Life

Each step of life is a journey that you choose to walk.

Each moment of life is another line, sentence, paragraph and chapter of the book called your life.

Enjoy all that life has to offer, good friends, good food, good coffee and as always wisdom and a good laugh.

~Jen





29 May 2018

Quick, Slow, Slow

I have always been quick with an answer. Even when I don't know the answer, I am ready to say, "I don't know." For the past few years I have been working on being slower to answer. To think about what the other person is asking or saying. It is not easy. What is easy is to have an opinion already formed, an answer prepared or an argument in my back pocket just ready to be used.

God's Word says otherwise. James 1:19-20 says, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Hence the Quick, Slow, Slow. Be quick to hear. It is more than just hearing what another person is saying, it is about allowing your heart to process the words being said. Are they words of encouragement? Correction? To have a quick answer is not giving your head or your heart time to process. Be patient with someone who is listening to you. Give them time to process before answering. Here's where the slow comes in. Be slow to speak. God wants us to have relationship with one another. In order to have a real connection with someone we must first listen, then hear what they are saying. Give yourself time to wait for an answer. This is where I struggle. I want to respond, but if I respond too quickly, then I may offend or even miss completely what someone else is saying to me. So why the slow to anger? If the words that are being spoken are words of correction, out of love, then the words MUST be processed through the heart. So you can hear past the words and understand where the other person is coming from.

When we are quick to answer or quick to anger we will miss God's Grace that He has for us. Matthew 18: 15-17 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." No one likes correction, not even me. But if we are to be more like Christ we must be refined by God's Word. 

Zechariah 13:9, "And I will put this third into the fire,
    and refine them as one refines silver,
    and test them as gold is tested.
They will call upon my name,
    and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”


This has been a journey for me, to reverse the "fox-trot" from Slow, Quick, Quick to Quick, Slow, Slow. To be refined by God's Grace is a process, a marathon, not a sprint. Pray for God to reveal to you how you can be quick to listen and slow to answer.

~Peace & Blessings~
Jen

14 March 2018

All of Us

Living on the Eastern Shore is scenic, beautiful, and dangerous. Over the past couple of years I have had to evacuate my home twice because of the threat of a hurricane. The nice thing about hurricanes? You know they are coming. You can prepare and make a plan. Some storms you cannot see coming, like tornadoes (and yes we can get those too).

Life is a lot like where I live, it is beautiful and dangerous. When life is going the way we want it to, the way we expect it to, it is beautiful. When life is beautiful, we tend to not pay much attention to it, or even give thanks for the simplicity of the mundane. When storms hit, like tornadoes not hurricanes, we begin this crazy dance with tragedy and chaos. We call out to God for help when the storms in life turn us upside down and inside out.

God. Our refuge and strength. Is He our refuge and strength only during a storm?
Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Many of us cling to the verse when we are hit with a major storm in our life. And, unfortunately, this is the only relationship we have with Him. God wants more. He desires to be in our lives and we in His, forever.

John 14:1-3,“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
 Choose today, to give God all of you, every part and every area of you. It may be scary, but the next time a storm hits, you will no longer be crying out for help, but standing on the firm foundation before, during and after the storm.

~Peace & Blessings~
 Jen

30 March 2017

Inside Outside

Why do we view sins as not so bad, bad, and really bad? I have been thinking a lot about this over the past week. Isn't sin, sin? Are we to judge as God judges?
God's word says; "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." -Romans 3:23
My sins, and they are many, are not better or worse than yours or your neighbors - or anyone else's for that matter. So who are we to pass judgement on another? Why spew contentment and hate when we know what another person's sin is? Isn't God's forgiveness and love for them just as much as it is for us? There is no "them" and "us" in the eyes of God so we need to stop dividing people up into these two categories.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." -1 John 4:7-11
Judgement comes from knowing another's sin, wrong doing, wrong living, wrong...whatever you want to label it. It comes because we "See" their sin. Sins that are on the outside. It's so easy for any of us to label a person "not saved" or "unreachable" because we know what they are doing is wrong. And that my friends...is WRONG! I get it. When sin is on the outside it's easier to feel better about our own sins, but it's all sin!
 "All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death." -1 John 5:17
The sin that lives on the inside maybe hidden, but it's not hidden from God. The sin that is polished up on Sunday morning is still just as wrong and ugly and deadly as the sin that was judged all the week long. It's time to stop judging people because of their sin and start loving them as Christ commands us to do. To live as a Christian means to follow the teaching of Christ. To live as He lived. We will not be perfect all the days of our life, but we can work towards becoming more like Christ each and every day. We need to look past the transgressions of other human being and love them.
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2
Yes I know God's word speaks very directly about sin, and we all sin. Every single last one of us. There is no getting away from it. Jesus died for all our sins, every single last person on earth. So love, don't hate. Have mercy, don't judge. Give forgiveness and be forgiven. Let God make the changes because let's face it, we can't. I cannot find a better example of this truth than in Galatians.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other." -Galatians 5:13-26
So if your sin is showing on the outside or if it's hidden on the inside, remember sin is sin and we are not to judge another's sin, but work on our own.

~Peace & Blessings~
 Jen

10 August 2016

The Olympics and Redemption

I have been noticing a theme during these Olympic Games. Stories of triumph and redemption. There, of course, was the scandal with the Russian team and their use of performance enhancing drugs. Many of the athletes were not allowed to compete, but a few were and have. I believe in competing clean, using the ability that God has given you with your desire to train to be the best. But in the Russian team story, there has been redemption.

Then, this morning, I read an article about one of my favorite athletes to watch, Michael Phelps. To be honest, I did not know that he struggled with substance abuse, and if I had heard stories, I am sure that I dismissed them. How could he, he's the best.
 http://qpolitical.com/1-nearly-dying-michael-phelps-tells-god-saved-life-made-swim/


So my thought (more to myself) is this, why is it we are quick to believe one story and not the other? Why do we celebrate the redemption of one, but not the other? The truth is, EVERYONE can be redeemed and with repentance and forgiveness, mercy and grace.


"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace."
Ephesians 1:7; 


“So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him.”Luke 15:20




~Peace & Blessings~
Jen

17 July 2016

To Serve God

What does it mean to serve God? I suppose it takes many different forms, depending on your culture, religion or society in which you live in.

Romans 14:17-19(NIV)17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

There has been so much harm done in the name of serving God. Mass murders, "terrorist" attacks, and suicide bombings just to name a few. This is nothing new. In the Bible's Old Testament God had ordered His people to go and destroy those tribes that did not follow Him.

Deuteronomy 20:16-18(NIV)16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

There are those today who do the same. We take it on faith that what the stories of old say to us and find it beyond understanding as to those who kill in this way today. We question them on if they are really hearing from God or not. I question this too, don't get me wrong. I believe in the New Covenant of Christ Jesus that of which the New Testament talks of in the Bible. This does not mean though, that Christians do not have blood on their hands, they do...we do. From the Crusades, to "conversion" in the "New World", so much killing done in the name of God.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6(NIV)Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Is this how we are suppose to serve the One True God? Honestly, if this is how one sees their service to God, I begin to wonder if we are knowing the same God, knowing of His TRUE character. Even those who hate in the name of Jesus...I wonder if we know the same Jesus. So again I ask, what does it mean to serve God?

Galatians 5:19-26(NIV)19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.

I know that we are not all going to agree. I understand that. I know that we do not all share the same point of view. I get that too. What I don't get is how one can read the same Spirit filled scriptures as I do and still hate, destroy, and want to harm those who do know God the same way. To me this is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus.

Matthew 5:43-45(NIV)Love for Enemies43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

~Peace & Blessings~
 Jen