Friday, January 19, 2018

Where Do My Intentions Lead me?

Five minute Friday where the prompt is "intentional"

My mother used to say “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Somehow clichés (and everything your mother ever said) digs deep inlays in your consciousness and you keep falling into them like potholes,  leaving your thinking a little disjointed in need of repair. This word,  intention,  falls hard on me. When hearing it I feel the guilt rising up of all the things I intended to do that never got done. Along with it comes self justification or blame.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary,  they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets up against the knowledge of God,  and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience,  once your obedience is complete”. 2 Cor 10:4

These “potholes” are certainly strongholds that pull our minds into a way of thinking and fighting battles that are wordly. Our intentions should be to blast our own arguments and pretensions,  a claim to our own knowledge being above God's. Not to say things are okay,  but to acknowledge God's weapons of warfare that disseminate and diminish any trace of our own. In that,  my intention takes on a different meaning,  of not being a distant hope or aim,  but a deliberate undertaking of steps to reach my desired end.

And yes,  that cliché has a truth in it,  but only in the context of not receiving Christ as a personal Lord and Savior of your life. If you have that intention, but never solidify it in your heart,  then you should consider it both carefully and prayerfully.

Friday, January 5, 2018

What Motivates Me

The word is Motivate
The first word for fiveminutefriday in 2018

//By myself I am unmotivated. Really, if it were up to me to get me going every day,  I wouldn't go anywhere. Never been a self motivated person. That is just the way it is. What does motivate me is others. I need others in my life. I need people to tell me I can do it. When I hear that,  I recall those words in times of discouragement. I need someone to believe it is possible and probable to live my life fully.

I need the Word of God. It tells me I am loved. It gives instruction,  exhortation,  admonishment and hope. It tells me how to be forgiven and how to forgive. It tells me how to love and what to love.

Think of our children. We instruct them,  guide them,  love them and motivate them. They always don't listen. Sometimes they do things according to their own philosophies of life,  as we do also. But we don't stop loving them. Neither does God when we go astray. He is patient; so much more so than we.

Motivation doesn't always look like “I’m revved up and ready to go”. Often it is in the daily routines,  the consistent activities where my motivation is revealed. My heart beats in a normal,  even pattern and cannot be felt and heard with my ears. If I can feel and hear it,  usually here is a problem. I think of true motivation that way,  not hyped up for an early burn-out. //

Jesus was highly motivated to do what the Father asked,  but He wasn't running crazy,  worrying about how He did every little thing or other's responses,  nor was he concerned about getting it all done in a specific time. He trusted the Father as He obeyed.

Obedience is key. I can't keep putting things off that Jesus has told me to do. There is no way to mask my unwillingness before Him. He knows the motives of my heart. I may fool others,  but not God.

This year I want to be motivated and also be a motivator for others,  encouraging them to live their life the way God wants. The only way one can know is to accept the Bible as the Word of God and begin to seek a personal relationship with Christ within its pages.

We need each other. Each of us needs Christ. We were not designed to be alone and totally self sufficient. Even God is a trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,  working together to maintain the Spirit of oneness.

Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year And A Never Changing God

Entering a new year there are things I leave behind as well as things I carry forward. 2017 began with monumental challenges that continued with little reprise. The very fact of my current state is a testimony I attribute to my Savior,  for He and He alone has taken me through these waters. Not that the land is flourishing where I walk,  but the floods have receded a bit.  I do not feel like I am drowning.

The words of Isaiah,  chapter 40:27-31 “Why do you say,  O Jacob,  and assert,  O Israel,  My way is hidden from the Lord, and the justice due me escape the notice of my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God,  the Lord,  the creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary,  and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired,  and vigorous young men stumble badly,  yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles,  they will run and not get tired,  they will walk and not become weary”.

I have to say there are many days I feel like I have no strength. I don't even walk,  I crawl. But over and over again I realize that just the fact that I make it into the next day,  the next month,  the next year,  strength I may have never thought I had carried me. Strength has many disguises. Sometimes we train physically and mentally for it,  but other times,  when we have nothing to fight with except hope,  it may be unrecognizable.

“His understanding is inscrutable”.  I looked that word up. Unexplainable,  impenetrable,  incomprehensible,  mysterious, unknowable. Those are a few synonyms. That is our God. He will never let us understand Him. He desires we keep seeking even when all appears hopeless.

What has given you strength in the past year that maybe looked different than what you would expect?

It is more often the hardships,  the tragedies,  the offenses that cause us to rise up and continue in what we believe. The past few years have brought all three,  as I am sure it has in many lives. As fractured and lifeless they sometimes appear to leave me,  God is never thrown into a state of inertia or bewilderment. He is very aware,  alert and alive in all circumstances. “For He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust”. Ps 103:14

 When I don't know what to do I continue what I know God has instructed,  even if it appears fruitless. Writing has strengthened me. I cannot write unless I am in the right position mentally. It takes resting quietly and often being alone. Even if nothing makes it onto the page,  sometimes when I think I am accomplishing nothing,  I know I am building strength. I spend lots of time alone,  listening,  waiting, praying, hoping, and often with no apparent results. It is weeks or months or yes,  even years I realize,  in awe,  I have moved forward. So writing is one thing I will take with me into the new year,  until I sense God say otherwise.

What else will I carry? As I begin to wrap up the ornaments and say goodbye once again to the celebration of Christmas,  I will carry the present and presence of Christ with me. He came once and I  honor His birth,  but I don't tuck Him away for another year. I observe and celebrate my children's birthdays each year and I don't forget them the rest of the year. How much more the Lord.

What am I leaving behind? That is a little harder and requires more willingness and determination of will on my part. Sorting through the baggage,  I see many unnecessary pieces of my life I could do without. Habits,  obsessions and ignored perspectives that hinder my relationships and my own health stare me in the face. I have learned a lot about each this year. I wish to leave behind my quickness to judge others. Taking the beam out of my own eye before I help you take the speck from yours is a good way to begin,  Mt 7:1-4.

And about wings of eagles and never being weary? I believe this is prophetic for Israel at that time and heaven in the future,  but also for our earthly life in whatever place we find ourselves. Waiting (hoping) in the Lord does produce strength and ability in ways only the Lord can reveal. He doesn't always shine the brightest light all at once,  but unfolds it as stars in the blackest of night,  adjusting our eyes to see more clearly.

Are these my New Year's resolutions? No. I am not resolute about any of it. I have learned the lessons of making promises that last only a few weeks, followed by self justification and guilt for failing. These are my desires fashioned into prayers in assurance that what is necessary will be.

You may think all of this sounds a little vague,  all these words wrapped in a certain unsureness. My unsureness only lies in my predicting what I will accomplish,  not at all in what God will do. We are clay in the hands of the potter,  being molded and fashioned into His design,  not ours. My hope is in the Lord.

May each of you enter this New Year hopeful in this one thing,  that your life is held in His everlasting arms.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I Wonder While I Wait

What are you waiting for today,  this Christmas Eve? For Santa,  hoping you were good enough all year to be on the nice list? I remember worrying. Yes,  worrying,  and waking up earlier than any of my siblings and trying to sneak downstairs just to peek. I never thought there would be anything for me. I must have been really bad,  or thought I was. When I saw I wasn't forgotten,  everything inside me just came alive! I made it another Christmas! We were told so much about “naughty and nice”. It made inroads in my soul long after I grew up and was too old for Santa.

Are you waiting for the perfect Christmas Day where everyone will be glad to see you and the food will all be perfect and no one will offend anyone,  by intention, or by ignorance? A day where you will have to neither apologize or forgive anyone? And you will all like every gift received? I guess that would be a great day, wouldn’t it?

Some are waiting for it to be over. A time of year where memories,  often sad ones,  are unwrapped and in front of you all season. Empty chairs at tables and voices that have been stilled  bring sorrow as we go through the motions on the outside,  smiling within.

Perhaps you are waiting for something more substantial. Maybe this will be the year you realize all that Christmas really means. Most have heard the account of Jesus birth,  been to candlelight services,  and sung the carols. It was all inclusive in my home growing up; Santa and Jesus side by side. But I never really understood it till later,  when it became personal.

Personal you ask? I thought Christmas was about Christ,  the reason for the season? Well,  yes,  it is,  He is….but,  so am I and so are you and so is everyone. You see,  if there was no need for a Savior,  He never would have had to come. God could have continued to rule from heaven a people who gave Him all the honor,  and have perfect lives besides. So that to me makes Christmas about all of us. He came for all of us.

The sad part is that so many don't know why it is about them. They have never allowed it to become personal. They know the story, but they don't know the relevance. They have sung the carols,  but never knew the words. They know the baby,  but they don't know the King.

So what are you waiting for? Signs in the sky? It was a star. Voices in the dark? It was angels. God to appear to you? The word was made flesh. Peace and hope to fill you? Jesus is all of it. 

We were all on the naughty list. Jesus came for me and you. It is about us giving praise to God for sending Jesus,  the light of the world.

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas! And the living hope that all things sorrowful in this life are redeemed because of Jesus coming on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Different View

This is the last entry of 2017 for
The word is “different” In between the //s is 5 minutes. Read on if you so desire.

//One thing I have a problem with is when people list their own achievements. Paul was someone who had the best of everything and strived to give it all up for the cause of knowing Christ. Okay,  my problem has always been,  if you give it up,  count all loss for something,  but at least you had it to begin with,  then you are winning on both ends. Am I the only one thinking this way?

Have you ever read a book that is way above your level of understanding? I mean because you want to? I am at present. I sit with the book and dictionary side by side and write a list of words and their definitions. I read and re-read,  till it makes sense. In doing this,  I am beginning to see the juxtaposition in Paul's words,  and am a little more compassionate of his position. I am taking a different view,  so much so,  that I have chosen my one verse for 2018.

Phil 3:13 “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, //

Behind Paul was all he knew,  his upbringing, status, education, passion,  and his blameless position as a Pharisee. When he penned these words he was imprisoned. What good would any of this be now, yet he clearly explains he has not attained.

Behind me is all I don't know. It is just as difficult to rely on your lack of something as it is your supply. Christ asks that we do neither. The goal is to “know Christ and the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings…”Phil 3:10

My word for 2018 has not changed. It is hope. Whereas my verse for this year was Jer 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,  declares the Lord,  plans to prosper you and not to harm you,  to give you a future and a hope.”,  I feel Phil 3:13 follows that perfectly for me. To know more what Christ wants me to know will give me a greater experience of hope than ever realized before. Practically speaking it does not mean I am setting out to be a scholar,  haha. It does however mean to me that the excuses relied on in the past are no longer acceptable to carry into the future.

Did God use my chosen verse in my life this year? Did I prosper? Not in ways I may have expected. Did He harm me? There were times I questioned His purposes and felt abandoned. Phil 3:14, 15 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore,  and many as are perfect, (mature) have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude,  God will reveal that also to you.”

Everyone grows and matures at a different rate. What my eyes see and my ears hear can be different than yours. It is the heart God looks at and works through to make His ways known. There will always be much I don't know and things I do know and am still learning. Thank God He never says it's too late, you're too old, or you're too unreachable. That is hope!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Only One Thing

Writing for  The word is Only

Brethren,  I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,  forgetting those things which are behind,  and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Phil 3:13

I have only one thing left to do. I am waiting to say it. With Christmas still a few weeks away I have more than one only thing. It's a slow,  steady journey to Christmas. I plan so much more than I do, that I end up last minute no matter how big or small an event is,  and still I know I'm going to blink and it will be behind me.

I wonder how Mary felt traveling in her last days of pregnancy on a donkey to an unknown destination. She and Joseph had nothing except God to carry them. A slow,  steady journey by faith only. When she was settled in Nazareth I wonder how many times she thought back on it as a blink. Was time slower then?

Perhaps the only thing to do is to be led by the Spirit. She carried him on that journey so He could carry us through ours. I do think time is much faster now. I wonder when we reach our destination will we change our view on what we did on this earth. What only thing am I not doing because my list is so long? Maybe omitting that one only thing is holding me back from so many more blessings.

Forgetting the past and reaching toward the future can be different for each person. What past thing is holding you captive and keeping you from moving forward? It can be a thought pattern,  a habit,  a relationship, even a familiar routine. I am considering and praying about my only one thing that is necessary.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Being Nearsighted

Writing for  The word is near.

The nearness of you Lord is desired, yet so often I am apprehensive. I am so drawn by everything I see and hear and take into my senses. I let myself be absorbed into the noise and burdens that confront me and I believe that it is my burden to figure it all out, connect all the dots and bring resolve.  What I forget is when I am close to something, everything else is distanced. You tell us, “draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.” It is not so I can ignore my priorities and responsibilities, but so that there is no wedge in my relationship with you. There in your presence I can find peace and your guidance. “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me…”Ps 138:2a (kjv)

God bids I come first
He is faithful to follow
My climate settles