Can You Call Me?

Yesterday I had to unfortunate experience of coming down with a slight bug. It was interesting because as I was standing in the kitchen taking my daily supplements when I distinctly remember hearing that small voice telling me to take a packet of Airborne. I ignored that voice and went into work only to find my co-worker, who is battling the seasonal flu bug, sitting at her desk looking pitiful. A few hours later my nose began to drip and I found myself fighting to keep my food down. I had to cancel plans for the evening and stay home to allow my body to rest.

Toward the evening time I had the chance to talk with one of my friends from church. The first part of our conversation was the normally small talk; catching up to see how one another was doing. To be honest I figured that we were going to be on the phone for maybe five minutes at the most, but before I knew it twenty minutes had gone by and we were still chatting it up. That conversation did me a world of good as she took the time to be vulnerable and open up to me. We both had so much in common, and it was good to know that some of the struggles that I am currently working on overcoming; she was able to relate to. I had been telling her that I wanted to spend time with her, but never truly made the effort. It took me getting sick to have such a great conversation with someone who I see at least a good two days out of the week.

Something we talked about last night was how God brings people into our lives, especially in the church, but we are so quick to overlook them, or not make the effort to really connect with them. Tonight I reflect on that. I am reminded how in the Bible it speaks of us not doing this life alone, but more importantly the beauty of being and fellowshipping with other believers. We can learn so much from one another, but we must make the effort to be accessible. So, in short I thank God for the sickness that led to the conversation, that I believe, is going to lead to a wonderful friendship!

-Jacs

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I’m Out of the Boat

Tonight has came and gone and now I sit in the midst of Jesus in total appreciation. For the past few days I have prepared myself for tonight; where I would stand in front of teenagers and share the message I had been asked to give. I prayed, I fasted, and I had my notes typed out. There was so much peace that I felt; there were no worries. It was my turn to take the stage. I grabbed the microphone and TANKED! I went up there without my notes and just flamed out. I had a back up plan that went okay for the most part, but it was definitely not what I had envisioned nor do I believe it was what God really wanted, but there was grace.
Once everything was said and done, I found myself disappointed. I was ready to put on a party hat and throw a pity party for myself, but instead I began to praise God. Why would I praise God when I just flopped? Simple. I had the opportunity to be humbled and in a way it felt good. It was a moment where I got out the boat like Peter and took my eyes off God and almost drowned, yet He held tight to my hand. I needed this whole experience. I needed to know that I could not do my best and still be okay, and in fact smile because I know that I am only going up from here.
I will be the first to admit that knowing part of my calling is having to get up in front of people to speak and teach freaks me out. While my spirit is excited to be a vessel for my Father, my flesh is nowhere near comfortable. Yet, I asked God to call me out of the boat so that I may walk with Him along the water. I trust my Father and each day my faith increases. I will not allow one fall to keep me on the floor. As a matter of fact I have already dusted myself off and am looking at my Daddy asking Him, “What’s next?”
Even though it may seem comfortable; we where never meant to stay inside the boat our whole lives. You have people waiting on you and you can’t expect for them to always come to you. You have to go where they are at, and where God may call you to go might not allow boats to come through. Step out! It can be scary, but there is no fear that can outweigh the strength God has blessed you with. It’s time to do your work!

See you in the water!

-Jacs

Ready, Set, Speak!

This Friday will be my first time bringing the word to the youth ministry I serve at. When my pastor initially asked me to do this, I tensed up and replied, “Let me pray on it.” I did take a moment to pray, but I already knew my answer was yes when he first asked me. I was aware that God wasn’t going to tell me that it wasn’t my time to share with the youth. In fact this is all apart of God’s plan. No matter how hard I try to play the background the Lord is standing right beside me saying, “I see you.”
Even as I am typing this I hear Him reminding me of what He told me some time back, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Even with me still being uncomfortable there is peace. He is training me up and preparing me for a destiny that still seems unreal. I find myself on one hand being excited and ready to minster God’s heart, but there is the other side of me trying to locate the exit door. This is a real life “my flesh is weak, but my spirit is willing” moment. This is also a good indicator that it is definitely time to kill my flesh and consecrate myself…but I digress.
I just want to encourage the ones who are like me, still coming to terms with the idea that not only does God want to use your to bless others, but He wants your voice as one of His instruments. He doesn’t want us to be a Moses who requires an Aaron; He wants us to be the one who opens our own mouth and speak. We don’t have to rely on our own strength, but instead we are to rely on Him and have faith that He can and will literally speak through us with great clarity.
Do not close yourself off to being used by God and don’t count your voice out. Just as he touched Jeremiah’s mouth, He will touch yours!
Open up and speak out!

-Jacs

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Labor Pains

I love that I have the privilege to serve in ministry. The beauty of ministry is that not only are you serving God’s people, but you are serving unto God, and you have the privilege to grow and learn. Lately, my feelings toward ministry have been lackluster. I find myself pulling away from ministry due to lack of organization, lack of communication, lack of unity, etc. I guess that it is not so much ministry, but the  ministry teams that I am on.
While I have been attempting to push past my feelings and not be moved by my emotions or what I see taking place; I do find myself desiring to step back or wanting to step away. The frustration is real and I can only imagine how the leaders of the ministries are feeling. Tonight it was my prayer, as I talked with God, that I wouldn’t move unless he told me to. I never want to allow my personal feelings or even others hinder me from doing the work of the Kingdom. I took a moment to think back to the other ministry teams I was involved with before God moved me to my new church, and how I used to be excited to serve no matter what. I was determined to press forward no matter what the obstacles looked like.
I asked God that He would just continue to ignite the fire within me to not give up and know that my labor is not in vain. I also made it my priority to cove my leaders and my ministry teams in prayer. Yes, there is currently some frustration, but maybe this is also what it means to continue to fight the good fight, and to work heartily for God and not for man. Regardless I just want to be led by God and do His will.

-Jacs

Release

For so long I held onto you. I believed that I was your protector, your keeper, even your savior. There were moments I even suffocated you, not wanting you to breathe and be free. I was afraid for you. I believed that you were not capable of being all you desired and dreamed to be. Instead I encouraged you to dream, but not allow it to become your reality. I silenced you because I believed him when he said that no one would listen. It wasn’t until He called you out of the crowd and told you that I was no savior. That I had yet to understand the true meaning of loving thyself. He told me to release you, that you were not mines but His. He has loved your more than I ever did. He encourages you to fly. He protects you and not once has he left your side. He has silenced his voice. He tells you to speak and He listens to every word. He has even made your reality into your dreams. Not once have I been jealous of His love for you, but instead I have shed tears of joy from the songs He sings over you. As He loves you, you love me, and I know that this love is real. I apologize for the harm I did. It took me a long time to realize your value. Now when I look at you I see virtue, courage, boldness, and dignity, but most importantly I see His image. I see myself.

-Jacs

There is Still Peace

I asked God to take the scales off my eyes. I wanted to have better vision. I wanted to see his children how he sees them. He showed me the beauty, the ugliness, the hatred, and the love. I was able to witness images that brought me great joy, while other images caused my heart to be grieved. Yet in the midst of it all I could still hear and feel the beating of His heart. Every rhythmic sound filled with love and compassion; moving me to have a better understanding of chaos and peace.

The Process

Something I have recently come to terms with is that life is a process! Our very creation within the womb started off as a process and now that we are here in this world; the process has yet to cease. There are highs and lows, triumphs and defeats, but the beauty is that our process will look totally different from the next individual, because it is specifically designed just for us!
As we go through this life we are constantly being refined and pruned. There are moments when it feels good, and then there are other moments when you may find yourself waving the white flag or begging for mercy. Either way, you must realize that God is still gracing you with new a day filled with love and provision. Each day you are here on this earth puts you closer to the finish line, and friends you better run with all the endurance that is within you! Remember the instructions from Proverbs to not look to the left or to the right, but to give careful thought to the paths for your feet. We all have our own path, our own journey, our own process, and through it all it is my prayer that your faith and trust in God will never fail you. Keep your laces tied tight and keep your focus on what is ahead.

Keep moving friends!

-Jacs

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A Little While

1 Peter 5:10

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

I am in a season of restoration and it has been such a blessing to see God move on my behalf. This time I made the decision that I no longer wanted God to do all the work, but instead I wanted to partner with my Father and move with Him. I am learning that my movement is an indicator of my faith. I don’t want to be one who waits for my Daddy to act so that I can respond, but instead I want to go as He goes and I keep my ears listening out for His instructions along the way. In doing so I have had the privilege of seeing His words manifest before my eyes.

Since I made the commitment to rededicate myself back to God and His purpose; I hear the Holy Spirit speaking life over me and confirming my purpose loud and clear. I can feel His strength building me up everyday, not only because I ask for it, but I go after it. I am aware that He is also establishing me, and I believe that I will see the true manifestation of that as I continue to build my foundation upon His word.

We are all called to our share of suffering, yet don’t allow this thought to bring fear into your heart. Instead remain firm in your Father and His word and know that you are not alone. You have bothers and sisters in this world who are suffering, but the good news is that it is temporary. In the midst of the suffering God is restoring, confirming, strengthening, and establishing you! Don’t shake, but instead cast your anxiety on Him and remain firm.

I am praying on your behalf.

-Jacs

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It’s Not Always Pretty

Sunday evening I made my way to my mothers bed to have one of my open and honest venting sessions. I notice that every few months I need to have this session with her so I can just talk somethings out that have been circling around in my head. Normally within these conversations a few things take place; God speaks and I get revelation. That night was no different; in fact it was the prequel to God recalling the word about me “lacing up my shoes”.

So let’s rewind!

That night I opened up to my mom about how I disconnected myself from my power source, God. I realized that I was tired of being disappointed; so I stopped praying specific prayers to God and I no longer was excited about communing with Him. I would pray and intercede for others, but when it came to myself I would normally say, “Your will be done for my life.” I figured the less specific I was the less disappointed I would be. Even though I would never share this thought out loud to others, in my heart I started to believe that God was overlooking me. When I looked around me people where receiving blessing upon blessing or had this joy about themselves. Do I dare say that I was jealous? Yes, yes I was.

I then began sharing why I had struggled with writing my book. It had to have been a good five years ago when I had meet up with a friend for dinner and explained to her that I believed once I wrote my book there was going to be a shift in my life and everything was going to fall into place. I remembered that as soon as those words escaped from my mouth two things took place; I felt a leap in my belly from the Holy Spirit confirming what I had spoke was accurate, and I also felt a wave of irritation hit my heart. Why? Pride. Instead of me being excited about this revelation, I distinctly remember thinking why do I have to wait for a book to be written in order for things to fall into place? Shouldn’t God see all the other things that I am doing and just reward me anyway? It hurts for me to share my selfish way of thinking with you all, because that is such an ugly and disgusting mentality to have towards the one who laid down His life for mine. Unfortunately that was my way of thinking.

Lastly, I talked about what slowed my pace down with God. It is something that I refer to as the “what’s next” syndrome. I am one who likes to know all the details. I need to know what is going to happen after I take the first step, and why is it going to happen that way. The funny thing, which I had yet to fully pay attention to, is God does not operate like that. He is all about that faith, ’bout that faith and no doubting! This is why it tells us in His word, “we walk by faith and not by sight.” I have read, heard, and recited that scripture over and over, and was still asking God for a map so I can know where I was going. When He didn’t give it to me, my pace with Him slowed down, or worse I would stop walking all together.

BUT GOD!

He just doesn’t give up or let go! It took way too long for me to be able to see the beauty of trusting God and that it doesn’t really pay to be disobedient when it comes to God or his plan. It wasn’t that God despised me, but He was hurting from my actions. And yes, He still blessed me, but He wasn’t rewarding my disobedience. Like a good Father, He had to let me knock my head up against the wall a few times and let me “go it alone” so to speak, so that I could learn and realize that apart from Him my life sucks.

Once that revelation hit me I knew what came next, a good slice of humble pie and some repentance to wash it down with. I had to have a good ole’ heart to heart with my Daddy, and believe me it was sobering. Not only did I share what was on my heart, but He shared what was on His. It was so heartbreaking to hear how my actions caused Him grief, but even with that grief He reminded me that not once did He ever stop loving me.

Tonight I wanted to share this with you, because I know what it is like to praise God one minute and then slap Him in the face with my actions in the next. I share this with you all so that you are able to see that there isn’t and will never be a perfect Christian. I have flaws, I doubt, I get angry with God, I cast my cares upon Him to only snatch them back up, but through it all I know that He is real, I know I need Him, and I know I never want to be without Him. I want others to see that even in the midst all of my selfish, stubborn shenanigans I can call out to God and He will answer me. If I have strayed He is on my heels coming after me. The fact that I am even able to share this with you is because of His GRACE and LOVE! Something that He has given me over and over and over again, and this is the same grace and love that He offers not only to me, but to anyone who ask for it. Are you ready to ask for it? Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to convince you that God is not real or that He does not care, because I, the jacked up one, have not only felt and experienced God’s love, but I have seen it for myself. His love is too real to ignore. Search Him out and allow Him to find You!

-Jacs

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Dressing Up

Ephesians 4:22-24
Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy
.

Recently I heard the echoes of one of my pastors’ voice in my ear. It was from a prophetic word that she had given me in the earlier part of this year. She told me that she had seen me lacing up my shoes and that I kept pulling the laces tighter and tighter. Twice she had given me this word, but when she had shared with me the more recent word my shoes looked different. I didn’t get it at first, but when I had thought back to her original vision she described the shoes as boots; to me this symbolized me just coming into a new season of understanding what walking with God looked like. Things concerning my life back then were different and so was my thought process. I was still trying to embrace who I was and trying to rid myself of old habits, and close doors that no longer needed to remain open.

In this recent vision the shoes changed, I still wore boots, but this time they came up higher on my legs. I thank God for allowing me to recall this word, because even though I was told that I had new shoes, I didn’t allow myself to actually step into them. Instead I kept on my old shoes, my old thinking, and had even put back on my old grave clothes. Now being aware of this change, it is time to change my whole attire. With new clothes comes a new beginning and a new attitude, and I will even go as far as to say a new season…no a new lifestyle!

With the recalling of this word, I am sure that this was God’s way of saying, “dress for the occasion!” What is the “occasion”? That has yet to be seen, but I am walking by faith believing that whatever God has in store for me will be nothing short of amazing! I am taking off the old and putting on the new.

I want to encourage you to do the same; check your attire! How are you currently dressed? Are you still dressed in those old grave clothes? If so, it is time for a makeover! Take a moment to seek God and ask Him are you dressed for the occasion that He is inviting you to attend with Him.

Stay Suited Friends

-Jacs