Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thanks

It's that time of year.  The time we focus on the things we're thankful for.  We either cook yummy food or delight in the graciousness of someone's else's yummy cooking (thank God for moms and grandmas!)  in the presence of the family God gave us. 

I have enjoyed reading the daily words of thanks many people are posting on facebook, and I have to admit, posting daily on facebook is not my strongpoint, so I thought I'd list 30 days of thanks right here on the blog!  So, here it goes:

1.  Food to eat

2.  A roof over my head

3.  Clothes on my back

4.  A family to serve

5.  The Call of God to advance His Kingdom

6.  The privilege of being born in the great nation we call America

7.  Parents who raised me to know God

8.  Ministers who poured into my life along the way

9.  The privilege of prayer

10.The way God provides when no one else notices the need

11.The way God protects me & the ones I love

12.The adventures I've experienced in life and even the adventures still to anticipate

13.Laughter

14.Music

15.Dates with my husband

16.One on one time with my girls

17.A few favorite Bible Study authors

18.God's written Word and His revelation to our hearts when we uncover the mysteries that lie within

19.Hot tea sweetened with honey

20.Good ole' southern iced tea

21.Caring in-laws

22.Friends God has given us along the way

23.The baby we are expecting

24.The fact that my girls play together and are best friends

25.All the awesome recipes I've collected from other blogs!

26.Star gazing

27.Christmas, the hope of a Savior

28.The gifts God has given me, no matter how insignificant they may seem at times... He is GREAT
      in our weakness.

29.God's grace that is great toward me... completely undeserved

30.The Hope of Heaven

Maybe you are like me and there has been a time you read something someone posted on facebook that they were giving thanks for, and you thought, "That's great for them, but that's exactly what my life is lacking right now."  Someone could have received a million dollars while you are struggling to pay the bills.  It's tough to read about someone's awesome family when maybe you lost someone you loved dearly.  I can give thanks for my husband and children, but I am completely aware that someone could read this who is single, or in a broken relationship.  Maybe you long for children, but it seems like an unanswered prayer. 

No matter how blessed we are in this life on earth, there is probably always some area that seems to lack in our life.  Simply because on this fallen earth we are not living in the completeness of what God has in store for us.  I say that simply to say, when my life seems to lack in some area, then sure, I pray and believe God to bring that thing about, and so often He does.  I also remind myself that life on this earth is NOT IT!  I am living for something greater.  I am living for the day when God's Kingdom is all that prevails.  No more sickness.  No more death.  No more pain.  No more heartache.  No more unfulfilled days.  No more lack.

I have so much to be thankful for, but take it all away, and what is left is the hope of heaven!  I hope that encourages your heart.  It means everything to me!

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."  Revelation 17:14

"Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.  Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise His holy name."  Psalm 97:11-12

Live for Eternity!
~Jill

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Living In God's Favor

Alright. Some of you may remember a few months ago, I sent out a request on facebook for you to believe with me.  There were three VERY specific things I was believing God for, and today I am finally sharing with you just what God is doing in our lives.  So, if you are one who truly prayed for us specifically over that request, get ready to celebrate!  However you want to celebrate. You can jump up and down in praise... break out the apple cider and pumpkin pie... LOL!  God is doing great things, and we are so excited to give Him the praise!

I actually took a break from posting on here, because I felt that a short break was needed, and looking at the last post, I wrote about perceiving our circumstances through thankfulness rather than a spirit of complaining. Over the course of the past few months, repeatedly I have felt from the Lord to find thankfulness in EVERYTHING, and that the more I am thankful the more He is able to bestow blessing and favor on my life.  So, I find it so much like God to place on my heart to return to blogging, now that thankulness and obedience is reaping a harvest of His unmistakable favor in my life.  And let me say this now.... God's favor is available to EVERYONE!  It is just as available to you as it is to me.  He is no respector of persons.  He does NOT play favorites!  However, there is favor that is available for EVERYONE to tap into.

There were three major areas of my life in which, I confess, I was doing a certain amount of complaining to God over.  Through some unusual circumstances and an undeniable God moment in my life over the summer, God placed on my heart to sow seed money for three months.  One month for each of my requests.  And so, I did.  And I have dark roots on this blonde head to prove it!  A sacrifice I'd make again to see God's hand in such a way as I have. 

The first month we sowed all our extra money asking the Lord for financial provision.  Within one month's time, we received a 100 fold financial blessing from that seed.  God solidified in our hearts through that blessing that He is very aware of our needs and is taking care of us.  PRAISE HIM!  It gets better!

The second month we sowed all the extra money we had and asked God to bless us with another child.  This is something we have longed for and have found difficulty along the way, so we cried out to God.  About a month later, we conceived and are now 10 weeks!
You have no idea how exciting it was to go into an ultra sound and see a baby!  In past experience, we had gone to find nothing at all... but Praise God!  This time a baby!  The heartbeat was like music!

Are you celebrating the goodness of God, yet?  It's not that throwing down money gets us what we want.  However, it is that when we combine thankfulness with obedience, the blessings of God are not hindered!

We sowed for a third time, and cannot yet share the details of our third seed.  But can I say this?  We are seeing God's hand all over again, and can't wait to share the praise report with you!

For those of you who knew we were seeking God, and prayed, THANK YOU!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and pray over this precious baby we are already in love with!  We want to believe God for you too!  You can contact us by leaving a comment, sending an email through our website, http://www.josh-jill.com/, or calling/texting.  God is very aware of you, and He longs for His favor to rest on your life!  Do you feel the favor of God is being hindered?  Ask God to show you the right walk of obedience, and He will do just that!

I want to leave you with an encouraging passage of scripture:
"The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master.  When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant.  Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned.  From the time he put him in charge of his household and all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.  The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potipha had, both in the house and in the field.  So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not conern himself with anything except the food he ate."  (Genesis 39:2-6)

Walk in God's Favor!
~Jill

Monday, March 26, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

In the past two or three years I've experienced some circumstances in my life that definitely have not happened in the way I would have EVER planned!  I've not blogged about them... maybe someday I will.  Have you ever noticed that life can serve you bad deal after bad deal?  Just when you get over one thing something completely different yet disheartening surprises you. 

In those times it's easy to begin to complain.  Things aren't right.  Things aren't fair.  Does God even care?  Complaining.  I think I've been doing some of that.  Not out loud so much, but deep down I've been frustrated. 

I'm so glad God doesn't give up on us when we are frustrated and complaining.  He has reminded me the importance of a thankful heart.  The importance of thanking Him in the trial, even thanking Him FOR the trial!  This could be the very thing He uses to bring about a greater maturity and strength in us as well as something better for our lives than that thing we're so disappointed over.

I read a couple of qoutes yesterday that grabbed my heart and brought me to repentance again.  God's been dealing with me on this for a couple of months now!

"Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts."  "A grateful attitude becomes a grid through which you perceive life."  ~Sarah Young

Wow.  I would much rather perceive my life through a grateful attitude than a cynical, hurt, and broken one.   How much happier my days would be, and how much happier those around me would be! 

What about you?  Has life served you some bad deals?  I hope you find encouragement in this.  It is not natural to be grateful.  I think it's something we have to practice and practice until it becomes natural.  It's something we have to constantly go to God in prayer over asking Him for strength and help.  When our grateful attitude finally overrides the hurt, the questions, and the complaining we begin to find that our joy returns.  That ability to truly smile and laugh return. 

So that's my prayer today.  Here are a few scriptures to ponder.

"And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel." 
1 Corinthians 10:10


"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" 
Hebrews 12:28-29


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  James 1:2-4

Monday, March 12, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

Today I just want to type a passage of scripture that I hope will be an encouragement to you.  My prayer is that God will help me to be obedient to His ways and His plans in every detail of my life!  Pure obedience.  That's what I'm striving for.  The passage I want to leave you with is a scriptural blessing for obedience.  Though obedience may seem to cost us much from an earthly perspective, it is really the way we gain an abundant and full life!

"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you.  They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven."
~Deuteronomy 28:1-7

That's just the first seven verses.  There are seven more that follow that.  Walk in obedience today!  The blessing is far greater than the sacrifice!

~Jill

Monday, March 5, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday.. Final Thoughts on Loving them Better

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6


Over the past week, I've had to hand some anxiety over to God and allow His peace to overwhelm my understanding, or lack thereof.  While I've been in that process, I've thought how valuable of a lesson that is to teach our kids.  Take your concerns to God.  He will guard your hearts and minds


I began a 14 day challenge on ways we can love our kids better, and today I want to give it a few final thoughts.

~ Teach them to take their concerns to God.  A great way to teach that is simply to model that through some of your own siuations and concerns.   Let God's peace be evident in you.

~  Find their interests and encourage them in that.  Kylee wants to be a "pet doctor princess" when she grows up.  She may change her mind several times between now and then, but we encourage it and let her take care of our pets.  Both girls love to read, so we go to the library often so there are always fresh books around the house.

~ I notice my kids get a big sense of accomplishment when I let them accomplish a grown up task.  Kylee loves to help me wash dishes, and even though letting her help doubles the time it takes to finish, I try to let her as often as I can.  It brings her a great sense of accomplishment.  They both love to help cook, so I look for chances to let them pour, stir, etc. 

~ Praise, Praise, Praise!  Speak life over them. 

~ Have a family devotion when you can.  I've learned accomplishing that every night is nearly impossible, but make them meaningful and fun when you do catch that chance.  The other night we made blue jello with swedish fish inside to celebrate Dr. Seuss day.  We read "Red Fish, Blue Fish." After the Dr. Seuss story we talked about a Bible fish story known as Jonah and the Whale.  It turned into a great talk on obedience... and it was FUN!  Devotions can be meaningul and fun.

~ One thing we do as a family is take walks together when we are home.   It gets us away from chores and work life while we catch some fresh air and do something together.  It doesn't have to take long, but is a very intentional way to be together as a family.

Last but not least, trust God in this parenting thing.  We could come up with steps to take to raise 'em right all day long, but without God, it's all meaningless.  He is our source of strength and wisdom.  He gives it generously to those who ask.  (James 1:5)  So, when you are at a loss, turn to the One who brings peace in your anxiety, strength in your weakness, and wisdom along your unsure path.  He loves you. O, how He loves you!  And those sweet babies?  He loves them too.  He loves them enough to partner alongside you in this whole parenting thing. After all, He is the master parent!  I don't know about you, but this mama is far from having it all together.  I'm so glad I can rely on the ONE who does!

Happy Monday!
~Jill

Monday, February 20, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday... 14 Days to Loving them Better

"The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandment to do them.
Psalm 103:17-18


I love the idea of blogging daily, it's just not a reality for me.  I don't know how these moms with 10 kids homeschool, travel and speak publicly across the nation, keep a perfect house, and BLOG DAILY!  They must be hiding a nanny and a maid in a closet somewhere!  I say that to apologize for not blogging every day of my 14 day challenge to love them better. However, the challenge has been very near my thoughts and I have looked daily for ways to love my kids and my husband better.  Today I will list four challenges that I've given myself, and hopefully one of them will resonate with you!

1.  Honor God as an individual by keeping His commandments.     The greatest gift we can give our children is a blessing that is passed down through our obedience to God.  I want to be sensitive to the things He ask me to do and not neglect those things.  If I violate God's law in some way I want the Holy Spirit to convict me and I want to turn away from it immediately.  What a treasure for my kids to grow up and say  "I am blessed because of the obedience of my parents!"  Sometimes we need to get our focus off of what our kids' are doing wrong and ask God to show us what we're doing wrong!  Is there any area of disobedience?

2.  Give our family the gift of TIME.
     I had a favorite professor in college.  I was privileged to take classes under him 4 or 5 times.  Something he taught us in every class was how love was spelled... 
T. I. M. E.  We
are living in a culture where we are overwhelmed with schedules, and honestly, social media is overtaking our time with family.  A big reason I do not blog daily, even through a 14 day challenge, is because of the time it would take from a little 3 and 4 year old who want to read stories and play games.  It's too easy to spend an evening with a quick meal while someone in the family chills out watching TV while someone else is checking out on facebook and twitter.  The family is home together, but disconnected.  I want to be intentional about the quality of time I give to my kids.  I've learned I can be home with them all day, yet I'm so busy I'm not really with them.  Time is a precious gift.

3.  Make my Marriage Priority
     I've often heard it said that all a child wants is a mommy and daddy to love them.  I think   that's true, but only partly.  What a child really wants is a mommy and daddy who love each other.  A child's security is in the fact that things are okay with mom and dad.  My desire is to model how to love through loving my husband.  When they see a genuine love there, it gives them a sense of security that will carry with them throughout life.  My prayer is that my kids will love and respect their father because that's what they see mom do!

4.  Make Meals a Ministry
     Really, it doesn't even necessarily have to be a meal.  I've never been one to have too much yummy stuff in the house, but I'm trying to do better.  I've learned when my kids are upset or we are just not connecting well, the difference giving them something yummy can make!  I know it sounds silly, but I'm amazed at how comforting and healing a cup of hot chocolate can be after I've had to discipline the kids.  When the discipline is over, it's wonderful to follow it up with an act of kindness and love.  I'm not saying we lessen discipline because discipline in and of itself is an act of love, and I'm not saying we follow up with snacks every time.  I've just noticed the comfort it has brought to my kids when our day was really going sour.  Hot chocolate and marshmallows speak to them like nothing else.
     Another thing my kids love that makes a fun dessert is strawberries and chocolate dip. Sometimes I will use that as a reward and sometimes "just because."  When we give our kids what they love to eat (and I'm not referring to McDonald's) it can be a true ministry to them.  Had a rough day with your teen?  A trip to Krispy Kreme could be just the thing.
     Many times in the Bible we see Jesus minsitering to the disciples by feeding them.  So when you take the time to cook that meal, or make a cup of hot chocolate, you are speaking love!

This was our centerpiece the other night at dinner.
The kids ate their vegetables in no time to get to this!
They didn't like strawberries until I introduced them with chocolate.
Now they are crazy for strawberries and will even eat them without
the chocolate!

This is Kylee taking a bath because it was so yummy!

We've been on the challenge for 8 days!  Six more to go!  Hope you feel challenged and encouraged in loving them better!

~Jill

    

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

14 Days to Loving Them Better

Happy Late Valentine's Day, Y'all!  Yesterday was so out of the ordinary for me I never found a chance to get on here!  So I'm going to post 2 ways today that I am challenging myself to love my kids better

The first is through gifts. For Kylee, my oldest, that's her love language. She thrives on receiving a gift! Nearly every time I help her get dressed, she wants to know who gave her the outfit she's wearing. Every night when she chooses a toy or stuffed animal to sleep with, she will ask who gave it to her. If she receives some little breakable figurine, it goes on display for all of eternity and so help me God if I dare try to hide it from her. LOL! She LOVES gifts, and as her mom, I want to speak that language from time to time. Yesterday was the perfect day to gift my children since it was Valentine's Day.



I had this waiting for the girls when we picked Kylee up from PreK.
The flowers were from my sweet man.


I didn't take the greatest pictures, but here they are excited to open their gifts.
Nothing fancy or too expensive, but just a little "I Love You."


Gifts are a wonderful expression of love, especially if it is your loved one's love language.  For me, one of the most fun times to give a gift is when it's totally unexpected.  Not a birthday or Christmas, just an expression that some special person was on my mind!

My second challenge today is touch.  I promise I'm not going through the love languages, although if you've not read the book by Gary Chapman you should!  So often I rock my kids before bed because it's routine, it's a duty.  I'm ready to get through the process so I can have some time.  I am so blessed to have two sweet girls who long to be held and rocked and cuddled to no end, really.  I don't want to be too busy to really pour that on in a meaningful, rather than dutiful, way.  So today my aim is to minister to my children through touch.  It may be a back scratch or a tickle attack.  Whatever seems to be appropriate and speak to their hearts, I am going to be intentional with!

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the gift of motherhood.  Help me to see the needs of my children and give me the wisdom I need to adequately fill those needs.  Your word says in James 1:5 that "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  Today I ask for wisdom.  Help me to love my children and my husband better.  From there help me to love my neighbors better as well!
In the Perfect Name of Jesus Christ,
Amen!

On Assignment,
Jill

Monday, February 13, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday... 14 Days to Loving them Better

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 
Proverbs 15:1


A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post about being INTENTIONAL in fulfilling our God given assignments each day.  As a mom, one of those daily God given assignments is loving my children.  It's a daily assignment, and some days it is all God even asks of me. 

I was in a women's meeting a few weeks ago, when a precious woman shared about the fact that we love our kids, but sometimes there are ways we can love them better.  When I look at the phrase love them better I see the word love in a verb tense.  It's not that we don't love them to our maximum capability already, it's just that sometimes in the whirlwind of life we fail to act on it in ways that speak right to our kids' hearts.

Somehow that phrase resonated in my heart and immediately I prayed, "Lord, I want to love my babies better!"  So I've been looking for ways to do that and with Valentine's Day tomorrow, I feel God has given me an idea that will help me be INTENTIONAL about loving them better and I hope it will help you as well.  Since Valentine's Day is on the 14th of February, I am going to take the next 14 days and post a way I am focusing on loving my children better that day.  My prayer is that by the end of the 14 days I have discovered new ways to actively love my kids and that those things will carry over into the rest of my parenting days!  So, if you're up for a challenge, I encourage you to come along with me.  You may even want to leave some ideas of your own in a comment!  I'd love to hear from you!

So, Day 1 for me is the challenge of using gentle words as described in Proverbs 15:1.  When my children are angry at one another or at a situation I do not want to combat anger with anger.  That never works, and is usually what I find to tear relationships apart.  It's tough when my 3 or 4 year old is having a meltdown over something so insignificant.. it's easy to snap.  So today I am praying that God will help me to not snap at my children.  Rather, find ways to be gentle in word and action.

Whatever stage of parenting you are in, even if your kids are grown, there are still ways to love them better!  How would God have you love them better today?

~Jill

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Giving Him our Hurts

I love that God loves me enough to take notice of every situation I go through... no matter how big or small. 

I love that He knows right where to direct you in His Word... even when you don't know you're being directed.

If I can be just this vulnerable on here, I 've carried some hurt, for well, quite some time.  It's funny how little hurt + little hurt + little hurt + time passing + little hurt = BIG HURT.  Is it just me, or does it work that way for some of you too?

This morning somehow all those little hurts opened right back up in my heart, and while I was tempted to ignore it and go on about my day, I felt impressed to stop right then and get in the Word of God.  So, I opened up my devotional by Sarah Young, and my James homework from our Beth Moore Bible Study at Gateway Church, and man, did God have a word for me!  Love how He does that!

First, I skimmed my homework from yesterday and was reminded of a very comforting verse that meant more to me today than yesterday:

"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you."  Psalm 38:9

From there I worked through today's lesson, and while I won't deliberate over all the details (you would be reading all day), I will say that the things that applied to what I was feeling in that moment were incredibly timely for me.  Certain situations remain the same for now in my life, but I am comforted in knowing that God sees, cares, and sent a Word just for me!  I can hand those issues right over to Him.  He knows how to handle them far better than I.

As far as the situations?  I know they can change because John 15:16 says this:

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

What about you?  Are you carrying hurts?  Have you handed them over to God or are you trying to bear it all on your own?  Can I challenge you to do this:  Stop everything and go to His Word.  He longs to speak to you there!

~Jill

Monday, January 30, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

We had an extremely busy but blessed weekend!  Friday night we had a bowling night with our youth group, and it turned out to be a blast for the girls!  Sometimes they get thrown into things they just have to endure, so it was good for this mama's heart to watch them have a good time with their buddies.  With the bumpers and slide, they outscored me! (For what that's worth!) 




This morning I have been thinking about the fact that our blog is named "On Assignment."  I woke up with a prayer in my heart to live this day "On Assignment" for the Kingdom of God. My heart cry is to hear His voice when He speaks and to have the strength and will to obey.  I walk past hurting people every day, and I know at times I'm so busy with my own agenda, I do not even listen to what God may be speaking.  I think we have to be willing to allow God to interrupt our agenda for His higher purpose.  What may make us a few minutes late to work or an appointment could be a matter of Heaven or Hell for someone who is lost, or a matter of hope for someone who has lost all reason to live.

Matthew 28:19-20 says:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commnaded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


Those were Jesus' final words before He ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  He must have felt that was the most important thing for us as believers to remember.  The thought of going into all the world can be overwhelming, so what if we just began with "our" world?  The workplace, the grocery store, the neighbor, the man holding a cardboard sign on the street corner, maybe even the thirsty kid at church who can't reach the water fountain.  What if we just became INTENTIONAL about our FAITH in every little detail of our day?  I think "our" world would change.

Something I have learned is this:  I only become INTENTIONAL when I ask God to give me focus, to give me His eyes, and to make me sensitive to His voice.  Out of all the nagging responsibilities I have to fulfill today, He has SOMETHING on His Kingdom agenda for me to do.  He has SOMETHING for YOU as well!

So my challenge to you is simply to ask God to make you sensitive to His voice so you can be the very hands and feet of Jesus to someone today, and every day! 

If you get that opportunity to be intentional about being the hands and feet of Jesus to someone, we'd love to hear about it in a comment!  That encourages us and other believers as well!  So let us hear from you!


Live On Assignment!
~Josh and Jill

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Apply it to Me... Tuesday

 I told you I'd post pics of our new bunny on here (aka Lord Fluffy) and I have realized that I have only taken a couple of vidoes, not actual pictures.  After hours of trying to get the videos to download I finally gave up, and now I am very late getting this post up. 

In one of the videos, little Aubrey gets bitten by the bunny.  Poor thing.  I didn't think it was that big of a deal, until I saw the blood on her hands.  Bunnies have some sharp little teeth apparently.  She walked around nursing her little finger all day.  And oh, if you dared to mention the bunny she got the most downtrodden little look on her face.  I was afraid she may not recover from the tragedy, but she has gotten back out there to feed the bunny and has done great with that!  I suppose one of the greatest lessons we can teach our kids is to overcome their fear, and get back out there to try again!

Hopefully I will remember to take some cute pictures to share!

I am going to share a verse with you today that expresses the hunger we have in our hearts for God.  I long to know Him more in 2012 and to go deeper in prayer and in the study of His Word. This is a prayer I am sending out to my Heavenly Father today.  Perhaps it is yours as well.

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water."  Psalm 63:1

I love 1 Chronicles 28:9.  It says:
"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your Father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.  If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever."

Is there a longing deep inside you for a sense of God's nearness?  He is just a prayer away.  He is a relational God who does not demand from us.  Oh, but the moment we cry out to Him, He hears our plea and we FIND HIM!  Like the caring father that He is, He meets our every need.  Our only part is really to seek Him out.

Live On Assignment,
~Josh and Jill


Monday, January 16, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

So, I wish I had taken pictures but I know some others did, so maybe they'll share so I can share with you later!  Last night we had the privilege of watching our teens minister in the service through worship, drama, as well as sharing short sermons.  We are proud of everyone of them.  My husband said it so well last night, he called them a 1 Timothy 4:12 generation.  It says this:

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." 

What a word for our teens, but let's not overlook that it's a word for us as well.  No matter how old I get, there is still a little part of me that feels insecure, inadequate, not good enough to do what this scripture says to do.  I love the way the message puts it:

"And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. 13 Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. 14 And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed — keep that dusted off and in use."


This convinces me that this scripture is not age-specific but a message to all of us.  Can you remember a time when you had an experience such as this scripture describes?  Was there a time in your life when you received a call of some sort?  Not everyone is called to a full-time ministry position, but God has something for all of us to do for His Kingdom.  Do you remember that experience from your teen years when someone laid hands on you and prayed over God's purpose in your life? Do you remember the passion you had to impact earth for God's Kingdom?  I love the way the message puts it, KEEP THAT DUSTED OFF AND IN USE!  If it were only for the young, we would not have to keep it dusted off.  When living "On Assignment" for God there will always be somewhat of a feeling of being young because God has a way of continually taking us down roads we've never gone before.  We are in a state of constant growth.  It's scary, yet exhilirating.  When we see how inadequate we are, we see just how capable He is and realize it's Him working through us!

So, have you held back?  Have you completely relinquished the gifts God once gave you because you feel your time is over or it's someone else's turn now?  You couldn't be further from the truth!  What gifts or ministries do you need to dust off today and get busy with again?  I can guarantee, if you'll go for it,God will pour out such a blessing on your life that you can't contain, and you'll find that living in His purpose and for His Kingdom is the only way to truly live!

That scripture challenges me.  I am praying and asking God to show me some areas of ministry that need "dusting off!"

In others news, we got a bunny this weekend for the girls.  Yes, we are crazy and yes, he will live outside.  They named him "Lord Fluffy" after a cat in the Lifeway Gigi movies for girls.  I am about to go get us all a Dr. Pepper and plan to let them sit and play with him on the trampoline while I immerse myself in my newest Beth Moore study!  I'll have to take some pics of our newest family member and post later this week!

We don't know everyone who reads this blog.  Sometimes we wonder if anyone does LOL!  We pray God's richest blessings on you and pray you are challenged this week to walk in that abundant life He has for you!  Nothing less.

Live On Assignment!
Josh and Jill

Monday, January 9, 2012

Apply it to Me Monday

It's a brand new year and with that often come new joys and excitements, and sometimes a new year can bring unexpected hardships.  We all go through seasons.  Some wonderful, full of joy and peace.  Other seasons can leave us heartbroken and devastated, while still others simply require much longsuffering and patience.  Whatever season 2012 finds you in, we pray that God blesses you and strengthens you beyond measure.

We are starting our BRAND NEW Bible Study today at Gateway Church on the book of James.  I've been excited about this one for a LONG time, and by the grace of God I will do all 5 levels of this study!  Those are: watching the video segments, doing the homework, writing out the book of James, doing the extra study, and memorizing the entire book of James!  Wow!  That's a lot, but I'm excited to see how God wants to use that to bring spiritual growth and change in me.

I thought it would be fitting to read a little in James since, after all, I do have my work cut out, and I read a scripture that I knew would speak to those of you in a difficult season, so I think I'll just share it:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finsih its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  James 1:2-5

Are you facing a trial today?  I wish I had all the answers to life's problems, but I'm so thankful I know the one who does and I can go to Him for wisdom.  Above that, I can simply trust His plan when life doesn't quite make sense to me.

Love you all!  Check the past few posts for pictures of the girls at Christmas!

~Josh and Jill

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Recap #4

A few last pictures of the girls at Christmas.  It's just a portion of what we have, but you'll get the idea!

Kylee was wide awake and excited for presents!
Aubrey seemed a bit sleepy.  They are usually the exact opposite
in the mornings!  Kylee doesn't do mornings so much and Aubrey
is usually our early bird!

I love the smocked dresses my mom gave them.
I'll be tempted to let them wear them every Sunday!
A sweet smile!
New appliances for the kitchen... oh yes!
Our fam... We need to take more family pictures.
New Year's Resolution!  LOL!
Kylee and Aubrey in the bed they share at Grammy and Pawpaw's house.
They each get to sleep with a gi-normous doll.  They love it!
Fun pic of Kylee and me.
Hope you all had a very blessed Christmas!  I can honestly say that what made Christmas special to me this year was not all the trappings, rather it was the very closeness of Christ in my heart!  I'm so thankful He gives us a reason to live and celebrate life!

~Josh and Jill

Christmas Recap #3

The day Kylee had her party at preschool and sang songs with the group was just precious and priceless to us!  She LOVES preschool and was so PROUD that her family was there.  We soaked that in, and prayed that she would stay that way! 

Here she is on stage in the very center.
They had a book exchange with their classes after the program.
This is Kylee waiting patiently smiling!
The book Kylee brought.
We found it on sale, and let me say, I would highly recommend it.
It teaches children the true spirit of giving and I would have cried
the first time I read it had I not been standing in the book aisle of Lifeway.
I had to choke back tears... it's that good!
They drew Kylee's name very last, and she was so patient through the whole thing.
Finally opening her book:
We love it!
Icing a brownie..
Little Aubrey was a little lost for a while, until she found something to do..

Our children are our heritage from the Lord!   These are moments we cherish!

~Josh and Jill

Christmas Recap #2

Okay Folks!  I know Christmas is long over now, but I'm still living in the memory of it I suppose!  When we wanted to send out a Christmas card to our prayer partners, we had not taken any Christmas pics, so I had to get a quick one myself.  These are some pics of the fun the girls had taking pictures.

They felt this was the best pose!
They were full of energy and silly as could be.

I loved this shot of Kylee!

And I loved this shot of Aubrey!
This one too..
They are the best of friends.  Their kisses are too sweet!
Singin' a song...

So silly!
Love these girls!

New Year's Resolution:  Blog More.  Seriously!  We want to do better! 
Much love to you and more posts to come!
~Josh and Jill
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