Thursday, August 7, 2014


Arise, Lord! Deliver me, my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked. Psalm‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬ 

The following is a guest blog post by my insightful husband. His desire to not sugar coat the Gospel and to love brothers and sisters in Christ we have never met is humbling and encouraging me. He is just the right leader for me. I pray these thoughts God placed on Brandon's heart call you to action, as well

King David was known as a man after God's heart and it is shown through his prayers as he authored many of the Psalms. Some of the Psalms he wrote were plea's to God asking Him to let him dwell in safety or to save him from his enemies. In the ESV translation, Psalm 3 is entitled "Save Me, O My God" and there are simularly titled chapters throughout the book. David spent a lot of his life on the run from people trying to kill him- even his own son at one point. 

David was suffering.

One of the things my wife bought me for Christmas this past year was a Dietrich Bonhoeffer biography. He was a pastor in Germany around the time Hitler came to power. Bonhoeffer ended up being killed for his desire to stand up for the injustice happening to the Jews and for his role in trying to assassinate Hitler. It is referenced throughout the book that Bonhoeffer leaned heavily upon the Psalms, doing daily devotionals in them up until his murder in a concentration camp. 

Bonhoeffer was suffering.

Yesterday I read an article that said 1,500 people, many being Christians, were killed in Iraq for their religious beliefs by the Islamic State. In North Korea there are thought to be up to 300,000 Christians in labor camps. In Nigeria the infamous religious group Boko Haram has been burning churches and homes of Christians, as well as the highly publicized kidnapping of many young girls. Those are just three countries and three accounts of Christian suffering. One member of the IS said "we can do anything we want, everyone is watching Gaza."

Christians are suffering.

Yesterday, Jackie and I spent some time on our knee's in prayer and for the first time the Psalms became real to me. God gave me the perspective of being in the situation of the suffering Christian and I read Psalm 3 and cried.

"O Lord, how many are my foes?
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul, 
there is no salvation for him in God.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from His holy hill.

I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of the many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O My God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!"

Take a second and pray for your fellow brother or sister in Christ. Pray God will hear their cry and intervene and pray they hold on to the hope that Jesus is coming back and worth the suffering.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? (‭Psalm‬ ‭139‬:‭7‬ NIV)

I went running today. Kind of.

I actually went hiking. Ok, if we are being technical I'm still in the middle of my hike. (Which explains why this probably looks like it was kind  of thrown together.) I'm sitting on a rock praying I don't reenact the Duck Dynasty episode I watched recently of  some of the characters getting ants in the pants. Literally praying.

Right before I sat down  I was running. For about 45 seconds... Maybe a minute. Mount Helena is steep! Don't laugh! Allow me to give you a mental picture of what just occurred. I was hiking (walking but hiking sounds so much harder) from the very beginning. After awhile my legs started to feel lose and I came upon a spot that looked more flat than uphill so I thought, "Hmmm. I bet I can run for a bit. I mean I do run. Usually not straight uphill, but i'll be fine for a bit." So I start running. It went so great, y'all, for about 20 seconds. Then just as I was mentally preparing to slow down and hike (walk) for another five minutes before trying again to run something awful happens.

I see people. Multiple. Three women to be exact.

So what am I suppose to do?! Just stop running and have them talk about how I am so out of shape the rest of their way down the mountain? No way! I want them to talk about how IN shape I am and how they wish they could  that. (Prideful thoughts are hard enough- typing them out for other people to read is especially humbling. Blah.) I thought this knowing full well that as soon as they couldn't see me (or hear my breathing) anymore I planned to stop immediately.

So I kept running.

I fooled them.

I faked them out.

They think I'm one of those people that run up mountains..... HA! If only.

As soon as I stopped and allowed myself to process what just happened, the Spirit showed me a few things.

1)  I do this in life outside of Mount Helena. With friends. With family. Sadly, even with my husband.  I don't stop to show weakness. So I run. I run until I can be alone and work  things out by myself without any ones help. Never-mind that the Scripture makes it very clarify that it's through our weakness that God is shown to others by letting him work in us. That's something I tell people, but it's not for me. I got this. I fool people. I fake them. They think I'm one of those girls that can do life without messing up.... Ha! If only.

2)  I do this in my walk with The Lord. I see a straight stretch and decide to handle it on my own without thinking twice. Instead of stopping when I hear the Holy Spirit guiding, I keep running. I pick up the pace even sometimes. I can do this on my own. I think I can fool God. I think I can fake Him. Ha! I'm glad I can't. I'm thankful it's not possible to get alone outside of His protective wings because I have given up authority over my life to Him. I'm thankful that when I sit down from the exhaustion of faking everyone else He is still there. Because where can I flee from His presence?

3) I'm afraid there are some people who are faking everyone into believing they are Christians. Don't get me wrong, my type of faking is counterproductive and the farthest thing from admirable. But my faking isn't near as scary as the act faking  people into believing you are a Christian. That faking is deadly. Literally. I listened to Francis Chan talk on this subject recently and what I am about to say is a paraphrase of a point in his message. For whatever reason, you may feel the need to act like you are a Christian even though you have no desire to live according to the Bible. Or you may be on the other end. You may be trying desperately to live according to the Bible but have never actually submitted your life to The Lord.

Either way, at some point surely you have thought about giving your life to The Lord and repenting of your sins, but you just can't. So many people already think you are a believer. Maybe people don't think that, but you hope people think you are one, so admitting that you had never actually given your life to Christ would be letting those people know they were right. Can't do that. It would hurt too much. Hurt your pride. So you fake people. And maybe you're successful at faking people. Maybe you will die and people on Earth will think you are in heaven. But what about you,  then. Will you be in Hell and think, "Well at least the people on Earth think I'm in heaven."  By. No. Means.

When Francis Chan put it that way it broke my heart. I do not want to make you doubt your salvation,, but if you know you have never given your life to Christ because you are afraid of what people will think who may have  thought you already were a Christian I PRAY you humble yourself before The Lord and give your life to Him.

I pray  you learn how wonderful it is to walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ without having to fake people.

So I'm going to keep hiking (walking) now. I may even run for 20 seconds. But rest assured I will be stopping when I feel like I'm about to collapse whether people are watching or not. And I will be praying The Lord teaches me how to not run FROM Him but TO Him on a daily basis. And I will be praying that people may enter into a real, lasting, wonderful, hard, comforting, refining, loving, pruning, grace-filled relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Effects of Hunger

"For the bread of God is He who comes down from 
heaven and gives life to the world."
John 6:33

Last summer I was babysitting a sweet 3 year old boy and his precious little sister. Most of the time this little boy was pretty easy and enjoyed playing and talking to me. He was so curious and often asked questions about how things worked or why things were a certain way. One day, however, he did not care for my answer to one of his questions. So he asked it again, “Is August in the summer?” The first time I quickly answered yes, but that second time I paused and did the math – four seasons, 12 months, 3 months to a season, September-November is Fall, etc. After gaining confidence in my answer I told him yes again. He was not having it. Much to my disbelief this calm, easy going little boy ran over to the couch and started crying, no bawling, face down and feet up.

As I sat their paralyzed I remembered a statement his mom had made about discerning when he was being blatantly disobedient and when he was acting out of hunger, tiredness, or something along those lines. So I regained my composure, praying there was something besides me that was causing this reaction and said gently, “Is everything ok? Is something wrong? Can I help you?” Little did I know how significant his response would be nearly a year later. He stopped crying, caught his breath, looked up at me, and said “I’m just really hungry, Jackie.” Oh sweet boy.

We can all think back to a time when our growling stomachs caused us to act out of the norm, right? In my case I tend to get a tad bit grouchy and impatient, though if Brandon were writing this he may leave out “tad bit.” (But he’s not and I am, so we’ll all agree on “a tad bit grouchy.") When Brandon gets hungry he starts asking questions. Instead of saying “I need food, like now,” which is what I tend, to do he asks me, “How hungry are you?” And, unlike me, Brandon is not that picky when it comes to food so he is liable to eat the first thing he can get his hands on – which one time happened to be cookie dough that was a couple of  months old. GAG!

Now, if we can get past the cookie dough we can get to where I am going with this. Yesterday morning was rough. Really rough. More specifically yesterday morning I was rough. As much as I would like to blame an outside source, and look for them I did, there is only one person to blame for my behavior – ME. Oh, I tried to blame Brandon because we over slept; He tried waking me up for 30-45 minutes. I was upset with the restaurant Brandon picked for breakfast; I said he could pick when he asked where I wanted to go. Our waitress did not smile enough to meet my expectations; I know nothing about her life. My cinnamon roll did not taste like Briar Rose’s; I guess I can’t hold everyone to their standard. Then, to sum it all up, I basically let all of this out on Brandon by being rude to most everything he said.

I wish I could tell you that sometime during the morning I got my act together – after all I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to memorize Psalm 13:5 which says, “But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Why couldn’t my dysfunctional heart just rejoice?!? It was not until that afternoon when Brandon had gone to the field that I sat down and just thought, “Why? Why God? What is wrong with me?!” And you know what God said? He lovingly and gently whispered, “You’re just hungry. Hungry for me.” Hmmm. Well now that you mention it, Lord, I do think that could be a key factor here.

I had been doing an awful job of spending time with the Lord the past couple of weeks, and like when we are physically hungry for food, spiritual hunger will show itself in some very unattractive, unglorifying ways. I had become grouchy, whiney, rude, unpleasant, needy, etc. much like when I am needing real food. Also, I had stopped evaluating myself and started looking at other things as being the issue. Surely it wasn’t poor little me that was the problem! HA! Worst of all, I had started feeding my spiritual hunger with anything I could get my dirty, grubby hands on. I pushed Brandon into a place that he doesn’t deserve to be by expecting him to make me feel content and whole. Then, because Brandon wasn’t fulfilling this need, (only Jesus can truly satisfy us and bring contentness) I started the viscous comparing game that I too readily become a participant in.

All of this because I was just hungry. I don’t say “just” because the hunger justifies my actions –by no means is that true. I say “just” because my hunger can be easily filled. All I have to do is spend time with Jesus and let him fulfill me.

The passage I hope you read is too long to type here, so get out your bible, smart phone, or ipad and read John 6:25-58. Reflect on it. If you still feel hungry after that, keep reading and keep praying. The Lord will NOT disappoint. It would be against His very nature. 

Jackie Moore

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What If?

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation."
Psalm 13:5

"What if?" That seems to be the question of the hour in my life as of late. As many of you know my husband, Brandon, is currently playing Minor League Baseball in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization. I do not have the time (or even an adequate enough understanding of it all) to explain what exactly this looks like for him and for our marriage and our future. What I can tell you with great  confidence, though, is that my daily vocabulary and thought life is not lacking in "What ifs?" In fact, there are a few conversations that Brandon and I have at least every other day where I'm sure I sound just like a broken record (not that I've ever heard anything played from a record ... but you get the idea). 

Here's a little glimpse of what my side of the conversation usually sounds like ... and I can only wish I was  being dramatic.

"What if _________?" 

"Right, I understand. But then what if _________?"

"Yeah, that's true. But what if _________?"

"Yes, I know I need to trust the Lord..... But what about ________?"

"Are you getting frustrated with me? No? You have a crazy amount of patience? Great. Because What if _?"

Until finally Brandon says something abounding with love and gentleness like, "Babe, have you spend much time with the Lord today?"

And sometimes my answer is no. But what's even scarier is that sometimes my answer is yes! And I'm still going crazy in my self-absorbed, untrusting "what if" little world! Naturally I start thinking, "What if I am the only person that is this crazy?" (It's fine if you're shaking your head at me - I'm shaking my head as I type!) So over the past week the Lord has showed me that I'm not the only girl that does this. In fact there are a lot of girls, and I can't help but to assume a few boys, that do this. 

The most memorable "What If" conversation I had was with a sweet girl named Gracen who I got to sit down and talk about life with recently. Through our time together she shared a "What If" scenario with me she had been struggling with and in that moment God made it very clear to me that I have got to let Him teach me personally how to stop this kind of worrying in my own life so that I may encourage other believers who struggle with it, too. 

Did you catch that italicized word? Worrying. It makes me cringe. I like to pride (I know I know. This is also an issue I'm working struggling through) myself in the fact that I do the least amount of worrying in my family.  So maybe you're like me and you don't worry. Oh no, never! We trust the Lord always! We just also like to come up with ridiculously crazy "what if" scenarios in our head that haven't happened and probably never will happen. But rest assured, we're not worrying. We're trusting and what if-ing.

In the quietness of the room I am writing in I can almost hear God say, "You must only trust." 

How my heart longs to be able to trust. I hope and pray that my trust issues brought on by earthly relationships will stop bleeding over into my personal relationship with Jesus. Psalm 13:5 says, "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation." If I did more than just tweet this verse and truly lived it out, there would be no room for "What ifs" in my heart. If I did what the old hymn says and turned my eyes upon Jesus and looked fully in His wonderful face, then I would need not worry about anything else.

Because though there are a lot of issues involved with worrying, I personally believe the root of this issue is that I lose sight of what Jesus did. My Pastor Ronnie Floyd reminded us this week that on the cross Jesus drank the cup of the wrath of God. (John 18:11). Praise His Name forever, right? He saved me from the very worst "What if" scenario I could ever imagine. What if I was separated from the presence of God for eternity? I physically shutter at the thought of that. Praise the Lord that that "what if" is not even possible for me because I have given my life to Jesus, my Lord and Savior. 

So if Jesus can save me from the self-destructiveness of my sins, I suppose I can take my "what ifs" to foot of the cross and lay them down each and every day. Then each and every day I can get up, recite Psalm 13:5, and spend the day praising the One who paid my debt and trust that as long as He is Savior and Lord of my life I have no need to "what if" any anxious thought. 

Praying for those who read this,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Which Plan Are You On?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and 
not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Planning. It's one of my favorite things to do. The saying "failing to plan is planning to fail" has become a staple in my one line quips I spout off whenever I feel the need to sound witty. But it sure does make sense in a lot of situations, right?! Take the grocery store for example. When you go to Harps with out a plan of attack, (grocery list) what do you come out with? Pop-tarts? Double Stuffed Oreoes? A huge box of multi-colored Goldfish? No? That last one is just me? Hmmmm. Well you get the point. It usually doesn't end well nutritiously OR financially. 

What about school? What if our teachers and professors never planned? What if they walked in to class every single day and said, "I don't really have any plans for the day. I don't really have any plans for the semester. What do y'all want to do?" It would be chaos, right?! You would have certain students who would  just get up and leave. Some students would do some fist pumps, take a  picture with the professor, and proclaim to social media what an awesome professor they have. Then you have students like me who would sit quietly to the side and act like nothing was wrong, but on the inside they were having a panic attack and praying for structure and stability. The last example of students might also be thinking something along the line of ... "I paid HOW MUCH for a class where the teacher has no plans to teach us anything?!?!" At which time the inside panic attack would turn to rage.

You get the picture. Plans are usually a good thing.

Now before I go any farther, I don't want to lose those of you thinking, but all that planning leaves no room for spontaneity and the Holy Spirit. I hear you and I understand your concern. I have thought that a time or two myself. But what I'm learning is that it is well and good to have a plan as long as you are OK with God saying, "Ok, time for a change in course. Time for a new plan."

In Jeremiah 29:11 the Lord tells us that He has plans for us. Really great plans for us! But let's not take the verse out of context. Looking at the whole chapter and not just one verse will tell us that the Lord is telling the Israelites what exactly He means when He says He has plans to give them hope and a future. He is bringing them out of captivity! Verse 14 promises God will be found by the Israelites and he will bring them back from captivity! Praise God! 

Now let's look in the New Testament and see where Jesus confirms this promise of God giving hope and a future. John 10:10b says "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Amen, Jesus! He gives us life and wants us to live it to the full! So that verse means we get to own every single color shirt Piko makes, right?!? Ehhh.... not so much. And I'm glad! Because when Jesus said He was going to give us life to the FULL He means SO MUCH MORE than having a lot of material things or earthly status. He means that in Him we are free!

 The beginning of verse 10 provides a much scarier truth. It states, "The thief (Satan) comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy." What exactly is Satan wanting to steal, kill, and destroy? The plans that God has for us. Wait, what?! But Jesus said.. and God said... but then Satan said... I'm confused. So let's try to work through this. 

The Lord Jesus wants us to live life to the fullest which means living in the freedom of the grace and mercy He has poured out on us through His death and resurrection on the cross. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour there is nothing Satan can do to remove us from the secure love of the Lord (Romans 8:38-39). So take heart in that, Believer! As long as you have Jesus you have the opportunity to live life to the fullest. Unfortunately, Satan's won't change his job description once we become a believer.

Though Satan can not steal, kill, and destroy our salvation. You better believe he intends to steal, kill, and destroy our joy... our love... our sense of peace provided by the Holy Spirit... our desire to tell others about Jesus. How does he do this? By fueling our pride... our lust... whispering lies to us that contradict the Word of God... by encouraging us to create gray areas in our lives... by telling us we can interpret Scripture however fits our lifestyle best.

Philippians 4:8-9 commands us to think about good, noble, right, true, and pure things so that we may put in to practice what we have learned about living in freedom and out of captivity. Satan hates that. He knows that if he can just get us to listen to song whose lyrics contradict what the Bible says we wont be thinking about the things in verses 8-9 and we won't be living in freedom. Think about it. You hear a song and it gets stuck in your head. You know it's not good. You know it talks about sex in way that is not God-honoring. You know that it promotes pride and lust and sin. But it has a good beat? FORGET ABOUT THE BEAT, PEOPLE! If you are justifying sin, you are exactly where Satan wants you. 

I'm learning (slowly but surely) how to take every thought captive. I'm praying that the Lord will teach me to recognize when my something gets in my mind that is not from Him so that I may quickly pray it out of there. How can I be used by the Lord if all day I am thinking about things that don't honor Him? It can't happen. 

The Lord has plans for you to be out of captivity and to be totally free. Oh! How the Lord has plans for you and for me. Let's get on board with His plans, eh? Let's pray that He teaches us how to fight Satan's attempts to steal, kill, and destroy. Let's kneel humbly before the throne, shed a few tears, and invite Him to consume our minds today.

Praying for y'all,

Jackie J Moore