Tag Archives: Jesus

•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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The very •words• we speak are more powerful than we will ever know. The tongue is actually responsible for life and death.

Proverbs 18:21 (msg) Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

I saw a meme on Facebook that really stood out to me – it said “if the words you speak frequently were tattooed on your body what would they say?” Wow. Would your body be – a reflection of Jesus or an imitation of the enemy. 

When we’ve asked our kids to do something for what seems the hundredth time – what words and tones do we use? When our husbands miss the laundry basket by a foot with their dirty socks (or just one and the other somewhere else lol) how do we respond? OR do we react? I’ve had my fair share of reactions but the more I draw near to Him the more I’m learning to respond and quietly! Someone once said, “If you want your children to listen – whisper it instead of screaming it” (Kudos to the hubby who now puts his socks IN the laundry room 🙂 newly weds…the day WILL come for you – keep a gentle spirit ha)

So not only are our words vital but the tones that go with them. If we want life to the FULL and desire to have “good days” we must learn to •zip it• (speaking to myself here) Build •others• UP and you’ll notice the Father will build you UP – with a deep down  satisfaction that -no one- else can bring.

1 Peter 3:10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.

When we meditate on Him and receive the words He has for us — it’s much easier to allow God words to flow out of our mouths.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Father help my words be -God words- ones that reflect and extend YOU. To the stranger on the side of the street to the President of the United States and all in between help them see YOU in me. Help my heart and mouth be pure and in sync with You. Thank you for Your Spirit who helps to keep us in check. My prayer is for the Helper to convict me more and more of the words and tones I use – it’s not only a “me thing” but for those around me – those to whom I speak to. Help my words be holy as You are holy. 

In Christ,

Jessica Fox

Higher Thoughts 

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Higher Thoughts 

I know I’m not the only one that gets overwhelmed with the ins and outs of every. day. life. It’s easy to become •distracted• with our thoughts, worries or concerns. It’s also easy to take the mundane tasks for granite. 

Are you lost today in your thoughts? Do you feel as if you are walking in defeat? The Father says that’s enough and that He has come to give us *life* and life to the •FULL• The dictionary defines -full- as:

*Containing or holding as much or as many as possible; having no empty space.

*Not lacking or omitting anything; complete.

We get to choose what we are “full” of. We can ~choose~ fear and doubt to reign in our hearts which leads to chaos. OR we can ~choose~ faith and joy that is deep within us that leads to p e a c e.

The enemy LOVES for us to be fearful – the more fear the better. The enemy’s desire is for us to be so full of fear that we are completely distracted by it instead of dwelling in Faith. Faith is GREATER than fear but we cannot discredit or ignore the downspiral effect it has on believers today. I’ve read “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyers a few times and I totally agree that the mind IS a battlefield. IF the enemy can sneak in – just by one. single. thought. He’s got you right where he wants you. It just takes a little space to create a flood of negative thoughts. 

Colossians 3:2 says “Set your minds on things •above•, not on earthly things.”

That’s a daily act…a million times a day act. For example, when your kids are acting up and you feel like you can’t handle another outburst – set your mind on things above. When you get a not so good report from a doctor – set your mind on things above. When you’re not sure how you’re going to pay a bill – set your mind on things above. When your car breaks down and you’re late for work – set your mind on things above. When you are unhappy at your job and feel as if you can’t clock in not even one more day – set your mind on things above. When the enemy whispers you’re not good enough – set your mind on things above.

When we •think• God thoughts and become FULL of His word and Spirit – there’s no room for anything else. The very definition of -full- shows us that statement to be true. “Having NO empty space”

My challenge today (myself included) is to think God thoughts – ones that align our hearts and minds to His Word. All other thoughts – take captive and release to Him. Personally, I find it helpful to •verbally• share my concerns with Him. This can be done in your car or in your kitchen – or wherever because He dwells in us and is Emmanuel – the WITH us God. 

Ps 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and He *will* sustain you; He will •never• let the righteous be shaken.

Set your minds on things above and walk in His fullness,

Jessica Fox

•Fully Focus•

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•Fully Focus•

In a world full of distractions – it’s most difficult to f o c u s.

Our families deserve our “best” affection, our workplace deserves our ~excellence~, our churches deserve our *dedicated* service.

It can become overwhelming to say the least – and I just mentioned a few areas. A sweet chorus my mom used to sing me to sleep resonates in my heart this morning :

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.”

When we “fully focus” on Him – the hustle and bustle of things don’t seem nearly as demanding as they do when we are -fully focused- on “those things”. Our attitudes become like His, our words become life, our actions reflect His love. 

See, Matthew 6:33 says, 

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

All “these things” will be •given• to us once we are fully focused on Him. 

For me “these things” are characteristics of The Father in order to walk out His calling in my life. For example – raising children requires MUCH patience and grace. Eating clean requires self-control. Serving in various areas requires humility and God confidence. If I don’t start my day in Him I run out of those by 8 am. 

The point I’m hoping to pull out is this – seek HIM- trust HIM- be imitators of HIS Word- and you will radiate the characteristics of God. 

Ephesians 5:1-2

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

Father,

May I have the “God scent” you desire me to have- to You first and then to the world. Help my actions line up with my words. Help my life to be a reflection of Your love. Help me focus on You – above ALL else. Help me in the areas I lack for IN You – I lack nothing – I AM a new and whole creation in You. 

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”2 Corinthians 2:15

Much Love,

Jessica Fox

(Photo credit: http://www.influencechurchradio.com/uncategorized/women-of-influence-focus/)

Send me – I’ll go

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Send me – I’ll go

Let me start off by saying I’m so incredibly thankful for worldwide missionaries – ones that •go• where others do not. Ones that are -called- and sent out to share His love. They have my highest respect!

Believers who share God’s love with their nextdoor neighbor also have my highest respect. The Word does not say that someone is valued more by the Father by occupation. Thank the Lord that HIS grace and love is enough for us ALL.

I’ve been meeting with a group of young ladies weekly and I am so loving the friendships that are growing while our relationship with the Father is deepening. It’s definitely had a “deep & wide” effect on me. 

We’ve been talking about praying dangerous prayers and being more bold in our Faith.

The book we are going through is entitiled “Set my Heart on Fire” by Lee Grady and I highly recommend you reading it!

Very inspiring and eye opening to the Spiritual realm. Life with God is so much deeper than salvation. While that’s necessary to be in relationship with Him and receive His grace – it is the foundation of what it yet to come. 

Thankful that His Spirit empowers us to walk in Him to the full! For example, we can share our faith with gentle boldness, we can speak LIFE into others, we benefit from His discernment, we can have a prayer language and so much more!

Personal story…a few weeks ago I felt led to purchase the order of the car behind me at Starbucks. I got up to the window and paid for mine and then said I’d like to pay for the car behind me. The barista at the window said “Wow what a generous thing to do” my response? “Thank you” – THANK YOU- 

I drove off and the Holy Spirit began to speak to me – I had taken credit for the generous act. For all they know I could have been a generous atheist. I did not acknowledge Him at all. Now I do believe the Holy Spirit can work regardless of me BUT it was a fear issue. I had asked earlier “Send me – I’ll go” but I went in fear and didn’t acknowledge Him with boldness. I believe Fear is the enemy’s “rest” if you will. He loves for us to be crippled and paralyzed by it so much so that we choose fear over FAITH.

I heard this deep in my heart, as a teachable moment, “The Father is SO generous to me daily and I wanted to share His love”

^^^That will be my response the next time. Who knows what could come from that statement? The Lord could open the door for me to lead the barista to HIM. But I must obey and speak with God confidence – that can only be found in Him. 

In our study one chapter talks about “flowing in the Spirit” and how when we *attempt* to in our flesh – it’s exhausting and not effective. When we flow IN HIM it is edifying and not only effective but contagious. 

My challenge to you and to myself is to pray “God send me – I’ll go, with God confidence that only comes from You. Increase Your Spirit in me and decrease my selfish motives. Help me keep my heart and intentions pure.”

When you pray “dangerous prayers” like that – watch out because God WILL use you. You may be heading to Africa or buying meals at restaurants or leading people to the Lord in the middle of the grocery store. You may be playing basketball outside with the neighborhood kids – extending God’s love to them because their family may be going through a divorce, you may be smiling at strangers or leading a small group at your church. Don’t put God in a box and allow Him to flow •through• you as you seek more of Him.

Proverbs 3:6 In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, And He WILL make your paths straight.

Much love,

Jessica Fox

(Coffee mug picture from http://www.anqu.com/tu_543/22890_7/)

Oh the •sound•

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Sounds are •everywhere• and can be produced with about anything.

Music is one of the more obvious. To say I love music is the least. I have it playing nearly at all times – in my house, in my car, while I’m working out…it’s a HUGE part of my life.

Not only do I enjoy •listening• to music but I enjoy ~playing~ and s i n g i n g music. Funny thing is, my husband does too. So it surrounds us.

I promise I’m somewhere with this….hang in there =)

The mind is powerful and so IS the tongue.

Proverbs 12:18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

There was a season where I found myself “ok” with listening to music that clearly wasn’t “bad” but it wasn’t “good” either. So in other words I had become •numb• to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in this area. I justified it every single time.

Can I say that if you are •numb• in one area it’s most likely running into other areas as well.

Think about tingling or numbness in the extremities – it’s not just the surface of the skin but comes down deep from within with the dendrites that aren’t following the signal from the neurotransmitters SO it’s a communication error. It’s a “misfire” of information.

God forgive me NOW!

It all started with me feeling the need to have “upbeat” music at the gym. Like I said the music was clean and mostly upbeat pop sound but it was not •pure• not the way the Father describes pure.

I use Spotify so it has “weekly recommendations” and so one day I clicked on it and some of the songs that came on shocked me. I had been “ok” with the upbeat pop for too long to the point where Spotify was trying – attempting to get me to branch out and listen to other artists – ones that are upbeat but are no longer clean. That was a wake up. That’s when I made a stand – no more secular music for this girl.

Sounds pretty legalistic doesn’t it? Legalism is NOT how God intended us to live but BY His Spirit. And guess what? His Spirit sets us free and guess what else? His Spirit was NOT ok with me listening to even “innocent” pop.

I deleted the playlists that did not line up with the direction His Spirit was leading me to. It wasn’t even hard – there was freedom in releasing it.

It was refreshing to hit “weekly reccomendations” and be introduced to some new and talented artists. Ones that lift HIS name higher & higher. Oh guess what else? My anxious heart was soothed. I had slammed a door closed – one the enemy was attempting to further advance. I had starved the enemy OUT.

The world has “a sound” and the enemy loves to lure us in slowly but steadily. Be mindful of which beat you walk to. Be careful not to become numb to His Spirit. How? Draw NEAR to Him. Love something my pastor says, “You can be as close to God as you want to be”.  On the flip side you can be as FAR away from God as you want to be. Don’t allow the sounds of this world to sing you in.

The music you listen to affects you MORE than you’ll ever know. I want to challenge you for SEVEN days to only listen to “God sounds”. I’ll list a few of my favorite artists below:

-Bethel Worship

-Brian & Jenn Johnson

-Kari Jobe

-Audrey Assad

-David Baloche

-Hillsong

-Elevation Worship

-Jesus Culture

-Stephanie Gretzsinger

**No offense to Christian radio because I am so SO grateful for them BUT there’s SO much more music out there that will satisfy your ear that they don’t play. Get on YouTube and Spotify and you will be amazed to find all the new songs.**

Oh the Sound of Jesus – it’s the name above ALL names and the Sound above ALL. Make sure you’re listening to Him first. He brings healing and peace.

Father help there to be NO communication errors between Your voice and my ears. Help me to HEAR You and to act on it. Help me to mute the other sounds but remain open at all times to Your Spirit. Help me to sing Your song.

Much Love,

Jessica Fox

Be a source of JOY – wife version

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Dear soon to be wife or newly wed, I was you – exactly 7 1/2 years ago! You know, we have it all together – working, volunteering, taking care of the house, planning a wedding and maybe even taking college classes. At the time, I thought I knew quiet a bit – I’m not saying I did not know anything but acknowledging now that I did not know as much as I thought.

One thing I’ve learned over the past several years carrying the title “wife and mother” is – we are CALLED to BE a source of JOY to our husbands.

Let’s rewind 7 years ago to a morning in our bathroom where I was literally about to kill my new handsome perfect to me husband (ok not kill but pretty close lol)
– I fell into the toilet bc he had left the seat up
– The toothpaste lid was off
– His underwear and socks were literally in every corner

I remember getting SO upset over “these things.” I mean how could two humans clash so badly but yet love each other over the moon and back and be on the same page in life?

You see God uses even “these things” to teach, shape and mold us. Ok fast forward 7 1/2 years (we’ve been youth pastor’s, experienced a miscarriage, grown more knowledge in financial matters, experienced heartbreak from unfulfilled dreams, Hayden going back and graduating from college after Gabe was born, death of our grandfathers, have two beautiful children, moved a few times….etc) we’ve been through a lot together to say the least – BUT GOD. He is faithful through every season. So anyways I’ll stop rambling. Wives how do we become a “source of joy” to our husbands?

1. Acknowledge that we cannot meet his every need and vice versa. First we must fill ourselves FULL of the Father. Read His word daily – multiple times a day (you ALWAYS have time) I encourage you to journal as well. Not a happy, fluffy or fake journal but one where you are REAL with God – about everything. There was a season when I was a new mom and felt like I didn’t “have time” to read my Bible and I went through a slump – that’s why I always say…you HAVE time – make it.

2. SERVE your husband. We live in such a “me” world that it’s gotten SO far away from what our Creator envisioned us doing. The moment you are “too good” to be a helping hand or to pick up after him without being asked then I feel we need to “reconnect” and make sure our hearts are truly aligned with HIS. Trust me I’ve picked up a LOT of underwear, socks and clothes that pile up on “that chair” over the years and the earlier years when I complained about it – did NOTHING. He at least gets them “near” the laundry basket now but what harm does it really do for me to pick them up? A few of my friends have lost their husbands unexpectedly due to car accidents lately and let’s just say – a moment like that – puts things into perspective. I thought to myself – honey miss the basket every single day, leave your guitar case wide open and guitar laying in the corner – I’ll gladly pick it up. I now pray over his clothes when I’m folding, ironing and putting them away – something as simple as “God, protect him, keep him safe and bless him with his meetings today. God pour out your favor on his work day and let him be a light for you……” (Expressing your feelings and desires in a sweet and calm way go MUCH further than bickering and nagging) Our Father actually teaches us wives NOT to nag and bicker. Ugh that’s a hard one! Be a source of JOY. SERVE with a smile. This doesn’t mean to be a doormat and let a man treat you wrongly but it does mean position your heart with the Father and when your source of JOY is from Him then you will overflow.
3. Live simple! So often we get caught up in the materialist things we possess in our marriage instead of the moments. Moments > possessions we recently decided to sell quiet a bit of our things (some still pending) just to simplify. We’ve been eating at home much more and there’s something so unifying about “the table” at home with your little family around it. Eating out has become a “treat”. Life is beautiful and when we are constantly working to just dust our collection we miss out and our own joy is dampered. Nothing wrong with having nice things but when you both crave more and more – once again, reconnect and make sure your hearts are aligned with the Father not with the world.

I feel like all three of these points are daily processes – meaning – we never achieve all of these. We need to renew our minds and reconnect our hearts daily! I’m FAR from perfect and still gripe about things from time to time but – the beauty of attempting to *keep* and follow these three points are G R A C E. When God sees our heart and sees us truly striving HE will fill the gap. Where we are weak HE makes us strong. Where we are stubborn HE makes us humble. Where we are impatient HE makes us patient. Where we are grumpy HE makes us joyful. Our ultimate source is HIM.

I want to challenge you to continually “dine” with your Creator and HE will sustain you, HE will fill you to overflow.

Go be joyful wives and truly LOVE your husbands.

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)

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

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