Nov 302015
 

 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and persistent in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  Isaiah 40:31

Oh the terror of what could have been for this Thanksgiving.  And a poem to prove it:

 It was the Night Before Thanksgiving and the Willis clan, had some various happenings that were not a part of the plan.

The pregnant Mama said, “I think that it’s time”, and the Dada monitored contractions, with each whimper and whine.

All the while the oldest daughter couldn’t seem to swallow, “I have a bad sore throat Daddy, I probably can’t do anything tomorrow.”

The Daddy tended to all his girls with ever loving care (but thinking ever silently that this Thanksgiving would split his every hair)

The morning of Thanksgiving came without a baby hospital run, but Urgent Care was a must indeed, for the Strep throat medicine time had come.

So we are thankful, yes we are, to have not ruined Thanksgiving for one and all, we praise the Lord this baby stayed inside and did not come to call.

Even though my sweet daughter had to be quarantined with only a constant stream of movies and 7-up to keep her company, Thanksgiving happened.  And the good part is that this Thanksgiving brought to light 2 character traits in my girls I had never noticed before.  2 traits I can be thankful for in them and am motivated to work on displaying these “Jesus characteristics” myself.

I admired my oldest daughter’s lack of complaining and ability to keep a positive attitude in spite of her disappointment and painful state.  I am pretty sure when I am sick my style is to make sure to let people know how badly I feel.  Over.  And over again.  I throw a great pity party also when everyone else is getting to do something fun and I can’t.  So today is the day to turn over a new leaf.  (Choosing His perspective and attitude in the final stretch of this sick, difficult pregnancy.)  To close my mouth when I want to spew complaints and pains.  And instead look to Jesus.  To provide me with joyful hope.  Strength as I wait on Him.  And patience in affliction because we are not in control.

My youngest daughter got some serious attention this Thanksgiving, being that she didn’t have to split Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Nana/Papa time with her older sister.  And she loved every.  Minute.  Of it.  But the one inspiring characteristic she displayed and I could not get over was her persistence.  The adults were talking after the meal and she politely invited everyone to watch her dance show.  Most of the family said, “Oh good, maybe later though.”  So she waited.  Then she made the rounds again and said, “The dance show is starting, please come!”  Some came.  But she shamelessly wanted everyone to attend and so the asking continued.  And what do you know but her persistence payed off.  Everyone attended the show.  And I admired her persistence.

As I contemplate these “Jesus characteristics” in the light of my own life and in relation to how I love other’s I am humbled.  Both of the above traits come to a bottom line for me, “Love never gives up”, as it says in 1 Cor. 13:7a.

Maybe you are in a time of trial, waiting, or physical pain.   My prayer is that you would find strength and hope in Jesus today. Or maybe you know of a friend or family member who is in a troubling time.  As I was nudged by the Spirit to pray for a woman fighting the cancer battle the other day, I wept for her.  I prayed that we, as the body of Christ, would surround her and meet her physical, spiritual and emotional needs.  And my prayer is the same for you.  That in love, you would not give up on others who are sick and in trial.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

Maybe you have been praying for a loved one for a long time.  To come back to Jesus.  Or to come to Jesus.  But maybe over time, your persistence in prayer has dwindled.  This Thanksgiving brought my lack of persistence in prayer for those without salvation to my attention.  I thought about these specific individuals who need salvation.  And I thought about times when I was good about praying for them.  But truly, now, if I am being honest, I had given up on them.  I had given up hope for change because I wasn’t seeing it.   So just as my youngest daughter was persistent in asking others over and over and over again to attend her dance show, I need to be persistent in praying for my loved ones that they would come to the “Jesus salvation show”.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

What have you been complaining about that you can instead ask for help from Jesus to be patient, self controlled, and have a changed heart in?  Will you also give your worries and complaints to Him and allow Him to take them/have control over them?

Is there someone you have given up praying for?  Will you, in love, not give up and persist in prayer instead?

Who can you show the love of Jesus to today who is sick?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 172015
 

Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:7a 

I felt nudged by the Spirit to start a women’s prayer group.  Five months prior I had stepped out of my Worship Pastor job, various ministry commitments, and truly any activity which required me to be present.  My pregnancy sickness left me couch ridden and unable to do much of anything else but simply survive the day.  But a new dawn had risen.  I found myself able to leave the house and clean my house.  Now all which was needed was to have people over to my house-and thus, our Refreshed women’s prayer group began.

Never lead a prayer group before.  So as I charted this new territory, I once again had to rely on the Lord for the “how to’s”, “how come’s”, and “how can I’s”.  And I have absolute confidence in His ability to calm my fears and lead me as a Good Shepherd whenever I start something new.  This confidence comes from remembering His past faithfulness in Every.  Other.  Unknown circumstance.  And starting this “Refreshed” women’s prayer group has been no exception to this truth.

Last week everyone in our group cried at some point during our sharing/times of praying for one another.  (Of course this is not too earth shattering since we are all mother’s and I am pretty sure once you become a mother part of the job description is to cry at the drop of the hat when someone’s feelings are involved.)  We were praying for our children by name.

The tears came for one blessed mother as she said one of her children’s name’s and attached the word, “Lost”, in regards to how to parent her.  This mother explained further that for two years she had been unable to do school drop off’s without her child crying and clinging in desperation that she didn’t want to go.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of trying to problem solve this.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of a mother’s feelings of guilt and shame as other mother’s seemed to watch with eyes of judgment.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of feeling inadequate and unable.  And after day’s and week’s and month’s of no change, she was fed up.  Giving up.  And had used up-all.  her.  faith.

So this is where our group of six stepped in with our faith.  We had faith for her.  We prayed fervently for a change in this child.  We prayed fervently for wisdom which only comes from above for our dear friend.  We had hearts which were bursting big with belief in our God to do the impossible.  We were asking for a “mini miracle” which was 2 years and coming.

As my friend was walking to her car after our prayer time together I felt Spirit nudged to call out to her and say, “I have GREAT HOPE for you my friend.”  And I did.  And this stemmed from this amazing truth from God’s Word that, “Love never loses faith.  Love believes all things.”

The next day our group of six got a text from this “Lost mother”.  Here is what she wrote (I have this mother’s permission to tell you her story, however I am using different names to protect their privacy.):

So listen to this….Here is a picture of my girls walking into school together.  Yesterday, Julie almost had a panic attack and I had to walk her inside the building to her classroom.  Julie has never had the confidence to walk into school by herself, I’ve walked her in since Kindergarten (and she is in 2nd grade this year).  You guys, I don’t have words.  From yesterday to today it is an absolute miracle.  The power of prayer is incredible.  I’m at a loss for words.

We all have voiced times of worn, troubles with marriages, mothering, health, and friendships, and prayer needs so beyond us we don’t even know how to put them into words.  But we do not battle alone.  We understand as God’s Word says in Eph 6:12, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world” and that one of our biggest weapons is to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions…. Eph 6:18a”.  And so we continue to pray for one another.

I can’t tell you of ALL the other testimonies which came out of the above prayer time and other prayer times we have had because it would be pages and pages long, but I can tell you our group of six is a group which does not major in the minors.  And we see “major’s” as any situation we are living in fear over or believe to be an impossible to change in our own strength/control.  We see “major’s/mini miracles” as victory in Jesus over our own or other’s changed mind’s and hearts and actions.

We can each testify and give glory to God because we have witnessed over and over strongholds torn down.  Chains broken.  The impossible becoming possible.  Supernatural healing happening.  All due to the faithfulness of our God.  And the power of prayer.

And out of this the Lord has changed my heart and mind to see clearly two reoccurring themes.

1.-God is faithful-God really does hear and answer prayer.

2.  We are to never lose faith- to believe all things are possible through Jesus when we pray for our loved ones.  Prayer is a powerful weapon.

Who in your life is having trouble “never losing hope/faith” and you could in love and faith stand in the gap for them and pray with them?

How can you incorporate more prayer into your daily schedule?  Will you ask Jesus for courage and confidence in His Spirit to pray when fear/worry arises in you and your loved one’s lives?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 112015
 

 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The goal is always to get out on time to go to church.  I will admit this “on time” phrase usually equals varied meanings between my husband and I.  Blame it on our different upbringings, varied personality traits, or lack of similar priorities, being early/”on time” has been an area I continually seek to improve in and yet you may not know it since failing miserably continues to be my norm.

As much of a task master as I felt I was being on this particular Sunday morning, it wasn’t enough to actually get us all in the car leaving plenty of wiggle room.  My husband has helped me see the beauty of “Wiggle room”. Wiggle room creates space and overall peace instead of anxiety and hurriedness when attending any activity.  Makes up for unforseen traffic.  Creates an ease of mind from those you are meeting with.  Promotes positive characteristics of dependability, respect, and consistency in which others see and value in you.  But.  I.  Still.  Wiggle.  Out. of having wiggle room as I head out the door most days.

As we drove to church, I calculated in my head if we would be able to squeeze in a stop at Dutch Bros and still be early/”on time” to church.  I asked the head “time keeper” in our house.  He said, “Probably not since the line is always super long”(what he is also saying is since we left with no “wiggle room” we have no time for extras).  But what to my wondering, Mint Mocha desiring eyes should see, was no one in the drive through at Dutch Bros coffee.  It.  Was.  Ordained.  By.  God.  My hearts desire could be fulfilled in this moment.  And this little before Christmas cheer encompassed my deepest soul (okay, maybe a little over the top, but sometime you need to drive the point home.)

As we pulled right into Dutch Bros we were once again greeted by a curly haired barista girl with ear to ear smiles and questions about our days plans.  We rolled down the girls window to let them give the low down to her.  My oldest daughter’s response to the, “What are you up to today?”, question was short and sweet, “Going to church”.  The barista was polite with her response but didn’t seem to share our same Jesus values.  My youngest daughter didn’t want to leave it at that though, she felt some more details should be included, “We go to church right over there at the Safari Sams building.  It’s real fun.”  My husband and I laughed a little and were somewhat surprised by the barista’s next comment, “That’s cool.  I try to get to church when I can because whenever I have gone I feel real peaceful.”

My husband and I discussed afterwards this somewhat unexpected portrayal of how an unbeliever (most likely) encountered the peace of Jesus when entering a church building.  And how this Peace, His peace, would be the very reason to go in the first place.

There is nothing like the peace of Jesus to be THE protector of our hearts, mind, and soul when in a time of unknown or trial.  This world, and the prince of this world, works overtime to cause fear and doubt as various troubles hit us.  I love the way Jesus loves and protects us from all the scary “what could be’s” of the future, “what should be’s” in our now, and let downs of the “what will no longer be’s” of past losses, and gives us His peace.  His peace overcomes.  His peace quiets us.  His peace speaks rest and hope to know it all is and will be well.

Thank the Lord for the protection of peace He offers you today.  And then receive His gift of peace in those places which currently trouble you.  Including plenty of “wiggle room” in your thoughts to have your mind renewed by His perspective.   Building in enough “wiggle room” into your agenda for the day to allow for those “God ordained” appointments He has for you.  And as your time is spent wiggling your mind, heart, soul and feet to Him, it is time never wasted.  His peace and love are always “on time”, just when we need them.

When has the Lord’s peace protected you from fear?  Will you thank Him for doing this?

In what relationship, troubling thought, or current trial do you need the peace of Jesus to overcome you?  Will you ask Him right now for His peace surpassing all understanding?

In what part of your typical day/weekly schedule are you prone to become too busy/distracted/burdened and are in need of some Jesus “wiggle room” to be included?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 032015
 

“The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself”.  Mark 12:31

I took the phrase “Howdy neighbor” and embraced it to a new level today.  (I am also embracing and caressing my first cup of coffee with pumpkin pie creamer as I write this.  Oh.  Yes.  Feel the love.)

I haven’t been as diligent to take regular walks during this pregnancy.  But today I was making “the walk” a priority.  As I set out my front door I was thankful the rain train was not heading full speed ahead like it had been the past week.  I was surrounded by brilliant fall trees.  My husbands oversized sweatshirt (about the only clothing which would fit).  And a street full of neighbors (which were seemingly gone and busy- as was typical to how they and we rolled most days).

One step.  Two steps.  Three steps.  But no more.  I spotted our neighbor in the midst of “Goodwilling it”, adding a bed to their truck and felt led to atleast give a friendly “Howdy neighbor” to her.  But then felt led to linger a little longer.  We exchanged pleasantries.  She encouraged me that it “wouldn’t be long now” due to my oversized belly (which was impossible now for others NOT to comment on).  This was the beginning of what would be a 30 minute neighbor to neighbor conversation in the road.  It was unexpected and unplanned.  But God ordained.  And therefore the walk was postponed.

But let me tell you.  This conversation was life giving to me.  I got the opportunity to partner with the Spirit to encourage a Mom who needed it.  I do not know exactly where she is spiritually, but I know she was seeking counsel.  With tears in her eyes as we ended our conversation she said, “I asked God for help and He sent you to go on a walk so you could encourage and help me.”

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

After this interaction I amazingly still had sufficient time for a walk.  (or actually waddle would be more corrrect as I am due in a couple weeks).  I enjoyed breathing in nature and God’s presence with each step.  I felt compelled to go a little shorter distance than I typically had done earlier in my pregnancy.  Almost home I prayed God would give me more “God ordained” moments like the one I had just experienced with my neighbor.  One step.  Two steps.  No more.  I saw a Mom getting out of the car with her baby girl.  The “howdy neighbor” urge came on strong again.  And although we had never talked before, she was my literal neighbor.  And we began a conversation, not so unlike the one moments earlier (including pleasantries and my oversized belly).  We talked loudly as we were a distance apart but as the conversation progressed, we moved closer.  I came to find out she is an unbeliever.  But we shared many things in common.  And the conversation was full of laughter and yet sharing of life’s challenges.  She may not have accepted Jesus with me right there in that moment, but I know a seed was planted.  I got to share my story (which always includes Gods grace and love) and show her the love of Jesus.

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

Some would say it was unfortunate that I had lost time talking when I was supposed to have been walking.  But if there has been one thing that I have found to be true 100% of the time in my life, it is when God nudges, time doesn’t matter.  Too often have I allowed my “time intensive/perfected” schedule to override the “God ordained” interaction beckoning me.  Too often have I allowed my priorities to trump His.  And too often have I missed out on the life giving moments the Spirit offered but I selfishly put my present needs above another’s.  But there has not been one time in which I have followed that quickening of my Spirit to speak or act and my scheduled time/activity/schedule/work hasn’t also gotten done.  It may not be done in the exact time frame I was expecting, but our God is good and gracious to reshift our priorities to His.  And I have had more than I can count instances in which He actually extended my time and productivity so I never “lost time”.  Time is NEVER “lost” when responding to the Spirit rather than our own schedule.  Time is only GAINED.  For.  His glory.  And our righteousness.  Joy.  And peace.  Which equals abundant life!

My daughter’s new song she plays on repeat night and day is fitting for me today and maybe will encourage you when making decisions today as to where you will spend your time:

“There’s more to this life.  Than living and dying.  More than just trying to make it through the day.  More to this life.  More than these eyes alone can see.  And there’s more.  Than this life alone can be.”

I thanked God for the opportunity to literally “Love my neighbor as myself”.  To “look after” someone else in love.  This 2nd greatest commandment in the bible I have always thought of in regards to ALL people, (which it is) but today it didn’t include the ALL of  a family member, teacher at my girls’ school, friend, church acquaintance, co-worker, or stranger at the grocery store.  Today God nudged me to love on two women within two blocks of where I live.

How can you give a “Howdy neighbor” today?

Will you trust God with your time and lay down your current priorities/scheduled activities?

Will you ask God to give you more opportunities to love other’s/have “God ordained” moments in your days?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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