting me from doing without thinking.  Really, protecting me from myself at times.  Because I recognize their spoken words of truth are for me well being.  They are willing to say the hard thing, or keep me from doing the enjoyable thing, to keep me safe, healthy, and happy.

I pray for my girls as I walk by their schools for God and His angels to protect them and the entire place against the evil one.  I take Jesus’ example to us to heart as He prayed for His disciples to be protected.  I am thankful we do not have to fear because we have an all powerful God who is able to overcome the plans and attacks of the enemy.

So when the trouble of life hits us, we can call out to our protector God.  Who wraps us tightly in His arms of love.  For He is our shield.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  Psalm 91:1,11

Is there someone you need to “speak the truth in love” to this week in order to protect them from trouble/potential harm?

Is there a current trial/troubling circumstance in which you need our God to help to shield you/protect you?  Will you pray in faith for God to do what He promises and protect you from the evil one?

Will you think about those people in your life who care for you enough to “protect” you with their true words/actions of love?  Then will you thank God for placing them in your life, lay down any pride, and think good will towards them as they love on you?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Oct 122015
 

But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.Isaiah 26:10

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  1 John 3:16

As I went on my “Jesus talk time” walk this morning, a structure literally stopped me from taking another step.  Not only was it in my way, but it brought tears to my eyes as to what it represented.  It was not intended to create this type of response in another person, but I was given a God perspective/word picture in that very moment.  And it caused me to remember Jesus.  Understand gifts of grace differently.  Look with rekindled urgency and compassion upon the unbeliever.  And walk with a spirit of gratitude today.

The structure blocking my path was a large bookshelf/cabinet.  It was put out on the sidewalk for anyone to see.  It was being offered to ANYONE who would take it.  Because no amount of work or money was required to purchase this piece.  And how did I know this?  Because the sign said FREE.

I immediately took a picture of it with my phone and sent it to my husband.  We were in need of some new storage cabinets for our living room and I thought, “What a find!”  Sure it was old.  used.  And needed a paint job in the worst way, but FREE was hard to beat!  My husband’s response to this offer was, “No thanks”.   Short and sweet.  No thinking about it.  For whatever reason, we were not on the same page.  I would take the FREE, deal of the century (in my mind) which was being offered, but it was not of want to him.  I walked away feeling a little sad.

Now I told you at the beginning that tears filled my eyes as I approached this structure.  You may be wondering why.  Well, I can tell you it wasn’t the beauty of the structure.  Nor was it the fact my husband and I had been looking for a living room storage piece and this could have been the one.  Nor was it the pregnancy hormones which fire at any random circumstance.  It was how the cardboard sign lie perpendicular to the tall/straight structure.  It looked like a cross.  The cross Jesus died on for me.  And absolutely spot on that the cost for the “cross” was FREE.

I began to contemplate how so many friends, family, co workers, and neighbors we come into contact with daily have said, for whatever reason, “No thanks” (as my husband did for the storage piece) to the FREE cross of Jesus.

A note about FREE:  There’s something about this word, “FREE”, which isn’t appealing or even risky to people.  When we hear an object is FREE, we conclude it must be broken.  Shouldn’t be wanted.  Old.  Not valuable.  Maybe this is why people cannot understand God’s gift of salvation to be good when it is FREE.

Another note about FREE:  Just as I received some FREE maternity clothes from my sister in law the other day, I have an innate need to pay her back for it.  I thought about any clothes I had she could use.  I rummaged through old baby extra’s, asking if she needed anything for her new baby.  Sure enough she could use my Bumbo!  So I happily gave it to her.  It felt as if my debt for the maternity clothes had been paid.

And still another:  Maybe this need to “return the favor” when FREE is given to us explains why I continue to try to pay back Jesus’s free gift of salvation (through His death for me on the cross/paying my debt) through my acts of service for Him, obedience to His Word, or discipline to His Spirit.  It is difficult and even beyond my comprehension to grasp I can do nothing to repay this FREE Jesus gift.  But this is the beauty and wonder of the cross.

So may we accept the FREE gift of salvation, unconditional love, extravagant grace, abundant life, eternal life, payment for ALL our sin, and unspeakable hope and joy of our God today.  And may this truth propel us to to tell others of this FREE gift. Even if they have said, “No thanks”, in the past.  Even if we think they will say, “No thanks” now.  Let’s put the cross out their with our FREE “sign” on it just as my neighbor did with their storage piece.   And may His peace rest on us today as we live in constant reminder and thank Him today for His FREE cross.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Oct 052015
 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  John 8:31-34

 I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

I have been bombarded with truth this week.  A little much if I do say so myself.  Part of me wants to deny it and run and hide from it.  The other part of me (the Spirit in me) recognizes truth, real truth, absolute truth, Jesus truth will only set me free.

One of my “truth moments” happened as my youngest daughter set out to give everyone in the family another name to go by.  I am guessing in her mind, we all needed to be called by what we were “all about”;  as in the 7 dwarfs for example.  She started out by naming her older sister, “Nature” (because truly, every time we dive into an area of forest on either side of the road she comments, “oh how I wish I could be in that nature and walk around, don’t you?”).  She proceeded onto naming herself, “Dancing squirrel” (because my girl’s have a crazy obsession with squirrels in play and real life and she joyful dances whenever she gets the chance).  My husband was then given the name, “Games”, (in which I chuckled to myself because of how right on she had been for everyone.  My husband’s strengths are in strategy and competition and his love for games is evident in spending time playing or reading up on various games).  I was the last to be named and I was curious and also a little nervous as to what I would be “known by or considered to be my big thing”.  And then out of the mouth of a child, the humbling truth of my name she blurted out, “Napper”.  She followed it up with an explanation, “Because you are always sleeping, Mom.  You love to take naps all the time.”  Ouch.  Whoever said the truth hurts was right.

As I walked with the Lord the next day I wrestled with my “Napper name”.  As I was giving Him my justifications of “why naps were happening a lot lately” I couldn’t help but notice a massive slug in my path.  I had never seen a slug on my regular walking route before.  But this fact isn’t the part which took my brain to all consuming thoughts about slugs.  It was the 4 additional slugs in my path which put my curious mind into overdrive.  I began to wonder what made the slugs come out today rather than any other day?  I Googled “Facts about slugs”.  And amazingly I gave myself a school lesson in slugs this particular morning (and most of you probably already know this fact, so thank you for humoring me by listening briefly to my “Ah ha” moment).  We had just experienced our first long, hard rain of the fall season.  This was the reason for the slugs coming out into the “slimelight” (Google included this and I admit I am a sucker for dry/play on words humor).  Slugs traditionally in the summer time will hide under rocks and hang out in dark, damp places, but when the rain comes, they feed on coming out into the wet ground in the light of the day.

And how does learning about slugs have anything to do with my life you may be asking yourself…well, I was asking God on my walk the very same question.  And He revealed His Truth to me.  He spoke to me about how when the Holy Spirit “rains down”/empowers/speaks to us, we, “like slugs” are imparted Truth.  Absolute truth.  Which brings us into the Light.  When others give us constructive criticism, or we feel guilt over acting upon our selfish/flesh/sin nature, we have an opportunity to test if this is real truth in which we should accept, ask forgiveness for, or simply learn from in order to be more like Jesus.  So as I thought back to my daughter’s “Napper” name for me, I recognized “‘testing truth” and “being sanctified by His Truth” should be continual part of my life as a follower of Jesus.

Ways we can test if a message/thought is True in this world;  the world says all truth is relative, but we as Jesus followers know God’s Word is the ONLY absolute truth:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Check the message/thought against the Bible and see if it follows it or is going against it

  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12                                                                    
  •  (Jesus prayed for His disciples) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:16-1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2.  We must humble ourselves.  Then ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as believer’s in Jesus, to give us a peace about how to proceed from here.  Ask Him to reveal if this is absolute Truth (because He is actually the definition of Truth).  And if it is, what our response should be in order to allow this Truth to sanctify us (change us to be more like Jesus) and bring it into Light.  
  • Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  James 4:10
  • When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth John 16:13a
  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7
  • Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  John 3:20-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3.  Ask a trusted, follower of Christ for wisdom to confirm the message/thought resonates with their spirit
  • But speaking (practicing) the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15a
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Proverbs 19:20

We must know and learn to recognize Truth.  We must humble ourselves to not be discouraged, defensive, or not accepting of Truth.  We must seek out ways to grow in Truth through the Holy Spirit’s gentle guiding.  And just as slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go, we also leave a “mark” when we walk in the light of Jesus!  Because we know coming out into the “slimelight”, acting upon the Truth of God’s Word and guiding of His Holy Spirit of Truth only brings about True life, freedom, joy and peace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share