The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me...
To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."

Isaiah 61:1,2c,3 (New King James Version)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Passion to Serve

  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:31-46
Are you doing for the least of these?
On January 16, 2011 I will participating in a half marathon to wear WorldVision's Team jersey and let the world know that I understand there is a need in Uganda for funding to help these individuals who have been through so much, be able to thrive. In March, I will lace up my sneakers again for the L.A. Half Marathon. I'm asking you, my readers to consider a small sacrifice that will make an enormous difference in a family halfway around the world that is praying for the assistance of World Vision.
Is your heart like mine tonight? Is God speaking to you, telling you that this life isn't about you? That there HAS to be more than what exist in your life? Have you prayed, meditated, know you have been called to shine your light beyond our boarders? If you have, donate 10 dollars and change a life!. Literally, a bypassed trip to Starbucks, putting back a cute shirt you can't live without, or not buying a couple PEOPLE magazines at the check out counter could provide fresh water, a goat, or schooling for a child in a war torn country, that is religiously oppressed and surround by Guerrilla warfare.
Or do you want to be more? Sponsoring a child is a great option. It's my goal to bring five friends to sponsor a child, for 35 dollars a month. This child will be from the village my church Sandals is supporting, working cooperatively with WorldVision. Sponsoring a child is a personal experience, you can send letters, receive them, send gifts throughout the year, AND if you're a member of Sandals Church you may be able to meet your child one day!
Do this prayerfully. When in doubt on a decision to make; your knees are a good place to start! The more I pray, the more I listen, the more I am convicted that I am called to radiate God's love. That WorldVision is an awesome ministry to support.  So I ask, pray - listen- then act on it!
Life is Good. God is Great!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Heart.

I often pride myself on not being the "touchy feely huggy kissy" girl that frequents the environments I do. You know the type, the one that catches every one's eye when they walk in, with the million dollar smiles, and a look so genuine she just radiates love. They kind you might - I dunno envy? Or is it just me? Perhaps, I pride myself on being the opposite but I desire to BE her, and feel that I fall short. I desire to be, Captivating.
Never before has that word meant as much to me as it does now, after reading the book and participating in an awesome bible study, I have a new understanding of the word. I want to be desired, pursued, and play a bigger role in this world, so big that people want to hear my story. To see how God has worked through me.
That takes work. It takes a changed heart. Not the one that prides herself on concealing emotions, when she really wants to be relentless in sharing her love with everyone. It takes the conviction of becoming passionate to pursue a God-Like-Life and make this world we live in a New Reality. To chase commandments and commissions that aren't of this world but of Heaven and enjoy abundant love here in this world, as we will when Jesus returns and our world is new.
So, how do I get to this change of heart? How do I have a heart that doesn't desire the broader road, even when my body is tired? How do I find that place? Well, I was put there. On February 21,2010 I was lifted by belt loops and shirt collar and placed on the tiniest road in the thickest wood, then a whisper came into my heart and said, "Jessica, follow me." I'll admit my initial desire to truly follow that tiny road and live a life like Jesus was born of fear. At the time I felt like I had no choice but to listen to that whisper, my one goal was heaven and I knew who I had to follow to get there. I sure as heck had NO desire to stay in those woods alone. Now, the farther I've walked with him the brighter I've let my light shine. It's been crazy hard, trying to protect my light as I'm lead through valleys, over mountains, enduring all this life has to offer - all while attempting to keep the devil from blowing out my light. Has he won? Absolutely, my lights been blown out, dunked in water, and frozen to ice. But you know what's good about God's grace? I just need to ask for another light, then build a better cover and keep following. From where I'm standing, I can see the easier road, the flatter ground with more glitz and glamour. However, after all the hills I've climbed these last ten months I have a pretty clear view of where those roads lead, and I can safely say it isn't anywhere good. So now, I focus on growing my heart to desire the narrow road and not just my brain convincing my body the right things to display. I figure my legs will move better up the steepest hills when it's motivatedby the conviction of my heart and mind.
I truly believe when my heart and mind align, when my conviction in my beliefs turns into a passion for Christ, he will work amazing things through my actions and in my life. I will have abundance and happiness like I have never experienced. I don't have to wait for heaven for that, I can pursue that here. I heard a story on the radio the other day. A man was telling a friend about his surgeon, how nice and compassionate he was during his time of need. How he is so thankful to have met such a great man, that he is almost glad that he had to have the surgery. Then it clicked, I've been looking for "beauty to rise" from the death of Makenna. I was looking for something big, huge, monumental - then I found it. In my own heart, in my life, Makenna taught me in her death what I neglected to see in the miracle of her birth and her sister's birth and their lives. I didn't see the power of God's grace, until she was gone. How a sinner, could be on her knees praying to a God and doubting his existence in the same thought one hour, then feel his power the next is beyond me. When Makenna left, God came. Stronger than ever before, he whispered to my heart to follow him and I will. My "beauty is rising" and now I can see. Rest safe in Gods love tonight Baby Girl, Mommy loves you.
Life is Good. God is Great.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Answered prayers

The power of prayer is amazing. You can ask for God's grace, and perhaps have a puppy on Christmas morning, ask for God's strength and "punk" Satan,  and you can praise an awesome Lord who loves you enough to give his only Son.
This week I have had prayer answered in so many ways, sometimes it took me a minute to recognize it - others it's came with the ringing of a bell, the doorbell. Just this morning I received a piece of mail that I had to sign for. To be honest, at first I was nervous. Two things come asking for a signature, papers that mean you're in trouble and things of value. Being that I wasn't expecting either, my pessimistic side took over and I assumed the worst. You can imagine my surprise and wonder when I opened the Christmas card to find a gift card for $100 dollars. I was brought to tears, and to awe. You see, my pay hasn't been what I had been counting on. I am in not in need, but there are things that I really wanted to do with the holidays and all just around the corner. I had been praying for God to help me make the decision between two things that I wanted to do, then this arrived and he showed me - Do both he said, go and show my love. Now, I don't know what was in this persons heart when they sent me this. I don't even know who this person is! However, I am thankful to them  - for choosing to give such a gracious gift and I'm thankful for God and they way he works.
Last night in small group, I asked for prayer to help demolish the walls I had built around my heart and invite the true holiday spirit in. To be able to share it with my family, make this Christmas just as special as those past. I want to celebrate the birth of Christ, to stand beside God as a warrior ready to take up arms. To say, "See Satan? You see this, God sent his son to make this world new. GAME.ON". When I look at it from that perspective I feel strong and relentless. When I look at it from the Mommy perspective I feel broken and unfulfilled. It's tough to take myself out of "this world" when my heart aches so...But, this morning I woke up to a cheerful 3 year old ready to take on the day. So, I rested a moment in the sanctuary of prayers from the night before, sat in meditation asking God to open my heart, to let Satan know there is no room for him there - then I got up, put on some fa la la la and had a great day with Chey. Baked cookies, went to a movie, just spent the day being "us." I felt the cheer, my Grinch heart "grew three sizes today." The power of prayer...
Perhaps, the most profound realization came through simple prayer I pray daily, when I chose to listen to wait and seek his voice. I prayed that I get a sign, that my heart is right - that Makenna is in paradise. I've searched for signs from double rainbows to a sparrow propped on a tree - signs that I would "know." Alas, I haven't seen what I desired. You see, I had been looking in the wrong direction, My vision should of been cast to what he intended. So I prayed the usual, then I prayed for my heart. Please lord, prepare my heart to see what you see. I waited, I became hypersensitive to anything that it could be. Then I heard it, on the radio, just a snip about it being "ok" that I find comfort in tomorrow. I truly feel it was something God needed me to hear. For me to understand, the way I grieve is mine and mine alone. A burden he carries with me, and tears he cries - my puddles to his rivers. The peace in that, the peace in God revealing himself to me, and my heart being open in such a crucial time in my life. That I was loved enough by the King of Kings that I was able to feel his power on the floor of a Virginian Hospital - just an hour after I doubted his existence as I fell to my knees on Warbler Court. I prayed, that I see Makenna was okay. God revealed to me, that she was, and now his intent is to guide me into becoming a warrior for him.
It's incredible the everyday miracles that are allowed into your life, when you're sticktoitiveness evolves from stubborn and independent to, giving it up to God. It's equally concerning when you evaluate the power Satan has in you life, when you don't. My armor isn't thick, my sword doesn't even rival the wooden defenses of Micheal and Jon...but it's getting there. Thankfully, it is said that I can do great things. In this battle against Satan, not allowing him to turn good to bad, casting him away with prayer and conviction creates a world overflowing with fulfillment. Granted through the graces of my Lord, my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Life is Good. God is great.