Sep 052017
 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit John 15:5a

Saw a random tomato plant on my run this morning.  And, “What makes a tomato plant random?”, you may be contemplating to yourself.  Well then, my friends, thanks for thinking this one through a little when you could be doing something else way more productive, and I will try not to let you inquiring, throwing me a bone, minds down in my upcoming answer.  And here it is in one word folks, “location”.

Let me dive a little deeper (mainly because I struggle NOT to go here) by giving you a little history about me and pretty much my most dreaded, hand shakes when I even write it, word, horticulture.  Now, those of you who know me well (or actually have just seen me anywhere casually outdoors), understand my talent to know exactly what any living green would not want, and then do just that.  So, truly, even discussing how or why or when of a tomato plant is well beyond me, but “here I am nonethless” (the phrase I also say more than not as I follow Jesus).  So now that you understand my qualifications to enter into this conversation, I am sure your self-confidence will only be strengthened as you read on.

Back to the random location of this tomato plant.  I would expect a typical tomato plant to be located amidst other tended-to veggies in a backyard  (Oh, how I dream of the veggies that could have thrived with most anyone else in my backyard boxed beds my father-in-law built for me). Or perhaps next to 100’s of other look alike tomato plants where a farmer raises a massive harvest for the community to enjoy. But no, this tomato plant was in an environment where it was “not like the others”.  Outnumbered big time.  Amidst wild flowers, weeds, and in a cement island in the middle of the street (no like minded veggie peeps insight).

But it was not these aspects which made me do a double take on my run.  No, it was in fact the reality that this tomato plant was THRIVING.  The color of its red beauties and abundant vines of green being presented to all who came near was magnificent.   It was bearing fruit and blooming where it was planted.  And the random location afterthought only made it more beautifully strong to me as I considered the obstacles it must have had to overcome to thrive in such a challenging environment.

If you will go with me, lets take this rising veggie to a deeper, spiritual place (and once again, I have to go here people!  Sorry!)  I wonder if you currently feel you are in a random/out of your comfort zone location right now-in a neighborhood, job, church, school, family, city in which you feel like our tomato plant friend, “out of place”.   Maybe you are feeling alone without some good friends to confide in, or feeling unequipped to handle the children God has placed in your care, or are in a school where everyone else seems to have turned down Harvard to be here, or can’t seem to do “the right thing” to save your life in your job, or are having difficulty loving your family, or are out of your comfort zone as you step out in a faith centered ministry.  Well, if this is you, let me give you a word from our loving Father today, “Hope is on the horizon”.  You are where you are for a purpose, His purpose.  Your past or present failures do not define who you are, your circumstances do not dictate your attitude and your looking to relationships to expose your spiritual giftings will only lead to discouragement.  Bloom where you are planted my friend.  Thrive in this unexpected place God has planted you in.  And find hope todayas we fix our eyes on Jesus- gaining His perspective through His living Word, thanking Him for some of the “overlooked blessings” we currently have, and stepping in faith filled courage by His Spirit to love Him and love others.

So when you see some excellently thriving veggies in this season, remember, it is not random where God has you working, living, ministering in this season.  Root and ground yourself in the love of Jesus, for you, today.  And in His purpose for you:  to THRIVE where your planted.  And do not loose heart as you maneuver this challenging environment in your own, unique sort of way.  God made you beautiful to thrive-because Kingdom fruit happens when we are connect to the Vine Jesus.  Here is my prayer for you, my sister:

I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love… Eph 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 172017
 

 

Striving for the unattainable perfection of tomorrow is like a hampster running a wheel and going nowhere.  Fast.

I have a new grace filled, hope filled, peace filled picture as I fight for Jesus to take hold of me in my day rather than the anxiety which has plagued me in the past.  Visualize this clip:

“A little girl dressed in white, strolling on the beach with colored vibrancy from the Son/sun and blues, whites, and creams textured beneath.  She kicks up the sand, hand in hand with her heavenly Father.  He stoops down to be at her level.  And she is unaware she should have a care, because of the where-in which she has chosen to be”.

This is where I want to be.  Today.  And everyday.  On this ALL love, no expectations, only grace filled walk with my Father throughout the day.  Because I have struggled with anxiety in the past, I continue to rely on God to free me from this tendency to worry.  And because I am learning to walk in my “freedom beach walk with God”, I have a heart to pray for others in similar chains.  The Lord “puts in my path” others with my similar anxiety struggle and just this week I prayed for God to release His peace to guard the hearts and minds of 3 friends in my same boat.  So if you are in this pattern of guilt/worry/stress/anxiety hampster wheel, I.  Get.  You.  And would love to pray for you (send me an email or comment below my blessed sister).

Because sometimes, you need to stop the running to begin the thriving.

P.S.  For my friends with clinical diagnosis’ of depression and anxiety and bi polar and others, please hear this message with hope and not discouragement:  Do I believe we live in a fallen world with troubles and chemical/biological ailments that plague us?  Yes.  Do I believe we have a sovereign God who uses the wisdom and medicine of doctor’s as a part of His plan and purposes for us?  Yes.  Am I trying to say if you only do the below 3 steps what you struggle with will be gone forever? Not necessarily.  But I am saying we serve a God who is the God of all hope, a God who is faithful, and a God who is the ultimate healer.

 So Lord, today, meet my friends who have not been relieved of this biological struggle with anxiety.  Meet them in their frustration, questions, and fears in the unknown.  Thank you that you promise to never leave or forsake us.  You are the Omnipresent God, with me right now and with each of my Sister’s in Christ who are hurting right now.  Here’s the deal:  We are ready to be used by You, in all our given ailments and troubles, for.  Your.  Glory.  No matter what you choose to give or what you choose to take away.  Your.  Will.  Be.  Done.  And we praise Your Name today, because You are worthy of it.  Thank you for your true Word and Spirit which is THE Solid Rock we stand on in times of unknowns.  And we “press on to win the goal to which we are called heavenword in Christ Jesus.”  And today-we “fix our eyes on You, Jesus” for the next step we have in Your powerful Name.  Amen

3 “anxiety free/peace for me” steps with Jesus in 2017:

  1. “Your day, Your way” saying to start the day– before my feet hit the floor each morning this is my mental mantra.  Spending time in God’s Word, even if it is one verse, for 1 min before the “have to’s” begin WILL.  BEAR.  FRUIT-Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit, lifegiving fruit, in which our God dictates the day’s happenings and we respond to His Spirit’s leading.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. REFUSE to RESUSE the worry thoughts of the enemy-When the “worry monster” begins to fill our thoughts, we say, “No way!”  Satan may be cunning and persistent, but he is more than predictable.  He tries the “same old negative, doubt filled, hopeless filled”/ areas we are weak in attacks to derail us from our “walk on the beach with God”.  WE.  CAN.  CHOOSE. what true, lifegiving thoughts we will think on today-Choose the “Way, truth and the life”/Jesus thoughts! We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 and …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. Philippians 4:8
  3. Recognize His Perfect Peace Doesn’t involve the “Being Perfect Piece”-Since we serve THE Prince of Peace, who gives to ALL believer’s freely, we need only recognize we WILL NOT find relief in looking to some “keeping up with the Jones’s” item of this world or “if I only”/comparing our bodies or personalities to someone else, or expectations for perfection in any given area.  Our identity is as a HIGHLY valued Daughter of the King and it is ONLY in receiving His “forever-like Christmas present” of peace amidst the worlds troubles which we find rest.  Pray “Jesus Your peace” in. the.  very.  moment.  you feel anxiety.  And then, “trust in the Lord with all your, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) as He begins to bring healing and hope for your mind, body, and Spirit.  Get off the “hampster wheel” of anxiety which gets you nowhere and grab Your Father God’s all knowing/all loving “sand hand”, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 and Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

Are you currently struggling with negative swirling thoughts or an inability to find rest and peace in the busyness of the day?  Our God wants to meet you and give you His peace, will you ask Him for it and ask another to pray for you?  

What in your life are you trying to control and it’s not working?  What can you let go of today to be able to let God be God and you practice a deepening trust in His timing and will?  (I would love to pray for you personally, but also know you are gettin’ prayed for sister, by me, whether you like it or not-“May His freedom, peace and grace be yours as you “beach walk” with your heavenly Father, today”.)

What area do you have high expectations, close to the need to be perfect in, and what is your process for handling when things are not “perfect”?  What new system can you implement to hear God’s true words of “therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” and act upon this rather than the world’s, others or your own pressures you are striving for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 072015
 

 

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.   As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

I was driving back from a “new beginnings” venture.  It was a park meet and greet follow up after our first preview service of the church plant.  Anytime a change, whether good or challenging, is on the horizon or befalls us unexpectedly, I begin to go more into my head than my heart.  So my drive home was just that-a lot of head brainstorming-with me, myself and I-what should can we expect our role to be in the church?  How can we get the marketing just right so people will come check it out?  Are we doing enough?  (Maybe you can recall or currently find yourself in a place of change and can relate with the brain crazy taking over.)  My heart was beating fast.  And if I am being honest, my curiosity was quickly moving to frustration and anger.  Because I didn’t.  Know.  What.  Was.  Next.  I wasn’t.  In.  Control.  And I seemed to be swimming upstream in search of peace.

My tunnel vision was called to a sudden stop as an unexpected brilliance of colors filled the left side of the sky.  This sunset was bright, bold, beautiful, it was lacking in nothing less than spectacular.  It was difficult to keep my eyes looking forward on the road when God’s firework show was happening in a different direction.  I happily welcomed the distraction from my current agitated heart state and under my breath I commented to the Creator, “Show off!”  (And He is the One who actually has the right to do it, I quickly recognized.)

My gaze had to quickly switch back to the road (go figure).  But even though this was a familiar route, I couldn’t help but recognize how many road signs I kept passing.  All were dictating to me what I could expect up ahead.  10 miles to Salem, strawberry U-pick in 2 miles, horse riding lessons next right, 20 mile an hour turn, and so on.

I realized 2 deep truths about my personality/flesh tendencies as I gazed out the window:

1-I want detailed, quick, step 1,2,3 “signs” (like I saw along the road) from God to make minor and major life decisions.  And if I don’t see the “signs” in my timing I easily get agitated and upset. I place too high a value in knowing the destination.

2-Unfulfilled expectations, circumstances which throw a kink in “my plan/ways”, also cause a little “fight or flight” feelings to arouse in me:  Causing me to say, “I am so consumed, angry and distracted in my mind and heart with this trial, pain, decision I am ineffective for the Kingdom” or” Well, I will just quit this work/friendship/ministry”.

I asked God some heart felt questions in this soul searching episode:

Lord, why are your road signs somewhat criptic?  Why are your road signs seemingly spaced real far apart?  Why do my emotions overwhelm so quickly when unfulfilled expectations arouse?  Why is waiting needed? 

Immediately, as if in perfect timing to my questions, the “show off sunset” creeped around enough for me to catch one last breathtaking glimpse.  And I heard my God respond to my heart and mind with this truth, “You always know the sun is going to set, but you do not know how it will set.”  Would it be a primarily pink sky with whispy clouds intermixed?  Would it have purple and red and orange with no clouds in the sky?  I can’t anticipate or expect how the sunset will look on any given night, but I do not even doubt for a minute that the sun will just keep hanging out at the top of the sky.  And so I wait.  And watch.  For the unforseen beauty to unfold before my eyes.  Always good.  But always unknown as to the specific color scheme until it arrives.

Maybe you have caught the spiritual analogy our Father was speaking loud and clear to me through this sunset.  It was a revelation to me.  The faithfulness, goodness, and love of God is like the undeniable truth that the sun is going to set each night.  We never have to doubt our God’s character and His living and active Word, the Bible.  In other words we can bank our trust in our Gods ever unfolding plan for us just like we can bank our trust in the fact that the sun will set tonight.  But a life of faith in Jesus means we do not know the how of our road ahead, just as we do not know the how of the color scheme/cloud pattern of the sunset tonight.  It means we bank on Jesus-THE way, THE truth, and THE life and we rest in His control.  His way.  And His unexpected orchestration.

Maybe you are in a time of unfulfilled expectations.  Wondering what God is doing, or if He is doing anything.  Angry with the circumstances/people around you. Questioning, still waiting where the road “signs” of the next are.  Of the how’s of our now and future-my prayer is that your strength would increase, not decrease as you wait on God. That your hope and trust in God’s good plan for you would increase, not decrease.  That your peace and joy in Jesus would increase and anger, frustration with the circumstances/people would decrease.

And may we wait.  In expectation.  For how God will unfold His great plan for us.  With a “show off sunset”.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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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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