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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.