Tag Archives: #GodisFaithful #trials #glorify #Jesus #honor #joy #peace #happiness #comfort #rest #devotion #Life

Be Curious.

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Is it possible that the modern Christian has put “parameters and limits” to our Creator? I mean we all dress up, get our nice warm cup of joe, put on our happy faces (as we pull into the church parking lot because nothing went right that morning) , attend service, worship, tithe and go home. I am a strong believer of attending and being connected to the body of Christ (definitely not bashing the church) but – why are we so close-minded? Do we have a “surface relationship” or an “intimate relationship?”

When I fully understand something, I tend to get bored with it. It just becomes apart of my routine – becoming thoughtless or second nature. If salvation is the only thing we seek to learn about our Father, we will get bored – not that salvation is boring at ALL but it’s the first step. God has called us yes, to first MEET Him, ACCEPT Him and then KNOW Him. You can a l w a y s learn something new about someone, always.

When I say “be curious” I don’t mean questioning God’s Word because what’s written,stands. Be curious about your Creator, what He likes and what he doesn’t. You wouldn’t buy your husband a Duke jersey if he’s a Tarheel fan (that would be a nightmare in my case) It’s a relationship, not a list of do’s and don’ts. We all know a “that Christian” who preaches all the things you “can’t do” but why not be curious about the things you “can do?” Yes I believe the entire Word of God should be preached and that there are things you shouldn’t participate in but to me it sounds like a shallow relationship, focusing on don’ts.

Let’s play this scenario out into a marriage – it would be like constantly telling your spouse, you can’t look at that woman, you can’t have thoughts about another man, you can’t sleep around, you can’t have a hobby – you don’t have time, you can’t be alone with another woman, you can’t have coffee with another man, you can’t, you can’t…. boundaries should be set (according to God’s word) and reviewed BUT how shallow would this relationship be? It’s merely a list of “don’ts.” There’s no intimacy. There are no ebbs and flow. There’s no room for “love or trust” because you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells waiting to mess up. It’s bound by force, rules and regulations. Our God is a God of FREEDOM and LOVE.

1 Corinthians 13 The Message

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

God desires us to love and walk in freedom. 1 Corinthian’s makes it clear that we are to love and to put away “childish thinking” – which to me is do’s and don’ts.

We should strive to be relational and have conversation with our Creator. Think of it this way, toddlers don’t sit still long. Yes, they can engage in conversation but it’s usually pretty direct and predictable. Now fast-forward twenty years and you can sit and focus for a much longer period of time. Not only that but you can enter deep conversation and even tap into emotions (multiple ones) We should never feel as if we aren’t “good enough” to go deeper with our Father. He DESIRES us to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”)

Ask God questions. Ask Him to show you how to deepen your relationship with Him (moving forward from infancy in Christianity – pursuing holiness – life and what to do after salvation, it doesn’t just stop there. We never reach a “final destination” here on Earth.

Father, thank You for salvation. Thank You for giving the BEST gift ever given. I pray You will help me to open my mind to walk deeper with You. I pray You will help me to not have a “surface” relationship but to have an “intimate” relationship. I want to KNOW you. I desire to live a deeper life of holiness. No one knows the answer to everything You do or have done – God help me to stay curious, desiring to know and learn more and more. Help me not to have a spirit of contentedness but stretch my knowledge and deepen my walk with You. Thank You God for the freedom that comes in my walk with You. Amen.

xoxo,

Jess Fox

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Fight with Peace

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Ok so you’ve read the title and it seems bizzare….when we promote peace we usually don’t fight do we??!?!

I’m going to be open and honest in this post…I feel like someone out there needs to hear this.

Before having Gabriel I rarely battled with a yucky 5 letter word…WORRY. I was carefree and didn’t really have a worry in the world. See, I grew up in a wonderful Christian home and I don’t recall having to “fight” many battles at all…I had a pretty awesome childhood and not “sheltered” from reality but not going through any major trials of my own. I saw my dad go through many health trials but I hadn’t faced anything “super mega” challenging in my own life…well except if my tan wasn’t dark enough or my hair wasn’t life enough 🙂 I had not honestly seen the “real world” until moving out, getting married and moving away from my sweet little hometown. When you do those three things…you really grow up…fast. (Especially once having children). When my precious Gabriel was born, it’s like I birthed something else into my life…WORRY! At first, it was just “normal” stuff like checking on him a billion times in the middle of the night to make sure he was breathing (because he was a preemie he didn’t wake up screaming to nurse like Natalie does). I do know now with having two children that your basic “motherhood worries” are normal and ease up some after you enter about month 3 or so of babies life…but continue all throughout their lives with different seasons and new worries. (they don’t have to control you though) But…mine wasn’t easing up in my life. It actually grew and grew and grew into fear. I began to think up scenarios of things that “could happen” but most likely never ever would. I became so full of fear I felt paralyzed. I felt stuck. I felt alone. I have been a Christian for most of my life and had never experienced anything like this. I had NO clue you could worry over someone so tiny and small so much. The responsiblity of being a mother is tremendous because all of a sudden you are responsible for someone else’s precious life. My husband was so sweet and supportive during this trial…always praying and encouraging me.(Even though I was probably driving him crazy…I was driving myself crazy haha) I spoke with my Dad multiple times as well and he told me I’m going to have to overcome this battle with the PEACE of God.  It’s that very statement that got me thinking…you overcome trials and battles by fighting back with the peace of God. I began fighting each thought and scenario.  2 Corinthians 10:5 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

This verse became my constant meditation. I had it written all over the house. I had it pop up as a reminder on my cell phone, I memorized it, I spoke it all throughout the day. See the enemy LOVES to get into your mind and fill it with junk. It becomes a battle…a constant one. A reoccurring one. I also began reading “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers…which is an incredible book for anyone to read. It helps you see that God is on our side and He is fighting for us all along…we just have to SUBMIT our minds and OPEN them to allow him to.

God doesn’t desire us to worry…actually fear=doubt. And this is the lesson that God taught me in all of this. I let the enemy STEAL my joy of a having my sweet Gabriel. I had LET FEAR IN. I had allowed my thoughts to run wild and far away from God’s word. I wasn’t keeping them in order or submitting them to Him. I was taking things into my own hands…and well we see where that got me..on my knees! See I am (with the Holy Spirit) the MASTER of my mind. I can either think on things of this world (doubt, fear, insecurities…) or I can think on things ABOVE (joy, peace, love, kindness, JESUS). Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. The awesome thing about our Father is that HE is real. He doesn’t beat around the bush…He says it like it is…and I adore that! He desires us to be the same way with Him. He already knows the thoughts we are having…so speak them to Him and say something like this “Father, I don’t have time to think about this mess…I’m so fed up with the constant chain of thoughts…I’m tired of my life being ran by the what-if’s. I’m just honestly fed up with my mind..please Father take these thoughts away.” And you know what??? The thoughts don’t disappear like you’ve taken a “magic pill”. They are STILL there. It’s kind of like a war. Just because a solider is standing there…doesn’t make the enemy disappear….the soilder has to FIGHT him. Speaking your thoughts to God is step one of the battle. You are now allowing and asking God to fight them for you. Step two is consistently renewing your mind! It’s a multiple time a day event for me. It can be as simple as saying “God I give my thoughts to you…help me to honor you with each thought” A simple way that I began “retraining” my mind was speaking little things like this throughout the day… “Father I love you.” “Jesus give me peace” “Father I’m so thankful for You” “Father You are holy” “Jesus I know you are the beginning and the end” “God I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper”…I would mix different thoughts of thankfulness and praise…and as I began thinking on those things, I didn’t have time to meditate on silly unrealistic worries. As I meditated on Christ…the worries started melting away. See, the battle was being won! (In my illustration of the war….the soilder was getting rid of the enemy one by one by fighting them) The victory was here. I with Christ on my side had WON my mind…my battle. We FOUGHT WITH PEACE..together!

My challenge for you today is to first, open your lives to allow our Father to fight the battle with and for you. Secondly, renew your mind daily! Take every thought captive and if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God…tell it to get OUT. I still every single day (sometimes multiple times) give my mind to Christ…because worry is a dirty little thing that tries to creep in over and over again. But now that I’ve won a big battle with Christ…the little “fusses” are much easier to overcome. I’ll leave you with this verse.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

xoxo,

Jess

When All is Stripped Away

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Keep this question in mind….“Who am I when all is stripped away?”

As I was warming up for my run at the park last weekend I was listening to my iPod and the song “All I Need is You” by Hillsong came on. Anyone that’s heard this song knows it is a slower paced song…I usually enjoy running to fast tempo. I felt like the Lord was wanting me to continue to listen to the song…so I did. Here are the lyrics to the song…

“Left my fear by the side of the road
Hear You speak
You Won’t let go
Fall to my knees as I lift my hands to pray

Got every reason to be here again
Father’s love that draws me in
And all my eyes wanna see is a glimpse of You

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord

One more day and it’s not the same
Your Spirit calls my heart to sing
Drawn to the voice of my Saviour once again
Where would my soul be without Your Son
Gave His life to save the earth
Rest in the thought that You’re watching over me

All I need is You
All I need is You Lord
Is You Lord

You hold the universe
You hold everyone on earth
You hold the universe
You hold
You hold”

As I was listening to the song…it builds up during the bridge and I just started running and couldn’t stop. To think that our Creator holds the entire Universe in His hands made me feel very small…but at the same time extremely important that He “holds” us all. Not drags, or pushing along, or putting us on a shelf…He holds us. The word “hold” means “to have or keep in the hand; grasp. To set aside; reserve; to remain faithful; to remain valid.” God spoke to me that He is all we need & that He will sustain us, that He will be our very breath of life. That without Him I am nothing.

I haven’t shared much about this but I’ve been dealing with some health issues. It started back in July and I won’t go into great detail but I just felt “off” and not like myself. I had severe dizziness/off balance and just felt overall…bad. I kept putting it off saying “I’m not getting enough sleep”, but it continued to get worse…to the point one evening I passed out. That led me to the doctor (which I’m not a fan of going). I went and one physician checked my thyroid levels and diagnosed me with Hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid). I started treatment and 3 months later…not feeling better…at all. One doctor had told me another possible diagnoses and sent me to have a brain and spinal MRI…came back perfect (Praise God). I continued to feel worse…not knowing what was wrong…and that is the worst feeling ever! I am very in tune with my body…esp. after having an all natural birth and knew something isn’t right! I finally got an appointment with an Endocrinologist (after a 2 month wait) who is a natural doctor but will treat with prescriptions if needed (if natural tx doesn’t work). I listed out all of the symptoms and he said I have a feeling I know exactly what it is. He did a full metabolic blood panel. My blood-work came back and we found the issue…your normal thyroid antibodies are supposed to be 0-20 and mine were 735(WOW :0)and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroidism! This immediately gave me some relief to know that something is going on but at the same time scared me to death…what is going on, what is Hashimoto’s, how will this effect me?? I’ve always been so healthy and have experienced no health issues at all. All these thoughts rushed through my mind…stealing my peace and rest.

See, my body thinks that my Thyroid is a foreign object in my body and is killing it. The problem is…your Thyroid is your master gland of the body and controls/regulates pretty much…everything in the human body. Hashimoto’s is the #1 cause of Hypothyroidism in America but most doctors just stop and give you a prescription and regulate the “thyroid stimulating hormone” but not the antibody/flareup which is what causes all the yucky symptoms. Long story short…the doc put me on some natural supplements to take down the inflammation. I can tell a difference and I’ve only been on these supplements for about a month. I know the Lord can heal and restore our bodies…but I am so thankful that the Lord has given this doctor the knowledge to help me. (It’s great that my doctor is a Christian as well and has pictures of stories in the Bible where Jesus is performing miracles.)

Through this time…God has been dealing with me. While running, this one question kept playing in my mind…”Who are we when all is stripped away?” The reality of this world is not perfect…in fact we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. Our minds cannot contemplate why these things happen but this is where I feel faith is birthed. We must understand that God sees and holds the entire universe & that we just see what’s right in front of us. I believe God uses trials to reveal His glory and to make sure His children are where they need to be. After thinking all this through…it led me to the question again..”When all is stripped away who are we?” When money, relationships, jobs, social statuses, homes, cars, churches, gyms…etc are gone who are we? Do we find ourselves empty, alone, confused, restless, in need, dry, anxious, depressed etc…or do we find ourselves full of joy, comfort, peace, well rested, satisfied, confident, fearless etc. 

I just knew the Lord was speaking to me because my flesh/body has just felt horrible lately and I was so concentrated on my health and wellness that I wasn’t putting all of my trust in Him. The bible says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6

 

In church the following Sunday, Pastor Andy said, “This year is the year God wants us to come forth. It’s not all going to be fun or pain free, but He’s going to bring things to the light and deal with them.” It was such a beautiful message and spoke to me so much! I feel that God is bringing some things to light in my life that I wasn’t aware of…I’m thankful for this season of wisdom and spiritual growth.

Living on this Earth is not about us glorifying ourselves, our possessions, our flesh, our desires but lining up our hearts and minds to Him. In everything we do…glorifying Him and out of that comes perfect peace, joy, comfort & rest. 

On the glorious day when we stand face to face to our Creator, our Lord, our Saviour, all will be stripped away…everything except our heart and the condition it is in. Our physical bodies will be gone, our aches and pains will be gone, our nice cars and homes will be gone, our relationships and people we worked SO hard to please will be gone, our fancy jewelry and stylish clothes…will all be gone. The one thing that will remain is the Lord. He is the one thing that is constant through every trial. He is the only person we should live for. Yes I believe we should all do our jobs to the best of our ability and work hard on relationships, be healthy and take care of our bodies but not get distracted and miss the whole point of life. It is simply….living a life that honors and points others to our Creator.

I pray that this speaks to those who read it. I pray that God will continue to bring things to light in my life that I need to deal with. I pray that everything I do will glorify and honor Him…pointing others to Him. I pray that when all is stripped away that I am…humble, compassionate, faithful, trusting, honoring, joyful, helpful, well rested but most of all…completely living for Him. 

xoxo,

Jess