Reflect

Helping women discover a deeper faith, freedom from their past and victory for their future.


July 09, 2017

Sweet Communion

 

I love communion!

Today my husband and I stood and served it to many people in our congregation. One by one they came and received the cracker, symbolizing Christ’s broken body on the cross and the juice a symbol of His blood that was spilt out to cover our sins.  As each person came we said the same words over them. One by one, each one special and redeemed because of Jesus! At one point though I became overwhelmed saying the words and looking intently into their eyes,

This is His blood shed for you,

shed for you,

shed for you

shed for you.

Like a tidal wave of emotions my mind became filled with the intense love of our Father for each person who was participating in communion. He did it for them, for me, for you!

Then, just when I had composed myself, I had the privilege of serving it to my brother, sister in-law, nephew and then my mom! That was so amazing! My mom who has vascular dementia cracked me up!  She took a whole handful of crackers and popped them into her mouth! What I love about dementia is that it creates a kid like wonder in its recipient. It was as if she was saying, “If one is good 6 would be better!”  Don’t you just love that?

What if we came into out worship experiences with that much wonder and excitement? After all, He came that we might have life.  Not just any life but, abundant, full, exploding with love kind of life!

Next time, let’s all take a handful of whatever Jesus is offering!

This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28

 

 


July 07, 2017

Warning signs?

We have a new refrigerator. It is a stainless steel wonder.  There are two ice makers! No really!  What a remarkable invention it is.  Well, it was!  Recently we noticed that although the temperature reading on the front of it said that the freezer was at 0 degrees it wasn’t keeping things frozen and needless to say the ice making was slowing down.

I am so used to going to the fridge and getting a nice cold glass of ice water with my choice of crushed or cubed ice.  Now my choice is tap water or semi cold water, 3rd world issues! Slowly the temperature of the entire refrigerator has started to increase. I am so grateful that we have an additional refrigerator in the garage!

Thinking back over the last 2 months there have been some warning signs. Some days there was an abundance of ice and on others it seemed to have slowed down. Some food also appeared to go bad faster.  Warning signs!  I just hadn’t thought about them being related to the fridge working correctly, after all it was my new shiny appliance!

Today the repairman is here. He is trying all kinds of things to fix it. He keeps asking me if we had other troubles with the refrigerator. Honestly until recently I did not notice any warning signs that would have caused the breakdown.

I am trusting that Eddie will be able to fix or replace it! 🙂  He explained to me that sometimes the hoses can get clogged and that they need to be flushed out!

We have warning signs that we are headed for a malfunction too.

  • irritability
  • tiredness
  • anxiousness
  • deep sadness
  • withdrawal
  • over busy
  • insomnia

 

Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.  Ecclesiastes 4:13

Do any on the above list stand out to you as a warning sign? They do to me!!

I have found a direct correlation to how much time I spend reading my bible and praying to how anxious, irritable, sad and withdrawn I feel. When I ignore these warning signs I drift farther and farther away from my relationship with God.

I am so grateful that Jesus meets us where-ever we find ourselves and offers to take our burdens.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:7
 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

I am not saying that everything will be changed after spending time with the Lord.  Sometimes we may need to speak with a professional and or require some medication to help us!  I am a big supporter of both of these!

However, I do know that if we don’t flush out our system by infusing it with some Jesus time we will have more trouble!

When was the last time that you

  • read the bible and asked God, “What do you want me to learn?”
  •  sat in the quiet and had a conversation with Jesus?
  • prayed to thank God for who He is?
  •  wrote him a love note?

 

Maybe there is something clogging the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life! It might be time for you to flush out those hoses! 🙂

 

 


Activate your Armor

Put on the full armor of God

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11 

Put on the full armor of God, Ephesians tells us.  That sounds perfect! Armor is to protect us from getting hurt and empowers us to do super human things, right?

Paul wrote of the armor, I imagine he had seen plenty of soldiers during his tumultuous life! I love how he pieces together the spiritual armor that is necessary for Christians to fight on a daily basis.

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Sometimes, the battles can feel overwhelming! How are we to stand up against inequality, harassment, sickness, death and all that the world tries to weigh us down with? How can we possibly stand up against everything the world has to throw at us and still expect to emerge victorious? Is it even possible to be victorious?

Recently, I have felt weighed down by the responsibility that has been given to me. Like a heavy weight that sits on my shoulders the responsibility has lately felt like a punishment rather than an opportunity to serve.

The result of looking at the weight and not at the joy set before me has resulted in frustration, stress and quite honestly, anger. Like Peter looking at the waves and not at Jesus, I have begun to sink!

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 12:22-23

This is why I need the Armor. I can’t do it on my own!

Romans 8:37 tells us that we are more than conquerors!  Lord dress me in your armor!

The directive is to Put on the full armor of God.  The phrase put on refers to one sinking into the clothing. It sounds like putting on your favorite jeans or comfy robe. You literally just sink into them.  The armor should become that comfortable for us to wear.

Thank you for the gift of the armor, Lord teach me how to wear each piece as I study about them.

To read more about the Armor of God

Activate your Breastplate

Activate the Helmet

Activate Your Shoes

Activate your Shield

Activate the Belt of Truth

Activate your Sword of the Spirit

Activate the Armor of Prayer

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Activate my obedience

For my whole life, whenever I am told to do something, there rises up within me a violent revolt!

It reminds me of the story of a young mom with a little girl at the grocery store.  As she pushes the cart the child stands up. The mother asks her to please sit down so that she doesn’t get hurt. After this happens several times the mother becomes increasingly frustrated with her young daughter. Then she does what every mother through the centuries has done, she gives “the look“!

The daughter sits down but, very loudly proclaims, “I’m sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside!”

I am so like this daughter!

It is difficult to obey, especially when one is as strong-willed as I am! Yet, God calls us to surrender ourselves fully to him. It is in this humbling that our flesh cries out, “no way!”

to obey is better than sacrifice

Saul found out that God is not pleased with disobedience, especially when He gives direct instructions.

Saul was sent out with a very explicit mission. 

‘Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ I Samuel 15:3

Saul followed some of the instructions but not all of them.

He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. I Samuel 15:8-9

Did you catch it? He captured the king and kept some of the best of his belongings.

When he returned Samuel had some strong words with him.

and the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD?”… I Samuel 15:18-19

I always wondered what the big deal was!  Saul did most of what God asked him to do and his heart seemed to be in the right place. After all, he was going to offer the animals as a sacrifice to the Lord.

“But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.”  I Samuel 15:21-23

Saul’s sin was that of not trusting the Master’s plan.  He took things into his own hands which ultimately angered God and resulted in a missed blessing for Saul.

Obeying God fully means that we

  • surrender our will for His
  • trust Him completely
  • recognize that He is God and we are not

 

 

This woman needs God to activate obedience within her because I am not sure that I can obey Him fully on my own.

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Activate your peace in me

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We have heard the verse, “be still and know that I am God” many times.  I wonder if you experience something similar to what happens inside of me when this verse comes to mind during a stressful time? The conversation between God and myself goes like this.

Be still Jann

I know I should be still and trust you

Let me take away the burden of worrying, striving and the stress that goes with it

That sounds so lovely.  I want to be still, but…

Be still and know that I am God

You are pretty awesome God! When I think about who you are I am comforted and the stress seems to melt away.  I have this need to fix things.

Be still Jann

Okay I get it, you can do things with out my help! You are God after all!

Be still and know that I am God.

ahhhhhh, rest, peace, love.

Activate your peace in me. 

  • Peace to trust your promises are true
  • Peace to live in abundant hope
  • Peace to fill me with joy
  • Peace to calm anxious nerves and a deep seeded fixing addiction
  • Peace to cover any situation

So what is the secret of having peace?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . Philippians 4:6-7

In every situation

Instead of being anxious-Pray

Instead of trying to fix everything-Praise Him

Instead of stewing on something-Lay it at His feet

 

Recently I began dreaming about a possibility.  It took over my thoughts and I began plotting and scheming to see how I could make it happen. Notice the emphasis on I.  Yes I prayed about it, but I wasn’t resting in His promises nor was I trusting that He would make a way.  Then I looked up and saw a picture that has the words be still on it.

 

Don’t you love when He reaches down into our messiness and reminds you of His presence? In an instant I am reminded that His plans are so much better than mine and He is trustworthy.

 

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What do I do when these anxious thoughts return?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

I return to what I know about God and focus on His promises.  Thinking about these things fill my mind with His goodness, His plans and purposes.  Then there is little time to focus my attention on whatever I was fixating on.

I Love the words of this Bethel Song

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

Activate your peace in me today Lord!

 

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