Monthly Archives: June 2014

One Night After A Long Day At Work

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This is one of those rare occasions when my words are few.

Two nights ago, one of our newest brothers in Christ went Home.

As only God could orchestrate, this sweet friend gave his heart and life to Jesus merely weeks ago. Now, he’s resting in Jesus’ arms. How grateful I am for God’s impeccable timing.

Last night, our little community of friends and family sat around my living room and reminisced of our friend. His sense of humor…his sense of accomplishment, even on the little things…the way he could brighten anyone’s day…his uncanny ability to grow a beard…

Tears flowed as memories flooded our minds; gentle laughter and sweet smiles buoyed us all. We only knew him a short time, at most 18 months, but this brother of ours clearly impacted our lives.

He was always smiling.

He always said whatever was on his heart.

He celebrated the small stuff.

He always did what he said he would.

We all agreed we want to be more like he was. Honest. Dependable. Loving. Helpful. A real person and a loyal friend.

As I listened to the tales of his days, I realized how even the littlest things have such a huge impact on those around us.

…A smile and jolly spirit truly can lighten someone’s load on a lonely, tiresome day, even if for a moment.

…A warm muffin and a cup of coffee can lead to good conversation, friendship, and a deeper relationship with Jesus.

…Late-night leftovers and video games can encourage candid discussion and evaluation of life choices.

…Giving up private family time so a burdened friend can stop by to talk can lead to salvation.

Every action has eternal implications. Even when the house is messy and the timing inconvenient. Even when I feel inadequate to help. Everything I do, even in my imperfection, can be the catalyst for someone’s salvation.

Oh how I should never take the little things for granted or fuss because I feel overworked. I am convicted and reminded that everything I do has eternal merit when I do it unto The Lord.

Tucked away in my heart I know this, but the recent salvation and loss of this friend pulls that reasoning out of its neatly folded resting place and back into perspective.

Friend, if you find your service wearisome or if you’re merely going through the motions, may I kindly ask you to just stop for a minute? Think about every single thing you do and WHY you do it. Slow down a bit, notice a simple pleasure and find contentment in it. Realize that even the smallest things can convey the love of Christ in all of its magnitude.

Know that it is He who made us and not we ourselves. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. It is He who chose us to go and bear fruit that will last.

We are here but for a moment and then, Eternity. Fellow believer, we have the opportunity to be part of the greatest story ever told; we get the chance to leave a mark on the pages of Eternity. Let us not squander our chapter because we’re too busy or too burdened with our own selves.

May our love for Jesus be so full and our hope so overflowing that is spills onto everyone around us—no matter what we’re doing.

Let all that is said and done by God’s people be done for His glory, to display evidence of Him and His love for us all—at all times.

May we live every day with a sense of urgency to share the hope of The Gospel, for we never know whose last chance it could be to hear it.

We loved our friend and he loved us. How do I know? Because we told one another. Because we took time for one another. Because we were active in each others lives.

When he asked for help moving, we helped. When he asked for extra cinnamon and sugar on his coffee, he got it. And when he asked how he could know Jesus, we told him.
One night, after a long day at work.

ALL for Him,

Jessie

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.” ~ 1 Peter 4:11

“Know that The Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” ~ Psalm 100:3

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” ~ Acts 17:28

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last–and so that whatever you ask in my name The Father will give you.” ~John 15:16

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It’s Gonna Leave a Mark

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“It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear.” ~ Dorothy Evslin

I feel a lump in my throat as this thought sinks in.

My Baby is seven today.

That means I’ve had this parenting gig now for seven years, but I still feel like I do not have the foggiest idea what I’m doing.

At most jobs, seven years of experience would say a lot, but when it comes to parenting, seven years is just a drop in the bucket. I’m still quite The Newbie.

Newbie or not, I do know this:  Parenting is by far the hardest job I have ever had. There is no how-to manual, everyone does it differently, and if you don’t do it right, you don’t just mess up a “project”, you potentially ruin a life.

Not only is parenting hard, but parenting in today’s world is downright terrifying.

Just this year my kindergartner experienced something I have never known, as she was forced to go into her “secret place”  with her teacher and classmates. Their class of 20 huddled in a closet as the kindergarten campus went on “lock-down”.  They closed the shades and turned off the lights as helicopters and police searched for a carjacking and robbery suspect outside.

Really? This is the kind of world we live in and our children have to grow up in? How do I prepare my innocent babies for the evils that lurk within this world? Why do we even continue to bring more lives into this messed up place?

Oh how the mommas in Israel must feel every day.

Even as I write this, tears well up in my eyes for I know I cannot protect my children from the evil that surrounds us. I in my own power cannot adequately prepare my babies for the dangers of life in the real world.

That job requires supernatural strength and divine intervention. Only Jehovah God can protect them, guard the length of their days and carry out His will for their lives. I desperately need His help to teach them truth and prepare them for life in this world.

“God loves our children infinitely more than we can…I am able to be with and help my children only to the limit of my presence. But there is no boundary to His presence.” ~ Lee Ezell

The good news is, this world is not Home. Jesus said “Let not your heart be troubled…I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-4 ) That means we have the glorious hope of ditching this place one day and living with Him.

My first and foremost task is to teach my children to love Jesus and to lead them to accept His salvation so they may live with Him one day. 

My second task as a parent is to train my children in the way they should go, not for my sake or their own benefit, but for the glory of God. (Proverbs 22:6)

I’ve heard many young Christian couples express their fear of bringing children into this world and all of its evil. I myself was even fearful of this, feeling as if it were almost unfair to bring a child into the horrors of today.

But as Dr. Tony Evans teaches in his Kingdom Family series, God gave us the charge to be fruitful and multiply. (Gen. 1:28; 9:7)

This was no haphazard command. God purposely designed the family so that His people would reproduce and create replicates of Him.

As Tony says, we are not to create look-alikes of ourselves, we are to lead our children to become look-alikes of God. The righteous are to outnumber the unrighteous. (Jeremiah 29)

God wants to replicate Himself on earth through His people. That means Believers are to marry one another, center their lives and homes around the Truth of God’s Word and have as many babies as they can leave a divine imprint on.  For most of us, that may be one or two or three babies; for the Dugger’s, it’s 20 (or however many they’re up to now!).

That is why we have children, not just because we want them or because society tells us we should have them.
We as believers have babies so we can further the kingdom of God and so more of His love can be seen here on earth.

Satan knows this and it’s the reason he has waged war on our homes. It is a lie to think we as women must go outside our homes for fulfillment or to be useful for The Kingdom.  What we do outside the home has the potential to impact others, but what we do within the four walls of our home is certain to leave a mark on this world.

“We can change the world inside our own houses. Take the gift of this moment and make something beautiful of it. Few worthwile experiences just happen; memories are made on purpose.” ~ Gloria Gather

So indeed, parenting is the most important and difficult job we as believing adults have before us today. This is a calling and a ministry and a blessing and a burden all rolled into one. It is delightful and difficult, and certainly a task we should not take lightly.

If you’ve yet to have babies or find yourself fearful to, see it as a step of faith and obedience. God will not fail to help you raise replicates of Him if that is your aim. Don’t let the craziness of the world keep you from the divine ministry God has for you.

“If The Lord be with us, we have no cause to fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer–His grace sufficient, His promise unchangeable.” ~ John Newton

“He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9

“I know of no realm of life that can provide more companionship in a lonely world, or greater feelings of security and purpose in chaotic times, than the close ties of a family.” ~ Charles Swindoll

Today, as I celebrate my daughter’s seventh birthday I also celebrate the day I began a new job. It is my seventh anniversary at Parenting Inc.

No, I do not have awards and accolades hanging on the walls of a cubicle to show for my work, but I do have this: framed hand-prints from a beautiful daughter who God created and has a plan for. Two Children who I am called to share the love of Jesus with. A unique ministry because God saw fit for me to be the mother of these specific individuals.

God has entrusted me with this job, this ministry and I answer to Him.

Because I am human, I must seek divine support and guidance so I may leave a divine imprint on these little lives I’m called to shape. I want them to be the unique creatures God desired when He thought them up.

I’m not going to do it perfectly as mistakes on my part are inevitable.  Like a funny Pin I saw, I’m hoping to give my kids just enough dysfunction to make them interesting.

No matter what else I may do in this life, my parenting is definitely gonna leave a mark.

“O God, You have given me a vacant soul, an untaught conscience, a life of clay. Put Your big hands around mine and guide my hands so that every time I make a mark on this life, it will be Your mark.” ~ Gloria Gather

Lord Jesus, thank you for children. Thank you, Father, for seeing fit to further your kingdom through the replication of Yourself in us. Today I realize parenting is in fact a ministry and a calling from you. I know I cannot do it on my own, so please be close to my heart. Guide me so that as I follow after you and my children follow after me, we will together be walking in Your footsteps.

~ Jessie

“4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:4-7

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” ~John 14:1-4

“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” ~Genesis 1:28

“As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” ~Genesis 9:7