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Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Precious Homecoming, and Our Homecoming to Come



I just watched this video, as Denny Burk (www.dennyburk.com) listed it as one of his top 10 You Tube videos of 2007.



I had seen it once before, but this time as I watched the little boy's face, it made me think about what mine will likely look like when I finally get to see my Heavenly Father face to face....and what words I'll likely say to Him.



As I heard the precious little boy say, "I missed you too, Daddy.", through his tears, I thought..."That's it! That's what I want to tell my Abba when I finally get to see Him!"



Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever just miss Him like crazy and wish that TODAY could be the day that you'd be face to face with Him....or that TODAY could be the day that you'd be able to throw your arms around His neck and tell Him how much you love Him?



This world is tough. The pain here can often feel unbearable, can't it?



Won't it be awesome to finally be Home?!



I love how the Apostle Paul put it, though....what encouragement I glean from these inspired words...

Rom 8:18
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.



Here's the video...as you watch it, think about you being in the place of this little boy, and God the Father welcoming you Home forever.

Thank you, LORD, for sealing us until the day of redemption. Thank you for eternal security through Jesus Christ.

In Him,
Jes







Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Attack of the Evil One....

I was with a precious friend of mine tonight, and listening to her pour her heart out, as she's going through a really tough time.

At one point she said, "Jes, I just don't know when the thoughts that I battle are from the enemy and when they aren't!"

So I thought about it for a minute...I really pondered it with her.

I know what she means. I totally understand her question.

It is hard to know sometimes if what we're battling in our head is from the evil one or just from our own selfish flesh.

I suppose I'm still thinking about it...but one thing I believe is this....God doesn't work through condemnation.

Satan does.

He is called the accuser of the brethren, and it's a tactic he has polished well over the centuries.

Once you belong to the Lord, having repented of your sin, turned from it, and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and followed Him, you are given the gift of His indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit came to CONVICT the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgement.

The Holy Spirit CONVICTS.

The enemy CONDEMNS.

That's the difference. Look at it through the lens of God's Word for a minute....

Regarding the Holy Spirit, this is Jesus speaking:

John 16:7
"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
John 16:8
"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; John 16:9
concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
John 16:10
and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;
John 16:11
and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

Regarding the enemy, satan:

Zec 3:1
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
Zec 3:2
The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"
Zec 3:3
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.
Zec 3:4
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, "Remove the filthy garments from him." Again he said to him, "See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes."
Zec 3:5
Then I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.

Do you see that? The enemy stood before the angel of the LORD to accuse one who God had plucked from the fire!

So, that's the litmus test for me....are the thoughts I'm battling ones of condemnation or of conviction?

Ones that accuse me and try to convince me of my worthlessness, or ones that make me bow before my Father, and submit to Him...

If the former, I'd be wise to say as Jesus did,

Zec 3:2 ...."The LORD rebuke you, satan!" and
Matt 4:10
..."Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.' "


If the latter, I'd be wise to listen, submit to God, and obey Him.

Merry Christmas!
Jes

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Sermon On The Mount

I'm so excited! I've been seeking the LORD, and really trying to listen to His leading on what our next Ladies Precept Bible Study will be.

I love how God moves in these times, these quite times before studies start up. He's always so faithful to lead me on what we are to study. I remember when we were about to start the Covenant study, and the evil one was on the prowl. He was so relentless that at times I really thought about just throwing in the towel.

Then, I went to my mailbox one evening, and there was a personal note from Kay. It was in reference to something all together different, but in her note, she included a Scripture reference, and when I went and read it, I just wept. The Scripture was about how God keeps His covenants to those who fear Him.

Oh, I love the Lord so much!

And I love Kay, and her heart for God and for people.

And I love the many precious people who work with Precept Ministries across the world, so that others may be given the rich and awesome gift of studying the Word that I have been given.

And I love the sweet, amazing women in our study! Thank you, each of you, for your grace toward me as a leader, as I grow and fall on my face, and get back up, and endeavor to lead the best way that I know how to. I know that I am so human, and thus so imperfect, but I thank you that you love God and His Word enough that you can look past me. :)

I love you all so much!

I wonder how anyone who has been saved from the life of sin that I was, could help but love the LORD. Even writing this, my eyes are full of tears...I wonder if I'll ever get past crying when I think about my Lord, my Jesus, and His Holy Spirit who seals us until the day of redemption?

Doubtful. :)

I think that when I get to heaven, after I worship before the Father and the Son; say hello to my child who is there; meet my sister; and kiss my precious Grandma; that I'll spend a LOT of time with Jeremiah...he was the weeping prophet, you know. :)

Oh, I forgot about Peter...I can't wait to meet him too! Talk about a person who got total clarity from God on how his humanity would fail him, but that God's Holy Spirit never would! I can SO relate!

Well, I digress...I guess you've figured out that our next study will be The Sermon On The Mount. I wasn't sure, but kept asking God, and then this week it seems that almost EVERY conversation I've had has centered in some way around Matthew 5-7.

I just know that God is tugging at my heart, telling me it's time to really examine what Jesus had to say about my heart before Him. And, the funny thing is, that when He leads me in the direction of which study to do, it seems it's always a study that other women in the class needed too.

It's such a rich few chapters of Scripture..and I can already tell that it's going to be a challenge, but I'm up for it, and can't wait to get started. How about you?

Consequently, I'm seeking the LORD on whether this is also the study to use for the Precept Kids Class. So, the kids and I will either study The Sermon On The Mount, too, or we'll do a kid-friendly version of "Being a Disciple, Counting The Real Cost".

Just for a fun question, to lighten it up a bit, who do you look forward to seeing when you get to heaven?

Merry Christmas Sweet Friends...I hope you have a wonderful time with your families!

In Jesus,
Jesica

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mary and the Angel

My children never cease to amaze me with their observations and questions.

Here's my most recent example...the other night we rented "The Nativity Story" and watched it together as a family.

Granted, there were parts in the movie that weren't in total keeping with God's Word, but we talked about creative license, and how Hollywood adds things out of imaginiation to make the story more realistic for the viewer.

So today we're running errands (Yeah! I'm finally feeling better!) and a song comes on the radio that talks about how someone will react when they see Jesus face to face.

Caedmon says, I don't think I'll stand. I think I'll bow.

I said, "I know what you mean, Caedmon. I think I'll be face flat to the ground."

"Why Mommy? Why all the way down?"

"Because, son. There never was a sinner worse than I was. I KNOW how much I've been forgiven, I KNOW what a great gift my LORD is to me. I want to honor Him in the best way that I know how to, to thank Him."

Then Brennan asked, "Mommy, is it ok for us to bow down to anyone other than God?"

"No, baby. Only God deserves that level of honor from us. No one else."

"Why did Mary bow down to the angel, then?"

It took me a minute, and a few questions of her to realize that she was referencing the movie that we watched a few nights ago.

"Did Mary really bow down to the angel?", I ask.

Then they both emphatically told me that she did.

"Well, kids. I don't remember the Scripture saying that she did that..so we'll need to go back home and look it up in our Bible and see for sure."

From just that one observation, we had the most awesome talk about angels, and how God doesn't want us to worship angels. We talked about how we're not to worship the creations of God, only the Creator, and that angels are created beings.

Then Caedmon asked, "Mommy. What do I do if an angel ever comes and wants to tell me something?"

WOW! Where do they get these questions?!

So I told him, "Caedmon, I don't think that an angel would ever come to you and speak on behalf of God. That's what the angel Gabriel was doing...he was being God's spokesperson to Mary and to Elizabeth. However, he was speaking prophesy, he was revealing God's plan for the future. So, I don't believe that angels come and speak prophesy to men anymore. Today, son, for someone to prophesy means that they will point you back to Scripture. But, there is no NEW revelation. The revelations of God are found in His Word."

We didn't have the talk about entertaining angels unaware, because Mommy hasn't studied that passage enough to be able to explain it adequately. :)

It was just such a neat conversation to have. I am amazed by how much of the Word these kids absorb...and so hoping that their very imperfect Mom's failures from day to day won't keep them from loving God and His Word for all the days of their lives.

Here's the passage from Luke about Mary...it doesn't mention anything about her bowing down.


Luk 1:26
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
Luk 1:27
to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luk 1:28
And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord {is} with you."
Luk 1:29
But she was very perplexed at {this} statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
Luk 1:30
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
Luk 1:31
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Luk 1:32
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
Luk 1:33
and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."
Luk 1:34
Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
Luk 1:35
The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. Luk 1:36
"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
Luk 1:37
"For nothing will be impossible with God."
Luk 1:38
And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.




Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Please PRAY for YWAM and the Murray Family

Dear Friends,

As I write this, tears are filling my eyes. I am sure that by now you have heard about the tragedy that happened at Youth With A Mission in Colorado this week.

Four young people, who have committed their lives to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, and salvation, were gunned down at the YWAM offices. Two died, and their memorial services were held today.

Ironically, Shane and I had just placed an order for the set of biographies they publish, written about faithful saints that have gone before us. This ministry is dear to our hearts. They have a booth each year at our homeschooling convention, and their hearts for the Lord are so evident.

Last year at the convention, they gave us a copy of the biography about Gladys Alyward, and we spent weeks reading it to our children as their bedtime story. The story of her life impacted all of us so much that we bought the set for Christmas this year. (shhh....the kids don't know yet!)

I called headquarters in Colorado today, just to tell them how very sorry we are, and to let them know that there are brothers and sisters all over the world who love them, and are praying for them.

I spoke with a kind man whose heart is obviously so heavy right now. I told him that I too, have given my life to serve Christ, and that I know that often, as a footsoldier in the field, one can feel so alone. It's easy to forget that we're part of a huge army, when we're on post in our given area of the world.

So, I explained, "I just want you to know that you're NOT alone....and that there are so many people who are blessed by your work for the Kingdom, and that we're praying fervently for you and for each hurting family right now."

He was quiet for a minute and then said, "Thank you so much. With our type of ministry, being that we are spread out all over the world, it can be easy to feel alone. Thank you for the reminder that we aren't, and thank you for your prayers."

He then went on to tell me that YWAM Latvia also just lost their director. He died in his sleep. He was a husband, and father of 5, with a brand new grand-daughter. His life has been used by God to share the Good News with many, many people. You can read about him on the YWAM site, and you can also read about the lives of the young people who were hurt and killed.

Here is the link to YWAM if you'd like to read more...would you please keep these brothers and sisters in your prayers? I can only imagine how much they are hurting right now!http://www.ywam.org/articles/article.asp?AID=499

Also, please keep the family of the shooter in your prayers. Their last name is Murray. They've not only lost their son, but also are having to deal with the unbelievable pain of knowing how many people he hurt before he took his own life.

Thank you for taking a minute (or more) to stop and lift these fellow believers up before our Father. When you pray for them, would you pray God's Word back to Him on their behalf?
I believe He loves it when we do that.

This is the verse I'm praying for them, knowing that God is always faithful to His promises. This verse has held me through many a painful time in my life. I cherish it.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


In His Love,
Jesica


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Scripture Acting - Team #2


video

My little brown eyed girl and her best friend! :)

The verses they are doing are Proverbs 15:1-3...

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good."

There are so many good questions that you can ask your child regarding these verses...one of my favorites at this time of year deals with the Sovereignty of God and Santa Claus.

We don't do "Santa" in our home, but I do realize that we're in the minority...and attach no judgement to the decision of others..we were just led by God not to do "Santa", and followed His leading on it.

However, my kids still hear the song about Santa, when we're out that says that "He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!"

The above verse, #3, is a perfect one to use to explain to children that Santa is not Sovereign..only God is, and that only God sees everything.

In addition, apart from the power of the Risen Lord, through the Holy Spirit, we can't "be good" no matter how hard we try..for true goodness is holiness, and we are only made Holy in the site of God through His Son, who imparted righteousness to us when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior.

OK...video #3 to hopefully come soon. :)

Have a great night!

Jesica

Scripture Acting.. Proverbs 3:5-6

video
Oh my GOODNESS! Aren't they the CUTEST?!
Once I have permission from the Mommies, there will be 2 more videos of other verses posted here.
These are two little girls from a Speech and Drama class I've been teaching, called "Let's Act UP! Glorifying God through Speech and Drama"
I took this video on my Palm pilot at class yesterday, so their moms could have something to watch in order to learn the movements to help them practice at home for our upcoming Showcase night.
Scripture acting is such a wonderful way to teach the Word of God to kids. If you endeavor to do this, though, please don't just stop with the movements and the words...us the 5 Ws and an H to teach the children how to study God's Word out...so that they truly understand why it is TRUTH and how to apply the verses they've learned to their everyday lives.
This verse is Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
In the case of this verse, you might ask your child,
HOW do we know that we can trust in the LORD?
WHAT would it mean to trust Him with only part of our heart?
WHY do we want to trust Him with ALL of our heart?
WHAT is trust?
WHO is the LORD?
WHAT does it mean to lean on our own understanding?
Explain words like understanding and acknowledge TO them, and then continue with the 5Ws and and H...
So, if acknowledge means to "admit the authority of"...
HOW do we admit to God's authority in our lives?
HOW do we give over all control of our lives to God instead of trying to control it ourselves, by our own understanding?
WHY would it be better for God to be in control, than for us to run our own lives?
WHO knows the future?
WHO holds it in HIS hands?
WHO created us for a purpose and has a plan for your life?
WHY would we want to try to be the boss instead of letting God be?
WHEN we feel like we are boss, WHAT would be the right thing to do? (bow in submission to God)
Do you ever want to lean on ANYONE else's understanding?
Your friends'?
Hannah Montana's?
Big Bird's?
Or only God's?
What does it mean that He will make your path's straight?
Would it be better to live your life on a crooked path, never knowing what is ahead of you or where you're going...or on a straight path, directed by God?
WHY?
Don't DUMB DOWN SCRIPTURE FOR KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!
THEY DON'T REQUIRE IT!
Every week I use inductive Bible study skills to ask these children about what they've learned, and they amaze me with their application of the Scriptures!
A note about this video...
One of these little girls has been out of town and out of class for over a month, so she was going pretty slowly with this Scripture, and she happens to be the "leader" of this duo....but normally they are faster with it...she was just getting back into the swing. :)
Hey Let's Act Up! Mommies...
Have I told you today how much I love your precious children?!
They bless my life, and so do you!
Have a great day,
Jesica





Monday, December 03, 2007

Hello...hello...testing...1,2,3...AND "NO..that's not a 3rd Eyeball!"

Just wanted to see if anyone is reading this blog...

Hello....testing....testing...

No comments? What's up with that?!

C'mon...throw a girl a little encouragement! ;)

And no, that big blue splotch you see in the picture of me that I added is NOT, I repeat, NOT a third eyeball! I just messed up when I was using the red-eye reducer in Adobe.

OK...off to sleep...I pushed too hard today and am feeling like I got hit by a Mack Truck!

Merry Christmas!

Jes

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cake Mix Sugar Cookies for Christmas or Hanukkah Cut-Out Cookies


I was going to be clever tonight and use green and red as my font color, but for some reason, my font colors won't work...so here ya go! :)


I know that I left it hanging with the online Bible study, and I promise, I'll pick it back up in a day or two.


But, tonight was Christmas preparation night at our home, and because I'm still a bit tired after surgery, I wanted an EASY recipe to make cut-out cookies for Christmas cookie decorating with our kids.

WHAT did we do before the internet? Does anyone remember?!

HOW did we handle it when we were in a crunch for time and needed information STAT?! ;)

Thanks to RecipeZaar.com and Google Search, I found this awesome recipe for Christmas cookies, (and even the picture!) and wanted to share it with you guys...it was so easy!
Seriously, preparation time was all of 5 minutes, and now the dough is chillin' in the fridge for cut out time tomorrow night. Yeah!

By the way...any suggestions on how to make the decoration of said cookies look professional, would be warmly appreciated. (Can you say Jes can't use those little gel tubes of icing and EVER get a straight line with them, much less the kind that comes in the can?!)

Enjoy your families at this precious time of year.


Just think, our Savior came as a baby to not only be the propitiation for our sins, but to unite us together as a family (the church) in Him, forever. So you have 2 families, and so do I! Yeah!

Don't forget that your job this season, as always..if you belong to Christ, is to be an ambassador for Him, and a minister of the reconciliation He made for all mankind on the cross at Calvary 2,000 years ago.

Wouldn't it be great if everyone you know and love, and even those you can't stand, would come to salvation through Christ, and become a new creature in Him...the promised Messiah of Israel, and share in eternity with you?

To God be the Glory!

Dig in! :)

Jes



Cake Mix Sugar Cookies from RecipeZaar.com
Recipe #105272

This tastes like a real cut out cookie and it is easy because it starts with a cake mix. I make these a lot and no one ever guess that it is made with a cake mix. Some times I sprinkle the cookies with cinammon sugar before I bake them. Cooking time does not reflect chill time.

60 cookies
20 min 5 min prep
1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk, I usually use evaporated milk

In a large bowl mix cake mix, butter, egg and milk.
Do not over mix.
Shape dough in a ball.
Chill for 2 hours.

Roll 1/8 inch on a floured surface.
Cut out with a floured cookie cutters.

Place 2 inchs apart on a cookie sheet that has been very lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 375 degrees for 6-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Cool slightly.

Move to rack to cool fully.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Inductive Bible Study of Matthew chapter 4 - Enjoy! :)

I've been really trying to spend a lot of time in the Word, since having my surgery last week...I've camped on Matthew chapters 3 and 4, but tonight I'm just going to share some observations of chapter 4....hope you won't mind too much, but I'm going to do it by asking you some questions...so you'll learn too. :)

First, read the text....

Mat 4:1
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Mat 4:2
And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
Mat 4:3
And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
Mat 4:4
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' "


Here are some questions that lead to pretty awesome interpretation....you know by now, OBSERVATION - 90+% of your time; interpretation-flows out of observation; and then application flows from both----what do I do with this truth I've just learned?

The first question to ask is what happened before "Then" in verse one of chapter 4?

I'll help you out here....Jesus had just been baptised by John the baptist and had the Holy Spirit rest on Him "as a dove" and the LORD GOD speak from Heaven and say, "This is my Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

OK....so the Scripture says that THEN ( directly after a very BIG moment in His life, and after being blessed by God)....THEN

Who led Him?

Where was He led?

Why was He led there?

WOW! Just in verse 1 alone, there is so much to see....

Now, some critical thinking type questions....

WHY would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness, to be all alone?

WHY would the Holy Spirit lead Him there to be tempted?

What could God's purpose be in His own Son being tempted by the evil one, the very one He was sent to defeat?

Makes me wonder if Jesus KNEW He was going there to be tempted, and if that's the precise reason why He chose to fast for 40 days and 40 nights?

Do you know that from the book of John, Jesus says that He came only to do the Father's will, and that He never spoke on His own behalf, but that as He heard from God, He spoke?

Knowing this, why is verse 4 important, and does it shed any light for you onto how Jesus was likely spending those 40 days?

If He spent them listening to the Father, and then He combatted the evil one's ploy(s) with Scripture, what can we learn from this that we can apply in our own lives?

If you read Matthew chapter 3, you'll see that John the Baptist had just told the religious leaders of the day, the ones that didn't recognize their need for repentance, that God was able to make even the stones into sons of Abraham....then in chapter 4:3 the evil one comes along and tempts Jesus to use the stones to feed His flesh....to serve His own immediate needs....

Yet, what does Jesus place His importance upon?
His flesh?
or
His relationship with the Father?

How do these few verses inspire you to live in light of the truth that they hold?

That's all I have tonight....I'm still recovering from my surgery, and only get little bursts of energy at a time...now mine is gone.

I hope you'll be encouraged tonight, that even our Lord Jesus was tempted by the evil one, and that God's Word was able to keep Him, as it is you and I!

In Him,
Jes

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prayer Requests...To Be An Ongoing Post...

I am feeling quite led by the Lord to have a section on my blog for prayer requests.

So, here it it....only thing is, I don't know how to make it an actual "section", so as for now it will just be this post, and if you have a prayer request, I beg of you to list it here as a comment.

What greater gift is there that we can give our brothers and sisters in Christ, than to pray for them? Wjat better gift to give the lost?

It will bring great joy to have a record of these requests that we can come back to from time to time, to reflect upon, and to share the way that God has answered them.

My request...I just had surgery, and I'm requesting a speedy healing. My praise...I have an amazing husband who has taken such great care of me, and a doctor who went above and beyond for me! Please pray God's blessings upon them both. :)

I also ask you to lift up my famliy in prayer...many of my extended family members don't know the Lord, and they need Him. Please pray for their salvation.

Thanks!

Now, how can we pray for you today?

In Him,
Jesica

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What I'm Thankful For Today....

Here's my list..then it's off to beddie-bye because I have surgery in the morning. Yuck!

1. I'm thankful that after tomorrow, I won't be addicted to Afrin anymore.

2. I'm thankful for Christopher Columbus, who listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit and found his way here...(if you haven't read his letters, it's so worth it...they didn't teach us the truth in school)

3. I'm thankful for our service men and women, and our veterans.

4. I'm thankful for Gospel for Asia and Precept Ministries...one, for opening my eyes to my responsibility to my brothers and sisters in other lands; and the other for teaching me how to study the Bible

5. I'm thankful for my friends...oh my GOODNESS...is anyone as blessed in this area as I am?!
God has given me such precious friends...I love you each to the moon!

6. I'm thankful for my Spiritual "Momma", Janan...I love you, Nanner..thank you for the wonderful weekend!

7. I'm thankful for my family...for my husband and children, and for my both of my mother-in-laws...I love them to pieces!

8. I'm thankful for Petey, our dog...what an answer to prayer! :)

9. I'm thankful for God and His Word, and His Son Who is the Word. :)

10. I'm thankful that you're reading this blog...I hope you're blessed by it.

Have a super day!
Jes

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Ministry That Has Stolen My Heart



Won't you please pray for these dear people, and give to help, if you can?



I am ever humbled by the way that God works through Gospel for Asia. I look so forward to meeting Dr. Yohannan and his wife in heaven one day!

You know, there are parts of Scripture where the Apostle Paul tells those he is discipling to follow the example that they see in him. Can you imagine telling anyone to follow your example, if they want to be sure to be a faithful Christ follower?

Dr. K.P. Yohannan is someone whose example I hunger to follow. When I read his books, my heart is pierced through!

I read recently, in his book "The Road to Reality", that God had convicted him about the SOAP that he used...showing him that if he'd just choose one that didn't have a certain scent that he liked, that it would allow him to save $4 a month (or something close to that), and that he could send that $4 to the mission field to help the native missionaries in India.

In juxtaposition, I hear other pastors telling us that God wants us to have

"Your Best Life Now". Prosperity. Big cars. Big houses...everything we could possibly want to feed the desires of our flesh...but, of course, they don't talk about the flesh....they don't talk about sin, or the blood of Jesus, or hell.

Only, our best life now.

It just doesn't equate. Jesus said that whoever wanted to save his life would lose it, but whoever would lose his life for Jesus' sake, and the Gospel, would save it.

I'm attaching an urgent prayer request that I received today from Dr. Yohannan. We have brothers and sisters in Asia who are not living a life that any of us would want...in fact, they are living in desperate need...all in order to reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Won't you pray for them today...and not only for them, but for their countrymen and women on whose behalf they labor?


Would you please seek God and ask Him if He would have you give to help them?

The thing I LOVE the most about Gospel for Asia is that 100% of what you give is sent to the mission field. They don't take even 1% out for administration costs! That's unheard of!

They trust the LORD for a separate account for administration costs, and He faithfully provides!

So, if you sponsor a child through Bridge of Hope, their ministry division to the Dalit children in India, you can KNOW that 100% goes straight to support your child.

I think even the way that we do ministry in the U.S. needs to be revamped. So often, the heads of ministries live much more glamorous lives than those who labor long and hard to send even a few dollars to the ministry do.

I believe that grieves God's heart in a BIG way!

Whether you support the ministry work of Gospel for Asia, or you support the missionaries in prayer...for either, or for both..I thank you.

In Him,
Jesica


GFA Seeks Prayer for Victims of Bangladesh Cyclone

-----------Nov. 18, 2007------------------------------------------------------

Dear Friend in Christ,

The people of Bangladesh--including hundreds of our believers there--have been dealt another devastating blow and desperately need our prayers to sustain them.

Still recovering from the worst floods to hit their South Asian country in 30 years, Bangladesh was devastated by Cyclone Sidr on Thursday, leaving more than 2,000 people dead at last count. In some areas, 95 percent of the rice crop was destroyed. And for these simple farmers, that means they are literally penniless and without hope for the future.

That's why our GFA native missionaries are already on the scene, ministering to the victims and bringing them the hope found only in Jesus.

But even as our missionaries, pastors and Compassion Services volunteers are moving to bring help to the victims, they have reported that in one district, more than 100 homes of GFA-related church families have been destroyed by the Category 4 storm--the most destructive to hit Bangladesh in a decade.

"Many people are thought to have been killed when trees fell on their houses," reported one GFA observer.

I am asking that pastors around the world bring this situation to the attention of their church members on Sunday morning, and that all Christians will join me in praying that God's grace will be poured out on those who have lost so much.

I also ask that you please pray with me about how God would use you to bring relief to the victims. Any gift you can send today will make a difference!

Please also remember our church members who are suffering as a result of this storm, and those who are working around the clock to bring relief in Christ's name to the victims.

Thank you for standing with us as we minister to those whose lives have been so devastated. Click here to make a gift to help the victims of this storm.

Please pray with me that God will use this situation to bring many into His kingdom of grace and love.

Yours for the lost of Asia,
K.P. Yohannan Founder & President

P.S. So that you can continue to pray with us, we will be bringing you updates on this situation in the coming days on http://webmail.west.cox.net/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Flinks.mkt561.com%252Fctt%253Fkn%253D4%2526m%253D889973%2526r%253DNTcxMDkxNTczNgS2%2526b%253D0%2526j%253DOTUwMTUwNTYS1%2526mt%253D1
_______________________
::: About Gospel for Asia: http://webmail.west.cox.net/do/redirect?url=http%253A%252F%252Flinks.mkt561.com%252Fctt%253Fkn%253D5%2526m%253D889973%2526r%253DNTcxMDkxNTczNgS2%2526b%253D0%2526j%253DOTUwMTUwNTYS1%2526mt%253D1

Thursday, November 15, 2007

God's Word

Today was not a stellar day for me. I won't bore you with all of the stressers that I was sorting through, but suffice it to say, it was tough.

Sometimes there are days that being a homeschooing mom really stinks. I'm just being honest.

Yes, I love being with my children.
Yes, I love being their teacher.
No, I wouldn't change it for the world....but still there are days that I wish they had a drop in childcare center just for Mommy melt-down days.

My kids were disobedient today....repeatedly.

They're kids..they're going to have days like this. But, today I was so mad I wanted to blow my top!

My daughter is what I affectionately like to call an "artsy-fartsy" girl. She could LIVE IN A PIG STY and think it was the best place ever!

I find myself spending HOURS upon end getting her room all put in order, only to find the contents of said room DUMPED on the floor within a few days!

(I'm sure this is payback for what I put my mom through!)

So, today I told the kids to go into her room and just put all the baby doll clothes into one pile...and then to come and get me, and we'd move to step 2.

Yet, they decided to do what they wanted to instead...PLAY!

They did this more than once, and so I took some toys away from them, because I said that I would if they didn't obey.

But, what I really wanted to do was give them both a good spanking. However, I kept thinking about the verse that says, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity."
(Ephesians 4:26-27) and I just couldn't spank them. I was so mad that I knew I couldn't spank them in love, for their own discipline and edification, so I chose not to at all.

See..that's the benchmark for me, with discipline...I believe that God's Word makes it clear that it must be done from a correct heart motivation...love.

Today, if I had chosen to spank my kids, it would have been out of total anger, and I know that isn't how it is intended to be administered...so I found another way to discipline.

I'm thankful for God's Word today...as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

I am so thankful that I don't have to lean on my own understanding anymore, but that I can trust the inerrancy of God's Word as the guide for my life.

Man, I wish I had a punching bag, though..because I sure could have used it today! :)

Now, I'm off to sleep....yeah! Tomorra is a'nutha day! (a la Scarlett O'Hara)






Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Do You Ever Ache to Do More for the LORD?

I realize that my blog is supposed to be about what I learned from the Word today..and so tomorrow it will be. :)

It's just that tonight I'm in a pretty contemplative mood..and my blog has turned out to be a great gift to me during these times.

I'm at this place in my life where I just want the LORD. I want so much of Him. I want to be used of Him for His purposes. I really want to disappear so that He can shine through.

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that this past summer was a time of real testing for me. Testing is putting it mildly. It was BRUTAL!!!!!!!!!

As I was going through it, I couldn't see HOW or WHAT God was going to do to bring good out of it. In addition, I thought that all of the work that needed to be done, needed to be done in someone else. ;) (Pretty stinkin' funny, isn't it?!)

Yet, God used that time so richly in my life! He refined me in His fire. He tore out pride like He was cleaning out cobwebs! I didn't even realize it was there....but God did!

And now that He has allowed me to see it, I'm at a new place of discovery with Him.

It's no secret that my heart's passion is to learn more and more about how to study the Bible through inductive study. I want to spend the rest of my life teaching others how to study this way, too.

Shane and I hope to retire in Chattanooga one day, and spend our last breaths working with Precept. Shane wants to mow the grass, and I'd be happy doing anything they needed...but, if I had my heart's desire, it would be to develop materials for kids under 7. :)

I am so thankful to Precept Ministries, for their commitment to the Word of God, and to helping anyone, anywhere, any age learn how to study the Bible.

It's just this....there are so many, many Christians that I meet who really don't know their Bible, and don't seem to want to know it. They are content to go to church on Sunday, let the pastor tell them what it means, never question him on it, and go about the rest of their week never picking their Bible up.

That just breaks my heart! And, I can't help but wonder where we went wrong. It didn't used to be like this...the pilgrims lived by the Word. They KNEW the Word, and they taught it to their children, faithfully.

My grandmother read her Bible every single day, for an hour or more a day..she loved it, she fed on it.

So...I'm struggling a bit, I think.

I know without question that it's not my job to judge the walk of other believers with the Lord. I'm not God, nor would I ever be qualified to be. I've got enough areas in my own life that He is still working mightily on...no time to take anyone else's inventory.

It's just this...how can I help my fellow sisters in Christ to WANT God's Word?

Is it that we are so inundated in America, with Christian books, that we never get to the Word?

Is it that the Bible seems too hard to understand?

Is it that Precept studies are scary?

Is it that the world is just too attractive, and more "fun"?

What is it?

If the Bible tells us that we are blessed when we hunger and thirst after righteousness, then why are we so willing to settle for anything less?

Would you share your thoughts with me?

I really would like to know. I promise, no judgement.

OH, here's a little video of my kiddos doing their Scripture acting. Hope it makes you smile!

In Love,
Jes



video

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

URGENT Prayer Request....

I just received this note from Jan at Precept Ministries, asking us to pray for our fellow brothers in Christ.

Bob, the man mentioned below, is an international hostage negotiator. PLEASE, stop for a few minutes and ask the LORD to guide and protect Bob and the missionary, Steve and their families during this time of persecution. I have deleted the name of the organization Bob is working with, for reasons of security.

"My Bob left today for Washington, DC and then off to Africa to help _____ get an American Missionary who was kidnapped, released. Bob is very nervous. The last missionary the terrorist group kidnapped, lost his finger at the hands of the kidnappers and it was sent back to ______as proof of the kidnap. Bob is meeting with _______ tomorrow and then off to _____. The missionary's name is Steve. He is married with 3 kids. His wife is back in the US, safe. Bob has 29 saves, but he has lost 5. We are having our church pray during Bob's negotiations."

You and I may not be the ones on the mission field in Africa, but we have a responsibility to our brothers in Christ, to lift them up in prayer.

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't even know how to pray? Where the pain of your circumstances was so tough that your only prayer was, "God, please help me?".

I was there this summer. It was so hard. So dark. The evil one was on the rampage, and he wanted all glory in my life. All I could say, over and over again was, "God. Please!"
"God. Please!"

Yet, I took such ENORMOUS comfort in knowing that my brothers and sisters in the Lord were lifting me up in prayer...they were the ones that were praying the Word back to God on my behalf. They were so faithful...the truly did bear my burden with me.

And God was so gracious...He heard their prayers, and answered on our behalf.

Let's commit today to pray like that for these dear men.

Will you?

Pray that God is glorified in their lives, as I have no doubt that would be their prayer request.

In Him,
Jes

Monday, November 12, 2007

Teaching Precept Inductive Bible Study to Kids and Children

God's Word Matters to Me Too!
It can teach me, reprove me, correct me, and train me in righteousness...so that I will be adequate, equipped for every good work! (see 2 Tim.3:16-17)

Today was a pretty amazing day.

A friend of mine is teaching a class for her church, and asked me to come in as a guest teacher. She goes to a Catholic church, and her class is made up of about 20 1st graders.

Today's lesson was on Luke chapter 1, through about verse 38.

These kids had never been exposed to inductive study before, and I really didn't know what to expect...but they caught on so quickly! I was so proud of them!

I wrote the 5Ws and an H questions on the board, and then explained to them that questioning the Scripture will help us to better understand it.

Who?
What?
When?
Where?
Why?
How?

I just jumped right in by reading to them straight from the Word...and every few verses I would stop and ask them one of the above, and then write their answers on the board. They loved seeing what they had said, printed out for all to see!

Pretty soon, they figured me out, and were all over it...they listened so well, and then answered my questions like pros!

They were able to tell me that the story was about the angel Gabriel coming to earth and giving a message from God to two people...first to Zacharias, and then to Mary.

It was so cool, because we made a comparison chart of the two on the board..and the children quickly saw that even thought Zacharias was a priest, who likely knew God's Word quite well, he didn't act in faith when Gabriel told him that he would have a son.

By contrast, Mary asked a question of Gabriel, but acted in great faith. She even said that she was the bondservant of the Lord!

I explained to the children that a bondservant is one who has willingly given their life to serve their master. All that their master asks, they will do. They have given up their life to live for another.

So I asked the children.."Who do you want to be like? Whose faith do you want to have?".

We talked about salvation, and about why Jesus came to earth as a baby. We talked about repentance, and about how John the baptist came to pave the way for Jesus..and that John was going through all the area telling people to repent of their sins.

I told them that I had sinned, and that I needed Jesus as my Savior and Lord....their little eyes grew so big when they heard me say that I had sinned...had told lies, had disobeyed.

OOOOOH! They are so precious!

Then, they learned how to act out Proverbs 3:5-6.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight."

We had a great time with those verses! I asked them all kinds of questions about it to make sure that they understood the concepts, and they did!

At one point I asked one little boy,
"The next time you're on the playground at school, and someone tries to get you to refuse to play with another boy...or someone wants you to join in on making fun of someone else, remember that you don't have to lean on your own understanding of what to do. If you aren't sure how to act, what does this verse promise you?"

He thought for a minute and then said, "That I can ask God in my heart. I can pray and ask Him what to do, and He'll make my paths straight."

I was so proud of that little guy! I could have hugged him!

You know, the more time that I spend teaching little ones the gift of Inductive Bible study, the more I love it.

I am amazed by how many Christian publishers think that they have to dumb down the material in order for children to understand it.

If we'd just get past thinking that we're the one doing all the work, and remember that the Word says that The Holy Spirit is the teacher, our kids would be much better off.

These kiddos had never heard of Precept Ministries. They don't know what inductive means...BUT, they sure did learn a whole lot of Truth from God's Word today...and they had so much fun doing it!

I wish we'd commit, as believers, to spend the hour a week that we have with children in our churches, feeding them on the Word instead of trying to entertain them.

Take away the cheese puffs, and give them the meat of God's Word!

They get it! I promise, they do!

I encourage you, if you're teaching kids....just give them a chance, by giving them the Word in Spirit and Truth...and then make up some fun quiz games to cement that which you've just taught them.

You'll be amazed, in short order, how much God writes on their little hearts.

Below are the verses that we studied today...we started with the 1st one that you see in red, but I just went ahead and included from Luke 1:1 -1:38.

In Him,
Jesica


Luke 1:1
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, Luke 1:2
just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
Luke 1:3
it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write {it} out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
Luke 1:4
so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:5
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luke 1:6
They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
Luke 1:7
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
Luke 1:8
Now it happened {that} while he was performing his priestly service before God in the {appointed} order of his division,
Luke 1:9
according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
Luke 1:10
And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.
Luke 1:11
And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
Luke 1:12
Zacharias was troubled when he saw {the angel,} and fear gripped him.
Luke 1:13
But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
Luke 1:14
"You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
Luke 1:15
"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.
Luke 1:16
"And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
Luke 1:17
"It is he who will go {as a forerunner} before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Luke 1:18
Zacharias said to the angel, "How will I know this {for certain?} For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years."
Luke 1:19
The angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
Luke 1:20
"And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time."
Luke 1:21
The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
Luke 1:22
But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
Luke 1:23
When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.
Luke 1:24
After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,
Luke 1:25
"This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked {with favor} upon {me,} to take away my disgrace among men."
Luke 1:26
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
Luke 1:27
to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luke 1:28
And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord {is} with you."
Luke 1:29
But she was very perplexed at {this} statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
Luke 1:30
The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
Luke 1:31
"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
Luke 1:32
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;
Luke 1:33
and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."
Luke 1:34
Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
Luke 1:35
The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:36
"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
Luke 1:37
"For nothing will be impossible with God."
Luke 1:38
And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.