The Kingdom Building Call (Part Three)

Kingdom Building Through the Life of Jeremiah

The Winner of the You Are Free book by Rebekah Lyons is Margie Mitcheltree! Congratulations, Margie!!! I will be contacting you via email for your address!

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Week Three Study Overview: Today we will deal with Jeremiah’s response to God’s call, and talk about how we can claim the same promise God gave Jeremiah.

Key Point of Struggle: Oftentimes, we don’t feel confident responding to God’s call because we are insecure in our gifts.

Key Proof of Comfort: Even when we are afraid and everything seems to be falling apart, God says, “I am with you to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:8

Some historians claim Jeremiah could have been as young as fourteen years of age when God called him to his purpose as a prophet. We can’t be certain of his age, but we do know he was young. He tells us so in his own words. Let’s step back in time and spy on the conversation that started it all.

God: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Jeremiah: “Ah, Lord God! “Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6

God: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…” Jeremiah 1: 7-8

I realize this conversation is hard for us to grasp, because chances are we aren’t going to find ourselves in an audible conversation with God. It’s not that God doesn’t speak to us, or that we can’t hear what He says, but it takes a lot more faith when our ears are left out of the equation leaving our hearts responsible to pick up the sound.

God spoke out loud to Jeremiah. This means Jeremiah actually heard the voice of the living God. Wow! You would think a person who has this type of encounter would do exactly as they were told without question, but not our Jeremiah. He needed time to process. You see, he had a lack of confidence and he used this moment to make sure God understood his age and abilities, or lack thereof, before responding to the call.

I’ve never heard the audible voice of God, but I have discerned His whisper in my heart. I know how it feels to walk into a task I wasn’t sure I had the power to accomplish. But, that’s just it; it’s never about my power. Separate from Jesus, I have none.  It’s all in His power.

I want to look at the end of Jeremiah 1:8 for a moment. Notice these words voiced by God, “For I am with you to deliver you.”  There is an unbelievable amount of power in those words. God told Jeremiah specifically why He would stay with him: to deliver him. He assured Jeremiah that He would be there, and then explained the purpose of his staying: to deliver him.

We talked last week about God designing us with intention. We looked closely at the word before in Jeremiah 1:5, and pointed out that God knew each of us before He formed us in the womb. He set us apart for specific purpose. This week, we learn that when He assigns purpose He makes a commitment to stay with us so that leaning on our own abilities is never an option. And, not only does He commit to staying with us, He commits to delivering us. He won’t give us a task and then standby doing nothing. He is always active. I know that sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but it’s true.  In the midst of what seems like our greatest fears, storms, and darkest moments He is there in all His glorious strength ready to deliver us.

Next in the chapter, Jeremiah is given his assignment as prophet; it’s anything but easy:

“… See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down,
to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”

– Jeremiah 1:10

Father God is explaining to Jeremiah the sinfulness of a nation and the calamity coming upon Judah. He makes it clear that it’s Jeremiah’s job to warn the people with commands God will speak through him. The Lord even gives Jeremiah a “heads up” as to what the people’s response will be:

“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”

-Jeremiah 1:19

God speaks that phrase once again: “For I am with you to deliver you.”  I’m absolutely sure it was because Jeremiah needed to know with all certainty that he wasn’t alone. God wanted to make clear his promise to Jeremiah, so he said it twice.

Listen, in what I do as I writer, equipping women to activate purpose through the power of scripture, I often feel alone, like nobody understands what it is I’m doing. Many years ago, the Lord began giving me the ability to discern situations. I carry people’s stories with me like baggage. They weigh heavy on my heart.  Brokenness is on my mind as I write. I talk a lot about purpose because it took me forever to realize I had one that was worth something. Because of that, I feel a fire in my bones to help other women recognize they have worth, not because of anything they can accomplish on their own, but because of the power of Christ in their lives.

Friend, I know life isn’t easy and that Christianity, and the calling attached to it, probably hasn’t owned up to the definition of freedom you thought it might. We are free. Through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us we can unlock chains and live with brand new breath in our lungs, but the price is high. We will face suffering through a multitude of afflictions. We are not immune from the pain of this world. Why?  …Because sin runs rampant inside this place from the Garden of Eden until now. But take heart, Jesus has overcome; this place is not our home!

Hope lives inside the voice of God. It lived there when Jeremiah was breathing the breath of this earth, and it still lives there today. When we can take the words God spoke to Jeremiah and cling to them, accepting those principles for ourselves, freedom begins to settle in. Truth sets us free.

Hold fast! God is with you to deliver you!

  • Today in your journal, I want you to rewrite the same conversation we read above, between God and Jeremiah, inserting yourself inside it. Let’s break it down together and I’ll explain what I mean by showing you my examples.
  • First, I’m going to add my name to the beginning of Jeremiah 1:5. I often do this when I’m studying, because it helps me to remember that God speaks most powerfully to me through His word. I’ll include the verse as it looks in the Bible and then include my own:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Here’s my example:

Jennifer, before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you…”

  • For the end of the same verse, I’ve decided to list two gifts He’s given me as tools to accomplish my purpose according to the Great Commission in Matthew 28. I’ve chosen to list these particular gifts, because I have the most insecurity in these areas. (In case you missed the explanation of redefining purpose according to the Great Commission, click here, back to week one, for a recap.) Remember, God told Jeremiah, “I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Here’s what I wrote:

“I ordained you a writer and speaker.”

  • For the second piece of the conversation, fill in whatever you fear, and your reason for that fear. Jeremiah told God he couldn’t speak because he was a youth: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth. ” I’m going to fill in the blanks and give you my own examples.

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot write/speak, for I am unsure of my gift and don’t always feel adequate to do what you’ve called me to do.”

  • Lastly, let’s look at what the Lord responded to Jeremiah and then rewrite it filling in our own gifts one more time to hit the point home. Here’s a refresher on what God said, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…”

Here’s my example:

“Do not say, I cannot write/speak, for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall write/speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you…”

  • When you’re finished, go back and read your conversation out loud. I believe when we can insert ourselves into the words, a new understanding will form. We will recognize He has given us each purpose as well as unique gifts we need to help us accomplish that purpose.

Next week, we will discuss how we can be sure it is God who has called us to a particular task.

  • If you would like to go deeper in study this week, I recommend reading and memorizing Philippians 1:6. It will help prepare you for next week’s study.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Use the Hashtag #KingdomBuildingSisters on Instagram showing a photo of what daily kingdom building looks like to you, tag me, and your name will be entered in a fun surprise giveaway!

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Because I Can’t Keep Track of All These “National Days”

Because I Can't Keep Track of All These _National Days_

Silly picture, right? I’m not big on selfies, but I thought (And this is so not like me.) a little cup of virtual coffee might be a nice way to start today. Here’s why…

According to social media, every single day is meant to be known for something. Doughnut day, siblings day, you name it, there is somehow newfound significance to a regular Wednesday. As of my Facebook feed this morning, I’ve been made aware one day too late that yesterday was National Best Friends Day. (C’mon, Facebook, you’re better than that!) It was also National Name Your Poison Day… I’ll let that one go.

I’m an introvert, and so I have a very small grouping of people I trust with my life. They are special to me and if the chips are down, I know where I can go. But guess what? Sometimes I don’t. Often, because of my personality, I like to pretend I’m okay, put on a smile, and not let anyone see what’s going on inside. I’m guessing there are many of you shaking heads in a resounding amen right about now. Am I right? Sometimes, this behavior is necessary. Other times, God is saying, “Step out of your box; my children need each other.”

God in all His brilliance designed relationships. From our relationships with Him, to marriage, to friendship – we have examples all throughout the Bible of beauty right smack dab in the middle of difficulty. We’re made to love, reach out, and steady another human. We are called to influence, share wisdom, be cheerleaders, counselors, cry partners, and crazy joy dancers with others. We are made for each other. We truly can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Maybe you don’t have a group of girlfriends. Maybe you’ve been so apprehensive about putting your own needs and problems out in front that you’ve not even trusted your closest confidant with your heart’s cry. If that’s true of who you are, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone today. You don’t have to share your deepest problems or most intimate secrets, you can just take this average Thursday to let someone else know you’re there for them. In today’s day, it’s easy to make someone aware you’re thinking of them. A simple phone call, text message, email, or social media post will do the job. And, if you’re a super introvert like I tend to be, maybe you can open your Bible and pray a scripture over their lives. I can’t think of a better way to support someone in this life than taking them to the throne in prayer.

I’ve often found that my deepest needs are met in the middle of serving someone else. (Tweet that.)

On this blog, I tend to get email and Facebook messages over comments. People usually like to share prayer requests privately. And let me tell you, I love hearing from you! Today, though, I thought maybe we can use the comments and encourage each other. Tell a story about a close friend, cheer for someone else, share a cup of virtual coffee together. Is that corny? I think so, but I like it anyway!

I’m not even sure if there’s a way to post pictures in the comment section because my tech skills are lacking. (Shout out to my husband for keeping this blog running!)

Anyway, someone out there needs to hear from you, and you need to hear from them!

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

-Proverbs 27:17

Happy belated National Best Friends Day!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Last year, I wrote this post about belonging to community. You might want to give it a read.

 

Just Be Willing…

CASTLEShe had no idea I was listening, but I couldn’t help myself. She was walking step-for-step next to me while telling her friend she was on the way to her dying mother’s bedside. Her sister had just called to deliver the news.

Have I mentioned how shy I am? It’s bizarre. I can lead worship, speak, or do practically anything on a stage involving ministry, but one-on-one with strangers in Walmart… forget it.

The panic in her voice was overriding what I could tell was an otherwise peaceful, velvety tone. Anyone witnessing this would quickly understand she was breaking. Fast.

I prayed. It’s all I could do. I kept thinking that if I was someone else – different in personality somehow, that maybe I would have the guts to tell a perfect stranger I was praying. After all, maybe no one else had ever told her that.

Condemnation quickly swept over me like one of those waves in the ocean that catches a person off guard. The kind that snatches you back in for just one more swim, against your will, when all you really want to do is get to the beach.

There is no condemnation in Christ.

As I loaded my purchases in the car, I kept wondering what I could have done differently. That is until that still, small voice which is ever so faithful to interrupt the condemning voice of shame spoke softly and said, “I put you there to pray for her, just pray.”

Just pray.

After forty-two years, I’m finally grasping the concept that it’s in moments I feel worst about myself that God is working to do His best.

I wasn’t meant to grab that girl, tell her I was praying, and become fast friends. I wasn’t meant to make any type of tangible mark on her life with my own hands. I was meant to pray for God’s hands to leave the mark.

It’s all about Him.

We don’t often think our minuscule trips to the store for paper plates, crayons, and milk will lead to a move of God, but God never stops moving. Even at Walmart! He’s constantly throwing people into our paths to bring beauty to the everyday monotony of life.

Maybe you’re home changing diapers and wondering if you’ll ever get your chance to do the things you were called to do. Well, I can say with all certainty that you’re doing them right now and probably don’t even realize it.

Whenever we find ourselves praying for the passing ambulance or smile at the miserable lady in the produce aisle, we have to believe we are making a difference.

This life is meant for something so much bigger than we can even begin to comprehend.

Every silent prayer whispered from our hearts is meant to mark the life of someone who needs it. We don’t have to be on stage to make a difference… we just have to be willing.

When we are willing, God’s will prevails. (Tweet that)

Don’t ever think the prayers you pray aren’t important or that your ministry isn’t “big” enough. God is at work and your purpose is greater than you know.

No matter when.

No matter where.

Just be willing.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: I’m beginning a series on Advent November 29th. I hope you will join me!

 

What We Are NOT Made For…

Inspiration

The following words from Oswald Chambers have been echoing through the corridors of my mind.

“We are not made for the mountain, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life – those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength.”

-Oswald Chambers

I often joke while walking through fancy, upscale department stores, declaring I was made for all the gorgeous shoes on the shelves. They seem to beckon me with some type of magnetic pull. When I take a vacation and find myself lying on a beach facing the Caribbean Sea, I question why God chose to place my day-to-day life where freezing temps are the norm and dark clouds are known for hiding the sun.

And then I’m thankful for godly men like Oswald chambers who put righteous inspired thought to paper with the leading of the Holy Spirit because let’s face it… Nordstrom might be able to cover my feet with fancy shoes, but it cannot convey where these feet of mine have been. It cannot tell the story of how step-by-step they walked through the valley of the shadow, bare.

The Caribbean Sea may help to relax the weary soul, but the beauty of that crystal, clear, turquoise Sea doesn’t inspire me to stay there. It fills me up to go, to do. I find rest inside living and remembering the valleys from where I came, and the knowing I’m meant to remind others they can make it, too.

And we don’t have to solicit air travel or walk next to a wall of highfalutin Jimmy Choo’s for inspiration…

Inspiration right outside your door

We can walk out our front doors to be inspired by the pinky-orange glow of sunset, or find life in the dead tree losing its leaves. We can close our eyes and remember the kind smiles from loved ones no longer with us, or reflect on a tragedy turned triumph.

We are meant for the ordinary, and to learn that everything ordinary turns extraordinary when Christ is part of the equation.

I wasn’t made for fancy shoes and white sand beaches. It’s a nice thought, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

In 1996, I was made for slowly walking through dark valleys with tear covered bare feet because I lost my baby girl.

Every miscarriage, every loss of a loved one, every hope-filled possibility turned problematic, seemingly impossible situation is not only what I was made for in that moment, but a call to whom I would become.

Every step led me closer to Jesus and gave me power and stamina that bubbled forth inside my soul enabling me to share my story and encourage others to share theirs.

Uncomfortable struggles in the midst of dark valleys shapes who we are. It’s there we find freedom in Christ allowing tears to turn into joy and hope.

I want to encourage you with this today:

If you are in the middle of a dark valley, don’t look at it as a death sentence or punishment. Jesus is there with you and you can and will make it through the depths of despair. What your living through in that place is not meant to keep you there forever, it’s meant to give you strength, endurance, and teach you love in a way you’ve never known before. You can make it!

If you are discouraged because life feels too ordinary, become comfortable with it. Wrap yourself inside the ordinary! Whether you realize it or not, someone else is watching your life and paying close attention to how you deal with everyday, ordinary circumstances. When your faith in Christ shines brightly, you will turn the ordinary into extraordinary because someone else will consider Him because of what they’ve seen in you.

Even in the midst of turmoil, despair, and the boring ordinary of every day, we are meant to point others to Christ!

Listen, there’s nothing wrong with fancy shoes and nice vacations. I’m just saying that we weren’t meant for complete comfort. We were meant to use our difficulties to reach others. We are meant to use our faith through ordinary situations to open somebody’s eyes to the extraordinary of Christ.

We are meant to serve regardless of how much or little we have. And, we are meant to do this ordinary life filled with valley’s and beautiful inspiration the best we can.

This is supposed to be a month of thankfulness. We should start by thanking Christ for placing us where He saw fit, and determine to show His love smack-dab in the center of it.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Next Wednesday, November 18th, I have a special treat for you! Best-selling author Christin Ditchfield will be sharing with us on a topic near and dear to the hearts of many women. Earlier in the year, I conducted a survey for my readers and a large amount of you asked me to write about singleness. Christin has a beautiful, hope-filled perspective. Every woman, single or not, can gain from what she has to say! I’m also going to be hosting a giveaway of some of Christin’s books! You won’t want to miss it!

Also, Sunday, November 29th begins Advent! I will be sharing a short post each day throughout the Advent season. God has been working on my heart about this for quite some time. There will be many giveaways, including Ann Voskamp‘s devotional The Greatest Gift. Together, we will pursue peace and stillness within the days leading to Christmas, rather than the stress which loves to steal our joy. There will be more details on this at the end of next week.

We Need to Practice Stillness

"Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Over the last three weeks, we’ve been talking a lot about defining stillness as moving in the presence of God – taking steps according to His will and letting go of ours. However, sometimes stillness means exactly how it sounds… being still.

For me, quiet stillness before God doesn’t come easy. If my body isn’t in motion, my mind almost always is. I have a million activities going on and my life is usually summed up by tired lips speaking, “One day at a time, sweet Jesus.”

So how do we shut our minds off, pray, and meditate on His word without interruptions from the to-do list? Well, I’m no expert in this area, but I can tell you that I’m learning through practice.

We’ve all heard the saying practice makes perfect.

After I lost my daughter Courtney to stillbirth, I used to go up to the altar during worship at church and raise my hands. I didn’t want to, and my arms usually felt like dead weight, but I was practicing worship. I knew that in order to find a breakthrough in the midst of grief, I was going to need a show of action, even if my heart wasn’t in it.

The beautiful part in all this is that after I practiced worshiping, it became natural. I wanted to praise Him, my arms didn’t feel as heavy, and freedom was released.

My weakest moments have taught me how to have the greatest strength. (Tweet that)

When we practice stillness just a few minutes a day, we learn to spend quality time with God. Overtime, it becomes easier to block out the distractions.

Practice makes perfect.

Sometimes, I lie still with my eyes closed and recite a scripture I have memorized. It helps calm me. It used to be that I would only do that when I felt a major crisis occurring, and then I couldn’t understand why it didn’t fight the anxiety away quickly.

However, when I began to practice the process of reciting scripture on a regular basis, not just when panic encompassed, then when bad times came I was able to handle them better. It was as if the weapons in my arsenal were sharper because I practiced using them before the war.

Anything we want to excel at takes a consistent amount of practice, and disciplining ourselves to spend time with God in stillness is no different.

I want to encourage you to find a scripture you love, memorize it, and practice reciting it just two minutes a day in stillness. Don’t wait for panic to set in, sharpen your weapons and get to know your God.

Trust me, it’s a practice that leads us to where we all want to go: straight to the center of stillness.

Love,

Jennifer

If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for previous posts. When you subscribe to my blog via email, you receive my eBook, Mercy Waits, FREE.

 

 

Because We All Need Friends

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The struggle to lead a still life is exactly that… a struggle. Because the truth is we’re all looking for peace in the midst of some type of turmoil. Grief from death, job losses, marriages, and even the way we feel about ourselves can easily lead us outside the landscape of a still life. We are all on a quest to maintain peace in the thick of a turbulent, fast moving world.

The only way any of us stand a chance is Jesus. He is our hope, salvation, and He makes everything new. He is a God of resurrection and fresh beginnings, and while we are here fighting the good fight, He often sends us help.

Help often comes in the form of wonderful people we call friends. People who share our joy and tears. The ones who care more about the cleanliness of our hearts rather than our houses, and even more importantly, they pray. They pray when circumstances are good and bad.

C.S. Lewis said this, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .””

We all need someone we can trust and confide in. Someone to help bear our burdens and lighten the weight of present circumstances. Someone who will make you feel better about life just because they exist!

Laughter and chocolate with a sweet friend will help bring stillness in the midst of the storm.

This is the day that the Lord has made, call a friend and rejoice in it!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for links to previous posts.

Jumping the Wake

"Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

-Psalm 23:2

When I was a kid I used to love to water ski. Unlike snow skiing, I was actually pretty good at it.

I remember the first time I ever tried. My dad helped me get situated in the water and stayed in there with me. When I was ready he signaled for the boat to takeoff. That way if I couldn’t get up, he would be right there when I fell. I stood up the very first time and loved every minute of it.

Overtime, as I became more advanced, I would cross over the wake near the side of the boat. Once you learn to maneuver over the bumpy wake, the water on the other side is like glass. It feels smooth and still.

Last week I reread Psalm 23. Out of all 150 Psalms, this might be the most notable. We often hear it at funerals because of its ability to comfort through grief.

The following words caught my attention: He leads us beside still waters. When I read it, I recognized two significant points.

  • In order to be led anywhere, we must follow.
  • It’s more than likely we will have to jump a bumpy wake, but where He leads awaits stillness in its purest form.

More than ever I want to be led by God. I have a yearning to know who He is, and my desire is to get to know the deepest parts of Him. However, I’m completely aware that to do that I must choose to follow Him wherever He chooses to lead me.

Following Him means grabbing tightly to His will and letting go of mine. And we all know it’s never easy to jump the wake.

But there’s more. The very next verse in this chapter says…

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

-Psalm 23:3

Friend, He will restore your soul to complete stillness when you follow where He leads. You will most likely have to jump the wake, and it will be difficult, but as you follow Him He will be right there with you in the water, just like my daddy was when I was learning to water ski.

And even as you’re using every ounce of faith you can muster to jump the wake, there will be inexplicable stillness. It won’t make sense, but that’s the beauty of God; He is mysterious and awe inspiring.

My prayer  is that you will allow Him to lead you wherever He pleases. That you will be brave enough to jump the wake and experience the still, smooth water of His peace.

You can be restored!

Have a beautiful weekend.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: If you’ve missed any of my October series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for previous posts. If you subscribe to the blog via email, I will send you my eBook, Mercy Waits, FREE!

 

The Incompatibility of Stillness and Control

Stillness Requires a Heart Willing to RespondAs people, and especially as children of God, we tend to have a misconception that we should be able to hold everything together. We think the only way to be still is to have each issue in life under control, and there is pressure in thinking that other people need to see our lives orderly and “perfect.” If anything, this thinking will lead to disappointment and eventually disaster.

Just in case you are juggling a million different concerns right now, let me remind you something that I’m sure you already know deep down: you cannot handle everything; you aren’t meant to and that’s perfectly alright. The key is knowing to surrender all things to the only One who can.

It’s humanly impossible to fix everything, have wisdom on every issue, and know exactly what to do at all times. This is why we must yield the contents of our lives to Jesus.

I’ve fought for control, and I know from experience that it doesn’t work. Honestly, the closer I am to Jesus, the more I’ve learned I don’t want the responsibility of control. I will never be able to paint the picture of my life nearly as beautiful as He can.

When we were trying to have another child, my number one problem was control. Selfishness was never my intention, but I learned that to try to control anything comes from a root of selfishness. Thinking I’m better to handle a situation than someone else, especially God, is selfish. It took me a very long time to realize that.

It’s never too late to hand everything in your life to Jesus. And I’m not talking only about difficulties, I’m also talking about the beautiful things in life . Even our joy needs to be given to Jesus, it’s then we can experience the fullness of it.

Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved

-Psalm 55:22

Stillness and control are incompatible. If peace is the goal, there isn’t room for both. So, if you want to be still, you’ll need to cast your burden.

Love,

Jennifer

If you’ve missed any part of my October series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for links to previous posts.

 

 

Stillness Demands Steadfast Faith

New Day 5

Stillness calls for a heart soft and obedient toward the Lord. A heart willing to live a life according to His will, whatever that may be…

I was recently made aware of something in the book of Luke. This passage came to life for me in a brand new way.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

-Luke 22:31-32

I’ve always looked at these scriptures from the eyes of how important and powerful prayer is. But think of it this way…

Jesus didn’t pray that Peter wouldn’t be sifted like wheat, He prayed that his faith would not fail during the sifting process.

Life is hard, and Peter, especially, was going to be fighting a difficult battle for the glory of the Lord that would eventually lead to being crucified upside down for His commitment to Christ.

Our faith is precious to God, and in my life, tears of pain mingled with perseverance in faith has built a solid foundation. Through the threshing process, I’ve been equipped for ministry and healed from hurts I never thought possible.

Stillness demands steadfast faith.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

-1 Corinthians 15:58

Using your gifts even through tears is showing steadfast faith. It’s commendable before God, and you will find yourself still in the midst of the storm.

Love,

Jennifer

If you’ve missed any entries from my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for previous posts.

 

Stillness Requires a Heart Willing to Respond

Stillness Requires a Heart Willing to Respond

Many of us struggle with deciphering what God is speaking to our hearts. We are often hoping for confirmation before we move ahead, and it almost always takes a period of waiting.

In my life, over the last year, God has been speaking, “Get your home in order.” And I don’t mean metaphorically. Now, it’s not that my house was a huge mess, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted you going into my closets and drawers.

The issue was that this mess was always on my mind, keeping me from being able to focus on other matters. It really bothered me that toys weren’t in the proper places. It made it twice as difficult to entertain for dinner parties and fun activities I thoroughly enjoy. This literal mess in my home was slowing me down. I would sit in the morning to study my Bible and the chaos weighed on me. My focus wasn’t on what it needed to be.

Now, I know some of you might think it’s only common sense that told me to do what needed to be done in order to take back some peace and sanity in life, but I’ve learned through my years of serving God that I can easily shake off unimportant details. However, when God speaks, I can’t stop thinking about it. Conviction pours, and the feeling is much different than agitation from stepping on a Lego or not being able to find a particular dress I want to wear.

God has plans for us and in order to walk freely in His will according to the story He has written, we need to respond to what He is speaking to our hearts.

The example I’m giving you today might seem small, but I started in a full time seminary program this fall and had I not responded to what seemed like a tiny command, then I wouldn’t have time to study, attend lectures, or read the overwhelming amount of text assigned.

At the time I felt Him first speak, I had no idea I would be attending school. But He knew.

Friend, to be still in God means responding to the big and little in life. And truthfully, nothing He asks is little because He sees everything within a much larger scheme. He can see the whole picture because He’s the artist. The Beauty is that we get to behold His work, one brushstroke at a time, just by living our lives in response to His call.

If you’ve had something on your mind that you cannot seem to shake, pray about responding. Sometimes, taking slow steps is better than doing nothing at all.

Oh, and If I’m being honest, I haven’t made it to my bedroom closet yet. Can you pray for a sister? It’s next on the list.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for previous posts.