Thursday Inspiration 10.30.14

I think I’m getting sick. I had an overall feeling of malaise right before bed last night. My head feels full of cotton, and my stomach just feels unsettled. I went into today with the posture of my head down so to speak. I’m ready for the day to be over and to crawl back into bed to sleep it off.

But it’s funny how in the midst of it all, when you aren’t feeling your best, how God shows up.

On the bus ride to work I was feeling kind of nauseous which was making me anxious..I actually think I might have emetophobia but anyway. As I was closing my eyes I started to sing a song. This only happened to me once before (refer to my last post: https://jesscbnyc.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/let-it-rain-lyric)but I know it was straight from God and Heaven. I jotted it down in my phone:

I inhale Your presence

I exhale Your praise

I know I’m created 

To exalt Your name

All worries behind me

I call out for You

No matter my problem

You’ll always come through

I finally got to the office and while I’m getting work done I don’t feel 100% myself. But again unexpectedly I was asked to work on a side project coming up with marketing terms/copy writing for use on our website. It just feels good, which I’m feeling sick, to be creative and to come up with new, fresh, words. Similar to my “song” from this morning.

Lastly I got a random text message from someone at church with a lovely scripture:

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An excerpt from Psalm 96 MSG:

1-2 Sing God a brand-new song!
Earth and everyone in it, sing!
Sing to Godworship God!

2-3 Shout the news of his victory from sea to sea,
Take the news of his glory to the lost,
News of his wonders to one and all!

4-5 For God is great, and worth a thousand Hallelujahs.
His terrible beauty makes the gods look cheap;
Pagan gods are mere tatters and rags.

All I can say today is God is good!

Found on thechicestchick.tumblr.com

Wednesday Inspiration 10.29.14

In the midst of any day I find moments where I am just grateful. No matter where my mind travels whether to events in the past or worries of the present I know that my Lord Jesus is always with me, always reaching out for me, always available.

From Isaiah 43 MSG:

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
    The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
    all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
    That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
    trade the creation just for you.

No matter what you may have faced this “hump day” know that you made it to the other side. No matter what you faced this week or will continue to face remember that the God of everything calls you by name, He would do anything to rescue you, to be there for you, to get you back from wherever you’ve run off to.

Photo Credit: http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/the-hand-of-god/

Tuesday Inspiration 10.28.14

Sometimes it can be hard to do daily tasks and jobs that aren’t what we want to do or acknowledged. It’s important to keep things in perspective though. Ultimately we need to remember that even Christ wasn’t showy. Not everyone acknowledged Him and He deserved to be. As Christians we need to realize that our flesh desires to be noticed but spiritually we need to always remember that we are actually meant to be #2.

An excerpt from Colossians 3 MSG:

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

Judah Smith 10/17/14 “Home Sweet Home”

I was just feeling heavy-hearted. I feel like this once in a while and literally my internal voice will say to me “I want to go home”. It sometimes feels childlike to say that. Like I’m at work. Or I’m out doing something and for whatever reason I just want to go home. I was remembering today that one of the teachings during the Hillsong Conference touched on this very topic. I recorded the message for later use while listening to it live and today decided to listen to it again at my desk during my day at work. Just listening to Judah’s voice made me happy. It reminded me of the great time of preaching and worship during those three nights and two days. I often feel this way after events such as this and even after Sunday services at church. I just want to be in that place forever. I don’t want to go back into my stress or my “real life” during the week. I want to dwell there in those moments 24/7.

Have you ever felt this way?

I think it often comes when I am overwhelmed, non-confrontational, and just overall not in a happy place. We all go through times like this when we’d much rather be at home with the kids, or in bed, or snuggling up by a fireplace watching movies. Whatever your “home” image looks like. But today it dawned on me that what I really actually want is to be at peace, at home, with Jesus. Sometimes I just want to feel safe. I want to re-calibrate. I want to refuel. After listening to this message I don’t feel 100% night and day but I certainly feel better than I did before.

I hope this encourages you:

Major Points from “Home Sweet Home”:

  • Is my soul healthy? Is my soul well? Is it well with your soul?
  • Scripture says “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” – 3 John 1:2 ESV
  • God is concerned with the inside far more than the outside–this is why the mind, soul, heart, and spirit are mentioned so much in the Bible.
  • Judah travels a lot and hates traveling and loves the feeling of relaxation and the natural exhale you let out when you are finally back home. This is something about being home because is your space and your sanctuary. You need to go home and you need to visit home often. People were designed to have homes – if you do not visit your home often it affects your personality, your emotions, and your overall health.
  • When was the last time my soul was home? How is my soul? In order to find out we have to go back to Creation.
  • Man was created as a shell/deactivated. When Adam was created there was no mention that he was human, alive, or living until he receives the breath of God. Genesis 2:7 KJV “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
  • When you speak about your soul you are simultaeously speaking about the breath of God. We are all living on borrowed breath. Therefore your soul is the breath of God.
  • To be truly human we must use the breath He gave us and use it to bring Him praise–all of creation is a theater for God’s glory
  • All of creation yearns for Jesus’s return (hills, lakes, trees, etc) all understand they exist to worship God. The trees get it. Their limbs shake in excitement waiting for Him to come. They can’t wait. (This is a wild thought isn’t it?)
  • In scripture Jesus is told that he must make people stop praising Him. Jesus replies that even if a human won’t praise me–even the rocks and trees will grow hands and mouths to praise me.
  • Luke 19:37-38 “Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

    Blessed is he who comes,
        the king in God’s name!
    All’s well in heaven!
        Glory in the high places!

    39 Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!” But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

  •  Psalm 103 has 22 verses which is equivalent to 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet..it’s the A-Z of life–beginning and ending with “bless the Lord”
  • The Hebrew mind would have read the Psalm and instead of merely understanding it to say praise the Lord oh my soul they would recognize that it is really saying “praise the Lord oh my breath”
  • Judah’s friend is a recent follower of Jesus. Was convinced of Jesus being the real deal when he read the book of John after seeing someone else was reading that book. He explained his experience as follows “it was like coming home” something within him knew this was home. This book was home. What it was saying was home.
  • You can go home even when you’re not physically in your home. This can be through reading the Bible, singing a song, listening to a song, anything that brings your soul home no matter where you are physically.
  • Concluding story of Mary and Martha—“Mary has chosen the better thing.” Perfect illustration because it takes place in a house. Mary is literally home but she is at home in Jesus’s presence. Luke 10:42 shows Jesus addressing the condition of Martha’s soul: “But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

So today no matter where you are, does your soul need to go home? I encourage you to take a moment whether it be in your bedroom, in a public bathroom, in a dressing room, or on your lunch break to visit home. Give rest to your weary soul. I can guarantee you will feel more rested than when you started.

Photo Credit: https://www.premierproductions.com/tour/hillsong-conference-usa-2014/new-york-city-ny

Monday Inspiration 10.27.14

I was unexpectedly approached about a job. Let me clarify that I’m not interested in another job. I am happy with my current job. I am not in a hurry to look elsewhere. I finally feel comfortable. This other offer was out of the blue and instantly I felt guilty and nervous for even reading the e-mail and eventually agreeing to meet over coffee to see if it sounded like something I would be open to interview for. Now I don’t know if this is going to amount to anything. I don’t know if this is a God thing. I don’t know what the outcome might be. I do however know that God will see my through no matter what the situation is.

An excerpt from Proverbs 3 MSG:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.

Psalm 32:8 NLT:

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

An excerpt from Isaiah 58 MSG:

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
    your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
    I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
    firm muscles, strong bones.

In other words I don’t need to worry. Even though I didn’t ask for this potential opportunity I am not in this alone. I don’t have to accept it or reject it. I just need to ask for God’s guidance and remember that He has already gone before me. I need not fear.

Photo Credit: the-worship-project.tumblr.com

Tongue-Tied

Any time I have a weird dream that I think might have a deeper meaning now I write it down. I always found dreams interesting but I haven’t begun really looking into them biblically until I started this blog. Here is another exercise I’m doing today, live, as I type this to try to understand what God could be saying to me.

On 9/30/14 at 8:56 am on the bus to work I wrote this note in my phone after waking up from a dream earlier that day:

-My uvula was tied up and I couldn’t swallow, trying to swallow made me gag

-I had one watch hidden in each bra cup (weird), a watch in my front pant’s pocket, and one on my left wrist. I had a sense during the dream that I was hiding them so no one would be able to take them from me

-Each watch was worth $150 so that would mean I had $600 total

Now none of these things together made any sense but the fact that there were a lot of details made me feel like this was an important dream.

KEY FACTS:

The number 150 and/or the number 600

I had four watches

My uvula was bound

I remember how gross the feeling of my uvula was tied up in my dream. For those of you who don’t know what a uvula is, it’s that fleshy pouch that hangs in the back of your throat. Now imagine it’s bound up. Somehow is has gotten tied up inside of your throat. That’s pretty vile. Once I recovered from that memory I tried to find out what an uvula actually does. Sadly there is a lot of conflicting information on the internet on this body part. Some believe that it covers our nasal passage so our food/swallowing goes down our throat the right way. Some believe it assists in creating speech. I couldn’t find conclusive information on this overall, but it seems to be a part of the human body for a reason.

I tried to find some numerical definitions for 150 or 600. I didn’t have much luck with 150 (I only noticed one reference to the 150 years in the Ark during the flood) and so I turned my attention to 600 and I basically found out that Noah lived to be 600 years old and that the number 600 comes up a lot in war i.e. Goliath’s spear head weighed 600 shekels of iron, etc. Both numbers didn’t really help lead me to an explanation of why the number 150 was in my mind in the dream.

Lastly I tried to find some information about watches. Literally I know watches indicate the passing of time. Why did I have four watches though? I was wearing one on my left wrist. One was in my pocket, and two were quite literally down my shirt. How odd! Through researching online I came across a verse in Matthew 14 (verse 25) when Jesus walks on water. In some versions (KJV, ESV, NASB) it says literally “in the fourth watch of the night” to indicate  what time of the night Jesus appeared on the water.

“Jesus comes to His disciples in the fourth watch of the night. He comes when it is darkest. He comes after they have struggled for nine or ten hours. He comes to them not at the beginning of their struggle, but He comes to them at the end of their struggle. – Source: http://frjamescoles.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/why-does-jesus-sometimes-wait-until-the-4th-watch-of-the-night-9th-sunday-of-matthew/

The only thing I could really come up with is that I have passed a lot of time. I have waited for many things to come to pass in life and the fact remains that in the “fourth watch” Jesus appears. He will always come triumphantly when you think time has run out. Sometimes in our effort to stop time or hold on to time, we hold on to things that aren’t valuable. But even though at this time, I might be unable to fully speak, grasp, swallow what is happening–I can be confident that Jesus is still on time.

What do you think about my dream? Are there Biblical symbols I could have interpreted better? Do you have any insights?

Friday Inspiration 10.24.14

Part of life is growing. We don’t always like where we started out or the darkness from which we came, but you need to begin somewhere in order to grow. I remember as a child..I would write all sorts of silly feelings in my Lion King diary. I remember I was such a weird child because I actually made symbols for each letter of the alphabet and coded my diary so no one would be able to read what I wrote. As I got older I realized that took too much time and with my next diary I wrote it out in plain English. At some point I hated all of my diaries and ripped them into little pieces and threw them out. I think it was because my mom read parts of one.

The point is..even as a child writing in a diary I didn’t want to be remembered or defined by things I grew out of. Things I once thought. Mistakes I once made. As a CHILD I knew this. So how much more so do we feel this way as adults?

I think this image is beautiful because it’s simple in its truth. “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be”. It suggests transformation. You don’t have to remain defined by the things you did..or the things that were done to you. You are endlessly learning who you are and more excitingly who you are being sculpted into; who you were created to be. It’s okay to look back and say “I no longer know the person I once was”.

The comforting thing is God knows who we truly are and is willing to walk with us through our transformational journey. In an excerpt from Isaiah 42 MSG it says:

But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way,
    who can’t see where they’re going.
I’ll be a personal guide to them,
    directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take,
    make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.
These are the things I’ll be doing for them—
    sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.”

In essence, even though you might know who no longer, you still may not know who you really are now. But God does. He will direct us by hand through this unknown landscape. We’re not expected to do this alone. We also see this in the Bible when Jesus simply tells people to follow Him. They don’t get a map or an itinerary. They leave behind who they were, what they were once doing, for the promise that He knows which roads to take.

In Isaiah 40 MSG one part says:

Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
    gathering the lambs in his arms,
Hugging them as he carries them,
    leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.

God is tender with us. Therefore we need to be tender with ourselves..patient with ourselves. This is a process.

In the beginning of Isaiah 57 MSG it says:

A Message from the high and towering God,
    who lives in Eternity,
    whose name is Holy:
I live in the high and holy places,
    but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed,
And what I do is put new spirit in them,
    get them up and on their feet again.

So take to heart what His promises are today knowing that you are on your way. You are not held to who you once were.

Photo Credit: Pinterest (no image source defined).

Thursday Inspiration 10.23.14

correct

I located this image online a while back and I really loved that it challenged me to see things differently. Especially on Instagram there are a lot of trends in photography i.e. the infamous selfie. I like photographing and making memories even though my photos aren’t all that great–they make me happy. However a lot of people use Instagram to prove a point or to showcase their lives. There will be fashion bloggers posting themselves in various outfits, photographers posting lovely landscapes, men and women posting daily selfies, food lovers posting yummy dishes, and the list goes on. What’s cool about this quote is that it causes you to stop and reflect on your motives for posting pictures.

I definitely don’t want to point the finger at anyone but I think it could be a good exercise to look at the things you photograph most and see if that tells you anything.

  • Selfies – Are you worried about what you look like? Are you scared to get older? Are you unhappy with what you see in the mirror and like to get validation from others by posting only your best filtered image?
  • Significant other – Are you genuinely happy? Are you afraid to lose that person and take lots of pictures to hold on to the relationship? Are you posting lots of pictures as a way of showing your relationship off to your ex?
  • Food – Are you showing off how many times you go out to eat? Are you afraid of losing the persona you have online? Do you only go to places where you know it will be a good photo op?

Granted some of those projections as to why you might be doing something is far-fetched. I can’t imagine some people doing that—but I can’t discount that there are some people who might be. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy your life and want to share your passions and interests with people but it could be a good way to self-inspect. I think we should always be fruit-inspecting and making sure we aren’t looking for validation and placing self-worth in the hands of other people–especially fickle people on social media who could approve of you one day and turn on you the next. I always want to make sure that my grasp on temporary things is looser than my grasp on eternal things. I used to value relationships, friendships, a social life way higher than necessary and luckily that was before Instagram or I would be lathering the internet with my obsessions. Most of the time without even thinking I post things about my blog or a good Bible verse or church, or a hang out with my volunteer group or family. I’m not saying you can’t take a selfie because you’re having a great hair day that might never happen again, or you can’t take a picture of you and your S.O. because you’re just so in love…haha. But I think we need to be careful not to make idols of these things. There’s this part in the beginning of Isaiah 65 that says:

 “I’ve made myself available
    to those who haven’t bothered to ask.
I’m here, ready to be found
    by those who haven’t bothered to look.
I kept saying ‘I’m here, I’m right here’
    to a nation that ignored me.
I reached out day after day
    to a people who turned their backs on me,
People who make wrong turns,
    who insist on doing things their own way.

I never want to go back to how I was…overly needy for good friends, or a relationship, or a job, or whatever it might be. I can be grateful for those things but I never want to replace God with those things. I want to spend more time talking about Him or to Him than what I’m wearing or who I’m doing life with. Everything in moderation—but I never want to be moderate with God.

Photo Credit:http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/07/02/365-happiness-project-quote-157/  image had a spelling error that I corrected in MS Paint. (Yes I’m crazy)

Wednesday Inspiration 10.22.14

I caught myself feeling particularly lonely a few days ago. It’s hard when social media in particular makes it seem like everyone’s having the time of their lives. Selfies of friends having sleepovers, ambiguous inside jokes, pictures with hundreds of likes of random landscapes or blurry images that quite frankly aren’t that interesting but they have enough followers that will approve of anything they post, you know what I mean. I joked once to my mom that I could literally post that I won a million dollars and want to share it and I would get—max 12 likes on Instagram.

I think sometimes it can be easy to feel like no one is validating your existence. You maybe hang out with friends once a month IF that. People get too busy to check in with a text or call. The highlight of your week is catching up on tv shows on Free on Demand since you were too tired to stay up past 9 pm on a weeknight. Right? Maybe I’m projecting here.

Or better yet, you can feel like the same people are being honored/praised/included/invited and you have enough self worth to know you could possibly at one point or another deserve those things but you are in the shadows. For whatever reason you aren’t noteworthy or noticed. And you know what? That’s okay.

I used to be way more co-dependent about things like that when I was in grade school/high school/ even in college. But as I get older–in a healthy way–I’ve learned to not care. Granted I’m human and the enemy can whisper things to make you question your worth and you can be reminded of past feelings of inadequacy but it’s important to reel that all in. If the God of the Universe keeps a careful eye on me, if He is pleased with me, does it really matter if no one else is?

An Excerpt from Isaiah 54 MSG:

Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed.
    Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short.
You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
    and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
    his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
    known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
    and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
    and then left,” says your God.

……Lay your foundations with sapphires,
    construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
    and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
    what a mentor for your children!
You’ll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
    far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
    far from terror—it won’t even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
    don’t for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
    nothing will come of it.

……This is what God’s servants can expect.  

I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.

And so I believe that with each day we all need to grow in our trust and relationship with who God created us to be and who God says we are. People will always fail us. People will fail to appreciate us. People will find other things to do that are more fun than hanging out with us. People will choose the easy road. People will abandon us. People will do all sorts of things. But God will always see to it that everything works out–and not only works out but works out for the best.

So when you are feeling lonely or overlooked remember that the God who owns everything who made everything chose you. Wanted you. Pursued you. Keep your perspective on the main thing which is Him and not on what everyone around you finds praise-worthy.

Photo Credit: 38.media.tumblr.com

Tuesday Inspiration 10.21.14

An excerpt from Isaiah 51 MSG:

For I am God, your very own God,
    who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves,
    named God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
I teach you how to talk, word by word,
    and personally watch over you,
Even while I’m unfurling the skies,
    setting earth on solid foundations,
    and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!’”

I really love the book of Isaiah. It might even be my favorite. I think it’s human nature, female nature, my nature to be romantic. To watch a movie, read a book, or admire people’s relationships and think WOW that’s love. Isaiah reminds me that–no, THIS is love. No matter what God’s people did to betray Him or do the wrong thing He always turned from His anger to restore His beloved people. The same God who keeps the oceans moving, who unfolds the skies like it’s nothing is the same God who teaches us what love and life is all about. He is ever waiting to welcome His people home and the idea that we have a God who “personally watches over us” is nuts. So many people serve Gods who are quick to anger, and distant. Who have better things to do and servants to do their bidding. But our God? The one and only God. He PERSONALLY watches over us. He doesn’t trust this to anyone else.

Today in spite of disappointments from friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, children, whoever it might be–remember that God never disappoints. He is always faithful. Always watching and no matter what your failures might be–He will never give up on you. He will always watch over you. He’s ready to welcome you home.

Photo Credit: classicandcolorful.tumblr.com