Archive | April, 2012

That “pesky verse” in James

7 Apr

You know that verse in James that tells us to rejoice when we’re going through a tough time?

You know what I’m talking about. A guest speaker (actually, the former pastor of my church and our current lead pastor’s father) mentioned this verse last Sunday and referred to it as “that pesky verse in James.” Hearing it reminded me of how I have been wanting to blog about it. Check it out:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kids. James 1:2

If you’re reading that verse for the very first time, you’re probably thinking, “Huh? Seriously?”

Yes, seriously.

The NIV words it like so: “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face trials of many kinds.” The reason we’re told do so comes in the next two verses (ESV):

For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:3-4

The greatest good that can come of our lives, according to Romans 8:28-29, is to be conformed to the image of Christ. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote, “For those who love God, all things work together for good.”

So…when you face a trial, God allows it because he’s perfecting your faith. He’s also molding you into the image of his Son, if you let him. Those are pure joys.

Today, let go of your hurt and give it to God. Do it every day if you have to! I encourage you not to dwell on your trial, but to look to God and allow him to heal you. Ask him for strength. Consider this time in your life a pure joy. You might not see it now, but when you’re on the other side of this, you’ll be grateful that God allowed whatever you’re facing to happen.

Jen

How to Cope With the Past.

7 Apr

Stumbled upon this blog this morning. It was beautiful, please take a moment to read, especially if you are dealing with scars from your past or hurt that others caused you.

Jen

Rivers of Hope

Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say: Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me. Psalm 129:1-2

When it comes to our past, God knows everything.

God wants to bring us to the place where we can be ourselves.

We do not have to pretend, because God knows us.

We also know that He has forgiven us.

What is certain is that we must not let past failure or our lack of spiritual progress immobilize us.

This psalm is a reminder that some have a past full of hurts.

Perhaps that describes you.

If that is the case, remember two things: in the Christian family there will be fellow believers who have suffered in a way similar to you, who can sympathize with you; best of all, Jesus will sympathize with you.

There…

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Love Came Down

6 Apr

I love that we spend Good Friday dwelling on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?

But I want to encourage you to remember this sacrifice every day, not just on Good Friday or Easter.

I also wanted to share this song by Kari Jobe because I have been in love with it since I bought her new album in February. Every time I hear it, I remember what Jesus did for me and for all of you. Never forget it or isolate it to Easter. It’s the reason we live and breathe and trust in God. It’s the reason we can have no fear in death.

Happy Good Friday!

Jen

No rhymes. No instruments. Just my Psalm.

5 Apr

Lord, you are good. You are a God of mercy and of peace.

Peace that passes understanding was once foreign to me,
but through my pain and now in my healing,
your Holy Spirit floods me with that very thing.
You are peace.

I did not–no, I do not–understand the enormity of your merciful goodness,
yet I have tasted and seen that you are indeed good. And merciful.
You are mercy.

You rescued me. You placed me on a new path.
You saved me from destruction and gave me new life.
You are faithful.

So here I stand, full of new life, knowing that you are faithful.
With each passing day I yearn to become more like your Son.
Lord, help me that I might have the patience to let perseverance have its perfect work in me.

And now with open eyes, I see my friends, my neighbors, my acquaintances–
I see them hurting just as I was.
I see they are hopeless, just as I once was.

But you call me to your comfort,
and then to share that comfort.
You call me to serve, just like Jesus.
To bring you glory, just like Jesus.
To use my talents to glorify your name.

Where you lead me, Lord, I will follow.
Thank you for your goodness.
Thank you for your mercy.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
Thank you that you are a constant, even when my world falls apart.

Thank you, Father, for allowing me to be called your daughter.

Amen.

Be humble on purpose

3 Apr

The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about. C.J. Mahaney

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I just had something happen to me that smacked me right in the face and said, “Jen, you’re not perfect. In fact, you’ve just acted really stupid.” And it reminded me to keep a close eye on my pride, which can so easily sneak up on me and hurt me.

Of course, I know I’m not perfect. But, being human, I have the tendency to be prideful and think that I am perfect. Don’t we all? I don’t think I’m alone in that. (And if I am…well, a pat on the back to you all! :))

And sometimes it happens accidentally. My pride can seemingly come out of nowhere, and I may not even realize it. It can happen in a number of ways, but here’s an example: I’ll make a comment about something I see on TV and, without even thinking, I’ll say something really opinionated that could actually hurt someone else’s feelings, even though the TV doesn’t have feelings and can’t hear me.

How many times, ladies, have you seen someone wearing something you thought was just awful and felt the urge to laugh at them behind their back by whispering, “Oh my gosh, look at her!” to your friend? Guys, how many times have you joked about revoking your friend’s “man card”? The truth is this: regardless of whether or not the person we’re laughing at knows we’re making fun of them, what we are doing is still unkind. And in a way, it shows our pride.

You see, I relate this type of action to pride because it says, “I know better than that person”–which automatically seems to sound a lot like, “I am better than that person.” That’s pride.

And by the way–no, we’re not. We’re not at all better than anyone.

We’re all sinners, and we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). He who exalts himself will be made humble (Luke 14:11). And we are actually called to prefer one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10).

It’s hard, but I am challenging myself (and praying HARD) to remember each day to be humble. If I don’t want my pride to sneak up on me on accident, I need to be humble on purpose.

Who’s with me?!

Jen

“You are blessed when…”

2 Apr

Remember my post the other day about Britt Nicole’s song “Have Your Way”? Remember how I shared that I had lost something very precious to me, but it was beautiful in the end?

Well, I came across this passage of scripture while reading Eric & Leslie Ludy’s book, When God Writes Your Love Story.

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All I can say…is YES!

Jen

Let me put on display the God of mercy

1 Apr

Today I heard some very misfortunate news regarding the child of a dear family friend. I cannot share details, but it has moved me with so much compassion for this person (and many more young people in similar situations) that I must urge you to reach out to your neighbor if you know he or she is hurting. It could mean the world of a difference. It could mean life.

God has shown us mercy by sending his Son to die on the Cross for our sins. Let us show that mercy to others around us. Let us share the hope that Christ brings us. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly needing to remind myself that faith without works is dead.

Being a youth leader, I see that there are many young people who are lost and hurting because of abuse, bad home situations, depression, insecurity, bullying, and the list goes on. Be the light to any youth in your life, even if you think that person is doing well. Show God’s mercy to them, even if it means just a smile or an encouraging word.

Lord, give me more compassion. Show me ways that I can reach out to others to show them your mercy. I know I cannot fix the anyone’s problems for them, but the best thing I could do is put you on display and tell of your faithfulness. Give me the wisdom to be able to do that with the news I’ve just heard this day.

As vague as this post is, I pray it speaks to someone today…God could change someone’s life and use us to reach them.

Jen