Why Can’t God’s Highest Purpose Be My Comfort Instead of His Glory?

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)

Aha!

Ever had an “Aha moment?” Like when you discovered coffee is amazing. Or that you needed reading glasses.

We’ll probably experience lots of aha moments in heaven. For now, we have lots of head-scratching and wondering moments.

Jesus’ disciples had one. . . Read More


Read the rest of this post at InspireAFire.com. I’m blogging over there today!

God's Glory is His Highest Purpose-not our comfort-and that's good news for us! (Jean Wilund via www.inspireafire.com)




Hate and Despair Are Never the Answer. Jesus Is.

Hate & Despair are never the answer -- Jesus is. via www.JeanWilund.com

I Miss Fluffy Facebook

I never thought I’d miss reading a Facebook post about what someone ate for breakfast or that they’re going to brush their teeth.

But with so much hate and despair spewing out on Facebook and on every place an opinion or thought can be spewed, I long for a mundane post that someone just scooped the poop for their pup.

I miss fluffy posts about kittens.

Society seems intent on ripping itself apart with venomous, hate-filled words and accusations slung far and wide.

Many are ready to declare all hope is gone.

 

Hate and despair are infecting America like a life-stealing cancer, spreading from coast to coast.

I refuse to give in to that mentality.

I choose to smile at the future.

And I can because of one thing — one person — Jesus Christ.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is. 


When Jesus comes into a life, He changes the heart.

He molds and shapes us into people who want to love, not destroy, others. Even those we disagree with.

And once our hearts look more like Christ’s, our hands and feet move toward healing society rather than ripping it apart.

No matter what political view you hold, Jesus is the answer to our need.

But we’ll never know how He is the answer until we know Him.

We’ll never really know Him until we know Him through His Word.

It’s that simple. But it’s not overnight. So let’s get moving.


I pray this will be the Year of The Word — the Year of Jesus.

I hope this year millions turn to God’s Word to find out just who this Jesus is.

Who is this One who says He’s both God and man?

How can Jesus be the answer to every need — every crisis — every longing?

What hope can He truly offer America? The world?

In a time when people are screaming and calling others hate-filled, disparaging names, my prayer is that we’ll stop long enough to take a deep breath and call out the name of Jesus instead.

That’s when everything will change. That’s where peace is found and every answer revealed.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is.

Jesus by Chris Tomlin


Chris Tomlin’s song Jesus is the message we need to hear.

It’s the song I wish was stuck in every heart and on every mind in America.

Listen to it here, and then sing it out as a prayer for us all. 

 

If you’re overwhelmed by today’s news reports, don’t give in to despair.

Smile at the future and call out to the One who holds it and you — Jesus. 




Stuck in the Ditch of “Coming Soon . . .”? How to Enjoy Waiting for the Tow Truck

Ever feel stuck in a ditch of "Coming Soon?" Here's how to enjoy your time waiting to get out. Plus "Dwell", an encouraging song by Vineyard Worship. via www.JeanWilund.com

Coming Soon . . .

Sometimes I feel like my plans are stuck in a ditch.

I’m stuck in “Coming soon . . . ”

I’m trying to get my projects to the finish line but stuff keeps coming up and knocking me off the road.

I’m busier than a squirrel trying to decide which side of the road it wants to be on.

I’d hoped to have many projects completed by now, but life happens and plans get changed.

As they say, the only constant is change.

Or is it?

Actually, a truer statement makes that statement ironic:

The one true constant is God, and He never changes.

Finally, something–Someone–we can count on.

Four Tips For When You’re In A Ditch and Waiting for the Tow Truck


1. Be content.

Imprisonment wasn’t on the Apostle Paul’s To Do list, and yet, there he sat.

And while he sat, he chose to be content.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want

[Or in a ditch–my translation].

(Philippians 4:12, NIV)

God had a reason for Paul to be in prison. He was reaching people who couldn’t be reached any other way.

Because Paul was willing to embrace his ditch time, he got to be a part of an amazing story involving earthquakes, prisoners, and guards coming to salvation through faith in Christ. (Acts 16)

If he’d simply grumbled and complained about the injustice of his being imprisoned, I don’t think God would’ve used him in such a dramatic, incredible way.

He would’ve dwelled in the ditch, just the same, but he would’ve been miserable rather than singing hymns of praise.

We don’t always get to know why God has us in a ditch, but we can choose to be content there by trusting in the Faithful One.

2. Be humble and teachable.

Ask God if there’s anything you need to learn in order to be released from your ditch.

And then listen.

Sometimes God lets us get stuck in a ditch because we’re not as ready for the next step as we think. He slows us down because He’s not done preparing us.

When we learn to drive, we don’t get thrown straight onto the highway. Our instructors wait until they know we’re ready to handle it.

After Paul got saved, he spent three years in the wilderness being trained by God before God sent him out in ministry (Galatians 1:15-18).

Paul had been a model religious leader, a Pharisee. How could he possibly need three more years of training?

But all his fancy education wasn’t enough. God knew what Paul needed, and He knew how to train him properly.

Paul could’ve felt stuck in a ditch those three years, but his heart was humble and teachable.

He listened and learned.

Arrogance will leave us stranded in a ditch alone. Eventually, even our friends won’t want to help pull us out.

Be humble and teachable.

I’m going to repeat that. Be humble and teachable!

3. Be Patient.

Maybe we are in fact ready, but God hasn’t gotten the other players in place yet.

Our projects and plans aren’t really ours. God is the one at work. He’s inviting us to join Him.

It’s no good our setting off on our own to develop our own rogue projects.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NASB.)

Going rogue is a sure path to eventual failure.

From first to last, it’s all about Christ. Everything we do is about and for His glory.

Whenever we ride in a caravan, the lead car has to wait to make sure the other cars are in place and ready to follow.

Perhaps you’re leading the caravan and you’re ready to take of, but you’ll leave valuable players behind.

Paul and Silas wanted to go preach the Word in Asia and then in Bithynia, but God stopped them.

He didn’t tell them why they couldn’t go to Asia. He simply said no.

They could’ve fought God on it. Instead, they complied, and God sent them to Macedonia where they got thrown into a ditch, otherwise known as prison. (Acts 16:6-40)

Hmmm.  

They may have wondered why God thought Macedonia was a better choice than Asia. But it’s in this Macedonian prison that the jailer and his family got saved.

And years later, in God’s perfect timing, He sent the gospel to Asia and Bithynia as well.

 

4. Fill Your Heart With Worship

When you’re weary of waiting, try worshipping.

In fact, here’s a great worship song to learn: Dwell by Vineyard Worship.

If you’re stuck in a ditch, let this song fill your heart with the beauty and power of dwelling in God’s presence as you wait for God to send you a tow truck.

Then afterward, I have two questions I’d love for you to answer about a “Coming Soon . . .” project of my own. Thanks!

Remember: Our plans may change, but God never does, and He’s in the ditch with us.

In fact, as we’ve seen, He may have put us in that ditch.

Wherever #God has you, #Dwell there with Him in contentment, humility, patience & worship. Click To Tweet

One of the projects is a makeover for my blog.

These changes will better reflect the heart of my message that from first to last, it’s all about Christ–and He loves you.

I’ll unveil the blog makeover as soon as it’s done–Duh— along with a new series of blog posts I’ve been developing.

Would you please respond in the comments or email me at jwilund@me.com your answers to these two questions:

  1. What struggles and challenges are you currently facing?

  2. What questions do you have about God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, or Christianity in general?

This blog isn’t a place for me to just babble.

Not that I don’t enjoy babbling. I love it. But I’m too busy for that, and so are you.

I want this blog to offer answers to your questions as well as give you hope and solutions for your struggles and challenges.

You can help me with this goal by sharing your questions and challenges with me.

And pray.

If the Lord brings me to your mind, pray that His plans and purposes for this blog will be accomplished as I make the changes.

Thanks for taking the time to read and support my blog with your prayers and encouragement.

Blessings!
Jean

Feel stuck in a ditch? Here's help while waiting for a tow truck. #Unstuck #Christ Click To Tweet




When Pain Is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom

When Pain is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom by Mekeishakay via www.JeanWilund.comEver met someone you’d like to have follow you around and talk for you?

All you’d have to say was, “Yeah. What she said!”

Blogger–and my new friend–Mekeisha has a way of explaining truth that leaves me staring at her dumbly.

When people stare at me like that, they’re trying to figure out what I’m babbling about.

People stare at Mekeisha because they’re mesmerized.

I want to grow up to be just like her.

I asked Mekeisha if I could rip a post off her blog and share it with you. She said, Sure – go for it!

I chose When Pain is Like a Flower because when she read it to my roommate Bethany and I at a recent speakers conference (Christian Communicators Conference–shameless plug), Bethany and I just stared, stunned.

I wish you could’ve been there. It would’ve been crowded in our hotel room, but you would’ve loved listening to her.

After you read Mekeisha’s post, go onto her blog (the link is at the bottom of this post) and leave her a comment, requesting she start streaming live readings.

Thanks! and Enjoy . . . 

When pain is like a flower

(by Mekeisha as appeared on her blog, Mekeishakay)

This afternoon, J (my 8 yo) slipped into my room for a visit. I was settled on my bed checking e-mails and reading articles, when she began twisting wool into a ring, and the words began to flow. I knew it was going to be more than a casual conversation when she opened with

Mom, do you know what really makes me sad? 

As she began to share, I was surprised to realize that my fun loving, rambunctious little girl had such deep thoughts brewing below the surface.

I’m happy on the outside, but I’m not happy on the inside. I feel mean on the inside. And angry. And hurt a lot… as she braided and re-braided the string in her hands, she looked away with the saddest face and said It can never change…

Oh, Babe, that makes my heart sad. God doesn’t want you to feel that way!

As I sat across from her, an illustration began to form in my mind:

Imagine your baby sister with a backpack full of rocks, so full she couldn’t even walk- she could only crawl, because it was too heavy to walk with. Then someone added even more rocks until she finally rolled over from the weight. She would be lying on a lumpy backpack full of heavy rocks!! Now wouldn’t that be terrible!? What would you do?

With tears in her eyes, she ardently proclaimed, I would walk over, scoop her up in my arms, kiss her and tell her that she was going to be okay, and then I would put her rocks in MY backpack, and I would walk over to the person who did it, and I would tell them

You may not touch her any more. You can only Touch Me.

I started crying as I put my arms on her shoulders and asked, “Now J, if you would do that for your sister, don’t you think God would do that for you? That’s exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross! He saw how heavy our backpacks were, and He took our rocks of sin, shame, and pain and He told the Devil: You can only touch me.”

You can only touch me – so they beat Him with a whip.

You can only touch me –  and they spit in His face.

You can only touch me – and they placed a crown of thorns on His head.

You can only touch me – and they plucked his beard from his face.

You can only touch me and He was nailed to a cross.

You can only touch me and He went to Hell for us.

“Do you believe Jesus did that for you?”

She looked away and whispered… No.

How will I get through to her?

“Now… remember when you said that you could never change the way you feel inside? I have a question: What if R, your sister (who is only four) had a backpack full of rocks and you walked over to help her and she said ‘NO! I like my rocks! I want to keep my rocks! You can’t have my rocks!’

“What if she couldn’t even walk because the rocks were so heavy? What would you do then?”

She thought a moment, smiled wide and replied, “I would tell her, I know something that you like better than rocks, and I would take her rocks and give her a humongous Lollipop!”

“J, God wants to trade with you too! God wants you to give him the heavy stuff in your backpack so He can fill it up with something better… like love, joy, peace, patience- all these things are fruit of His Spirit working in you!

“Well, don’t you want to get rid of those rocks in your backpack?”

Mom, do you know how many rocks are in my backpack?

No, how many?

One. Just one big, really heavy rock.

What makes it so heavy?

Meanness, grumpiness, anger … the opposite of gentleness, hurt, and… tons of pain.

Why so much pain?

Because sometimes I feel lonely, or sad, and then I feel pain. My pain is like a flower that grows up from the rocks, and it doesn’t die even when it gets too much water, or too much sun… 


Do you think God can take your pain, that He can make it go away?

Yes, but sometimes it’s like someone sneaks in and plants another one.

Well, if that happens, we know what it looks like, right? It’s like a weed growing in your garden, and we know how to get rid of it! God can take care of that one too!

Let’s imagine there’s a table in front of us and you are unloading your backpack onto the table. You know, whenever we see something in our heart that shouldn’t be there, and we say it out loud, that’s called confessing, or admitting something is wrong. When we do that, God loves to forgive us! And it’s okay if you feel angry sometimes… I do too. The Bible says Be Angry–and sin not. It’s what we do with our big feelings that can get us into trouble!

It’s also okay to ask for help, because sometimes we can’t make ourselves do what we should. That’s why God gave us His Spirit. He said He would send us His Spirit so that we would have the power to do what is right. You’re not supposed to try harder to stop doing bad things, we’re supposed to ask God and let Him help more.

As she began to name the things that were in her heart–the anger, the hurt, the mean feelings towards others–her countenance completely shifted from being sad and heavy to being joyful and light.

When we finally emerged from the bedroom to share a snack with the rest of the family, she smiled and proclaimed, “I emptied my backpack!”


You know, I think explaining what we believe in simple words – for little ears – helps us to understand things better. I love the way she grappled with words to share what was on her heart.

I think I understand, though. Sometimes pain does seem to thrive, even when I try to kill it with forgiveness, or when I hope it will scorch under the heat of neglect, pretending I’m fine when I’m really Not… but I think God wants us to be honest enough to admit I hurt… and I need to be healed.

I forgave… but I still feel raw.

I want to do what is right, but I’m sad at the times I’ve failed…

Maybe confession is like opening a door to God. If so, we swung it wide open today.


Meet My Friend Mekeisha

Hailing from the frozen North of Alaska,
I am a wife, mother of four, poet, musician, artist and Grandmother wanna-be.

I read voraciously and love to teach others
about how amazing God is.

He’s a genius, you know.

Love God. Love people.

That’s as simple and complicated as it gets,
my friends.

I write a blog, Mekeishakay, that is my attempt to
share the beauty of our broken places, and the things I am learning in this journey.

Stop by and visit me: Visit Mekeishakay and find beauty, truth, and hope.

When Pain is like a Flower, #Truth makes #Hope Bloom #ChristCarriedYourPain @MekeishaS Click To Tweet

 

 




When Your Heart is Broken, Ask the Right Question: What For? not Why? or What if?

Why the Right Question to Ask When Your Heart is Broken is "What For?" not "Why?" or "What if?"

When your heart is broken, there’s a right question to ask and some wrong ones.

My friend Traci should know. Her heart didn’t just break; it shattered when her daughter Anna died in a car wreck on a lonely stretch of highway four years ago.

God taught Traci the right question to ask as her heart bled deep grief.

This question brings us comfort, healing, and peace.

Click the link to read her post: When Your Heart is Broken, Ask the Right Question: What For? not Why? or What if?


“What For?” Not “Why?” or “What if?”

by Traci Burns

In the weeks and months that followed Anna’s accident, I’d sit and wonder.

And I asked God a lot of questions.

What For? Not Why? or What If?Why?  

Why did this have to happen?

Was she tired and fell asleep at the wheel?  

Was there debris in the road?  

Did a deer or some other animal run out in front of her truck?  

What if she had been driving a different vehicle? Would the accident still have happened?

Better yet, what if her dad and I had never let her move out of our house so she wouldn’t have been on the interstate that night?    

The questions kept coming.  

Then I finally realized . . . let me correct that . . . then the Lord showed me:

If I knew every answer to every question I ever had, it would not change the fact that my precious daughter died instantly in a car accident on April 14, 2012.

At Anna’s memorial service, I heard sweet stories about Anna. Her friends and family remembered her with great love.  

Also, the minister shared the gospel message of how to accept Jesus and spend eternity in Heaven with Him.  

After his message, he asked if anyone had made the decision to trust Christ. More than 30 people raised their hands!  

One of those hands belonged to my 77-year-old mother-in-law.  

Another hand belonged to a friend Anna had known since third grade.

Why the Right Question to Ask When Your Heart is Broken is "What For?" not "Why?" or "What if?"I could name more because Jesus gave me the “gift” of knowing several of the people who made that decision.

When I started asking “What for?” instead of “Why?” or “What if?” I began to see how Jesus was working in my tragedy to bring Himself glory and lost souls to salvation.

And He brought me comfort by letting me see a small glimpse of the wonderful What For?

“Why?” or “What if?” will drive you crazy. “What for?” will drive you to God. And that’s the best place to be.

With a grateful heart,

Traci


If you’ve missed any of Traci’s posts about her journey and the wonderful truths God has revealed to her through it, check out her first post here: 

Are You Facing a Storm? Jesus Is Bigger Than We Let Him Be

Pt. 1 of "Are You In A Storm? Jesus is Bigger Than We Let Him Be." A true story by Traci Burns via @JeanWilund.com


Traci Burns "Thoughts To Think" on Join the Journey (www.JeanWilund.com)Traci Burns is a wife, mom, and messenger of hope and healing. She never planned to be a blogger. She also never planned to live a story that must be told. Now, wherever Traci can, she shares the peace and comfort she’s found — even in the midst of pain — in a God who’s good all the time. She spreads the news with joy and laughter that Jesus Christ, the One who stills the storms, wants to steer our boat. Traci and her husband Weyland live in Lexington, SC. Their two sons live in the Greenville, SC area. Their daughter lives in heaven.

When your heart is broken, ask the right question. What For? not Why? or What If? #Christ #Hope Click To Tweet