Be true

I saw this quote on Pinterest today and I immediately thought of being a Christian and what that means. In order to guide my thoughts on this I will list out some important Bible verses below:

1.

Matthew 7:24-25 (MSG)

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 (that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.) but have not lived it you are being dishonest. Why? Because receiving the Truth is literally giving your dead body the paddles of life. Therefore you should be living desperately for God’s word.

2.

Matthew 5-7 (MSG)

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

All of this. If you are truly living the way God has instructed you, you will be the lucky winner of the above-mentioned “blessings”. Yay persecution! Yay defamation!

3.

Deuteronomy 12:32 (MSG)

32 Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don’t add to it; don’t subtract from it.

In other words you should do your best to follow God’s advice. He knows you, He formed you, and He knows what is best for you. Granted we all fail at various aspects of obedience but we don’t need to add anything to God’s word. It stands true. It doesn’t need a pastor’s book to be added to it and regarded with equal weight. We need to strive to live true, honest lives and we can’t do that by listening to other people or ourselves. We are “desperately wicked” as the Bible says. God is pure and without fault, so we’d be wise to try to follow His lead. No?

4.

Galatians 2:21 (MSG)

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

This is the perfect ending scripture. We’re not going to ever have it “together” but we should want to try our best to honor God with our lives. We need to be authentic with our questions and struggles but not totally bow down to our feelings and give up trying to live by faith and give ourselves repeatedly over to God. We need to learn grace, show grace, and slowly bit by bit transform into grace.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 but have not lived it you are being dishonest.

Don’t be dishonest. Be true to what you believe.

Hillsong Conference 2015

I attended Hillsong Conference in NYC last year and got a lot out of it. But it was also really grueling to commute in and out of the city with my mom and literally be stampeded every day by people running and pushing you out of their way once doors opened to get the closest available seats. I remember towards the end vowing that I didn’t want to go again the next time. It was too much irritation towards the end.

I was at church last Sunday and I felt like God was telling me to go. It’s in NJ in October, and the more I see the highlights from Sydney, the more I want to go.

Despite the annoyance of people pushed around, despite the crowds, and the exhaustion it can be to be with that many people, I feel like I could sit all the way in the back this year and possibly be content just by hearing what God wants to say to me.

One of the highlights from this video says how important it is to hear God’s voice over all other voices: Satan’s, other people’s, your own. And it whacked me over the head. I want to hear God’s voice. We are all given access to His voice but most of us have either never audibly heard it, or have so long ago that it seems like a rarity. I think you can be lead by the Holy Spirit daily, but not everyone hears God’s voice clearly every day or in every season.

So even though I’ve waited until pretty late and didn’t have much savings (eeep to full price) I’m being available for God to speak to me.

I say this to encourage you not to get caught up in annoyances. Sometimes it’s worth dealing with those little pet peeves so you can be there for the main thing.

Here are the Highlights are shared to Hillsong’s YouTube page.

Leadership

Source: Biblegateway.com

There are some times when I feel really overlooked. Like everyone is being noticed or elevated for their talents or skills within church and I often am the nameless one. Meaning, people in leadership still don’t know me by name or what my function is. I don’t need to be praised but sometimes you can wonder how you can be so under the radar after years and years and people don’t know that you’re a leader. Don’t get me wrong I know some people aren’t good with names. I know I’m not visibly high on the totem pole either. But sometimes you can feel like no one notices you or appreciates you. In darker times you can even feel like other people are favored by God or the church.

I remember long ago I had posted that when I was first attending Hillsong NYC I felt like I wasn’t beautiful enough or talented enough to be a part of this church. I realized it was definitely the enemy speaking to me and my own insecurities but it was still a sad realization to have. I learned though after a while that some other people felt the same way and so that was refreshing to some degree.

Another time I shared on here how I began feeling during one season of my life that I would never be on stage. I do things behind the scenes to make church home, but I’m not someone anyone is looking at. Right? Wrong. During that season God had a need for me to help out with the choir for church and voila–my big head on monitors everywhere. Haha. I believe God has a funny way of taking your doubts and showing that He can do whatever He wants with you. If you don’t believe you are going to be noticed, He’ll shine a spotlight on you. If you are having a bad day, don’t be surprised if He sends a stranger your way to compliment you. God is good.

Today I wanted to share that I am a part of TMNGHT at my church. TMNGHT or team night is a weekly gathering where everyone who volunteers in a creative capacity gets together to have a mini service and then break off to do team trainings or activities. I’ve done two of these trainings so far for my Venue Design team and felt very honored to be able to do that. You get to explain why we do what we do, why I love it, why it’s important, and bond with each other. It has also helped me feel validated as a leader because I know I have wisdom to share and you don’t always get that opportunity.

I happened to be looking up when my next training was on a shared document from the team and I was shocked to see that not only do I have a training next month for my team BUT I will be speaking a message for the whole group!

This is not, yay me time, but more like affirmation that you can feel unnoticed but God will still use you if you don’t lose hope and even if you have lost it. I’ve been at this church for 4 years and it’s just now happening that these opportunities have come my way. Before that I was in churches my entire life, and was never asked to lead anything or share anything. Over time you can feel jealous that other people are having that time in the limelight, or confused that you have desires that are not being fulfilled and wonder why you aren’t chosen.

I just want to remind you that you are purposed. Your time might not be now and you might have to watch a parade of people getting jobs, or being proposed to, or having babies, or getting raises, or speaking at church or whatever, and it can feel like God just loves those people more than you. But God doesn’t have favorites. Sometimes you might feel discouraged but just know that I have as well and when I didn’t expect it, God showed himself faithful.

Friday Inspiration 7.10.15

Instapray.com

I might have mentioned it before but one of my biggest struggles in life right now is simply believing in love for myself. That might sound melodramatic but it’s 100% and completely the truth.

If you have been following me for a while you might be familiar with my past and heartbreak and if not, no need to re-hash. You can always go through my archives if you’re nosy! Ha.

Regardless I go through times of feeling really down about it and times where it’s out of sight out of mind. Meaning, if there is no one there beside me it’s not hard to not miss what you don’t have. I enjoy work, shopping, church, Netflix, car trips, all kinds of things can occupy my time. But being a single 27-year year old, I do have times where I’m like, shoot, I don’t know if my heart can hold on hoping.

Anyone?

I trust God and doubt all at the same time when it comes to my future husband. I wonder sometimes if there will ever be one. I find myself sappy and cynical and optimistic and depressed at various times in my life. It’s definitely not something I always know how to deal with, outside of prayer, or a nap or what ever. I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

When it comes to dating, I don’t. I’m pretty novice at the whole opposite sex thing even though, I’m not a virgin, and therefore not totally uncultured in attraction, men, and how some of that love stuff works. It’s more like. I don’t like what’s out there. How horrible to admit!!!– but it’s true. I’m a Christian which is good right? I mean I’ve dabbled in some less-than holy activities, albeit not much. And I’ve dated two non-Christians. Both ended badly. One lesson I must admit that I still haven’t learned, and the other was wayyyy too much deja vu to continue past 2-3 months and I wised up quicker than the previous time. The last, eh, was a Christian but never committed. We went on about a year of dates where he was a perfect gentleman, paid for everything, talked to me for hours about everything under the Sun, but just poof. Never wrote back. Never wanted to hang out. Never actually asked me out officially. Haven’t heard a peep from him in three years. So I guess you could say overall that I haven’t maybe had the best opportunities to not….become bitter. That’s fair.

However, it’s hard at times, to be in church, in more of a youth-centric Church culture and time and still be like, man, I don’t know if I believe in human love for myself anymore. To go to church your whole life and never feel womanly or attractive to any of the guys that attend. To never be asked out on a date or asked out for coffee or just ask to be their friend. NADA! I just don’t know. Like, thank God for Jesus. Thank God that I know and am continuing every day to fully know perfect love. But human love? It still makes me skittish.

I came to this realization when a close friend of mine from church invited me to hang out with her boyfriend and his buddy. Immediately my heart was like, excuse my french, hell no. I’ve only been set up once, as a preteen and let me tell you, it was horrible. That was enough for me. I want to choose, right? I want to have some power over who I date. Or I want some magical unicorn of a Christian man to just gaze across the congregation at a service and ask for my number. Is that wrong? Probably not, but none of this has happened for me.

So it brought me back to all sorts of emotions that I guess I didn’t realize were still there waiting to pop the second I was poked out of my cynical comfort zone.

I’m not going to even sugar coat it, she showed me his picture, and felt nothing. I don’t even believe in “types” but if I did, he wasn’t it. You know what I mean? Like there was nothing there. So instant attraction, not there one bit. Then just knowing that in some weird way I was being scoped for being set up, just soured me. Yes I’m single. Yes there is no man interested in me. But do I want to be even 5% set up in any way? No. So I bailed on plans.

Anyway, the actual point of the matter is. It reminded me of my own broken heart. It’s absolutely revolting sometimes to realize you are still broken hearted. Does anyone feel that way? Like you try and try and try for years to heal and you’re sad. And you finally realize that you can’t fix yourself so you give it to God. And He takes it. And you’re proverbially skipping along and wham you find yourself laying in bed with insomnia one night, thinking about an ex and you cry yourself to sleep. And you try again to heal. Or you try again to give it to God and you realize like I did this week that once again you do not feel at all that your broken heart is healed. Ouch. That can be humbling. That can be disappointing.

For me. My heart still feels like 17.

For me. My heart still feels like 17. I still feel like the girl who loved the boy who loved the girl too. I still feel like the girl who years later got a text which turned into a call which turned into finding out that I wasn’t the only one he was dating. I still feel like the girl who watched on the sidelines as a 6 year relationship went up and down and up and down. I still feel like the girl who falls into the same whirlwind every time he’s back in town. I still feel like the girl who tried to get over the boy with a worse boy. I still feel like the girl who didn’t want to be alive some days. I still feel like the girl who questioned for years after a breakup if her mom, if her friends, even loved her because the relationship ruined her trust in everyone, and everything. I still feel like the girl who waits and watches but as far as she can see love isn’t on the way.

I say that because I can’t be the only one who feels this human way. Saved and loved by God, but not convinced of the human version. We’ve all got issues. And it feels really unfair to be wrestling with the same heartbreak 10 years later. To be wondering why it still hurts, or why you want to forgive that person and try again now that he’s better, or why God hasn’t sent you someone to dwarf what you thought was love. Your questions could be my questions. Or they could be completely different. Heartbreak can come from anyone or anything.

I try my human-best to take comfort in the reminder that Jesus knew the Father’s love. But he still suffered as a human suffers. I’m sure he could have been tempted to be loved by a girl even though he never stumbled. He knows our hearts.

I write this today in the hope that this will be another dead thing that God breathes to life. I’ve always written exactly as I’ve experienced life and over time you slowly start to piece things together and see a change.

I hope above everything you realize today that heartbreak is a real thing. And it takes time. It’s disappointing when you feel like you haven’t gotten as healed as you wanted but God is near to the broken-hearted. He promises good for all of us..even when our hearts have a hard time believing it.

Tuesday Inspiration 7.7.15

Sometimes I can forget to take full advantage of my lunch break at work. There’s something so healing about the warm sun on your skin, an ice cream in the park, a walk through the streets. I am creative, I enjoy little things like this, and most days I remember who I want to be.

I want to make an impact on this world.

I want to be a writer.

I want to speak.

I want my blog to be profitable.

I want to visit my Compassion child in Ethiopia.

I want to do a missions trip for sex-trafficking in Thailand.

I want to see all that God has for me.

I want to trust Him more each day.

I want to believe in myself.

Sometimes you just have to get out of your office, your home, your apartment, and take a walk. It puts things into perspective.

Spotlight – Jessica Leigh Poetry

God, the potter.

God is the Master. The master of all things, of all trades.

He is of course, first the carpenter. Making all things durable.

He is also the mechanic, incorporating all the parts necessary to keep things running smoothly.

But mostly when I think of who God is, a familiar image or metaphor comes to mind. And while this has been used very frequently in Christian theology, I believe it is the best, most true example of who God is, and in turn who Christ is.

God is the potter.

We’re all created perfectly by God whose adept hands have given us such life. We’re shaped just as he has made it. A slight curve here, straight parts there. We’re so unique that each stretch of clay that we are cannot be replicated. So God makes us, and we harden into life, fleshy beings composed of skin and muscle and all these complex things, rolled up into a slice of what is called the human being.

And then life rolls in, the world roaring at us, trying to take God, our Creator, out of the equation. And we fall into the arms of the world because it’s so easy to touch, to taste, to see, to hear. We feel too much of what the world gives us, our senses too acute to the pain that would so plainly be called “life”.

So we break. Whether it’s by toppling off the table, being chipped away by cold or heat, scratched by other objects or just worn by days, months, or years, we break. Sometimes we fully break, like I feel I have. The pieces of us are shattered on the floor, fallen from a great height. We literally do not exist so much more in this state. The matter that once was us, cannot be plainly seen. We look like a train wreck, a bloody genocide, a wave of incoherence.

But then this strange, amazing thing happens. We’re lying there, completely destroyed and Jesus is somehow there, always having been there, picking up the pieces of us. Holding our hearts in his hands ever so gently, beginning to put the pieces back on to the table.

And so it begins.

He doesn’t do this process fast. He makes sure that he takes each piece and puts it in its proper place. But within that same vein, he wants you to know what you look like too. He doesn’t want to put you back together without you seeing what he is doing. He wants you to see you. To see you in your fullness. In your exquisite beauty. In your uniqueness. So he takes his time. He takes the time needed for you to see that your deficiency, your brokenness, is only healed by Him – that it is only his hands that will bring you to completeness.

I will not lie. I keep forgetting this. I fall down and break – forgetting that the God I love is so carefully, slowly putting me back together. To a time I cannot even remember. A time in which I was whole and perfect. A time in which I was Holy and all together more beautiful than I am now.

Tonight, I have remembered even in the brokenness of life.

I have remembered God the master of all trades, God the potter.

To keep in touch with Jessica Leigh Poetry follow her Facebook page here:

Spotlights

In trying to keep things fresh as well I am making efforts to expand some of my offerings. I hope to have occasional guest blog posts to help support other Christian writers and creatives.

Keep an eye out for those. Hope you enjoy!