Jesscbnyc Announcement

Hey guys,

I’ve been keeping a secret since November and now it’s official! I will be contributing content for Horacio Printing !!!

For those of you who might now know, Horacio Printing makes awesome planners that help you organize your life. Sometimes life can deteriorate your plans and dreams and this planner is crucial to make sure that you are cultivating the calling and dreams in your life.

The good news is I will be blogging here and there so nothing is changing. Feel free to subscribe or keep an eye on on the Horacio Blog here.

horacio

 

Also the planner has been such a huge success that the 2016 version has already sold out!!! But I have some news. There will be a limited re-release of planners for those who missed out on the first run.

Simply go to this link and enter the promo code “preorder” for a 20% off savings!

xoxo,

Jess

Porte Ouverte

I love all the humanity and bravery that has been happening within Paris in the wake of the tragedy. I prayed a really awesome prayer the other day, that of course had to have been the Holy Spirit, because I can’t remember it.

But I remember praying that while ISIS waits for fame, Jesus will be the one to get all the glory during this time.

When I saw the Buzzfeed article about the hashtag #PorteOuverte it blew me away.

In so many ways an open door is a blessing. An opportunity to advance yourself, a leg up financially, or in this case a free place to crash.

So much of what Jesus promises has to do with safety and rest.

I think we can all understand why tourists, or residents of Paris have needed shelter and a place to feel at home.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to witness the violence first hand, but in my simple way, I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed. Or depressed. Or tired. To need a place to unwind. To need to take a nap. To need to feel safe.

John 10:9 says “I am the door. If anyone enters by me he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”

I think what people are doing for each other in Paris is amazing. When so many outsiders would expect them to feel fear and to shut themselves off, they have reached out to strangers to welcome them home.

In the face of tragedy I am glad Paris hasn’t forgotten their humanity.

 

Friday Inspiration 12.12.14

Typically I don’t watch a lot of primetime tv. I follow certain shows but by the time I get home it’s late and after eating dinner and doing a few things I just want to go to bed. However, I heard a lot of buzz about The Voice this week and knew I had to YouTube one of the contestant’s performances. Craig Wayne Boyd is a semi-finalist this year and he decided to sing “The Old Rugged Cross”. He’s not personally my cup of tea music-wise, but the guy has talent regardless of my opinion. And I totally respect that he chose to glorify God on national television. I mean think about it; “looking at the preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “The Voice” averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 10.6 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m.” [Source: http://variety.com/2014/data/ratings/monday-ratings-nbcs-voice-wins-but-remains-sluggish-abcs-light-fight-brighter-1201374830/] So whether people expected to hear it or not, God was glorified and His name was declared and made famous to all 10.6 million people who tuned in to the show.

I got chills watching this. Not necessarily because Boyd was great, but because God is great. I think growing up as a Christian this wasn’t ever happening. Being a Christian was a secret in a way. People might know that you are a Christian in passing but it was never really allowed to be talked about. I still think this exists today, but Christians are becoming more and more bold. The entertainment industry for example is being infiltrated with Christian artists, directors and producers. Things that weren’t being aired years ago are now front and center. Matthew 5:14-16 MSG says:

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

In other words, this man sung a song. He got onto a show and sung a song about God. Whether intentional or not he witnessed to all of America that God is not a secret. He is stirring the hearts of people everywhere. He is encouraging people to open up with God. To be honest about their curiosity for something greater than this human life. To know God.

I was shocked to hear Pharrell Williams pose the following question to Boyd: “”I have a question for you, what does it feel like to be at the top of your game and to surrender it to God in front of all of the whole entire world?” My jaw nearly dropped! It’s like Boyd singing this song had a ripple effect and without specifically saying it Pharrell was also declaring God in his own way. I think it’s breathtaking that in a competition show where people have their eyes on the prize that Boyd declared this:

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown

This is a man who knows his trophy will not come from this show. It might. It might not. Ultimately all of these worldly prizes pale in comparison to God and the prize of salvation.

This just reminds me how God is on the move. God is being declared in ways he never was before. It’s exciting days we live in, isn’t it?

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.

“Some Day My Prince Will Come”

http://goo.gl/DjHevi

“Dip the apple in the brew. Let the Sleeping Death seep through. [the poison on the apple forms a skull] Look! On the skin! The symbol of what lies within.” – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

I remember growing up and reading the Bible and wondering why I was being punished for what Eve did in Genesis. It seems kind of unfair right? I didn’t eat the fruit—why am I being punished? For some reason on November 6th I was thinking about this and put a note in my phone. Again on the way to work this morning I remembered this part of the Bible. The very first woman. And out of the blue it clicked to me in a simple phrase “We might not have eaten the apple but we accepted the lie”. What I mean by this is…the sin wasn’t even really about the apple. It was allowing the lies of the Enemy to enter into our thoughts, change our identity, change how we view God, and in that skewed reality, we act sinfully. You see Eve’s temptation to eat the fruit began in the mind. I imagine her laying fully free in the grass, or walking in the sunshine totally free, totally naked, and totally happy. She was content in who she was. She could walk with her husband, she could be in the presence of God. Nothing was lacking. But Satan slithers by, and hisses deception. He begins to make her question her freedom, her identity, and what God has given her. Her doubt of self starts in the mind.

Genesis 3 MSG

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”

2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”

When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

There’s a few problems here. The first is that Eve already has a distorted vision of who God is. After all God told Adam in Genesis 2 that they were forbidden to eat from the tree. But she goes a step further and basically says, we can’t even touch it. I don’t remember God saying that do you? Now I wasn’t there…obviously. Maybe she wanted to add an extra layer of protection and for her own sake said to herself “Now Eve…don’t even touch it. You know if you even touch it you will be tempted”, or maybe Adam wasn’t paying attention when God told him that, and like a game of telephone when it came time to tell Eve he retold the instructions wrong. Who knows. But part of me wonders if at the heart of it all, Eve was already misinterpreting what God was warning her about.

I think the serpent knows that the woman is vulnerable–not only is she alone, but she might not know her value. Maybe as a human woman this is something we were all capable of from the very beginning. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t struggle with her value.

So here is a golden opportunity for the serpent to make his case and he plants another seed of doubt in her mind and says God didn’t really tell you the truth Eve. You don’t die when you eat the apple…you just finally get to see the whole picture..not just what God wants you to see.

Ouch.

I’ve definitely been guilty of doubting God’s wisdom. If we’re honest we all have. Here’s some common things I’ve experienced or heard from others: God doesn’t want what’s best for me..if He really loved me He would give me this job, Doesn’t God notice that I want this relationship, He’s punishing me. God doesn’t forgive me. God doesn’t notice me. God is a jerk, He just likes her/him more than me–I’m not His favorite. God wants me to tithe but doesn’t He know I’m already struggling to make ends meet. God didn’t heal my sick family member–He must not care.

You see as humans, we question our value and importance to God. I think this is something we were unfortunately born with. God wanted to protect us from knowing the bad, and instead of trusting His wisdom and protection we allowed ourselves to feel like we’re missing out. We’re being overlooked. We’re not important enough. Whatever the lie is. And so we take a bite out of what we think we will get if we trust in our own judgement, only to find out that it wasn’t as good as it looked.

God never meant for us to worry. God had it all under control. As a loving Father He wanted Adam and Eve to run through the Garden carefree, exposed to Him, nothing hidden, no shame. They could have everything they wanted–except what would ruin them. And instead of trusting His goodness, they believed the lie. They doubted and questioned who God was. If He really wanted what was best for them. They believed He was holding out.

This reminded me of Snow White. We all know about the young beauty who the Queen was jealous of. To me this is exactly like the Bible. Satan was jealous of God’s creation. Satan wanted to be like God. He was mad and wanted to be worshiped as well. It’s almost understandable that he would be upset that man was made just a bit lower than God (Psalm 8:5) or that God gave man dominion over the Earth. So instead of sitting back, Satan did something about it. He encouraged Eve (Snow White) to eat the fruit (poison apple) that would result in her downfall.

But God wasn’t defeated. Through Christ God made the ultimate checkmate. Google defines checkmate as “a check from which a king cannot escape.” Satan might believe that he is the reigning King over the Earth, but he is delusional. Jesus rescued us all through His sacrifice on the cross, and Satan was thrown from heaven. Checkmate:

Luke 10 MSG:

18-20 Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”

I think it is always important to guard your mind. If Satan whispered to Eve in the garden he can do that to all of us now. The thing is you can choose whether you give him permission to do so. After all, mankind struggles with who they are and who they believe God truly is to this day. This mindset ultimately sets the stage for what you start to internalize and what you are capable of. No matter what our shortcomings though, Jesus is the ultimate Prince. Fairy tales might not realize this but the first story of “true love’s kiss” was thought up in Heaven when God sent Jesus to wake us up from what Snow White taught us to refer to as the “Sleeping Death”. So many of us are walking through life dead inside but seemingly alive on the outside. Even those of us who have already accepted Jesus as Savior. We need to remember that through Jesus we have been brought out of our “Sleeping Death”—we are wide awake. We can see things clearly now. We know forever that God is good and His promises to be faithful are always delivered. Snow White cutely tells us that one day our “Prince” our “true love” will come and save us. But I think the actual cry of our human hearts through this story is that we all really want Jesus, we want God, to “carry us away to His castle where we will live happily ever after”. Right? Human love pales in comparison to the love of Christ. To the love of God. This story just touches on the actual desire of our human hearts.

Eve might have fallen in Genesis 6 but God only waits 9 verses to deliver His “apple” to Satan:

Genesis 3:15 (MSG)

14-15 God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
    cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
    and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
    between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
    you’ll wound his heel.”

In other words, Jesus is coming to finish this. As one article eloquently states: “Another way to look at the comparison focuses on the site of the wounding, the head as compared to the heel. The serpent’s wound affects the seat of his intellect and control of his powers, whereas the Seed’s wound merely impairs His flesh for a short while, three days and three nights to be exact.” – http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/4843/Serpents-Head-Crushing-the.htm. In the Bible God tells Satan Someday Their Prince Will Come, and He is right. Jesus came to save us, and He is coming again to take us.

Jesus thank you for coming to Earth to save us from ourselves. Thank you for not being done with us even though we would have deserved it because we turned our backs on you and questioned God’s goodness. Thank you that Satan will not get the final word and that we have the authority through Your name to resist every assault of the Enemy. All praise to you, forever, and ever. Thank you Jesus for coming for us so that we can live in your Kingdom for eternity. Amen.

http://goo.gl/jslO4m

For God’s Glory

Excerpt from John 9

True Blindness

1-2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

I love this video. So often people can look at people with disabilities or handicaps and be filled with pity. The good thing though is God does not look at these people with pity. God can do anything through anyone and they are not at a disadvantage. If anything God’s light dwells even more so in these people not because He favors them but because it is in what people see as “lacking” that God’s glory can shine even more unexpectedly. This artist knows who He is. He knows his art and ability comes from God. Just because man sees him as a person with cerebral palsy doesn’t mean God sees Him that way. He is a child of the Most High and has been gifted. Just as God creates art in the sky, in nature, or in His creation, Paul creates art through his typewriter. God has not punished Paul with a disability. God does not work that way. God creates beauty out of everything.