Five Minute Fridays

Simplify

This weeks five-minute Friday word is simplify.

To simplify: less is more.

Once I worked in a crisis nursery and this was the playroom motto, to have less play choices actually caused the children to enjoy the ones they had more.  It made it easier for clean up as well because there was enough space to put everything away in an orderly fashion where they were more accessible.

Since coming back from China I have a small space that is mine, but I have many boxes that I had left at my brothers of my “stuff”.  I am wanting to simplify because I have to move again one day and because I like to travel I will not want a lot of extra stuff to manage.  However, this is not easy.  Many of the boxes are books, pictures, and journals.  What to keep and what not to keep is the question of my life right now.  How to use the little space I have and maintain some semblance of order so I can find the things I need.

To simplify my life can also mean to stop doing so much other things, things that tire and stress, to simplify is to be wise in what we focus on.  Am I focused on earning money or am I focused on Glorifying God?  Am I focused on me or on God?  My mind is very busy, always going so fast the rest of me can’t keep up, I can be miles ahead in my thoughts about everything that I become stressed about not enough time, not enough time to be still and rest, not enough time to finish projects I started, not enough time alone, not enough time with people.  Maybe to simplify my life I first have to simplify my thoughts.  To not worry and stress over what doesn’t get done but to move more slowly and do well the things I do with taking time to breathe, focus and rest in-between.  It seems to simplify my life means I need to simplify my thoughts and yet accept that life can be complicated, complex, difficult, and overwhelmingly too busy at times, but it is possible to learn to slow down, to downsize and to let go of that which is not necessary.

This one thing that is necessary is to spend time with God, so I can learn from Him how to slow down, even my thoughts and find rest and peace in a simplified life with Him.

 

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Five Minute Fridays

Motivate

This weeks five-minute write word is motivate.  I have been reading through Daniel and as I read I see everyone is motivated by something different in this story.  Nebuchadnezzar was motivated by what?  Fame, Power, Control?  No he had all these already.  He wanted to be worshipped.  He wanted the people to see him as god.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego what was their motivation to choose the fire over worshipping a gold statue?  Did they want attention? power? fame? Did they think that by defying the earthly king they would have a higher status with the Eternal King?  What was their motivation?  Were they more afraid of their God than the King?  I believe their motivation was their loyalty to their God and his statutes.  I believe it was love for him that compelled them to choose the fire over bowing down.  What motivated the astrologers to snitch on them?  Probably a desire to be seen as greater and better and more worthy than them.  Jealousy.  I think that was their great motivator.  They saw that they were honored and had a higher position than they and they wanted to steal that from them.

So what will motivate me this year?  Will my desires for money, fame, attention, or will I be motivated by the love of Christ?  I pray that it is love, his love for me and his love in me that motivates me to do all that I do.  Whether choosing a movie to watch a book to read an activity to do or work.  I pray it is his love that compels and motivates me to do everything I do.

Five Minute Fridays

Different

Different well that is what I am.  My whole life I felt different.   Different from everyone else.  I cannot explain it but it just has always been this way.   I never tried to be different but always wanted to be the same and yet, I am different.  I think differently about things than most people, I see things differently than others.

I even experience life differently.

But really can’t that be said of us all.  After all we all have a unique DNA and a unique journey, no two are a like.  So is being different a terrible thing.?

No, it is actually a God thing. 

So no matter who you are or what your journey has been like you are different, we all are, the one common denominator is, we are all created in the image of God, our Father.  So, we should celebrate and rejoice in our  differences.  It is how God made us, and because of that our differences are good.

Five Minute Fridays

Excuse

There are two different ways most of us use this word.

  1.  When needing to get someones’s attention we use it politely, saying, “Excuse me please.”
  2. When we want to explain why we didn’t do something, we make an excuse.

Excuses we all have them, we all make them at some time in our lives, for things we should have done, could have done or wanted to do but didn’t.

Why do I not sit down and write more often?  because I’m too busy, I am not inspired, I am not good enough, I need to find a paying job, I don’t feel well….. and the list can go on and on.

Why did I not spend more time with so and so when I had the chance?  too busy, hard to get there, they were too busy….

Why did I not study more, take this course and not that one?  Again the list of excuses can go on and on.

For the most part our excuses are explanations of how we percieved the situation and to defend ourselves against accusations.

Take for instance Adam and Eve.   Eve made the excuse, “The snake made me do it.”  Adam made the excuse, “The woman you gave me…”

Most of the time our excuses are blameshifting to someone else,

“She made me angry.”

“He told me to do it.”

I know I have said these kinds of things.

Getting down to the truth of excuses, Jesus said in John 15, that if he had not come and spoken to them (us), they (we) would have no sin , but now they (we) have no excuse for their (our) sin.  Jesus came, he spoke and he still speaks today.

Paul in writing to the Corinthians, asked them if they thought they were making excuses, (or in some versions, defending) for themselves and their actions. ( 2 Corinthians 12)

Romans 1:20  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly see, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. “

Without EXCUSE for rejecting God, not glorifying Him as God and not being thankful.

Wow, we are without excuse for not being thankful.  When was the last time I really thanked God for all that I have.   Much too long.

We are so fickle we thank God for our food, but not for the trials that cause us to grow in His character.  We thank God for the new shoes but not the chance to grow in trusting for that next need to be met.

Romans 1 also says we (man) exchanged truth for a lie…..is excuse making actually exchanging truth for a lie?

OH I can’t help, it is just the way I am.    Does this sound like truth?

So, what is the truth about our excuses, can we help them or can we not?

In Romans God tells us we are without excuse, even though Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree we cannot hang on that and continue to blame them for our sin.  It is our own sin.  Excuses and blame shifting is no longer acceptable when we read that word,  because God says we are without excuse.   But the GOOD NEWS IS we are freed from this excuse factory, because we can come before God and confess our sins without fear because Jesus died to set us free, we are free from the excuse and blame shifting because Jesus is with us to help us do all we are to do and be all he created us to be.  There are no more excuses left.

NO EXCUSES.  NONE.

All we need is the grace to be humble and meek as Jesus is, so we can admit our faults, sins and shortcomings, have mercy on ourselves and one another and forgive then move on.  NO EXCUSES.

 

 

 

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Silence

Silence, in the stillness, there is silence.

Silence without, Silence within

this is my goal

this is where the treasure lies

to be silent before God

is to be still

in stillness we can know God

His Word is

“Be still and Know I am God”

In stillness, in silence,

Silence of mind and heart

Silence of the world

we can know God

We can know He is God

In this we can find comfort

In this we can rest

In this we can trust

Knowing He is God and we are not

Knowing He is in control, so we don’t have to be.

 

 

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Need

What are the true needs of people?  Distinguishing between wants and needs is not always easy.  What do I really need at this stage of life, where I am now.  I have shelter, food (though not always by my own hand), new friends and a new beginning.  So why is it I can feel that there is lack in my life.  The only real lack I have is money, but sometimes it is hard to remember in this western country, that money is not everything.  Yes it pays the rent, yes it buys the food, but really is it my deepest need now to be able to support myself?  Most would say yes, yes, and many love to quote the Bible and remind me that, “You don’t work, you don’t eat”  but what about obeying God and trusting Him to provide.  Is the only way he provides through work.   I am not against work, in fact I have been looking for work for 3 months and just this week applied for 3 more jobs.  I do need work, but is that my deepest need?  I would say no, because I know me and I know where I am at; God knows me and where I am at and He knows His plan for me.  I need to rest in Him, trust Him and do the work He gives me to do, whether it pays financial dividends or not.  I need Him above and beyond anything else in this world, even food and shelter.  So, if I lose all I will still have Him.  He is my strength, my song, my deliverer, my healer, my savior, and my Husband.  He is therefore taking care of me, I need to trust Him, rest in Him and love Him.  That is my greatest need and in doing those things all the rest will be taken care of, because He is God, He is good and He promises in His word to meet my needs.

Matthew 7 says that we cannot love both God and money

So which one to seek after?  Only the One who gives life.

 

 

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REST

Rest everyone needs it and all of us like it, but what is it in the Bible? 

Jesus said he gives us rest, he says come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.  We also find in Hebrews that there is a rest we are to enter into.  A rest that the Israelite’s did not enter into a rest that we can miss.  I do not want to miss that rest, because that rest is the real rest we need.  As I have been asking God about rest and what that means it seems that it is something we can have and do even when working and busy with life.  His kind of rest is a rest that eliminates worry and stress, but not the work.  His rest is entered into when we Trust Him, trusting is resting, resting is trusting.  So although we like the rest that is a stop and sit down and relax, whether with a book or a movie or a cup of coffee with a friend.  The rest we really need is so much deeper and so much more needed.  To rest in Him, is to cease from striving, and working on our own, it is to connect with the Holy One and work from that place of connecting so we are not striving in the flesh to complete whatever work He has given us to do, whether at a 9-5 job or sitting writing.  So do we need a day to cease from work and rest YES but we can also enter into The Lord’s rest while we work and care for others.  As always the Lord wants to take us deeper into Him, into His Word so we do not miss entering the rest He talks about, the one that has His yoke which is easy and light.  I am still learning about rest and practicing what I learn because I do not want to miss entering in to that place of real rest in Him.

 

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Trust

Eyes on Jesus

Steps of trust

Way opens

An Obstacle

Keep Eyes on Jesus

He knows the way

TRUST HIM

LOOK TO HIM

and the obstacle is behind

He makes the way

He leads you and

When you keep your eyes on Him

There are no obstacles you cannot

Overcome

 

We show we Trust Him when we Obey Him.  To silence the critic inside, the one who says impossible, is not easy to do.  To not strive to make things happen, to not take everything personally but to know God Knows and let that be enough.  When judgement and criticism come to know how to stand against it in truth, this is a battle, one that can only be won in Christ.  What is the right thing to do at this time?  TRUST the ONE who knows.  No one else knows the other’s struggles, fears, or weaknesses in heart, mind and body, nor do we know God’s Plan for anyone else’s life, and lots of times, not even for our own lives.

So, even though things may be difficult, choose to believe it will all smooth out and things will align with His great design for each of us, in His time.  He makes the rough places smooth, Isaiah 40:4.

So Trust in Him, I will, Obey Him, I will, because to do other wise will lead not to the Good Life He has planned for me but to a more painful and distressing life of exhaustion and lack of life, real life in Him.

 

 

 

 

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Overcome

To overcome means to get the better of, to surmount, to conquer. 

In life what does it mean to overcome?  To overcome we usually have to put in some effort and work to conquer what ever is dragging us down.  Many people seek to overcome fears, they do this by confronting their fear and facing it, as if facing a giant that needs to be defeated.  Most would say it was a giant, because it blocked them and stopped them from some wonderful experience that was waiting to be had.

To overcome obstacles in our lives that are bigger than us takes a power that is more than what we have.  Goliath was an obstacle to peace, victory and rest for Israel.  David was a young man who knew his God, he spent hours alone worshiping in song, focusing  on the one who could protect him from the wild animals but also against the invisible enemy that seeks to defeat all of us from within.

So what weapons can we use against this invisible enemy that attacks from within.  The enemy of despair and depression, the enemy that shouts we are not good enough, that we don’t belong, are unwanted.  How do we overcome this enemy?

Praise, Worship, Prayer and Truth telling.  These are the only weapons that will defeat this invisible enemy.  Who is the one then that overcomes these enemies of our heart?  Only one and His name is Jesus.  He overcame all of our enemies on the cross, whether outer, inner, visible or invisible.  He overcame it all, our sins and the accuser who continues to trip us up and defeat us at times; but he will never have the final victory because, Jesus has the final victory for all who are gathered in under His wings, who believe in Him as Savior and Lord.

John 16:33 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows ,Obstacles, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.

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Listening

How to listen to that still small voice, to know it is Him; to not “argue” when I hear it, but to pause and listen again.  So often I don’t pause long enough to check but quickly dismiss His whispered leading and continue on with my plan.  When the curse of the fall takes hold of my heart,  that I think that I am in charge and need to be in control, but really most of the time I don’t have a clue what I am doing.  So often in the daily things and decisions it creeps in that thinking “I Know” and I will do this because I think it is the best way, yet all that happens is I stumble over my own two feet and end up in the ditch of self-pity or anger.

Psalm 103 says, “The Lord is tender and kind He is gracious, He is slow to get angry He is full of love He won’t keep bringing charges against us, He won’t stay angry forever…”

There is hope, He forgives us when we don’t listen; even though it makes us miss out on His rest, the rest He designed for us to live in.

One instance of this in my life happened recently.  I was in a city I did not know and did not have a lot of money.  I was staying in a hotel but breakfast was not included so I decided to do the smart thing and look for a store to buy some food that I could have at a cheaper price.  So I set out to walk to the store.  As I was walking I passed a restaurant, as I passed I heard,  look here , but I reasoned that it would be more expensive than food at the store, so I continued on my way.  I came to the place where the store was supposed to be but the store was no more.  I asked someone but they said they never heard of a store there.   So I walked back and passed the same restaurant again.  I was thinking about what I should do, still not willing to go in.  I had seen and was pretty sure there was a MacDonald’s close by so I kept walking.  A mall was just a block down so went and checked it out.  After seeing that there was no McDonald’s I went back outside, finally, I asked the Lord.   That nudge came to go back to that restaurant, so that is what I did, and it was very affordable and delicious.

Lesson learned.  Pause, stop running in own direction and listen for that still small voice, because He still speaks quietly to us.  It is okay to stop, turn around, change directions and do a new thing.  Next time you are not sure if its God speaking, stop and listen.  Ask questions if necessary, He doesn’t mind, He just wants to be part of everything we do all day long.  So lets practice, practice, practice, at all times in the big and little things.

“Be still and Know that I am God” Psalm 46:10