Apr 292016
 

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:3-8

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

 I am letting you in on the “real” from my week.  And I can tell you the “Best Christian Mother” awards have been given out elsewhere. Maybe it’s because on Monday my ability to hang in there for any amount of time with my daughter for the earth day bird feeder project was nonexistent.  Maybe it’s because on Tuesday my motivation to fold laundry was left back in my more “trying to be Martha” days.  It could be because on Wednesday the dinner was leftover leftover’s.  But it also might be the fact that on Thursday I spilt the coffee grounds all over the floor-twice-once in the morning, once in the evening. 

But Friday’s realization hit me harder than all the others.  I have SO felt my heavenly Father pressing me into talking to Him more in this season-I felt led to start prayer groups, have been praying with excitement, faith, and regularity regarding specific needs/people for our church, am taking time to stop the conversation with a friend who is stressed or needs guidance and pray for them then and there (no matter if it’s in the grocery store or at school) and have made efforts to include Jesus in my random thoughts and tasks, asking Him to “work out with me, cook with me, and clean with me”.  So I guess this is why the “condemnation/guilt” train of the enemy stayed longer than usual at the station of my mind and heart this week when I made this Friday’s “lack of parenting” realization.  My Friday doozy downer, whether I was too tired, lazy or whatever excuse could be used, was I had not been praying with my girls.  This “Power of a Praying Mom” hadn’t been intentional and disciplined to teach and rolemodel prayer (other than meal times) with her little’s.  So I thanked the Lord for the unexpected garage treasure Friday find of a flip and write notebook of nighttime prayers for children.  And I thanked Him for His grace as I knew tonight was the night to take on a new intentional habit of nighttime prayers with those He had entrusted to me.

I started my showing the flip and write book to my middle daughter.  And she took to it quickly.  She chose a prayer and we read it together.  Then she got to write her own prayer to Jesus (and you would have thought it was this five year olds birthday when I showed her it had a dry erase marker and eraser.)

We have been doing the flip and write prayer for a couple days now and I had another realization.  I came in thinking I had to teach my daughter’s how to pray and they ended up teaching me.  Below are the some of the prayers they wrote to God:

Day 1-You are good to me.

Day2-I love you.

Day 3-I want to be baptized in water.

Day 4-Help me not forget my (earth day) project.

Day 5-Thanks for giving me a break today (to play instead of doing the typical homework routine).

Oh the simplicity.  Oh how short.  Oh the faith.  Oh how “real”.  Oh the humility.  Oh how grateful.  Of these from the heart, whatever’s on the mind prayers.  And I know our heavenly Father is smiling.  When we follow a child like faith prayer model.

  • So whenever we receive good news this week may we shoot up a “you are good to me” prayer in the moment.
  • At random laundry folding moments or right when our feet hit the floor in the morning may we say “I love you” to Jesus.
  • May we make time to “be still and know that He is God”, inviting Him to wash us with His living water!
  • May we fix our eyes on Him saying “Help me”, when fear, anxiety and trouble begin to fill our minds and circumstances.
  • And may we continue to say “thank you Jesus” for specifics of the blessings in our lives.

In what circumstance do you need to take on some childlike faith and trust God instead of being overwhelmed and frustrated at the mess around you?

In what specific times of the day can you incorporate some 2 second prayers to God to include Him in your everyday tasks?

Are you growing in the knowledge, grace and love for God and if not, why not?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 302015
 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 122015
 

But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.Isaiah 26:10

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  1 John 3:16

As I went on my “Jesus talk time” walk this morning, a structure literally stopped me from taking another step.  Not only was it in my way, but it brought tears to my eyes as to what it represented.  It was not intended to create this type of response in another person, but I was given a God perspective/word picture in that very moment.  And it caused me to remember Jesus.  Understand gifts of grace differently.  Look with rekindled urgency and compassion upon the unbeliever.  And walk with a spirit of gratitude today.

The structure blocking my path was a large bookshelf/cabinet.  It was put out on the sidewalk for anyone to see.  It was being offered to ANYONE who would take it.  Because no amount of work or money was required to purchase this piece.  And how did I know this?  Because the sign said FREE.

I immediately took a picture of it with my phone and sent it to my husband.  We were in need of some new storage cabinets for our living room and I thought, “What a find!”  Sure it was old.  used.  And needed a paint job in the worst way, but FREE was hard to beat!  My husband’s response to this offer was, “No thanks”.   Short and sweet.  No thinking about it.  For whatever reason, we were not on the same page.  I would take the FREE, deal of the century (in my mind) which was being offered, but it was not of want to him.  I walked away feeling a little sad.

Now I told you at the beginning that tears filled my eyes as I approached this structure.  You may be wondering why.  Well, I can tell you it wasn’t the beauty of the structure.  Nor was it the fact my husband and I had been looking for a living room storage piece and this could have been the one.  Nor was it the pregnancy hormones which fire at any random circumstance.  It was how the cardboard sign lie perpendicular to the tall/straight structure.  It looked like a cross.  The cross Jesus died on for me.  And absolutely spot on that the cost for the “cross” was FREE.

I began to contemplate how so many friends, family, co workers, and neighbors we come into contact with daily have said, for whatever reason, “No thanks” (as my husband did for the storage piece) to the FREE cross of Jesus.

A note about FREE:  There’s something about this word, “FREE”, which isn’t appealing or even risky to people.  When we hear an object is FREE, we conclude it must be broken.  Shouldn’t be wanted.  Old.  Not valuable.  Maybe this is why people cannot understand God’s gift of salvation to be good when it is FREE.

Another note about FREE:  Just as I received some FREE maternity clothes from my sister in law the other day, I have an innate need to pay her back for it.  I thought about any clothes I had she could use.  I rummaged through old baby extra’s, asking if she needed anything for her new baby.  Sure enough she could use my Bumbo!  So I happily gave it to her.  It felt as if my debt for the maternity clothes had been paid.

And still another:  Maybe this need to “return the favor” when FREE is given to us explains why I continue to try to pay back Jesus’s free gift of salvation (through His death for me on the cross/paying my debt) through my acts of service for Him, obedience to His Word, or discipline to His Spirit.  It is difficult and even beyond my comprehension to grasp I can do nothing to repay this FREE Jesus gift.  But this is the beauty and wonder of the cross.

So may we accept the FREE gift of salvation, unconditional love, extravagant grace, abundant life, eternal life, payment for ALL our sin, and unspeakable hope and joy of our God today.  And may this truth propel us to to tell others of this FREE gift. Even if they have said, “No thanks”, in the past.  Even if we think they will say, “No thanks” now.  Let’s put the cross out their with our FREE “sign” on it just as my neighbor did with their storage piece.   And may His peace rest on us today as we live in constant reminder and thank Him today for His FREE cross.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 182015
 

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.  Proverbs 14:30

I don’t know about you but I’d rather have healthy bones in my body.  The above scripture portray’s the fairly (or absolutely- if you will) negative impact jealousy and envy can have on our lives.  And my bones felt the pull towards envy decay right off the bat this week.  (I find that God has not waited to provide practice opportunities for my “love attribute of the week”.  First day of “Do not envy” and it’s go time.  Oh let the fun begin!)

Envy/Jealousy versus  Contentment Moment #1-with my brother-

As I walked around my brother’s new property I was in awe.  Of our creator God.  The pink sky I felt I could reach out and touch.  The snow covered mountain on my right.  The quiet wrestling of trees all around me.  Majesty.  Apparent everywhere my eyes rested.  Majesty.  Of a God with such creativity and wonder.  Majesty.  Of a place to live.  It was here where my spirit filled thoughts went to garbage town.  It started with one simple question.  “Why not me?”  I wanted this.  I wanted something I didn’t have.   And then the compare.  “Why does he get “majesty living” and I get “too close for comfort, in town living?”

But right about at this point I stopped the “envy train”.  And I blowed the whistle on a discontented attitude.  “Love does not envy” was the train’s new direction.  “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15) kept the mental train on the right track. I thought about all the things about where I live that I have to be thankful for and the train was running full steam ahead.  I began to get a burst of excitement when I pictured my brother’s family getting this joy filled gift from God.  A place of peace and beauty in the upcoming new season.  A place to provide hospitality for others.  A place of rest after many busy years.  A place to enjoy God and enjoy others.  (Now there was no way the mental train was turning back.)

Thank you God for my home.  Thank you God for all your good gifts that come from above.  Thank you God for providing this good gift to my brother.  

Envy/Jealousy versus  Contentment Moment #2-with my husband-

I was on a run and praying through what area’s of jealousy/envy I am unaware of in my life.  The scripture reading for the day on my Bible App for my phone was Isaiah 56.  A portion of it talks about the wicked being those who love sleep.  (Bummer.  Guess I am in the wicked camp on this one.)  Just that morning I looked over at my husband who was resting so peacefully.  And I, in turn, threw off my covers with such frustration that I hit myself in the face.  It began with a simple question, again, (you would think I would catch the trend here), “Why not me?”  I once again wanted something I didn’t have.  The grass is greener on the other side…of the bed.  Followed up by the comparison trap again, “Why does he get to sleep while I have to get up early to work out, write, and/or have time with God?”  Unfortunately I stayed in this discontented, distasteful state until I read the above Isaiah passage.  God’s Word is so timely and applicable to our current life situations.  It allowed me, once again, to take a good look at myself in the mirror.  And in this case, see clearly I had an envy issue.  Oh how lovely to see our flaws laid out before us.  But oh how gracious of a God to accept, forgive, and give us His Holy Spirit to help us overcome.

Envy/Jealousy versus  Contentment Moment #2-with my girls-

My youngest daughter had a timely question, “Mom, what does jealousy mean?”  (Oh how she didn’t know she had hit on the hot topic/love attribute word of the week!  I was pumped to share!  But I had to take it down a notch.  Or maybe two.  I put my researched data on hold for a moment and entered into her world.)  “Well, I am so glad you asked, honey.  And why do you ask?”  My daughter promptly replied, “My friend said she was jealous I got to go in a hot tub at my Nana’s house because she wanted to go in one.”  What a God ordained conversation we got to have about being content with what we have.  That Jesus wants us to do our best not to compare ourselves, our toys, activities, opportunities,  and gifts to what others have.

Fortunately, the Lord gave my girls opportunities to practice this jealousy concept after our trip to the dollar store.  (Can I just say I have a love/hate relationship with this place?  At the time I feel I am getting myself or my girls so much for so not much money.  Then my elation dwindles on the car ride home as the stuffing from the snake is coming out of the rip and the hula hoop breaks in half after one day of good fun.  Now I am forced to sow back together a $1 snake and tape or buy a new hula hoop that actually works.  Obviously this recent wound has not healed yet.)  Since my oldest daughter was at school when I took my youngest daughter, we just bought her the same things only different colors.  Mistake of the century.  Apparently.  My oldest daughter cried for more time than you would imagine as she envied, “I wanted the mermaid with the blond hair, not red hair!  And I wanted a different colored cup!”

We look to Jesus to not fall into the more, more, “Green eyed monster” ways.  Into the “I want what they have” thoughts on repeat.  The envy.  The jealousy.  Is.  All.  Around.  Us.  Greed and the lust for more is rampant (Luke 12:15).  The contented, thankful, enough mindset is not valued and practiced.  May we be the light in our world to usher ourselves and others into a contented.  Restful.  Grateful spirit.   For the blessings God has given us abound.

“Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances.”  Philippians 4:11

“Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 082014
 

“And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:12-14

I began the run.  In the dark.  And I continued the run.  In the dark.  For an hour.  And this was not just slightly dark outside.  Dusk.  Or dark, but street lights all around.  No.  Not joking.  Pitch. Black.  And then here’s me.   With no other light than the dim glow from my phone. 

Alone.  Surrounded by darkness.  Unprepared.  Scary.  Dangerous.  All come to mind to describe the beginning of this run.

As I ran around my regular nature loop, continually turning my phone back on for the little light, I couldn’t think about the fact that I was alone.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the slow, hesitant pace I was going due to fear of falling.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the what seemed to be neverending darkness all around me.  My feet kept moving.

All I focused on.  Thought about.  With all my might.  Was my little light.  Keeping that light shining.  Keeping that light right in front of me.  All would be well if my little light didn’t go out.

It was the little light that kept my feet moving forward.  Helped me see the stick, rock and bump in the road.  Ushered me into the new day.  And in spite of the  surrounding front, behind, left and right sides of pitch darkness, it pierced through.

After I got back from my run, my family got ready and headed off to church.  I always am anxious to hear about what my girls learned about in their Sunday School time.  Can you guess what it was about?  And yes, I am sure you have an idea.  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” was written on a glow stick bracelet as they walked out.

At this moment I had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  A thankfulness for the little light He had given me to run just hours earlier with.  A thankfulness for the little light I have inside of me, Jesus.  A thankfulness for His rescuing me from the dominion of darkness.

And my thankfulness turned to motivation.  To let my little light shine as I run the path He has set before me for today.  Others and myself have said, “There is no way the tiny, cell phone glow would make a difference in total darkness“, just like myself and others  say, “What difference will one smile make to the stranger?  What difference will giving away one clothing item to someone in need make?  What difference will loving an unkind person make?  What difference will saying I’m sorry make?  What difference will showing mercy when you were so wronged make?”  Well, it makes ALL the difference.

My little light showed how and where my feet should move along the path.  It also paved the way for anyone behind me.  So when we step out with our little lights of Jesus in this dark world, we end up seeing clearly the direction He has for us.  We stay on His narrow path.  We overcome Satan through Jesus’ Name.  We pull others out of darkness and into the Light.  Through our small selfless acts of love, generosity, compassion, and mercy, we bring the Kingdom of Light to this dark world.

So I have come to recognize Little Lights Do.  Make.  A. Difference.  You and I make a difference.  When we submit to God’s Word and be obedient to it.  When we say “Yes” to allowing Jesus, the Light of the World, guide our lives.  So will you join me today and act upon the Spirit’s leading, proclaiming, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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