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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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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Jan 082017
 

Hey my friends,

To be completely cliche, but know I am genuine-hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I am slowly getting back into the new groove.  Making some needed changes-for example, GOING. TO. WORKOUT.  I know this is not a new discipline to strive for in January, but once again, seriously genuine about getting my body a movin!  I wonder as you look over your 2016, what stands out to you as some old and “not so lifegiving areas” which were not workin for ya.  And then as you are “out with the old”, what new spiritual, personal health and wholeness, or areas as a mother/wife/friend/worker you can discipline yourself to in 2017?  Now is your time to shine.  His mercies are new every morning and there is hope.  for.  you.  today.

So 2 options to consider for this January 2017-get in God’s Word more and get your body moving more.  If these 2 are resonating with your Spirit but you wonder, but how.  can.  I.  fit.  this.  in my already busy, I’ve got your back my sister’s!

Check out this free 6 week women’s video devotional series, starting Monday, January 30thWOW Hour: Where Waking Up Early Is Lifegiving!  Start out 2017 with a new lifegiving habit;  6 weeks of inspiring stories to encourage and hold you and/or you and a group of friend’s accountable to be in God’s Word and exercise!  Prioritize your wholeness and health as this program will bring you peace for your mind, body and Spirit- you’ve got a couple weeks to get a friend or two to join you on this journey.  Praying for you. to. rock. this.  I will be joining you so you will not be alone!!

And below here are some of my favorite bible study methods and workouts which you can incorporate with WOW Hour or just do on your own!  Just so you know….i am praying. for. you.  So get goin’ with Jesus in 2017, you.  will.  not.  regret.  it.  Look out for the life of enjoyment and purpose you’ve got in store with a Father who we get ALL good gifts from!

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it … I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.  John 10:10

4 OPTIONAL BIBLE STUDY METHODS

  1. Dear Father, Dear Daughter MethodThis journaling method is how I structured my book, “Sing Over Me: A Women’s Devotional through the Psalms.” It is us, His daughter’s, writing to our heavenly Father, and then listening to hear what He says through His Word and Spirit to apply to our lives.
  • Pray, read (in God’s Word), then write to God. Then see if there is anything troubling your heart or mind.  Write about this to God.  As you write, be transparent.  Ask God questions about the specific situation.  Always end with what you need from God in this particular situation and the truths you know about Him and His Word.

 

  • Be still and ask God to speak. Then write down His promises- “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” 1 Sam 3:10b  Make sure you are away from distractions and loud sounds in order to quiet your heart and mind before God.  Listen until you have wisdom, an impression, a picture, a verse, or overall peace about what you just wrote to God.  Write down any scripture and/or impressions you receive during this time of listening.  Do not be discouraged if you do not seem to hear anything, God loves to spend time with us in the stillness and He refreshes our heart, mind and Spirit when we are obedient to spend time with Him-even if we aren’t aware of it.  Write down promises and encouragement you found from God’s true, living Word.  Continue to sit in silence and practice the discipline of waiting to hear from the Lord.  Persevere in this discipline of listening to God.  I know I find it extremely difficult in our busy culture to drown out the noise of my own mind, but even more reason for us do as God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” ps 46:10.
  1. Free Flowing Method
  • Pray for God to speak to you as you read a passage from His living Word (Heb 4:12).
  • Get on your computer or grab a notebook and pen and write what comes to mind! The key is not what we write about, but that what we say is honest and from the heart.  God desires to meet us right where we are, not where we feel we should be or want to be.  He wants true intimacy with us.  Just like there is no right or wrong way to talk with God, there is also no right or wrong way to write to Him.  We can simply tell Him what is on our heart.  If we are concerned about a particular relationship, we should write about it.  If we need to ask Him for forgiveness, we can write down our apology.  If we are excited about an answered prayer, we can express our gratitude.  If a particular scripture is resonating with us, we can expand on it and dig deeper in order to apply it to our current situation.  God has made us all unique, so use your own creativity and style as you write to Him!
  1. A.C.T MethodSome of us need a structured format or plan when starting a new habit. I am similar. I thrive under others’ good ideas for how to do things!  First pray for God to speak to you and read from God’s Word, then:
  • Ask- Write down your prayer requests, God says “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
  • Confess-Your sin, repent and turn to God for His refreshment and peace (Acts 3:19).
  • Thanksgiving-To God for specific ways He has blessed you, for what He has done for you, or simply for His character traits; write down your gratitude for our Father who is the giver of ALL good gifts in this life and the eternal life to come (James 1:17) .
  1. S.O.A.P Method – S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Each S.O.A.P. entry can be one sentence, or it could be pages and pages of thoughtful note taking. Each day will be different as you move through digging deeper into God’s Word.
  • Scripture-After reading a chapter(s) from the Bible, write down the verse(s) which “the Spirit highlighted”/resonated/you had a pull to read over again
  • Observation-Write down what you observed or what truth stuck out to you in these scriptures.
  • Application- Think on how you can apply the verse(s) to your day, week, life, etc. and write about this.
  • Pray-Write out a prayer to God based on how your mind/heart was renewed to God’s ways instead of your prior ways of thinking/acting and ask Him to help you apply this truth in your life.  

30 MINUTE WORKOUT OPTIONS:

  1. Sign up for and train for a race (running or walking): If you are signing up for a 5K,8K,10K, or half marathon race the Hal Higdon training plans were what I used and found helpful in my training:  http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51137/Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program
  2. Do a workout DVD with the exercise of your choice-pilates, step, yoga, dance, boxing, Zumba, ect.
  3. Do a YouTube workout with your favorite trainer
  4. Walk the hills in a nearby neighborhood
  5. Do a Daily Burn or some other Workout program App on the computer/Ipad/phone
  6. Do a workout class at the gym
  7. Swim laps at a local swimming pool
  8. Go on a bike ride (on a stationary bike or outdoors)
  9. Lift weights combined with a step machine, tredmill or sedimentary workout machine at gym or home
  10. Dance in your living room to your favorite 7 songs

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 212016
 

My daughter was dealing in what I like to call “extremes” this week.  Grade school pictures.  Happened.  And even though I tried to reassure her of the positives, her phrase to sum it all up to her Dad when first walking through the door was, “I got my school picture and it is %100 bad.”  And the bad does not stop here people.  This week just keeps comin’ at ya.

Emotions.  Oh to know and understand them.  This is the real chore.  With 3 girls under 7 in tow and home.  The 2nd “extreme”  came out while consecutively keeping a hula hooping session underway (she has watched her mother multitask and fail miserably, so I am sure her subconscious competitive spirit was in full swing).  “I came with my best friend to play the game with everyone, but when the circle came to my turn, they skipped me.  And my best friend didn’t even stand up for me.  And so I said, ‘Well, I guess you just don’t like me and don’t want to ever play with me.  You are not my friend anymore.’ ”  (Of course this is the reader’s digest version for you all.  I would be happy to expand the what was a 30 minute conversation of wading through tears and story plot if you email me.  And don’t have a life.)

The words of making up possible reasons or excuses for the others wasn’t a good idea.  The mama “Jesus teaches us…” only made the hula hooping the main event.  And the mama empathy seemed to move the slow faucet drips to a constant waterfall of tears.  So I was at a loss.  Once again.  In mothering.

But I couldn’t help but think to myself- “Man, she is definitely making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ (don’t you love the intense analogy I used here).  If only she could see herself through the eyes of Jesus and me, to stand on truth here instead of focusing on the wounds of other’s.  Then her “NOT’s” mindest and heart could be propelled into the present and future as an opportunity to empathize with other’s in their times of woundedness and exclusion and find strength and unfailing love in the arms of Jesus.  He is the ONLY one.  ONLY Savior.  ONLY friend.  Who will never let her and us down.

As I looked on my daughter with self pity, the pride came before a fall as I found myself living in dual mindsets as her this week.  “A little birdie told me” of a conversation which happened among some of my dearest friend’s.  In which I wasn’t there.  But even though I had recently layed my heart and soul before them, without knowing it they crushed it.  Because when looking for someone to fulfill a specific role in ministry, my name wasn’t considered.  It was NOT a factor.  I was NOT considered.  Picked.  And at this point, I also, like my daughter, when to the “extremes” or the I’m “%100 bad” mindset.  I won’t deny it.  I was wounded.  And this is where Satan earns his paycheck.  I went to the dark place.  I didn’t believe God would ever use me, because He must think like everyone else and consider everyone else but me.  Because I am NOT.

Memories of 7th grade NOT being picked for the basketball team came to mind.  Of being the 8th bride in the “7 brides for 7 brother’s” Musicale (if you didn’t catch the gist there, I was NOT in the show due to their only being 7 brides and not 8.  Sorry if I just insulted your intelligence by explaining this joke, my husband tells me I am real good at doing this.)  And so.  the NOTs kept.  On.  Coming.  But I remembered what to do when “100% bad” hits.

Go.  To.  my heavenly Father.  And be.  In His lifegiving company.  And Sit.  Asking His Word to speak to me.  (Getting His download of me instead of others’.  And at this point I KNEW Satan was real upset.  So good!)  And let me tell you-I came out fully loved.  fully valued.  fully gifted.  fully rebuilt.  fully strengthed.  fully geared up to be sent out to serve.

I wonder if you are in a “%100 bad” mindset/circumstance today.  Well guess what?  When in the dark pit, there is one best thing to do.  Look up.  To Jesus.  And allow His light to shine on in.  Or maybe, like my daughter’s hula hoop, you are in a round and round and round cycle of negative/untrue/”hula hoop lies” thinking towards yourself and/or someone else and don’t know how to stop?  Will you ask God to enter into this place and guide you into all Truth?

And so I pray for you today, my sister, the same prayer I prayed for myself.  “Lord come and speak and help and renew.”  The outcome being the 100% bad mindset of “NOTs” (that other’s, ourselves and the enemy infiltrates our minds with) strangely amounting to NOTHING.  And we find ourselves humming the true song of the love, hope and purpose in the mighty name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Message)  Strength from Weakness

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 122016
 

Well, those unfulfilled expectations snuck up and bit me in the booty.  Again.  And here’s some more transparency for you.  It was a morning of self pity.  And I couldn’t seem to shake it.  It was a morning of the nasty word “defeat”.  And it resonated all too well.   It was a morning of where my word for the month “hope” was no where in sight.  And I needed.  to.  hear.  good.  words.  from.  God.

After tries and tries of marketing my book in various ways I recognized I hadn’t talked with God about how He would desire for me to “get the book out there”.  I felt a nudge from the Spirit a couple months ago to go about marketing in quite a strange, seemingly not productive way.  When I asked the Lord what He would have me do with this stack of books that had been sitting for a year in my closet, I heard the phrase “One book at a time”.  Hmmm….and after making sure the Lord knew how non grand scale of reach this would have, I obeyed.  And I have been relying on Him.  Each week.  Asking Him, “Who this week, Lord?”  And He has been faithful every week to bring a name to mind.  And the Lord has been asking me to cook up His recipe; excluding my own “logic ingredients” and including many cups of “courage, humble, listen and obey ingredients”.  And I have been absolutely amazed at how He is strengthening my faith and allowing me to “taste and see that the Lord is good” with these mini miracle cakes which come out of the oven each week.

So why am I in a state of self pity when from the paragraph above it would seem all is well?  And I am glad you asked because I will tell you.  One of the names I believed I was to send a book to was a famous female Christian author and speaker who I have followed and adored for years.  Even though I peed my pants a little when I felt this nudge of the Spirit, I pushed through the fear.  I wrote a lengthy letter to her and sent off the book.  (This was even more of an accomplishment if you know me because you have never and probably will never receive anything from me if it is getting there by the post office.)  There was hope, though, in sending this off.  I thought to myself, “Yes, this is going to be the “one book at a time” person who will read my book, love it, respond to my letter to ask if I would come speak with her at her next venture.  Good thinkin Lord!”

And so I got a letter in the mail today.  With the return address of the above author’s ministry name listed.  I literally held my breath as I opened it.  But as soon as my breath was held, it was let out quickly with a breath of defeat. It was written by her “correspondence team”.  A form letter.  Lifeless words filled my heart as my eyes took it all in.  And the “D words” settled down deep.  Devastated.  Defeated.  Done.

I cried a little.  Then looked to my God to support me in my self pity state.  He was good to me.  My devotional for the day talked about how self pity is not walking in trust in God.  And if we feel self pity the thing to combat it is to give Jesus praise and thanks because we can’t have self pity at the same time as when we are thanking God.  So I decided to do this.  (Although it was more than hard.)  And then I flipped the scriptures and said, “Lord, I need a word from you to give me hope and comfort.”  And praise.  God.  Wouldn’t you know He was so good to have me flip open to the very scripture He gave me to send and write to the author I had just been so disappointed by.  It was as if He was saying, “You heard me right, you are on the right track, be patient, I still have plans for you.”  And then He went one step further-the Spirit highlighted the words “learned to acclaim you” in the scripture.  I looked up the word “acclaim” in the dictionary and it means “to praise”.      He said to my heart, “You are blessed today because you are learning to praise Me even when it’s hard-you just did that.  The scripture doesn’t say “blessed are those who acclaim” but “blessed are those who LEARN to acclaim”.   I am teaching you how to praise Me.”

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence  Psalm 89:15

God continued to speak love into me as He as I flipped open to this verse:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1

And if that wasn’t enough goodness of God to fill me with encouragement and hope, I put on a new work out DVD and had to smile as the instructor said, “Let’s punch out defeat this morning!  Don’t quit.  Finish the race strong!!”

So whatever you find yourself disappointed by, discouraged by, defeated by this morning, get off of the self pity train and jump on the thank and praise God train.  Let’s finish the race strong because we KNOW His timing is perfect and His plans are BIG.  Continue on in patience and perseverance the race with Jesus my friends and we WONT be disappointed in the end!

What can you thank and praise God for today as you “learn to acclaim/praise” Him?

What unanswered decision, defeat, disappointment, or unfulfilled expectation do you need to trust Jesus and fix your eyes on Him as you “run with patience”?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 092016
 

Love perseveres….1 Corinthians 13:7b

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-5

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

It is time to air out some dirty laundry.  Throughout my childhood the word “perseverance” may as well have been the word “Olympian” because both were non existent in my life.  I distinctly remember trying a variety of sports/activities/hobbies on for size.  But there was a common thread which determined whether my interest would dwindle or ignite.  The difficulty and amount of work required.  When I learned piano lessons involved hours of practicing outside of the actual lesson, I told my Mom this wasn’t for me.  Neither was ballet, or gymnastics, for the same reason.  In college, I knew I wanted to do a music major, but when Theory class came around, I quit.  The class was extremely difficult and so I considered other options which were easier to me.  As an adult, the above word has been evident in my life.  Although mainly because I was forced into it.

My most recent “must persevere moments” have been due to our now 7 week old baby girl.  The last nine months before she was born, I puked.  Nearly every day and usually multiple times.  But I had to persevere.  When she has been screaming non stop for 15 minutes and my only wish is for 2 hours of straight sleep at night, I have to persevere.  The above two are “forced perseverence” opportunities, but the one I am currently struggling with I have brought upon myself.  One word-Weightloss.  Getting rid of the baby weight involves self control in my diet, hard work with the “Daily Burn video’s” each morning, and an ability to continue doing it even when the scale proves disheartening.  This last Thursday I was ready to go back to my childhood piano playing mindset and let the baby weight stay.

I cried to my friends as I told them of my weeks of work and the scale showed only 1 pound less.  My discouragement was at a 10.  My hope was at a 0.  My heart needed much.  And so they prayed.  For strength to continue the hard work.  For help, healing and comfort from the Father.  For my spirit to be lifted with quick results.  Ultimately-they exemplified how “love perseveres”.  Because they cared for me, they would not let me quit.  But they would let me be encouraged through their caring prayers of hope.

And through their prayers the Holy Spirit comforted my deep wounded soul.  And I know nothing is impossible with God.  And so I continue on this difficult journey.  It may take more time than I would want.  It may take more work than I would want.  It may take more mustering up of discipline and self control than I would want.  But I trust God.  And His Word.  And know through this perseverance, there is character and hope on the horizon.

What are you currently needing to persevere?  Will you ask friends to pray with you to help you endure?

Who can you give encouragement and hope to in order to show you love them and are with them in their struggle?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 312015
 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercyhe has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:3-7

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 13:15

My sister in law asked me what was my favorite gift was this year.  I didn’t have to think long.  It was Evie.  My 12/12/15 birthday baby.  Having gone through 9 months of a challenging pregnancy, her long awaited arrival was sweet.  With only a couple weeks into maneauvering a family of 5, the meaning of Evie’s name (even amidst my kidney stone hospital run 4 days after her birth, lack of sleep, nursing woes, the too many billyrubin pricks, and Christmas craze/sickness which befell upon everyone) strangely rings true for me now.  “Life”.

Her life has brought me life.  Just as our God promises abundant life to those who believe and follow Him, His gift of the life of Evie to me has overwhelmed me with unspeakable peace, joy and hope at the end of this year.  In remembering our four and a half years of infertility, I am grateful to God.  For my three when I had come to accept I wouldn’t have one.  For girls when I planned on boys.  For making it clear that Evie’s life was in His timing, His control and His perfect plan-not mine.  And ultimately, that our.  God.  Is.  Faithful.  And.  Can.  Be.  trusted.  Fully.  Evie=life.  God=the life giver.  Evie=a blessed, good gift to me.  God=THE giver of ALL good gifts.

Over the past couple weeks, I believe the Lord has been bringing someone to my mind.  Over.  And over again.  (These consistent, persistent thoughts, seeming out of my typical thought patterns is typically a sign to me that God is nudging me to act in some way for Him.)  I do not know this person well.  In fact have only met them one time, but know of their story.  Their story is one of chronic pain.  Inability to live life much outside the walls of home.  Everyday reliance on family to care for and meet financial, and physical needs.  And in our one, brief moment of meeting, the word HOPE flooded my entire being.  And this word continued to appear in the days and weeks which followed our interaction-a Facebook invite popped up “A night of Hope”; our sermon series at church was on “Hope”; and scriptures, as well as songs, involving a certain word (I think you know) permeated my days.

I knew I was to contact this person, pray for this person, do something for this person but didn’t know exactly how to proceed.  That’s when I believe God made my next step clear.  Our church gave everyone a $30 gift card to pass on to a person of our choice.  To bless them this season.  This person came immediately to my mind.  This financial blessing was definitely not the way I thought the Lord would have me proceed.  I told my husband I believed God placed someone on my heart to give this to.  And He graciously agreed to the choice.

We emailed but have not been able to connect with this person yet.  But I trust His timing will be perfect.  And it is this morning in which  I have been able to lift my head briefly from the new Mom fog and get a quick swig of coffee (from our new machine which actually uses whole beans-I feel so spoiled, but I’m ok with it) and some in the Word/fix my eyes on Jesus time (while the miracle moment happened- the babe was sleeping, the girls were happily occupied and the house looked decent enough for me to feel grace/freedom from my Father for some much needed time with Him).  And this person was brought to my cloudy, rummy mind again.  And the three songs which came on K love nearly brought me tears as my heart went out to this individual.  And I actually did cry as the Lord brought to mind what my next theme verse I would be writing on was, “Love is always hopeful”.  There was that “hope” word again.

Then my moment of God time was interrupted by Evie’s newborn cry.  (The gas breaks up those sleep patterns much more often than i would like.)  I decided to put try her for the first time in the “Baby Bourne” carrier.  It had worked before for the other girlies, hoping for the best with this one as well.  As my husband helped me get her all locked in snug to my chest, I continued to find His Spirit speaking in my everyday new baby routine.  Evie fought with all her might with her little hands, feet and bobbing head to break free, but then finally relaxed.  Was calmed.  And found peace and rest in just being held.

May we, on this day before the New Year, also stop fighting.  To be in control of it all.  To know and understand it all.  To do and be it all.  And be held by our heavenly Father’s loving arms-finding true peace in our current circumstances because He is THE Prince of Peace.  Finding true rest from our anxieties and worries when we give our burdens to Him because He cares deeply about them and about us.  And finding true HOPE for our now and tomorrow’s New Year because we know He is the only true HOPE we base our lives upon, knowing His plans for us are good and hopeful (Jer 29:11).

As this is a “too be continued” story since we have not yet given our $30 gift card to the individual I believe God put on my heart/mind, I wait in hopeful expectation as to how God will show up, be glorified.  And may you be encouraged by our God of Hope as you wait in expectation as to His good gifts and plans He has for you in 2016 as you allow Him to hold you in His loving arms of HOPE today.

What trial in your life are you going down the “giving up”/”quitting” path?  Will you ask God for His strength to persevere in the hard and restore to you His hope today?

Would you be willing to ask God what area you need to submit to Him in this New Year?

 Would you take the opportunity in the beginning of the New year to lay down fears to the Father and ask Him for courage to step out in faith (not sight) in response to the Spirit’s “nudge” ( “new mission” of obedience) He is calling you to?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 112015
 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  Hebrews 10:39

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6

I woke up this morning with the musicale Newsies song, “Now is the time to seize the day” on continual repeat.  It was the day before my due date.  An induction is planned for tomorrow.  But I am holding out hope.  Praying in faith.  Asking.  For our baby girl to come today.  Tonight.  And so “Now is the time to seize the day”.

To “seize” something is to:

“take hold of suddenly and forcibly; Take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively.”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on;

And the opposite of “to seize” is:  “let go of;  release”

Today I had no plans on the calendar (which was also what was on the agenda for yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that).  Kind of a strange feeling being in this holding pattern.  Waiting for our baby girl.  So I did something I may not have the time or ability to relax into in the months to come-take a shower.  Actually blow dry and straight iron my hair.  And visit my husband for some quality time at his office (with a slight hidden agenda of being there for “Friday Donut/Primo Coffee” day while the girls are in school.)  Oh.  The.  Simple.  Joys.

As I was giving the Administrative Assistant the “latest baby coming updates”, one of my husbands colleagues passed by and looked at me somewhat strangely (of course this was nothing new since being called, “The Death Star” from Star Wars among other shocking comments seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind as I entered any space with my protruding belly).  But his comment was different.  He said, “You seem strangely calm for possibly having a baby at any time.”  And I was.

In spite of what I knew was around the corner (all unknown labor stuff), I had prayed for His peace.  I was taking hold of this very day-seizing this day-without fear.  In a state of active peace.  Prepared and ready.  I am choosing to clutch these next 24 hours in a peace filled, expectant pattern, joy embracing, confident stepping, faith shielding space.  And I have no doubt my loving Father is right by my side.  Actually on all sides, having gone before me already.

William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Peter seized the day.  Stepped out of the boat in faith.  And took action to miraculously walk on water to Jesus.  He many times gets a bad rap for his doubt which came after, but I see him as the ONLY one who actually “seized the day” in faith.  Noah built an ark when there was no rain.  Moses lifted up his staff and parted the Red Sea.

My “seizing the day” today so far has not entailed some grand act of the miraculous as Peter, Noah and Moses displayed.  But that’s just fine.  Maybe your day will also look similar to mine.  My “seizing the day” has gone something like this:  Choosing His peace over thoughts of anxiety about what tomorrow may bring;  Casting my cares/worries upon Him because I know He will take them and cares about them (and me);  Embracing the joy moments of quality time with my husband and family;  Listening to the Spirit’s still small voice which encourages me through the Word and others; Standing in faith, knowing that no matter what, I am loved and never left alone.

So “Carpe Diem” my friends!  (Latin for “seize the day,” an aphorism found in the Roman writer Horace’s Odes, this phrase has been used in English since the early 1800s.  Used to urge someone to make the most of the present time without concern for the future.)   Do not allow worry and fear of the future to rob you of living the vibrant, God ordained, faith filled life He has for you today.  Lean into the Spirit’s nudges which call you to action without knowing how things will end up.

We are only “a mist” the Bible says which is here on earth for a little while.  May you be called a “mist of faith”.  Not holding back.  Not being afraid of the “what if’s”.  Not being complacent with the earthly norms.  But seizing.  every.  opportunity.  to.  grab onto Jesus.  And watch in expectation as He grabs onto you as you walk by “faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

What action can you take to “seize the day” today and respond in faith to the Spirit’s leading?

Is there a decision you are allowing fear of the unknown/lack of sight to lead rather than trusting Jesus/living by faith?  Will you ask God to help you have courage and not be afraid?

 

 

 

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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Sep 142015
 

I am now confident that in no way can I prepare myself for the conversations which will occur after my kids get home from school.  I can only expect that there will be many more of these unexpected moments with my children in the future.  My unanticipated conversation yesterday with my daughter was not a difficult one.  Thankfully.  It was not one which tested my mothering wisdom or skills.  It was simply hilarious.

So my youngest daughter’s first day of Kindergarten seemed to have been a success.  The only frustration seemed to be not being able to ride the bus home.  We covered a series of questions about learning, her teacher, her table mates, recess, snack, and friends.  But the friend comment was the one which made me chuckle from within.  I asked her, “Did you make any new friends?”  She said, “Yes”.  I replied, “What is their name?”  She didn’t miss a beat with, “I just call him Samuel.”  I questioned her with, “Now that is an interesting thing to say, is that his name or isn’t it?  Did you just decide to call him Samuel or what?”  She said, “When he told me his name it went right out of my brain and so I just call him Samuel now because I don’t know and can’t remember his name.”  (We talked about maybe it would be a good idea tomorrow to ask him his name again and then call him by that name.  :))

Some of us are gifted at remembering people’s names and some of us find this to be quite challenging.  How about with our God?  What are we currently calling Him and is it really His true name?  Or maybe have we forgotten it or really don’t know it?  Are we, like my daughter, just calling Him “Samuel”-using some sudo/false name?  I wonder if one of the below untrue names I have used before are on your heart and mind in your current relationship with God-

“I just call Him Samuel”/false names I have called God

  • I just call Him”Condemner”- because I believe I am a bad person (failed too many times), and God cannot use me or forgive me of my sin.  God’s True Name is “Savior”-For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:17
  • I just call Him “Stealer of my joy/fun”- because It seems all I am being compelled to do is get rid of every food, drink, activity which I love and other unbeliever’s are “living the high life”.  God’s True Name is “Life”-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10
  • I just call Him “Unable and Uncaring”-because the trial I am in is causing pain/suffering and I feel hopeless and helpless.  God’s True Name is “Redeemer, Peace, Love”.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33/ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28/Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7
  • I just call Him “Liar”-because He hasn’t answered my prayer in my way or timing.  God’s True Name is “The Way, Trustworthy, Gift giver”.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6/Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

May we get rid of all the “I just call Him Samuel” names we are subconsciously or verbally outright saying about our good God.  May we today ask Him for forgiveness for calling Him by the wrong name.  And may we step forward in all our troubles, fears, with Him as He is our friend who’s Name is, “THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” (John 14:6)

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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