jillbeingstill

Start here

Reading vs Skim Reading

I love to read. When I am into a truly good story, I get mildly obsessed and can generally put down a 300 pager in a day. 

But when I read that way, I’m skim reading. Meaning that I am reading it fast enough to get the main things, but I’m not picking up the detailed descriptions or the subtle nuances. That is also why if a book is good I’ll read it more than once. So I’ll see all the fabulous things hidden in plain sight by the author.

This is completely different than how I read The Word or a book about The Word. I can read one verse and ponder in it for several days. Or look up other verses on the same topic and spend several hours reading and rereading these verses until I understand what Jesus is showing me that day. 

For example…it took me nearly 2 years to read “Captivating” by Stasi & John Eldredge. That book gutted me. I’d read a paragraph, or a sentence even, and I’d have to go to Jesus with what it brought up in me and let Him help me with it. Once I was healed, I’d go back to that book. This happened repeatedly for nearly 2 years.

One of the best and hardest to read books ever. 

With The Word,  from a single verse on one day I can get a general overview meaning that inspires me that day, and come back another day and get a deeper meaning from the same verse. A revelation that changes my whole perspective. It’s what I love about The Bible. It’s living and double edged. 

I’m currently reading Good or God? by John Bevere. God has revealed some things to me over the years about the Garden of Eden that are being confirmed by this book, and I’m only in chapter 2! So I’m reading it slowly. Pondering. Chewing on it. Going into The Word from the verses mentioned and chewing on that. 

What made me write this post today is something that I wish more pastors and teachers would remind people….

…verify what you hear for yourself! 

How many people leave church after a sermon and just accept what they’ve been taught without going into The Word for themselves? Without taking it before God and asking Him to reveal how this can be applied to their life and situation.

I’m not judging….believe me…I’ve done it to. It’s easy when you sit under an excellent teacher to just take what they’ve spent hours and years to learn and move on with our day. But how effective is that in growing and maturing you?

Be honest. It isn’t. Not for you or me.

Think back to something you’ve learned in school. Like a foreign language or subject you didn’t care about. I took 2 economics classes as a part of my major, International Relations. I can tell you that economics is about supply and demand and that Adam Smith is the founder of modern economics. That is all I remember from 6 months of study.

So it’s not effective to just listen and not verify or study it for yourself. It only stays for maybe a day or a week at the most. If, we don’t apply what we’ve heard, the excellent teaching we received is wasted.

The person speaking is also human. They may have taken what The Word said and twisted it to support what they want it to say, rather than what it actually says. One of my favorite pastors, Duane Vanderklok, used to remind us every so often that he is just a man, and that we should be checking up on him, by reading The Word ourselves.

I’d like to believe when this happens it wasn’t intentionally done, but there are people in the world with selfish intentions or even dark motivations. We’ve all seen news stories about people who have been fooled by someone claiming to be good.

So it is always best to verify for yourself. 

It’s like gossip or “fake news” on the internet. People read it and share it before verifying it’s true. One of my big pet peeves!! 

Just because someone said it doesn’t mean it’s true. So if your skim reading your way through life, and never verifying what you’re hearing is true, then you’re probably believing at least one big fat lie. So take some time to verify for yourself.

Point to ponder while you wander… “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 NKJV

Beneath a Large Tree

Beneath a large tree in Arlington National Cemetery, I found this group of Unknowns. Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, but are known only to God. Honoring men like these is what Memorial Day is about.

I walked a bit further and found more Unknowns. It just stunned me I guess. So many men that didn’t go home to their families. So many families who never knew what happened to their sons, brothers, and husbands. It’s truly heartwrenching. 

Then in pouring rain…I mean so hard that there were rivers in the streets…I see some wonderful people stopping to read every name and then placing a rose on every grave. They were in many sections as I walked through the cemetery.  

It just touched my heart to know that every sacrifice would be acknowledged and grave a rose. 

I also watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown. The honor. The respect. These days, it’s rare to see. Moving beyond words to see it given to those who died anonymously in service to their nation. Our nation.

Point to ponder while you wander…Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave their lives in service to our nation. Veteran’s Day is about honring and respecting those living who have served. 

No Camouflage 

This is a painting I made for a friend, a camoflauged version of Psalm 139. Which is all about being unable to hide from God and His love for you. I liked it. She liked it. So I’m sharing it.

Adam and Eve tried to hide from God in the Garden because of what they had done. We all know that we cannot hide from an all-seeing and all-knowing God. But most of us still try it. It’s silly and pointless but we do it.

But why?

Shame. Fear. Guilt. Those are all tools of the darkness, the enemy, to steal your joy, hope, peace, and distract you from your purpose.

Take your mistakes immediately to God, because in the light there is hope, healing and restoration. 

Point to ponder while you wander…​There’s no camouflage from God. He sees you, even if no one else sees you. You are not invisible nor forgotten, but engraved on the palm of His hand. Nothing can stop Him from loving you. Nothing!

Deep Thought Thursday…Preconceived Notions 

Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” 

Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.” But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”” – John 1:45-46 MSG

Nathaniel had a choice. He could roll his eyes and say a guy from Nazareth? The Messiah?  Pffft. No thanks.

Or

To take a chance.

He choose to take a chance and his life was never the same again.

Point to ponder while you wander….Everyone has preconceived notions about people based on their experiences. But we have to choose whether we are going to hold tight to these prejudices or give people a shot on their own merit.

Mysteries and Family History: She Started It

Sigh. Unpacking sucks. 

I recently moved and as I slowly (seriously snail paced) unpack my totes and suitcases, I realized there were still things I should have given away…things I just don’t need.

Tonight I started opening my totes of books…I will spare you the number of them…but in one of the totes I thought was books, I discovered my family tree research. More than that…it is multiple notebooks compiled by my Nana Jana. 
When I opened the tote…it smelled like her house and tears overflowed my eyes. I may have hugged notebooks. Her notebooks.

She gave them to me about a month before she died. I didn’t want to take them, because I knew why she was giving them to me.  But she insisted. It was much easier to take them than to argue with her. You really couldn’t argue with her. Ever.

I just miss her. So. Much.

She is the reason I am our family historian and researcher. All the information I started with came from her. She started researching in the early 1990’s. Right around the time she lost her Mom. Maybe it was her way of carrying the legacy forward. Maybe it was the way she dealt with her grief. Not sure 100%. But I’m grateful for the foundation I had because of her.

All the information she gave me she got the old school way…calling and writing letters to the family elders. Then she got stuck. She didn’t know how to proceed.

So in 1996 she asked her granddaughter,  who was going to England for a semester,  to check into some things for her while she was there. The granddaughter was really busy studying and flirting with foreign guys and didn’t really do anything. In her defense…she didn’t know how to look up that kind of stuff.

Then in 1999-2000-ish, same granddaughter..aka me…started looking things up online for her Nana. And got hooked by solving the mysteries for said Nana. 

So my unpacking is currently delayed by me hugging her notebooks and running my fingers over her handwriting intermixed with mine, where I filled in blanks for her. 

Even though I proved conclusively we are not related to William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame)…I did find interesting ancestors and entertained her with stories about our people. It was our thing. Like Scrabble and Dancing with the Stars.

So you have Nana to thank if you enjoy mysteries and family history. Cuz…

She started it.

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

Rainbows are a Sign

Rainbows. I love them. And I usually start singing Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog…or at a minimum just smile.

There are lots of things associated with rainbows…the most popular being pots of gold…of course. Who doesn’t want a pot of gold? 

But the truth is that rainbows have a much deeper meaning beginning after the great flood as recorded in Genesis.

​”Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” Genesis 9:12-17

What a beautiful promise and covenant sign! 

But to me, rainbows are reminders that God keeps His promises. All. Of. Them.  Including the ones He’s given to me. 

He is a good God who keeps His promises. But sometimes life gets to us and we begin to doubt. We doubt that His promises are true for us. But they are true. They are true for you. They are true for me!

About 3 weeks ago I saw a double full rainbow. It was incredible! I saw it happened in middle of a frustrating situation. Seeing it gave me peace, because it reminded me that I wasn’t forgotten.

Yesterday I saw another huge beautiful rainbow! And then another one this morning out my window at work. I am so thankful that God speaks to me in pictures when I’m struggling to hear His voice clearly.

 And I have been frustrated and that’s causing me to struggle to hear Him. I have begun to doubt a particular promise He gave me (one of two promises that mean the most to my heart). 

God didn’t try to convince me or argue with me. He simply reminded me with beauty that He is God. And that He keeps His promises. He is the best Daddy.

Point to ponder while you wander…He is good. All day. Every day. He is always speaking and encouraging us. We just need to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open to receive what He is trying to say.