By Jill Perry
God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave US the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
So, the question is how can we be a LIGHT in this darkness that is racism, police brutality, and abuse of power? How can we LOVE better?
Love looks like something. Here are a few things THE King said light and love look like:
This broken world is in desperate need of HOPE. Are you shining a hope light in your dark corner of the world? Or are you contributing to the hopelessness with criticism and condemnation?
We can offer FREEDOM to the brokenhearted with compassion in action. It is no longer sufficient to sit back in our recliners and shake our heads over these injustices. It is time to do something. And that “something” may look different from person to person, so we don’t get to judge whether the way one person does it is ok or not, as long as it is lawful...
Racism is a form of blindness. What if we all asked God to give us HIS eyes for other people? How would we see them? God, the most incredible artist, created each human being as a masterpiece, mixing each shade and hue of color with painstaking attention to detail, and each one is beautiful. What if we started celebrating one another’s differences and intentionally looked for our abundant commonalities? Did you know that all humans’ genetic makeup differs by a mere .01%?? It seems, then, that we are far more similar than we are different. What if we allowed that to influence how we treat one another? Oh Lord, give us NEW EYES!
What if more of us “pigment-challenged” folks actually started seeing and treating all people of all pigments as our neighbors and began loving our neighbors as ourselves...I mean genuinely loving one another...
I suppose love is what it always comes back to, isn’t it?
“All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:12
This is one of the many Scriptures God led me to when we were seeking Him about the property He had for us. We have now been on the property for two years and have spent much of that time updating the interior to make it a restful retreat for our guests. Since we are surrounded by beautiful farmland in the lovely rolling hills of Tennessee, we've not put much effort into landscaping the exterior. However, the old retaining wall was deteriorating quickly, and finally succumbed to the heavy rains and rot, causing not only an eyesore, but a safety hazard as well. Thanks to some generous donations we were able to replace it with a stone wall. Next step is to add some plants and flowers to make it not only safe, but "delightful".
My mind keeps wandering to THE Delightful Land Mimi is now enjoying to the fullest, which far surpasses what our earthly minds comprehend as "beauty". My goodness, she did LOVE flowers and butterflies. I can only imagine what those must look like in Heaven! And the beautiful music she must be playing on Heaven's piano for her Audience of One...I'm so thankful for the "foretaste of Glory Divine" she gave us while on this earth.
Speaking of music, years ago she led a ladies' ensemble called Sweet Assurance. These precious ladies came to the house and played Mimi's beloved baby grand piano, while we gathered around her bed, and literally sang her into Heaven. I cannot hope to describe with mere words the holiness of her passing. God's timing has been evident in so many ways, even giving us reasons to be thankful in the midst of the covid crisis, because if it hadn't been for that, she might not have been allowed to be at home when she passed, and Pop definitely would not have been there to hold her hand, as he's done for the past 65 years.
Her last earthly words to Eddy were "I love you the mostest", and now I imagine she is hearing her Beloved Savior say those same words to her in her own Delightful Land filled with butterflies, flowers, and music.
This photo was snapped just a few hours after overnight storms with very loud thunder and strobe-like lightning moved through our area. Just an hour north and northeast of here, tornadoes ripped through, leaving devastation in their wake. Yet, to look at this photo, you'd never know anything so awful had happened...homes, businesses, schools destroyed...families reeling from the loss of loved ones...messes to clean up, structures to rebuild, lives to somehow pick up the pieces and move on...
Yet this view serves as a God-hug, gently reminding me that He is the Redeemer and Restorer. He painted the skies brilliant blue to remind me to have hope. He sprouted the new green grass to remind me that He is the God of ALL things new.
Before snapping this photo, I paused a moment to soak up the welcome warmth of the sun and breathe a prayer of thanks for His protection, provision, & peace here at Bursting Barns, then He reminded me that this same blue sky is also covering the areas hit hardest overnight, so I asked Him to lift the heads and renew the hope of all those affected. I asked Him to send them a tangible reminder that He is the God of new beginnings, the Redeemer, Restorer, and Master Rebuilder.
What storms are you dealing with in your life?
Lift your eyes and see the hope He offers.
by Jill Perry
And now out of his FULLNESS we are fulfilled! And from him we receive grace heaped upon more grace! Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus, the Anointed One, unveils truth wrapped in tender mercy. No one has ever gazed upon the FULLNESS of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to his heart. Now he has unfolded to us the FULL explanation of who God truly is! John 1:16-18 TPT
I am a visual learner who served as a children's ministry leader and writer of children's Bible lessons for many years, so perhaps that's why this Scripture brings so many visual aids to my imagination. I picture a big bag being filled with beautifully wrapped gifts, so many, that they won't all fit inside and have no choice but to overflow out of the bag.
How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the FULLNESS of God! Eph 3:19
May the Lord increase your love until it overflows toward one another and for ALL people. 1 Thess 3:12
By Jill Perry
"I'm really struggling. Please pray for me..."
"I could really use prayer today..."
"Something you could pray for..."
On a recent morning I received at least 6 texts and calls that began this way. It is
such an honor to intercede for the people I love. But sometimes it's a challenge to
do so without taking on their emotions as my own. On this particular day the bad
news seemed to far outweigh the good, and I found myself agreeing with Anne
Murray who sang a song when I was a kid that said, "We sure could use a little
good news today."
GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY! Isn't that what the angel
heralded on that holy night? The long-awaited Messiah was born in a time &
place with a paranoid king on the throne and a power-hungry government in the
land. Political, cultural, and personal tension was high. Sound familiar? Our
world is frought with political polarization, cultural confusion, and personal pain.
Some GOOD NEWS is definitely needed!
As I prayed for each situation, I began to cry out to God for some GOOD NEWS, and one by one, over the next few days, I began to receive praise reports. Some were BIG and some were so small, they might have been overlooked if one hadn't been expecting God to move.
The GOOD is ALWAYS there. We just have to look for it, and thank God for it,
regardless of how big or how small it may seem. I asked God to keep the GOOD
NEWS coming and that the GOOD NEWS would FAR OUTWEIGH the bad
news! I told Him that I wanted my praises for answered prayers to FAR
OUTWEIGH my prayers for answers!
The shepherds’ response to the GOOD NEWS was to hurry to see for themselves and to praise God. In other words, they went LOOKING FOR the GOOD NEWS! And when they found it (Him), they responded in praise. Even the wise men, who likely did not worship the One True God, followed the star to find this GOOD NEWS.
Their response? They were so ecstatic that they shouted & celebrated with unrestrained joy, fell to the ground, and worshiped Him!
They didn't just happen upon this newborn King. They went looking for Him.
Are you weary from the bad news as you scroll social media, listen to the news, or experience it in your own life? Me too!
Won't you join me in asking God to make the GOOD NEWS far outweigh the bad news
as we close out 2019 and move into 2020?
Let's make a point to intentionally LOOK FOR the GOOD NEWS, and better yet, let's be the ones who herald the GOOD NEWS to others!
How can you share GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY with someone else in the midst of their own bad news?
Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom
we should be EXTREMELY thankful and offer God the PUREST worship
that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in ABSOLUTE surrender, FILLED with awe. Hebrews 12:28 TPT
EVERY dimension of your life will overflow with blessings
from an UNCONTAINABLE source of inner joy! Proverbs 3:10 TPT
Your barns will BURST! Proverbs 3:10 MSG
This time of year it’s easy to think of what we are thankful for, but when was the last time you felt like your heart might BURST because of the uncontainable inner joy you had as you counted your blessings? What does EXTREME thank-FULL-ness look like? How can we give God the purest worship He’s so worthy of? When was the last time you felt so filled with awe of Him that your only response was absolute surrender? I want to be more than thankful. I want to be thank-FULL!
Look at what Harvard Medical School has to say on the subject: In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
In Ephesians 5:20, we are instructed to ALWAYS give thanks for ALL things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, more often than the month of November!
Are you feeling empty? Perhaps it’s time to fill up again on more than just turkey and dressing. Perhaps it’s time to get thank-FULL, and see what happens…
Recently someone shared a prophetic picture God gave them for our ministry.
She saw red cords going out from our place and into many places across the US and then into all the world. This resonated with my spirit as we desire to create a network of like-minded people who love sent ones as much as we do…
people who love hosting them in their homes; trained counselors, therapists, and inner healing ministers who understand the unique emotional needs of these sent ones; financial partners; prayer partners; volunteers who serve in various ways…
She affirmed that those were part of it, but sensed there was more to it than that, so we pressed in and asked God for more revelation. She sensed that we will be a hub where people come to be mentored and then go out and duplicate various aspects of our ministry. We do feel we are called to be a Mama and Papa in the Kingdom, so perhaps this is part of the bigger picture, long-term plan.
We have been amazed at the ways God has connected us with people so far. It’s so fun to have get-to-know-you conversations and realize we know the same people or attended the same event at the same time or had a similar life experience that instantly binds our hearts on a deeper level. This is what I love about Kingdom family. I’m someone who finds small talk challenging. I prefer to really get to know someone, to build real relationship, to be authentic and genuine, to have conversations that are mutually uplifting and encouraging.
I believe these are ways we can put this Scripture into practice: By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:12 MSG
The thing about rope (cord) is that it may only be three pieces braided together, but each of those pieces is made up of lots of individual threads.
Who are the threads that make up your rope?
How can you strengthen your connection with them this week?
Sunsets at the Jumblaru farm are glorious, especially this time of year when the sunflowers are in bloom. Our 3 year old granddaughter, Charlotte, loves to run to the west side of the property to “chase the pink sky”! I love that her name means “freedom” and she has such an adventurous spirit! Her parents met on the mission field in Africa, so I suppose it’s in her DNA. Perhaps you’ve never thought of yourself as the adventurous or creative type. But guess what…that’s exactly how God sees you! It was HIS idea for US to GO into ALL the world with the Gospel! We can trust Him to equip us with everything we need in order to do so.
Today I attended the funeral of a friend’s grandmother. As I drove to the funeral home, Bethel’s song “Goodness of God” came on my playlist, finishing just as I entered the parking lot. The part that gets me every single time says, “All my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.” The sun had set on her earthly life in her 90’s, but she chased her pink sky right into the very presence of Jesus, and is now fully experiencing His goodness in all His glory! I can’t help but wonder how my life would be different if I lived each day with the same sense of freedom and adventure as Charlotte and a keen awareness of His faithfulness and goodness. How about you? Will you chase the pink sky with us?
Some of you know that our 15 year old minivan died in April, so we’ve been praying for a replacement. God has answered those prayers! And He did so by upgrading what we thought we’d be able to get! Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory! Ephesians 3:20
In the days leading up to this find, God kept saying to not settle, that He had UPGRADE in mind for us. Now, we would have been totally fine with a bare basics van and wanted to be good stewards of resources, and we would have been thankful for it. But God had more in mind for His kids. Sometimes He likes to spoil us a bit! What’s something you’re believing God for? We want to encourage you to not settle for less than His very best for you. That’s going to look different for different people. For us, we didn’t need a brand new vehicle, but this 2013 model feels brand new to us, because it’s got more bells & whistles than we thought we’d be able to get. Watch for ways God upgrades you in the days to come. Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]. James 4:10 AMP
What’s the purpose of this van? For us, it’s much more than a means to get from one place to another. It will also be used to transport our guests and grandkids, so I suppose you could say it’s another gathering place for our ministry to take place. Our prayer is that it will be used in a way that brings God much glory.
Jill Perry, founder of Bursting Barns Ministries