Monday, December 30, 2013

This world has nothing for me

"So you are also complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority." 
Colossians 2:10

Hi blog friends! How are the each of you doing? I can't believe my Christmas break is already almost over. One more week left, and back to the grind of graduate school. I am so excited to be reunited with my Young Life girls and also my roommates! There will be 4 of us living in our house this term instead of 3, so yes we are getting a new roomie! I can't wait to get to know her. 

Last night at dinner with my parents and my grandpa who has been in town visiting from California, they kept talking about how great I am doing in my life as a young adult. It was flattering, but at the same time, the only thing they were talking about were my accomplishments with graduate school and teaching. Those things do not fulfill me, let alone complete me. Don't get me wrong, I recognize how tremendously blessed I am to be in my graduate program, but at the same time, it is only a blessing. It isn't Jesus, who is my everything. 

I then began thinking about what it would be like to be in my graduate program without Jesus at my side. I know I wouldn't have any of the joy that He gives me to get through each day, and I also wouldn't have any strength to make it through to complete all my assignments. Jesus makes me who I am. My heart grieves for all the people out there looking for fulfillment in anyone or anything but Jesus. Jesus is where it all is found. No job, person, object, or anything on this earth can complete us like He can my friends.

So you reading this, I pray that you would throw aside everything that is keeping you from knowing Jesus intimately. It doesn't matter what you do on this earth. It doesn't matter what type of position that you have. If you have Jesus, you have all that you need. Who cares what kind of job you have. Who cares if your married or single. Jesus knows you better than you could ever know yourself, and if you seek Him above all else, He will lead you and guide along the best pathway for your life, giving you joy and peace every second of the way. 

"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."
Psalm 32:8

Are you ever tempted to find your fulfillment in anyone or anything but Jesus? Sometimes it can be a daily struggle to not give into the ways of this world, but we must be continually be reminding ourselves that in Him is where all of our hope is found.

I love you guys!

Love always, Jess 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Condemnation versus Conviction

above: a photo I took and put on my instagram page today. I was walking the river trail by my house. Isn't Jesus an incredible artist?!

Winter break this year has been wonderful. It's been great being home with the family, and also just relaxing a whole bunch. However, I won't lie to you, there has been some struggle in it too. The closer I get to Jesus, the more opposition I notice I am facing from the enemy, who loves to attack me spiritually. 

When I make a mistake, when I get grumpy and I talk to my parents in a way that isn't nice, the enemy is right there ready to yell at me saying things like: "You are a failure," or "God can't forgive THAT sin." It's all lies, but somehow in the midst of my crazy mind, I find myself believing those lies at times.

Therefor there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 
Romans 8:1

So how are we supposed to recognize the voice of the enemy talking to us, versus the voice of Jesus, gently nudging us to do what is right? For me, it's been through consistent prayer of figuring this one out. I've prayed for discernment in this area of my life, and that the Lord would help me to recognize His voice over the enemy's.

Jesus will say things to me like "You shouldn't have talked to your dad that way. Ask him to forgive you, and tell him your sorry." The enemy however, will say things like: You messed up BIG time. God is really mad at you, and there is no hope. The enemy is a liar, and we must stand strong against him my friends! God warns us in scripture that the enemy is constantly on the prowl for followers of Jesus like us, because he wants to tempt us to follow the ways of this world.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."
1 Peter 5:8

Most importantly, let us remember friends that in Christ we are O V E R C O M E R S. Through Jesus we can do all things that would be impossible without Him.

"For I am the LORD, your God, who takes a hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." 
Isaiah 41:13

Are you feeling burnt out in your walk with Jesus lately? Do you notice that the closer you get to Him, the more spiritual opposition you face? Stay strong my friends! My prayer today is that we each would stand firm in our faith. Help me to do that father.

I love you guys!

love always, Jess

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Above: a photo I took and put on my Instagram page the other day of a Bible that was "The Message" version. I was moved at how powerful this verse was in Jeremiah chapter 29. When we seek God with our entire hearts, we will find Him!

Hi Blog friends!

Merry Christmas eve! How are the each of you doing? I am enjoying being home for the holidays with the family. Today is Jesus's birthday, let us rejoice!

Amidst all the Christmas presents, the family gatherings, and everything else, I can't help but overflow with joy when I think about what Jesus did for the each of us on that cross. I mean come on, who dies for someone?! You have to really love and care for something to pay the price that Jesus did for us when He died for our sins that day. 

"He will be a great joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice because of His birth."
Luke 1:14

I was driving around town today, running errands, reflecting on this truth. I then began to overflow with joy, which eventually lead to some tears. I am so thankful for my relationship with Christ, my friends. He is the number one reason that I am here today, and also why I have hope for tomorrow. Of course the presents are fun, but Jesus is so much better than all of that. He is the answer to everything in our lives, and today I pray that we would each recognize and reflect on this truth.

What are your thoughts on Jesus dying on the cross for us? Isn't it amazing?! I am so thankful. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, I love you all! Look for some upcoming posts on here this week, where I will be talking about condemnation versus conviction!

Love always, Jess

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Jumping ahead of God

**Above: This photo of myself was taken a couple weeks ago by my friend Corinne who makes the lovely little sign that I am holding. Isn't it beautiful?! Click HERE to visit her etsy shop!

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

Hi friends! How are the each of you doing?! Boy, am I happy to be home for winter break. It's nice having a change of schedule where I can just relax. However, this morning I didn't come to here to share with you all how my life lately is white picket fences and daises. I came here to be brutally honest in admitting the fact that lately, I jumped a little too far ahead of God, causing me to become irritable and anxious.

It happened quicker than a blink of an eye. About a couple weeks ago, when I was really busy with graduate school, I became overwhelmed with everything going on around me. Suddenly my quiet time with the Lord got shoved to the back burner. Instead of my quiet time being an hour like I really needed it to be, it became a quick 15 minute session, where I basically just read a few short paragraphs and a verse. Boy, did I need so much more. Especially with the amount of pressure that I was under at the time. 

When I came home for winter break less than a week ago, and I noticed that I had this anxious feeling inside of me, and also that I felt very overwhelmed and very afraid, for no reason at all. "What the heck is wrong with me God?!" I prayed. What I didn't realize at the time was that God was using the anxious feelings that I was having as a warning sign for me to recognize that I needed some serious time spent alone with Him, reflecting on His love for me and also His truth written in the Bible.

So this morning, I woke up and I knew I that I had to get serious about getting my relationship with God back on track. I talked with God about everything, admitting to Him about all the ways that I had put Him second in my life lately and had forgotten how important my relationship with Him was. I asked Him to forgive me, and also for Him to set me free from all the anxiousness that I had been feeling for the past few days. 

"In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me whole-heartedly, you will be found by me."
Jeremiah 29:12-13

And how did I feel after my very long and much needed quiet time with God today you ask? AMAZING. I finally felt set free again. Friends, God's grace truly is new every morning. We are all just a bunch of broken people in need of a savior. Each day, we can bring our brokenness to the Lord, and He promises to set us free. My prayer today is that we each will approach God's throne of grace with boldness and confidence, trusting that He wants to meet us right where we are, no matter how many mistakes we have made. All we have to do is seek His forgiveness, and He promises to restore our lives completely. 

"So let us come boldy to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
Hebrews 4:16

Do you ever feel like you have failed God and there is no turning back? Do you realize that God isn't mad at you and is willing to meet you right where you are if you simply just ask Him to forgive you so He can shower you with His love? 

Also, do you have any suggestions for the each of us on how we can continue to put God first in our lives?  I'd love to hear!

I love you guys!

Love always, Jess

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hi friends! I'm back and I miss you all! :)

Hi blog friends!

Boy, has it been awhile since I have talked to the each of you?! I miss you all so much, and also this lovely little blog of mine. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere though. The only reason why I haven't blogged at all hardly this past month was because I was finishing up my first term of graduate school. The end of the term was MADNESS my friends, absolute madness. I had three different papers to turn in, a presentation, and also final grades to submit for my students from the two different public speaking classes that I teach at my University. Phew, I'm overwhelmed just writing all of that out. The good news though? I made it out alive, thankfully. 

The truth is though,  I couldn't have done any of it all without my savior guiding me through it all. Each day when I was beyond tempted to carry the weight of my burdens on my own, I knew that I had to fight against my flesh and give them all up to my savior. Now, as I sit here at home with my family for winter break, I'm so happy to finally have a break and just relax. However, I won't lie to you guys, I have really been struggling these last few days of being home with just relaxing. Why is that? I couldn't tell you. For some reason its just been hard.

I think that a big part of the stress that I am feeling right now is coming from the new experience of being a teacher, and having so much responsibility with submitting grades for my 36 students. That has been stressing me out like crazy. I'm so terrified that I made a mistake on one of their grades, or that somehow some of their grades weren't submitted into the system. The enemy has really been stealing my joy lately with all of that, y'all. If you could be praying for me to have peace, then that would be awesome. 

Do you guys struggle with stress and anxiety with whatever new pressures the day brings to you? I feel that this is something that is pretty common for the each of us to experience, but Jesus calls us to trust Him beyond our feelings. It may be hard to give up our burdens to the Lord, but we have to do it in order to feel peace. My prayer today is that we would simply just strive to have more Jesus in our daily lives, and less of ourselves. The more we have of Him, the more peace we will have in our lives. 

"I have told you all of this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Butttt the number one thing that I miss right now is the EACH OF YOU. My blogging community, who means so much to me. How are you guys?! What is new in your lives? please fill me in, because I know that we have a lot of catching up to do. I am looking forward to beginning to blog more, now that I will have a lot more free time. 

I love you guys! Looking forward to catching up! :)

Love always, Jess