Tag Archives: staying positive

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

 

Who Cares

MH900400301One of the more recent additions to my ever-growing audio/video message library is entitled “Who Cares, Living Free From the Weight of Worry” by Jeremy Pearsons of Kenneth Copeland Ministries.    Jeremy does a fabulous job in bring home the simple yet profound truth that once we really know how deeply and completely we are loved by God, fear looses it’s power over us!

Somewhere within the message series, Jeremy Pearsons makes an observation in reference to Romans 8:31 that really struck a chord with me.  To the best of my recollection it goes like this:

“If God is for us, who can be against us!  And if God is against us, who can be for us?”    ~Jeremy Pearsons

So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  He didn’t spare his own Son but gave him up for us all. Won’t he also freely give us all things with him?  Who will bring a charge against God’s elect people? It is God who acquits them.”     (Romans 8:31-33)

Think about that.   I mean, if you and I truly believe that God is for us (as in deeply loves and cares for us) – then what does that say for every person, circumstance or power that is against us?

Said a little differently, if God is for me – then by contrast it also means that God is against everything that isn’t for me!  And if God is against something or someone … brother, that’s just BAD news!!!!!

Many years ago, I learned a little chorus.  I don’t know the name of the song, nor the author … I suspect that it might be a snippet from a Jewish or Messianic psalm.  In any case, I have never forgotten it and if often brings me comfort on challenging days.

“This I know, my God is for me
This I know

This I know, my God is on my side
My God is for me
This I know.”

~unknown

I encourage you to take some time to meditate on the love of God for you.   Search the Word for His promises to you, feed your spirit!  Keep your focus on the love of God vs whatever challenges are facing you today.  You are His beloved, and He does and will continue to care for (watch over, protect, attend to, teach/train, protect, defend,) you!

According to Hebrews 2:14-15, Christ has ‘render the devil powerless’ and made free those were all their lives held captive to him through fear.  You and I have been set free from fear!

So like I said in an earlier post, ‘me and Fear have had a ‘break up”.  I’m not taking his calls anymore, and when Fear knocks on my door … I don’t answer, and fear not!   And if Fear won’t leave on his own accord,  I make an introduction!!

“Jesus, may I introduce you to Fe…… ”  (insert sound of running feet)   Hmmm … where did he go?”

Works every time!

Be blessed,
Jenny

PS – if you happen to know the origin of the song/chorus, please do tell!

911 – What’s your emergency?

The other day, my oldest daughter and I were practically rolling on the floor laughing!  She had one of those moments when she realized … gasp … that she is becoming more and more like her mom.  Hey, we’ve all had those moments – and not all of them are funny.  But this one was!!  Hysterical in fact!   And in the telling of her own ridiculously silly story, she reminded me of an incident back in the late 1990’s when we were still living in California.    But first a little background…

I have raised my two daughters, both married now to fine and godly men, as a single parent since they were 4 and 7.   And as a single parent, I think I felt the weight of keeping my family safe a little differently than many moms might – after all, there was no husband around to check out those bumps in the night.    In addition to being a light sleeper (listening for noises that don’t belong), I regularly checked the doors before going to bed, ‘cleared the house’ when we’d all been out for a considerable period of time, and all the other things that one does to protect their children.    After all, that’s what parents do.

Well, by the time of this particular event, my daughters were well into their teens, and I had just returned home from work about the same time as they arrived home from after school events.   It was while I was moving about the house that I discovered a rather large clump of ‘freshly cut hair’ in the bathroom.  You know, like when you go to the salon for a major style change and they cut off locks of hair which then fall to the floor in clusters (for example, large ringlets of wavy hair)?  Well, it was like that.  Like someone had cut their hair in my bathroom.  But this was just ONE clump of ‘freshly cut hair’, and it wasn’t ours!!!!

I was completely freaked out!   My brain could make no sense of this!  Feeling very violated and very vulnerable, I began to panic.  They tell me that with hair in hands, I ran back and forth through our little 900′ house chanting “what kind of pervert breaks into someone’s house to cut their hair???”  I was even considering calling the police!  I suspect it would have gone something like this:

FB_emergencyApp_911911 Operator:  911, what is your emergency?
Me:  I think someone broke into my house!
911 Operator:  Is there evidence of a break in?
Me:  No, not that I can find.
911 Operator:  Is anything missing?
Me:  No, not that I know of.
911 Operator:  What makes you think someone broke in to your home?
Me:  There is a clump of hair in the bathroom!!!

Well, you can imagine how that would have sounded!  Thankfully, my daughters are a lot smarter than their mom.  I now blame it on that strange mysterious thing that happens when you turn 40.  You know … when the brain kinda flickers on and off?   After about an hour of looking like a complete lunatic before my daughters, they both start laughing hysterically and point to a patch on the top of my head where my hair suddenly goes from about 8″ to only 2″ in length!   Yup, I had burned off my own hair with the curling iron that morning and didn’t even notice it!!!!   Which also means I also went to work looking like that!

Well, there is a reason to my telling this story … but you’re going to have to wait for it.  My youngest daughter,  still very much smarter than her mom, has pointed out that shorter blogs are preferred to long dissertations.  So you guessed it – this is a “Part 1 of 2” type of blog post.  But while you wait, hopefully you have had a good chuckle and maybe even remembered a few silly things you’ve done over the years.

“A merry heart does good, like medicine.”   (Proverbs 17:22a)

It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself, even better if others can laugh with you!!  Why don’t you add your own story to the comment section and we’ll keep the laughter going!

Be blessed,
Jenny

PS – don’t forget to check back next week for Part 2!!

The Valley of Dry Bones and Failures

Do you have a ‘valley of dry bones’ in your life?    Passions and aspirations that once inspired you but are now dead and decomposed, their sun-bleached bones discarded into the dump heap?

I do!  Over the years, I’ve had many hopes and dreams that seem to come for a season (nearly overtaking me in their power and all-consuming passion), only to fade away into nothingness over time. Sometimes they were displaced by a new and more captivating dream. Sometimes I abandoned them out of discouragement, weary of chasing something that seemed to be forever out of reach. And some just plain old DIED on me, no matter what kind of emergency life-support treatment was applied!  And my bone pile grew.

Ezekiel 37

Periodically I like to walk among those old bones (it’s important to do that from time to time) and recently, I came upon one particular bone … a bone so old that there was virtually no evidence of life left on it anymore.  It made me a little sad to reflect upon the dreams I had back then, and what this bone represented.  I was so sure that I heard the Lord calling me to do that thing, but ….  I guess I misheard, I’ve been known to do that a time or two-hundred.

“… and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

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 enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’ ”      (Ezekiel 37:3-6)

But as I looked at that old bone, a most wonderful thing happened.

“So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.”  (Ezekiel 37:7)

His gentle voice whispered into my spirit …. ‘Daughter, I am the one who breathes life to your dreams.   Trust me.  Don’t try to make it happen in your own strength or rush Me.  It will happen at the appointed time.’

Thank you Lord, I receive that.   I think I’ll be hanging onto that bone now, lovingly tending to it until You breathe the fullness of Life into it for Your glory.

Be Blessed,
Jenny