Monthly Archives: April 2015

All I Know to Do is Pray

Standard

I’ve watched the news. I’ve seen the images. I’ve heard the arguements.

All I know to do is pray.

I’ve tried other things. I’ve worked for government-funded inner-city programs. I’ve helped high school dropouts finish their education. I’ve driven at-risk teens to job interviews and arranged on-the-job training for gang members. I’ve opened my home, given food and clothes from my closet. All these efforts barely made a dent.

All I know to do is pray.

I’ve made investments and witnessed success stories, watched a handful make progress beyond what my file cabinet could hold. Yet all the funds and mentoring and time only impacted those who decided within themselves to make a change. All the coaching in the world didn’t phase those resigned to remain victims. I could encourage and engage and pursue for eternity but change requires individual effort and fortitude.

All I know to do is pray.

I’ve shared my faith, the basis of my hope and desire to help. I’ve pleaded, begged people to catch even a fraction of a glimpse of the potential I saw, of the plans and hope and future God has for them. But still only those whose hearts were willing had the eyes to see.

All I know to do is pray.

No program, regardless of how funded and supported it may be, can change a heart. Only God can. Only He knows how to work in the mind and life of each soul He has created. Only He can bring about full potential, direct paths and crown success. He is The Author and Administrator of the best grant ever written, The Free Gift of Salvation provided through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, all I can really do is pray.

~Jessie

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and [I] will heal their land.”

~2 Chronicles 7:14

I Don’t Got This

Standard

image

I recently began a study of 1 Peter with IF:Equip.com. If you’ve not heard of this, check it out. Awesome stuff. And it’s not too late to join the study. We will start the Book of 2 Peter tomorrow.

Today is Day 9 of the study and the reading is 1 Peter 5:1-14. This is one of my favorite passages in scripture. In my mind I can still hear my daddy reading the KJV version to our family before we headed out the door every morning. Good times. ❤️

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:6-7

While these words have always been a comfort, they have fresh meaning for my life today.

Humbling myself means admitting I can’t Do It All–which is opposite of what the world would say–and then not trying to.

What comes from doing too much? Anxiety.

When I admit I can’t Be and Do all the world says I should and confess my need for God, I automatically find myself casting my anxiety on the Lord. (Amazing!)

It is in that humble place under God’s mighty hand that I’m finally out of His way and give Him room to exalt me–to do something with my life when the time is right.

I realize today I am so far from humble. I may say I can’t Do It All but my actions tell another story.

My Planning and Doing is the way I exalt myself, because let’s be honest–I have no clue when God will do it or what it will look like.

But I do know this–My God is Good. He has plans and hope and a future for me that my mind can’t even conceive. He can be trusted because He cares for me.

So today, I’m seeking to rest under His mighty hand. No “If You Want Something Done Right” thinking. No trying to finagle or figure.

Just admitting–I don’t got this.

~Jessie

http://www.ifequip.com/2891?utm_source=IF+%3A+Equip&utm_campaign=c5c4ccc0d1-Ticket_Registration_9_20_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3377dbada0-c5c4ccc0d1-106717193

“The Story and The Song”

Standard

“God wrote ‘I love you’ — He wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror—to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.

The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.

And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called ‘The Bible.’

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and should not do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is—it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the others pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day—but wait. Our Story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning…” ❤️

~”The Story and The Song” from The Jesus Storybook Bible, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones (http://www.jesusstorybookbible.com)

Yes, this passage comes from a children’s book, but oh, the truth and grace in these words! My heart was overwhelmed as I read them aloud to my children today.

How do you view God’s word? Is it a book of rules or heroes or standards you’ll never measure up to? Or do you see the adventure and romance and grace; the greatest Story ever told?

Our children will likely view it the same way.

Remember, “the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.”

What a concept.

Jessie

“The Heavens are singing about how great God is; and the skies are shouting it out, ‘See what God has made!’ Day after day… Night after night… They are speaking to us.”

~Psalm 19:1-2 (paraphrase)

The Scripture I Don’t Like

Standard

image

Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit that is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:4 (TLB)

Y’all, I love God and His Word—but I’ve always had a slight problem with this verse.

If I am anything, it’s NOT Quiet!

I can usually pull off Gentle if I really try, but Quiet is just not part of my DNA.

So when I read that God delights in the Gentle and Quiet, I feel like a failure. Like I’ve let Him down. That I’ll never measure up to this standard of His. It’s just not in Me.

But I SO want it to be! I want God to look at me and smile. I want Him to see me, not only covered by the blood of Jesus, but as a daughter He is proud of and happy to see.

Lately He’s been pulling back on the reigns of my heart, whispering “whoooaaa!” and telling me I need to ease up.

Talk less.
Do less.
Pray more.

(More on those later.)

But today, He read this verse to my heart in a new way.

It’s not my personality that needs to change, it’s my spirit—my inner disposition.

He isn’t pleased when I simply bite my tongue.

It’s not gently holding out my finger for a bird to perch on like a Disney princess that He delights in.

It’s about the quietness and gentleness within my heart and head.

It’s being at peace.

Putting duck tape over my mouth but allowing The Type A Voices in my to head go 90 to nothing is not being at peace.

Letting my heart beat wild with frustration though I act gentle on the outside is not being at peace.

Being at peace means my insides are calm. My heart rate is normal. The Voices are silent.

Being at peace is a gift of God and a fruit of His Spirit, not mine.

Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

Truthfully, I know God made me to be exactly who I am, minus my sin nature. He says I am His creation; He thought me up!

He gave me this loud mouth to use for His glory.

He gave me a Git’er Done work ethic to accomplish His agenda.

God is not asking me to change who I am in this verse, He’s just asking me to be at peace.

God, what does it look like when I am truly at peace? What does it feel like? How do I act?

I am most at peace when I’m in my Happy Place—swaying in a hammock on the beach.

Nowhere to be.
Nothing to accomplish.
No one to please.

Lying in that hammock I have control of my mouth, my actions, my thoughts.

I think clearly before I speak and my heart isn’t in a hurry.

No fuss.
No tizzy.
No noise.

I’m just Me and God is smiling.

Unfortunately, I live nowhere near the beach so physically going to my Happy Place isn’t an option. That’s why I desperately need Jesus.

It is only by His Spirit, through that Gift He left us that we go there in spirit. Even when demanding situations and stressful chaos surround us, we can be at peace on the inside.

Kinda like when Happy Gilmore thinks of Grandma and sinks a putt.

May we find our Happy Place in Him today and be beautiful inside.

Heavenly Father, I know You created me to be exactly who I am. You have a purpose and plan for ME. Thank you for showing me You’ve not set the bar too high. May Your Spirit bring that peaceful, easy feeling to my heart and mind no matter my surroundings, that I would use my mouth and actions in ways that please You. Thank you for Your grace and love for ME. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jessie