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Deep Thought Thursday Promise Keeper

God is love. And love is patient, kind and believes the best. (See 1 Corinthians 13)

And yet the majority of people I know, myself included, doubt that God is for us, and wonder if He has forgotten us and His promises to us.

Doubt creeps in on hard days and suddenly we are believing the lie that we are on our own and need to fight for ourselves. We doubt God’s love. We doubt God’s promises. We doubt God’s goodness.

So if today is one of those days of doubting, remember…

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

What a wonderful God we have- He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

With the Lord a day is like a 1000 years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

Point to ponder while you wander…

In the days of doubting remember you can invite Jesus to help you in your doubt. Jesus said “Everything is possible for one who believes.” in Mark 9:23, and immediately a doubting father asked for help to believe.

“‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” Mark 9:23-24

Deep Thought Thursday: What Job is Really About

I’m currently studying the book of Job. Truthfully…it’s not my favorite.

What do you think the book of Job is about?

Most people, at least by the studies, commentaries, and posts I’ve found, believe Job is about why the righteous suffer.

I disagree. Wholeheartedly.

The book of Job is about relationship.

In the beginning, Job 1-3, Job knew of God. In the end, Job 38-42, Job KNEW God. That my friends is the point of Job’s story.

Are you going through hard times right now? Please save yourself the agony of the why that may never be answered (Job never found out why).

Instead focus on the who. Who is Jesus to you? Who do you want to be?

Use these hard times to grow and be a better person that you were before they happened.

I know it sucks. I’ve been there.

I’ve spent months battling a disease, having surgeries, and lying in a hospital bed. #notontodeath

I’ve lost a house, two cars, and had to depend on other people to help me financially. Literally living on less than $200 a month for over a year. Read more about how I felt going through it here. #pridekiller

I lost 3 of the most important people in the world to me in a 6 month time span. #deepdeepgrief

Sometimes seasons in your life just suck. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we suffer.

If you read Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, many of them went through rough stuff too! BUT…just like with the 3 boys in the fiery furnace, they were not in it alone! And neither are you!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel…” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV

Point to ponder while you wander…

Life is not always easy, even if you are a believer!

BUT every season you go through can help you grow wiser, stronger, more compassionate, and closer to God.

Or you can choose to shrink into resentment, bitterness, and blame God.

The choice is yours.

Unity of the Nation

I was just on the roof of my building enjoying the view of DC, and praying for wisdom for our president and our congress.

And this is what came to me…Our military is the best in the world, so chances America being taken down from the outside are not very high. But the chances of us destroying ourselves from the inside out are currently astronomical.

We are not United.

Why would a terrorist waste their time attacking us? When we the people are using our diversity as a wrecking ball against ourselves & destroying our own country.

History should be studied and learned from so it is not repeated.

But yet we haven’t learned a thing! Here we are fighting amongst ourselves over historical statues and skin tones!

Come on people. Take a deep breath.

Hate, fear, anger, wrath, rioting, and finger pointing do not resolve anything. And we all know fear is a liar!

People are hurting, legitimately, and I’m sorry to see and hear that. But knocking down a very old Christopher Columbus statue is not going to heal anyone’s wounds. It just won’t.

Is this what you want to teach the next generation of Americans? Do you want your kids and grandkids to destroy art and history because they are hurt and upset?

I sincerely hope not.

Listening. Open communication. Love. Kindness. Patience. Mutual respect. These are tools that lead to unity.

Unity does not mean we are all the same and have the same opinion. It doesn’t mean blindly following either.

Unity is diverse people coming together for the common good. It’s choosing to listen to those who have a differing opinion. Unity is choosing to be kind & respectful even when you disagree.

The goal of unity should be to build on the successes of the previous generation accomplished, and improve in the areas where they struggled.

Point to ponder while you wander…This is our country. We are the people. We, you and me, are the solution to the problem.

So please join me in praying for peace and unity for our people, and wisdom for our leaders. Please choose to be kind. Be the positive change.

Little Irritations? Or Reasons to Rejoice?

Picture it. Saturday. A lovely rainy Saturday. Perfect excuse to stay in my apartment and read (or binge watch a show). But there was a break in the weather so I hopped on the bus and went to the grocery store. So adult-like and responsible of me, don’t you think?

I get my groceries, and get in line. I put all the cold stuff together so it would be easier for the cashier to pack. Then I hand the cashier my reusable bags and my cooler bag for the cold and frozen items. She threw most everything in the freezer bag except the cold stuff. I could have been annoyed. But I just shook my head, told her to have a good day, exited the store, and repacked my bags.

Then I walk the block to the bus stop.  The sky goes dark, and as I am talking to the nice man next to me an accident happens right in front of us. No one was hurt thankfully, but the one driver is irate! So I start to call the police to let them know there’s an accident, since the people involved are just screaming at each other, and blocking traffic.

As I am dialing…the wind kicks up and the sky opens, drenching me and my groceries instantly. I’m now soaked to the skin talking to a police dispatcher who wants me to give her licence plates that I cannot really see from my vantage point, but I do my best to answer her questions, and get off the phone.

Then I just started laughing at the ridiculousness of my day right at that moment. I ended up getting the two other soaked people at the bus stop to laugh too. What else are you gonna do? Be mad at the rain? That’s pretty much a waste of time.

It’s gonna rain, friends. Fact of life. 

About 5 minutes later the bus arrives. So I board the bus, and it dawns on me that I forgot to buy a lime. Crap! I’m making cilantro lime rice and a mexican type chicken in the crock pot. I need a lime.

Lesson: Look at your list BEFORE leaving the store. Reason to be thankful: I can feel the rain. I am physically able to carry my groceries. My eggs didn’t break. I got $10 in free groceries. 

So I go home. Dry off. Change. Put the groceries away. And start preparing to make the chicken and rice. Promptly spill diced tomatoes on the rug I just washed last week. Awesome. Throw that back in the washer.

Then I walk to the closest grocery store on the next rain break, to buy a lime. Get on the bus to go home because the sky looked a tad menacing yet again. But because of a 5K on my street, down from my apartment, the bus has been diverted.  So I walk nearly as far as I would have from the grocery store. But it didn’t rain on me! So I’ll take it as a win.

When I cut the lime in half, I found another reason to be thankful! A very juicy lime!! I got so much juice from this one little lime that I had enough for both the rice and the chicken. 😀 

So I make the rice. And promptly spill some on the floor.  

Lesson: Sweeping fresh rice is not easy. Had to wash the floor. Reasons to be thankful: I only lost a handful of rice in the spill. My floor is now clean, as is my rug. I can see the rice to be able to clean it up. I have an apartment with a nice kitchen, and pots, pans, and utensils to cook with. I have a washer in my apartment to wash the rug. I am physically able to walk home, and to clean my floor. I have food to cook. It started pouring again shortly after I entered my apartment, so I am also grateful I made it home dry! 

Point to ponder while you wander…

Truthful Tuesday…One Nation

We are all one race…human. All made in the image and likeness of God. You want to know how to fix our nation? 

1. Pray for her. Pray for our leaders. Pray for unity for our people. You don’t have to like someone to pray for them. #prayforyourenemies #prayforourleaders

2. Be kind to one another. Accept that not everyone looks, feels, or thinks the same as you do. You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind. #loveiskind #loveyourneighborasyourself

And 3. Stop complaining. Start listening. Stop saying us and them. #2ears1mouth #onenationunderGod

Point to ponder while you wander… “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Not Quite There

1. We’re all on a journey of growth. The person who is irritating you may not be as mature as you, but you haven’t arrived either. We are ALL in various places of healing and growth. 

2. Love is a choice. You have the choice to be kind and patient, to pray for others, and to encourage people to keep going.

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious expression of grace in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you through your union with him and will complete it at the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Philippians 1:6 NLT

I Am Brave?

So I’ve been on a faith journey that has required me to be vulnerable and take some interesting steps. I had the realization that if I want the life God has for me…the good one from Jeremiah 29:11, I have to run down the dock and jump into the deep end. Go all in!

If you’ve been around a while…that’s not how I roll. I have played around the edges of the lake…maybe tiptoed in to my knees…but never gotten my hair wet.

I went to the city I hear calling my name and I found my tribe, aka my church. Praise Jesus! 

When that happened yesterday, I knew that this city is now MY city. I am compelled to pray for her and love her and love her people. I am compelled! I feel it in the core of who I am.

Even though I haven’t moved here yet. Don’t have a job yet. Don’t have a place to live yet. Don’t know when I’m moving here. But I know I am home.

Strangest feeling ever, BTW!

Anyway…yesterday at my church…I was talking to a woman and telling her what was going on. Her eyes got very big and she said, “You are sooo brave. I could never do what you’re doing.”

I am brave? Really?

I did not feel brave. I felt crazy. I am in one of the biggest and most expensive cities in the US by myself to do a fact finding mission to move here. All completely on faith that God is telling me I should move here.

But I left there confessing and declaring “I AM BRAVE.”

So thank you, Maple, for telling me who I am, when I couldn’t see myself clearly. 

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua 1:6 NLT

Point to ponder while you wander…God is constantly speaking to us, revealing who He is and what’s on His heart, but sometimes we’re so in the weeds of our day to day that we miss Him. He’s also inviting us to partner with Him. But He’ll never force us. We are given a choice to partner with Him or go our own way. 

As scary and hard as it is to leave my warm comfortable place. I trust Him. And He is worth the risk. 

And honestly, right now, in this hard and scary place, I feel like Sleeping Beauty who has just been awakened with a kiss by King Jesus. 💋

What Do You Want From Me?

What do You want from me God? Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? What’s my calling? What’s my purpose?

I’ve asked God (and sometimes screamed accusingly) these and many more questions. I just want to do what He made me to do. The simple general answer is found here:  “What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8

Okay, so He wants us to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly WITH Him.  What exactly does that mean?  How do we do that? Let’s so some etymology with verse 8.  I love me some etymology.

Good: (H2896 towb) This word can be translated into good, kind, upright, beautiful, fair, cheerful, bountiful, joyful, pleasant, precious, sweet, wealth, and favor.

Requires: (H1875 darash) This word is interesting…the root is to tread down with the feet, or to trample.  What do you do when you tread down?  You walk over something again and again and again.  It is also used as the verb to study.  Which also means you do something again and again until it is learned.  It can also mean to seek out God in prayer.

Right: (H4941 mishpat) The root word for this is to judge.  It is usually translated judge or justice, lawful or something along those lines.  KJV translates it justice.

Love: (H157 ‘ahab) Love.  To have affection for.

Mercy: (H2617 checed) Kindness, faithfulness, benevolence, and mercy.

Walk: (H1980 halak) To go, walk, traverse, to move, manner of life, and live.

Humbly: (H6800 tsana) To show humility, be modest, act submissively.

The first thing that stands out to me in this whole group of words is the definition for require.  It’s not a hey…this one time I need you to do this.  It’s an all day, everyday, repeat performance.  Consistency comes to mind here.

Consistency.  Yeah.  I’m not the best at that.

The second thing that stands out to me is love mercy.  To have affection for here sounds like to get enjoyment out of or to be thrilled.  TO LOOOOOOVE!  So to have affection for being kind.  To enjoy being faithful.  To be thrilled about granting mercy or seeing mercy being granted.

Yeah.  I need some work here too.

Humbly walk with God… to live a life consistently submitted to God.  Sounds like obedience with a good heart attitude.  I’m pretty sure there’s a verse or two that equates loving God as being obedient to His word.  Yep.  That makes me 3 for 3!  Wooohoo!  Work all around!

So you may be thinking “Hey…this is in the Old Testament…what does Jesus have to say about this?” Well…ask and you shall receive…This is Mark 12:28-34 NLT

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him,“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Point to ponder while you wander…Life is a journey, folks.  It doesn’t happen in one day.  It happens daily and daily over the course of time.  And in my experience, life with God boils down to this.  Are you doing life WITH GOD?    Have you allowed Him to love you and show you what His love is like?  Pretty much everything starts there with that.  Choosing to do life with God and choosing to let Him love you.  Once that happens, you cannot help but to love other people.

Don’t beat yourself up with where you are or aren’t.  Verses like these are the goal to work towards. In the meantime, let God love you and keep walking with Him.  Being with Him and in His Word is what changes you.  You just have to choose to show up consistently.  Me, myself, I’m in the I’ve got God’s love now how in the world do I affect the world with it? phase right now.

The letting God love me part took 40 years.  At this rate I will need the 120 years Moses had to really be effective.  Haha.  But seriously.  Yeah.  I really actually need those 120 years.  And I need those 120 years to include divine health.

PS:  Wondering about God’s will….Here you go.

Just Do It

​”Jesus replied to him, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will (fully) understand it later.‘” John 13:7 AMP 

Often we are asked to obey, trust, or act in faith without having a clue as to why we are being asked to do or not to do something. But we need to remember that Jesus was there in the beginning and He’ll be there at the end, and all that knowledge and wisdom is being used to encourage us to live abundant and full lives.

I know it’s difficult to step out. It was for the disciples too. They spent a lot of their time asking what? and why? questions of Jesus.

It’s not easy for me either. But I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I’d been brave enough to step out.

Point to ponder while you wander…Joshua walked around Jericho every day for 7 days…and it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense to him. He was a military commander not a band leader. But he obeyed….and the walls came down. He fully understood as he watched the walls crumble. God did something amazing for him and his people. But he would have missed it if He hadn’t obeyed.

So let’s do it! Let’s be bold and courageous! 

#justdoit

20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago last week I left home for foreign shores, and crossed the ocean for the first time. I had zero fear about it…only total exhilaration! I was getting to study at the University of Derby for a whole semester! It was a dream come true for me.

It was the first time in my life that I went after and accomplished something I really wanted in life. For me it is still a huge deal. 

Anyway…I’ve been thinking considering taking a giant leap but I am not 100% sure what I really want to get out of this giant leap for Jill-kind. 

So the point to ponder while you wander today is actually a prayer request for clear direction and understanding for my next step in this next season. I am overdue for some adventuring!! 

In return, I pray that God will reveal to you a greater measure of His love for you. So you’ll never doubt His love and affection for you. And that His love will embolden you to embrace who you are.