Tag Archives: hope

Receiving Instruction (part 2)

I pray I am always honest with God, with myself, and with you – my reader.  I never want to represent myself here as having figured out the answers to all of life’s questions, and/or be walking in constant victory over all manner of trials and temptations.    Nor, I pray, shall I focus too much on the unanswerable questions of life.  Why do we always feel this need to have an explanation for the problems of life?  This world is broken.  Because of Adam’s sin, it doesn’t operate (at this time)  in the way that God originally intended. It seems I am always wrestling my thoughts to the ground to put down that one recurring question … “Why God?”

Photo by Sarah Vaughan
Photo by Sarah Vaughan

As I shared in Receiving Instruction (part 1), I had been looking back through some of my older journals and was feeling a bit discouraged.  But as my morning devotions ended, I began to notice that throughout all those seasons of challenge God was at work in me. He brought correction to my heart about prideful attitudes.  He gave light to ‘stinking thinking’ that needed to be brought into alignment with His word.  He taught me about the power of my words to either bring blessing or cursing into my life and the lives of those around me.  He renewed my mind and mouth through the power of His Word and Spirit at work within me.

And He also gave fresh vision to the dreams I wrote about years ago.  Back then, I was at the very beginnings of this journey I’m on to step into His calling for my life.    A little slip here, a little stumble there, but it certainly was fun to read my notes from along the journey, and thrilling to be able to point to a place in time as the very ‘birthing place’ of dreams I’m acting upon in 2014.

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.  But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

With that revelation, and believing God has called me to rise up and step forward as a woman of influence, I concluded that these seasons of trial, while not issued by God, can be used for a higher purpose to “test” or “prove out” my character as a leader. And I began to ask different questions about some of the challenges I’m facing today – now viewing them from a higher perspective.

Who will I be when I feel mistreated or falsely accused?
Who will I be when I don’t get what I think I deserve?
Who will I be when prayers seem unanswered?  

The truth is, I don’t much like being pressed and tested!  And it usually doesn’t bring out my most alluring personality traits.  But I was reminded that if I want God to open doors of influence for me, I shouldn’t be surprised to find that more is expected of me (reference James 3:1), for He is not going to give me greater influence if I am not presently a good steward of, or influence upon, the hearts and souls that are currently within my circle of influence.

TEST:  a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, esp. before it is taken into widespread use.
PROOF:  able to withstand something damaging; resistant.

I like the way Max Lucado compares testing to the thumping process a potter uses when testing (or proofing) his pottery.  If it ‘sings’ when it is thumped, it’s ready.  I need to sing more, and thud less!

What has God called you to do that requires more of you?
What are you facing that requires the very best that you have? 

I’ll take a break here, allowing you time to ponder that question as it relates to your own life and circumstances.  And I do hope you will take the time to post a comment or share your thoughts below.  We don’t live in a vacuum and I don’t have all the answers.

Until then, be blessed!
Jenny

 

Receiving Instruction

myAKDxiIt happens to us all.  You feel a prompting in your gut about something, or a light bulb suddenly goes off in your head.  Sometimes you may have a full understanding of it, and immediately know what your response should be to that revelation.  But other times it may be more akin to catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of your eye, or hearing a snippet of an instruction – perhaps even just a single word or small phrase.  You may ask yourself, ‘Did I really see/hear that? What does it mean?’     Then just a few days later, you turn on the TV and come across a program discussing just that subject.   I’m describing those times when it seems like everywhere you turn, the same word/message seems to be coming at you –  from TV, to radio, to friends even strangers.

Some would say ‘the universe is trying to tell you something’.  But why listen to the universe, when we can instead seek understanding and revelation from ‘the God of the universe?’

Well, I’ve been having that kind of experience lately.  There are certain words/phrases and snippets of knowledge that have been peeking out at me from books, podcasts, and around the corners of my mind/understanding.  I’m hungry for them to unify into an cohesive understanding, and so as free time allows I have been setting aside quiet time to dig deeper, seeking His heart and His word for discernment and revelation.   This morning is one of those times.

“Leadership Is Influence: Nothing More, Nothing Less”  ~John Maxwell

From my journal
From my journal

In the course of my quiet time this morning, while talking with the Lord about certain challenges I’m facing, I paused to look back through some of my older my journals.  And in doing so, I was a bit surprised to see that I was writing back then about some of the same things I journal about now.  In some ways, that was a bit discouraging – because I would rather have read about former challenges that I now (in this present moment) have victory over.

For example, in 2010 I was responding to a prompt to ‘step up’ as a woman of influence/leadership, and had crafted a “Statement of Purpose” for my life inspired by John Maxwell’s book “Developing The Leader Within You“.   Oh, to read the enthusiasm and faith displayed in those 2010-2011 entries.  God was leading me, teaching me, I was being challenged and also changed.  I was letting go of (at least in part) the insecurities that had kept me ‘living small’ and was daring to dream of things impossible for me to achieve based on my own qualifications.

Then life happened, and it rather grieves my heart to say that some of the same fears and insecurities that I was writing about conquering back then are still stalking me now.  Oh, yes, I’m now much quicker at dismissing them as falsehoods (issued direct from the pit of hell) but in truth – I have not entirely “broken up with fear” as I so boldly declared in my journal back in 2010.  Fear was alive and well in my life throughout 2012 and a good chunk of 2013.  Which is why I (again) declared a Break Up with Fear in 2014!

Or what about all those entries pouring out my heart during seasons when I felt persecuted by unfair circumstances, or under attack in some area of my faith-walk.  In some cases, it was exciting to later read an entry about a fresh revelation or victory seen – but there were also plenty of entries that sounded a lot like my writings in recent months.

I’m going to pause here because otherwise this would be a very lengthy post.  Please check back in a few days for part 2, and while you’re waiting please take a moment to leave a comment or two.  Have you ever heard the same message coming to you through TV, radio, etc?  Or have you ever looked back to old journals, diaries, or photos/videos and what were your experiences?

See you again in a few days!

Be blessed,
Jenny

 

Only You!

I can’t stand it – I have to get this out!  Not all of it, because the story isn’t quite yet ready to tell … but I’m about to explode, so I’m going to share the next best thing!

This song came to me (approx. 2003) after a similar OMG experience!  OMG as in “Sweet Lord Jesus, why do you love me so much as to do that for me?” kind of thing!  And from the outpouring of gratitude from that OMG experience, this song came out of my heart and I’ve been singing it since to Him for years.

Only You
Written by Jenny Hopewell

Only You would do something like this Lord
Only You would do something like this Lord
For You are faithful, and you are good
And You look after Your children, like a good Daddy should
Only You, Only You would do something like this Lord
For me

Who Am I? (part 2)

When I was a girl, we had 4 fruit trees growing in the front yard. Since I was the youngest of 7 kids, guess who always got stuck picking up the rotten fruit that fell off the trees …  ME!

One day, while picking up rotten fruit, two kids from down the block came by and picked a few apples off one of the trees.  My behavior was terrible – I can admit that now!   But at the time, the only thing going through my 8 year old head was – that was MY fruit, and they were stealing it!

Of course, it wasn’t really my fruit.  It was my dad who worked day after day to pay for that house we lived in.  He mowed the lawn, he tended the trees, and he was the rightful owner of the fruit they bore.   But as my father’s daughter, what is his is also mine.   And so when someone steals from my father, they are also stealing from me.

I acted in response to the knowledge of who I was … daughter of the owner of the property, and rightful heir of all that was his.   I pelted them with over-ripe oranges.  (Oh the shame of that admission! LOL)

The same applies to you and me today. 

As our Father’s children, what is His is also ours!

For those of us who have been “adopted” into the family of God, what belongs to our Heavenly Father also belongs to us!   And we need to stop letting the voices of this world define our worth and value as people, and instead – let God tell us of our identity, of who we are, and who we were created to be!

As a young girl, my identity was shaped by the voices of people who told me I didn’t measure up.  I felt unwanted and unloved, with no voice, no choice, and no power.  As I grew into a woman, I repeatedly chose men who also treated me badly – because in the secret places of my heart, I didn’t believe I could expect any better.  But my life began to radically change when I began to listen to Gods voice telling me who I was.

Beloved, when you correctly understand your identity in Christ, who you are – and what is yours (the power, the authority, the dignity, the calling) as children of the Living God – it will change the way you think about yourself.  And that “right standing” will change the choices you make on a daily basis, and will ultimately change the course of your life, and the lives of your children and grandchildren.

And it all starts with how you answer the question “WHO AM I?”

(since 2011, Matthew West has put out a wonderful song entitled “Hello, My Name Is“.  Take a listen and start singing about your true Identity!)

Who Am I
Who Am I

Who Am I?

A number of Pastors are teaching on this subject right now – I love when God speaks through many voices!  This post was originally published under a my former blog in July 2011, but the question is just as relevant today.  Enjoy!

I love going to flea markets and yard sales, finding something unique, and then trying out my negotiating skills!  It’s so exhilarating to score a deal! Case in point, last summer a girlfriend and I were out bargain hunting and I picked up the cutest little side table – made of solid wood, well maintained, and the perfect size I needed for a bedside table in the guest room!  They don’t make tables like that anymore, and for that reason alone, it is worth far more than the $4 I paid for it!

The more uncommon something is, the greater its value or worth!

Now let me ask you a question.   WHO ARE YOU? 

Who Am I (preview)
Who Am I (preview)

From the day of your birth, you have been seeking answers to the timeless question of WHO ARE YOU?   As an infant and toddler, you looked to your parents and immediate family for clues to who you are.  As you grew older, the voices of friends, teachers, employers and lovers gave definition to who you are.

Some of you reading this were shaped by encouraging voices that regularly told you how special you are.  Their words of encouragement continue to inspire you to stand taller, dream bigger, take chances and live life to the fullest.

Some of you were shaped by critical voices that told you in words or by their treatment of you that you were not and never will be good enough.  That you don’t have what it takes.  You are second rate, or worse still – you are worthless.

Which takes us back to that question –

WHO ARE YOU?  Or put another way, what is your identity and what is your worth?

As you pause in your reading to answer that question, pay careful attention to your answer – as your choice of words will reveal much about how you define yourself, and how you define yourself says a lot about how you perceive your value or worth as a person.  And beloved, every single day, you make choices for yourself and for others that are influenced by your perception of your identity and your value or worth as a person.

For the continuation of this conversation and to see the rest of this picture, see “Who Am I? (Part 2)” posting shortly.