Stuff

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17, NKJV)

A young man came to Jesus and asked Him how to get to heaven, most of us know this story right?

Well, I was listening to several sermons, from different pastors and I heard the same thing over and over.

yeah I think God is trying to tell me something, right?

Well, in the end, Jesus told this rich young man –

Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 10:21 NKJV)

This man loved his stuff so much, he turned away from God. Sad right? Well, that can happen to us.

9a0f45245c28a381e5775dbcf7a10221-camels-rich-manThink about it – what thing you concentrate on more than anything? For me its my weight loss journey. I’ve been so obsessed with it – it pushed God out of His rightful seat in my heart.

I’ve been really convicted.

I need to empty myself of this obsession and look to God. I mean yea, workout and eat healthy cause thats how you take care of your body….but I need to concentrate more on God. Ya know?

No changes on the blog, I’ve cut back but I have been still pushing myself in my weight loss. Like yesterday and today – I’m sick like anything but I still tried working out. I need to just give myself over as an empty vessel to the Lord.

What about you friend? What has been taking your attention away from God? What stuff do you need to give up in order to give your heart completely to God?

Sit down. ask God and really challenge yourself to make those changes.

Lemme know how it works out.

Here are the sermons I listened to:

Empty Vessels (Part One)

Still Small Voice (Part Two)

For those two, I could only link to the store. But I know Bridging the Gap has it free somewhere.

Mark 10:13-45

Psalm 105:1

PSALM 105
The Eternal Faithfulness of the Lord
Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Psalm 105:1 (NKJV)

I know I've hinted at a testing or trial I've been going through, but I've got great news!

Before I get to that, this timing has been hard for both my husband and I – we were both being tested. But we remained faithful. I mean seriously – it was on the forefront of my mind constantly.

But I remained faithful and did not despair. Every time I had a thought that was contrary to the Lord, I prayed. Every single thing I did, I felt the weight of my problem. I mean of course I did; I'm human.

I surrounded myself with things of the Lord, things that were uplifting. At least I mostly did. I watched this scary movie – and duuuuuuuuuuuude. I was just so – weird (for lack of a better word) – that day.

Anyways, when I surrounded myself with things of God – I was so encouraged. I was being blessed left and right. From sermons, to the songs I listened to. Everything God was speaking to me.

Friend, God wants to do the same for you! Thing is? You hafta let Him.

God stands there with His arms open with love and whatever blessings He may have. All you hafta do is let Him. Ask God to open your eyes (I prayed that everyday) and He will show you such awesome things.

In the end, you will feel loved and encouraged. In my case? I feel so blessed to have gone through this health scare. I've learned so much about myself and how much God wants to love on me. I'm grateful to have gone through this because now I know how to face the next trial/test/tribulation/whatever.

Remember blessed friend, He loves you. You are a treasure. You are so important. He wants to show you His awesomeness.

Just let Him.

And always my friend, remember: GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!!!

Isaiah 14

14 For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the Lord; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. (Isaiah 14:1 NKJV)

I know that I said this wasn't gonna be about me – technically its still not, but I've been going through some trying times. Making me just doubt God like crazy – yeah its been bad.

But in my doubt and fear – God was still there for me. So these past two chapters have really been blessing me. He has given us two promises. One, He will deal with Babylon (the trial, tribulation, pain, hate, the enemy, satan) and second He will have mercy on us and still choose us.

My friend, if you are there – where Babylon is just … defeating you. Know this. His promise. He will have mercy and choose you.

Out of all the things we do – God chooses us. Out of all the things in the world – God chooses us. Every time. Man, that makes me feel so special.

Yes, I am going through some trying stuff – but God chose me. Me. I know I can get through this – most definitely holding on to the hem of God, crying desperately for deliverance (I am such a big baby).But I know. It will pass and I will be stronger and more courageous from it.

Don't give up the fight. Babylon is beating you down, yes. But my friend – but there will be sunshine. There will be blessings upon blessings waiting for you. Remain faithful, know that He will be merciful. Why? Because He is merciful.

Isaiah 13

And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them;
They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;
They will be amazed at one another;
Their faces will be like flames.

Isaiah 13:8 NKJV

I was thinking about this for a while and was like….hmmm. Yeah hes talking about Babylon but why?

…This prophecy was probably never published in Babylon, so it wasn’t really given as a warning to them. Instead, the reason was for the help of the people of God. First, by showing them that God was indeed just, and would judge the wicked nations around them. …

David Guzik 

Thing to remember is that whenever God is talking to Israel we know, He’s also talking to us right? well, this whole chapter is prophetic, so I was like: “Ok God what are you trying to tell me?” So, I prayed about this and I couldn’t stop thinking about the things happening in my life – tests, trials, whatever they’re called – have been happening a lot since I started focusing on God. You see when you start living your life right with God? Life does not become easier. But it does become blessed.

praiseYou see the enemy hates when we grow closer to God, so he throws things, situations, problems, people in our paths to make us fall back into old habits, even drift from God. The more and more people he can entice from God – the more people he takes with Him during the tribulation and even to hell.

BUT!

The more people out there proclaiming God’s deeds, the more people are being witnessed to and given a chance to accept God as their Savior.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

Things will get hard – thats the enemy wanting you to fail. Thing to remember is that God will always deliver you from the pain, the heartache. Just hold on.

“I will punish the world for its evil,
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will halt the arrogance of the proud,
And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

Isaiah 13:11

The enemy knows his future, he knows the hell he is going to. But he wants to bring as many people with him that he can. Keep that in mind. Don’t give up.

We got sweet victory, lets share that news.

Isaiah 12

And in that day you will say:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted

(Isaiah 12:4 NKJV – bold type mine)

 

“…declare His deeds…” What does that mean? Does that mean screaming from the roof tops Gods love? Or loving on an unlovable person? I think its both – though around here I wouldn’t recommend the first.

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

(Phil 2:4 NKJV)

Declare His deeds – I’ve been thinking of it over the past couple of days. In my head, I’m thinking its being in ministry. I mean duuuhh right? How else can you declare His deeds? Then I thought more – hello?! At home Jessica. First and foremost we must remember the number one rule of ministry – “ministry starts at home”.

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2 NKJV)

Its so easy for us to get mired down in everyday life forgetting who is around us. Our kids, husbands/wives, parents, brothers/sisters…whatever – they get pushed to the back so easily because we figure: “They understand“. But thats not what Christ wants us to do.

20131110-081809.jpgFor example? My mom. She is heavily involved in the women’s ministry. But she has been there almost every time to help with the kids and me. You see, the past couple of months I’ve been going through some intense health problems, causing many doctors appointments and biopsies and what-have-you.

In her willingness to minister to me, she is declaring His deeds. No, you are right she’s not exactly screaming from the rooftops – but thats not what we need every time. God works where we are, on our level. We should do the same.

Think about it, pray about it…do it. Show His deeds by being an example of His love. Now thats an interesting challenge for me to take on. I’m so quick with a comeback, Lord use me please.

The Gift of Suffering..

I was driving when I heard this woman talk about this gift of suffering. My reaction was: she crazy. But then I really listened and ended up crying by the end – of course. I’ve had a hard life and suffered. So I decided to do some more research into this “gift of suffering”.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, NKJV, highlights mine)

When we are suffering, most probably we are going through a trial. And most people take comfort in these verses. Most not all – yeah I was one of those…still kinda am.

James is telling us that when (note he says “when” and not “if”) you go through a trial (a trial is a time that is so difficult you can’t fathom life being better), count it as joy.

He said what? yup. “….count it all joy…..” JOY. How can you be joyful when you just found out you have a severe back injury (when you are trying to get to a certain weight)? Well, I don’t know. I don’t. I’m working on that. But I’m gonna strive for it – because this testing of my faith will produce patience.

So yeah. Patience. And why is that important again?

Patience is the ancient Greek word hupomone. This word does not describe a passive waiting but an active endurance. It isn’t so much the quality that helps you sit quietly in the doctor’s waiting room, as it is the quality that helps you finish a marathon. The ancient Greek word hupomone comes from hupo (under) and meno (to stay, abide, remain). At its root, it means to remain under. It has the picture of someone under a heavy load and choosing to stay there instead of trying to escape. The philosopher Philo called hupomone “the queen of virtues.” (Cited in Hiebert) The Greek commentator Oesterley said this word patience described “the frame of mind which endures.” – David Guzik

So. I’m getting all these confirmations left and right – then I saw this:

 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, (Philipians 1:29 NKJV)

Ok. So I thought…pssh “this is only meaning tribulations and trials that you come across as a Christian. Not…..as….a….Christian”. yeah. I read that. Sigh.

You see, Paul was talking about all types of suffering.

I know I kinda talked about this the other day, but after I heard the radio testimony I met a little old lady with parkinson’s. She was very talkative (so sweet) and she said she had been suffering for 9 years from her disease, but the fact that she is doing so well (better than others she knew with the disease as long as her) was because of the Lord. She said her and her family never stopped praying for her healing. Will she get healed? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this woman is suffering through some great pain (she went into detail), and she still gave glory to God.

Wow. Right? But see here: God gave her the gift of suffering. She was suffering but God used her pain to minister to me. Was she happy about her disease and constant pain? No. Of course she complained about it – but God used her to bless me through her testimony. Think about that.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 (2 Cor 12:7-10 NKJV – highlights mine)

 

Isaiah 10

“Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune,
Which they have prescribed
To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless.
What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory? 

(Isaiah 10:1-3 NKJV)

This verse is speaking to the leaders of Israel. They were simply unfair to people and picked on the weak. God then said: Really? So whats gonna happen when I am no protecting you from your enemies? (my mom will probably kill me for this….but this is how I think God talks). As you may or may not remember – Israel had MANY enemies.

So, lemme tell you. I was hit hard with this verse. Like I couldn’t even read the rest of the chapter type hard cause it was speaking so much.

You see, theres this person with whom…..I’ve had a one sided argument with. They did something that offended me and…dude. I’ve just been cold and nasty.

In fact, one Sunday during service, I passed them by in the church hallway and didn’t even smile at them (scandalous right?) but they never looked at me (I think they were looking for someone). Welp. I was all: “Shoo….I’m glad I didn’t hafta be fake with them. I didn’t want to be polite ANYWAYS.” I know – I’m so mature.

478b22d162b601077f862fa68a7aaa6c286e0d43Anyways, I went back into service and? There was a song playing….I don’t remember the exact song, but the gist was: Let me love like God loves us.

My how God speaks.

And this? Is just confirmation. That there will be people who are hard to love, there will be people who offend you (on purpose or not), there will just be rude people….but you still need to love them with Gods love.

How? (ooo….good question)

Just by seeing them as you would a child. No. In fact you pray. Ask God for help.

There was a time where my marriage was on the rocks – but my mom encouraged me to pray: “Lord love my husband through me”. And it got easier. I mean I’m not gonna lie and say like this (SNAP) things changed. No. But I think it was more – I changed.

Friends, God wants to use you. He wants to reach others who are lost. No. He doesn’t need our help – but He wants it. Please remember that when someone …. irks you the wrong way.

I remember at my old church they used to say something about this….Be careful with your walk. You may be the only Jesus they see. Never really understood it until now. Don’t reach out to people cause you are scared that God won’t….whatever. Don’t do it because you think you won’t go to hell. Do it because you want to love bomb someone.

No one deserves anything

If you follow me on twitter – then you probably saw my rant this morning. But, I took sometime to breathe and more importantly pray and? I thought this would be a good subject.

Let me catch you up.

This morning, I saw a fellow instagramer post what was called a "devotional" (you'll see why I put that word in quotes). Anyways, I read it and it said: "I deserve better". Uh, wanna pass that by me again?

"I deserve better" thats all the "devotional" said. Nothing and I mean nothing on there to point anyone to Christ. Just a demand that we deserve better.

I floored by that and the fact that it was a "devotional".

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

(Romans 5:12 NKJV)

No one deserves anything.

We don't deserve anything. Not a thing.

First? Where is that even implied in the bible? I searched and most of them are about how marvelous and wonderful it is and how much we don't deserve it.

Why don't we deserve heaven? Because we sin. EVERYONE sins.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 NKJV)

With that in mind, how can anyone deserve heaven? God has made a way to get to heaven, but only if we accept it.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NKJV)

If God is giving us a gift…how can we deserve it?

Second, who said the Christian life is easy? Its hard and full of trials. and what are trials? Things, situations or whatever that causes hardship. Like not having anyway to pay the rent. Why does God allow these trials? To make us better.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, NKJV)

We are fallen creatures. We may have a hard life. But God will always be there to help us, to provide for us – NOT because we deserve it. No. But because He loves us. 

The only thing we deserve is death – but because God loves us….

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NKJV)

2 Cor 12

 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 (2 Cor 12:7-10 NKJV – highlights mine)

These verses have come across my path several times recently. I think its God trying to tell me about my back injury but … its about everything I’ve gone through. Believe me – there is not post long enough to explain everything I have gone through…but lemme put it this way: my mom used to call me her “little Job” when I was younger.

I’ve had a hard life – do I wish it was different? Oh a million times yes and a million times no. Why? Cause it has caused me to be the woman I am right now.

2-cor-12-9-web-wI know the cancer scares, the random tumors that affected my life, the numerous surgeries, the assault, abuse, all of that plus whatever else I forgot – God is gonna use for a great purpose.

And?

I am grateful. God has shown me time and time again He is faithful – when my I almost lost my son due to a bad baby chute tube (yes, thats the technical term); I was so at peace. When we were literally scrounging money to pay for my babies to drink juice; I knew God was there and would provide.

My husband has asked me several times how I could remain so stoic – and its only because God has taught me. And He will continue to teach me, I don’t doubt that. But I will trust in Him.

Gods name will be glorified in every situation – because He is God (first) and (second)? Cause its all apart of His plan.

trust-e1436536636481My friend if you are going through a hard time – know…please know….God has you. Right in the palm of His hand and He won’t let you fall.

trust in Him.

He will be glorified and He will show you His mercy and grace and all that good stuff. Just trust.

 

Mental Illness and the Church

I wrote a post about this on my other blog – but I wasn’t where I should be. I’m not now, but I’m better. I know I said I wouldn’t make this blog about me – but a conversation I had yesterday AND the post I did yesterday, made me start thinking.

IMG_6961But before I get into that – lemme explain about me. I have two kids, a son and a daughter. When I my son I developed postpartum depression (and anxiety) and I went undiagnosed. I was severely depressed and anxious and I thought – “Psshh….I got this. I got the Lord.” Then I gave birth to my daughter and I developed postpartum psychosis. I went undiagnosed for so long because – again – I thought “I don’t need help”. Finally when I got help, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was so severely….gone….that i couldn’t see the Lord. I couldn’t even hear things about God cause…..I was just so sick.

My family didn’t understand (and neither did I actually) what i was going through so they kept pushing what they only knew: “You need the Lord” “You need to pray more”. I remember I went through a period where I was having – I don’t even know what to call it actually – my mom prayed over me and nothing happened. I think that was the point she realized I was so sick.

I finally got on a set of meds that helped me stabilize and, my friend even then I couldn’t fathom God. I know that seems so weird to say – but I just couldn’t.

So here I am “stable” and I am still so severely depressed. At this point I had tried to kill myself 3xs. I talked to the doctor who told me plain and simple “there is no medicine strong enough to get rid of your depression completely.” I told this to my mom and she said: “Well, you need the Lord.” It kind of hit me then, I need Jesus.

I started this blog, I started doing bible studies w older women at the church and I started to see the light of day. Then I lost sight after I became obsessed with losing weight – but I digress.

Do you see the point I’m trying to make? Mental illness is so devastating to a person they IMG_6989can’t think of anything else. At some points they may wonder why they are alive. At some points …. it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you deal with it.

You as a person not suffering. What do you need to do? Be there and love.

There will come a point where they will see the truth. If you keep praying for them, they will see the truth. The important thing is to not push – cause you will push them away.

Be there and love them.

Love. Thats so important. Christ has called us to love and we need to love unconditionally. Yes. I know how hard that is – but you need to strive for it.

Christ has given us such a wonderful gift and people suffering from a mental illness can’t see it sometimes. But what do you hafta do? Be that witness. Love them. Be there for them. Never give up.

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, NKJV)