Mar 172017
 

I’ve been thinking.  A. lot.  Which is somewhat detrimental to my overall efficiency throughout the day, but sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit, right?  But seriously, read the below with caution because I warn you-my below journey caused me to do some serious soul searching, heart changing, life risking stuff and will offer you to do the same.  But the beauty is, if you are willing.  With a little spice of courage given from our good God.  The end result is a true, never turn back, rockin it with joy, purpose and freedom kind of life.  So buckle up and get ready for the ride my friend if you so choose.

Now, has your mind ever been a little slow to catch up with what your heart (nudge from God) is telling you to do?  And then the result is absolutely nothing.  Changes.  In.  Your.  Life.  For.  The.  Better?  And you wonder why?  Where I end up is hanging out too much of the time is in a state of mental denial and rationalization, equaling a paralyzed state.  My paralyzed state is my control or comfort state though and to change feels as though I were cutting off an appendage of my body.  Graphic?  Yes.  But sorry, you’re getting the real and raw rather than the sugar coating today my friends.  Here is where the “cutting off of the appendage for Jesus” happened for me this week:

This concept of claiming my identity as a “servant” of Jesus has been my “thing” during these weeks leading up to Easter.  It has been an eye opening season of recognizing, by God’s grace, some food, drink, activities which I regularly cling to for comfort.  And let’s be honest, I have known this for awhile but like I said up above, the mind was a little slow to catch up with the heart.

No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other,or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”  Mt 6:24-25

The Matthew Henry Commentary gives this insight, Serving Jesus looks like this:  “It is something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them.  God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world.”

The words “devoted” and “despised” stood out to me in this verse.  And I thought about my “unwind rituals” in the evening after a long kid and chore filled day.  I felt the Spirit gently bring this question to my mind, “What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  Immediately with this one question, I was able to determine which “desires of the flesh” had become my master instead of Jesus.  Ouch.

Do not love the world or anything in the world.If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:15

So guess what?  I am finishing off the rest of the weeks before Easter with some “dying”.  To.  Masters.  Other than Jesus.  Am I a little scared?  “Yes.”  But am I confident by the power of His Spirit I can do this in His strength and in “cutting off this appendage” I am only being strengthened and equipped to step into the “next” plans He has for me?  Knowing the Kingdom rewards are real and best when we trust and obey Jesus?  “Yes.” I can take Him at His true Word every time, “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19  And “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Mt 6:333

  • So I challenge you, my friend, with the “cutting off the appendage” question-“What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  And whatever comes to mind, are you willing to give it up with me and trust God to bring you His all surpassing joy from being obedient as you make ONLY Jesus your Master you are DEVOTED to?
  • What needs to be repented of/confessed/layed down in your life in order for you to die to the flesh in order to embrace the true, abundant life in Jesus?
  • What area of your mental thoughts needs to come “in sync” with your heart/Spirit’s leading so in unity you can bring glory to the Name of Jesus?
  • How can I be praying for you?  Email me at jillianmwillis@gmail.com

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 142016
 

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life.  Ezekiel 7:4-5

My 11 month old daughter is too much.  In a scary, oh what do we have in store for the future with this red head sort of way.  But also in a laugh my head off, can’t get enough of the “Elaine style” dance moves and sporadic scrunch up the nose, in and out quick breathing.  And if you thought I was giving her a bad break and stereotyping her for her hair color, think again.  When the Bible Study nursery workers say they tell any new volunteers, “Just to warn you, if you hold THIS one, you have to be able to take a punch”, you know there is some fire in those little veins.

This morning my 2 older daughter’s turned on some dance music.  Of course it was 0 minutes to spare before the “Mama school bus” was a leavin, but this didn’t seem to effect them in the least.  Immediately, baby #3 girl is rockin it.  (And by “it” I mean she is trying to walk, but falling looks inevitable) But the music compelled her to give the regular “6 steps and fall” a go. again. and again.  And though I admired her perseverance to “rock it”, it had to be somewhat defeating as the other sister’s “walked it AND rocked it” all around her.

Then, as if her current “rocking” wasn’t challenge enough, she added in her latest trick to the show.  The constant clap.  I am pretty sure this was equivalent to our pat the head, rub the stomach, while hula hooping sort of exercise.  And let me tell you.  This effort was astounding.  Not because of the outcome (no new walking skill was achieved).  But because of her ability to smile and love every minute of her time.  Falls and all.  I wish you could have seen the clap, clap, clap, walk, walk, fall pattern which brought not only her so much joy, but me so much love for her in that moment.  She was loving living.  And I was loving watching her-love life.

I took the older’s to school, but came right back and put on some “Jesus music”, as I like to call it.  I wanted to see more.  More “rockin the love” from my baby girl.  And I got my wish-and then some.

The first song which came on I had never heard before, but put into words my heart in this moment.  The chorus resonated deep, “Live like you’re loved”.  I began to wonder if I, like my little girl, walked, clapped, smiled and loved every minute of being alive.  I wondered if I lived like I should-With love for life.  With abandon.  With freedom.  With carefree, non anxious thoughts.  With the ability to get back up when I “fall” through failures and troubles and trials.  With gratefulness for this very breath I breathe.  With anticipation for the “next” God is calling me into.  And with courage to say “yes” to it.  All because I.  Am.  Loved.  And I.  Am.  A.  Child.  Of.  God.  And so.  are.  you.

If your life feels boring, one question-how’s that workin for ya?  If you feel insecure and inadequate, one question-how’s that workin for ya?  If you are mastered by/numbed by or comforted by addictions of food, drinks, clothes, media-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  If other’s opinions and strengths determine your worth-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  If you are going through the motions in your day-one question, how’s that workin for ya?  I asked myself these questions and came to one conclusion.  I was made to live. loved.  To live.  differently.  And this is what’s gonna work for me.  Living like I am loved is THE ONLY WAY TO LIVE.

I want to live with the roots of my Father’s love spreading down deep so I can thrive as a fruit bearing tree for His Kingdom.  As we lean more and more into our true identity and name as the “Loved One” by Jesus, “seeking first His kingdom”, then we are in for it-in a good, way good sort of way.  As we “arise shine, for our light has come” we bring hope to this hopeless, troublesome, pain filled, dark world.  And we begin to see ourselves more like Jesus see’s us- a unique creation, created by The Creator, with a creative purpose to fulfill here and now.  And this is something to clap and smile about (just as my youngest daughter did), as we are walkin and “rockin” with Jesus, as His loved child, today.

In what ways could you live differently because of this 1 truth that you’re identity is a loved, child of God?

What about God’s love for you brings a smile to your face?  How can you thank God today?

What area of your life needs God to breathe life into it?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 292015
 

“Your statues are wonderful; therefore i obey them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  Direct my footsteps according to Your Word.”  Psalm 119:129-130; 133a

The running path makes all the difference.  I am picky when it comes to where I run.  I choose the path based on multiple questions:  Am I able to run with a view of nature around me (in other words, as little cars, city noise/smells as possible)?  Am I able to have a small amount of distractions?  Do my feet have space to run without being crowded to “walk the line”?  Is there dirt or pavement beneath my feet (because I would prefer dirt)?  Is it well lit (if I am going on a night or early morning run)?

I think I am so picky about where I run because I have made the mistake of choosing poorly before and I don’t want to “go down that road” again.  One path I chose I will never forget.  I chose it because it was conveniently located right outside my husband’s office and I only had a limited time frame.  At the beginning it seemed it would be easy and comfortable since I knew the area around his office well.  But it was anything but easy and comfortable.  I ended up having to tip toe my way around multiple sticker bushes because the path had not been well kept.  I tripped multiple times because of big boulders in the way.  After this path, I was scratched, bruised and stressed.  The running path makes all the difference.

When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.
José N. Harris 

The difference between choosing God’s path and choosing the world’s path makes all the difference as well.  The world’s path may seem easy, comfortable, and convenient, but just like my “i will never forget nightmare path”, it is marked by sin, which takes us down the road of selfish ambition, depression, anxiety, and ultimately leads to death.  Eternal death.  Not a real uplifting path overall, when you see what the end of it is, but it is surprisingly appealing at the beginning of it.

I am thankful our God has a designated path for each of us.  It is marked by life and light.  It is not one without trouble and pain, but along the way there is joy.  Peace.  Purpose.  And in the end it leads to life.  Eternal life.

We get the opportunity to choose God’s running path or the world’s running path each day.  We step with our feet in obedience to God’s commands and Word or we step with our feet in obedience with our selfish sinful desires of the flesh.

I find when I am not spending time in God’s Word, this culture has a way of sneaking into my mind and heart and beckoning me to think and act for myself.  To be concerned with earthly things rather than heavenly, Kingdom things.  Jesus even reprimanded Peter at one point saying in Mark 8, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  Because our flesh is in constant battle with our spirit, we NEED to devote time to talk with God and read and think through His Word of truth.

When we are at a crossroads and do not know what path to choose, we can also have comfort that God WILL show us His good, in fact best path.  Scripture says His Word is light.  And so we can have confidence that His light will open and close doors, in His way and timing so we are not left to choose on our own.  In times of waiting on the Lord, it is not helpful to entertain fears in the now or the future.  Waiting times are an opportunity to be who we were made to be.  A faithful servant.  To actually put our feet, mind, and heart where our mouth is and Live.  By.  Faith.  Not sure of what is ahead.  Not understanding all the closed doors.  But trusting.  That our good God is in control.  And WILL open the well lit, sweet smelling, peace giving, purpose giving path which will ultimately.  End.  In.  Life.

Are your feet stepping on a well lit path or have you taken some sinful, dark steps off of it?  Will you ask God for forgiveness for following your selfish desires of the flesh and to light up the right path He has instead?

Will you rest in waiting on the Lord in His perfect way because “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”  Ephesians 1:11?

What fear will you give over to God today and “Run, Run, Run” to His arms of love where peace is found?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 052014
 

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Phil 4:11-13

Just as I finished running for five hours and crossed the marathon finish line I was taken through the gauntlet of food vendors and shirt and medal pick up spots.  All I had to do was walk through it.  But my legs were not working well.  I literally looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dam as I maneuvered through each booth.  “But I just ran a marathon,” I thought to myself, “Why is the walking part afterward such so much of a challenge.  It’s JUST WALKING!”

I barely made the walk through before I met my family and quickly stated I needed their help.  I put my arms around my adopted daughter on one side and my husband on the other and I put most my weight on them as they took me to the car.  Because my legs couldn’t transition to the walk after the run.

One may say the mountain I just climbed was beyond my own ability.  And they would be right.  It is only through His strength that I overcame the mountain.  Glory to God for His work in me to accomplish what I believed to be impossible.  And glory to God for giving us assignments that are so beyond us that we end up living beyond ourselves.

This mountain assignment to run a marathon from God was not easy.  Not perfectly carried out.  Not free from spiritual, mental and emotional attacks.  But it was one thing.  Radiant. Radiant because the journey to the top is the greatest adventure beyond anything you could put together on your own.  It is mixed with unexpected hiccups, but also crazy miracles.  It is an adventure and ride like none other.  Boredom is not remotely close to your mind and heart as you are so focused on the enormous task before you.

But where I sit today is in the state after the mountain top has been reached.  The four months of training had consumed much time, energy, and focus.  But the battle is over.  The self discipline, learning new skills, relying on God for knowledge and strength and watching it all unfold is over.  And the “What now?” pulse is running through my veins.  I am left at the bottom of having climbed what felt to be this huge mountain with God and  I am feeling a bit ansy.  I find myself ready to do and unable to sit.  rest. be.  I am looking and longing for more.  My body, heart, and mind are the opposite of on a high.  My inner thoughts go,  “How could anything get better than this?  Maybe this was my big purpose God had for me and now it’s just coasting through the rest of my life.  Maybe I can kiss the rush of abundant life with Jesus goodbye.  Because I can’t see what is next.”

A Daughter’s prayer of longing:

Where do I go Lord after the mountaintop?  Help me settle in with you and learn to walk. with. you. for. the. next. step.  Be my gentle Shepherd that leads me up the mountain, down the mountain, and on the flat ground after the mountain.  Teach me what it means to walk in the realness of life with you.  Experiencing rejoicing, pain, overcoming, and aftermath.  Content to be still.  If this is what you are asking of me today.  Not living for the high of following You.  Just.  following.  You.  For Your love and purposes for me are something I can stand firmly on.   I am  privileged to be called Your daughter.  May I be found faithful to You in all this world brings my way.  And may I be faithful to You as I trust in Your ways, not my own.

A Father God’s response of fulfilling:

I am a God of more.  Your small feeling of radiance doesn’t compare with what I have planned for you up ahead.  There is a lot more where that came from.  I am not a God who leaves.  I am not a God who gives up on you.  I am relentless to love you unconditionally.  I am always ready to keep pouring out abundant life.  Abundant life happens when you are connected to Me, the Vine.  But recognize this life is never in your plan.  Timing.  Or expected strength.   Let go of looking for that next assignment I have for you.  Let Me take care of the details and strategy.  My ways will never be your ways.  My time will never be your time.  There will be highs and lows and flat areas we walk on together in this life.  But it is not about what elevation you are currently standing on.  It is about one thing.  Fixing your eyes on Me. constantly. Trust Me.  I am a God who is doing a work even in the “down time” of life.   Will you let go and release cares, worries, emotions, expectations?  Will you stop striving to earn and do and go?  Instead allow My perfect peace to resonate in your deep soul.  Rest. Refresh.  Be.  In Me.  Today.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

There are times when I am focused on the task at hand and times when my mind is swayed by everything else around me.  It was a time when the latter was evident-the word “concentration” was far from my reality.

I was running on my regular nature path.  But for the life of me I could not stay on it.  Let me explain.

I saw a florescent wad of cloth off a couple feet to my left.  I was strangely drawn to it.  Who knows, maybe I had left it on a previous run?  I followed my curiosity to the field beside me. I found it was a boy’s shirt.  Truly not life changing.  Or even slightly exciting.  And most definitely didn’t belong to my girl power kiddo’s.

I was able to move on from this sighting fairly immediately.  I was about to get back on the path when something else mysterious caught the corner of my eye.  It was a deer.  Now this was a little more exciting-an untamed animal in the wild.  And I was mesmerized.  By its calm, staring demeanor.  And if this wasn’t enough of a little piece of heaven, another deer came to join.  And then another followed right behind!   I stood only three feet away from three deer and breathed in and out slowly with eyes fixed on the group.

After the deer party ran into the woods, I headed back to the path to run.  But surprisingly there were multiple other distractions that took me off the path.  Once for roadkill (curiosity getting truly getting the best of me this time), and a sprinkler (happened to turn on with the perfect timing so I received two showers instead of my typical one for the day).

In all of my inability to stay focused on the running route at hand, there was one thing which kept bringing me back to the path for which I had come in the first place.  One thing that helped me refocus on running.  One thing that was so beautiful, there was nothing I could do but respond with action.

The Brilliant Sun.  Rising to mark the new day.  Lighting up the entire sky with brightness.  And when my mind and feet had wandered off the path, this sun beckoned me to look up.  It was as if it was almost daring me to stare into the light because no other shirt, deer, or distracting circumstance below held a candle.  And strangely looking into the light jolted me out of my Curious George moments and reminded me of what I was here to do.  Run.  on.  the.  path.

It is the same way with the light of Jesus.  God shines His light on our path-behind.  before.  in the very present.  And it beckons us to follow.  Anytime we fix our eyes on Jesus, the light of the world, our current “off the path” distractions cannot compete.  Any “off the path” things such as sin, worry, dark places of depression, family crisis, financial issues, trials, busyness, lies, doubts, or insecurities to be seen clearly for what they are.  Satan’s plan to kill, steal, destroy and distract us from God’s plan and love for us.

Turning to focus on the light of the Son gets us out of our mundane, anxiety driven, sin bound, weary minded, restless, fruitless selves and reminds us of our identity, love and calling in Jesus (just like focusing on the sun reminded me of the run on the path I was meant to do).  The light of Jesus reminds us that He will use our difficult circumstances and weak areas for the good of His Kingdom.  That His Word gives specific guidance to our now.  And that no darkness can overcome it.  No matter whether you are currently on the God’s path for you, just stepped off the path, have been too busy to recognize if you are or aren’t on the path, have never been on the path, can’t remotely even know where to begin to get back on the path, our God see’s.  And holds out loving arms of grace to each of us.

So let’s look to the Son/”Sun” today and be welcomed onto His path of light and life.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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