Out of the Boat

I feel like I am being called out of the boat again. I refer to this every time I fell God calling me to do something I either don’t understand or something that makes me so fearful I can’t possibly do it without Him.

Matthew 14:22-31 KJV

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Right now, I feel as though I’m in a boat, with the waves crashing around me and the “wind is boisterous!”

If you have read any of my previous blogs (as random as they can be sometimes) you may know about the coffee shop I was working on. Ok, correction the coffee shop I AM working on. If you haven’t then you don’t know much about what’s going on with me right now or what has been going on the last few years.
I would suggest reading the blog entries listed below before reading anything else. Other wise you may not really get anything I talk about:
Reposted from a blog I never let anyone read
365 Days with Jesus
Day 103
Day 300

Ok, on with crashing waves and crazy wind. So, I thought I was running in the right direction with the pursuit of this coffee shop/ art gallery for Jesus I have been given the vision for. But, it has been one road block after another. Some of that I will say I believe was the enemy, working his hardest to distract and discourage me as much as possible. Another aspect of it is me, my flesh, my desire to see this through.
All though perseverance and endurance are both things I can say God is teaching me (and a much needed lesson it has been) there is also striving for prideful reasons and just down right being stubborn.

I have other blog entries about a cross country trip and mentioned praying about it and seeking God out for answers. I am going to go against the things inside of me telling me to write about this vaguely and I am going to write about it as truthfully as possible.

I am leaving in May 2015, my goal is to save $3000.00 between now and then. These are two things I feel very strongly about after lots of prayer.

So, where do I go? Two options: Alaska for seasonal work, or a wondering cross country trip I have talked about for years.

What about the coffee shop? Are you ready for this one… I don’t know. I am finding out and learning this IS an exceptable answer. The desire is still there but I feel like there is something missing to have it go forward as God intends it to. I know when the time is right God will bring it together. This is a very hard thing for me to accept.

At least it was at first. I have been having feelings of doubt and all kinds of emotions and fleeting thoughts ever since that original building got sold back in July and I was asked to move.

How can I be doing everything I do, believing with all my heart it is what God wants me to do and then its done? How can I put all that time and all that effort into something for God and have it taken away?
How can I sacrifice my time my money and all my resources and even my own personal comfort for the sake of God and then have what I was doing just stop?

All I could think of for weeks was these questions and many others. Mostly question about what I did wrong to make this happen. And the answer I kept getting was… Nothing.
It is just time for something else. A new season, new lesson, new opportunities. I don’t need to know how, or why, who, nothing. I don’t need to know anything. Just trust the Lord and carry on. Do what I feel Him telling me to do and carry on. No, explanation needed.
Is it frustrating at times? Yes
I feel weird talking about things I know I’m supposed to do and then three months later those things are totally different and don’t seem to add up to the end vision I know I was given. Who can figure out and 100% discern the will of God? I sure can’t. All I know is that when I feel things this strong, its Him and when I don’t listen or I let fear get the best of me, it usually calls for hard times. But, when I blindly go with it and trust even when it seems foolish. It always works out in the end and then it makes all the sense in the world.

So crashing waves of confusion and some disappointment that things didn’t come together how I saw it coming together. Had some doubt in my ability to hear God as well. But, God is growing my faith with every act of obedience and helping me to see Him even in doubt. So, when the boat starts rocking and I am unsure if its Him I’m hearing. I say “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
So He said Jessica “Come.”
And I got out of the boat…. again….

Lets see where this goes this time!

God vs Man- How Do We Love our Enemy?

So Man is my biggest foe. God is the commander of my army yet I still take orders and listen to the opposing force. Wait… that doesn’t make sense. How can you fight a war and expect to win if you take orders from the very enemy you aim to destroy?
That isn’t even the biggest problem with what is happening. The biggest problem is most of us don’t even see the enemy as an enemy. We see co workers that P us off, family issues that drive us crazy, traffic jams, bank account woes and late bill payments. We see people who “just don’t get it” and keep thinking over and over again that “if things would just be____ (fill in that blank as you wish) then everything would be fine and I would be happy, content, at peace.

So, this enemy… he hides in plain sight! He’s right in your face! People who study war would tell you how smart that is. It is unsuspecting and innocent looking. Its a gift of a hollow horse full of enemy forces waiting to burn your life down as you sleep.

I want to try and explain something very important. The actual people are not the enemy! The situations, circumstances, and the way we think when controlled by the enemy is the enemy. My sister is not my foe or someone to battle with, the irritation and the thoughts the enemy can make you think when you begin to disagree and the small little thing starts pinning you up against each other like there is a world war about to start, now that is sparked by the enemy. He tries to separate Gods believers, he tries to keep believers from having a good influence on non believers he tries to prevent us from traveling to share Gods word, he tries to cripple us with fear of stepping out for God in blind faith.

If there is one thing this journey is teaching me, it is that the enemy hates bold steps made in faith when it seems like the most irrational thing to do.
Yet, I find that when those fears are met head on with a faith that tells me God wins and I’m on that side. It is easier to face that enemy and step out into the darkness.

So the first way to love your enemy is realizing that that person in front of you isn’t the enemy. They are just the Trojan Horse. The enemy is the unseen force inside that is waiting for an insecurity to exploit a weak spot in the armor to be shown or a default in character that he cant wait to see let loose on some one.
Another important note, it isn’t always the enemy! We are flash and blood and flawed and fallible. Sometimes it is our our flesh. In general I think it all starts with our own flesh. The enemy is just an opportunist that has impeccable timing.

These are all the more reasons to draw close to the Lord and ask to be refined and ask for guidance and growth. To allow God to work in us, so the enemy has less of us, to use against us. The more like Christ we become the less flesh the enemy will have available to him. So first step, in loving our enemies is to Love God and allow Him to work in us, stay close to Him and live in His Spirit.

Then we will begin to see others as He sees them. The more clearly we will be able to see they are not actually the enemy. This is especially true with people who aren’t walking with God. They don’t have the guidance from the Lord we have. Next time your boss starts freaking out or treats you in a way that just makes your blood boil, do this. Picture that person standing in eternity with no God, now picture them being used by the enemy as his pawn in an epic battle of the ages. Picture them worn down by trying to do life on their own without God. Picture them alone, hurting, separated from the only thing that could possible give them any hope in this world. Now, imagine them as a drowning person in a sea or deception and grief sinking deep into the world and the enemies lies of how things should be. Picture them with no hope and no way out. Now, imagine you are standing on the shore of this sea or better yet, you are on a boat near by. Will you get angry back at them and argue and bicker and make the waves around them bigger? Will you add to the chaos in their day, their life, their existence? Will you ignore the opportunity God is giving you? Every action and reaction is a witness to the character of God in us. Will you keep on sailing by comfy in your boat? Will you keep the truth to yourself? Or will you get out of the boat and reach out your hand? Will you offer them safety? Will you share what can save them?
Every situation we face in this life is a chance to “get out of the boat.”
Every time we come up against a trial or we face the enemy either in the form of our thoughts or a person or situation we have the chance to trust God have faith in what He is teaching us and face that enemy. Recognize that our “enemies (the object the enemy uses, person or other wise) are to be loved” and the enemy (the devil) is to be defeated by that love.

House Sitting Retreat- Day 3- God vs Man- Our Hidden Foe

Ok, so back to wondering how the people in our lives get between us and God. First off, let me start this next section with a huge thank you to all the people who support every “crazy” idea that comes to my mind. I am sure I can overwhelm even the most creative mind at times with how many directions my brain can go.

So, to those of you who keep track of me and listen to all my ranting first hand.

THANK YOU! you are amazing.

Please don’t take any of the following statements to heart. *(see right there, had to put a note in to make sure the feelings of loved ones are protected from the truth I’m about to share) Half of them don’t even know I’m writing a blog!

So, While “retreating” here and spending quiet time alone with the Lord I was praying and reading and writing. On the coffee table right in front of me was a small magazine I will reference it to avoid any copyrighting issues. (Tabletalk, The Seven Deadly Fears.) While reading a few struck me and God convicted me big time! Fear of Men by. Nicholas T. Batzig (no idea who he is but God used his writing today. If anyone reading this is friends with him on Facebook be sure to tag him so he knows he is being used as an instrument of God).

We are around people everyday all day. I am becoming increasingly aware of how much, what they think or what I think they might think effects what I do, what I say and how I say it. Even the way I might DO anything could change.

Think about that for a moment. You’re at work, working and a person you don’t know very well is in the same space as you. You feel God nudging you to ask this person a simple question. What do you do? Do you fearlessly ask the question? Do you ask God to repeat Himself to make sure it was Him? Do you think the entire situation out to the end. For example: I ask and the person looks at me nuts and has a bad opinion of the crazy girl asking random questions. Get scared of being rejected and say nothing? Or, do you walk past them seven times, think all these things through, and then realize not asking is against what God wants you to do. Then, finally terrified and reluctant ask the question?

The last option is the one I choose today. What did I find? Not only was the person happy to answer but it helped me learn more about them. It opened up a door. It was two people talking about their faith at work. To top it off something even more unexpected happened. They asked me to answer the same question! Which turned into me sharing about the time I spent with God yesterday and sharing this fear of Man I have with someone else.

That one simple question turned into a deep meaningful spiritual conversation with someone I haven’t really talked to before. I will tell you what, I will take that over “Hi, hows it going?” any day.

God, knows what He’s doing. Even when we don’t. The enemy wants to prevent us from these simple conversations. These simple conversations bring strangers closer together in Christ. Even people who seem to have no faith can gain some from us asking the questions God prompts us to. We need to hear Him and obey.

So, the hidden foe I speak of are the little whispers of doubt in the tiny little things we think we hear God prompting us to do.

He whispers “Ask Nate how he sees me working in his life.” if I obey -a relationship with God at the center starts and faith becomes strengthened. God gains more ground in the battle. We are faithful in little and will receive more.

He whispers “Ask Nate how he sees me working in his life.” if I ignore it (disobey)- nothing happens. No relationship, no strengthening, no added faith, no spiritual gain. The enemy keeps us in a boring mundane regular day at work lull. Nothing spiritual about that, no battle taking place. (or is there?) The enemy gains ground in the battle.

These situations can be the worst with family. Like I said, I love mine and they are very supportive. But, lets face it. Who’s approval do you seek out when it is God vs Family? Do you stick with the urges and prompts that God gives you? Do you say something about Jesus to the person in your family that you are unsure of where they stand with Jesus? Do you take the chance of offending them because God wants you to say something? Or, do you ignore the quiet voice, or feeling that you shouldn’t  say something because it might be uncomfortable? They might get upset or push you away!

We fear the loss of mans favor, loss of their love or we fear their disapproval. We fear loss of friendship, comfort or pleasure from those relationships. So, we “edit” what we know we should say. We all do it. I’m the worst at this. Time and time again the chance to speak Gods truth goes by, ignored. His convicting words tight in my chest as the anxiety builds. Do I really say that to them? (whatever it is your feeling you should say at the time). What if they freak out on me? What if this guy never talks to me again because I need to keep strict boundaries he doesn’t understand? What if my words sound overzealous? What if I sound nuts?

So we compromise. We say half of what we thought we should. We edit so the truth is sorta there and Gods message is kinda given, but in a way we know it will be better swallowed.

Question: Do you know that person better than God knows that person? Do you really think you know what is best said and not said to them at any given moment?

If you feel God telling you to deliver a message do you put your own words in, edit the message to make it more palatable. Or, do you deliver it as you know God is telling you to?

Maybe, the enemy has you double guessing all together. After all, why would God use you to tell someone they are heading down the wrong path? Why wouldn’t He just tell them Himself?

When we fear man it mutes and quiets our witness and keeps us from living for his glory.(Nicholas T. Batzigs words not mine) But, it spoke very clearly too me.

This fear of Man is a thing I never even thought of and it turns out to be my greatest road block. My biggest idol standing in my way to doing all the things God wants from me and for me.

Now, picture what it would be like to act on all the things you feel God telling you to do. Imagine, fearlessly and confidently carrying out every order large and tiny that the Lord gives you. I wonder what that would be like. Not even sure if it is possible. Sometimes, I have a hard time knowing for certain it is God telling me to do these things.

Jesus was able to do this and he never worried what people thought he never compromised for gain and his only goal was to bring honor and glory to the Heavenly Father. He was also rejected and despised because of it.

I don’t know if I can say I have what it takes to do the same. How do we battle this foe? How do we put God above all others all the time? How do we seek His approval over mans every time? How do we break free from our Man pleasing default setting?

*Father, I pray for all man kind that we would seek you more fully. I pray that when we feel you speak to us we follow more quickly and with less reservation. I pray you help us to come together and trust you as our guide and counselor. I pray you strengthen our faith as a whole, as one body. I pray you show us when the enemy is at work and make us more aware of how real the spiritual battle is. I pray Father, that you would give us a boldness to speak when you ask us to and a willingness not to edit the message according to what we think would be more pleasing to the receiver. I pray you help us to see the power and authority you have given us over the enemy and that we would see him and his attempts to keep us weak and fearful. I pray you help us to see you put us here to love one another and not to fear one another. I pray you help us to see there is one purpose Father. To glorify you Lord in all we do.

In Jesus Name- Amen

House Sitting Retreat – Day 3 – God vs Man intro

Thu Nov 13 2014 – 10:02:18 AM

House sitting Retreat- Day 3- God vs Man intro

Bay Village, OH 44140, USA

I have been blessed by being offered a friends home to stay in while they are away on a mission trip to South Aftrica. He will be gone sixteen days. I plan to use as many of those days as possible to draw closer to God and pray about the many things floating in the infinite space between my ears. Yesterday, I planned a day of solitude. No phone, no Facebook, no use of my Bible app, no internet not even my dictionary app. It was not easy. It seemed every few minutes I was wanting to reach for my phone to look something up. Not that that is a bad thing. I just wanted a day relying on God. I must say it only left me wanting more. I have had a difficult time writing for the past few months and that seems to have ended. I wrote fourteen pages in my journal yesterday. God spoke to me and ever so gently showed me a few areas that I will be refined in. I started with prayer of course and then some time writing down all that came to mind. That is generally a lot of stuff. If you know me personally you are probably wondering how I wrote it all down. Easy answer, I couldn’t! My mind gets so full sometimes with all the things I think I need to figure out and think I should know. Problems that aren’t mine that I think I need to find the solution to. Future plans and how they play out run through my mind as though by thinking about them I can 100% tell the outcome! Just by thinking them through! Such power I must have. And if you want a quick way to talk yourself out of doing anything I suggest you do the same. Think about what you want to do and then think out every step think of every obstacle and how impossible the task seems and give up before you start. Most important step, pay attention- don’t ask God a thing. Make your plans and then later when your crying about how you aren’t where you should be, cry out for Him to help, for Him to save you. This was my pattern for years! The God of convenience, there when I had no other options. The place I went last, when I felt no hope. Now, fast forward through years of heartache. Fast forward through trials-a-plenty and stubborn prayers demanding my way and my Will be done. Fast forward past the pain, the anger, the entitled feelings, the feelings of lose and anguish over a life that shouldn’t have started. Or, so I had thought from time to time.

Now, put God where He belongs. First, foremost, your go to, your rock, your strength, the most perfect and beautiful resting place for your tired soul. Ask Him first, ask Him how, ask Him why and why not, ask Him who, ask Him anything. Just, ask. Believe, Ask, Receive. That is the message I so clearly am getting while spending this time with God on my mini retreat. And even more important I have been shown what holds me back from believing and keeps me from asking. Man- Not men, this is not about to turn into a man bashing feminist rant. But MAN as in mankind. Humans, people, men and woman, boys and girls, saints and sinners. Man, keeps me from God the most. Hold the phone, I am surrounded by “believers” , I listen to nothing but Christian music, I read the Bible daily and am in “fellowship” with strong believers most of the time I’m with people. How could my fellow Christians get between me and God. How can my biggest idol be man? ! I was shocked too! I will continue this a little later.

Day 300

So today is day 300 since I left my

“real job.”

I feel like nothing great or amazing has happened. Only it has.

I have learned I am a very undisciplined blogger first of all. I need to fix that. I think its going to be a huge part of the next season in this journey I am on.

Second: I need to stop being afraid of who might see or read what I say and what they might think.
This is a life that God has given me to live. No one else.

Third: I am tired of feeling like I will never get somewhere. Where is this somewhere? And why do I desire it so bad? Is it the desire to wake up over and over and do the same thing always? For some it is. For some it is steady work a nice home and comfort. It is knowing how your day will go and being able to manage your day so it all flows relatively easily.

Fourth: I have learned that is not my somewhere. I don’t like the same thing every day, I don’t care about money as long as I’m feed and have clothes that are right for my surroundings. I don’t want to borrow money to buy things I don’t have. But, realize I need to pay the debts I have acquired during this life.

God has made me like I am. Unique, quirky, eccentric and funny. I am creative and my mind is full of things some people wish they could think of. I’m not bragging I’m just finally owning who I am. I have gifts and talents that may seem simple,  but in the right context they are the most important skills a person can have.
I feel God preparing me for the next stage.  It isn’t at all what I thought it might be and I am ok with that.
I will be taking the next 2 weeks to pray and write and really seek Gods will in this.
Not to say my current path isn’t the right one. I just feel a huge turn coming on that path.

* Father- I pray for your guidance and clarity as I prepare to spend time with you. Show me where we go next.
– In Jesus Name- Amen