Friday, November 25, 2016

Writing with Kate Motaung five minute Friday

//What Does Victory Look Like?

Surrender can look so much like defeat. I can surrender into the enemy’s hand or I can surrender into God’s hand. I see now the countless times I have felt pressured into giving in to the enemy. My saving grace is the hope of Jesus Christ who has rescued me every time I verged on madness or incapacitation. The hours I spent weeping, praying and pleading in hidden retreat only to emerge with a new sense of balance and faith I accredit to God. He has sent friends, provisions and supernatural strength in the times I have needed them most. All of this has brought me to a pivotal point in my life. It is time to surrender into the hands of God no matter what the outcome might be.

It seems like it happened overnight, but I know it has built up slowly over years. When God makes a transition in your life, it happens. Suddenly you look and you are in the middle of it. There is no time to think about changing your mind. I wonder about the Israelites walking through the parted sea. Did any of them look back? When the waves are standing still on both sides of you and the enemy is chasing behind you, you don't look back. You keep your eyes focused on who is leading  you.//

As Christ surrendered to the Father's will on the cross, all looked hopeless, like the enemy won. But He knew the Father’s  plan and ultimately that was the greatest victory over death and Satan.

Jer 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope”. The Lord said these words through the prophet Jeremiah when God led them into exile in Babylon. He told them in 70 years He would come for them and bring them back to their land. He did exactly what He said He would do.

I do not know what tomorrow will bring. I may not know how long it will take. I'm not sure what it may look like. I may be misunderstood. I may look foolish. I may be hated. What I do know is that in surrendering to Him I will be okay.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung

When Joy Comes In Waves

This is not a word I have been overusing lately, but in the last two weeks, God has called me to 'come away' and made me to lie down in green pastures (OK, sandy soil and scrub pine). Reflecting upon it these are the things I thoroughly enjoyed; rest, quiet, laughter, family, being loved, prayer, and conversation. All this enjoyment in and through sadness, confusion and unresolved issues.

This morning upon rising, knowing this was my word to write on, I prayed I could find words, not just from my head but from a place of experience. To me enjoy was a step above like or to just find pleasing. I needed something totally exhilarating or I wouldn't write anything.

We started the day driving through the Cape towns and when the wind blew it was decided we drive to the ocean. We stopped to pick up a quick lunch and drove to Nauset Beach. Last week we were there and the water was still and solemn. Now it was high tide, a magnificent display with overture and ovation.

A brisk wind billowing around us could not distract us from watching and videoing the waves crashing onto the shoreline. It was breathtaking to watch. Truly it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience before ending my time here.

Even as quiet enjoyment was found in my chaos I also sensed God's total control in the rampage of the ocean. His hand holds back the tide. It goes no further than He allows. Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Psa 89:9. How much more does He love His children? But even the very hairs of our head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Lk 12:7.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

It's Just Hot Air….God Has Got This!

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given unto us.” Rom 5:5

“We are a people who just can't let it go. Sometimes I feel I am the worst offender. So often between my thoughts and my mouth there is a slope and words just fall out without any restraint. Last night I lost sleep. Questions of how and why immediately spewed from my mouth as I lay in the dark. I spoke quietly, so as not to wake anyone, but still loud enough fl the atmosphere to hear. It was everyone's fault. No one could turn back the years nor take back the words. I spent the hours trying to grab hope, but none came to view. And then night was over.

I told someone, unconvinced that I should for I knew nothing had been processed. The information had not been researched. Out it came and all of a sudden it morphed into anger about tolerance and laws and the injustice of a broken world. The events of the past week, a divided country and an unstable future both global and personal encapsulated into a few sentences at 6:30 AM, steam proceeding out of a freshly pierced heart. The strange thing that happened is that I realized it is not bleeding enough to need a tourniquet. I found that letting out the steam relieved the combustion. I also discovered that God has a stronger hold on my heart than I believed.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psa 73:26.

Does anyone remember the account of Job? In his trial he expressed all that was in him.

“For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters, for the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.  I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Job 3:24-26

Job didn't hear the exchange of words between God and Satan, that he was hand-chosen by God, not because He thought Job was strong, but because He knew His strength would be revealed by Job's obedience. Some of his statements were steam. He was in safety. He was in the hands of God. Nothing was going to take his life. And nothing will take mine if that is what God has ordained. And if I be taken from this earth, my life is still secure, for my soul is my real self and my destiny is in Christ.

I am learning that the results of obedience show up where we least expect it. We can never experience what is possible for God to accomplish through us until we are willing to acknowledge and face the impossible with obedience. It is not easily learned, the steam escapes often, but peace that passes understanding in another area might be the confirmation you need in the place you are struggling.

And the night is over, and hope once again pours through.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fmf with Kate Motaung
Short but real

When The Common Is All But Common

It is a common thing for many to take a break, to visit family, to rest and to play a while. Yet in the midst of this common activity,
nothing seems common right now. My feet are walking in a path that is foreign. I don't know where I am heading, whether it be a circle or a straight line. I am not in control. It is not in my hands. I have handed it over to another and am stepping aside. A strange place to be. Like footsteps in the sand I know I am not alone. Someone has walked this way before and also with me now. My hope is in the Lord.

Hope reaches to every common and uncommon place and makes it sacred.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I am late with the FMF with Kate Motaung
The Word is journey

//What Is This Journey Teaching Me?

I am not a traveler. Growing up up my family took one trip together, of which I remember very little other than being stuffed in the back seat of a car with 3 of my siblings, eating cereal out of their own one-serving boxes at rest areas and miles of cornfields through the Midwest. Three days driving, a few days visiting my mother’s brother on a cattle ranch and three days returning home did nothing to wet my appetite for excursions. In my Christian life I have been on 3 short-term missionary trips. On them I experienced a much greater enthusiasm and purpose to take a journey.

I guess the real journey is not the physical, but the spiritual that matters most. Where is my walk with God taking me? Am I paying attention to the landmarks along the way? Am I walking aimlessly unaware of His purposes in my life? There are roads within this journey that can take us off the path. We can get lost, we can be blinded by the path others are following. We can feel alone as the only view for long stretches at a time is the valley we are in. Do we look behind at what God has done and see how far we have gone?

A journey is not the same as a vacation. A vacation is when you go away planning to return to the same place. A journey takes you to another place and though you may return physically, you don't always come back the same. Maybe it is a perpetual evacuation; a constant leaving behind of the things that hinder you. Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me for I am humble and gentle of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Mt 11:29//

I think of people who need to evacuate their homes because of storms and floods. They are forced to make quick decisions about what to leave behind. In many cases they return to rubble and ash and have to deal with the loss. They may all be material things, but within many of those possessions were arduous years of investment and precious memories. Those losses have to be dealt with, especially when what lies ahead is unknown.

What about when you feel you are the one evacuated, you are left to be ravaged by the storm. When relationships take a sharp turn, people move or die, and you feel all of a sudden you need to evacuate from the damaging effects to a place of safety. You are now in the middle. You feel driven out, yet you are chasing what you can't see. Nothing is right. Could it be God is at work, stirring up the things that have been buried or settled for too long? Stark realities are not always easy to face.

We are all on a journey. The real destination is our eternal home. “Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way?” And Jesus said to him, . “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me”. Jn 14:6. Yes, to find Christ gives me a security of going home, but to follow Christ in the journey and find Him in every place it takes me on the way is to reach home satisfied and complete.

I don't want to just vacation and return unchanged and overburdened. I want to let go of what is paralyzing me from experiencing Him for the rest of the way. It will require nothing less than the truth.