Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Wishes

It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost gone!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to you all.
And, Best wishes for 2012.

May you draw closer to the God who loves you with an everlasting love...

and believe that all things are possible with Him!

Christmas blessings,

Jeanne

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An-ti-ci-pa-tion!!

....No, not the ketchup commercial, the coming Messiah; for thousands of years people lived in expectation of His arrival. Every Jewish maiden hoped she would be the one to bear the Deliverer. Prophets told of the circumstances of His birth and then silence fell over the land…not another word was heard for 400 years.

 The silence was broken by visits from the Angel Gabriel, first to Zacharias and then to a young Jewish girl named, Mary.  The messenger brought word--earth-shaking news—and His name was Jesus. An old barren woman conceived a son who would be the one to prepare the way of the Lord; A young virgin conceived before her marriage and traveled to Bethlehem with her husband, Joseph because of the census ruling; Shepherds witnessed, Simeon saw the Lord’s deliverer just as God promised, and, Anna saw with her own eyes and told everyone of the great news; Jesus the messiah was born in Bethlehem.
Rumblings of the promise ripple outward, for nothing is impossible with God. The Savior has come.
We celebrate Christmas and remember the story of the anticipated messiah. Yet, there is more to the story. On December 26th the songs on the radio are hushed, paper and bows are on the discount racks, and Christmas is silenced for another year. Yet, prophets told of His coming…again.
Promises are made for His kingdom reign. And we are the ones with the good news that must be given to all who will listen. Jesus is coming again. Is your heart prepared to make room for Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

Wishing you all a wonderful week as you prepare for His coming,


Jeanne




Sunday, December 04, 2011

Notice the Amazing and Ponder its Message





I have been cloistered at home, fighting sickness last week; I was itching to get outside to breathe the fresh air and to get some exercise. I bundled up warm; the chill in the air belied the beautiful sunshine. I began to walk—it felt good to move my muscles. It was quiet except for a few woodland birds and rustling of leaves. As I walked, I took in sights of an area I have never walked before (I had only driven down this road)…A crumbling bee’s nest clinging to a wispy branch, a stone foundation which may have been an animal pen, a barn or some sort of root cellar, and an ancient Chevy car hood buried on the side of the road. I began to wonder, to ponder these things. Did the bee’s nest come down during the past storms? How extensive a building could this have been? Who could have lived here and how long ago? Whose vintage car and how long had it been camouflaged here on the woodland floor?

It’s rather like when we are traveling through life—it feels we are going so fast, like my car zipping down the road. I wonder how different things would look if I slowed my pace to take notice?
As I prepare for Christmas, I read the story in Luke chapters one and two—I noticed that the Christmas characters had much to think about. Sprinkled throughout, there are truths for us to ponder. I discovered reminders about being chosen, our disgrace being removed, having Him with us, being filled with the Holy Spirit and being redeemed. Amazing!
The events leading up to and after Jesus’ birth jumped off the page and became a living story. Angelic visits, priestly duty, a young girl, and a barren woman, all becoming the stars in the event that was promised ‘in the fullness of time’. And, Mary pondered all of these things in her heart. Her mind must have been reeling with everything that occurred during those months. But, it said she pondered—she slowed down and began to process just what it meant to have borne the Savior of the world.
So, I am learning to take notice of things that are happening around me. God speaks in the midst of our everyday events just like He did in centuries past. And who can say what our part might play in His bigger story that will cause another to ponder the things of God.
May you ponder the events that brought us the Savior,
Jeanne


Sunday, November 27, 2011

More Than A Baby

One of the highlights of Christmas when I was a little girl was the manger scene on the corner of our church lawn. For the month of December it sat in serene surroundings and was lit up every evening. Baby Jesus hadn’t been born yet—the manger was empty. Then, miraculously on Christmas morning He appeared in the manger as Mary and Joseph looked on in adoration. 


During the Christmas season it’s natural to think of Jesus as a baby. We tell the story of His birth in a stable because there wasn’t room at the inn. Because the details about Jesus’ childhood are missing, other than His visit to the temple when He was twelve, it’s easy to forget that this baby grew into the man whose three year ministry took Him to the cross. 


I’ve seen portrayals of Christ on the cross depicted in artwork and jewelry. His sacrifice is vivid, though hard to imagine. The miracle of the cross is that Jesus didn’t stay there. On the third day He rose, by the power of the Holy Spirit—victorious over sin and death. 


After His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with His followers and then was taken up in the clouds as they looked on (Acts 1:9-11). He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The angels proclaimed that Jesus would come again. He now sits at the right hand of God. But, what does He do there? What’s His role? He is no longer the Christmas baby and He is no longer a prisoner to the punishment of the cross. 


Hebrews 5: 8-10 says that He is our High Priest, the one Who paid the sin-debt on my behalf and on behalf of the whole world, and He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:22-27). This is a comforting and awesome thought—to know that Jesus is praying for me! He prays that I will not fail and that I will finish the race of faith. He prays that I will be strengthened when going through tough times. And, He intercedes when I bring my needs and requests.  


Though He’s no longer a baby, I welcome Him as my Christmas child, born in a lowly (and smelly) stable signifying His message is for all people, no matter their status. No longer on the cross, I praise Him for my salvation won there. I embrace Him as my Savior and risen, victorious Lord. He’s not walking among us any longer yet I am thankful that He has not left me alone. His promised Spirit has come to indwell all who recognize their need of Him. His spirit indwells every believer, equipping them to live with a heart that is forgiven and right before God.

You and I will no longer find Jesus in the manger, nor will we find Him still on the cross of Calvary. The Christmas miracle is recognizing Him—King of Kings and Lord of Lords with arms outstretched, inviting us to live in His presence for eternity.


Enjoying the hope of Christmas,


Jeanne

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for, but I admit I can be remiss in remembering to say thanks for things, to others and to God. I get so busy that I forget or overlook them, taking them for granted. I notice that when I am thankful my perspective is different. I focus on the good rather than the bad. It’s like medicine bringing health to my heart and mind.

As I prepare for this coming week I am thankful for my family and though we are spread all over the country, we think of one another and past times around the table, like making stuffed dates with my children on Thanksgiving Eve. And, of plenty to eat even when illness dictated we stay home.
I am thankful for our country, that we can worship freely and, of the freedoms we share and hold dear. I appreciate my church family and the bond we have because we are followers of Christ. I am thankful for my son who serves in the military, and all our military personnel who daily pay the price for maintaining our freedoms. Many who will not be together on this holiday because they are separated by oceans and deserts, but whose hearts are connected by the miles and by cell phone and email. Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf and your willingness to serve.
And, most of all I am thankful for what God has done through Jesus Christ so that we can have forgiveness and new life in Him. He is the God of new beginnings; He makes us new creations—the old has gone, forgiven and made new. And, that sacrifice cost Him His life. I’m so thankful for that, because I don’t deserve it, but He did it anyway because of His love for me, and for all. May this week begin a habit of contemplating the good things that are ours and may our hearts be thankful and offer praise.
Wishing you a season of thanksgiving that will fill you with His joy!
What are you thankful for?

Jeanne




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Every Journey Begins with a Single Step

 
Have you ever felt frozen—not sure what to do next? I am living there this week. There’s plenty I could be doing if only I knew where to begin. Just recently back from my Communicator’s conference I have lots to process. I am working on a promotional packet that I will have ready to send out to prospective event planners. I will book a photo session, finish my “one sheet” with my ministry information and I need to edit my video so it’s ready to be included. The reason I am feeling frozen is that I want to get it right—yes, perfectionism is a taskmaster.

So, what do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the options? First, PRAY. Easier said than done, I know. If you’re like me you want to just jump in and get-er-done. Even if that means skipping over the most important thing; what does God want portrayed in all of this? He already knows the details because Scripture says *He has prepared good works for me to do beforehand. He has made me and equipped me to accomplish things that will have kingdom impact but I need to be still and listen for His promptings. When I slow down and talk with Him and listen, the next step will become clear.
I have a plaque on my desk that says: Every Journey Begins With A Single Step
A single step is all He’s asking. Honestly it is probably the hardest one to take because it takes faith to overcome the fear and anxiety that wants to keep us cemented to the floor. Once you put your feet in motion the pathway will begin to open and you will sense the power of the Spirit leading you forward.
Isaiah 30:21: says, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” And, He promises to go with us—each step of the way.
So, when you’re faced with decisions or tasks that knock the wind out of you, remember that His promises are trustworthy. He has called, equipped, and readied you to take that first step of faith. Whittier said, “The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath” and that rock is Jesus Christ!
What’s your next step? I would love to hear about it and give praise to the One who reaches out His hand to steady your walk. 

Jeanne

*Ephesians 2:10


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breakthrough the Barriers

I just spent the most amazing time with twenty-four women of like mind. We gathered from all over the country to pursue our call and giftedness to write and speak. These women of courage have looked past their fear, insecurity and hardships to say yes to God—yes, to serve Him in whatever way He leads.

We spent five days learning the speaking craft and presented five minutes speeches to one another for critique. I know most of you are saying, “I would rather have a root canal than get up in front of a group!” So, now you know how awesome it was to see these women overcome these barriers to do something most people would never dream of attempting.
Overcoming barriers isn’t just for speakers. Each of us has something that keeps us from living life to the fullest and obeying the Lord with abandon. And, when we listen to the lies it gives the enemy a reason to happy dance on our heart. If you know Jesus Christ, He has gifted you to make a difference for His kingdom. But, the enemy wants to diminish your effectiveness by discouraging and distracting you. Don’t let him have that victory!
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we might walk in them.”
Our experiences, abilities and our surroundings have all worked together to make up who we are and how He can use us for His glory. These ingredients can either be a catalyst for great work or a recipe for discouragement from life’s pain. Choosing how we will respond will affect the outcome—victory or defeat? Victory is ours because of Jesus. Abundant life is ours only when we put the enemy in a strangle hold when he tries to whisper his poison.
So, what barriers keep you from fully trusting Christ for your life and your work? Choosing to stand firm, drawing from the strength that God supplies will give you what you need to walk in victory.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”  Ephesians 6:10-11
I am ready for a breakthrough. How about you?
Putting on His armor,

Jeanne


Friday, October 21, 2011

My Baggage Has Preceded Me

Ode to Travel
Oh, the disappointment! I’ve heard tales of airport nightmares…they are true! I would have been landing in Fort Myers, FL in about thirty minutes, but upon check-in at the Southwest counter this morning they told me my flight departure would be delayed an hour and I would not make my connecting flight. After about 40 minutes standing at the kiosk, they told me I was on standby for another flight to Florida but I would need to wait to see if there was a no show because that flight was fully booked.
You know how that worked out as I am now at home awaiting a flight first thing tomorrow morning. I thought I would get an evening flight but there were none. So, they sent me home with boarding passes for a 6:15 am flight out of Hartford, CT. That translates to a 2:30am wake up time in order to get there on time to both get a parking space in the lots (they were all full this morning too) and to get through security.
The funny thing about this: my luggage is already there! My toothbrush, make-up bag, and ten days worth of carefully chosen outfits to meet the change in climate for both Florida and South Carolina are awaiting my arrival.
My baggage has preceded me!
I don’t know about you, but I get all kinds of story ideas from that one. So, I have a feeling this is going to be quite an adventure. I will chronicle when I can and look forward to your thoughts about trying to remember that everything happens for a reason…
Going to bed early tonight,

Jeanne

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Delivered...

What do you think of when you hear the word DELIVERED? Pizza? Mail? FEDEX? Flowers? A new baby?
The one that caught my attention was found in my reading lately: God Delivers! God is in the delivery business—He has the power to set free, I just need to realize it.
We are all enslaved to something…fear, perfectionism, food, work, alcohol, drugs, pornography, television, gambling, worry—but not matter what, Jesus delivers. He can release its hold on us.
He delivers us from:
Fear – Psalm 34:4
Enemies- Psalm 31:15
Affliction – Psalm 34:19
Trouble – Psalm 41:1
Death – Psalm 33:19
Transgressions – Psalm 39:8
Mire – Psalm 69:14
Jesus came to set the captive free. He tells the disciples to pray this way…Our Father who art in Heaven…deliver us from evil. DELIVER US. Freed from what holds us captive. This is one of the purposes of His coming in human flesh.
When I realized God’s ability to deliver, I began to understand more of what it meant when He didn’t deliver Jesus from His persecutors. He had the power to free Jesus from the mob, Pilate, Caiphas and even from the nails that held Him to the cross. But He didn’t. Instead of being delivered from His fate, He delivered us from ours.
I saw a sign outside a local church that said:
 “Jesus’ nails didn’t hold him on the cross; love did.”

Powerful!
How has He delivered you?
... Do you need deliverance?
Psalm 91,
Jeanne


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Me, Adventuresome? NOT!

Roger's Rock Face, Lake George, NY - We climbed the back side of this place
As much as I’d like to say I am adventuresome, there are a couple of examples that speak to the contrary:

I am learning Windows 7 with my new laptop and I am lost—so I am going through the tutorial videos to learn my way around. I like to do things correctly; that is to say I am not one to experiment with lots of different ways of doing things. Show me how to do it right then I can adapt it to my living-style. I can be adventurous within boundaries—safe places where I can be free to roam.

The other example that shows others just how timid I am, happened while on vacation in New York with my family. Our first day we decided to climb Roger’s Rock; we packed water and snacks, put on our hiking shoes and drove to the trail head. I recall someone mentioning something about a little hand over feet climbing as we went through the entrance gate of Roger’s Rock State Park…I wasn’t thinking anything of it at the time but decided since, that I need to update their site brochure to reflect the truth—this trail was not only poorly marked, it was dangerous!!

About 9/10ths of the way, straight up over rocks and crags, dodging loose rocks and hunting for safe footing, I became acutely aware that I would not be able to get back down. My thoughts then rambled to wondering if they had ever had to send in helicopter rescue for people like me that decided, “that’s it; I’m done.” And, then I proceeded to have a meltdown, complete with tears and panic-attack-like-shaking from within.

So, in front of my hike-a-mountain-a-day husband, and my three grown children—I became the child. The decision was made for me, that I would stay behind with my two daughters, standing on a 4x4 piece of level ground where I sat on a rock and hung onto a sapling for dear life. My husband and son continued to the top. All the while I just kept thinking, I have to go back down sometime--I don’t know if I can do it!

After what seemed like an hour, the guys were back and we began our descent, one steep step at a time. Every muscle screamed because of being scared out of my wits as rocks tumbled around us. It was then I decided that I am not very adventurous at all. Give me a nice stroll, a gentle climb, even a heart thumping hike, but I would forever avoid anything in the “challenging” category. I made it down safely with the help of my family and my God who protects me…but I was finished for the week. I’d had enough hiking and decided that sitting on the patio overlooking the water was just the adventure I was looking for.

The smile is because I am near the bottom!

So, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of coaxing to step out of my comfort zone. I can relate to the fear I see in the lives of those who God coaxed to serve Him. Abraham leaving his home to travel to an unknown place; Moses having to return to Pharoah and the land he’d fled from; Esther needing to approach the king; Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers and finding God’s purpose for him there…I am a wimp when it comes to climbing mountains by faith, but I know that if I am called, He will lead me step-by-step to His purpose for me, because He says, “Fear not, for I am with you” every step of the way.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Art of Letting Go

Welcome to my whirlwind--life has been a little nutty the last several weeks. We made it though  Hurricane Irene. I am getting on top of all my editing needed for the print deadline for THE OLIVE PRESS. My house still looks a bit like a battle zone because I haven't gotten caught up from all of the delays...so I have decided that my writer-brain is fighting with my editor-brain; so that means digging into my archive of articles to post here for sanity sake. Still a lesson I am learning...

The Art of Letting Go

Whereas some take art or dance lessons, I have needed repeated lessons in letting go. Letting go of what, you ask? Everything. Kids, details, worries, the future, the past, you name it and I need to relinquish it! Unlike art and dance lessons, these lessons are not such fun! Just when I think I am getting pretty good at it, another test comes along to prove that I need the Lord’s help just one more time. His lesson for me at this moment in life is letting go of my teenage children into his care.

It would be nice to receive a guide with your infant saying, At Age 2, Let Go Here, and At Age 7, Let Go There. You know, The Easy Guide to Letting Go Plan, or 12 Steps to Letting Go. But, I have come to realize there is not easy way to grasp this lesson. It is something that God teaches each of us one step at a time. One thing I have learned is this is a life long lesson.

Why do we try to hold on? What are we afraid of? It took me awhile to address these questions. The answers aren’t simple and they vary from person to person. For me, I think I hold on because it feels safer, like I have more control on outcomes. It is neatly wrapped in a ‘protecting my loved ones’ wrapper, but it is deeper than that. I think it stems from my fear of the unknown. What if I can’t handle what is ahead? What if I face a situation I am unfamiliar with?

What can we learn from scripture about surrendering our control?

* In Philippians 2:5-11, it says that Jesus relinquished his position and power to become a man in order for God’s purpose of redemption to be fulfilled.

* Abraham had to let go of his son Isaac and the promise when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. (Genesis 22:1-18)

* Joseph needed to relinquish the feelings toward his brothers and trust God to use him in spite of all that happened against him. (Genesis 37, 39-45, and 50:17-21)

In each of these examples, surrender brought victory and a clearer understanding of who God is, and his ability to do what he says. We see his power at work in and around us and we will see his faithfulness as he accomplishes far more than we could ever imagine.

So, how can we let go of the things that burden us? Letting go means I am not in charge. I admit that is a tough one. I want to be in charge and my flesh often screams for control. But, God wants to be Lord of my life so that His Spirit flourishes in me. As we talk to Him about what we are facing, a trusting relationship begins to grow. We bring everything of concern to him and look for his perspective. We can ask for his guidance as to what our response should be. The more we trust him for the everyday things we face, the easier it will be to leave things in his care.

We need to know that God has plans for our future and our welfare (Jeremiah 29:11-13). When we recognize that he has our good in mind, we can trust him for what is ahead. He uses every circumstance to reveal himself to us and grow our faith. Surrendering control may seem like jumping off a cliff into the unknown. It is allowing God to catch us in his net of trust, knowing He will not fail us. With that step of faith, he will reveal his power in us and through us to handle whatever comes our way.

May you find His net beneath you,

Jeanne

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Ravages of Irene

Life in New England is settling back to normal after the ravaging effects of Hurricane Irene. We lost power and water for six days, phone and internet service, threw out the contents of our refrigerator and chest freezer, and used buckets to fill with water at nearby locations in order to flush toilets and take sponge baths every morning before leaving for work. I work at a doctor’s office so there is no such thing as closing; they merely relocated our office staff to another location that had power to see patients. The hardest thing for me was once night fell and I was at the mercy of two candles and a flashlight for the evening; what else could I do but read?

I came face to face with how much I rely on electricity, water and the internet on a daily basis. It was hard to have it all gone in a stormy blast. I also realized how little water I can actually get by with using. Thankfully we have a small propane stove we used to heat water and a couple of meals till the food spoiled. I literally needed to survive day to day with what we had. We didn’t go without. Our needs were met; maybe not our wants, but we had food for each meal, water to drink and wash, and I read by candlelight in the evening until my eyes watered from the strain.

This whole experience made me more aware and more thankful for what I have. And, brought to life Matthew 7:31-32 that says, “Do not be anxious saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’…for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

When our power was restored, I cried out in thankful relief to the One who provided my every need. He is Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. Whether in the midst of a real storm like Hurricane Irene or the storms of life that come upon us with the same devastation—He is there every moment of everyday.

What are you anxious about today? How is He your Jehovah-Jireh?

Thinking of you this week,

Jeanne

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Potter and the Clay

 
I am intrigued by pottery classes. I remember doing a bit of pinch pottery when I was a kid and may have dabbled a little with pottery thrown on the wheel during art class in high school, but that was before I knew what God said about the potter and the clay. Now I’d love to take a pottery class as a hands-on experience, to better understand His words.

In order for a potter to create useful vessels, they choose clay that’s been taken from the mire and remove the stones and impurities. Once it’s washed and the air bubbles are worked out the potter centers the clay on the wheel. As the wheel spins, water is applied so the clay remains pliable, responding to the potter’s strong and gentle touch. Soon a vessel of the potter’s design takes shape by the consistent pressure of their hands and motion of the wheel.

This metaphor of the Master Potter is beautiful to me because I was taken from the mire and washed by the blood of the Lamb. The Potter has had my image in mind since before I was born and He began to shape me into a useful vessel in the likeness of Christ. He knows just what is needed because He knows me and understands my strengths and weaknesses. I am in process of becoming what He has in mind—beautiful.

The Potter’s hands are trustworthy. They are strong yet gentle and know just the right amount of pressure to be applied for the clay to yield. He applies water liberally—the water of His Word; it softens so the clay is pliable.

I am studying a book entitled, Soul Shaping by Stephen W. Smith. I am enthralled by my Master Potter and His touch on the clay of my life. I will post my discoveries in hope they will encourage you as well.

“Only our God can transform our clay. He places us on the whirling wheel, leans over, and shapes us. We bring ourselves to the Potter, but we can’t control the work of His hands. It’s our part to trust His process and to relax in His hands so we’re pliable and responsive.”

                                ~ Smith, Stephen W., Soul Shaping, pg 66, ©2011 David C. Cook

Yielding to the Potter isn’t easy. But as I grow in my trust of Him, I realize He only wants what is good for me so I am learning to relax a little. Jeremiah 29:11 says He has a plan for my life, not for harm, but for a future and a hope. His plan is perfect and He envisions my completed vessel and works to coax my clay to respond to His gentle touch.

Have you ever taken a pottery class? What images can you relate to how God is forming you?

Be blessed as you yield,

Jeanne

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Macro View


 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me…” ~ Psalm 139:23-24 (NAS)

I love taking photographs! I particularly like getting close up shots using a macro setting on the camera. I love capturing the details of blossoms, bees and tiny views that are often missed when taking shots from afar. There’s something about taking the time to zoom in and notice things I would ordinarily overlook.

Psalm 139:23-24 is like God’s macro lens. And, as much as I don’t want to be under anyone’s microscope, I know I need Him to point out the details that I often gloss over: anxious thoughts, unconfessed sins and anything that will hurt me and keep me from a right relationship with Him and others.

I came into focus under His macro lens today. A visiting missionary shared a request of how we can pray for the work his team is doing:

Pray that people will understand the difference between worshipping God and feeling they need to serve in order to please Him.

There is a subtle difference and I find I am guilty. My service and work for Him doesn’t replace my need for worshipping Him alone. Busyness and a desire to please hinders my relationship with Him, and the result is a loss of joy.

His word says, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation”; a time when He was all I needed. A time when I realized my desperate need of His mercy and grace and realized that He loves me in spite of who I am. That hasn’t changed; He loves me just as I am and I am still desperate for Him and Him alone.

So as I see myself a little more clearly, I ask for His forgiveness for making my work and service an idol. I cannot write, speak, teach or do anything without His help. John 15 says I need to abide in Him, staying close to the vine because He is the source of all things—and everything I need.

My life is but a breath in eternity. I want it to be spent in daily worship of the One who loves me despite what I do. Out of this will come a life lived to the fullest, for His glory and His alone.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Truth Is.....

I bumped into myself this weekend and I don’t like what I see! Pride. Self-sufficiency. I’ve been relying on my own strength and wonder why I feel exhausted? I know I am not alone; I am trying to juggle a job, husband, home, family, ministry, and there are just not enough hours in a day. The trouble comes when I listen to the lies..


          Lie #1 - You’re not good enough

          Lie #2 - You have to be perfect

          Lie #3 - People won’t like you if you make mistakes

          Lie #4 - You can avoid conflict by doing the right thing (it helps to remember that Jesus always did the right thing and He was always facing conflict of one kind or another)

The truth is, I will never be good enough, or perfect, and I will always make mistakes. And, conflict comes with the territory of being God’s child because He says in His word it will happen in this world. In my head I know my adequacy and confidence are in Christ alone; I just need that knowledge to travel daily, the twelve inches and settle deeply in my heart as well. He only asks that I have a tender spirit, willing to learn from my mistakes. Like David, maybe if I am responsive to His lessons, I will be a woman after God’s own heart.

I have never liked conflict. I think I am quick to avoid it at all costs, but I wonder if there are lessons I am skirting because I fear them. Conflict is uncomfortable and often messy, but I think God will give me the grace to be able to face it with confidence if I ask for His help.

I’ve done a lot of wrestling over the last few days. I still need to settle things so that I know I am believing His truth over the lies of the enemy that have been ingrained since I was a little girl. I know I make progress at times, and then fall back into the old pattern again. Oh, for His grace and mercy to overflow and overcome, giving me victory one day at a time.

The enemy loves it when I believe His lies and twisted truths. And, I am determined not to allow him to cloud my mind and clutter my heart so that I become ineffective and discouraged. Christ came to free me from the hold of the enemy, and promises abundant life to all who believe. He transforms and renews my mind to right thinking; kingdom thinking; all for His glory and by the power that raised Jesus from the dead!

All He asks of me is, surrender.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Enter the Gate

I peer through a secret-garden gate—grasping the wrought iron, my hand tentatively on the latch; do I dare enter?


Fear usually keeps me just peeking through gates. I am not normally a risk taker—I like to play it safe. Yet, I would like to take a step into the unknown. I have begun to overcome a lot of my fearful tendencies—I guess that’s what happens when you reach 50+. I am ready to take some risks and find that God is faithful to provide what is needed on the other side. I’ve discovered a gate can either be what keeps me out or ushers me in, depending on my point of view—an opportunity or a barrier.

Suddenly, I hear a voice.

"Come. Step through. Do not be afraid. I promise to go with you."

But, what if..?

Butterflies fill in my innermost places. But, what if..?

Yet, the voice continues...

Inviting

Wooing

Should I enter?

I strain to listen for clues. What if..?

My heart longs for what lies beyond. But, what if..?

My pulse quickens, catching the beat of Him who calls.

My hand quivers and reaches again for the latch. What if..?

Then, my ears tune in to the One voice and all else fades as I step through the gate.

Jesus calls Himself the door, the gate to the sheepfold. We enter into the Father’s presence through Him. Jesus is either a barrier or an opportunity—depending on your point of view. What lies beyond the gate is abundant life—details unknown but He promises to be with us. Adventure awaits you as you answer the One who calls. He bids you to step through the gate to find all that you long for—

Whether you are stepping through the gate in response to your invitation to salvation through Christ, or taking a next step of faith in obedience, He is there.

Will you enter?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wave Action, Stilling the Storm

 
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it's that it happens without my permission. Lately I’ve been overloaded with things I have no control over. This is nothing new; as a matter of fact I should be fairly used to it by now. Whether from job stress, decisions, or family concerns…there is plenty of wave action happening around me.

Remembering the story of when the disciples got into a boat with Jesus to go across the lake enables me to endure the waves, because this story has a message for me too.

While sailing across the lake, a storm came up. The disciples wake Jesus who had fallen asleep and frantically cry, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” They call Him, Teacher, but when Jesus calms the wind and the waves with words, they question each other, wondering who He could be because even the winds obeyed Him.

Throughout the Gospels they come face to face with themselves and their ability to believe as Jesus cast out demons, healed a woman who’d been bleeding for years, and raised up a girl who was pronounced dead. ..For three years He continued to build their faith in His ability to meet their every need. Jesus met every situation with wisdom, grace and discernment. It wasn’t long before they believed in Him as their LORD.

In my boat, I have cried out to Him too. Intellectually I know everything is under control because He is sovereign, but in my heart things don’t feel quite so peaceful. The thing I have learned is that Jesus is in my boat. Through this story I know that everything I face gives me opportunities for a greater glimpse of who He is and how He is able to work mighty things in my life. In the midst of life’s storms, He has the power to bring stillness to my heart as I trust that He commands all by His name.

So when the stormy winds begin to blow, listen for His voice commanding all to be still. Then watch for a new understanding of His character because His power is the same as He quiets the storms raging around us yesterday, today and forever.

Tell of how you learned more about Him through your storms, and,

                                                                               Stay in the boat. Jesus is there!

                                                                 Jeanne

Read this story in three of the Gospels; Matthew 8:18-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25

Images courtesy of www.morguefile.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Waiting on Him - Thoughts about Pentecost

My kindred-spirit friends, Jenny and Karen roamed the trails of the National Park on Prince Edward Island with me last summer. Wildflowers waved in the warm sea breeze and sea grass tufts dotted the sandy dunes. They chose to climb the dunes to see what was on the other side. I decided the threat of snakes hiding in the tall grass wasn’t worth the view. I snapped their pictures as they ascended the sandy hills. They paused at the top so I could get their “we made it” pose captured on film; then they disappeared over the crest while I waited, alone.

I paced the pathway, taking macro pictures of Queen Anne’s lace and fat caterpillars lazing on leaves. I watched, shielding my eyes from the sun, but they stayed hidden by the dune barrier. Eventually they appeared at the crest of the dune path, but not before I wished I had gone with them. I feel like I missed out on part of the adventure by waiting behind.

In Acts chapter one, Jesus tells His disciples, “Wait in Jerusalem for the Helper, who will give you power to be my witnesses.” Then He was taken up to Heaven, and disappeared beyond the clouds. I wonder how they felt. I wonder if they minded having to wait. I can imagine their discussions amongst each other, wondering ‘just who or what this Helper was’ anyway.

In Acts chapter two, we can read about the coming power Jesus promised: The rushing wind, the flames of fire and the words spoken in other tongues. From that day, believers in Christ have been given the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power. Jesus’ promise that He will never leave us, now makes sense. His Spirit fills us so that we can not only be His witnesses, but we can live the life that God calls us to, one worthy of His calling.

I believe that throughout our Christian walk we will face times of waiting—situations when we will need to come before Him to receive the power needed for what He calls us to do. Waiting can be a time of surrender, or in the case of Moses, a time of preparation. As hard as waiting can be, I have learned that it is never wasted. Waiting and stillness often produces far more than we imagine. Even Jesus took time to wait in the Father’s presence, because in God’s sovereignty He brings all things together—as scripture often says, “In the fullness of time.”

As we step out to answer God's call to serve, may we be mindful of needing to wait in His presence for the power needed to complete the task we have been given. Where God calls, He provides what we need as we surrender ourselves and wait for the Holy Spirit’s power and direction. Waiting may seem hard. We may not understand what’s needed to accomplish the tasks, but can trust in His word that promises His power and direction to equip us to serve if we will tarry in His presence.

Waiting on Him,

Jeanne

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Drink Deeply: Bread, Fish, Pennies and Perfume

For the last week I have been taking atomic medications for bronchitis. I have been so dehydrated from all of the decongestant and antihistamines; all I want to do is drink water. I am not sure if that’s why this phrase popped up in my writing this week. But, it fits. Scripture is pretty clear about Jesus being the Living Water and his visit with the woman at the well confirms that when we are thirsty, we need to come to Him. He is the wellspring that never runs dry; the source of everything we need.


I watched as a hummingbird darted amongst my flowers this morning. I wanted to capture it drinking from my flowers with my camera, but he was too quick; zip-sip, zip-sip and he was gone. Yet I noticed he couldn’t stay away. He returned often to those same flowers to drink deeply of the sweet nectar.

So often in my quiet time with God, I read His word and meditate on its meaning for my life. I return to passages that have spoken truth in a situation and drink deeply again on His faithfulness to provide. This brought me to three scriptures I would like to share with you. Each of them is rich with something for us to drink deeply from. And, they were brought to my mind as I realized that I am so guilty of being miserly with my resources (time, talents, etc.) so I drank deeply of the connectedness of these messages myself this week.

Matthew 14:13-21 – Feeding of the 5,000

Mark 14:3-9 – The woman with the alabaster vial of perfume

Luke 21:1-4 – The widow’s offering

In each of these stories something is given; a boy’s lunch; a vial of expensive perfume and two copper coins. Each of the givers gave everything they had to Jesus. As I stopped to drink deeply of His wellspring, this is what I heard the Lord say about bread, fish, pennies and perfume:

I have given you so much and equipped you with the Holy Spirit’s power! Don’t be afraid that if you give it back to me, that the well will run dry. Your offerings of time, talents and giftedness, even though they seem small and insignificant to you, I will multiply them to feed a multitude of those who are hungry and thirsty for Me. And, when you pour out yourself as an offering to Me, though you are broken, you will spread the fragrance of Me to others who need to know that I am the Truth and the Source for everything they need.

Though I am tempted to hoard my resources so that I won’t run dry, He is asking me to give everything I have to Him and allow Him to be the one to multiply them to satisfy a hungry and thirsty crowd. I will be sipping on this one for awhile….

Drink deeply from the Eternal Spring,

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorials & Remembrances

Memorials are meant to bring to mind events, people, victories or defeats, all so that we don’t forget their importance. One of my favorite memorials is found in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Forefather’s Monument* is breathtakingly spectacular and causes me to reflect on its symbolism every time I visit.

Memorials are nothing new; Joshua (chapters 3 & 4) was instructed by God to have twelve men bring twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River and set them on the bank as a memorial. Why? So that when anyone asked they would tell of how God delivered them, parting the Jordan River so that the Ark of the Covenant and nation of Israel could cross into the Promised Land on dry ground.

In the same way, I think God wants us to remember His faithful provision and tell our children and anyone who asks what God has done on our behalf. These memorials can be written in a journal, captured in a photo, or brought to life in a story, all to be shared with others. Why? Because when we tell others how He has met our need, their faith is built and ours is emboldened.

This Memorial Day, we remember all those who have sacrificed for freedom in our country. Many have given their lives. Many have suffered effects. And, all have given time away from their loved ones to fight on our behalf. Whenever I see someone in uniform I am sure to thank them for all they do.

And, most of all we remember the One who sacrificed Himself so that we can have eternal life—Jesus. The cross is the memorial of what He did for you and for me. His sacrifice freed us from sin, death and the grip of the enemy. He gave up His place on high to become the lamb that was slain, perfect and unblemished—to atone for the sin of the whole world.

As we pause to remember so much today, how can you be more intentional about gathering stones of remembrance to share of what He has done for you?

Reflecting on His goodness,

Jeanne

“Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16



*For more information about the National Forefather’s Monument:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Monument_to_the_Forefathers

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cape Cod Clips

My Cape Cod getaway was wonderful. I have just returned and want to share a bit of my heart from my weekend away:

Friday May 19, 2011


I am here, Lord—I come into your presence and ask for your forgiveness; I fall short every day, not spending time with you—in your word, in prayer and listening for your voice. I have come apart to be with you; show me what I need to focus on this weekend…

I love your word—I’ve not experienced the sweet times consistently in awhile; too busy; too rushed; too many distractions. Draw me back to your presence, Father, so I may drink deeply. Fill my cup, Lord.

“My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God.” Psalm 42:2

I come, Lord. So thirsty.

Thank you for the glimpses of sunshine. Thank you that the rain has stopped. Thank you for the kind breeze—it is your whispers I’m listening for. I must listen past the buzz saw of life—the forever drone of its distractions. Help me instead, to focus on the cardinal’s call, “I’m here. Look up to find me in the budding branches of spring.” In it I hear the Master say, I have a message budding within you—my words—my voice—my call to you. Listen and look up…

As the buzz saw fades, I hear the birds speak:

Believe in me. Believe in my love. Come. Come to me.

I know that you love me, Lord. I believe.

I know you have called.

I come.

Ready to receive your words

Speak, Lord, for I am listening

I listen to the sound of the ocean waves:

Waves roll

Gentle laps

Tickling the shore

Bringing cool refreshment

Your waves of love

Roll over me

I am refreshed




Thanks for coming along with me,

Jeanne

Monday, May 16, 2011

Preparing Your Getaway

“Come away to a quiet place…” Mark 6:33

As I write this, I am anticipating my time away with the Lord this weekend. My mind is already going there which is a dangerous thing because I need to “be” at work this week. There are so many things on my heart. I have a huge writing project I am working on. I have a decision to make about a ministry step—is it His time yet? I have “packed” so many things in my heart to take along.

So, I have continued this topic in case you are considering your own getaway. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some thoughts as you plan:

Choosing a place


Take into consideration your budget when you choose a location; not too far, but just far enough away. Some options include a day trip to a park, waterfront, or other quiet place nearby; a hotel, B&B or other overnight destination; a retreat or conference center which may offer inexpensive accommodation especially during an ongoing event.

Things to contemplate

Is there a prayer item that you have been struggling with?

Are you led to a Scripture and want to meditate on its application in your life?

Are you faced with a decision or need direction?

Is there an area where you need to let go?

Are you getting a glimpse into a ministry you need to pray through?

Are you facing concerns and you need His peace?

Are you restless, sensing a need for change?

Things to bring

A Bible, journal, pen, a teachable and expectant heart (camera or sketch pad optional)

Things to avoid

Cell phones, internet access, email, or any other distractions

As you plan a time alone with Him, I pray you will feel the stir in your heart with the knowledge that He is wooing you there. He has something to whisper in the depth of your soul and is preparing your heart to receive it.

I can hardly wait,

Jeanne

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Getaway With God

“Come away to a quiet place…” Mark 6:33


About twelve years ago I went to my first writer’s workshop. Because of the distance, I arrived the night before at a nearby convent where rooms were reserved. Arriving early, I found myself alone in a stark, shadowy dormitory formerly used to house novices. As my squeaking footsteps echoed through the empty halls I found myself getting anxious. I was nervous enough about following God’s call to use my writing, and I was trembling inside because of the strange stillness around me.

I remember thinking, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so uncomfortable being alone?”

With a busy home, husband, and homeschooling my three children, I was never alone and, rarely experienced silence. Who really does? We live and breathe in a noisy world; traffic, music, phones, jobs—there is always some kind of commotion around us.

Other than the technology, this is exactly what was going on in Jesus’ world. He and the disciples hardly rested because of the crowds that came to Him. He healed, fed, forgave, comforted, preached, raised, delivered, and fed some more…is it any wonder that Jesus told the disciples to come away to a quiet place. He, Himself valued and needed time in His Father’s presence in order to accomplish what He was sent to do and He was modeling this for the disciples—for they would need His power too.

God desires the same thing of us, to get alone with Him; He has things for us to do and we can’t do them in our own strength; we need His power. We need His direction. All would easily be missed in the everyday din and throng we live in. His “voice” comes in the slightest whisper; it falls like the dew that settles in the quiet of the morning on a quieted, seeking heart.

I have taken time to get away from my normal routine and each time it has reaped huge benefits. I have come back refreshed and able to focus on what God wanted to say through His Word and I have been revived in His presence. I tell myself I have to do this once a year at least, though I admit it has been awhile since the last time?

Well, I am preparing a getaway time with Him soon. I have some writing projects that need His guidance. I am facing decisions about my next steps. It is a perfect time to come apart from my everyday demands to spend some time listening for His still small voice.

So, what would a ‘come away place’ look like for you? What do you need to hear from God?

Jeanne

Saturday, April 23, 2011

He Is Risen

On this Easter, the culmination of Holy Week, I'd like to share something I wrote a number of years ago...
Because, He is Risen, just as His Word says!!

I pray that you will consider His sacrifice, and know that He did it for you!!

Jeanne

<   > <        

The scattered disciples and followers of Jesus huddled behind locked doors awaiting the sound of hobnailed boots and burning torches. Their leader was gone. Stripped of his power and dignity, he suffered a criminal’s death. They had anticipated deliverance through him. Now what? Jesus was dead, and so was their hope.

In the early morning a wild knock sounded on the door. Had they been found? Would they be the next to die? Instead of soldiers at the door they found Mary, flushed and breathless as she blurted out, He is alive. I have seen the Lord!

No doubt they thought she was crazy.

Within a short time the news was out. The tomb was found empty. The grave clothes neatly folded and the angel’s pronouncement, He is risen, just as He said. Then the disciples remembered Jesus’ words, destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days. He wasn’t talking about the temple building. He spoke of Himself, of His body.

In the darkness of the tomb where the eye could not see, God was working. While the enemy exulted over the apparent defeat of God and His Son, God brought forth His purposes anyway. There Christ died for every person, for every sin. In three days, He rose from the dead, gaining victory over Satan once and for all. There would be no more death, spiritual death that is. We now have the choice of accepting His pardon and gift of eternal life. He died for all, but each one of us must choose spiritual life in Christ or to live in our flesh alone.

God’s love is far reaching, as far reaching as Christ’s arms spread out on the cross for you and for me. He gave the gift of His Son so that we may have eternal life with Him, if we only believe. It is by His grace we are saved, a grace big enough to cover every sin.

In the heart of the tomb, God waged war with death and sin so that He could reign in our hearts forever. It is in Christ that we now have access to God. The broken relationship resulting from Adam and Eve’s choice in the Garden of Eden is now restored.

He is risen. He is high and lifted up and will draw all those who believe to Himself. He has given himself for you and for me. He shed his blood as the final atonement for sin, for every person. He says, Come. I am the way, the truth, and the life. Believe in me and receive eternal life. Trust in me and I will give you life overflowing.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Wrong Glove

Sunshine seeps deep into my shoulders as I work in my rousing herb garden. Tufts of chives, the first to stir, give me hope that spring is here. It won’t be long before the purple flowers show amongst the green—a favorite sight—my herb garden in May. Turning over the rich earth, the scents of lavender, oregano, sage and the oniony chives make my mouth water for the herb-rich summer to come.


I only found mismatched garden gloves to work today, both right-handed. I put them on and began to turn over the soil with the hoe and scoop out the stray oak leaves clinging in the corners of the rock wall. Picking up leaves with my left hand wasn’t very effective with the ill-fitting glove. It took twice as long to accomplish the task and my fingers cramped in the constrictive fabric.

It is important to have the right tools for the right task. It reminds me of times I have tried so hard to do things that I was ill-equipped for: Working in a billing office when I really needed to be using my strong people skills; sitting on committees when I am much better at networking; working in a basement when I needed sunlight; working alone when I thrive being around people.

It was like working with this ill-fitting glove.

I love that God has plans and has work for us to do. I love that He helps us to find what we do best, and then empowers us to accomplish far more that we can imagine. I love that He puts the right person in the right place so that they thrive in His kingdom of abundant living.

Life with Jesus is a learning curve. Just as two right-handed gloves are a hindrance to my effectiveness in the garden—I need to use the right tools to accomplish things in the best way possible—spiritual gift-tools given to me to impact Christ’s kingdom.

What have you discovered along the way about how you are designed to serve?

“…the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16 (NAS)

Now, where is that other glove…


Jeanne

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Believing, It Settles The Soul

A beautiful Sunday! I spent time outdoors today, pruning my lavender and sage, neatening up my oregano and chive plants. Then, John and I had maple iced coffee in the sunshine. A perfect day. If only life could be this lovely all the time :)

A reader mentioned that many would understand the struggle to believe and that I needed to offer the hope I found on the other side...so this blog is dedicated to that end...And, I hope that others will offer their experiences of finding God in the midst of their crisis of belief.....afterall, that's how we encourage one another on the journey.


As I think more about belief. I want to pass on hope to those who have struggled with believing at times (and we all do). Whether it is taking the first step of believing unto salvation or the daily need to believe when facing the things life throws at us; believing that He is able is something we get better at as we meet the God who loves us in the midst of our circumstances and He shows himself faithful.

So, when I sat down and asked, “What’s next for my blog, Lord. I am listening—please show me in your word, the truths that settle the soul.” I came to the following conclusions:

He is a God of promises

He who promised is faithful – Hebrews 10:23

His precious and magnificent promises – 2 Peter 1:4

He is a God of Hope


My hope is in Him – Psalm 62:5

Hope we have as an anchor – Hebrews 6:19

Hopes all things – 1 Corinthians 13:7

He is a God of peace

He is our peace – Ephesians 2:14

Peace of God which surpasses all understanding – Philippians 4:7

And, He offers forgiveness, eternal life, abundant life and freedom to all those who acknowledge Him.

When I see Him for who He is, watch Him work in and around me, and see His kingdom becoming before my eyes, that’s how I know. He is good; therefore He wants what’s good for me. I can surrender, knowing that His plan will come to fruition as I trust in who He is.

I saw it in Mary…when she said, “May it be to me as you have said.”

I saw it in Peter when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

And it is in me too, during the times of turmoil, His peace settles over my soul and speaks in the innermost place, “Be still and know that I am God.”

As I prepare in my heart for this Easter time, I want to remember all He has done on my behalf. He has won the victory over sin and death and given me His Holy Spirit to empower me to live wholly for Him. I have received a Living and Eternal Hope through Him…

Believing….yes, and it has settled my soul,

Jeanne

“God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”

St. Augustine

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Help Me With My Unbelief

It’s been a tough week: Crazy days at work, feeling overwhelmed as I see family members struggling, and taking on stress. This atmosphere around me dampens my ability to believe that God is at work.


I believe. Such a simple statement yet it is so deeply misunderstood. If I say I believe then I can’t doubt God’s ability to accomplish things. So, do I truly believe that God is able or am I trusting in my own ability to do things?

Do I believe in the all-powerful God – Omnipotent? He is able to do ALL things.

Do I believe in the God who is everywhere – Omnipresent? He can care for my family even though we are far from each other.

Do I believe in the One who is all knowing – Omniscient? He knows every struggle, ever tear, every heart cry.

If He is indeed all of these things, I definitely have Him in a box—a box that I haven’t thought through, yet it is there just the same. So, how can I adjust my thinking to reflect the Omni-characteristics of God?

When I read about the things God did, I need to remember He hasn’t changed. He has the same power, the same purpose because He is same (yesterday, today and forever). The God that delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians by parting the Red Sea is the same God who is at work in my life. This same Jesus who healed the blind, raised the dead, and lifted the lame to walk again, is the same Jesus who has chosen me to walk with Him. And, the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within me and helps me to live, breathe and believe all that God wants for me.

So when faced with a diagnosis from the doctor, with family issues, or with situations that are too big for me to handle, I need to see God for how big He is. He knows what’s going on. He knows what I need. He knows what needs to happen for hearts to change. He is at work in and around me, orchestrating circumstances so I will believe how big He is.

When I read about the father who faced impossible odds in Mark 9:22-24, He simply says, “Help me with my unbelief.”

What a humble and simple request. It’s like saying, God, I know I am supposed to believe you are able, but my mind is in the way. I have you in a box and I am seeing the obstacles just like the eight spies when they were sent to spy out the land. I want to believe You for the amazing, just like Joshua and Caleb did; I want to believe that despite the obstacles, you are going to provide and fight on my behalf to bring about your plan.


Like the father in Mark chapter nine, I can be honest with God and ask for help to believe. Faith and trust are built as we live our lives with Him in the forefront. We step out in faith and our ability to believe grows exponentially as we ask for His help.

I believe that my extended family situations are seen by my Heavenly Father. I believe He will provide needs, change hearts, and turn things around to the right way. I believe He will guard us with His right hand.

I believe God will help us to remember that we are not one another’s enemies; Satan is the real enemy and God has equipped us with power in Christ to cause him to get lost! I believe He will tell Satan to take the high road and not allow him victory over us as we stay connected to Him.

What do you face today? Are you struggling to believe He is able to help? Will you ask, “Lord, help my unbelief” when struggling with what your mind says, rather than what God’s word says?

Wanting to live like I believe,

Jeanne

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fasten Your Seat Belt - Adventure Ahead!


I just returned from a retreat this past weekend—two nights away from home, surrounded by worship and accompanied by women. It is always good to get away, contemplate life and “get an alignment” by hearing from God’s word. The weekend was just that—I came back totally exhausted yet more sure of who I am in God’s eyes.

The weekend focused on the topic of GPS—God’s Path Spoken. We looked at Peter’s journey with Christ and asked what we can learn through their interactions. As we answer Jesus’ questions like, “What do you seek?” and “Who do you say that I AM?” And then, like Peter, respond to His commands to, “Cast out into the deep” and “Do not be afraid”, we saw how Peter’s path took him to the place God planned for him…Jesus said, “Simon, you will be called Peter”—Jesus saw who Peter would become when the Holy Spirit began to work within him.

His promise to be with Peter on his journey is also our promise.

Interestingly, Monday morning, I re-entered reality and headed off to work. Not far from home I met with a blocked road and a detour sign. The utility trucks were in the distance; the traffic lights weren’t working, and the traffic turned to follow the orange detour signs. I blindly followed, but when all I could see was brake lights, I knew I had made a mistake. I quickly calculated that if I reversed direction I could get to work (hopefully on time) by another way and decided to make a U-turn.

I was soon on my way and though it was the long way around, I felt like I had made the right decision. The route wasn’t totally unfamiliar yet I was enjoying the change of scenery along the way. I am a creature of habit and take the same route to work, day in and day out. I realized that sometimes detours are necessary to get us to our destination. And, if we can settle in to enjoy the scenery, the disruption can become an adventure.

After the weekend of hearing about following God by listening to His word, putting myself into the story and asking how I need to answer when God asks me a question, my little detour lesson is another message letting me know that even though God may take me through a detour, He has a plan. If I listen and follow, I will get where I need to go.

I don’t know about you but I have had many detours in my life—sickness, family issues, disappointment. Honestly, these have led to discouragement more often than expectation. I want to view them differently from now on. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid…cast out into the deep. The road may twist and turn but ultimately I will arrive at my destination.

I also learned that following God is meant to be an adventure--so fasten your seat belt—it’s gonna be awesome!

Looking in your rear view mirror, how has God transformed your detours into an adventure? What have you learned about God and yourself as you travel through them?

Will you travel with me,

Jeanne 



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?


I got up the other morning and outside my window I saw this little critter popping up in the middle of my snow laden backyard. He lounged on his belly, looking toward the sunrise and seemed to enjoy his new vantage point. All looked quiet but the emergence of my little friend (I’ve named him Max), makes me realize there is a lot going on below the surface. I can just imagine the intricate tunnel town going on in Max’s world.

In my world, the New England winter has knocked the stuffing out of me. It isn’t often that we get both bitter cold and record snowfalls. This year we got a good dousing of both. Massive snow piles encroach on my driveway. Temperatures of below zero with a wind chill blast each time I step outside. Three feet of heavy snow covers my roof. I was starting to get a little nervous as daily reports of roofs collapsing in nearby towns until John fashioned a roof rake and pulled some of the snow down.

Yes, I am ready for spring!

What seems like bleak, dark and frozen is ready to burst forth with new life. Max’s city in the snow, birds trying out their voices during a warm tease, hickories beginning to blush their first buds of spring….oh, something to hope for. Bring on the sun. I’ve been living in the gray since November. I will dig my way to the surface to find the pregnant sunrise, just like Max.

Sometimes life is like the dark winter. Everything seems hidden, frozen and lifeless; a winter of the soul. But the hope of spring isn’t far off. I just need to dig my way toward the Sonrise. There I will find hope. In the Son I find life. In Him I find the hidden beauty, a message of hope in winter. If I am willing, He will open my eyes to see it. He peels away the darkness and awakens my ears to the song of spring. He woos me to new life and new purpose, one He has been quietly orchestrating under the surface.

So, if winter has its hold, keep on hoping. Keep on believing. His work on our behalf, though it often seems hidden and silent, continues day and night. He will bring the spring to your soul and a sunrise to your heart. Hope awaits: New life and new beginnings as you believe and trust in Him.

What signs of spring are giving you hope?

Believing,

Jeanne (and Max)