IMG_5548Nobody likes being tested. But, like it or not, it is a good thing and is something we need. By seeing where we are at, we can see where we need to grow.

“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” (2Cor.13:5)

So how do we know if our faith is genuine? Well, there’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit that should be seen if He is inside us:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Gal.5:22-23)

But, this is the fruit of the Spirit. Being what seems like a loving, kind, and gentle person doesn’t necessarily mean the Holy Spirit is inside us. To see whether we are in the faith, we have to go deeper than that, to the roots: our mind.

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; (Isaiah55:6-7)

Where is your mind “set”?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

We are human. And to put it simply, our desires and thoughts as an earthly human aren’t always that great. But we have a choice. We don’t have to be of this world. It takes continuous earnest seeking, surrendering, and faith, but we can have the mind of Christ!

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Rom.8:5)

As long as we are here on earth our mind will not be perfect just like everything we say and do cannot be perfect. What we can do, however, is surrender to God’s perfect will. Allow Him to work us and shape us into a vessel fit to glorify Him.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”(Rom.12:2)

Now, this isn’t to see if you’re “good enough” or if you “measure up” but to see if you have genuinely put your faith in Christ, are no longer relying on yourself, and are truly surrendering and seeking God with all your heart, mind, and strength.

A scripture that has been special to me and I read/pray everyday is Psalm 51:10.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  I think one of the reasons why it has stuck out to me is because it starts with “create in me a clean heart”. Part of having the mind of Christ, is getting rid of the old mind, making room for something much better, and MUCH stronger.

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1John4:4)

So, take some time humbly before the Lord and do a check-up. See whether you are in the faith, and remember, God looks at the heart.


“The proud man worries, the humble man waits.”

Silhouette of a Senior Caucasian Male PrayingMany times when we think we know what God has called us to and things don’t go as we expect our instinctive reaction is to worry. While it is possible we were misguided in where we thought God was leading us, it is also possible it’s just not time.

God has a great plan for each and every one of us, but something that is especially important is being prepared.

“Worry will not help our cause at all. It will, in fact, hinder our progress.” -Joyce Meyer

Don’t worry! Many of us have heard that God works all things together for good for those who love Him, but we have to know and really believe that. Living in fear only brings us down, and frankly, is a waste of time. We need to be taking each day God has given us to glorify Him, putting our trust in Him, and letting Him take care of the rest.

If you know where God is leading you, don’t let having to wait worry you. Take that time to learn, to prepare, to grow. Perhaps having to wait means you just aren’t ready. Seek God with all your heart, mind, and strength and He is fully capable of bringing about where He is calling you. We serve a great and mighty God! 

Your Will Be Done

1495841557678Before I begin, I want to specify that this is referring to things within our control, of our own choice, etc. (after all, it’s not exactly surrendering to God if it’s something that’s already outside of our control, though there is another kind of surrendering that is more like accepting…maybe another article another time. 😉 )

What we want and what God wants aren’t always the same thing. Perhaps it’d be more accurate to say most of the time they aren’t the same.

An All-Knowing God: 
Something I’ve always thought about God is that there are things He knows and understands that we don’t even know exist, let alone understand. God, being outside the boundaries of the human mind and time, knows our every weakness and our every need, and He has a special calling for each one of us, His children. He created us and gave us the gifts we have, so wouldn’t He know how we can most effectively use them?

(Read “Am I Gifted?” https://jessleeann.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/am-i-gifted/)

What to do?
We are going to be faced with choices, some easy, some hard, some make only a small difference, and some can be a complete life turn-around. It is at these times that it is especially important that we are in tune with God, and following the lead of His Holy Spirit inside us. Sometimes following our own desires can result in complete disaster that we aren’t aware of simply because we can’t see what the future holds…but God can see.

Is it God?
Life is a learning process, and to be sure, we will make mistakes. There will be times we thought God was leading us one way and then something happens that makes that way impossible, leaving us rather perplexed. The best thing we can do is accept it and move on seeking Him more than ever.

Something important to remember is He knows. And, He knows when we know. It may be easy to go one way when deep down we know God is wanting us to go another way. Don’t allow your choices to come between you and God.

Basically, we need to earnestly seek and listen to God whether it’s something we want to hear or not, and be willing to humbly accept the fact that we will still make mistakes. That is when we are truly saying “Your will be done”.

Moving forward, not backwards

So many times when I’m learning something I put a sort of picture to it that helps me remember it. A picture I’ve imagined for the lives of Christians is people coming from all different directions climbing a mountain, reaching the top being the end of our race, when we are in heaven in victory with God.

Something else I’ve also associated with that picture is it takes work and effort to climb that mountain, and if we aren’t putting any work and effort into moving forward, we start sliding backwards from things in this world that naturally pull us away from God as they are headed the opposite direction.

To get to the point:
We need to watch out for things that distract us, slow us down, or put us at a higher risk for falling. So many times we accept things thinking a little is okay or it doesn’t hurt. Well, if it’s keeping us from something better, then it is hurting us.

Just thought of the day… 🙂

It’s Okay to Call Christianity a Religion — Fact Based Truth

Here’s a good quick read (go to the link at the bottom)…something I’ve thought of frequently myself. A verse that comes to mind: James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”


Random believer: Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship. I’m not religious. Random atheist: Really? So you don’t believe in worshiping God? Random believer: Wait, no, that’s not what I meant. I do worship God. Random atheist: So you are religious, and Christianity is a religion? Random believer: Well yes, wait, no. You’re twisting […]

via It’s Okay to Call Christianity a Religion — Fact Based TruthI

Over the gap

Over the gap that no man can fill,
God gave up His Son of His own free will.
He paid all our debts,
He covered the cost
of all our mistakes;
He recovered the lost.
We step out on the bridge
that Jesus has made,
Set our feet on the firm foundation He laid.
Our sins will be crushed,
Our lives be made pure.
His strength is inside us,
So we may endure.
Every task put before us,
Every struggle within,
With God on our side
We will conquer and win!

Never Alone

This song has been a favorite of mine since I was in my teens. Whenever I have restless nights I have a specific playlist of songs, this song being one of them. (Might as well spend that time with God, right? Sometimes I wonder if God allows me to have those nights for that very purpose) It’s a collection of songs that are reminders that God is always there, and simple songs of worship. Focusing on God and worshiping Him truly is an immense help in taking attention away from ourselves, our struggles and pain, as it allows God to take up our burdens for us.

Something I specifically struggle to keep in mind is simply that God is ALWAYS there…not just some or most of the time, but always…I am never alone. There is a special kind of peace that comes from remembering that. Remember that God never fails. Remember that if we allow Him in He doesn’t walk out on us. Remember that He loves us more than anyone else ever can. Remember that His love never fails, and we are never alone.

Conviction or Feeling?

1495543503488God allows us to have convictions for a reason. What is okay for some may not be okay for ourselves, and likewise, what God calls us to do isn’t necessarily what everyone’s called to do. (Though there are things that apply to everyone, such as “love your neighbor as yourself” and we are all called to be His disciples)

“If we know in our spirit that a thing is wrong, we should not allow reasoning to talk us into doing it. Also, if we know something is right, we must not allow reasoning to talk us out of doing it.” -Joyce Meyer

God has given us a conscience and will try and communicate to us through His Spirit inside us, but so often our lives are so busy and distracted by taking in what the world has to say that His Voice goes unheard.

So, how do we know when God is speaking to us?

Listen up!
We have to know Him…which can take some time of sort of tuning out what we, ourselves and the world, have to say and tuning in to what God has to say.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

We must DILIGENTLY seek Him with all our hearts…not some, not most, but ALL.
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭

Is it contradictory?
As a general rule, if there’s something I’ve felt convicted of doing or not doing being wrong, I made it right even if I wasn’t completely sure it was a conviction so long as it didn’t go against God’s Word and wasn’t going to be harmful to myself or others in any way. Like, say I was feeling convicted about all the chocolate I was eating…it’s not going to hurt anybody for me to not eat chocolate and it doesn’t go against God’s Word. (okay, yeah, that was random…;P) I’d rather risk doing some unnecessary good than fail to pay attention and follow something God is trying to teach me.

I’ve already had times where I’ve felt convicted about something, followed that conviction, and then years later I laugh at myself for something that seems so silly now. Do I regret it? Not in the least. Why? Because I was simply trying to do what was right, no matter how hard it was. Isn’t that what we should be doing?

Don’t let the world get in your way.
“Set your mind on things above.” Colossians 3:2
It is so easy to push a conviction to the side because it’s inconvenient, it’s not what we want to hear, it’s painful, it may cause you to not fit in with the world…it may seem too hard to follow. To be sure, if we are truly following Christ, these situations will come up. These situations are where we come to find if we are really “dying to ourselves” and “taking up our cross”.

So, if you think God may be speaking to you, don’t ignore it. Listen carefully. Test it. See if it contradicts Scripture. If it does, it is not from God, as He never contradicts Himself. Find an elder to talk about it with.

Seek what is good and admirable in the eyes of the Lord!

Am I Gifted?

As many already know, I love music. I love listening to it, writing songs, and playing them on musical instruments. Something I am told quite frequently is, “I wish I were as gifted as you are!” Sometimes it’s all I can do to not say the wrong thing back because I find it rather irritating.

Here’s why:
God gives each one of His children a purpose and a calling. No one is more gifted than another! There are so many out there that have gifts that simply aren’t known, and/or not much effort is being put into cultivating and growing in it. Some aren’t even aware of what their gift is…let alone know how to use it to glorify God.

Why? I think one of the main reasons is our country is SO BUSY, and there are so many distractions that many don’t take the time to find it. And, I don’t think it’s as hard to find what you are gifted in as you might think.

What are some productive things that you enjoy and can easily lose track of time doing? Are there any needs of others in particular that stick out to you, where when you see it, you wish you could instantly meet those needs? Is there a hobby you enjoy that you could use to build up a community, healthy relationships, or as an outreach?

While it takes lots of time and effort to find your gifts and really grow in them, it is AMAZING how satisfying it can be! When you know you are impacting others in a good way it makes it all worth while. And, honestly, not finding your gifts and using them…that’s just plain selfish.

Something important to remember, is that you don’t always see results right from the start. Sometimes for years, and sometimes results can go completely unnoticed. Like, say you’re gifted in encouraging others. There will likely be times when you are encouraging to someone on a bus, in the grocery store, on an airplane, in the park…and you will likely never see that person again but you may unknowingly have had a great impact on their life. DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU. 

Don’t give up on finding areas that you are gifted in, and especially don’t allow them to go unused. Take the time to seek God and allow Him to shape you by His Holy Spirit into the person He has called you to be. Work towards it. It’ll take lots of effort, but it’s worth it.

So, the answer I typically want to give to the statement “I wish I were as gifted as you are!” that I never say in person because it would likely come out the wrong way, is “You are!”


Now go find how while I go practice…

Never Look Back





When we are following Christ and placing our hope and trust in Him alone, we won’t be disappointed…He has the best plan!

Letting Go

Letting go of dreams the world has set,
Sharing our gifts with all we have met.
We always know we can have what it takes,
By God’s love and strength that constantly makes,
A way to get through the struggles of life,
We can face the heartaches, battles, and strife.
It’s not just making it, getting through a day,
But living to the fullest, using God’s perfect Way.

Like You, Jesus

I want to be like You, Jesus,
sharing Your love every day.
I want to help the lost and hurting,
hold their hand and show the way.

I want to serve the way you served, at the feet of those who worship You.
On my knees I bow to Your throne, knowing that Your love is true.

I want to be like You, Jesus,
help me to see how You see.
I want to follow in Your ways and to be who You want me to be.

Your light shines before me,
I want all the world to see
that for them You can do the same, that they too can be set free.

Their burdens can be laid down,
You can wipe away every tear.
I want to be like you, Jesus,
letting go of every fear.

I want to hear as you hear,
with Your understanding and heart I want to live.
I want to speak as you speak,
With Your joy inside me I want to give.

On Your path I walk,
You are my Guide.
You will always stay with me,
Holding me close to Your side.

Not “Good Enough”

One of the things that pains me most is seeing people discouraged, that are afraid they’ll never “measure up”, or be “good enough”…whether it’s to fit in at church, for their parents, for God, to be a pastor, missionary, or whatever. Sometimes I see it causing them to lower their standards, seeing themselves as uncapable of doing the great things they are called to do. (EVERYONE has a purpose and a calling, and NO ONE has a “greater” calling, or is more important than another! Remember this!) Well, *newsflash* you probably won’t be good enough. No one ever is. (Rom. 3:10)

But, that does NOT mean you can’t do great and mighty things for God by the power of His Holy Spirit!

God CHOOSES the foolish and the weak. (1 Cor. 1:27) The Devil will try and tell you “you aren’t good enough”, “you don’t deserve it”, “you are not worthy”. (It truly is amazing how the Devil tries to bring us down with the truth, and if we’re living in fear and doubt, he will succeed) Well, we need to be prepared to respond: “But, to each one of us grace has been given…”(Eph.4:7) “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that we are saved…”(Acts15:11) “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.”(Titus3:5)

Guess what? If we are where God wants us to be, and if He’s on our side we (us and God together) WILL be good enough, and we will succeed!!!

A Place

1494331588578Ever since I was young there’s always been a place I can come back to. A place on Jesus’ lap. In His arms. A place of peace. A place to cry, a place to let things go, a place to surrender, a place to ask for forgiveness, a place to say thank You, a place to just remember that everything’s going to be okay.

Oh, what a wonderful place!

If you haven’t yet, find some much-needed time, some quiet, (though I personally prefer some worship music…everybody’s different. 😉 ) and find this place.

My Calling

1494209990522Ever since I was a kid I never wanted to be normal. Like, that’s just boring. I didn’t know right away, and still don’t know in great detail what God has called me to do with my life, but I know for sure normal is not who I want to be. (And does God really expect us to be normal?) I’ve always felt like there is so much potential in life, and that time is so important…it can be used for great things, or it can be wasted away. One thing is for sure: I do not want my life to be wasted away.

Now, you may be wondering what these “great things” are. It’s taken me years to figure that out myself, and I’m still working on it. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is doing “great things” starts NOW. Some of the greatest things you can do can seem so unimportant, so little, and even pointless. I know if I ever want to do the kind of things I dream of doing one day it’s going to require lots of learning, advice, questions, lots of prayer, and experience.

To put it simply, I want to love people. I want my love for them to reflect Christ’s love for me. I want to be at their feet willing to get dirty. I want to share the truth bringing light to darkness. I want to be there for people who just need someone to listen to them. I want to show my love by providing long term physical care. I want to show my love through teaching the truth of God’s Word. I want to show others how they can love too, so it’s not limited to what I can do myself. And do I really have to wait to start loving people? Of course not! I’m surrounded by people who need to be loved and cared for. Everybody needs to be loved. And, it provides lots of learning experience for myself. God has placed me in so many opportunities to teach, to learn, to love, and to care for people around me…I have been so blessed!

So, that’s the basics of it, but more specifically God has placed a desire in my heart to help orphan children with special needs.
Though the idea of helping orphans has been in my mind since I was a young child and saw commercials for nonprofit organizations asking for donations to support a child, it wasn’t till much later that the idea of helping orphans with special needs even occurred to me, simply because I wasn’t aware of the need.

When I was 20 I had the privilege of being asked to be a personal care attendant for a then 13 year old child with Spina Bifida and transposition of the great vessels. I would do things like homeschool, take him to PT, go along to appointments, cleaning, laundry, home exercises, keep meds in order and such…most importantly, just be a friend…what a wonderful experience it was! I worked with Seth for nearly six years.

I’ve had epilepsy for many years (9), and the family has been incredibly gracious to me as there have been many days I needed to leave early or couldn’t make it.

Finally, in November last year, I lost my license and had to stop working. Even if I could get to work the seizures were becoming too frequent to actually DO the work.
Thankfully, we found help. Seeing a new neurologist, within 10 minutes of telling him what had been going on he recommended brain surgery. So, after doing many tests over the last couple months, I am in the process of getting surgery. (Currently scheduled for July 26th) I am really hopeful of this being a huge help as this surgery typically 80% of the time completely stops seizures, and otherwise greatly reduces them.

Meanwhile, with books as pictured above, I’ve been keeping myself busy with reading and research with some more from Amazon on the way! 😊 I feel like in a lot of ways I hardly know where to start, but every time I’m reminding myself, if God is calling me to something, He will prepare me and open doors and lead me to that calling. If anyone has any reading suggestions, share in the comments below. Prayers appreciated!!!

Battlefield of the Mind

  • IMG_5495

I’ve just recently finished reading the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. I’ve learned waaaay more from this book than I can say in one article, and I can guarantee: I have more to learn yet.

When I first picked up this book I couldn’t help but laugh because I’m in the process of getting brain surgery for my epilepsy. (Brain..mind? I thought it was funny anyway…) My frequent seizures have kept me pretty down and given me lots of time to think and read, so what better time to go through this book?

I’ve always been quite a thinker, and it can be anything from how something works to worrying about something of little to no importance. From early morning to late at night, my mind constantly wants to stay at work.

One of the first things that caught my attention in this book was to “think about what you’re thinking about”. To some extent I already was, I mean, most everybody’s heard of Philippian’s 4:8, right? (Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) But, with some careful examining, I realized I was failing miserably…and still have lots to work on.

So, just going to share “a few” lines along with scripture verses that stuck out to me from the book: (I underlined over a hundred things in this book…I’ve never done that in any other book I’ve read other than the Bible)

“Cast all your care upon Him.”

“The proud man worries, the humble man waits.”

“Step one to any freedom is to face the truth the Lord is trying to show us.”

“Our thoughts are silent words that only we and the Lord hear, but those words affect our inner man, our health, our joy, and our attitude.”

“Sadly, very few people know how to live each day to the fullest. But you can be one of them.”

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it.” -Mark 4:24

“The Lord may direct us to do a certain thing, but if it does not make sense-if it is not logical-we may be tempted to disregard it.”

“Worry will not help our cause at all. It will, in fact, hinder our progress.”

“Remember, your actions won’t change until your mind does.”

“Make a decision to believe God and not the Devil.”

“Negativism has to go.”

“If we want to do what the Word of God says, we must spend some time thinking about it.”

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

“The best way to shut the Devil up is to speak the Word.”

“In times of spiritual warfare, we are to tighten the belt of truth around us.”

“Disobedience is disregarding the voice of the Lord, or whatever God is speaking to us personally, not just transgressing the Ten Commandments.”

“If we know in our spirit that a thing is wrong, we should not allow reasoning to talk us into doing it. Also, if we know something is right we must not allow reasoning to talk us out of doing it.”

“It is difficult for human beings to give up reasoning and simply trust God, but once the process is accomplished, the mind enters a place of rest.”

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” -Proverbs 3:5

“If you only do what is easy, you will always remain weak.”

Okay…I better stop…these are just a few of my favorites. I highly recommend the book. And remember: spiritual warfare is a CONTINUOUS battle. I know I will be going through this book regularly…probably for the rest of my life…I know I will be giving away several copies. Give it a read and may God use it for good in your life as He has in mine!

Am I where God wants me to be?

I think so…or so I thought. Just when I think I’m where God wants me to be, things start to change…I begin to second guess myself and ask, “Am I truly where God wants me to be?”

Step by step, and moment by moment, we should be in a continuous motion towards our goal: towards Christ.

As what is going around us changes, sometimes it’s so gradual we don’t even realize it’s happening until everything is completely different, and other times the changes are so rapid and frequent it’s hard to know how to react.

So things change. What now? Did I go the wrong way? Sometimes a change in our life is a result of our own choices and decisions, and sometimes it is a result of something completely out of our control…maybe even a little of both.

The question that really needs to be asked, is not whether I’m where God wants me to be, but rather, “Am I going the Way God wants me to go?”

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that to figure out where God wants me to be so I can just stay there is a never-ending battle. It just doesn’t exist.

It’s like a first-grader working so hard to get to second grade, and then once that is achieved, becoming content and proud of where they are in life and decide to stay there.

Does this mean we should skip “second-grade”? No. We need to have goals ahead of us to work towards. Just getting the idea that when we have reached a set goal, we are where we should be and should stay there, is going to cause a major set-back in our growth, maturity, and understanding of what Christ being our goal truly is.

Everybody is different, so our goals are going to be different, right? Not necessarily. No matter who we are, where we are, or what situation we are in, Christ doesn’t, hasn’t, and never will change. Christ should be the center of everything and everyone. So how do we make Christ our goal, what we are running towards with all our heart, mind, and strength?

Typically, we want to find two or three not-so-hard-to-change things in our life that we notice Christ is not the center of, and work towards making Him the first priority of those things. But are we putting Him before ALL things? (This includes our relationships, how we spend our time, our jobs, who we put our trust in, and more)

If He is not our One, True desire, then it’s like we are running the right direction backwards, with our eyes on something else, which will very quickly lead to going off track and running into unexpected bumps in the road. (I mean, come on folks, we’re not Mater)

Often times we think, “How do you MAKE yourself want something? It’s impossible.” Love. It might take some digging deep to see it, but Christ LOVES us. More than anyone on this earth possibly can. If we open our eyes to how much He truly loves us, even though we will never be able to compare to His immeasurable love, we will very quickly want to honor, respect, follow, love and be forever devoted to the One who has love so great as Christ has for His children!

Now, we can’t trust in someone we don’t know, we can’t live for someone we don’t love, and we can’t have a desire for something we’ve never tasted or seen. We have to taste and see that the Lord is GOOD. Get into His Word, learn that He is a fair and just God. He is loving in all His Ways…oh, what a Mighty God we serve!

Once we have our eyes set on drawing closer to Christ as our goal, there is no stopping us! There will be distractions, for sure. But if we continuously remind ourselves why staying in “second grade” is just plain foolish, that walking the right direction with our eyes off track is very quickly going to lead us into many unwanted and unnecessary challenges, and that God’s immeasurable, continuous love is a gift that we can either accept or turn down, we will quickly have a desire within us to run, full-force, towards Christ, making His Way the path that we are on.

If you want to make a difference in this world, make Christ your goal. It’s a life-long journey and commitment, but it’s WORTH IT.