Monday, April 07, 2014

Are You Bitter and Blaming, or Forgiving and Free?

I realize that many of you don't know my whole story.

I've sought the Lord many times on whether or not to share it in its entirety here on my blog. 
The main reason that I haven't yet is because I'm waiting.

Waiting on what, you ask?

I'm waiting like Joseph did.

I'm hoping and praying while I'm waiting, and I'm growing in grace (truly) and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ while I'm waiting.

Joseph is such an amazing example in my life. He was deeply hurt by his brothers, endured heartache after heartache as a result of their decision to sell him into slavery, yet Scripture repeatedly says this about Joseph: "But the LORD was with Joseph."

With every trial, with every false accusation...the LORD was with Joseph.

We never know what other people have endured in their lifetimes, but I think that the older we get, the more we realize that most people have endured something.

The evidence of HOW they've made it through their heartaches is found in the fruit of their life.

Did they grow bitter? Do they live blaming others? Are they stuck in the past pains?

Or, did they entrust those heartaches and disappointments to the Lord? 
Have they allowed their griefs to be what has driven them into a deeper relationship of abiding in Christ?

Anytime that I'm asked to speak before a group of women, I'm very transparent about what I've lived through...the sin of others that has caused such pain, as well as my own sinful choices before I was in covenant with Jesus.

My beloved friend Kay Arthur taught me the value of being real with people...I learned from her that by doing so, it frees others up to be honest about areas of their own lives that have kept them in bondage...areas that they need to surrender to Jesus Christ and be set free.

When I teach or share my testimony, there are always women who come up afterward and ask to talk. Or, there are phone calls that come in over the following few weeks.

The precious ladies open up and tell me their stories...stories of abuse; adultery; abortion; abandonment...and every time I think to myself, 
"You use it all, LORD. You truly do turn ashes into beauty for Your glory. You truly do bottle every tear that falls. You are TRUE!"

It's an awesome privilege to have another woman open up to me and share that which has most burdened her heart. It's a gift to sit with her and pray over her, trusting and knowing that Jesus wants her free and gave His life to ensure she could be.

Ladies...please hear me on this. Those words whispered to you from another woman about her trials and heartaches are SACRED. DO NOT utter them to other people. 

Be a Titus 2 woman...one from whom the younger women can trust and learn.

And if you're a younger woman, find some older Titus 2 women and let them pour into your life.

As I continue to seek God about when and where to share my testimony I will tell you this much...there are parts of it I've chosen not to share here, even though I know without question that it would give great hope to others who have lived through what I did.

Why? Because to do so might forever shut doors of opportunity for the Gospel to go forth to the very ones from my past who need it the most. 

The reality for me is this...

Only through the power of Christ in me, I've forgiven without being asked to. Joseph did the same.

I'm praying for a day of reconciliation like God gave Joseph. It seems an impossibility to me, but I know that nothing is impossible for God.

I'm hoping for salvation for many in my family. Joseph told his brothers that God sent him before them to preserve life. I'm hoping for the same with these family members, spiritually speaking.

What an awesome thing to KNOW that while I'm praying, and hoping, and waiting... 
The LORD is with me! 
And not only with me, but His Spirit dwells within me. 

If you're a Believer, a true child of God in Christ Jesus, His Spirit dwells within you also!
Thus, there isn't anything you can't forgive, because He will enable and empower you to forgive others as you have been forgiven by Him. 

You can't live a life of true forgiveness and be in bondage to bitterness at the same time.

Much love to you tonight,
Jes

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them."
Psalm 34:7 
NASB















Monday, September 23, 2013

Traversing Dark Valleys

A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.



I've been walking through a dark valley with MS for the past many weeks. 

I keep thinking that if I push myself hard enough, I'll push through it. This is a default of mine...I've been a fighter for as long as I can remember. By that I mean, I haven't been one to let tough things stop me.

And there's been a lot of tough in my life. If you've ever heard my testimony, you know I'm not exaggerating. 

As I read verses 2-3 above, I realize what an obstinate sheep I am. The Lord knows what I need at this season in my life. He knows how hard my body is battling. He knows my thoughts...the discouragement I've felt over not feeling good.

And He has provided me with the most precious husband in the world, along with a dear friend who is also my Naturopath....these two speak truth into my life.

Both of them have put me on bed rest. 
Yet, I fight them on it. The thought of days or weeks in bed is absolutely overwhelming to me.

I had no idea how hard it would be to be a willing patient!

See...I'm really just an obstinate sheep. 

When I read the verses above, I see the Psalmist following the Lord as He makes him lie down...and as He leads him beside quiet waters.

Peace in the midst of a dark valley.

So why is it so hard for me?
Why do I fight it so much?

A dear friend of mine also has MS. She's had it for 25 years and is in a wheelchair.
 
She loves me enough to say the hard things to me, like she did last week when she told me, "Jes! You can't PUSH THROUGH MS! Pushing with MS just makes things worse. You have to listen to your body and obey it."

She then went on to detail for me what I will lose if I don't slow down and take it easier on myself.

I can't begin to explain to you how hard these dark valleys of MS are. 

They are lonely. They are boring. They are times that the enemy of my soul loves to shoot his arrows of deceit into my mind, telling me what a burden I am to everyone in my life.

Yet, when I am obedient and I slow down...I see the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 

I see my children enjoying the time when mom is at a standstill. We crawl up onto my bed and spend time reading and learning new things.

Math, English, Spelling, Bible...we enjoy learning together.

Serving, Loving, Edifying,Talking...we enjoy living together.

Yes, it has felt like the valley of the shadow of death at times lately...and when the pain is so great, it can be exhausting...but through it all the Lord is with me, and my precious family and friends have been so supportive.

Goodness and lovingkindness really do follow me.

Discouraged, but not defeated.

Love to you today,
Jes










Monday, April 22, 2013

The ONE Thing Christian Women Long For From Their Husbands

I've often heard it said that men are pretty simple with regard to their needs in marriage.

At the top of most of the lists are respect (that's Biblical); adequate time making love (that's Biblical too-and fun!); food to fill their tummies (women are to be lovers of their husbands and keepers of their homes, so this is also Biblical).

Let's see...
Respect
Naked time
Food

Doesn't seem too hard to please my man...and my guess is that yours isn't much different.

May I be so bold to speak to Christian men for a minute?

I gotta say, this is new territory for me.

My blog has been for women...for years.

The ministry God has given me has been to women as well. Since I started teaching women how to study the Bible in 2004, there have been hundreds whom I've worked with.

If I had $5 for every woman who told me the ONE THING that would mean the world to her in her marriage, I would be sailing the Atlantic Ocean on my dream boat right now.

Guys...I promise, we're pretty simple too.

Christian women want from our husbands what 
Christ placed in our hearts as our deepest desire.

WE WANT YOU TO WASH US WITH THE WATER OF THE WORD!

We want you to be IN THE WORD.

We want you to WANT TO KNOW GOD, and this comes by knowing His Word.

We want you to GROW in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, by getting to KNOW HIM in the very Word that He has given you.

I was telling a man recently about the story of King Josiah.


  • He became the King of Judah at 8 years old. 
  • At 16 years old, he began to seek the God of his father David.


Hold up here...David wasn't his father! 
Amon was. 
David was his forefather. 
Josiah's own father was an idol worshiper who lived an incredibly pagan life. He forsook God, and thus Josiah couldn't look to his own father's example for guidance on how to rule. 
Josiah discounted his father because his father discounted GOD!

DADS, IS THAT THE LEGACY YOU WANT TO LEAVE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?


  • When he was 20, Josiah began to purge Judah, Jerusalem, and Israel of all idol worship in the land. 



  • At 26, after he had purged the land and the house of the Lord, he began to repair the house of the LORD, which had fallen into great disrepair due to the neglect of it and the idol worship that was taking place.


In the midst of repairing the house of the LORD, the book of the law was found. 
When it was read to Josiah, (who had been seeking the LORD for 10 years by this point) 
he:
tore his clothes; 
immediately sent his servants to inquire of the LORD for him from a prophetess; 
tendered his heart; 
humbled himself before the LORD; 
and wept before God.

AND AS A RESULT, GOD heard him and did not send His burning wrath upon Judah until Josiah had gone to his grave in peace.

When I shared this story with a man recently, he said, "THAT'S IT! THAT'S IT! 
It starts in the White House! 
Our President needs to humble himself before God. 
It starts in the White House!"

MEN....listen up, PLEASE!

IT STARTS IN YOUR HOUSE!

WHEN, OH WHEN are the men of this country going to make the Word of God a priority in your own homes?!

WHEN, OH WHEN are you going to start obeying God's Word and wash your wives with the water of His Word?

WHEN, OH WHEN are you going to take GOD SERIOUSLY when He commands that you teach your children His Word?

I'm not trying to man bash, and I realize that some of you will take it that way.

I can't change how you choose to receive this exhortation.

I just think it's time that someone tell you straight up that your wives are STARVING for you to be the spiritual leaders in your homes!

I hear it so much that it's like a broken record.

Your sons are being discipled by your wives...either that, or you're leaving it up to their Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders.

EPIC FAIL, DADS. 

Your boys need to be taught God's Word by YOU!

They LONG to be led into the rich meat of God's Word by YOU!

Your daughters are going to grow up and look for a man much like you, most likely.

Don't you WANT her to have a man that will pray God's Word over her?

And your Christian wives?

They NEED you to lead them according to the Word of God. 

You want to know something else?

You know how you struggle with your eyes? 
You know how your thought life can too easily take you down the path of lust?

Want a tough wake up call?

Your Christian wife who has been praying, begging, and longing for you to lead her and your family in the Word may very well be struggling too.

Know what her struggle is?

She sees the men in your church who ARE in the Word...who are passionate about their walks with Christ...and if she's not totally surrendered to Jesus, her thought life can too easily become, 
"I wish I had a husband like that. 
I wish MY husband would do family devotions with us. 
I wish MY husband would turn the stupid t.v. off and open the Bible with me.
I WISH MY HUSBAND WOULD LEAD ME IN THE WORD."

Guys...our days aren't so much different than the days of Josiah.

Our fathers have shirked their responsibilities with regard to God's Word in our homes, and as a result everyone suffers.

Our kids are falling away from church in droves once they hit high school or college, and we wonder why?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Marriages in the church are falling apart and we wonder why?!?!?!?!?

Pornography addictions; sexting affairs; extramarital affairs; lack of heart intimacy in marriages; disrespect from our kids...it's all so prevalent, and we really have to wonder why?!

MEN...PLEASE, I BEG YOU ON BEHALF OF YOUR WIVES who have cried many tears sitting on my couch, have shared many heart desires about their longing for you to lead them...

I BEG YOU...

MAN UP!

Decide TODAY that you are going to OBEY GOD and lead your family in the Word.

We don't expect you to be perfect at it.

WE aren't perfect at it...none of us are. Your wife isn't, and you won't be.

GOD doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

He only asks that you be obedient and make His Word preeminent in your home.


GUESS WHAT? 
HIS WORD IS PERFECT! 
JUST READ IT!


Want more respect from your wife? 
Want to be the man she's always dreamed of? 
Want to help protect her thought life?

LEAD HER IN THE WORD!

Want more naked time with your wife?

I PROMISE YOU, she is going to find you so amazingly sexy the minute you start obeying God and assume your rightful role as loving spiritual leader of your home, that you're going to have to fight her off!

Want more yummy food from her?

My best guess is that if you tell her brownies will help you be a better expositor of God's Word, you'll have a batch waiting for you when you get home.

Please..quit wasting time complaining about the government, and govern your families according to God's Word.

It doesn't start in the White House.

It starts in YOUR HOUSE.

In His Love,
Jes