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29.03.2018

  The words that stopped me cold weren't shouted or even spoken angrily. They were gentle, coming through the speakers of my laptop. One sentence, spoken sweetly, as part of a longer podcast episode. One sentence that gave me chills: "Never believe anything bad about God." Emily P. Freeman spoke these words in her episode "Remember the Real Art," and my heart stopped for a split second. "Never believe anything bad about God." I was pierced to my core because I have done just what she said not to do. I've believed bad things about my good God. I've believed He was indifferent to my broken heart, seeing my tears as evidence of my weakness and hearing my questions as proof of my unworthiness. I've believed He favors other people over me, giving them opportunities and advantages He doesn't think I deserve. I've believed He regrets the way He made me, looking at me and thinking, "What a disaster." I've believed He has ignored my cries for help. I've believed He loves His other children more than me. I've believed He couldn't love someone like me. I've believed the worst in my mind. But I've confessed His goodness with my mouth. My private thoughts and public confessions have disagreed. And while I may feel...

12.03.2018

  "Did you see where kids were Snapchatting during the shooting?" my sister asked. "They showed the bodies on the ground." No, I didn't. Thank goodness. But I am not surprised. In a world where anyone with a phone is a news source and where everyone with social media can become a pseudo-celebrity, it is no shock that what was once sacred is snapped instead. The norm these days is sharing it all. We don't think twice about sharing pictures of our anniversary gifts on Facebook, and we share our worship services in 30 second Instagram story snippets. Our emotions spill out on our social media, and what ought to remain private is posted for public consumption. I am guilty, too -- don't think I'm condemning anyone. Just today, I wanted to screenshot what I read in my Bible and post it for my followers to see. I felt the need to show what God was teaching me personally to people who are called my followers. (Let's just analyze that sentence for a second, friends.) My instinct was to take private revelations and make them public. What does sacred really mean, and is anything sacred anymore? It's a question I keep asking. What in my life is worthy...

19.02.2018

  Grief has swept our nation, and my own heart is still tender. Last week, a teenager not much older than the students I taught massacred 17 people by shooting them in cold blood. Then he got a snack at McDonald's. Every day since this tragedy, the news -- both official sources and the ever-growing social media kind of news -- has been filled with a nonstop dissection of how it happened and why it happened and how to prevent it from ever happening again. I have many opinions, to be sure. The maternal side of me has thoughts, as does the former educator. The rule follower in me who sees things in black and white has her opinions, but so does the always-questioning woman who has grown adept at playing the devil's advocate. But today, the opinion I will allow to have a voice comes from the most important person in me -- the Christ follower. She, today, is the one who will speak. And this is what she will say: It is not enough for us as believers to simply say, as the wide-sweeping solution to this tragedy and those of its kind, "This world just needs Jesus." If I have read that statement once from...

12.02.2018

  I need to share this message with you without being critical, accusatory, or dismissive. I've wrestled with it myself for some time now, and I pray it's marinated enough in my soul to move into yours with grace. We -- the ones who follow Jesus and declare to the world we are His children -- we must stop saying "God is good" only when good happens in our lives. When we declare His goodness and proclaim it only in times of personal blessing, we give the world half the story, and we build them up to believe a lie that could ultimately bring them devastation. You see, they are asking, "Is God good?", and they are silently wondering, "Could He be good to me?" Our own responses impact their understanding. God is always good, not only when we see it. God is always good, not only when we feel it. God is always good, not only when we are blessed. Jesus Himself declared, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). An undeniable part of following Christ is being troubled in this life. We will be - are guaranteed to be - misunderstood, rejected, abused, and outcast....