Thursday, October 31, 2013

A treat for you




I was on vacation enjoying my quiet time on the back deck with a steaming cup of coffee and my favorite blanket when nature took center stage. As the sun rose, nature woke up and inspired me to write a poem. I hope you enjoy it!

As a new day dawns, the world comes alive
Awakened from slumber creation now thrives
Creating a rhythm they start a new day
Busy at work in their own unique way
I wonder if any are able to see
How very important their life seems to be
An intricate part of God’s perfect plan
Each detail designed by His very own hand
With divine purpose they were born out of love
Every breath sanctioned from heaven above
Would they live their life differently if somehow they knew
The sacrificial love from which their life grew

Be blessed,
Jennifer
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Monday, October 28, 2013

Seasons change




Have you found yourself in a new season of life? I have. After several years of full time writing and ministry, I have gone back to a “day job.”  My new day job has a flexible schedule that allows me to still have ministry events and activities but it’s been a huge adjustment. If you’re in a new season, are you having a hard time finding your new balance?

I’ve been praying about this issue in my own life, and God’s been faithful to show me a few things through the transition going on all around me.

Change is good
Nature is changing her gown all around us. It’s good. It’s natural. It’s necessary. My little corner of the world is adapting to the change in the weather. Shedding what it doesn’t need and preparing for what’s to come. Are we doing that too? Are we embracing the changes in our lives or are we clinging to the way things were as we gather all the fallen “leaves” of the past?

Change takes time
While we may not notice the subtle changes in the things around us, it’s happening all the time. I don’t know about the changes you are going through in your life, but I’m trying to find a new normal. I haven’t found the balance between God, work, family, and friends yet. My priorities are still fighting for attention and I feel more reactive than proactive. That’s okay. That’s what change is all about – finding our new normal. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen if we want it to. Aye, there’s the rub! We have to allow change in our lives and accommodate it in our behavior. If we are resistant to change, we rarely find balance.

Change is necessary
One of my favorite life quotes is “I may not be where I’m going, but I’m not where I was.” Amen? Praise God that we’re not the same person we were when He found us! We had to change. God is refining us moment by moment. Some of the changes are easy, others take longer and are painful. But all are necessary. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. 

Watching the world shift from summer to fall reminds me that change will always be for the better. We may not like it or even agree with it but if it’s ordained by God, we can trust the end result will be magnificent! 

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hilltops and Valleys





Have you ever given someone a word of advice or encouragement and then realized that it applied to you as well? When our words of counsel are God-breathed they will bless both the speaker and the listener! This week I was sharing with a friend about the hilltop moments and valleys of our lives. As we talked I was reminded that fruit comes in every season of our lives; however we choose if we bear the fruit of bitterness and anger or of contentment and love. The attitude we have in each season of our lives will determine the kind of fruit we will bear.

We all love the moments where we have reached a pinnacle with God and for God. We feel as light as a leaf dancing on the breeze and we have such clarity as we take a glimpse of the bigger picture. Our hearts are so full of love and gratitude for God that we feel it may burst, it’s overwhelming! I believe this is just one way that God rewards us for being obedient to Him, and once you’ve had a hilltop moment you long to stay there with Him forever! Take a minute to think about your last hilltop moment with God. It’s a sweet memory isn’t it?

We also have times in our lives when we travel through valleys. These are the times when we seem to struggle more and hear from God less. We may be caught up in a stronghold of sin or God may be choosing to be silent. It’s during these difficult times when our faith begins to mold and shape us. How we act when we aren’t hearing God’s voice or seeing His hands move says a lot about our relationship with Him: Think back to the days in elementary school. Remember when your favorite teacher would be gone for the day and a substitute would come in? The substitute would not have the same rules and procedures as your favorite teacher but in the back of your mind you still knew what your teacher would expect from you. So were you the kid who followed the rules you already knew, or where you the kid who gave the substitute a hard time and pretended that you didn’t know better? Even when God is silent, we still know what He expects from us!

Regardless if you’re well on your way to another hilltop moment with God or if you’re camping out in the valley, God will use everything we go through for His glory if we let Him. Just think, even while the Egyptians were in slavery they were able to invent the concept of Geometry to get their job done. Talk about not wasting time! God used a season that lasted for years and years and gleaned something that still benefits the world today…amazing! Whether you’re in a season of victory or a season of defeat, God is working in you right now for His glory. We just need to embrace the season we’re in and let Him do what He needs to do in us! Hilltop or valley… it’s all for His purposes!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Unplugged?




In the early morning hours before the sun has woken up, I spend time in my office reading by the light of my desk lamp. This is part of my morning routine I’ve come to rely on as much as a steaming cup of coffee.

But today was different.

I took my seat, grabbed my journal, and flicked on the light switch to begin my day. But nothing happened. I switched it off and back on again (not sure why I thought that would work) but still nothing. I wiggled the cord and switched out the light bulb all to no avail. My lamp was dead.

While mourning the loss of my daily companion, something black and shiny caught my eye from behind my desk. It was the lamp cord. 

At this point, I’m convinced that God Himself unplugged my lamp so I would see Him in a new way. Because friend, I can’t make this stuff up! So here’s what I realized…

God is a great source of power
God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth is accessible to us. Through Jesus Christ, God has made Himself available to you and I every minute of every day. Talk about an under-utilized resource! Sure, we may know we can pray to Him whenever we feel the need. But do we truly understand He is the source of everything we do? If we spent as much time and energy plugged into God as we do trying to do things on our own, we could light up the whole city! 

Plugging in is a choice
Okay, I understand my lamp didn’t “choose” to become unplugged. But you and I do. Every day, we choose if we are tapping into God’s mighty power or if we’re doing life on our own. Do you ever plug in temporarily when you feel your situation is more than you can handle, only to unplug when the moment has passed?  God won’t force us to stay connected so we end up losing the benefit of His great power.

We’re not solar panels
Solar panels work by soaking up energy from the sun. They temporarily store energy and then need to replenish again when it runs out. Is that how we treat God? Do we soak Him in for a while and then when the power runs out, we come back to soak up a little more? Believer, God’s power wasn’t intended to be short term! He wants us to be plugged in to Him for a constant infusion of His power. We should be tethered to Him as our lifeline not merely soaking Him up from a distance. 

If we’re not plugged into God as our source of power, we are as useful as a dead lamp. We may be nice to look at, but we’re completely ineffective. Believer, God offers His unlimited power if we’ll only stay connected to Him. Are you plugged in?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power.” Psalms 147:5