Apr 182017
 

 

Yesterday I found myself contemplating, “What’s next?”  You see, it was a typical Monday.  But it was the day beyond Sunday.  The hipe and celebration of the main event on Resurrection Sunday came and went.  Don’t get me wrong, I.  Was.  Pumped. For it people.  Summing up this day in one word was “more”.  I sang with more gusto and volume on the “He is Risen” parts of the songs.  I made the rounds during the “meet and greet” and gave more hugs than usual (and if you don’t know me, this is quite an intense statement).  The stage had more.  Lights, flowers, instruments, large wooden signs and pillars.  The people were more.  Than doubled to the typical Sunday attendance.  I cried more.  As each person came up out of the baptism water a new creation in Christ.  It was a spectacular event for a spectacular King we serve.

But here I sat-beyond Sunday.  And I found myself coming up a little dry.  Coming up a tad discouraged.  Coming up with questions for what the season would hold.  The wind had been somewhat taken out of my sails.  And for Pete’s sake, it was only yesterday I had experienced my Savior’s MORE as I entered into His coming up celebration, so why was it I couldn’t come up with His joy, peace, and purpose in my now?

As I reflected in this state of aftermath, I found myself recognizing my need to keep coming back to the presence and power of the “coming up” One.  Even though I had “drank from the firehoses of spiritual highmountain highs” the day before, today was a new day to fix my eyes and remain in Jesus.  It is not a one time event which qualifies us to live in the MORE-it is a daily decision, a daily walk, a daily discipline to enter into the presence of Jesus.

My prayer for you and I today and all the day’s beyond Sunday is we would choose time in the presence of Jesus to: gain a life filled word from the Living Word, think and act with a renewed mind/perspective from the Living One, and taste of the Living water which refreshes our thirsty, weary, worn out soul.  To choose Jesus today is to choose true life, my friends, because He is “THE Way, THE truth and THE LIFE” (Jn 14:6)!

Jesus says, “If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him.”  “Just as the Living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the One who feeds on me will live because of me.”  Jn  7:37-38; 6:57.

What do you need MORE of in this season?  Will you ask THE Provider to provide for you needs?

Have you relied too much on the “main events of faith” in your past instead of being active to “remain” in Jesus today?  Will you ask God, through His Spirit, to awaken your mind and heart to Himself in your now?

What discipline could you implement/continue to implement in order for you to encounter the Presence of Jesus beyond Sunday? 

In what way could you grow MORE in Jesus?

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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