Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Finding Real Life

"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3

Are you searching for something in your life? Do you feel like something is missing? I bet someone is thinking "happiness", and you can pin point it in 2 seconds.

Maybe you've been looking in the wrong place for things.

REAL life, abundant life, joyful life comes from God.

It does not mean that life will be perfect. That's just not possible here on earth.

It does mean that you have a Heavenly Father who will be with you every step of the way, though.

I believe we tend to place our identity in places we shouldn't. Our society is now to the point that people are allowed to "IDENTIFY" however they want. Males can identify as females and use a women's restroom. That's just not how God planned things to be.

Your real life, your identity should be in Christ. Like it says in verse 3.

At this point in my life, I have contentment. I am happy with everything in my life, but one thing, and it's my fault. (My weight.)

Are things perfect? NOPE. My kids and I have been battling sickness for a long time now. My middle son seems to catch everything! But these past two weeks have really been rough. Upper respiratory stuff passed around, and Sunday he had stomach issues. So, I'm not over here telling you that my life is perfect.

To go one step further, I went to log on to my website to write this blog post, and I think it's been hacked. Perfect? Not by a long shot.

Content? Absolutely!

I know that my identity is in Christ. I am who He says I am. I am His daughter who He dearly loves, and I see these things for what they are.

Attacks from the enemy.

But when these attacks come... I know who holds me. I know who's I am. In REAL LIFE, I am not going to fold under the pressure.

If you are struggling, please take my suggestion of putting God first in your life. God is my everything. I love Him so much. 

He loves you so much too and He wants a relationship with you. 

He wants you to live a real life with Him. A daily life, in prayer, Bible reading, and whatever else He has planned for you.

I pray that you will take some time and think about this. Because, to me, REAL LIFE is the only way I want to live.

God bless you today and always!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have This Hope

"But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the One who formed you says, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I AM the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom. I gave Ethiopa and Sheba in your place." Isaiah 43:1-3

This Scripture was part of my daily writing. I absolutely LOVE how God says and does things.
There is a Christian band named Tenth Ave North. Their music is really good. Their lead singer has a unique voice too, if you know me, you know I"m a voice person.
Anyway... their latest song is called "I Have This Hope." I have shared the video on a blog post a few weeks ago, but I had to do a whole post now that I read this Scripture.
They wrote the song based off this Scripture. On the radio station, KLOVE, they do little promo spots about songs. Mike, the lead singer of Tenth Ave North talks about this song. He said he had to write it, but that he wishes it said, "When you walk on top of the water." 
Here is why:
God does not promise that we will have a happy go lucky easy life. This is just one of many Scriptures that prove that:
In verse 2, He says, WHEN you go through deep waters. WHEN you go through rivers of difficulty, WHEN you walk through the fire of oppression.
Not if, or you might, but WHEN.
BUT GOD! Each WHEN has a promise!
Deep waters = I am with you
Rivers of Difficulty = you will not drown
Fire of oppression = flames will not consume you
Back up there in verse 1, He says, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine."
Do you know that you are God's? Do you know that He's with you through all the crap that happens in your life?
And more importantly, like my other post, do you know that He isn't causing the bad stuff to happen to you?
I hope so. Because He loves us so much, and why would He say He's with us through the flood or the fire if He was causing them?
Please take a minute to listen to this song: I Have This Hope
God bless you today and always!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stop Blaming God

"Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?" Romans 2:4
I'm sure you are thinking this is an odd title for Resurrection Sunday, but I don't think it is.
I read the above Scripture the other day, and it really did something to my heart.
I felt compassion towards God. I know that sounds weird, but I did.
Let me tell you why...
God gets blamed for a lot of things He does not do, things all over the world, and it breaks my heart when He gets blamed for stuff.
The other day, one of my friends posted on Facebook that he is tired of seeing people tell other people that "God is going to get them." I agreed.
Someone did not, and started posting Scriptures and debating that God is a just God. 
I totally agree with Him being just, it's the seeking vengeance part I disagree with.
When you look to see what God is like, you should look at the person of Jesus.
The Old Testament is there for reference for us. God allowed it in the Bible so we could learn things, but He had to do things different back then.
Jesus brought in a new covenant. He fulfilled the law and created said new covenant.
This is why I wanted to write and tell you to stop blaming God for the bad stuff in the world.
Did you ever once see Jesus beat someone up? Even verbally?
What about the woman caught in the act of adultery? There is a 95% chance that she was naked standing in the street. Did He stone her? Did He verbally abuse her? No.
He loved her, and told her to stop sinning.
God is not going to let a tree fall through your house, give your cancer, or kill someone you love to get your attention.
If He did, what kind of Father would He be? 
An abusive one!
God is not an abusive Father. 
On this Resurrection Sunday, I want to remind you that God LOVES you!
That's why He sent Jesus to die, be buried and rise from the dead, for you!
It's my prayer and someone reads this today who really needs it. 
God is for you. If it's not good, it's not God, as my Pastor always says.
God bless you today and always!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:12-13 NIV
Today is called Good Friday. I am not really sure why... because what Jesus was about to endure was not "good" for Him. However, it was good for us.
I wrote about this the other day, but what could make the people turn from calling Him the King to yelling crucify Him? 
For some reason, this year, I have been more moved by things this week. I am more aware of what Jesus did for us all. I FEEL something different. 
His love and compassion are overwhelming. He went to the cross because He loves us.
It does sound crazy, why would someone do that? 
Because, God is a just God and He had to make a way for us to be in relationship with Him. The original plan was for people to stay away from the bad, but God gave us free will.
That free will was abused by the enemy when he convinced Adam and Eve that they wouldn't die if they ate that fruit. Well, it wasn't a physical death, it was a spiritual one. 
God had to make a way to redeem us. A way for us to be in right relationship, because after Adam and Eve did what they did, it caused us to all be born with a sinful nature.
Think about it... did you have to teach your toddler to lie? No, they just did it because of their sinful nature.
God's plan was for Jesus to be the ultimate sacrifice for all. 
That's what today is the beginning of. The day that Jesus gave Himself for us.
If you don't know Him and have an intimate relationship with Him will you receive His love today?
I hope you do. The best decision I ever made was to be in a relationship with God.
He has gotten me through a ton of junk in this life. He's always there, and He will never stop loving me. He wants to do the same for you. But He won't force Himself on you. 
If you  have any questions or need prayer, please contact me.
God bless you today and always!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Mystery of God

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 3:2-6
There are certain mysteries of God that just can't be explained. What Paul is describing here in Ephesians is one that can. God's plan was for the Gentiles, aka you and me, to be His children too. His plan was for the WORLD, not just the Israelite people.
Can I ask you a question though? Why are people afraid of the mysteries of God? What is it about Him that scares them? 
I realize we can't physically SEE Him. Maybe that's the biggest issue of all.
But let me tell you this... if we could fully explain Him, what kind of God would He be?
He does things that are weird sometimes, which makes me feel great because I embrace my weirdness! LOL I will tell you in a heartbeat how weird I am, so that makes me feel better to know that God does weird things too.
The biggest mystery of all in Christianity to me is the Holy Spirit. How is it that He can live inside of me? I can't explain it. And I think that's the point.
Have you ever been in a church service, or listening to worship music alone, and you just started to cry or laugh, or clap, or feel lighter? That was God encountering you. It is something He longs to do regularly in your life.
When you feel God, do not rationalize it away. Don't allow the enemy to steal that moment from you. In his book, Prophetic Evangelism, Sean Smith says, "You know some people always use a rationalistic bias whenever they see the move of the Spirit. They don't realize that they're rationalizing away what God wants to release in their lives."
The move of the Holy Spirit is a mystery! 
I am constantly on the look out for God and what He's doing. Yesterday afternoon, on my way home from work, I was noticing the clouds. There were white ones higher up and some darker ones closer to the ground. Then I saw it! A heart shaped cloud!

I love clouds. I know I'm weird, SEE I embrace it! LOL Some people find God in other forms of nature, for me, it's the sky. So, I look up and see that cloud, and in my Spirit, I just know that God was saying, "I love you Jill. This heart shaped cloud is for you." 
That is mysterious! What other "god" would do that for someone?
You know what THE ONE TRUE KING did that for me? Because He knew I needed it.
Parts of God are not a mystery, like His unfailing love for us. His plan of redemption that was to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins, so He did it. 
I have another question for you... my Spiritual dad, if you will, Mr. Ernest, he always says, "Do you know that you know that you know who lives inside of you?" 
God is mysterious at times, and He does mysterious things, but He is real and His love for you is real. If you don't know Him this way, would you like to? All you have to do is ask him.
God bless you today and always!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Mother's Sacrifice

"All who heard the shepherd's story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her her heart and thought about them often." Luke 2:18-19 NLT

I am really honored to work at a church. I know not everyone feels called to ministry, but I have for years. While I realize I am not "Ministerial Staff", I am "Support Staff", and that's just fine with me. I LOVE my job and I am thankful for times like this week because we are having Holy Week services.
Monday, Bruce, the Pastor of Outreach and Operations brought a message and showed a video. Some of the scenes in the video were from The Passion of The Christ movie. I will be honest. I only watched that movie once. I couldn't bear to watch it again.
What really jumped out at me was Mary, Jesus' mom. Have you ever thought about what she went through when they killed Jesus?
Here is the woman, who as a teenager was told by an angel that she would have the Messiah, now, watching that child be beaten and nailed to a cross.
The Scripture I above says she "kept these things in her heart and thought of them often." Some translations say she "Pondered them in her heart." 
When she gave birth, think back to the year before. She was engaged to Joseph, and probably getting ready for her wedding. Then God interrupted her life in a big way, telling her she was going to give birth. "But I've never "known" a man," Mary said to the angel. 
Can you imagine the gossip and talk around town about her? They thought she had cheated on Joseph. Joseph even thought she cheated on him and was going to break it off with her until an angel told him it was ok to marry her.
So, Mary goes through all of these things during her pregnancy, and ends up giving birth in a stable and putting her baby in a wooden box that animals eat out of. I'm sure that's not how she imagined it would be.
Then, 33 years later, after watching Him do many signs and wonders, she watches Roman soldiers rip up His flesh, call Him names, gamble over His clothes, and nail Him to a cross.
For our sins.
Jesus took our punishment, because we are told that the wages of sin is death. He died so we don't have to.
I pray that you will take some time today to see not only Jesus' sacrifice, but think of what His mom went through. 
I can only imagine.
God bless you today and always!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Let's Talk About Depression

"14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.” Moses in Numbers 11:14-15
Did you realize that even some of the people who wrote the Bible struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts? I knew it, but it just wasn't on my radar really. I mean, all you have to do is read some of David's Psalms to hear his anguish at times.
I want to share with you several really great points from my Pastor's message on Sunday. I love the fact that he teaches on real life issues and how to handle them.
First of all, it's not a sin to struggle with depression. Let me just get that out there first. Second of all, it's not sin to take medicine for it. Third, discouragement looks a little like depression, so let's see the difference.
Discouragement is when you are unhappy about events in your life but you still enjoy other activities. Maybe you really dislike your job, so that brings you down daily to go to work, but you still enjoy your family at home.
Depression is when you've lost interest in everything. It's the inability to enjoy life, not really sadness. Depression makes you feel hopeless.
I would like to give you some hope today! Is that ok?
Josh said "Depression is complex, so solutions are different for each person, and it's not just a one step thing."
Here are his 5 ways to defeat the mind monster of depression:
  1. STOP trying to face it by yourself. James 5:16 tells us, "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."
  2. Get rid of STINKIN THINKIN. You can't experience positive emotions with a negative thought life.
  3. Fill your heart with God's promises. God ALWAYS keeps His promises.
  4. Talk to yourself.
Depression has power over you as long as you are silent about it. You might seem like the friendliest most bubbliest person on the earth, but deep inside you are miserable and no one knows. Stop that. You need to tell someone how you feel and let them walk with you.
Your thought life matters. What you think, especially about yourself, is a big deal. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, or putting yourself down, that's only adding to how bad you feel.
God has so many promises and proclamations He wants you to know about. Some of the ones that will help you are the ones about how He feels about you, and who you are in Christ.
Lastly, when you find those promises, read them out loud over yourself. Open your mouth and tell yourself what God says about you. Something happens when you hear the truth. Jesus said the truth would set you free!
I highly recommend you talk with someone if you are dealing with depression. It's real and it hurts people every day. I also suggest that you find a Celebrate Recovery meeting in your area for extra help. It's free to attend, they even usually have free child care if you need it. Celebrate Recovery is not just for people who struggle with addictions, it's for ANY hurt, habit, or hang up...and I think you can agree, depression falls into that for sure. Go and let them walk with you.
I pray that whoever needs to read this today does. I hope God guides the right people to this and that someone gets help from it. God wants you to live an abundant life, not one chained down by depression.
God bless you today and always!