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Return

Five-minute Friday with Kate Motaung, where you write for 5 minutes on a topic.

Return, means to go back to where you once lived or had been, to go back to what you once knew.

Almost one year ago I returned to Canada from China.  It has been a difficult adjustment.  I have struggled to reconnect and to again get back to what I once knew as life.  It has not been easy but as the page turns it has been another part of my story.  God is still in control and sovereign over it all.

“Return to Me”, He calls us from Isaiah all the way to Revelations, “Return to your first love”.

This call is constant in my life, whenever I start to go my own way and do my own thing I hear his voice saying “Come, return to what you first knew.”

What did I first know but an intimate relationship with Him where there was much communion and intercession.

Where am I now, still walking the road back as I sort out my feeling, my dreams, desires and wants, as well as disappointments and fears.

Where am I headed?  Back into his arms and deep communion, because that is the only way when He returns I can journey back home with him.

End of five minutes.

Let us Return to Him with a repentant heart and focus on Relationship with Him as well as seeking His Guidance for our lives, rather than running off on our own to make life happen.  He Knows the plans He has for us and those plans are for good.

Trust Him, He Knows

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Five Minute Fridays

Stuck

Five-minute Friday word with Kate Motang.

Interesting that this ended up to be the word for today.  Just this week a friend I met in China reminded me of a time I was stuck.

I had been living in China for 5 years and had found many interesting differences but the most novel was the doors.  You see when you rent an apartment it is quite secure, there is a gate all around the compound and guards at the gates.  When you go into the apartment there is the same kind of security on the doors as here but the individual doors of each suite is different for they lock automatically when the door is shut.  In fact some are almost impossible to open from the inside unless you know the secret of the turn.  How I wish I had a picture to put here of the first place I had stayed and then you could see the inside of the door and how well there was no handle as we know it.  There is a small round knob that you have to turn the correct way to get out.  The first time I was there alone well I was stuck, there was no way I could get out no matter how I tried to turn, twist or open that door.  Now there was no window it was a solid metal door, the kind you might see in solitary confinement, no way once it was locked could a person get out.  Well that was the first time I found myself STUCK in an apartment in China.

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The time my friend was referring to was a more modern door, with a handle and key hole that was well almost like here in Canada, but they also lock as soon as you close the door.  They have a small lock on the inside for extra security.  At night I tended to lock it because I was never sure who else had a key for the apartment.

One morning I was on my way to work but when I tried to get out the door, well I was STUCK.  Now getting locked out I have done before but getting locked in, this was a bit ridiculous, I tried everything I could.  I walked away and prayed.  I checked the bedroom window, but it had bars on it that had no way to be released for the inside, which seems now a bit strange, since in an emergency how is one to get out.  Well so much for the reflection on that now.  So after a pause, a prayer and gathering my wits I went again to the door to check and think and try one more time to get out to no avail.

What to do? Well I phoned a friend, thinking if she came I could at least hand the key to her through the barred windows, but she was unavailable, so I called another friend.  After calling work to tell them I could not make it, and waiting and trying a third time the door and the window.  I called another friend, who called a locksmith, who arrived later that day.  Finally, the door was opened and I was UNstuck.  I could leave my house.

Even though at the time it was frustrating, now I laugh about it and think how in these small things in life, even though a bit frightening, can also be a time to grow trust; trust in God, a God who loves me and will take care of me no matter how long or in what way I am stuck.

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Turn

http://www.youtube.com/watch

Turn five minute Friday word

Seasons turn one into another

in nature,

in our lives.

There is a time to be a baby which

turns into a time to be a child

which turns into a time to be a       youth

and then a time to be an adult

this turns into a time for middle age and finally turning the page of time; a time to be old

With all this turning season roll one into another through the years.

A season to learn

A season to grow

A season for school

A season for work

A season to serve

A season to change

as we age

change address

change what we do

but mostly to be changed into his likeness

to be turned into a pure spotless bride

 

 

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Settle

Never settle for less than the best God has for you.

I have been on a journey the last six months seeking direction from the Lord.  I hear him say, “Trust me I will provide.”

I hear, “Volunteer and help others.”

So I volunteer, and I study and I pray and I seek.

And….I wait.

I don’t want to settle for a life less than what My Father has planned.

I want all He has for me which might be less of worldly thing, no most probably is less of what the world has to offer.  After all He knows the plans he has for me, he knows the gifts and talents he has given me and he knows my personality.

Trusting him rather than settle for a regular life, so I can live the adventurous journey he planned rather than following my own plan.  This is my desire.

 

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Routine

Five-minute write with Kate Motaung of Five-minute Fridays on Facebook.

Some things are easy and more natural to get into a routine about, but somethings, unless started young,  are not so easy.  Work, eating and sleeping are pretty routine activities in life, but  other thing like exercise and stretching take a lot more discipline to do regularly. 

Some things are essential to have a routine for and others are not. 

Some people need routine but others don’t.   

Routines can help us to develop self-discipline which is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and in that way routines are great. 

However, once in a while we need to break from the routines to add some color to our lives, to color outside the lines that the routines create.

Routines of time with God, though each day it looks different, is the most precious routine of all. 

He calls “Come,  sit at My feet and rest, learn from Me, listen to what I want us to do today.” 

Without this routine life would be too overwhelming with all the stress of the day to day activities and thoughts, especially when finances are a burden. Sitting, listening with his word, to His word, adds color which adds joy, because He gives light to the situations and order to our lives, out of that order comes the routine of serving Him when and where He goes in this city.

 

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Tired

5 minutes word prompt for Five Minute Fridays with Kate Motaung.

Tired to be worn out, exhausted, have no energy or to be tired of something in particular.

I think we can all relate to the word tired.  Many are tired after work, after a day of shopping, after a day of fun… so many things physically tire us but that can be a good feeling, especially if it was fun or an accomplishment of something.  However, there is another kind of tired where we become drained and just want life to stop.

Recently that is how I felt.  I was tired of the stress and anxiety of life.  Physically I felt exhausted all the time.  Just like there was no life in me anymore.  Then I got tired of being tired, especially since I could not understand why I felt tired all the time.

For myself much of the tiredness comes from an overactive thought life, I had to think about what I was thinking about and notice the words coming out of my mouth to start to change, to change my attitude and change my thinking about life.

Life is difficult, God never said it would be easy and the sooner it is accepted that this is so, the sooner I can make a change in my thinking so that I can overcome the tiredness.

Jesus said he has overcome the world, he calls me to come rest in Him.  When I come to him he helps me to overcome my worldly worries of thinking, over thinking, what my circumstances are.  Lately, he reminds me over and over, seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you.  He will provide and take care of me.  All the worry and over thinking doesn’t add anything to my life except tiredness.  To be relieved of being tired it, for me, is about trusting in Him, not overextending myself because of the worlds’ demands but a resting in Him, knowing he will take care of me, because He cares for me.

So, I am on a new path to freedom from this heavy tiredness I have been carrying, I am changing my thinking about life and finding there is joy found in gratefulness, in His presence strength and encouragement can be found to walk through one more day not knowing, yet knowing.  Focus on Him is the way for me to get out of the depths of tiredness because He is my strength.

In Proverbs 23:7  it says, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he”.  If we think and speak “I am tired” all the time then we create that tiredness and heaviness of heart.  I didn’t use to believe this because I thought, I am just expressing how I feel, but as I have grown in the Lord and listened to others I now see that maybe it is true, maybe half the battle against the tiredness I feel is a change of attitude, a change of thinking and speaking.  Maybe that is where half the battle is to be won.

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Regrets (five-minute Friday word)

 

Regrets, I’ve had a few….   

As I started to think about this word, this old song came to mind.  I know it’s not biblical or uplifting but oh my isn’t it truth, but isn’t this what the world is good at, at teaching us to do.  We all have done things our own way, just like it says in this song, some of us with more regrets than others.  Isaiah 53:6 says,

All of us like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own.  Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

Unfortunately my regrets are not too few, but too many.  This morning, on Facebook, I was checking to see about a nephew of mine who had not posted anything for a while.  He is struggling with a severe drug addiction and I found on his page a comment that broke my heart.  A comment about Christians, and oh regret fell and surrounded me, regret that I had not stayed more connected to him, involved in his life.

You see he was the first nephew born in the same city where I was living, I was so happy.  I was young and I was not a christian at the time.  I was a mess.  I left that city to go find life elsewhere and I did find life.  Eventually I found Him who is LIFE and because I found Him I then had new life too.  This new life journey took me farther from my family, however, it was my choice to not stay in touch.  I walked away because no one wanted to hear about Jesus, I tried, I prayed, I cried, but they just didn’t want to hear about what it means to be born again.  To really believe.  So, believing I was following the Lord I went away.  I travelled, I went to Bible College and I taught overseas, but I did not keep in touch with my family a lot.  Now, I regret this.  I don’t know if it would have made a difference in my nephew’s life or not.  I know regret will not change anything, I know it will only tear me down and this is not right to allow it to destroy me, because I cannot make decisions for my nephew or anyone else.

So, I must lay this burden down.  I must take the next step and continue to pray, because prayer does make a difference, even in the hardest hearts.  Psalm 55:22

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

This is my hope, that He can take the burden of guilt and regret.

Matthew 11, Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

2 Corinthians 7:10, tells me, For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.  There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. ..

So, I see the way out from regret is to have the godly sorrow that casts the shame and regret on Jesus’s shoulders.  Here I can find freedom from all my regrets.  Sorrow over our regrets is healthy, because it has a refining influence on us.

Ecclesiastes 7:3, Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.

James 4 tells us to Let there be tears for what you have done.  Let there be sorrow and deep grief.  Let there be sadness instead of laughter and gloom instead of joy.

But then, if we repent, and call on God, humble ourselves He has a great promise for us.

Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.

James 4 also tells us, We must resist the devil and run to God, no matter the regret.  Turn to him, cast the burden on him and trust him to work it all out.  I think to realize that life is not in my hands but in his, that My Father comes close to me when I come close to him in a humble attitude.  He will take care of it, he will guide me and lead me, even in what and how to pray so I can truly be free of regret because He is and He always will be the one in charge.

(I cheated this time and wrote a little longer but really hope this blesses someone else today, I love how God speaks and shows truth no matter the word for writing on Fridays.  He is so good and I hope hope fills your heart as you read these words.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why?

Today’s five-minute write word is WHY.  

How many times I have asked why of the Lord.  Why is there no time to just do the things I like and want to do?  Why do I have to work so many hours?  Why do you ask me to write yet there is no support and understanding from the people around me so I work outside of the home? Why do I not have more energy? Why?

Why is one of the questions we all learn to ask at an early age.  Why is the sky blue?  Why can’t I do that?  Why can’t I come with you? Why? Why?

It’s not that it is wrong to ask Why but it depends on your attitude when you ask and the kind of why question.  When kids ask why do birds sing?  Why is the sky blue?  These are seeking knowledge kind of questions but when they start to question why you said no you cannot watch that movie, or no you cannot go alone to the park, do you want them to trust that you know best or to believe they are wiser than you and know the best way to do things?

As I have gotten older and grown in my relationship with God, He has brought me to the understanding that “Why” is the wrong question to ask.  He made me aware of how I felt when asked why I did things the way I did.  It was this revelation of my own response to the question why that helped me to understand that why is the wrong question to ask.

When people ask me why I did something, I feel attacked, I feel like they are calling me stupid and that I don’t measure up, especially when they offer advice or start with “If it was me I would ….”  As soon as I had that revelation about myself, I came to understand why the question “Why?” is not the right question to ask God.

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In Job 24, Job asks, “Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?  Why must the godly wait for him in vain?” 

Before that in chapter 13 Job states, “I want to argue my case with God himself”.

(Isn’t that what we are doing when we ask Him why? Read Chapter 13 and see all the questions Job asks, one of which is “Are you defending God….?”)

However, The Lord did not answer immediately, it is in chapter 38 that He responds to Job, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.”

Are we ready for that same response when we are wanting to bring our case before Him, because when we ask Why?  is that not what we are doing.

The Lord showed me how when I would ask him why I was not trusting Him.  I was questioning His wisdom and knowledge of the situation, of me, of others and not trusting that He knew what He was doing.  That it was an “attack” on His Character.  Instead He turned my question to, What are you doing in this?  This was so I would start to seek what His purpose was and how can I join Him in what He is doing.  How can I cooperate with Him so His will is accomplished in the situation.

In my journey since returning to Canada I have had the question Why on my lips a few times, but in His mercy and grace He has helped me to turn my Why into a vision and picture of what He desires and longs to accomplish in me and in the people around me. He has turned my focus to one of seeking what He is doing in the situation, what is He setting up to accomplish in me and in others through the uncomfortable situations He has brought me into.

I think when we ask the Lord Why He is doing something or allowing something to happen it is a suggestion to Him that we know better, we would do it differently, it is questioning His ability to do what is best and His wisdom in all things.

It’s not that He gets upset at us for asking why, it’s not that He becomes angry about it but it is the wrong question.  He will not answer it because He does not ever need to defend himself.

The next time someone asks you why you are doing something the way you do, take note of your internal response.  How does that question make you feel?  and How do you respond when asked Why?

Maybe instead of asking why,  we should remember the biggest and best thing He has done.  The Father sent His Son to earth.  Why?  For us, so we could remember that He knows, He cares and He is there.  He suffered the loss of His Son, He watched His Son be murdered by the people He wanted to save.  Where does that leave our question Why?

 

Book Review

Passion Week

I am reading a book by David Kitz calledThe Soldier Who Killed A King.  It is a story about the last week Yeshua walked on the earth.  A story of confusion, questions, doubt and faith.  A story that brings the truth to a Roman soldier who is serving in Jerusalem and is a leader among the soldiers.  It is about his encounters with Yeshua and the evil wannabe king Herod who came to Jerusalem for Passover.  

I love how David intertwines the two main characters together through observation, conversation and direct encounters.  How the soldier thinks about what he sees, hears and experiences.  I appreciate how he portrays the Romans as human in all ways, just as we are too.  I think we often forget,  in light of the stories and history we know, that they also had feelings, thoughts and desires.  That not all their desires were evil.  David does a great job of portraying what it would have been like for a man to live in those days.  I know for myself I really never thought about the soldiers except as ones who could be cruel and hard hearted, never thinking about their humanity, that maybe it wasn’t easy for them to do the things they were commanded to do.

If you enjoy reading and like an engaging, thought provoking book, this one is for you.

 

To see more of David’s books

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Privelege

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Privelege, 5 minute word prompt for today.

After living in China for more than 5 years, then coming back to Canada, I see how privelege can damage a society, because an attitude of entitlement takes hold.  No matter what country everyone feels they have certain priveleges that no one should take away.

As I read others posts and pondered this word this morning I was brought to Philippians 2: 5-11 

Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God 

as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine priveleges;

He took the humble position of a slave 

and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form

he humbled himself in obedience to God 

and died a criminals death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

and gave him the name above all other names,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 

to the glory of God the Father.

The one who deserves privelege, was the most worthy of all priveleges, who had no sin, no selfish motive, no evil desires, nothing in him that spoke of, reeked of, or hinted at an attitude of entitlement gave it all up for us.  

Are we willing to do the same for others?  Am I?  Can I give up the privelege of a home, a job, a good life,  the belief that I deserve all that I think I need and want to serve others in a humble state?

Right now where I live is not my home, in fact I am split between two homes that are not mine.  Am I willing to give up my desire and belief that I should have my own place in order to serve in these two homes with the humble attitude of my Father, of my Savior, of my Lord.  I pray the Holy Spirit will help me to follow my Lord’s example and be willing to lay down my life for the sake of others.