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Hey Judas! You need a Heart Check.

Elijah’s List posted this recently.

WOW! Heart check!!!

Seriously though, take a minute and ponder that.

I’ll wait….

When I pondered…I thought of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When Screwtape tells Wormwood to focus the patient’s attention on petty things while he was at church. So the patient wouldn’t focus on the Word and how it applies to himself.

Judas did focus on the petty. The negative. And he remained a sceptic despite seeing miracles right before his eyes. He didn’t read about the miracle of the fish and bread feeding 5,000. He actually ate the bread and fish! He didn’t read about blind eyes being opened, he watched it happen.

Truthfully I feel bad for Judas. He didn’t enjoy His life. He clearly didn’t like himself. Seriously. Judas was with Jesus Himself for 3 years, and never actually absorbed anything about who Jesus was. Jesus was, is, and will always be love personified.

Who spends 3 solid years with Jesus, and comes out worse than where he started?

Truthfully…a lot of people.

What? Why? Who? Sacrilege!!

I know. Because I was one.

I confessed Jesus as my Savior at 16. And promptly tried to be perfect (as in without flaw) and do all the right things. I focused on behavior and looking the part.

Nothing reached my heart.

I couldn’t be perfect. And it frustrated me. My life didn’t change. No miracles happened in my life. And I was disappointed.

I ended up flipping around and going absolutely in the opposite direction. I became more critical. More judgmental. I loved less.

And it took a good 7 years before I gave it another shot. At 16, I shoved the Word at people…but at 25 I started applying the Word inward. I began to deal with my heart issues. My broken places began to heal. It was a process that still continues. It’s a day to day walk.

I can tell you that it’s much easier to point fingers and throw rules at people than it is to love them. It’s easier to criticize, scoff & judge.

But…if you take that pointing the finger and judging everyone path. You won’t heal. You won’t grow.

I think that’s what happened to Judas. I think he allowed his natural skeptic to dismiss miracles. He chose not to receive the love and teaching from Jesus. He chose not to heal and grow.

We have a choice too. Perspective and attitude are everything. Being open isn’t alway easy. Neither is change. Not for me. Not for you. Not for the disciples either.

Let’s be real…the 12 disciples are like us. They screwed up. They didn’t always understand. They acted without thinking. They lost their tempers.

But the difference between Judas and the other 11 is that the 11 grew and changed. They applied what Jesus taught them and walked it out.

Were the perfect? Um…definitely not. And neither are we. Neither are your leaders. We are all human. Doing our best. We are all given a choice.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT

Judas got to choose too. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out. (Spoiler alert…it can’t get much uglier).

Judas was bitter. I don’t want to be bitter, but some days I see myself heading in that direction.

Judas was a cynic. I don’t want to be an eye rolling cynic, but sometimes I am.

Judus had a greedy, selfish & negative outlook. Sometimes I do too.

I don’t want to be a complainer or a gossiper either. But some days I am.

So this is a heart check for me. To go back to Jesus on the rough days. The days I’m more Judas-like than Jesus-like and ask Him to show me what is going on in my heart and head so I can deal with the root of it and have a better attitude and perspective.

Especially with all the chaos in my life right now…I need more Jesus time. More worship. More Word. And less judgmental attitude. Less pessimism.

Point to ponder while you wander…..

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His Love is Changeless

“My God is changeless in His love for me, and He will come and help me.” Psalm 59:10

He is passionate in His love for you! Every single day! He empowers you & partners with you to do what you could never do solo. #youarenotalone

Continual Nourishment

I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts.” John 15:9 TPT

Jesus wants to nourish our hearts, continually. Not just once. Not occasionally. Not just when He feels like it. But continually!

But the kicker here is we have a choice whether or not to receive His love and let us nourish us or not.

How do we receive nourishment from His love?

1. To get the love nourishment we need to grow, we need to read and study about His love in the Word.

So what does Jesus’s love looks like? Check out the gospel of John.

What does love mean? I Corinthians 13 for the Biblical definition of love & I John is good too.

2. Then we need to believe He loves us. Not just know it as trivia or a random fact. But to believe it so much, meditate on it and marinate in it so regularly, that it changes how we see ourselves.

Let it give you confidence in who the Father created you to be, and help you grow into the very best version of you.

Point to ponder while you wander… Today ponder what nourish means in the context of John 15:9 TPT

nour·ish (verb) to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition

You Think Too Small

I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times that God has told me that I think too small.

I’d love to tell you that every time He said that it grew my faith and inspired me to speak some words that would amaze all around…

“Show me how to think bigger!”  “Teach me to see like You, to think like You!”  “I want all You have for me!  Bring it on!”  “I’m ready to cliff dive, Jesssuuuuuus!  Let’s dooo it!”

But I’m honest.

So a handful of times the above have happened (except the cliff diving….heights and jumping from said heights are not my jam).  Sometimes I feel brave and let words like that escape my mouth.

But usually it was more along the lines of  “You made me this way, and I like small.”  “Let’s just go with my plan this time, Abba.  We’ll try your way next time.”  “Uh…have you met me?”  “Jesus, let’s just stay here all cuddly.  You’re my guy.  All I need.  Can I just stay right here with YOUUUUU, FOREVERRRRRRR?”

There are times when I’ve rolled my eyes in response to the “too small” comment.

Other times I’ll remind Him of His Word, “Um…point of order God…doesn’t Zechariah 4:10 say “not to despise small beginnings.”

“What is the context, Jillian?”

FYI…the context God showed me is that in verse 6 the Lord told Zerubbabel that it wasn’t by force nor by strength, but by Holy Spirit that Zerubbabel would accomplish what the Lord declared he would do.  So when you get to verse 10…which actually says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (NLT)

Essentially this is God’s way of saying, “Hey Jill. I’ve sent Holy Spirit ahead of you to prepare the way.  I’m even more excited about this project than you!  So what are you waiting on?  Let’s get project started!!”

God loves it when I quote scripture to Him.  It gives Him the opportunity to reveal things to me that blow my mind wide open, and pop my little eyes so wide that I resemble a cartoon character.  Makes His day.

There are also the times that I put my hand up before He has a chance to say anything, and say “Yes, I know.  I think too small.”  Surrender fast.  Like ripping the band-aid off.

Rarer of my responses, is the Jill’s got her sassy pants on, and she’s ready to go toe to toe.  Then I’ll talk a big game about my screenwriting Oscars (That’s Oscars, plural.  And I have a speech if you want to hear it.)  People binge watching television series that came from my own imagination.  Funny shows that both inspire and move people.  My own photo studio.  Multiple galleries with my work.  Shelves of books with my name on the spine (Me and Jesus are productive partners, you know.)  A stack of tear-stained letters from people I’ve never met telling me the words Jesus and I wrote helped them heal, grow, and step out into their own wild unknown.  Book awards.  Dreamy husband who sings to me.  Stacks of money that I get to give away, funding other people’s dreams and visions from God.  A passport so full of stamps they had to give me more pages.

When I pull this kind of Jill-ness, I can see Him smiling at me.  The you’re so cute smile you give a small toddler when they think they have mastered the universe by putting on their own clothes. Their clothes that don’t match.

Then…

just as I’m about to finish…

I feel it….

rising up in the core of my inner most being…

Ephesians 3:20

Here’s the TPT: “Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you.”

Why am I sharing this?  Well, because it’s true, first and foremost.

But also because I do think too small.  I find myself looking for scraps and thinking I can make this work.  And there are seasons in our lives when all we have are scraps and we do need to just be grateful for the scraps.  I’ve had those seasons.  I’ve lost a house to foreclosure.  I’ve had cars repossessed.  Been under employed and unemployed for far too long.  Had 2 operations in one calendar year.  I lost 3 of the most important people in my life in 5 months, and too many other family members within that same year.  I’ve been betrayed.  I’ve been gutted by loss, and swam in self-pity.  I had a string of sprains and a broken foot.  Then the same week I FINALLY got off crutches, I fell off a ladder in front of 100+ coworkers, including a 2-Star General thank you very much, and cracked my wrist.  Not every day is gonna be a bowl full of cherries, kids.  It’s life.

The difference between believers and everyone else is that we’ve got Jesus.  We’re not in it alone.  We have hope.

Don’t think a pruning season is the end of your growth.  Don’t think a season of loss is now your new permanent life.  God is a great, big, mah-vel-ous God!  And the Dude is straight up funny.  He is joy personified.

For those who don’t believe me, who say show me in the Word…read Psalm 16:11 NKJV “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

You can also reference Nehemiah 8:10 NLT “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

And we can add to that Proverbs 17:22 TPT, “A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.

God is all about the joy.

He does mourn with us.  He is close to the brokenhearted, and does rescue those whose spirits are broken.  He does heal the brokenhearted and bind their wounds, so that they can move forward.  And embrace life again!  Not just life though..Abundant life!

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”  John 10:10 AMP

Lest you think I’ve begun to rabbit trail, Why am I sharing this?  1.  Because it’s true.  2.  Because I do think too small.  3.  Ah…yeah, no judging.  You do too!

We need to be reminded, you and I, that God is the Great Creator.  His imagination is endless.  His love unending.  He always wants to spend time with us.  He’s never too busy.  And in His generosity, the more time you spend with Him, the more revelation He shares you.  He never runs out of anything.  Ever.  He’s the God who multiplies.

But here’s the part where the rubber meets the road…Are you willing to trust Him?  Do you believe that He is? AND that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him?  Do you believe He is pumped to partner with YOU in YOUR dream?

Do I believe that He enjoys partnering with me from the first line of random, through the not so awesome editing phase, all the way to the published book?  Yes I do.  But I haven’t always.

I’ve quit and told Him I was done, more than once.  I have given the Christian auto responses more often than not, when people asked me questions I didn’t want to answer, or I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was doing!  But in my own private time, I wrestled and fought to understand.  I’ve cried.  I’ve told God off.  I’ve lamented in the way of Jeremiah and David.  And you know what, I came out on the other side, knowing more about myself and about the God I serve.  I love Him in a way I never could before.  So that’s how I know He’s hilarious.  And sometimes infuriating.  But always in it with me.

Point to ponder while you wander….I ain’t the sweet, pliable, easy type kid, who just says, “Yes, Lord.”  I’m the one with the hard head, that goes around the mountain more than once.  I’m the one whose mouth just gets her into trouble repeatedly.  I’m the one who thinks too small.

And yet, He enjoys my company.  He appreciates when I tell Him first, before anyone else.  He sees me.  He knows me.  And He loves me.

And that is why He continually tells me I think too small.

Fun Fact Friday: Givers and Receivers

A while ago I did a series on love languages, and I talked about gift people. The most generous people I know are gift people. They love to bless others and give gifts. It actually makes them happy to find a perfect gift for you.

How much more is it for our Heavenly Father when we receive His gifts?

He gave us resurrection life & drew us to Himself by His holy calling on our lives. And it wasn’t because of any good we have done, but by His divine pleasure and marvelous grace that confirmed our union with the anointed Jesus, even before time began!” Timothy 1:9 TPT

A giver of gifts simply wants the receiver to accept said gift with joy. You don’t earn gifts. You simply receive them, and use them for their intended purpose.

Point to ponder while you wander…Truth is that we should be both a grateful receiver and a joyful giver. Both are blessed.

Give generously and generous gifts will be given back to you, shaken down to make room for more. Abundant gifts will pour out upon you with such an overflowing measure that it will run over the top! Your measurement of generosity becomes the measurement of your return.” Luke 6:38 TPT

Motivational Monday: Awe & Wonder

So I’m about half way through “Your God Is Too Safe” by Mark Buchanan. It’s hitting me right where I live. Reminding me that God is more than just my Father and the Creator, which is the two most common ways I connect to Him. Bigger than my imagination. Wilder. His thoughts are higher. His ways are higher.

I meditate on Ephesians 3:20 all the time to remind myself to think outside the box. To dream bigger. To stop trying to figure out the ending of something before it has even begun. And especially to remind me that He is infinite in time, love, resources, and creativity.

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” Ephesians 3:20 TPT

Wow.

This book is reminding me of what I learned when I studied the Names of God…He is both the God who sees me and the mighty Creator. He is both the Consuming Fire and the Father. He is the Judge, God Almighty, He is Eternal He is The Holy One, and the God Most High.

The book also quotes CS Lewis, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

Which brings me to the verse I sent out this morning to my people…

God is always Himself. God is always good. God does not have bad days. God does not lose His shit. He does get angry. He does dispense justice but…”He is good to everyone, and His compassion is intertwined with everything He does.” Psalm 145:9 TLB

I looked up compassion in Strong’s… , racham, rakh’-am, from H7355. It means compassion. Obviously.

But what I loved was this… “compassion; by extension, the womb (as cherishing the fetus).”

Wow!

Point to ponder while you wander… God is infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent AND His compassion towards all is as a womb cherishes a fetus.

Again…wow…

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