Saturday, May 20, 2017

Convicted and Unashamed

9:16 AM 0

The Word of God never disappoints, always brings fresh perspective to my eyes, and rarely misses an opportunity to convict me.  Conviction is not something I have typically craved in life, quite honestly, the opposite is more likely to be true.  Live, Love, be a good human and let's just call it a day, no need to get too deep into the depths of who I am.  I am a Christian. Let's just leave it at that, K!

And quite frankly that is how I lived the majority of my Christian life.  Do not get me wrong I truly loved The Lord with all my heart, but to expose the inner dealings of my soul was not something that I was accustomed to doing.  I wasn't aware that I wasn't accustomed to doing it, I believed by and large that I pretty much had life figured out, no need to look too deep.

I remember the very first time that I admitted to my husband that I struggled with jealousy. I almost couldn't believe the words escaped from my mouth. It was like having an out of body experience. I am not suppose to have struggles. I grew up in the church, I know all the "rights" and "wrongs" I say "yes mam" and "no mam" and take people food when they are sick.  I was 27 years old and I do believe that is the very first time I confessed sin. Even as I type that I am sad for the years that I spent pretending, but even more thankful for the beginning of a convicted heart.  A convicted heart is a beautiful thing my friends. Scary, life changing, painful, yet beautiful.

I have come to crave this conviction more and more in my life.  It is much different than the cravings of this world which often provide instant gratification with a short lived shelf life. Instead it is typically a long suffering sort of conviction, a walking through the deep places of your soul, guided by the hand of The Holy Spirit as He speaks Truth to you in the unseen places of your heart.

There are still many times where I find myself resisting, unable to "go there" just yet or afraid to allow myself to look too deep inside for fear of what I may find.  I revert back to that young girl who thought she had everything figured out, but within my heart I know that I want to "know." I know that any amount of pain is worth the freedom that lies on the other side of a convicted heart.

Do you, like myself, ever find yourself running from a convicted heart?  Allow yourself to be honest with me today as you read.  Follower of Jesus or not, how often do we run from conviction?  How often do we run from The Truth?  We live in a culture that wants to claim that there is no truth.  Interestingly enough, that is a truth within itself, yet another thing we choose to overlook.  Why do we resist such a thing as Truth?

For me the answer to this question is simple, I am afraid.  I am afraid of allowing myself to be convicted because I am afraid of the pain that may follow.  Somewhere deep inside me there is also that tiny nugget of doubt.  What if everything I have known and believe in my life isn't true?  What if this Truth that I have followed is not actually good? The culture often seeps in with its on message of what truth is and there are times when we actually believe the lie. We believe it to be constricting, we believe it to be binding and suffocating and have collectively as a culture deemed it as unloving.  This is the work of the great deceiver himself for since the beginning of humanity he has followed the same pattern.  Invoke doubt and offer something seemingly better.

In the same way he attempted to lure Jesus, he lures us to the top of a beautiful mountain and whispers "all of this I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me" Matt 4:9.  The only difference is that we often do not have eyes like Jesus to see the truth of what he is actually offering.  Satan uses God's very own masterpiece to convince us that somehow we are missing out.  How does this play out in your life?

- Is it your marriage? 
You didn't sign up for this.  You deserve so much better.  You were never meant to marry him/her. The grass is in fact greener on the other side. It seems to be for everyone else. The kids will be fine. She/he is the one you should have been with all along. 

- Pornography?
What does it really hurt? No one is effected by it and you can handle it.  After all, you deserve to be satisfied and this is in fact satisfying.  It's not like you are addicted or anything.  Just one more time. It is so easy. satisfaction at the click of a button.

- Jealousy?
Don't you feel so sorry for her?  You should make sure everyone knows that she is not who she really claims to be. She's so fake and self seeking. She probably starves herself. I doubt he even really likes her, I mean who could like her? Are her boobs even real? Doubt it.  I bet she's had a nose job too.  What a hot mess she is. Bless her heart.

- Relationships?
It's ok, you're just killing time. I know he/she is not the best for you but it's boring being single, so just keep them around until you find someone better.  It's not like y'all are having sex or anything, technically speaking. No one will get hurt, it's just a summer fling.

- Body Image?
If you really want to feel good about yourself,  just look better. Get a body like that Instagram girl and he will never leave you.  All you have to do is tweak a few things and you will have the body you've always wanted. Just charge it on your discover card you can pay it off later.  
One insta post filtered just the right way and you will feel good  because people are sure to comment on how beautiful you are. Just think of how many likes you will get. 

"When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come" John 16:13.

"Now The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" 2 Cor 3:17"

The truth is, there is a TRUTH and that TRUTH is actually the key to freedom. There is no other way to access that freedom, except through the door of truth.  This can be a scary door to open, trust me, it took me 27 years to open it myself.  Satan wants to keep our heads on a swivel, distracted and too busy to be convicted.  Too busy to allow ourselves to notice the hole that is growing darker and deeper within us.  He also is content to continue to sow those littles seeds of doubt in your mind causing you to question the goodness of God.

God is TRUTH. God is GOOD.

Submitting to this truth can be painful.  It can force us to have to see and admit things within ourselves and to others that are less than desirable, but nonetheless, will bring you a freedom that most people never experience on this earth.  The freedom of being fully know in your state of imperfection.  The freedom of allowing yourself to be convicted and continually convicted over and over, because you have tasted the goodness of what a life by The Spirit has to offer and you do not want to live outside of that freedom again.  This submission can change your entire life and the lives of generations to follow.   It is never too early or late to experience the fruit of someone who is willing to be convicted by The Spirit.  The Truth is this...

Your Marriage?
- Marriage is a beautiful gift, but yes marriage can be very difficult.  It is difficult, because you, like Adam and Eve, tend to cover up.  You place fig leaves around the broken places of your hearts to keep from being hurt, not realizing that this very attempt to cover is what is breaking down your union.  Your inability to confess struggles to each other, to confess sins, and to look inside yourself and allow Me to deliver you from this captivity is what is tearing you apart.  The grass is not greener on the other side, your kids will be affected, and the problems you are experiencing now will follow you. Satan is lying to you. Take off the leaves, ask Me to show you what is keeping you from experiencing healing, do not be afraid to see it, and I will give you the words and the desire to confess these to your spouse. 

Pornography?
There is no need for me to tell you that this is unfulfilling, you already know that.  In fact, you try to deny the shame that you feel every time, but it is there. You are afraid that you will never be able to give it up and have believed the lie that I am not strong enough to deliver you from this hold. I AM.  Come to me. Confess to me. Confess to your spouse if married or to a follower of mine that you trust.  This confession will be painful and perhaps embarrassing.  But you are already in pain and the pain of living a lie is much greater than the pain you must walk through to be set free. I can set you free. I AM.

Jealousy?
This is not what I created you to be. Why do you hurt with your words simply because you have allowed jealousy to creep into your heart?  Do you not know that the very one whom you are slandering is my child as well? Perhaps if you truly allowed yourself to get to know her you may feel differently.  You would know that she was flawed, yes, much like yourself, but also that she exhibits a beautiful array of gifts that I gave her.  They were meant to be coupled with your own gifts to work together in complete harmony as my children reflect a great light onto a dark world.  Instead use your tongue to build up the body, My body, you will find the rewards to be so much greater.  Your eyes will begin to see people differently and your heart will be set free.

Relationships?
My child, the affection you are longing for can be found completely in me.  I know you do not believe me right now and are afraid to let go. But I am whispering to you to let go.  The world has told you that "love" most often takes place in the form of text messages.  Countless symbols, half spoken words, and the exchange of images that reflect nothing of your true beauty seam to be the descriptive mark of a 21st century dating relationship.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  This cheap love will leave you empty, insecure, afraid, embarrassed, and unable to allow yourself to experience the true essence of real love.  I plead with you to let go. Let me in. Allow me to show you what true love looks like.  It is patient and kind (he will wait for you and take nothing from you that is not his.) It does not envy or boast. It is not arrogant or rude. It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things (1 Cor 13:4).    

Body Image?
What you are seeking is unattainable.  You have placed an idol in your life that has become the center of your obsession and it is robbing you from seeing yourself and others clearly.  You walk through life comparing yourself to everyone you meet and you are so fixated on your physical flaws (so you call them) that the interiors of your heart are corroding away. You know it is unhealthy, but this pressure has such a strong hold over your life.  Won't you give it to me. Won't you allow me to change the way you see beauty.  Won't you allow me to give you a craving for a beautiful heart?  Won't you allow me to give you a craving for Me?  Within Me dwells all the beauty that life has to offer along with a confidence that is not shaken by the shifting numbers on a scale.  Take care of your physical body, but worship me only.  Take care of your physical body, but seek to please me not men.  Take care of your physical body, but do not begrudge the way in which I made you, I think you are beautiful.  

I may not have touched on an area of your life that you are struggling with, but irregardless you and the Spirit within you are fully aware.  Or perhaps you do not have The Spirit within you, but He has even come to convict the unbeliever, John 16:8. On the other side of this conviction is a revelation of His Glory and Goodness. He stands waiting to give you life, life eternal. Truth is good, because God is good and if we believe that God is good then we must believe Him when He speaks to us.  Your willingness to be convicted could not only be the change marker in your own life, but could also help someone else break free from their own chains simply by your example. Do not allow fear to hold you back, fear is not of God.

Allow your heart to become a welcome mat for conviction.  Conviction leads to confession, confession leads to healing, and the healing balm directly applied by God Himself will bring you freedom that you never thought was possible.

Is God convicting your heart today?

Perhaps you feel the conviction, but you are afraid to pursue to it. Please comment below, anonymously and I will pray for you personally that God will give you courage in the Spirit to lay down your burdens. I will pray that God will grant you peace in sharing the broken places of your heart and that confession would flow from your lips casting great peace over your soul as you begin the process of healing.

I Love Y'all!
Jill



     


  






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Saturday, April 22, 2017

FLY

9:14 AM 1

             

It was the most unsettling feeling; like walking in on someone or someplace that you were never meant to be. The image was so striking that it stayed with me long after it had passed, perhaps for the sole purpose of writing this post.

I was alone in my car, the radio was off and my cell phone had purposefully been placed on silent. I needed time to process and I had planned in my mind to spend this car ride reflecting on a struggle I had previously faced the day before that had yet to leave me. It was a spiritual attack from the evil one I was sure. I knew I had the weapons needed, but so often in the midst of a struggle we become paralyzed by fear. Afraid to move because there is still that small doubt within us that wonders if our weapons of faith will fail us. My faith at times is so weak. I hate that about me.

Deep in thought I noticed the red truck that was a good distance ahead of me, but that was not what caught my eye. Just beyond the truck on a low lying branch perched what looked to be 5 or more vultures standing as stiff as statues as the vehicle approached. The instant the truck had passed they all simultaneously swooped down and began pecking away at a dead armadillo only to swoop back to their lofty perch once my minivan came on the seen. I'm actually surprised that they did not try to follow me, because I am fairly certain that the stench of death likely mimics that of my van. It is a struggle with four kids and a three legged dog ok.

I could not get the image out of my mind and in the midst of my struggle I believe God was speaking something very profound to me. It is not about you. Seriously, it is not about you. Even when you make it about you, it still is not about you. I love you.

I love to write, since as far back  as I can remember collections of words were like an art to me. Placing them together in different ways to create a beautiful picture of something I was going through was and still is something that brings great joy to my heart.  It is a place to fully be known and even if it is only to the paper you are writing on.  Yet lately it has become a fear, one of many that I have tucked away within my heart only to share with a select few that know the me I really want to be, but also the me that I sometimes am.

These few know that every time I write a blog I am scared to post it. These few know that I greatly fear what others may think of me. Will it encourage anyone? Will people judge me if I am honest and allow my mess to be known? Will they not also judge me if I portray myself as having it all together? Truly I am in a conundrum. Perhaps the answer is to just be silent. Perhaps this desire within me to write is not from God. Yet gently He whispers, “YOU STILL THINK IT IS ABOUT YOU, WHY DO YOU SEEK TO PLEASE MEN?”

But what if I and you and the entire body of Christ lived as though we believed James 1:17, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” How might this change the way we view ourselves and others? What if we began to see the talents in ourselves and others truly as the talents and gifts of God?

For me, I would no longer be tempted to take the glory as if somehow I had accomplished something. It is all about God, anything good is from God. We would no longer fill the need to peck and devour others that are willing to be used by God, for God. We would actually seek out ways to encourage one another, spurring them on in any and every way, because when their lights shine it is actually God who is shining.

Much like the staff of Moses. If by his own power he sought to free the Israelites the staff would have

been rendered useless. Yet with God this staff became the symbol of freedom, not because of Moses’

power, it was always God, Moses was simply a willing vessel.  Was there moments along the way when Moses forgot the source of his power? Most certainly there were. Were there times when he made horrific mistakes that cost him greatly, we all know that he did, but he remained a willing vessel through it all.

When we think back to the parting of the Red Sea, we are not at all tempted to shame Moses for being a show boat, why? Because we know without doubt that the Power was in God and God alone.

Why is it so hard for us to view our brothers and sisters this way? Why are there so many jealousies within the body? So often we assume to know the heart and motives of people and judge them accordingly. Like vultures in waiting for dead carcass we wait for them to fail or succeed and then peck away at them in the name of Jesus.

The reason this is hard is the very same reason I fear to write. We still think it is about us as a-posed to what God in His great power can do through us. We still think that God might need our help deciphering who's motives are pure and whose are not. We compete and strategize. We draw lines and borders in the name of “denominations” when all the while we were meant to exist together in complete unity with the fullness of joy as we watch every body part shine for the glory of God.

There will always be vultures among us because we live in a fallen world and we are fleshly  creatures. You along with myself will at times believe the lofty branch looks appealing. You will be tempted to surround yourselves with people who are more than willing to sit up there with you and peck away at what is wrong with everyone else, but I can tell you from experience that it is a pretty miserable place to be and the food is less than appetizing. That branch leaves you cynical and unable to see the goodness of God in others.  It is also a lonely place, because no one can measure up to your own standards, so pretty soon you are there alone. If you find yourself assuming the worst of just about everyone then perhaps you have accidentally made your way to that lofty branch and God is telling you to come down. Perhaps He has greater things in store for you. He wants you to fly.

He wants to give you wings like eagles.  I so desperately want to be like the eagle and I want to fly with eagles beside me. Soaring high above the dusty road where animals rot and seeing the big picture. Gods picture. Seeing the vastness of Gods goodness and how it spreads far and wide among His people. I want to see Moses’s everywhere I look and speak life into them encouraging them to speak even when they are afraid because I know that God loves to use his people to do

extraordinary things. Our talents and gifts are not our own, they are reflections of our Father spread

out across the world that we might simply be willing like Moses to hand over our staff to the one who gives it power.

Back to that quiet road a few weeks back I heard God whispering these things to my heart, I will share them with you. You are fearful because you think the power is in your ability and you are also fearful because you care more about what others think of you than what I think of you. I see someone who is self seeking and self promoting, but I also see into the depths of your heart to the soul of a woman that longs to have a pure heart like that of David. You cannot get there by yourself, you need Me in every moment of your day less you mess things up. Cast it all on me and give me the burdens that plague your heart and Pursue me alone. Write with all of your heart as though I am your only audience.

So this question I leave with you, are you afraid? What staff is in your life that you fear to give over to God and allow Him to breath life and power into it?

If you sing, sing for God with all your heart.

If you speak, speak for God with all your heart.

If you encourage, encourage everyone that crosses your path.

If you paint, paint until your fingers bleed for God.

If you play music, fill the heavens with the praise of His name with all your heart.

If you_______ do it for God like your life depends on it.

Fly with eagles. They will gently remind you when you forget who it is about. Fly with eagles. They see the big picture, the true YOU you desire to be.

To all the eagles that fly with me, I thank you! Soaring new heights with you and building up the body of Christ is the best way to live this life. Now until eternity!

FLY!

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