Tag Archives: bible

The Word is good and perfect

30 Apr

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18 (ESV)

Also, note how The Message words verse 18:

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

He brought you to life. He brought me to life…with the Word. It is a good and perfect gift. Are you receiving it with the same fervency you would receive a brand new car or iPad as gifts?

Jen

In my weakness, HE is strong

22 Mar

Today I stumbled upon a tweet by John Piper that really got my attention. He wrote:

“I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’ve really been dwelling on this today. Sometimes life just hurts and things happen to us that we don’t understand. We think we would have been better off if those things had never happened, right?

I beg to differ.

In our weakness, HIS power is made perfect.

My grace is made sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

AND, we get to learn total dependence on the one who will never leave us nor forsake us. It is a sweet thing to think on. A trial can do so so so much good for your relationship with Jesus. He’s making you more like him, I promise…

Jen

Whatever is lovely…

18 Mar

It’s spring again!

Let me ask you this: when you think of spring, what comes to mind? New life? Growth? New opportunities? A bright future? Good change?

These are all things that are so often metaphorically attached to spring, according to most people. But what happens when spring brings pain for you instead? I want to talk a little bit about this today.

A few springs ago was what I used to consider one of the best times of my life. It was so full of what I thought was new, good change. It was exciting and just lovely! But now, because of a recent turn of events, those memories aren’t so sweet. In fact, when I think of them, they don’t bring back the joy they once did. They actually cut very deep if I allow them to. And I don’t want to allow them to!

You see, I’ve been fighting a battle in my thought life this week and one verse keeps coming to mind as I do. Perhaps you’ve heard it, but will you dwell on it with me right now?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

To help myself focus on these things we’re called to think about, I made a note card that simply lists each of these things. Then I ask myself this whenever a painful memory or thought enters my mind: is what I’m thinking about true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise? If the answer is no, I have to mentally force myself to STOP. And that’s not enough. I have to think about something else.

So what are some pure and lovely and just things I can go to mentally during these times? One word: Christ. I simply stop thinking about whatever is on my mind and focus on the fact that God sent his one and only son (John 3:16) to die for my sins. Then, when Jesus died and rose again, he left us here on the earth with a beautiful and wonderful gift: his Holy Spirit. And we are so blessed by that. And by the fact that we are given the Word of God to help us and instruct us (Romans 15:4).

The ESV Study Bible by Crossway provides a beautiful commentary on this verse in Philippians. Short and sweet, it says:

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

I truly believe that we as believers, like the Philippians, are to do this very same thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spring! And here in Michigan, we have had an early spring and are enjoying long days with beautiful 75 degree weather. I already have freckles on my face and shoulders, which normally doesn’t happen until May! But this past week in particular has caught me off guard as challenging for my thought life. If you’re experiencing a battle in your own thought life, I pray you’ll use this technique. It’s transforming and it works! And when your brain is tired of thinking at all, just put on the song “Rise” by Kari Jobe. It will lift your spirits, I promise!

We will cry out Your renown
You are the God who has saved us
We will rise to praise You
We lift a glorious sound
You are the one who redeemed us
We will rise to praise You

Now, I’m ready to get back outside and enjoy my spring!

Jen

Whatever is lovely

18 Mar

It’s spring again!

Let me ask you this: when you think of spring, what comes to mind? New life? Growth? New opportunities? A bright future? Good change?

These are all things that are so often metaphorically attached to spring, according to most people. But what happens when spring brings pain for you instead? I want to talk a little bit about this today.

A few springs ago was what I used to consider one of the best times of my life. It was so full of what I thought was new, good change. It was exciting and just lovely! But now, because of a recent turn of events, those memories aren’t so sweet. In fact, when I think of them, they don’t bring back the joy they once did. They actually cut very deep if I allow them to. And I don’t want to allow them to!

You see, I’ve been fighting a battle in my thought life this week and one verse keeps coming to mind as I do. Perhaps you’ve heard it, but will you dwell on it with me right now?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

To help myself focus on these things we’re called to think about, I made a note card that simply lists each of these things. Then I ask myself this whenever a painful memory or thought enters my mind: is what I’m thinking about true? Is it honorable? Just? Pure? Lovely? Commendable? Excellent? Worthy of praise? If the answer is no, I have to mentally force myself to STOP. And that’s not enough. I have to think about something else.

So what are some pure and lovely and just things I can go to mentally during these times? One word: Christ. I simply stop thinking about whatever is on my mind and focus on the fact that God sent his one and only son (John 3:16) to die for my sins. Then, when Jesus died and rose again, he left us here on the earth with a beautiful and wonderful gift: his Holy Spirit. And we are so blessed by that. And by the fact that we are given the Word of God to help us and instruct us (Romans 15:4).

The ESV Study Bible by Crossway provides a beautiful commentary on this verse in Philippians. Short and sweet, it says:

The Philippians are to fill their minds with things that will inspire worship of God and service to others.

I truly believe that we as believers, like the Philippians, are to do this very same thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spring! And here in Michigan, we have had an early spring and are enjoying long days with beautiful 75 degree weather. I already have freckles on my face and shoulders, which normally doesn’t happen until May! But this past week in particular has caught me off guard as challenging for my thought life. If you’re experiencing a battle in your own thought life, I pray you’ll use this technique. It’s transforming and it works! And when your brain is tired of thinking at all, just put on the song “Rise” by Kari Jobe. It will lift your spirits, I promise!

We will cry out Your renown
You are the God who has saved us
We will rise to praise You
We lift a glorious sound
You are the one who redeemed us
We will rise to praise You

Now, I’m ready to get back outside and enjoy my spring!

Jen

Thoughts on humility in blogging

17 Mar

Well…I’m back!

After telling myself I wanted to start blogging daily and successfully posting four days in a row, I realized maybe God had different plans for me.

This past week has been a little off, to say the least. I got really sick with a nasty throat infection and I spilled water all over my precious MacBook. It won’t turn on (I’m currently using my mother’s PC). How am I supposed to blog if my computer is broken!?

I originally started this blog for writing about topics that I felt God lay on my heart. Only, my love for writing got in the way and I started to feel like I was writing just for the sake of writing. And for the sake of being heard. But I don’t think that’s pleasing to God. In fact, it sounds kind of empty and purposeless!

You know, it’s so easy to get excited when your daily views multiply by 10 and your average amount of comments triples. But it’s not about numbers and it’s not about me at all. What I desire to do is to further God’s purposes and reach people who need to hear the lessons I’m learning and the things God lays on my heart to share with them. If I stop hearing from God and starting writing for my own self, it’s like a preacher who preaches just because he wants to be famous and not because he wants to see kingdom growth. It’s like a pastor who is only concerned with numbers and not with individals or with what God wants for his ministry. And I don’t want to be a numbers person!

Anyway, I just wanted to share these things with my readers. I appreciate all of you and your encouragement as you walk with me and become better followers of Christ with me! I hope you will all continue to be a part of this blog. And some of you are even good at keeping me in check! I appreciate that.

So long story short, if you don’t see me posting daily, don’t think I’ve disappeared. I’m just waiting to hear from God and praying he lays something on my heart to share with my readers. After all, I do love writing oh so very much!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Jen

Fruitless?

9 Mar

I’m sitting here drinking my morning protein shake and one word comes to my mind: fruitless.

Yep, we’re all out of fruit in the house. No strawberries or bananas for my smoothie. It still tastes okay–a decent mix of peanut butter and chocolate protein powder–but it lacks the nutrients I need that I normally get  from the fruit I put in it.

This makes me think about my life.

Am I bearing fruit in my life or have I been fruitless? Am I adding to the kingdom? Am I using the gifts God has given me to do his work and bring him glory? Have I been more like Christ with each day?

Or am I sitting here, selfishly trying to be a perfectionist so that others look at me and think highly of me? Am I reading my bible every day just so that I can tell my youth group students that they need to read their bibles every day without being convicted myself?

On the outside, I think a person can very well look like they are doing great works for the kingdom. But it’s all about what’s in our hearts. It’s about a desire to have a biblical heart. To be humble, to surrender, to allow the Word of God to speak to our hearts so that we change, we grow and we become more like Christ.

More on fruit

The Word tells us very clearly what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are in Galations 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we allow the Holy Spirit to enter in, we are wholly surrendering ourselves to becoming more like Christ and bearing these qualities. But it takes work. Hard work. A lot of effort. It’s hard to have self-control, patience and kindness. But this is our calling.

Will you be challenged with me today to bear more fruit?

Jen

Share on Facebook

The obsession with perfection

6 Dec

Today on Facebook I came across an article about how H&M has pasted the heads of real models onto virtual bodies to promote its new lingerie line. And a few weeks ago, I noticed the Internet exploding with news articles, tweets and Facebook statuses about how Miley Cyrus got “fat.” When I saw both of these the same simple question popped into my head: why?

Just like every other girl on the planet, I struggle with insecurity now and then. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just not pretty enough. I color my hair and wax my eyebrows and rarely do I leave the house without makeup. But what does the bible say about having a mentality that we have to look perfect? If supermodels aren’t even good enough to model clothing anymore and virtual bodies are being created in Photoshop for them, this only further proves my point: we girls will never be good enough for the world’s (impossible) standards.

So what about God’s standards? In 1 Samuel, we’re told that appearances are not so significant as our hearts:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

So for starters, I think being overly concerned about the way we look is not as important as where our hearts and relationships with Christ are. Our insecurities are a perfect time for us to check our hearts and evaluate them.

I also found the words of Peter in 1 Peter when addressing wives to be noteworthy. Peter tells us that God considers each of us to be precious in His sight when we focus on letting our hearts display our “adornment,” rather than our physical appearance!

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

The point here is that what’s inside is what matters most. And perhaps you’ve heard that before, and maybe this blog is nothing new to you. But sometimes we get so caught up in materialismand sometimes we’re just overly exposed to television and magazine adsthat we forget what reality really is.

I just have to say… Miley isn’t fat. She’s beautiful, and I think each of us is, too. We’re made in HIS image (Genesis 1:26), so how can we not be? Be yourself today and don’t let anyone tell you you’re ugly. This life is fleeting and one day we’ll be in His presence where things like a bad hair day have no significance anymore! Focus on what truly matters…and I’m preaching to myself here, too.

Jen