Jesscbnyc Recommends: All Things New 31-Day Devotional: DAY 5

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Sometimes when your prayers are unanswered you can lose hope. If you’re like me that can easily be more than just sometimes.

I loved this devotional by Charlotte Gambill because it shows us that we all experience frustration and lost hope. My favorite line was “God took me on a journey of getting my eyes off me and on to the people I came across on the journey.”

I love that.

Some of us wonder why we are in our job, single, sick, or struggling but we can fail to remember everything has a purpose and in our journey we can encourage or empathize with those around us.

I want to be a Charlotte. I want to “find a song in my barrenness” no matter the season or circumstance.

Do do you believe? What are you going to sing about before the miracle comes?

The Rescue

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (MSG)

The Rescue

3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Last Wednesday my cousin was laid off from her job. We’re not particularly close–it’s like that with most of my extended family on both sides actually, so when she texted me it was kind of surprising. I’m sure it was the Holy Spirit but I felt prompted to share a few Bible verses with her in response and reassured her that this was a God thing and that she could lay aside her stress and striving. Long story short what little I shared moved her to tears and she seems very open to hearing more Bible verses. It might be the time for her to develop a real relationship with Jesus. I believe she attends Catholic church–which I won’t judge as a whole being faulty–there are many Charismatic Catholics and Catholics who aren’t caught up in Mary-worship or Saints-worship and know that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. But sometimes I feel like in the Church (in this instance Catholic church) it can be easy to fall into religion and forsake an actual relationship with God.

I’ve been thinking about buying her a devotional, journal, and maybe a Bible too just so she can use this time wisely while she looks for another job instead of just jumping back into the same stress she just left.

I think it’s amazing how God works. Not too long ago I was laid off from a job that was so stressful and abusive that it took a mental and physical toll on me. And now it’s her turn. Like the verse in 2 Corinthians says: “we can be there for the person just like God was there for us”. Nothing is wasted.

If you wouldn’t mind please pray for her salvation and that the resources and/or texts I send her will stir up a hunger for God-things. Material things, big-title jobs, etc will always pale in comparison and produce striving and stress. God-pursuits only produce peace.

Monday Inspiration 1.5.15

Sometimes life can be hard. You want things to work out; you want a job, a spouse, salvation for a loved one, to be cured of an illness, whatever it might be. And often times it’s very hard when tragedy strikes or prayers go unanswered. I love this simple scripture because it puts everything into perspective. This life is fleeting..our life in Christ is eternal. Our God is greater. We can be stronger to face the days ahead when we remember this.

Photo credit: Flickr.com

Be Free

I found this organization after reading a Buzzfeed article. I think it’s a wonderful idea. So often when it comes to New Year’s, we become consumed with what we can do personally to improve our own lives. However, I want to continue to find creative ways to help people. This could be as simple as deciding to buy jewelry or a handbag from this company, sponsoring a child, or donating to a local cause. Mirriam-Webster defines a “resolution” as:

res·o·lu·tion

noun \ˌre-zə-ˈlü-shən\

: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something

: an answer or solution to something

Since when did a New Year’s resolution become something as shallow as working out more, traveling, treat yourself more, or any of these somewhat trivial things? I encourage us all to become people who challenge ourselves with each new year. What are we doing to improve as Christ-followers? What are we doing to make an impact? What are we doing to improve the lives of others? What are we doing that has lasting success and not just temporary satisfaction?

I think these are worthy challenges and worthy New Year’s resolutions. Challenge yourself to do something more this year…I plan to.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday Inspiration 12.30.14

As 2014 winds down people do one of two things. They either mourn what they didn’t accomplish in the past year or strive for better in the coming year without being grateful for the small things they already have. We have all been guilty of one or both of these things. Regardless of which side you find yourself on, it is important to be thankful no matter what and to nourish what you already have. Two verses that stick out to me are:

1 Peter 5:6 MSG “Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you”

Ephesians 5:20 MSG “Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.”

Those two verses remind me that God cares for me. He sent Christ to die for me. Because of all this–I should be living freely. I shouldn’t allow the things of the world to weigh me down. If God is careful with me, I do not need to worry. This simple verse is a great reminder and a good “workout” to build your spiritual body and make sure you are strong. Also, I need to have a singing soul. I am allowed to be grateful for small things; i.e. a sunny day, my warm feet in a new pair of socks, a pretty flower, anything. God is in all things and should be praised for all things whether big or small. By nourishing what we already see and have we satisfy our hunger for more. By being grateful we do not need to be jealous or strive for more. We are content no matter what but expectant that God, being who He is, will provide more when the time comes.

Found on 3rdavenue.tumblr.com

Wednesday Inspiration 12.10.14

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Tonight I had my company holiday party. People brought their small children, wives, etc and it felt more like family than work. I’m truly endlessly joyfully grateful for this job. So many times I felt discouraged and depressed at my last job. I felt beaten down and often felt like my very worth was in question. I was torn down verbally each and every day. I felt abused literally at work. It was pure torture. Words cannot express this. I felt like I was truly at my wits end. Like I couldn’t endure smother day. I needed out. And weeks and months and years would pass. And you know what?, this job is proof that God is faithful. He brings the best. He knows what is ultimately for our good and the very greatest has yet to come. I find myself smiling as I write this. Smiling as I lay in bed getting ready to fall asleep. Trust me when I say that God is faithful. I’ve seen the darkness and I’m finally experiencing the light. You’re not even ready for the Ephesians 3:20 miracle that He’s sending your way. Praise God!

Photo Credit:
http://tumblr.hannahrosebeasley.com

Have courage and be kind.

“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life has to offer: have courage and be kind.”

I saw this movie trailer today and it brought me unexpected encouragement. For those of you who keep up with my happenings on this blog you know that I was approached about a potential new job. I was filled with a combination of curiosity and guilt. Curiosity because it is a fantastic company with lots of potential to figure out what I really want to do with my career and guilty because I feel very loyal to my current employer and genuinely love all the people I work with.

Well all of this resolved yesterday when I received a call from the potential new employer and they offered me a substantial raise. I had prayed to God, God I only want this job if it is from you. You brought me to my current job and I love it here, but if my time is up–albeit sooner than I ever thought–make it clear to me. I want them to either choose someone else or offer me a significant raise. And much to my surprise they offered me the latter.

I still have to break the news to my boss during our weekly meetings together tomorrow and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t very nervous to disappoint him but ultimately I believe this opportunity is too good to pass up and more importantly I believe it is from God. I didn’t look for it. It came to me. In the same way that this current job came to me. God’s ways are not mine, and part of being a Christian is learning to go when He says go, and being okay with being uncomfortable.

I actually found another WordPress Blogger who feels the same way:

“Those times when you feel so led and so scared at the same time….THOSE are the opportunities God wants you to pursue and not because you can handle them alone, but because you can handle them with Him.  And when you choose to obey God and go down those scary, unknown paths….it is then that He knows how much you truly trust Him” – http://michelletraudt.wordpress.com/tag/getting-uncomfortable/

In other words some people love singing the song “Oceans” by Hillsong but not all of them are comfortable in the deep end. I definitely don’t like it..figuratively and literally. But Jesus calls us out on the water into uncomfortable terrain:

Matthew 14 (MSG):

24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

When He calls us out we can take courage in knowing it is Him calling out to us, and therefore we don’t need to be anxious in where we walk out to. If He called us we can go.

I also like Isaiah 51 (MSG) which begins:

1-3 “Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living
    and committed to seeking God.
Ponder the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were dug.
Yes, ponder Abraham, your father,
    and Sarah, who bore you.
Think of it! One solitary man when I called him,
    but once I blessed him, he multiplied.
Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion,
    comfort all her mounds of ruins.
I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden,
    her moonscape into the garden of God,
A place filled with exuberance and laughter,
    thankful voices and melodic songs.

in other words I am one solitary woman. But God is calling me and blessing me and multiplying me. I used to loathe going to work before this current job. I have spent many days over the past five months here being transformed. I was in some ways beaten down and discouraged because of the verbal abuse and stress from my last job that in comparison this place was a cakewalk. It restored me to better health. And honestly, I would have been content to stay here for a long time, I was happy to no longer have to look for another job. To rest. But God is never done. He’s not content to leave us in any one condition for too long. My God, the God of the Universe and everything and everyone, He wants to transform everything including me. He wants to make what I see as dead into an Eden..into a paradise. He wants every place to be filled with “exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs”. 

While Disney gets it right to an extent by turning what is “dead” or poor or unnoticeable in Cinderella is what God already authored in my life and has been writing into every human heart since the beginning of time. Through taunts and tears and discouragement in my past my Father finally brought me to a green pasture. And being who he is, He’s not content to leave me there. He wants to bring me to the “castle” not because I need Him to, not because I asked Him to, but because He has the power and desire to.