Tag Archives: peace

•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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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.

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

Rhythms of Life

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“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30

Life throws us many, many different rhythms…just as a drum has many beats & tempos. The rhythms of life can depend on what we are yielding ourselves to and where we are letting our minds wonder. (“Set your minds on things above.” Colossians 3:2)

We all tend to get super busy and I know I’m guilty of this…letting the things that really matter slip. Like cleaning in the evenings whenever I should be resting or getting on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest when I could be doing something productive. It’s wonderful to be involved and be “busy” but it’s important to have balance and not become burned out. So many times people miss the true concept of being a believer. Being a believer/follower of Christ does not mean slaving away at a church (although it’s GREAT & I encourage you to volunteer & be active in one)…it means having a relationship and walk with Christ, serving others, loving others, building the church (God’s Kingdom not the physical building) & having fellowship with one another. The enemy would love nothing more than to get you busy doing “STUFF” (religion) rather than having a RELATIONSHIP with the one who created you. It’s obvious that religion is not the answer. With religion it’s easy for things to just be a big “hype” & easily becomes “man-made” self gratification. And with that follows…burn out, competitive spirit, exhaustion, confusion…and those things are definitely not of God. But with a Relationship comes…rest, peace, comfort, joy, love, forgiveness. “Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

See the enemy tries to fill your mind with the “rhythms of the world”. In the world you have a chaotic beat/rhythm but in Christ there’s consistency. Although their are and will be trials to come…Christ will remain constant.

I feel so blessed to know that the Creator of the Universe is asking me to run to Him & cast all worries, fears, insecurities, burdens and so on to Him.

My challenge to myself & to others is to walk with HIM & keep your mind on things above. Don’t be tossed and turned with the rhythms of life but seek the constant beat with Christ.

xoxo,

Jess

Listen to this song below…Run to You by Kari Jobe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twldmf8QEeY