I know I shouldn't judge but I did anyway

judge not lest you be judged. matt 7

I have a confession. I’m a critical person by nature.

Being critical is being prideful. It’s thinking you know more than your neighbor and pride is the nature of man. It’s only by the Grace and forgiveness of God that we can overcome the pride of the flesh.

We criticize anything or anyone that’s different or anything we don’t understand.

If we don’t understand it, it’s wrong.

If it looks different than what we’ve been taught or known, it’s not the right way.

But is it really a question of one being right and one being wrong, or is it oftentimes more of a perspective and characteristic that is just different.

If we agree on Jesus Christ being the way, the truth and the life, instead of seeing minor differences in a critical manner, what if we looked at it as the beauty of the depths of God.

God is wholly complex, yet wholly simple.

There are depths of Him that we will be discovering and rejoicing over for eternity. That is evidence that He is so complex, so deep and so unsearchable, yet rejoices in revealing Himself and His love to the simple.

You can go to twenty different churches and get twenty different expressions of love for Jesus.

You’ll see silence in one,

Flags and dancing in another.

I can remember standing in different church services (living in Texas, you can almost visit twenty churches on one street), sometimes things looking different then I knew or even was comfortable with.

I’ve been raised to keep my mouth from speaking words of doubt. I’m grateful for my upbringing. It’s saved me in so many situations.

I remember visiting a church a few years ago and during worship they sang a line in a song that I would always change the words to whenever I would sing it.

Immediately my response was a critical and judgemental spirit.

I was judging them for not singing the song the way that I sang it.

At that moment Jesus spoke to my heart and said:

"These people are worshipping me out of a purer heart than you are right now.

While they are ministering to me, you are being critical and it’s keeping you from being a worshipper.”

 

It hit me.

My critical spirit didn’t affect these people’s devotion towards God. It was hindering mine.

I was too busy needing to be right.

The voice of Jesus changed me that day. Now I don’t want to be held back by legalities. I want to pour myself out completely and unhindered to the One who saved me and loves me.

In any church service, instead of being critical, I’m beginning to see beauty.

I would be critical of traditional churches. My heart has changed.

The heart of tradition was founded in beauty. The truth is many traditions were made out of adoration of the Saviour.

 

Do people hold too tightly to them and trust them MORE than they do Jesus?

Of course and this shouldn’t be so.

 

But didn’t I do the same thing as the ones I was being critical of?  What I was holding on to just looked a little different.

I trusted too much in my righteous acts and right doing MORE than what Jesus had done for me.

 

Does anyone have everything right?

No way. We are human.

 

But we are all on a journey, hopefully with hearts to see the true nature of God. To be only loving and never judging the one whom we call brother or sister.

 

I hope this speaks to some of you.

 

Life is far richer when it’s filled with the beauty of relationship with Jesus and not of pride that we know it all.

 

We don’t know everything and to know that truth is to set us free.

Let’s not look at someone who loves Jesus a little differently and judge them for it.

We are not the judge of the heart of man.

Let’s just love Jesus and see the beauty in how someone else does too.

Let's call you Daniel

Let’s call you Daniel.

Is that ok with you? I’m not quite sure if it is ok with you or not.

You couldn’t hear for me to ask you. You couldn't speak to give an answer.

Our communication was limited, consisting of walking hand in hand, smiling back and forth at each other and you signifying to me you wanted a drink of water.

I didn’t know that small "Jesus loves me" bracelet I placed on your wrist would become a friendship bracelet. We were inseparable throughout that 3 mile walk and we’re inseparable even now because that very day you grabbed a special place in my heart that I’ll never forget.

Every step my foot took, my mind raced and I cried out to God on your behalf.

I’d ask myself:

Daniel, where is your mama?

Daniel, where is your papa?

Daniel, do they know you’re here or do they wonder where you’ve gone?

But what shakes me to the core?

Maybe, just maybe nobody is out there looking for you.

But today, I see you.

And more importantly, God sees you.

And that's the most important thing to remember.

You may forget me. But I pray you'll never forget Jesus.

I’m just one person walking on a road in Kitgum loving one person.

It may not seem big or world-changing. And I’m not doing it for the sake of saying I was a world-changer.

I’m doing it because you’re a person, just like me, who needs to know you’re deeply loved and never forgotten.

Love changes the world by thinking of the person it’s standing in front of.  

The Bible tells me to speak up for those who have no voice. (Proverbs 31:8)

And every step on that walk was a reminder: Why wasn't that me? I could have been in your place. I could have been a Daniel.

You may not have a voice,Daniel. But I do. And for the sake of this Daniel and ones like him, I’ll use it to cry out for the voiceless, to defend the helpless, and speak belonging over the fatherless.

Friends,

We’ve been given a voice for a purpose to share the Gospel in every corner of the earth.  Whether your corner is the voiceless, helpless co-worker or a Daniel in Northern Uganda.  It’s our call as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Let’s love the loveless.

Let’s speak up for those who cannot.

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight and guard against corruption from the godless world. James 1:27

Lord, show us how to pour out and how to love those in our corners, like you have loved us.

For the Kingdom,

Jenny

Light and darkness have gone to battle in an unfair war

Light and Darkness have gone to battle but it’s an unfair war. The moment God said, “Let there be light.” The darkness didn’t stand a chance.

         You see it shared on social media everywhere: news about ISIS, evil running rampant, Christians being persecuted for their faith. When I see these things, I can’t help but think it’s stirring more fear than faith in the heart of the believers. We have to ask ourselves, “when seeing this news article, what is my response?”

         Because the truth is, friends, when we receive reports about any deed of darkness, our response should be fearless faith.

Why? Because we know the Light has already won. In fact, the scripture says in John 1:5,

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” 

Strong’s Concordance further defines the word “extinguish” as, “make something one’s own, to win, to attain, to gain control of.”

No matter how it looks and no matter how it seems, darkness can never win nor gain control of the light.

  Light and Darkness have gone to battle but it’s an unfair war. The moment God said, “Let there be light.” The darkness didn’t stand a chance.     We have a Father whose very character has not one drop of darkness. He is the Father of Light (James 1:17). That means our inheritance and identity is to be children of light. That’s what side we are on. Because of this we can face anything in life and know we are victorious.

Every day we have a decision: Do I stand with the light or do I bow to the darkness? In big decisions and small decisions we have this choice to make. Obviously every believer desires to stand with the light in a time of persecution. But the desire and the doing are two different things.

I believe with all my heart what determines whether we stand or whether we bow is where our gaze is set.

I think about Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. There he was being asked to pray in the midst of the suffering of his Master, Jesus.  Due to his sleepiness, Peter fell asleep. Jesus came back to him multiple times, finding Peter asleep rather than praying for what Jesus was about to walk through.

Jesus’ response to him the final time was:

Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire. (Message Translation)

We have to ask, if Peter would have stayed alert in prayer would he have entered into the temptation and denied Jesus? What if Peter’s eyes would have been on the face of Jesus in that moment? Looking at his agony in Jesus’ time of decision, I doubt he would have fallen asleep.

I’m so grateful for the Grace of God towards Peter. Even though he did bow to the darkness in that decision, God’s Grace redeemed him and his life story.

 But friend, how can we endure suffering and persecution, in the small decision and the big?  We look at the face of Jesus.

Just like Stephen in the book of Acts, boldly proclaiming the person of Jesus in the face of persecution:

 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them,

“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!”

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.

(Acts 7:55-60)

 Stephen wasn’t seeing his persecutors because his eyes were on something more eternal: the glory in the face of Jesus. 

That’s what enables us to endure. Living in this world today we are going to be faced with decisions and opportunities to stand up for what we believe. We make those decisions now by setting our sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits. That’s where our life is found.

 When I remember that my true life is hidden in Eternity with Christ in God, I remember this earth holds nothing for me.  (Colossians 3:1-4)

 I remember I have no reason to fear for God is with me, what can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)

 I remember that all else is counted as nothing in comparison to everything I see in the face of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:8)

It’s looking at His face that keeps us standing with Him. Looking at His face through His Word, gazing at Him in worship, finding our lives in His presence.

We will not be defeated for we stand as children of the Father of Lights.

 And Light wins.

 

for the kingdom,

jen

Thoughts from the Stillness

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for a few weeks now.

I’m on a short break from traveling and I didn’t know how I was going to handle this time until now coming to the end of it.

Rest.

It sounds so great in theory but when trying to live that out, it’s gotta be one of the most difficult things to do well, especially for someone who is not the best at sitting still (me.)

My preferred pace is 150 Miles per hour, without a break. Anyone that knows me can attest that sitting still is not my forte and I’m often impatient. I want things to be done now. Patience is a virtue which the Lord is working on in my life. 

If I can be honest, it’s only in that non-stop, run till you can’t anymore pace that I feel like I’ve accomplished anything and it’s only then that I sometimes feel validated.

It’s that mindset of If I’m not producing, I’m not pleasing to God.

That’s actually a true statement. But our human definition of producing looks so different than God’s.

Jesus said in John 15 that only those that producing fruit pleases the Father.  If we continue to look in the scripture, however, we see that producing fruit that pleases the Father is actually easy and effortless on our part.

It’s found in the ABIDING.

Continually I remind myself when I’m doing something, this action does not validate me. What I do doesn’t validate me or count me as successful.

Being in His presence and finding myself at His feet: That’s where fruit that pleases the Father is yielded.

Friends, the magnitude of His presence will ALWAYS overwhelm what we do. I remember being in a church service during worship, and the Lord spoke to my heart to picture in my hands all that I’ve done, all I’ve accomplished and all He’s assigned me to do. As I was standing there in His presence I realized how small the things I have accomplished looked to the magnitude of who He is. It was just a reminder to ALWAYS make Him bigger.

What He has done will always overwhelm what we do.

These kind of lessons are the ones that keep us from our Pharisaical mentalities.

Our righteousness is like filthy rags.

The Spirit alone gives eternal life.Human effort accomplishes nothing.And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life .John 6:63

I’m a FIRM believer in action. YES. We’re not called to just sit around and do nothing. There’s a lost and dying world that needs to be loved.

He’s called us to action. But He’s also called us to rest in Him.

And many times even stopping and resting in Him is out of our comfort zone just as much as going to an unknown land.

My actions are an offering in response to my right standing through Christ Jesus, not a mode to get there. 

No matter what I do or what I don’t do, I am loved by Him.

My actions do not determine His love for me. They determine my love for Him.

And don’t we love Him?

If He is calling us to come away with Him, we will.

If He is calling us to GO with Him, we will.

I’m as fruitful sitting still as I am going 150 miles per hour, as long as I’m abiding.

And it’s really in the stillness that I gain strength for the going.

These are some thoughts from the stillness. 

 

- J.

Growing up Copeland

Moment of raw honesty. Hope you hear my heart.

One of my biggest desires is for the church not to have a Christian Celebrity mentality.  Because of social media and television, it's easy to see people with hundreds of thousands of followers and put them on a pedestal. There comes a line that is crossed between honoring a man of God and idolizing them. 

I was so privileged to help my grandparents, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, for 3 years, behind the scenes.

I cooked, I cleaned, I ran to the grocery store, I did RANDOM things. Oh..I have crazy stories. But it was truly one of the BIGGEST honors of my life. It's where I learned what ministry was about: not to be served. But to serve.

It's where I stopped thinking that ministry equals a microphone, but to understand it looks more like a broom. (In the process of writing my next book "I asked for a mic, but God gave me a broom: why servanthood is greater than fame" )

I was called to help. I was called to serve.

However, in that time, there were many times the voice of my grandfather was bigger than the voice of God.

I remember the Lord saying to me, "Jenny you are quicker to obey the voice of your grandfather's than you are to obey mine." 

It was a wake up call to me to begin seeing life as being a GOD-pleaser and not a MAN-pleaser. 

Honor= ABSOLUTELY. It's our call. 

To make the voice of man bigger than the voice of God in our lives?= God forbid. 

I believe that if your pursuit is to please God, not man, then honoring the men you are assigned to help will be a direct result, because God's ultimate way is honor. 

People have said to me, "I want to do this, but I don't come from a ministry family so it's harder for me." 

Yeah, but should it be? If God is the one who has called you, isn't HE the one who will provide?  

Your earthly family name doesn't direct your calling or provision for your life. It's the Heavenly Father who is your Provision. 

 I admit, growing up in a well-known family, It's true many doors have opened because of an earthly name. However, many doors that I assumed would open as I got older never opened and I see it as the Grace of God. 

He moved me away from my family, my comfort zone, into an unknown place and began opening doors that I knew were because I was in HIS family and not my natural family. 

The doors that open and close solely because of my earthly family name, I don't want it.  Yes there are doors that God opens using that name, but I must never give the credit to my earthly name. It's GOD. 

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. Ephesians 3:14-15

PLEASE hear me out. I LOVE being in my earthly family. It's one of the biggest honors.  But a mistake is made when an earthly family name outweighs the family name we've received from God. 

Having an earthly name will NEVER measure up to your Heavenly lineage. As honored as I am to be in this family, being a child of GOD FAR FAR FAR outweighs it.  

That's why you can look at someone who is "well-known" as a brother or sister in Christ and not an idol. That's why you can look at someone who would be a "least of these" and see them as your equal. As your brother. As your sister. 

The blood of Jesus Christ, bringing us in as family, has leveled the playing field, my friends. 

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female, (No-namers or big names) For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (Emphasis added)

I don't want to live my life riding on my earthly name.  Honestly, God has never let it be like that for me and for that I am grateful.

Name dropping never got me very far growing up either thanks to my mother. The result of the question 'Do you know who I am?' didn't get me favor...it got me a spankin'. 

But I think it's time to begin to see the body of Christ as our family. 

This Kingdom life is a set-the-table-big, invite-EVERYONE-over, open-up-the-doors, family kind of life. 

That's the heart of the Father. To bring us all in and to call us one. 

Growing up Copeland has its own identity attached to it and It no doubt has its easy days and its hard days...However it's growing up Christ's that I find who I really am and it's that name that I cling my life and identity to. 

I hope this blog encourages you to go for whatever it is God has assigned you to do, no matter your family name, upbringing or past, whether the best or the worst. 

May your confidence be found in being in the family of God.  

For the Kingdom. 

Your sister,

J.