Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Fog

Driving in the fog is like a trust building exercise.  You have to be cautious, alert, pay attention and then you have to trust.  Trust that the road is there, trust that a car or deer is not headed toward you and trust that it is safe to drive 25, 35, 55 or 75 mph. How crazy is this!? How come I can trust when I cannot see however I can become SO concerned, worked up, full of anxiety and blind over small unimportant daily things?  Why is it so hard for me to turn to God, pray and willingly give my worry or troubles to him? How is it that I can hop into the car and drive without concern when death is an imminent danger and possible outcome? But worry about what people think of me, how I look, if I am 'right' or if I am 'doing enough' trip me up again and again.

Let me say that I do pray for safety and protection when I drive, but not every time.  I don't have an answer for why I do this, besides possibly - I am human and a sinner. I am trying to repent from my worry so I may face the Lord and rest in his presence.  This does not mean it will be easy.  It does mean I will not be alone!  I am going to challenge myself to a trust experience.  I want to trust God to lead me.  I am going to prayerfully discern after prayerfully listening so that I may follow.  You see I have discovered that I am not called to be (and I do not want to be) a leader.  But I am called to be a follower.  I am a follower of Christ. 
Now I need to practice.

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."

John 12:26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

written and submitted by Jodie Wilson

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Enough?

I know I know, it has been awhile and I know the title is almost the same. However, if you will stay with me for just a bit I think it will work.

It is THE HOLIDAY season.  Advent is almost here, turkeys are running scared or already in our refrigerators.  Plans have been made for Thanksgiving and are starting to take shape for Christmas. To do lists as well as shopping list have been started or possibly already checked off. Do you have enough time? Or does it feel like you have enough time? Will everything be accomplished?  Will dinner turn out right? Will you have enough food?  Will you have enough money to pay for everything?

Sometimes the irony of my thoughts and worries this time of year, cause me to laugh at myself and shake my head at my lack of trust and faith.  Christmas is when Jesus came to us.  When he came to us.  He is enough.  His grace is enough.  How do I forget so fast what the real meaning of this season is all about?  How is it so easy for me to take my gaze off of my Savior.  This world is full of bright and shiny things.  Full of LOUD distractions.  So many things can demand our attention.  But we have to choose.  We have to choose to be satisfied and content in our Heavenly Father.  We also have to trust him to provide for us, and see us through the hard and struggling times.

I wish you rest and peace and a FULLY blessed Holiday season!
God Bless
Jodie Wilson

Monday, February 8, 2016

Enough

Isn't it interesting how one word can mean so many things?  Either by definition or by the words that surround it when it is said.  Even the tone of voice can change the meaning of a word. I was inspired by another post today. It brought me back to thoughts I have had before but are easy to forget.  In our lives we tend to ask for a lot.  Now maybe this causes you to recoil, saying, "Not me."  Well bear with me and read on and ponder on the following.  Here are a few things that I tend to ask the Lord for without adjusting my expectations: 
1. Our (my) daily bread
You see I tend to want the whole buffet or at least a piece of chocolate after the bread, but that is not what Jesus instructs us to pray.  Our daily bread will suffice, it will be enough.
2. Fill my cup
"Lord, please fill my cup!" I have asked this over and over.  When a very wise friend pointed out that in order for my cup to be filled by Jesus I needed to empty it first. You see sometimes I try to fill my own cup with things, whether that be commitments or stuff, it doesn't work.  Plus in order for the Lord to fill my cup with 100% Him, it needs to be empty. An empty cup doesn't always feel good.  Sometimes it hurts and feels well empty, but if you allow God to fill your cup to the top, it will be enough.
Today I am going to send you on a trip instead of a full post I want to share with you this : I get enough. 

These words are enough.  

God Bless ~Jodie Wilson

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Do You Listen to God? Really Listen?

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

John 9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
I am like this man in these verses.  Except for one thing.  I ask, I hear but then I stop.  I normally only listen to what I want to hear or what fits into my schedule.  Just recently God told me "You are walking around with mud on your eyes."  You see, I ask - hope- trust and follow the 'putting mud on my eyes' part, but I do not follow the 'wash in the pool' part.  So then I walk around blind.  EXTRA BLIND! Not only can I not see, but I also have mud covering my eyes and any possibility of seeing.  
Then I wonder why?  "Why must I stumble and fall?  Why must I face challenges? Especially when I am following you Lord!  I am doing what you asked!" I angrily shout.  I become frustrated and disappointed at and with God. "Why?" I ask over and over.  "What more do you want? or What I am supposed to do next?" 
God so gently reminds me. "Follow me, - Fully. Trust me, Fully. Listen to me, - Fully.  Surrender to me - Fully.  LET ME LOVE YOU -FULLY!"
I struggle with this daily. Daily I have to remind myself.  I have to focus and not become distracted.  Not become distracted by this world or my wants.  I have to recommit everyday, sometimes over and over again throughout the day.  How many times do I act like a child?  I throw tantrums.  Kicking and screaming, fighting God's loving arms.  As a person I know how it feels to have my love or care for someone rejected.  As a mother I have experienced my child struggling, making decisions or choices I know will lead to pain or fight  my loving arms that are only trying to comfort.  Oh how much that can hurt my heart!  But the feeling when my child relents.  When the sobs calm and my child settles into my hug or when the person you have been loving or caring for receives it, fully accepts your gift.  Oh the calm, the peace. How much greater is God's love? We cannot fathom.  The same is true for His peace it is indescribable. A peace that passes understanding.
How many times have I been the child? Too many to count. I am the child. I will most likely continue to act this way. I am human, and I am a sinner.  But I am HIS child.  I am a child of God!  There is always a place of rest, a place to be comforted, a lap to climb into.  I lose sight sometimes of the way to get there. Sometimes Satan distracts, tempts, hides or makes the way difficult. Sometimes I feel the world hides the way.  Sometimes I, myself, am in the way. I make excuses; "I don't have enough time. I don't know the way."
But truly I know the way. 
Isaiah 65:24 Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
Jeremiah 29:12-14 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

This is ALL I need to do.  Call.  Ask and He is there.

Then I need to Fully Listen and Follow. It is truly amazing how bright it is once I have washed away the mud!  As we prepare for the coming of Christ, may we wash all the mud away everyday.  May we turn our face FULLY towards Him.  May we turn our eyes upon Jesus and be amazed at how bright and beautiful He truly is! 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for always welcoming me with open arms no matter how big of a tantrum I throw.  Please help me Father to daily wash the mud off my eyes and prepare my heart to accept the love and wonderful gift of your son Jesus.

written by and submitted by Jodie Wilson


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Have you heard His voice? Do you hear God’s voice?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:27-28

God’s voice, His voice, what does that make you think of?  Do you have memory or experience?
I feel that God’s voice is sometimes viewed as more of an illusion.  Rather than a real experience or a real audible sound it is something that is just out of our reach or maybe in our imagination.  I think Hollywood has encouraged this thought process.  If you do not hear God’s voice as in the Ten Commandments or if it is not booming or distinctly clear as in Oh God!, then maybe it was not really God?

I believe that God is always clear, but that we don’t fully understand.  I believe that God is loud enough, whether it is a shout or a whisper.  I also believe that we have an active part in hearing God’s voice.  We have to listen.  We have to quiet our life.  In all of the noise and busyness we have to focus on Him.  When we focus on Him then we can recognize His voice.  Just as one wise child said a few Sunday ago, “If the sheep hear another voice they may be worried.”  Oh how many times I have listened to the other voices in my life and I have worried.  The devil is great at impressions and an amazing impersonator.  He can tempt us, trick us and mislead us.  God does not do or will not do any of these.  So this is where we have to take the time and use discernment.  Discernment can be hard.  The background noise of life can be LOUD and overwhelming.  We have to make the choice to find a place to, “Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.  But if I am honest there is a peace that passes understanding, when I listen and follow God, the worry simply is not there.  Sometimes I feel silly when I look back at my actions and choices and worries.  Why did I invest all of the time and energy worrying? Why didn’t I just listen and follow?    

I would like to challenge you to take the time to spend time with God.  Be in His word, in prayer, in quiet, in peace, in conversation and most important in relationship with our Lord and Heavenly Father.

Dear Lord, please help me to quiet myself. Lord, please quiet my mind, heart and the world around me.  Father, help me to focus on you and put the effort and time in to our relationship that it needs to grow and flourish.  In your name Amen.

Written and submitted by Jodie Wilson



Friday, October 2, 2015

New Beginnings...

***This post is taken from Morning Praise and written by Terrie Ruff****

Behold I make all things new. Revelations 21:5


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

The warmth from the October sun felt good as a I walked in a nearby park.  The gentle breeze made the weather seem perfect and refreshing as I soaked in nature's abundance.  With each lap I smiled as I felt the hardened brown leaves under my feet, each making a unique crunching sound.  Very soon these leaves, which looked so fragile and lifeless, would be replaced by the new, green, lively leaves of spring.
New beginnings.Those who don't have a relationship with Christ come to mind.  They too seem hardened, fragile, and lifeless as the brown leaves of fall.  They too are often stepped upon by the weight of our uncaring, unloving, and lack of acceptance, or, as one pastor stated, the weight of our "long memories"- our unwillingness to forgive and forget mistakes of the past.  They are often treated like the brown leaves we gather and disregard because there is no use for something in which we so no potential.  Yet Jesus commissions us to love unconditionally and see the good, the potential in others.  We should see others through His eyes, who knows that failures are never final!  He always wants us, and as His ambassadors we must follow His example.  We must gather into our arms those without a relationship with Him, and provide a covering, a shelter of safety, love and acceptance.
A special friend reminds me daily of how such a covering can aid in rebuilding and reconciliation.  Many have seen him as a failure because of past mistakes made before he had a committed walk with God.  But now he has a circle of Christian friends who love and accept him just as he is, no strings attached.  He has friends who believe in the God of second chances, the God of new beginnings.  Although it's fall and the leaves of nature are brown, fragile and lifeless, in the life of my precious friend it's spring!
I'm smiling again and walking with more rapid stride, my eyes filled with tears of joy as I witness God's gift of restoration and reconciliation.  What an awesome privilege to have been chosen to be a part of such an experience!  My friend is becoming a new creature in Christ!  I marvel at God's gift of a new beginning.
By Terrie Ruff

Sunday, August 30, 2015

He is the Vine...

Many times as I have traveled through the image on the front of the current bulletin for this sermon series, I have started a blog post.  Well at least in my head I have.  The image reminds me of what I see almost on a daily basis, fields.  My children already know how to spot grapes growing in the fields or vineyards and as the corn grows higher and the soy beans grow lush, the grapes grow beautiful, green and thick.  Growing up in Southwest Michigan the smell of grapes in the fall is something you come to know and possibly expect.  I even now excitedly await for the first time.  The first time in September when you drive by and catch that beautiful whiff of grapes!  It is almost indescribable. 
But do you know how to care for grapes?  How you must prune then back every year in order for more fruit to produce and so there is not too much shade in the following year.  The most common mistake made is not pruning enough or hard enough.  Knowing how to prune grapes can make the difference between a good crop and a bad one. When pruning grapes, you’ll want to cut off as much of the old wood as possible. This will encourage the growth of new wood, which is where the fruit is produced.  Grapes should be pruned during their dormancy, usually in late winter. When it comes to pruning grapes, the most common mistake people make is not pruning hard enough. Light pruning doesn’t promote adequate fruiting whereas heavy pruning provides the greatest quality of grapes.
Okay, so I am not going to teach you how to plant or take care of your own vineyard, but when I read this I could not help but think how this applies to our faith.  In John 15:1 Jesus says “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.”  Have you ever found yourself stuck in your faith?  Maybe not stuck but unsure of what to do next, or perhaps you are perfectly comfortable in where you are in your relationship with God.  I have found that when I am comfortable, it is my dormant season and time for a pruning.  The tricky part is when I reach this place is that I have to wait.  Because you see, I am not my own gardener.  I have to wait to see how, where and when the Lord is going to prune me.   Many times this pruning bends me, stretches me, sometimes it hurts me.  However, the Lord knows how to prune that I may heal and bear more fruit.  I must be patient, while waiting to be pruned and while I heal or grow from the pruning.  I also have to trust that God knows what he is doing, loves me, will do what is best for me and that he will be by my side during this time.  See the branch does not just grow plentiful fruit on its own.  If left to its own, it actually continues to grow less and less fruit.  I am that way as well.  I need my master gardener, THE MASTER GARDENER.  Not so that I may produce the most or taste the best or even look the best, but so I may share him through me.  So that by looking at me or knowing me they also know him.  Truly KNOW him, not just of him. 
I challenge you to take a step back and look at where God may have pruned in your life recently or in the past.  He is encouraging new growth and fruit in and through you, but you have to let him.


Prayer:  Dear Father, my Master Gardener please help me to allow you to encourage new growth and fruit through me.  Lord help me to be patient and also to trust you. Help me to rest and find peace when pruning is not welcome or understood, Lord when it hurts help me to turn to you.  Father help me to receive your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control so that I may know you and make you known. Amen

Written and submitted by Jodie Wilson