Five Minute Fridays

HOPE

hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick

HOPE

Hope for tomorrow

Hope for eternity

Hope beats in our hearts daily rising to meet each new challenge

Faith, hope and love:  these three things are the greatest

FAITH

believing, trusting

HOPE

Waiting, watching

LOVE

being broken and poured out

Without hope despair comes

Hope keeps us focused on the ONE who gives hope

without hope we flounder and sink

Hope gives us strength to go on when difficulties arise

HOPE

Hope in tomorrow the rains will clear

the sun will shine again

strength will return

the darkness will flee

Hope draws us higher to meet

the ONE who loves us

 

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Praise

praise

Day 12 of 31 days to tell your story with Kate Motaung of Five minute Fridays.

Praise the LORD with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten stringed harp and sing with joy, for the word of the LORD holds true and we can trust everything he does.  He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth (Psalm 33: 2-5)

Praise the LORD

Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Ephesians 5:20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Giving thanks is praising God.

To thank God and praise him for the hard things does not come naturally to me.  As I go through this next tough situation I want to thank God for the small things, praise him in this storm.

 

 

 

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Comfort

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Comfort for the lonely

Comfort for the weary

Comfort for the lost

Comfort for the grieving

Comfort

We all need comfort at some time in life

Comfort when we are sad and when we have done wrong

Comfort that those who love us will not leave us

Comfort that we belong

and when we know we belong we become comfortable with each other

When we are comfortable with each other, we can do something terrible, we take advantage of the other.   Rather than continuing to get to know one another, where we are at today.   We are comfortable with our yesterday comfort and don’t know how to make today comfortable too.

Yet so many times God calls us out of our Comfort zone in order to stretch us, I guess in relationships that how it is.  Always growing and changing, changes our relationships too and that is a good thing, usually a very good thing. if we are growing in His character.

May I give comfort to others when needed, rather than to be comforted as I journey with the people God has put in my life today.

This is my prayer, this is my desire, that God would change me so much that there really is less of me and more of Him that He would be glorified in my life.

 

 

 

 

Five Minute Fridays

BELONG

Belonging to Christ, means I am beloved, I am part of His Body.
The Body of Christ belongs to each other, when a part of the body feels it doesn’t belong and leaves or quits working, it causes trouble in the body, pain, a tearing, a breaking.

I had a physical experience of this in my body, to show how important even the knees and unseen parts of our bodies, nerves, are so important to the proper functioning of it. I had some trouble, sciatic problems recently and then on Tuesday night leaving one of my students homes my knee decided it didn’t belong or have an important job to do any more and it quit working. I fell backward down 3 or 4 cement steps. Painful, embarassing and nerve wracking. Now I have been laid up in bed for so many days, all the to do lists of what needed to be done has not been done. I have had x rays to determine if anything is broken.

Is this not the same as what scripture says about the body in 1 Corinthians 12:15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.

We can easily say about our natural body that each part is important, seen and unseen, and very necessary for our health, and our ability to function well. This is also true for the body of Christ, it needs to be connected and functioning together for the body of Christ to accomplish all it is assigned to accomplish. When we don’t associate with other believers because we don’t agree with them, then we miss out on an important truth, we all belong to Jesus and we do not have to agree with each other all the time to work together and love one another.

When we love others we let them know they belong, when we distance ourselves from others it says, you don’t belong.

As I lay here in my broken body I have been reading Ann Voskamp’s book The Broken Way,  in it I found this treasure:  “Love is not always agreement with someone but it is always sacrifice for someone.”

Isn’t the one way we know we belong somewhere or to someone Love; Love one another as I have loved you, Jesus told his disciples.  How did Jesus show his love, he lay down his life for us, each of us to demonstrate real love, He died.  He gave up His throne to show us we were His own, in him we are loved, we find shelter in the storm.  We belong to Jesus; so we belong to each other as family, His great and wonderful, though messy family.

 

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SHARE

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To Share is to be vulnerable.
To be vulnerable is to risk rejection, to be thought of as attention seeking, to risk criticism and ridicule.

These are some of the reasons for me it can be hard to share my story, or at least parts of it.

The last few days I have been in excruciating pain, laying on my back with a heating pad. Decided to type anyways so if there are mistakes, bear with me.
On Friday I went for a job interview not far from home and though I was in some pain, I could still walk okay. During the interview the pain was gone, it was amazing and I thought Thanks God for helping me. After I decided to walk to a store to get a couple of things but as I was walking the pain hit really hard,making it difficult to walk even one step, so I turned back and went to the bus stop, thankfully the bus came quickly. I had a hard time sitting so was glad it was the express bus with few stops. Still I had to walk several blocks to my house but by the time I got half way I was in so much pain I didn’t know how to go on, When I got home I cried and cried asking God to heal me and asking why he had not yet done so. I stayed in bed all day Saturday, having to because it was the only way to alleviate the pain.

On Sunday morning I woke and thought okay maybe today I can go a bit, go to church and to my friends for lunch but as I went down the stairs to wait for my ride I realized I could not, I could not sit without pain. So I went back to bed. Later, I texted a friend. I was to share Thanksgiving dinner with her family in their new house with some other friends. I decided to go but that was a mistake, I ended up in worse pain and my friend took me to the hospital.

At the hospital yesterday I had to sit until they had a bed where I could lie down. They gave me a shot of Tylenol, and got a prescription but they do not make it any easier to sit or stand, which then makes it difficult to do anything. Being single I still have to do for myself. I still have to get up to get food, and drinks, which maybe is a good thing to keep moving but it is not easy. The problem with sharing about pain is so many people think if you don’t focus on it, it will diminish and that can make person feel judged. That because I acknowledge the pain, because I don’t have enough faith somehow I make the pain more than it is, or am not healed.

I believe God heals but I also believe suffering is part of life.
So that is my recent story to share. As I wait for healing, still believing I will know that through this God is doing something in my life but also in the lives of those around me, because it is part of His story that he will share in time.

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WHY

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Today’s 5 minute write is on Why? A question I am sure everyone can relate to.
Why is the sky blue? Why me and not you? Why you and not me? Why did this have to happen? Why God Why?

There are an endless list of why questions that we have asked in our lives. Usually these Why questions begin at age 3 and never stop. First we ask our moms, dads and teachers, then we ask each other, grandparents, aunts and uncles, but we also ask God, often. Why God Why?

I don’t think asking is wrong but it seems the answers come differently depending on the situation. If its about a problem I have now then often God will give wisdom what to do. However, if it is about Why has God done something or not done something, He often will not answer. A while ago, the Lord showed me that asking why sometimes shows a lack of trust. That when I ask him why it has to be a certain way, He doesn’t answer because I am asking the wrong question, I am doubting him rather than trusting him. After all faith is walking and obeying without seeing what is ahead.

So what have I learned about “Why” recently. That I still ask it, often, especially when I don’t have understanding about God’s ways or when I am in pain and cannot see the end of it. However, the one thing I know for certain is that God has a purpose and is working all of the details of my life out for the best, even the pain. I will trust him, yes I am pretty sure I will question him, but I think I am getting wiser in what questions to ask him and when.

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Believe

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Believe, to trust God with all the details.

To believe God is and will be who He says He is and will be.

To believe His Word,

To believe He cares,

To believe He loves.

To believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

That’s what it means to believe.

To believe I can do all He asks me to do, that He will be my strength and He is my song.

No matter how many things go wrong, to know He’s got my back, He will take care of me.

To believe is to trust.

To trust is to know He is ABLE to do all things, so all I have to do is ASK and BELIEVE and He will see me through.

He can calm the storm, provide a home, give food and clothes and take care of my body.  He can heal or strengthen, give work or provide another way.  Keeping Him as my all in all, is what I need.

 

Matthew 6:25-34, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for our heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing?  Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.  They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. and if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.  Why do you have so little faith?  So don’t worry about these things, saying ‘What will we eat?  What will we drink?  What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Minute Fridays, Uncategorized

AFRAID

2Fear

What causes me to fear?  What am I afraid of?  Where is my mind at when I fear?  Of whom am I afraid?

This past year has been an experience of struggling in so many ways.  The other day I was reading Eric Carles’ book, The Hungry Caterpillar to a friend’s little boy.  The caterpillar is hungry and eats for a whole week a lot of different things, then he gets a stomach ache; he eats a green leaf and feels better.   He spins his cocoon and sometime later struggles out, but now is a beautiful butterfly. 

 If a butterfly does not go through the struggle to get out of the cocoon it will go through life swollen, with shrivelled wings; unable to fulfill its purpose, which is to fly.  Is it possible, God in His wisdom and understanding gives us struggles so we can become what He intended and fulfill our purpose?  Maybe if there is no struggle, there is no beauty to be exposed and no completion of becoming.

Isn’t this what God does with his children?  At first when we come to him we are young and not yet strong in the faith so He grows us in a cocoon where the pressures of life turn us into beautiful butterflies, so we can be all that He created us to be.  

Maybe this is what has been happening in my life all along.   Maybe He is preparing me for a great work that only He knows what it is and the exact timing of it to be done.  Having had only little work that pays little this past year has been frustrating, I am not a lazy person but am a hard worker, yet I have come to feel that there is something holding me back.  Maybe it is not me, maybe it is not fear, but maybe it is?  Who am I listening to?  God or people?  Who do I fear, God or people’s opinions? 

The pressures of life sometimes cause us to fear, but of whom or what are we afraid?  Throughout my life my biggest fear has been fear of not having enough, not being provided for; I did not believe God would always provide that He is a good provided.  This year has stretched me in this and caused me to see truth in a new light, its like he has wrapped me in a cocoon of his mercy and grace to show me the truth of His word about provision.  His way of providing, not to depend on the world’s provision but to depend on His.

Throughout scripture God says, “Fear Not, be not afraid.” 

Isaiah 54:4, “Do not fear, you will no longer live in shame.  Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you….”(NLT)

Isaiah 35:4, Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.  He is coming to save you.”(NLT)

Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you.  He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”(NLT)

Yet in Deuteronomy 4:10 “Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that the may teach their children”. (NLT)

So, who are we to fear?  God

Psalm 112 says, How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.  …He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.  His heart is upheld, he will not fear…” (NASB)

New Living Translation states it this way, “How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands….They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.  They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”

Fear, being afraid, can debilitate, even paralyze us, stopping us from moving forward in God.  The questions we need to ask ourselves:  Has fear stopped me from moving forward in God?  Has fear stopped me from going where God wants me to go, doing what God wants me to do, saying what God wants me to say?  

I am rethinking my decisions lately, have I followed God, or my own heart?  Has fear of failure, fear of work, fear of change, stopped me from following God with my whole heart into the unknown?

“Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God,  I will strengthen you and help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Although I do not yet fully understand all the Lord is teaching me, I understand more than I did last year and am fully confident in the Lord that he will continue to teach me and grow me in His way.

 

 

 

 

 

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STORY

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Everyone has a story.  God has a story

Our’s and God’s are intertwined to create the Greatest Story.

A story of love, war, and victory; A love story, to win a Bride.

The Prince fights the evil forces of darkness to rescue, save and heal the enslaved.

The first victory is won, final one to come.

All evil vanquished; the foe destroyed.

What a story yet to be told.

How we each overcome still unfolding; still to be told.

What a glorious day when gathered together,

Sharing stories with the One, Who helped us become one – through Love.

The story of a Father,

The story of a Son,

The story of a Bride,

The Story of One.

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Complete

Complete, finished, no more work to be done.

I love when I complete a task, whether for my job or around the house or some special project I have been working on.  Sometimes it is hard to be motivated to complete things, I get stuck part way through, bored by the tedium of it or just worn out by the size of it.  

I wonder if Jesus, while on earth, either in school or in the carpentry shop with his dad, or later during ministry ever got tired of it and wanted to quit.   I wonder when he was walking with the disciple if he every grew weary and wanted to stop, to do something different.

I kind of doubt it because, He was perfect and always wanted to fulfil His Father’s purpose.  I think He had an understanding that we do not.  Though He was man I think there were things he knew that we don’t, not that it made it easier but it gave Him motivation.  I think motivation is what keeps the momentum going to be able to complete a task, or job.  He also knew for certain what he was doing and why he was here.

I know I have many times wanted to quit, not just to quit, but to have a change, to do something different.  Recently again this has come up.  I have been teaching and caring for children pretty much my whole life.  I often look back and wonder what it would have been like to have taken a different path, to have followed a different dream.  As I get older I realize that there are so many things I haven’t done that I would like to do, and so many places I have not been that I would like to go.   

 I long to go back to school and have time to study and write, but  that costs money.  So, I keep doing what I do, which is teaching, tutoring students and caring for others.  My life is full, I should be content and okay, yet there is this yearning desire to do something different.  

I knew at one time I was to go to China, I knew when I was finished in China, now I wait and watch and see what God is doing and desire Him to say “It is finished here.  Let’s go” or for there to be enough money to spend more time writing, to take piano and to just be me and fulfil some other dreams.  But I hear, not yet, wait, watch and see.  Even though I know God is working and moving in me and my community of people, it is not easy to stay.

I guess when I think of the Lord, he persevered no matter his feelings or desires.  He walked the walk His father wanted him too.  He never quit and He completed the work the Father gave him to do on earth.  Now some of that work was exciting, and adventurous but some of it was frustrating and difficult and painful.  He did not always have it easy.  He had to confront Pharisees, rebuke his disciples, and deal with crowds.  Yet he continued on despite the stubborn hearts of the people around him, despite the  hard headedness of his disciples and despite physical hardships and eventually excruciating pain, He completed his Father’s work assignment.  He cried out from the cross “It is finished”.

Whatever comes I long to hear My Father say,  “Well done good and faithful servant.”  

This was a five-minute Friday write with Kate Motaung,