Thursday, April 30, 2015
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Could you put your name in place of Peter and John's in this scripture? Has anyone ever made the comment that there was just something different about you? Have you had anyone ask how you got to where you are? Do people notice a difference in how you face trials and problems? Are you afraid to speak God's truth or even stop right where you are and pray with someone?
Years ago I would have answered no to most all of these questions but then I realized the least I could do for the One who gave His life for me was to show I was changed and different due to His love and forgiveness. If being a Christ follower didn't look any different than anyone else I met what good was it for me to be one? Don't get me wrong. It is hard but boy it is worth it! All I have accomplished is all because of the fact I spend my time with Jesus. He is my protector and my provider. It really is that simple.
I love how those around Peter and John knew these men were uneducated and untrained in the faith yet they "marveled" at them. It was very evident these men had been with Jesus. I love that statement for it gives me such hope and joy. Just being with Jesus gives me strength and power that can only come from Him alone. Being with Jesus gives me courage to face the enemy for he also knows I have been with Jesus. Just speaking Jesus' name forces the enemy to flee from me. Now, that's power! Being with Jesus opens doors, opportunities and minds to what I have to offer and say.
Being a disciple of Jesus will never be a simple nor easy journey but the rewards are so mind-blowing and life-changing that its all worth it. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. He stands with you always. So, the next time someone mentions that there is just something unique or different about you, be quick to say, "It's because I've been with Jesus."
Monday, April 27, 2015
I remember years ago when I asked God "Why?" on a daily basis. I can only imagine His face as I began yet another conversation with Him about why my world had turned upside down and why everything I knew was lost. The fact is He did listen and He did care. The Bible tells me that God hears me when I call and that He has compassion on me. At the same time I will never understand the ways of the Lord. I will never know WHY God has allowed certain things to take place in my life. But one thing I know is that John 9:2-3 is true for I have and continue to live it daily.
Jesus' disciples asked WHY, too, which is normal and completely okay. Let's make that clear before moving forward. They wanted to know why a certain man had been born blind. It made sense to them that it must have been a punishment from God but we read that his disability had nothing to do with sin. Jesus explained how his situation or circumstances had taken place so that "the power of God could be seen in him". In other words, God allowed his blindness so the man, the disciples, and then countless others might experience and later hear of His healing power. I mean, we are reading about it right now!
In our family I am quick to share stories of terrible tragedy so that I can quickly get to the part where God used it all for our good and for His glory. Brian's heart failure has led to our family's total dependence on God, an outreach ministry for caregivers, a published book, and many lives changed in the name of Jesus. My daughter's accident several years ago led to a miraculous healing and my husband learning what it was like to be a caregiver. My mother's knee replacements and breast cancer lead to me becoming a caregiver to my parent and a new level of compassion. The loss of a job I had for 17 years led to trusting God with my finances and provision instead of myself.
I know you have a list, too. If not, I challenge you to begin one immediately. Think about the good that God CAN DO with our hurts, disappointments, and troubles if we only give them to Him. Instead of asking WHY begin to ask HOW. I wonder HOW God's power can be seen through you today?
Monday, April 20, 2015
In our world today we are encouraged daily to be "different" which is defined as being an individual unlike anyone else on the planet. In reality that should actually be an innate action for God created us just that way! Funny how the "world" which doesn't proclaim the Word of God continues to preach it's truths daily. God creates each and every human being unlike any other that has ever been nor ever will be. So we inevitably spend countless hours doing things to ourselves in order to be different when God already did that for us. Hence the reason Jesus continued to compare us to sheep!
He did in fact call us to make a difference in the world around us. Because of our difference, created especially by His hand, we can do things unlike any one else. God desires each of us to do things that no one else can do. The difference I can make is unlike the one you have been given opportunity to accomplish. The reason is because our experiences, hurts, loves, and giftings are DIFFERENT and what God can use in order to make a difference in this hurting and broken world.
I am a caregiver so therefore my heart can relate and break for those who are fellow caregivers. I know the pain of receiving bad news from a doctor at the side of a hospital bed. I know the uncertainty of sitting for hours in a waiting room thinking the worst while holding onto the hope of the best. God has called me to make a difference that no one else can quite like I can. Don't let this overwhelm you for He never asks you to do it alone. He doesn't need perfect geniuses. He needs obedient willing vessels. Believe me. He does all the hard parts!
Today realize God has already taken care of making you different now all you have to do is find a way to use those unique differences in order to make a difference for HIM!
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Why do we pray and ask God for things each day? Why do we go before His throne and bring our requests? Do we do it with a heart of selfishness or with humility? Don't worry. This is not a beat down type of blog today. I am talking to myself, too. Recently I took the time through a Bible study I was a part of to take a serious look at my motives when I pray. I thought about why I was asking God for certain things to happen or to be blessed in certain ways. I had to ask, "Was it for Jessica or for Jesus?"
Did I pray for protection so that I would be comfortable or so that I could be a fit vessel for Him to use each day? Was I praying for financial blessings so I could have the finer things in life or so that I could use what I was blessed with for the glory of God? Did I ask for open doors of opportunity so that I could just be happy and content or was it so that God could place me where He could best use me? Man, these questions were powerful and changed the way I was not only thinking but praying.
I was touched by a woman I met not long ago named Ester. I was invited to her home for a women's Bible study and after commenting on what a beautiful home she had I was blown away by her response. She shared how she and her husband had prayed for God to bless them with a home where they could host events and groups each week that would glorify His kingdom and bring people to salvation through Jesus Christ. I knew she was serious for I was standing in her kitchen while she spoke and was a product of that promise.
Are praying with the same motives Ester and her husband had when they prayed for a home? Remember, God wants to bless His children but only so we can be a blessing in His name to others. I can promise you that each time someone compliments Ester's home she is quick to tell them her home was a product of prayer and obedience to God. What a great testimony! The scripture above says, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
I challenge you today to examine your prayers and the motives behind them just like I did and am still in the process of doing.