Tag Archives: grace

•Obtain•Remain•Sustain•

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.Deuteronomy 30. (Read)

The Lord put on my heart back in November to read through the Bible – cover to cover. My pastor encourages to “read scripture slowly” so I haven’t been following a “Read your Bible in a year plan” but instead 1-2 chapters sometimes 3 a day. One of the challenges I’ve had over the years is to f o c u s and dig deep into the Old Testemant. I was a skimmer of the OT before but WOW how God has been using it to speak to me and making it come alive and relatable to my today. 

Our Father desires us. ALL of us.

“Ex 34:14  Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”

He wants to prosper us and desires us to remain in Him. God is not pushy or a God of force. He wants us to want Him — above all else. As I was reading Deuteronomy 30 the Lord put three words on my heart. Obtain,Remain and Sustain. So I pulled up google and searched “define…” and typed in each word to dig a little deeper than Jessica’s definition of these words 🙂

Obtain. “to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request”

Proverbs 8:35 “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.”

Remain. “to continue in the same state; continue to be as specified”
John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

Sustain. “to support, hold, or bear up from below; bear the weight of, as a structure.”

Psalm 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.

He is OURS. We GET to serve and live with Him FOR Him. We are priveldeged enough to obtain His salvation. In order to fulfil His plan we must remain in Him — not of this world or fleshly desires. When we remain in Him — He sustains us. He gives us the strength, love and support that we need to walk out His will.

Be encouraged today that HE is Emmanuel — the WITH us God. We don’t walk through mountains or valleys alone because God is the Constant One. 

If you didn’t have time to read Deuteronomy chapter 30 earlier — it’s talking about the ones who are -coming back- to His goodness. God has laid out the paths of life or death. They got to choose…so do we. I love how it mentions it’s not difficult to obtain His favor. We don’t have to ask someone to cross the sea and bring it back – it’s IN Him and He abides IN us now! The same God who provided for the Israelites and redeemed them time and time again is the same God who redeems us TODAY. He is restoration! I encourage you to read the whole chapter.

All He asks for is our heart — pure, deep, aching love for Him that continues so much so that He is the ONLY one who can sustain us because after all we were created for HIM by HIM.

Father,

Thank You for choosing to create me. Thank You for giving me grace and eternity when I deserve hell. Thank You for new mercies every day. Father forgive me for the times I haven’t remained in You. Forgive me for the times I chose my agenda over Yours. Help me to chase after You with all that I am. We all crave something more and God You put that crave there for a purpose on purpose — to continually remain IN You. Help me seek You more. Help me love louder — without demand or expectations — simply because You love me. Be my sustainer in the mountains and the valleys. I welcome You to lead, guide and direct — every area. Help me to keep pure intentions and focused on YOU. Your kingdom come – Your will be done. Amen.

Xoxo,

Jess Fox
PS. If you haven’t read the Bible through — today is the day to start! Transformation in your life starts with saturation of the WORD💛

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Dear Christian Millennials,

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Dear Christian Millennials,

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Dear Christian Millennials,

 

I’m one of you. I’m an organic eating, green cleaning, coffee addict who is an iPhone photographer. My social media pages are full of all things ; children, recipes and selfies captioned with an inspirational quote (because of course we wouldn’t want to come across vain for having a good hair day 😜)

Our world has labeled us as “tree hugging, self absorbent, spoiled adults” OUCH!

I want to speak to you from my heart – how I see our generation. Like or dislike – I’m sharing my opinion on the world and age group I live in.

First off, kudos to us for “waking up the farmer”. 💚 We have seen the effects of poor eating habits and environmental factors that have played a role in health issues with the ones we love. I’m glad we are “getting back to the basics” and simplifying our food choices. It thrills me to take my kids to the farmers market (with our reusable bags of course) and purchase fresh produce grown with love. Makes me feel good to sew into that farmer so they can in return provide healthy foods for my family.

I’m glad sunshine has become our medicine and fresh air our relaxer. Our generation has been known to have hobbies such as hiking, kayaking, fishing etc I’m glad we find comfort from natural elements – ones GOD created for us to enjoy and thrive in. ☀️🍂🍃🌻🌿🌾

It’s amazing to see young couples make the decision for the mother to stay home with their children and some even homeschool. (NOT saying any less of a working mother or school attending student as I have been in both scenarios myself) I’m just stating that homeschooling and stay home mothers are on the rise within the group. Millennial moms have also been labeled “traditional”

Men within this group of course are known for their beards and “man-buns” I personally think men have become more fashionable – that can be a plus right? My husband totally rocks the “beard look” They work hard – some more than one job. Millennial dads are known to be more involved with their children by coaching sports, playground days, helping out in the kitchen and of course those “giving mom a break” Saturday mornings.

Ok so there are many more positives I could name about our age group but I want to share some concerns of mine:

•We seek authority. See our parents were servants. I grew up a pastor’s daughter and saw time and time again my parents giving of themselves when they were just plain exhausted. They worked HARD (still do) and didn’t expect anything in return. They believed in sewing and planting seeds. They believed in investing in others without a paycheck.

Us? Not so much. We want promotion and we want it now. We don’t see the need to be faithful and committed but will do what it takes to get to the top – and fast. Many of us live the lifestyle our parents live NOW when they have worked 20 plus years to be where they are. We believe we deserve this and that we are “owed” and very much so entitled. These questions rush through our minds…What’s in it for me? If I give this of myself what will be given in return? We are living in the fast lane with no plan. We do what feels good and what gets quick results – this is what happened to our food industry and we have noticed how poisioness that was…why can’t we see how poisioness our pride is?

•We allow our children to behave much more freely than we were allowed. We are afraid that discipline will “corrupt” them when actually corruption is the result from lack of discipline

•We are apology seeking. Everyone else is always wrong…right? We don’t like to take ownership for our words OR actions but we are quick to be offended and expect a fluffy apology.

•On the contrary we are silent. Crazy huh? Boisterous and silent? This generation is all about human rights and equality to the point it clashes with our beliefs but we are silent. My son was born at 36 weeks and I was in tears to hear that certain individuals want to allow partial birth abortions! My son was breathing, eating and eliminating just fine and could much earlier than that! We are quick to make a stance but slow to provide the solution (preaching to myself there)

•We are a people that want unity and oneness in our world but yet afraid for our kids to use public restrooms. We talk about how disheartening it is that our children don’t salute the flag or start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance but don’t go the extra mile – afterall we can measure our concerns with the amount of “likes” we get on Facebook. WHY don’t we share our concerns? WHY don’t we make a stand? I believe it’s because we are numb to society. We have “allowed” things to happen and have misunderstood acceptance with chaos. We have been sold the lie that we are the generation of peace, acceptance and unity – we are puppets to those who are selling the lie.

•Our churches have become “fan clubs” seeking numbers, approval and Facebook blurbs versus hearts, disciples and followers. We speak what’s wanted and pleasing to the ear but shun what God says and where He stands with controversial situations. I read a wonderful book “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman and I was amazed to see I fell within the “fan club” category more than the follower description. Eye opening!

God created boundaries within this world but we have ran away from them thus the result of chaos. We are “getting back to the basics” with so many other areas – why can’t we with our beliefs? Other religions are proudly making a stand but yet we can’t.

Our parents will be and some have already retired…we are the next leaders. We must stop caving into the thought that we can sit around a campfire and sing “kumbyah” God created man AND woman. He created us with strengths and weaknesses – on purpose. He created us with drive and ambition BUT to be used to chase after Him – and in return HE will direct and convict us on what to do – that’s not a maybe but a PROMISE. God will remember and fulfill His promises (not on our watch but His) because He IS faithful.

How long will we be silent? How long will we continue to be the media’s puppets? How long will we allow selfish ambitions to be our drive? How long will we allow our children and ourselves to be a “social experiment”? How long will we allow the church to dismiss controversies?

I do believe another •GOOD• point about “us” is that we tend to speak with love and are more conscious of others. We don’t need to mistake that with fear of taking a stand and voicing our beliefs, fears or concerns. Make a stand today. Live and love on purpose with GOD’s purpose. Millennials, our today is our children’s tomorrow – make it count!

I want to close with this quote by George Barna,

“We lack an active, clear belief system based on solid scriptural principals. Now more than ever, we need a way of life that brings us clarity in the chaos, peace in the problems and boldness in the bad times. We need a new way of seeing – A Biblical perspective that guides our every thought and action. So what is that Biblical perspective? It’s a way of dealing with the world so that we act like Jesus, 24/7 because we think like Jesus. We need to think like Jesus”

Love,
An awakened millennialIMG_0821.PNG(pictures from google images – no source notated)

Shhhh…Library

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“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”(Colossians 4:5-6)

This morning I took Gabriel and Natalie to the local library. We have attended the “Story-time” a handful of times but he has never checked out books. While I was giving my information to obtain a library card, he was busy winning the hearts of the librarians and the older ladies that were meeting for a book club. When we received our new card we made our way to the children’s section. Our library has a wonderful children’s room filled with bright colors, puzzles, toy mazes and computers not to mention the rows and rows of books waiting for exploration.

Gabriel loves everyone he meets, his innocence is so precious. I love seeing him interact with other children and make it a point to have him play with others. We have been learning about sharing and what it means to take turns. He has become pretty awesome at sharing (it was challenging at first but with learning patience, teamwork and shedding tears he has it down).

There was a little girl about 4 years old that was in the room. He instantly makes his way over to her and says “hey friend”. She smiles and they sit down and play quietly having a fun time together-sharing just fine. Her mother and I were chatting away as our kiddos played nicely together.

As they were playing a couple more girls enter the room. The four of us were sitting at the kiddie table that had four chairs. The children’s mother walks in and instantly takes over the room – I know you other moms have been in these kind of situations before. Loudly ordering her daughters to do this and do that (in THAT voice) and then she disappears into the main section of the library (trusting that her girls do no wrong). Meanwhile, her daughter comes over and pushes Gabriel out of his chair onto the floor. He as well as myself and the other mother were taken by surprise because he was sitting there quietly playing. Crocodile tears roll down his face (and I could feel myself getting really flustered inside-of course that’s MY baby boy). Gabriel says “Mommy she not share” “She push me” “Hold me Mommy”. I politely and gently say this to the little girl, “Sweetheart, my son was sitting in this chair before you pushed him and was playing with this toy. He will be glad to share with you but he will need to sit in his chair.” She pushes the toy aggressively and runs to the next one (again taking a puzzle piece out of another child’s hand).

Meanwhile, Gabriel continues playing with the first kiddo he was playing with just fine. The girl’s mother walks back in and asks them to finish making their selections, to find them pulling and tugging a book back and forth. The book they were fussing over was a popular one and Gabriel had his eye on it the whole time. I’ve taught him that when you are done with something you put it back up and it becomes available to others. Gabriel had waited and waited for this book-I even said “wait your turn, when they put it up you may get it”. So the little girls put the book on the shelf and walked away (their library bag was already overflowing with other selections). The second that book hit the shelf he quickly walks up with a huge grin on his face and reaches for it with his adorable chunky little hands. The younger sister darts over and roughly jerks it out of his hands. Gabriel looks at her and tells her “I’m sorry, I’m sorry”. I about lost it (LOL). I quietly said to my son, “Gabriel you didn’t do anything wrong. You patiently waited for your turn to get the book. Lets just pick out another one and you can check it out the next time”. The mother turns and looks at my 2-year-old son as if he understood her and says, “My girls were playing with this book and are checking it out. It was there’s all along. They made a mistake by putting it on the shelf and walking away”. The mama bear inside of me wanted to say something back to this mother SO bad. I wanted to make MY point clear that Gabriel was in the right and her children were in the wrong. (Not saying that he is perfect because he is NOT and we encounter learning experiences DAILY). I wanted to let her know that her behavior as well as her children’s was out of line BUT, I felt a still quiet voice say, “Let it go”. The “ME in me” was tempted to sarcastically begin singing the song “Let if Go” from Frozen but I remained silent.

“Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Proverbs 17:28)

I allowed the Holy Spirit to put a “shhhh” over my lips. Ironically, we were in the library 🙂 I could tell it was bothersome to the mother that I didn’t flinch or retaliate. She proceeded to rub it in that her children had the book by saying “look how colorful this book is and it even has a turning wheel (Gabriel’s favorite part of the book) to change the color” etc…(BLAH BLAH BLAH) I again wanted to say, “your girls are at least 3 or 4 years older than my son AND you have the whole library in your checkout bag-could you not let him have the book that he so patiently waited for?!?! The one that YOUR girls put back on the shelf and turned away???” But I again, remained silent.

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”(Colossians 4:5-6)

This is not a big issue compared to others and may sound silly to you. But to a mother of young children, it breaks your heart to see someone do them wrong. The mother of the child Gabriel had been playing with so well said this aloud “Well I guess he will have to learn that’s how things are in the world. You are such a sweet and gentle boy. I haven’t seen someone as kind and well-behaved as you n a while”. Inside I was like BOO-YAH but realised that God had honored my silence and allowed this mother to brag on Gabriel (to build him up) in the midst of what seemed like a war to a toddler. As we checked our books out, the librarian looked at us as if she had apologetic eyes and said “he is such a sweet boy, he really is”. She gave him a sticker and said “thank you for sharing”.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)

My challenge from all of this is to evaluate your words. Evaluate your behavior in the midst of a trial. I am working on this daily as words can fly out of your mouth so easily. God has called HIS children to a higher standard. To let your words speak love and cause peace among others. Even if your point is correct it is not always necessary to blab it out. He has called us to be gracious as He is with us daily. Walk in wisdom and choose wisely the words you say because you never know what someone is going through. This mother could have definitely been going through a hard time and maybe had been holding in her emotions and snapped at my 2 year old. That doesn’t make it right but it doesn’t make it right for me to lower down to her actions and retaliate either. (Had it been a more aggressive situation, of course I would have intervened) I’m not saying let others walk on top of you-but don’t allow petty stuff to steal your joy, composure or witness.

xoxo,

Jess