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Not the Obvious Choice
It’s so easy to dismiss ourselves as not qualified. I’m too young. I’m too old. I’m too much this. I’m not enough that.
David spent his entire life in the back 40 watching sheep. But God knew him well. So when looking for a king to replace Saul, he rejected the “obvious” choice, and chose David. Remember that when you’re thinking you’re not enough. Or someone tells you that you’re too much.
Point to ponder while you wander….
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV
Musical Monday…You Know Me
I know I haven’t been blogging much recently…but in times of deep revelation in the secret place…I just don’t have much that I can share.
I just need to process it. But the main take away is found in Psalm 139:1-6
That’s been by life recently. God’s like “Hey Jill…this is who you were created to be. This is your actual dream.”
Then several weeks of me with my jaw on the ground while I process what He’s just revealed.
Such a freeing revelation! He reveals things to us to set us free! To inspire us! To help us heal and grow. He is so good.
God does know us better than we know ourselves. Hagar referred to Him as the God who sees. And He does and He is.
In that vein…I give you Steffany Frizzell-Gretzinger singing You Know Me.
Point to ponder while you wander…Maybe take some quiet time with God this week and ask Him to reveal something He loves about you. Or perhaps a trait or gift that sees in you that you haven’t discovered. Maybe a new dream for this seson of your life.
He really does know you better than you know yourself. 😉
You are a Gift
Comparison is the lying thief of joy.
The Word says…
“Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10
Each person in the body of Christ was created in purpose with purpose. We are all necessary and important.
But if we spend our time focused on what others can do that we cannot, we lose the opportunity to enjoy the gift that they are.
If we discount ourselves because we aren’t “as good” as so and so. We rob others of the gift we could be to them.
Celebrate and appreciate the gifts (aka people) around you, and allow yourself to be celebrated.
Point to ponder while you wander…You ARE a gift. You ARE talented. You do have something to give. Don’t let the lie of comparison steal that truth from you! Be your best you, the world needs YOU.
Not Pointing Fingers
”God knew from the beginning who would put their trust in Him. So He chose them to be like His Son. Christ was first & all those who belong to God are His siblings.” Romans 8:29.
God is not pointing His finger at you, saying, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” He’s pointing at Jesus & saying, “Because of your brother you can be all I created you to be.”
I had s great conversation with a friend last night about comparing ourselves to others. And immediately I start thinking, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Point to ponder while you wander…No one can take what God has for you. No one can be you, and you cannot be anyone else. No matter how hard we try. So why not let go of comparison & envy, and just be your best you and I’ll be my best me.
We are both the bride of Christ, and a heir, a son with an inheritance.
As a girl, I get the bride part. But it’s weird to think of myself as a son. I’m sure that for guys it’s probably the same in reverse. Then I learned something…God is bigger and His Kingdom greater. And there are things that don’t translate into this world completely. He explains His Kingdom Truths piece by piece in ways that make sense to us in our experiences in this world. Jesus’s parables are examples of this.
Being a bride is not about being a girl. It’s about the beauty and intimacy of the marriage itself. The relationship. We, in our humanness, often translate intimacy as sex and leave it there. That’s probably why close to half of marriages end in divorce.
In a marriage relationship, sex is an important, necessary and beautiful part of intimacy. It is the one time when you are connected to your spouse body, soul, and spirit. That’s truly beautiful. But if people aren’t opening themselves up and sharing the deep parts of themselves and really connecting they’re missing out on truly becoming one with their spouse.
As a single person who has never been married, I’m relying upon what God has taught me about marriage from His Word and from watching the marriages of those around me. The good, the bad, and the truly terrifyingly ugly that inspire me to remain single. I’ve seen it all. And through it Jesus has shown me why intimacy with Him matters.
And I’ll be honest I suck at vulnerability. I have pretty much loathed it most of my life. It’s a battle that fear has typically won against me. I am not a fan of revealing my heart to people. I was very sensitive as a kid, and I was told to toughen up and suck it up. But in sucking it up and rolling on, I just walled up the fragile parts of myself and never allowed anyone to get anywhere near my heart of hearts. Not even Jesus.
Just hearing the word vulnerable or intimacy caused me to shut down. But I had a break down of sorts, and as a last resort I opened up the outer layers of myself to Jesus, most of which were areas of brokenness. When I did, I quickly learned that He is kind. He is gentle. And that He truly loves me. As He healed the outer layers, I opened up more and more to Him. I’m tearing up just thinking about it right now. My relationship with Jesus is personal and I keep that part of my life in my heart of hearts. It’s not something I share easily with people.
So even though I love Jesus completely, I struggle talking about Him and how good He is simply because it opens up my most vulnerable place. Jesus saved my life in every way. He is my everything. But when you tell people this kind of thing…they roll their eyes or say, “Oh amen.” And it feels cheapened. Then I get angry. So I just don’t tell people about Jesus.
Believe me, I am aware that this is the opposite of the great commission and goes against everything I should be doing as a believer. But I choose to just live my life out of that relationship and the love that He’s given me. I treat people better than I ever have. I have a greater capacity to love people, even the people I vehemently dislike. I am more peaceful. I have a greater joy. My countenance has lightened. My perspective skews towards seeing people as Jesus sees me.
I tried to love people before…and I’ll be honest…I wasn’t very good at it. I still have days where it’s hard to be kind and patient. But I find that I’m not as judgmental or critical of myself or others as I have been. It happened gradually, just by being with Jesus. I didn’t try to change. I didn’t do a self-help book or force myself to be kind. It was a side effect 0f intimacy with Jesus.
The more time I spend with Him, and in His Word, the kinder I become. The more I want to put my arms around the world and just hug them until they understand their worth and value. I cry a lot. I am super sensitive, even more so than I was as a child. Yet, I feel safe. I feel protected and guarded. I’m not afraid of being me anymore. The Jill that God designed is sensitive. She was designed that way because she is an intercessor. And she needs to be passionate about seeing healing in the brokenness around her. I was created on purpose for a purpose. Praying continually for people, even people I’ll never meet, is a part of that. This understanding came from intimacy with Jesus. By being His bride.
Intimacy is defined as close familiarity, closeness and also private and personal, confidential. It is characterized by an atmosphere conducive to privacy and comfort. And it relates to and is indicative of one’s deepest nature.
It’s that picture of a bride and groom coming together in marriage. The hope in it. The joy in it. The openness. The joining together. The partnership.
One of the things that helped me to understand what it looked like to be the bride of Christ was reading Song of Songs in the Passion Translation. I highly recommend it, because in this version you can truly see the divine romance between yourself and Jesus. The way He loves us is just so thick and deep and genuine. Reading Song of Songs the first time took me about a month because I could only go a verse or 2 at a time. It completely wrecked me (in a good way).
One of the first interchanges between the Shulamite (me) and the Shepherd-King (Jesus) is Chapter 1, Verse 5:
The Shulamite: “I know I am so unworthy–so in need.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely!”
The Shulamite: “I feel as dark and dry as the desert tents of the wandering nomads.”
The Shepherd-King: “Yet you are so lovely–like the fine linen tapestry hanging in the Holy Place.”
This verse cut me. I physically felt it like a scalpel cutting away my negative image of myself and replace it with, “I am lovely.” For months every time I’d have a “I’m so fat” or a “I am ugly” thought, I’d hear Jesus say, “You are so lovely.”
I will never be the same again. Ever. I can’t go back to before or undo what His love has done to me.
Point to ponder while you wander…This is what being the Bride of Christ looks like in my life. What does it look like in your life? I’d love to hear what Jesus has shown you about being the Bride. Feel free to comment or to message me privately. Same goes if you need prayer.
Gifted and Talented
Music. I love it. It is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the people who make the music, they are gifts too.
I’ve always desired to be musical. I joined band in elementary school. Probably the worst flutist ever to pick up the flute. I begged for a keyboard and piano lessons. I got the keyboard, but that whole two hands doing two separate things at the same time thing. Yeah. I cannot do that. I was in elementary school choir. I was in junior high choir too. In eighth grade, I was directed to sing so softly that I couldn’t be heard at a concert.
I realized then that maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me. Didn’t stop me from singing, I sing all the time. I also dance (AKA flailing) and paint (AKA creative therapy). But those are stories for another day.
What’s the my point? There is only one Kim Walker Smith. There is only one Martina McBride. There’s only one Natalie Grant. There’s only one Loretta Lynn. There’s only one Aretha Franklin. There is only one Doris Day. And there’s only one Jill Nicholson.
Jill Nicholson? Who’s that?
That’s me. I am Jill. I have gifts and talents chosen by God and entrusted to me to cultivate and grow. But for years I felt that because I couldn’t sing like I wanted, that I wasn’t talented at all. That is a lie straight from the enemy. Unfortunately, I believed it for too long and wasted years I could have been tending to the natural abilities I WAS entrusted with.
I believed the lie. So I took my ball and went home.
The parable of the talents comes to mind here because I did bury what I had inside and hide the talents I did have. I didn’t take photography classes because I was afraid I’d be told I wasn’t good at it. Then I couldn’t take photos anymore. I didn’t want a repeat of the choir concert incident. I only wrote for class assignments. Research papers and essays essentially. When I did write other things, I didn’t let anyone read them. I still struggle with letting people read my creative stuff.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 MSG
I know the context of this verse is Jesus speaking about His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. But this is what Jesus woke me up at 3:30 am to show me…If we take the gifts and talents that we have been entrusted with by God, both spiritual and natural, and we keep them to ourselves they are wasted. But if we take the time to develop them, and sow them into His kingdom, those gifts are multiplied beyond what we could ever imagine.
Nothing given to Jesus is ever wasted. It’s always multiplied in some way. I’m still chewing on this, because I know there’s more here, but this is initial revelation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Appreciate the gifts and talents in those around you, not be envious or jealous of them. Be grateful for the abilities YOU WERE given and be good stewards of them.
PS: Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25.
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.
You are Seen
”God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothing gets lost; not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.” Psalm 36:5-6 MSG
No one slips through the cracks, because His name is El Roi…the God who sees.
He received this Name from Hagar. She is most known for being Sarah’s Egyptian servant. But God saw Hagar independently of her title and position. He comforted her when she and Ishmael were cast out. Read Genesis 16 Genesis 21 from Hagar’s perspective, rather than Abraham or Sarah’s, to get a better understanding.
God called Gideon a mighty man of God, when Gideon was hiding. No seriously. Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to hide it from the Midianites when God spoke to him about leading Israel against the Midianites. Read Judges 6 to see where Gideon’s story began.
In the middle of the so and so begat so and so for the tribe of Judah, we find this blurb about Jabez: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called him Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” I Chronicles 4:9-10 NKJV
Jabez’s mother labled him because he was birthed in a whole lot of pain. A person’s name during this time and in this culture was a big deal, and he got saddled with Jabez. Jabez literally means sorrow or grief. But he didn’t want to be defined by that or have that be his legacy, so Jabez cried out to God, and God gave him what he asked for.
God saw Jabez.
God saw David too. His father put David in a back field with the sheep. But God saw his heart and heard his singing. And He annointed David king. Read I Samuel 16 to see the beginning of David’s story.
I love this verse…”But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him (David’s brother). The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 NIV
I think that most of us get blinded by our own inadequacies and failures more often than we realize. We also tend define ourselves by what others have labled us.
But God sees differently. He has the ability to see who we are now, our character. He also sees where we are going and what we need to get there. And He is for us.
Think about the Apostle Paul. God saw him while he was Saul, a Pharasee of Pharasees. He was persecuting Christians at the time. He was anding out death warrants for people to be stoned. He held people’s coats while Stephen was stoned. But God saw who he could be, and literally blinded Saul with His light. Saul became Paul and wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.
When we seek Him like Jabez and David did, when we trust Him like Hagar and Gideon did, when we are willing to submit to course correction like Saul, God is able to take us where we could never go on our own.
Point to ponder while you wander…No matter how invisible you may feel in this life know that God sees you clearly! You are significant to Him. Jesus thinks you are worth giving His life for. You ARE loved. You ARE seen.
Light of the World
”As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5
When Jesus took His place at the right hand of God, you took His place as the light of the world.
Point to ponder while you wander…. Shine on light of the world!
This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.
“Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.” 2:7-8 NLT
God wants His love reach all human beings. Whether you’re responsible for intercession, wrangling toddlers, teaching, writing, impacting the business world, this nation or another nation; what you do matters!
Paul loved his people. He wanted to minister to them, but he was called to the Gentiles. So that’s who he focused on. And we are the fruit of his obedience.
No matter where your area of responsibility is…your obedience matters too.
Point to ponder while you wander…the same God who enabled and empowered Peter and Paul will enable and empower you in your area of responsibility.