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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

When is There Ever Silence?

She didn't text. He didn't respond. They never replied. No one answered. Silence often makes us feel uncomfortable,  rejected,  unworthy or forgotten. And yet,  so often I crave it. I find,  however,  that in my silent moments,  sometimes I hear my longing to hear and be heard.

Silence can paint a colorless picture or an expectant atmosphere. In silence we speak.

There is only one time recorded in scripture of silence in heaven. Rev 8:1 "And when he had opened the seventh seal,  there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." Can you imagine the anticipation? Can you imagine the stillness? All praise and song and worship stopped for the first time in eternity! The Lamb of God is about to open the seventh and last seal. The first six do not bring silence,  but the seventh does. That is the silence of hope for the redeemed.

Most know the curse of being silenced. There seems to be an outpouring today of taking back what was stolen and the raising of voices. This also brings confusion, speculation and an onslaught of opinion and argument. Sometimes I just run for a silent place to hide for awhile.

There are times to use your voice as well as times to keep still.  Ps 31:18 "Let their lying lips be silenced,  for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous." I cry that along with the Psalmist,  especially if I am the 'they'. This one thing I know,  that God is never silent in His love,  even when I am deaf to it.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

What is the Real Need Here?

Needs. We are all born with them. They follow us from birth to death. So it isn't a bad thing to need. Wants, those are different, and I admit it. I get my needs mixed up with my wants too often. These words are not synonymous. Jesus’ encounter with Martha in Luke 10:38-42 portrays her lack of knowing the difference. It says she was cumbered about with much serving. Cumbered means to be hampered or hindered or to have an obstacle in your way. Her serving the Lord in her home was not the problem. She had an obstacle. What was that? Well we know she just saw Mary sitting at Jesus feet listening and that  was a bone of contention. Jealousy and comparison can provide the stage for anxiety and accusation. Jesus new what she wanted but more important was what she needed and pointed it out in Mary. She had chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Now we assume Martha received this, but it doesn't tell us. What of us? Do we readily move aside our obstacles of living our life in Christ, or do we want what we want? Ps 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Sometimes we get what we want and then realize it wasn't what we wanted at all. The Lord desires that our desires are a result of our delighting in Him. One needful thing, Jesus said…just one, to hear Him, trust Him and obey Him without being careful (worried ) or troubled. Perhaps a tall order, I know, but if we keep turning to Him, Jesus will never stop picking us up when we fall, never stop calling us His, and never stop being our hope. If we see Him as our greatest need, He will provide every other need.

Sparrows fly
He sees every one
"But they are birds and not as I"

But just suppose
they view us in return
And cry to God "we're not the same"

But with our eyes
we see how he provides
For every bird of flight in nature's way

Might be the songs they sing
Their marvel and their praise
How He provides with such as have no wings

Posted in fiveminutefriday  the prompt is need

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hellos and Goodbyes

October leaves, many dying and falling to the ground before changing color and unseasonal warmer temperatures shroud our belief of a glorious, vibrant outpouring of Autumn. In late September I had been declaring;

     “The leaves are confused and late in turning”, only to be rebutted by many, leaving me asking (myself mostly),

     “Who is crazy, me or they?”

Now the authorities are pushing peak season forward into early November. I won' t say what I am thinking. God knows I have been in the “seat of the scoffers” and most likely will be there again.

Goodbyes and hellos that overlap have for me been in Autumn (second year in a row). When you are mourning the many goodbyes it is hard to greet the hellos properly. How do you let go and embrace at the same time? Perhaps we need to see that…

 “Farewells are often disguised as goodbyes, and are really bad lies.”

The thread woven throughout the Bible is the return of the risen Savior to collect His church, His bride. He never said goodbye but we saw Him die on a cross. He never said goodbye, but we saw Him ascend from the grave and again from this earth. His promise was to return and we still wait and it has been 2000 years waiting. We don't like to wait. And the longer we wait, sometimes the more we mourn what was or what might have been.

Have I mourned too long too many things and dragged them like weights upon my soul? Do I find a comfort in holding tight something or someone who is part of yesterday? Do I refuse to move forward away from them telling myself my own memory alone can keep them alive?

Jesus addressed the disciples when He preached  the sermon on the mount in Mt 5:3. “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. While studying this with Bible Teacher Jen Wilkin, I realize what I am to be mourning is my neglect of repenting of my sin of self centeredness, not what has been stripped from me in what I think is an untimely manner.

There is a time and space to mourn.

Eccl 3:3 (KJV)  “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

Rom 12:15 (NIV) “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

 Joshua 1:1,2 (kjv), “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the Land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.

What would have happened if Joshua had not put an end to his mourning?

He would have been unable to lead the people.
The children of Israel would have no direction.

Compare this to Joseph in Gen 37:35 after he was told Joseph was dead .

“And all of his sons and all his daughters rose up and tried to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, “For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” Thus his father wept for him.

What is it that prevents me from going forward? Why are there areas of my life that are not being blessed? How many have been cheated because of my resistance to let go.

I take this as a time to consider what I have been carrying around, in some cases for years. It is time to say farewell, for who knows but God, when any shall meet again, be it on this earth or heaven.

And the seasons cycle. Summer will have its end. The leaves will fall, the snow will shelter and protect as a life growing in the womb, and summer will appear again at exactly the right time.

So also, the Lord will come again and His Holy Spirit is here now so lift your eyes and faint not.

May I continue to learn to live in the moment and not miss the blessings I have now.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Who is Writing Your Story?

I'm back with and the word is "story"

//If I could write my own story I would have written it differently. It would have successes and adventures. People would leave it at their bedside and perhaps dream to emulate it in part. There would be no endless chapters of sickness with no healing, death with no resolve, heartbreak with no mending. Questions would not be frayed, unraveling and hanging loose as a worn out garment. Of my cast of characters not a one would bear a stain for others to trace back to me and my folly. All this if I could write my own story.

But what stories do I like to read? The one I have described? No way. I enjoy the mysteries, the dramas. I like the distant settings, the eras before me and the unknowing fiction and imaginations of the future. If I wrote my own story the way I planned it, perhaps I would not even read it. It would have no taste, leave no hunger for even finishing it, never mind a sequel. It would lull my senses to sleep, not transport them to a dream.//

Controlled script is not really life. When we try to write it out, things go awry. The unexpected happens, the pages turn, bringing all the nasty, discouraging hopeless events into the story. My life is neither what I dreamed, planned or hoped for. Yet, someone else is writing on these pages. There is a bigger story than just mine going on.

NCIS, the popular crime solving show is on its fifteenth season. What makes it popular is not only the crime being solved. There are so many more stories they added into the script. Stories of relationships formed, developed and yes, some broken, just like my life. They are not all happy. But I know it's fiction and next week is another episode.

I, on the other hand, don't have complete control. How much I would miss out on if I did. I would not know what faith is, nor trust, nor forgiveness, given or received. I wouldn't learn that hate can transform to love, mercy can set someone free and a little understanding can change a life, possibly mine. All of these things are the elements of love.

I have a Savior who wants to finish writing my story. I gave Him the rights to it when I accepted Him into my life. He knows the ending and just how it will play out in other’s lives. You see, my story is not just about me, but about others. Those before me affected me, and those after me will be affected by me. God knows how, I don't.

What do you think of your life? How are you doing with it? If it's not in Jesus hand, maybe ou are trying to write your own story. If it is, then believe it is, following and trusting Him with it. He has His/story written for us. That's a true story to read!

Friday, September 22, 2017

What Are We Accepting?

Okay fiveminutefriday....
The word is accept and it took a few minutes more than five.

I finally got the hair right. I sat in the chair staring in the mirror. “I’m done with the scarves. I can’t stand it any more!” My hair has been in my face ever since I can remember. Growing up I had bangs, but they grew fast and hung thick and heavy over my glasses and when they were cut they looked too short for my face. My hairline is too low.  Then I grew them out. My hair was straight as an arrow and would hold no curl. I just brushed it all down and still continued to be hidden. That was in the late 60’s and 70’s.

Years have passed.  I have never accepted my hair. Cowlicks twist your hair into paths that flow opposite from the rest. I have spent life trying to train them. Now, sitting there, defeated by greying locks, my pride melted. “Let it grow the way it was intended to grow.” I'll spray it to hold it in place.

Surprisingly, after two weeks, I still like my hair. There is something about accepting the way you were made. We try to change it, hide who we are by rearranging ourselves, on the inside as well as on the outside. Somewhere we begin thinking (and In many cases, told) we are not acceptable to others and so we shouldn't accept our selves either.

If I could go back and change one thing in my life it would be my own dignity and respect for who I am in those situations where I know I let my fears dictate my actions. 1 Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (Esv)

I think that fear has its roots in dishonesty. When we don't know how to recognize what is true about ourselves and accept and face it, fears keep us dishonest and that is punishment. However, acceptance comes with having the courage to admit I need help. I have to accept the truth of what is right, not the lie that maybe nothing has to change.

“Scripture tells us as Christians we are accepted in the beloved. It doesn't say ‘Stay right there, don't grow.” The plant is beautiful on the table, but if you don't take care of it properly it will die.

So my challenge is the serenity prayer in its full version, posted below.

 The key line in this is “He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will.”  This is not Rom 8:28 “…He will make all things work together for good ….” Whether I surrender to His will or not, He will work things for His good and there is no condemnation, whereas my happiness in this life is based on my surrendering to His Will.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world 
As it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right 
If I surrender to His Will; 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life 
And supremely happy with Him 
Forever and ever in the next. 


(prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Dilemma

I hear people, even Christians, talking about seeing Christ in all people. In your neighbors, strangers, coworkers, friends, family, etc., and basing our behavior toward them based on that. My dilemma is, I don't believe that Christ is in all people.  Before you delete me, let me explain.

Jesus is God's only begotten son. He is the only son that came directly out of God, out of who He is. Eternal, uncreated deity begets eternal uncreated deity. He was sent to dwell among man as a man, Jn 3:16, “For Go so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

I am a child of God only because I have been given the power to be one as a result of my free will choice to believe in and receive Jesus Christ into my heart. I base this on Jn 1:12, “As many as received him to them gave he the power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”. I don't believe we are all children of God. I do, however, believe we are all made in the image of God, but that is not the same as being His child. An image is a reflection, a likeness. God is Spirit. I have a Spirit. He breathed into me and made me a soul. His breath is my soul. He is love. I have a capacity to love. My child has my genetics; he is more than a reflection.  We are born in sin. My child has my sin nature. 2 Cor 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him…”

Before I acknowledged my need for Christ and my hopelessness without Him and received the forgiveness He gave to me I was not a child of God. He loved me, yet I was living with my own ideas with no thought at all about God. I had no assurance of any life outside of what I could or couldn't do for myself. Everything was based on my own goodness or moral understanding I chose to believe. My standards were for me, set by me and I judged others by them. When I did make that decision on June 22, 1974 my life radically changed, not by my own will, but by Christ's power. My heart changed and I could no longer think the same way as before. I exercised my will to receive him and he provided the power to become His child.

I believe it is a very grave stance we take when we assume another’s spiritual position. More than look for Christ in another person, I think it is wiser to “put on the new man” Eph 4:24, which is Christ and let another see Him in me. Is that not more fitting and honest before men? Then Christ would be searching the heart and seeing what is in it and not me looking and seeing what I may not even recognize correctly. If Christ sees himself in another, there will be connection; if not, then conviction. If I try and look for Him and don't find him, there may be condemnation or even guilt. God has called us to neither. He has called me to love and acknowledge the image of God in everyone and reveal the life of Christ to everyone, for even brother to brother (sister to sister), not just..." having a form of godliness , but denying the power thereof….2 Tim 3:5(a)

Isn't this what freedom in Christ means? Getting out of the way and letting him release who He is in me?

Monday, September 18, 2017

No Other Support

Really late with this fiveminutefriday prompt.
The word is support

Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live; and let me not be ashamed of My Hope. Psa 119:116

What do they want from me? Giving was never this hard. Lately I have seen evidence that the sweet fragrance is gone and the facade on the outside is beginning to show its wilted blossoms. In the midst of watching and participating in meeting other’s needs I am seeing a clearer view of my own as they remain unattended.

Sound’s like a pity party, doesn't it? I don't think it is. I believe I am being shown something about supporting and being supported. I am facing a reality where all of my concrete support systems are no longer holding me. First the fragrance goes, then the blossoms dry up and fall.
Words of encouragement can be a great support, but they hold you up only as long as they are believed and applied. The only one who really holds us is God and the only way you can really know and experience that is if you allow yourself to fall.

Not a star in the sky shines without darkness surrounding it. No one likes to admit defeat, but it is necessary. Blossoms are beautiful for a season but then they have to make way for the fruit to appear.

Do I want to continue helping people? Of course I do? But I need to face my need in all of its reality and step into a faith I know not of, a darkness I am led through with a hope that I am carried by. I am the only one who can help me by believing Him. When that happens, my support to others will be an extension of Him in me, and I will experience the fruit intended.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Why Can't We Play Nice?

She reeled in pain outside our door with a fishing hook stuck in her neck. She was 3, maybe 4. I was frantic. You saw me and knew something was wrong. In a flash you were there, calming my child, taking control, reeling me back to a centered state of mind.

Another time you saved my house from  burning to the ground. I started the fire without opening  the flue. We swam in your pool and occasionally helped you keep it clean. On your birthday a fake fall got you to our house for a surprise birthday dinner. We even allowed the beer.

We shared stories, sat at your table over coffee and exchanged holiday greetings. I left colored eggs in your driveway one early Easter morning alongside your newspaper.

What happened? I can’t figure it out.  Our status changed with circumstances but should that change our friendship? Should we not be neighbors who care without judging?

As I see you every day I am reminded of words Jesus said "love your your neighbor as yourself”. If I can’t do that, how sad a person I am!  And then I think, who is my neighbor?  Does that mean only those I  live near? I don’t think so. I think it’s everyone I encounter, and then some.

"Lord, help me to see others with your heart and eyes and pray for those who cannot.”

Writing for
The word is neighbor

Friday, August 25, 2017

Another post.
This week the word is 'guide'

He is Always Guiding

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast. Ps 139:7-10

It is believed that David wrote this prayer right after he was made king by the people of Israel. However, keep in mind he was anointed as king when he was a young shepherd boy, the youngest of his brothers. He had to learn by both his friends and his enemies the omniscience and omnipresence of God.

How often do we go off on tangents, either in our thoughts or even our conversations and it seems like where we had set out to go isn't even on the radar anymore. There are too many distractions. Take this into the goals we have made and all of a sudden feeling like the Israelites wandering in circles, but today we are wondering what is wrong with the GPS. They were guided by a cloud and a fire, and it felt to them like they were going nowhere.

One thing I am learning, maybe as David did, is that wherever I am, wherever I end up, whatever roads I travel, I cannot be outside of His thoughts, His eyes or His reach. Also, and perhaps more importantly to me, I know more now, that neither can you.

David sinned most after he was king, and that cost him the most for his kingdom  after him, but still God saw his perfect heart of repentance. Knowing and loving us does not take our responsibility away from us.

Maybe some of us thought we would be somewhere different by now.  Maybe, like David, God has anointed us to a certain place, but we have to learn things about Him and ourselves before that calling is made public. He is not only a guide to lead, but a guide to keep. His hand is just as strong to keep us from moving forward as it is to hold us firmly in place.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Where Christian writers expound their thoughts on a word a week. Check it out for a word buffet if you have a few minutes. Just browse, or link up and join in.
The word is place

A Longing For Home

We sat together outside his apartment on the bench. An independent living facility had been their home for a few years now. They had sold to a family member so they could still keep the attachment. It’s hard to leave a place where voices and handprints from infancy to adulthood still are embedded in the walls. Somehow you tell yourself you are taking them with you, but you know the solidity is in the place, for when you return and touch and smell, it all races back.

And he is progressing in his Alzheimer's now. His memory for past days is clearer. He talks about his trip to Ireland, the Homeland of his parents. When I ask him to describe it he pauses, and then “It’s a place”. That's all for his answer. And I thought, hmm.… it’s  a place. No memories that would stick, just a place to visit and then leave.

He went on talking about the train he took to work, the flowers he grew in the back yard, the summer picnics and his wife and their four children. This was more than a place. It was where his fondest memories were, and in his mind, he was there right then.
Sometimes we long for home, and the memories are different than what we really left behind. Because the reality is still there.

As a Christian I long for a home I have never seen, Heaven. My mind pictures and conjures up all kinds of images that I think it will be like. The Bible doesn’t really describe it much in detail. Streets of gold and a crystal Sea. There will be no darkness. There will be no tears nor sadness. There will be perfect love. Isn't that a place to call home!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Writing on this word "try" with five minute Friday.
I tried to write last night, but it just wasn't right. So I didn't try today. I just wrote.

Creativity or conformity?

God never asked us to try. He asked us to be. He said come to me. Learn of me. Be diligent and sober minded. Cast your cares upon me. Follow me. He didn’t ask that I be any different than who I am.

Yes, do the best you can with what you have, but don’t let it become striving. Yes, run the race, but run with patience. You won’t stop God’s work in you. You can’t get behind and you can’t go ahead.

When does a child stop being a child? When their being falls under the scrutiny of others and the challenge to grow becomes a force to conform?  What happens to creativity then? Too often it is locked behind walls of fear and mistrust along with the child they are. And another emerges into the light. One who is required to know and reason and judge as an adult before it was ever meant to happen.

Seek for the child perhaps hiding within and you will find the Kingdom of God.

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Mk 10:15 (KJV)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Five minute is a site where Christian writers focus on one word prompt a week and write for five minutes or less. Just whatever comes.
Today's word is 'collect'

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Mt 6:19-21

I’m not ready for new memories. Right now it is easier to look ahead and see empty space than to stare behind and see broken dreams. My view has to go further than my mind can remember and beyond where my thoughts can take me. Although moments are precious in God's sight, let Him sort it all out and keep what is useful. I know He collects tears from every one.

My hope is not in what I have collected. Rather it is in that which cannot be destroyed.

Monday, July 17, 2017

I’m late for fiveminutefriday. This is Monday. Adding my short input on the word comfort.

A Comfortable Place

I look for the most comfortable position when I sit down to write. My chair and the way it supports me and holds me is important. I need to have all my books, my pens, pencils and tablet situated for easy access. And of course let’s not forget the coffee, iced or hot, depending on temperature and time of day. Then the quiet has to be there. Natural sounds only please, as much as possible. Birds, wind and rain all add to my attention. They don't diminish it.

Recently I parked at the cemetery early in the morning to pray and to practice a song I was to sing at church. It’s an old hymn titled “In the Garden.” As I prayed over the words I sensed the comfort of God. Strange, for visiting cemeteries can be so despairing. But that morning God said, “Here you are alone with me, for though every marker bears a name and a timeline, every person is in his rightful place. Do not worry, just be comforted. And I was alone with God in the cemetery.

But there were flowers that adorned the stones. Some were potted, some planted. They were growing. I thought of a garden. Flowers grow in stillness and quietness. They only received what others give them. The sun and rain make them flourish as their roots grow deep. And some last only a day, some a season, and some return year after year. Sometimes you find them where the wind or birds have scattered the seed.

I wonder if the quiet, still places of the heart, where God comforts us is where we do the most growing. In both adults and children that comfortable stage of sleep is where growth happens. The rejuvenation of energy, the sorting out of memories, the strengthening of cells and muscles take place while the body is in a semi paralytic state. It is not when we are most active. It is why we can be active.

In the garden and in the cemetery, among the growing and the memories of a people that were, there God's voice speaks and comforts us as He supports and holds us. That covers just about everywhere we go.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Participating with Kate Motaung. Check her out at  The word is play

Come Out To Play

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt 19:14

The daylilies are back this year. The orange ones that for years I fussed about. I wanted them gone. The were intrusive, they were all one color, and anything else I planted alongside them were overrun and eventually completely suffocated. They also weren’t my idea. They were here when we moved in. So I finally had them uprooted. I planted other lilies in their place of different colors and varieties. I still loved lilies. I just wanted variety.

But there were problems. The Chipmunks, moles and mice ate the bulbs. So I planted again, this time each with a mothball. A couple grew the first year, and a few more the next. But then, just last year the rabbits found them and ate every last bloom. I guess colors taste good. So I've had it, I thought. This year the ground will sit. Gardens aren't working for me. The only plant that has survived well is my bleeding heart, which was transplanted from where those day lilies were. It sits in front of my garage, which is falling down, so we just moved that also.

Now I look out my window and there are orange blooms playing in the breeze, aimed at the sky, free and happy to  have returned. They were not completely rooted out. They lie dormant for a while covered with layers of other growth. But they weren't dead, their roots were growing strong and resilient.

The child in me longs to play. What has been growing in her place? I've heard it said we grow up because we stop playing. Both is important. Someone once gifted me $30. She said I was to spend it frivolously. I put it in an envelope and it took about 3 years to spend it. I don't even remember if I spent it all. I think that envelope is still around. It’s not that I haven’t spent anything. I think It's the thought of spending what has been designated and gifted for that purpose and the fear of never having it again.

We layer, we bury, we forget. God does not forget. Sometimes it takes everything being ripped apart to unearth the inner child we were created to be. Jesus calls us children no matter how old we get and whatever or whoever has prevented her. She is not gone. She is growing strong  and resilient. No one is free like a child who knows she is loved. When I experience that freedom, maybe even my responsibility will be as child's play.

Oh, a few of the red lilies survived with the orange ones. They will play together. The rabbits moved out. I am at peace.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The word this week on FMF with Kate Motaung

What do you expect?

I made decisions expecting different results
I planted and watered and something else grew
I thought I was building walls but I"m tripping over rubble
I meant to go forward ; I feel so behind
I never expected to be here


Jesus is more precious
Jesus has a sweeter fragrance
Jesus is drawing closer
Jesus is becoming priority
I never expected to be here

So true, the lyrics...

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace"

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 
Eph. 3:20,21

Friday, June 2, 2017

Five minute Friday with kate Motaung
The word is “Future”

The Future, Both Now and Then

The first thing I think of when I hear the word future is a place I have never been in a time not yet materialized. How does one perceive such a concept except by recognizing the present is actually the future of where we once were. Now will be the past as soon as I step out of this present. With every breath I move into the future.

If I think of it in any other way it can scare me, and it has many times over. We do what we can to prepare for it, we anticipate it, we fear it, or we hope for it. I have done all of these, but cannot guarantee it's specific outcome. As much as I try I cannot weave it into my desired design. There are too many unknowns of which I have no control. I can, however, say there is one thing that is in my past that follows me into my future. That is God. In Him is my hope. He is eternal. He created time, but is not limited by it, He knows the end from the beginning. He asks only that I trust Him and seek Him with my whole heart. That is all. I don't have to have all the answers to my questions.

It makes me sad to think people actually think of (and do) take their own lives. I do know that place of despair, thinking that my life was hopeless. I do thank God I sought help in people and God and kept on breathing and walking. Circumstances may not ever change or they may even get worse, but God will always be a constant with every future step I take. In Christ, even when I doubt, He is.

Does your future look threatening? The Lord said concerning Israel in captivity in Jer 29:11 “..For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to bring you a future and a hope”. There is nothing about the future that the Lord does not see and rest in. All of Christ's own can take comfort in this promise.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Kate Motaung Five Minute Friday

I'm glad I Visited

If I hadn't visited this site, I wouldn't have met you. I know we don't share the personal spaces, we don't sit over coffee, we don't see each other's faces and expressions and hear the voices and meet the spouses and kids and pets. But what I read I hold in my heart, I remember in prayer, I keep in my thoughts. It is these things that keep me coming back.

If I hadn't visited I’d have missed a challenge. I wouldn't have grown the same way. I'm thankful. Because I Visited I visit your other sites, I pray for you. I add you to my circle of friends and I will know you when we meet in heaven if we never meet on Earth.

It doesn't take much time or effort to visit. We know a little more of Christ when we visit His people, no matter in person or online. And isn't that one of main desires, to know Him more?

Christ visited us from heaven and took on our frail nature and identified with every weakness and sin. He was our greater visitor and still wants to abide in and with us every moment. He never tires of our company nor refuses an open heart. We never need be alone.

So I will be visiting you and not invading your space, taking your time, or interrupting your dinner. I'll let you know I was here, even if very briefly, cause I have always loved a good visit.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The word is “truth” with Kate Motaung. So much in this word but in five minutes, truthfully?


Not even sunshine can tell us all
Only uncreated light reveals it
An entity in itself, it is self-sustaining
Our best efforts leave empty holes of lies and questions
The more you think you know, the more there is to know
It may have sides, but never disagrees with itself
It needs no proof by words or actions
I cannot change it, destroy it or manipulate it
It will win in the end
It has to
It is truth
Jn 17:17 “… Thy word is truth”.
Jn 14:6 “…I am the way, the truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me”.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five minute Friday with Kate Motaung

//If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

So many things I could say about having a mom and being a mom. The joys, the responsibilities, the frustrations, the grief, the fights, the fears, the headstrong will of holding tight and the tearful surrender of letting go. All of it because a child is a tender offshoot of a mother. There is a physical bond shared with no one else.

“Don't girls believe in birth control”? She looked at me with pity and disdain mixed with a touch of arrogance.

“Birth control makes you gain weight”, she said.

 I just stared in amazement.

“And pregnancy doesn't”?

“Well, yes, but you lose it afterwards”.

I couldn't contain myself. I tried. We were out in a public place having this conversation. I got up slowly from my chair. I slapped my hip and responded,  calmly, quietly, but deliberately.

“No, you carry the weight of that child as long as you live. Extra weight, I said, and it is heavier than anything you will ever carry physically”.

You don't know anything until you are right smack in it. I recall some conversations with my mother when growing up where we were of two extreme opinions. Sometimes I spend my energy and words saying “mom, I'm sorry. I didn't know. I didn't see. I didn't listen”. I'm saying it to a mom who isn't here any more, although I can hear everything she ever said.//

How much I would love to talk with her again. But if she were here, would I get frustrated? We were two different people. We shared some of the same values, but generation gaps will never completely close. I would hope I would have more patience and respect for those spaces and instead of trying to color them in with my adamant certainty, perhaps I could find nuances that could blend from both sides. Shading softens, creates peaceful tones and defines.

And this week as I hear people talk about what to get their mothers? Well, what I want is really what I already have, why I can celebrate this day at all, my children. No matter what the gaps, what the issues, they are my children. Is my mom still my mom? I know I carry some of her genes. Genetics is a wondrous science. You carry your children for as long as they live and then God determines the rest.

Children are life and to give or take away life is a grave responsibility.  If you are a mom, you are everything.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Writing with some awesome writers at Kate Motaung's Five Minute Friday.
The word is "Should"

I Should, You Should, He does

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Is 5:21

That which is right and sensible; that is a definition of should. How do we so often get sidetracked? John Lennon in his song “Beautiful Boy” sang this quote; “..Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans.”

How many should haves and should not haves do we wrestle with? Is there a false standard we are comparing ourselves against? In John 8, Jesus said to the accusers of the woman found in adultery “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”. None of them stuck around and He said to her “Woman, where are thy accusers, has no man condemned thee? She said, no man Lord. And Jesus said to her, neither do I condemned thee; go and sin no more.”

Was she guilty? Yes. Were they following the law? Yes. Am I guilty of any sin? Yes. I must first recognize that sin still exists. Whatever the sin was or is that brings us to ‘I should have or I should not have must bring us further to repentance before Jesus alone so He can advocate for us and take care of our accusers. I see He extended grace to them just as He did to her. Their own hearts condemned them, therefore they could not receive His forgiveness.

Oh, these are not the plans I made for myself. God knows so much more about me than I do. It is not what my life looks like to the condemning eye, but more the issues of the heart that are being turned over like fallow ground. Jer 9:11  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.  King James version says,  “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”. I like both versions. The end expressed here is the one that Christ has secured for us. Our expectation which is our hope.

Reminding myself God's purpose is not to harm me, so in turn I SHOULD not harm others.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Kate Motaung five minute Friday
The word is "More"

//More, Please

What do I want more of? Right now, sleep. I’m fighting nausea coupled with bouts of blurred vision and unbalanced gait as I sit waiting for my car to be checked out. A sporadic shimmy in my steering wheel, accompanied by a shimmy in my  body prompted my attention. I am hoping for an easy fix. So sleep will have to wait. What I want more of is on hold for the time being.

How often do we get as much as we want when we want it. How much more is too much? I accept the extra cup of coffee knowing my body has had it's limit. I'm waiting for the conversation to emerge into a real relationship. How many more episodes do I watch at one sitting? Each one is fashioned for continuance. Overeating isn't about the taste, it’s about the hunger that can't be satisfied.//

Both light without shadow and total darkness would leave us blinded. We were created for both. We cannot handle too much of anything. I find even being immersed in the love of God for an afternoon can leave me wanting later on. The light needs filtering, so the darkness revealed when I am out of it’s presence does not steal all of it’s brightness and glory in me. God is reserving His total light for heaven were there will be no darkness at all. Only then will I be able to handle it. In the meantime I must process through everything that love touched. It has not only healed, but has opened the wounds. Authentic love can hurt.

What does God give me more of? James 4:6 says “He giveth more grace to the humble.” In my constant state of desiring satisfaction in a body that cannot sustain itself autonomously, when I surrender my needs to Him, His grace is abundant. How much more do I really want? I may have to wait for a lot of things in this life, but grace is always available to me.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Skipped a week but back now with kate Motaung fmf and some awesome writers. The word is “Sing”

Sing to the Lord

“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day”. PS 96:1,2

It's a passion of mine, to sing; not necessarily to be a “singer” professionally. I have never received the training for that. Just to sing for the Lord awakens something within me. I don't just sing “because I'm happy and free”, like the old hymn states.  I sing when I'm sad, fearful, confused, lonely and when I don't think I can take another step. I have sung with elation as well as in tears.

I spent years singing in my church. I sang at my mother's funeral, probably the hardest thing I ever did. It was a request of hers. She never got the opportunity to actually sit and listen to me when she was alive. We didn't live in close proximity. Singing was one of her favorite things, despite the fact she was tone deaf. We teased her while growing up, but she didn't much care. It was her joyful noise to the Lord.

What other audible language can touch and unify so many? It is universal. Music is everywhere and it is as old as mankind. Singers preceded and ended battles in the Bible. Weddings, births and deaths are signified by song.

Angels are recorded as singing and praising God at creation (Job 38:7), Christ’s birth (Lk 2:13-14), and in Heaven (Rev 5:11-13). We are instructed “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (,Eph 5:19).

   Melody takes words and creates a current upward to God.

Currents flow downward.When we release our words that weigh heavy on our hearts, they become light in God's hands. Whether hymns, Scripture, contemporary or something you make up yourself, don't forget to sing.

Life just ain’t worth livin' without a song!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Five minute Friday with Kate Motaung

"//"Enough of This"

Eight billion people in the world, each with a different voice. And at some time in each life, asking the question, “Am I enough”? Do I do enough? Is my life enough? Is my love enough? Do I have enough? We are all involved in our world, our own sphere of influence. When we don't feel we are enough we reach outside of it to be in someone else's. There is an innate need to be connected to feel that enough-ness.

We were not born to be alone, just as we were not to take on someone else's identity. We were not meant to clone ourselves to another’s blueprint. We were made in God's image but not a copy. A Spirit, A soul, with like attributes, but our own personality and individuality. That is enough for God, to see us function in who He has made us to be and nothing else.

Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples and then to all believers forthcoming.

 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me”. (Jn17:20-23)//

Being one with God means I accept what He says and receives who He receives. That alone makes me enough. How I feel disconnected when I separate myself from His acceptance of me! In all of my personality differences and quirks, I am “accepted in the beloved” (Eph 1:6 KJV). 

This is not to discredit my responsibility to others. There is no grace given where God is not aware of the heart's motive. I am enough because God the Father is enough and has made me one with Himself through Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. How boring and sad if we always want to emulate another.

 There is freedom in allowing who you are to be shown to others. There is great discovery knowing you are enough.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Five minute Friday wit Kate Motaung
The word is define


An unsure place
Of not seeing
Not believing
Not knowing

I used to think
What I can't see doesn't matter
What I don't believe carries no consequence
What I don't know holds no accountability
I was in that place
Called dark

In darkness I could manipulate
Let duplicity take over
Create my own reality

 But then light entered
First I was afraid
I was found out
But a strange comfort in the exposing
A rushing release of relief

So I let it spill
And darkness emptied
Ambiguity became clarity
Definition in the soul
Where my true self lives

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12

Saturday, March 25, 2017

He's Holding Me

Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday
The word is “embrace”

At first glance I thought, 
     “No, not this week, can’t relate”. 

And then it all happened. So many facets in one word.  Like a diamond, every time I turned it, it shone differently.

//He’s Holding Me

We drove around the Bible School campus, my alma mater. Due to circumstances relocation took place 30 years ago. The property is now used for other purposes, but most of the buildings standing are in dyer need of repair. The deterioration speaks loudly of the lack of purpose and motivation of those who occupy it now. Like flash floods, memories surfaced and overflowed from me and swept me into a time warp when and where my life in Christ was just beginning to embrace every part of me.

As I think of those buildings, what they were then and what they are now, I see what I have also let go of and what I have embraced.

These things I consider:

What are the neglected places I have let go of, and what have I held on to too long? Either one can have negative outcomes. What have I avoided to care for that is now in plain sight? What have I held to that has been retarding my growth?

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven ... A  time to embrace and a time to shun embracing”. Eccl 3:1, 5b.//

I think hindsight sometimes gives us the greatest insight into our hearts condition. What is dead and unproductive? Perhaps a belief, a concept, a tradition, a habit, or even a relationship needs to be evaluated.  Where has apathy crept in and left its mark? I may think I can hide it, but usually the one who chooses not to see it is me.

Psalm 139 tells of God’s thoughts of His people. Having all knowledge of every part of me, He purposes to embrace me. “You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me”. Ps 139:5.

In His embrace He wishes to share His breath with me, but will not suffocate me. He allows me to breathe freely.

His embrace is protection from the elements, a shelter from the storm in the midst of the storm.
His embrace stabilizes me so I don’t have to be tossed to and fro.

His embrace is where I am close enough to hear Him whisper even in chaos and calamity.

It is because of His embrace that I know I have roots that are deep and whatever befalls me I will never be outside of His hold.

Maybe broken structures and crumbling foundations are what we need to look upon once in a while so we can wake up and remember.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Back again with Kate Motaung five-minute-Friday

For the love of Friends

I thank God for the friends I have and the unique relationships with each one, for truly each one is different. No two began or developed the same way. Some have been tested by time and distance and others on a day by day basis. I don't consider the ones I see often any less friends than the ones I haven't seen, but sometimes I feel like I neglect them. Life gets busier than the time I have available to even sometimes make a phone call. Does that mean I'm a bad friend?

A friend loves at all times Proverbs 17:17. 

What does that mean? The first thing that tells me is to define love. That's not easy. Seems like mankind has been asking that question forever. There are some things however, I have a pretty good idea it does not mean. It does not mean being a doormat. It does not mean you have to meet all my expectations to win my approval. It does not mean you don't have other people and things in your life. It does not mean we always agree.

“Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”. Jn 15:13-15. 

This passage always bothered me. Jesus isn't my friend unless I do what He says? Well, now I think (and I'm not above being corrected) I know what He was saying.

He is the greater love. He is going to lay His life down, yes for the whole world, but the ones that benefit from that act of love are the ones who are obeying Him. They are the ones acknowledging and receiving His love. I am not going to die for anyone in order that they have eternal life. I can't – my love isn't that great. Even if I were to die willingly for a loved one that wouldn't be enough to grant them heaven. This puts me in a position to choose. I am Christ's friend. Is He mine? He always gives me a choice. The love is sealed, it is for all times. If I choose to obey Him that is when I will know how to be a friend to others. I don't have to worry about their friendship towards me if I know I am their friend.

Maybe knowing the correct definition of love through the one who is love would make our friendships a little stronger and our hope a little clearer.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Willing to Abandon

Walking into the wind I felt the stinging sensation of it’s gusts on my face. I pulled my coat tighter around my neck and my hood over my head.  I love wind, but this is crazy. Single digit temperatures in March and a nor ‘eastern on its way, I feel the weariness of it all mixed with contempt as I enter the church. Yes, I'm a sinner going to  church.  I would rather be home, but my friend is playing her bagpipes for the offering. As much as I dislike the  instrument, I love her and Amazing Grace, so I sit down beside her. And yes, the building is cold.

Almost immediately I begin to relax. It is where I want to be and who I want to be with. When she plays I close my eyes and let the song minister in spite of the underlying drone of the bag pushing out it’s air. After, she is concerned that I am okay. I think she is surprised I sat up front with her and not in the back row ready to bolt.  “yes”, I replied. “I like my coffee stronger than I used to, but it took small doses over many years”. I guess I was saying there is still hope.

The abandonment of ourselves in small decisions to bless others reap a greater contentment on our souls.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Participating and learning with Kate Motaung five minute Friday. The word is purpose.
Just a few thoughts to ponder.

//My Purpose or His Purpose?

Rom 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

You know, as much as I believe the Bible, read it, talk about it, study it, I still can’t understand some of the basics. Genesis 1 still is a controversial subject. Creation, evolution, time durations, all seem to have rocked the world's thinking. I have come to the conclusion, though, for my own peace of mind, that God tells us what He wants us to know and leaves the rest out for a purpose.  If, at any time, I decide to really indulge in deep study over an issue, I will let you know. In the meantime, I have to rest and let His purpose be enough.

The Lord said to Isaiah in chapter 1:11”…To what purpose are the multitude of your sacrifices into me? I am full of the burnt offerings of lambs, the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of Bullock’s, or of rams or of he goats.” He said similar to Jeremiah in chapter 6:20 , “To what purpose comes there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”//

Wait? Didn't He require them in the first place? He set the example for Adam and made garments from animal skins. Then Cain and Abel brought sacrifices. I guess it didn't do Abel much good in the end. Oh, I guess after years of sacrifices it didn't do the nation of Israel much good either. So, to what purpose? To what end? They just couldn’t get it right, could they? They stilled rebelled, worshipped other gods and went there own way, and the end looked like captivity, destruction and a scattered people.

Mt 26 gives an account of a woman pouring costly, precious ointment over Jesus' head. His disciples were indignant and asked Him “To what purpose is this waste?”. They did not recognize Jesus purpose. She knew who He was an believed His words, even before He sacrificed Himself on the cross.

To what purpose, to what end when things don't change? To what end when things get worse? When your own sacrifices don't bring the results you hope for? The decisions, time, investment and money leave you alone and wanting. When they flow out onto the ground and mingle with your tears do you call it waste? Does hope for you become an empty word?

What about God's purposes in Jesus' death?

In the Old Testament we see a holy God who is pure justice, perfect love, and all knowing getting  displeased when people complain. The sacrifice of Christ was just as much for God the Father as it was for mankind. The only way God could tolerate us being imperfect, was to himself provide a perfect sacrifice. It was in part so he could continue to look upon and love one who did not attain his requirements. Jesus' death and resurrection provided for both God and man.

I wonder if as Jesus calls us to look at His cross and sacrifice, does God have the same need? Jesus is  mediator between us, for each of our benefit. Without Christ, He would exist alone for he would have to annihilate us. We were His enemies before the cross.

It is not all about me and my purpose. It is for Him and His purpose. It is to reconcile us both together to be one. I guess the purpose of the sacrifices were to bring them to an end of themselves. The one final atonement of Christ gives me purpose, thus giving me hope. One does not exist without the other. To what purpose or end?  My end of trying to always get it right.

Monday, February 27, 2017

From Where I Sit

I've been trying to figure things out. I've been trying to figure people out, including me. Not an easy task. I've been around the block a few times. I'm on the back side of my life (that's a scary confession). Kids are raised and more or less on their own. It hasn’t been an easy trek. It hasn't been hard as some either.

Everything that grows starts with a seed. Every genus of vegetation, edible or ornamental or medicinal. A single seed. According to the Bible, man began with clay and breath. He was created after the animals, fish and fowl, thus we are different.

And then there are the trees. One is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Oh, that's the one that messed us up. That ended the party. There's always one who eats or drinks too much and gets bounced. But these guys made it bad for everyone. Like getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar, now no one gets cookies! Of course, being the only ones at this party, from where they sat, they didn't know. So they have to leave and the whole place gets shut down and guarded by angels and swords.

But God isn't sitting were they sit. Funny, He suspected as much. Okay, He knew before it happened. Well, the free will thing, remember? They could choose. So, He had a plan in place. One that would redeem every man and this sin nature he now comes with. It is a popular belief we don't come with instructions, but we do come with a sin nature. All because of an apple or a pomegranate (which I think is more likely), and it's seeds.

Ah, but there is another tree, remember? It is the tree of life! They could eat from that one along with others. But the garden was closed, not for the season, but forever. Do you think that these trees are still alive? I know Revelation talks about the tree of life. Seems to signify eternal life, never ending life, like the more you partake of it the more life it has. The tree that keeps on living.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil is also alive, but it just keeps telling you what's good and bad. It offers no life at all. We are reminded of it in the law man puts upon himself and others to determine their standing before God. It comes in judgement, both of ourselves and others. It comes in should'ves, would'ves and could'ves. (Are they words?)

What are we doing? If we are accepting the sacrifice of Christ to put an end to sin which started at that tree, why are we still trying  to pick and eat it’s fruit? Where are we sitting?

Jesus made a lot of statements about obeying Him, obeying the Word, obeying your husband, obeying the Pastors  and ordinances of the church. I am confused with good works and grace. I can no longer reconcile cause and effect. At the risk of sounding heretical, let me say I believe the words He said. But I believe obedience comes only after a heart exchange of intimacy with Him. Obeying for obedience sake is not at all what Jesus wants.

A ruse of Satan is to confuse faith obedience with blind obedience. He tempts us with our weaknesses and needs. He’s been doing it since the garden. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He is still trying to keep us from experiencing life. I'll obey you Lord, because I have a need. I need you to come through. I need to feel worthy and blessed. I need you to provide for me. I need to have peace, I need reconciliation.

All the while we are sitting at the wrong tree.  Jesus provides, loves, feeds, gives worth, reconciles not because we obey the commandments, but because we are His own. He paid for us with His blood. The only requirement is acknowledging it and allowing Him to love me. Only then will it be a willing obedience.

I need to see where I am sitting. What tree am I facing? And what does Jesus see from where He is? Good and evil, or life? I want a life-giving love relationship. Good and evil and knowledge won't give it to me. I need to change my seat.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Participating and learning with Kate Motaung and some wonderful writers  in a five minute (plus) free write.

The word is slow and I was slow in writing it.

//Not My Plan

When I think of the word slow, my first reaction is, “yup, that's me.” I'm a slow starter and a seldom finisher. I'm quick to stumble over the obstacles, get distracted by the opposition, and cave to the critics. The irony of all this is that my thoughts are always on fast forward, and so much more often than naught, they get tangled together so becoming a blur. Because of this if there is pressure to make a decision, impulsiveness takes over if I don't purpose to put the brakes on. I don't give myself permission to be slow or to say no. This past season in my life God has been teaching me it is okay to slow down. It's more than okay. It is necessary. He is not in a hurry with His plan. Why should I be? //

My son plays chess. He was showing me a match between a grand master and a child of about nine. It was a timed match. I was watching, mostly the child. He would take a few extra seconds to make a move, then make 4 or 5 really quick ones. I questioned his thinking. “He is planning His strategy, looking ahead at the board and the position of the pieces.” He makes one move, then the next few come very quickly. It falls in place with his plan.” As much as he was attentive to the game, he was also fidgety, looking around, shuffling his feet, his body not completely relaxed. He was slow when he needed to be and quick, not impulsive, when it counted most. He won the match. I walked away thinking about it.

I hope that boy can take those strategies beyond the board into his daily life. So many can't and unlike the game, you can't just clear the board and start over. Mistakes, decisions and responses follow you into the future.  But the truth is, God knows the moves we are going to make and He doesn't press delete or put the game away. He walks with us, wherever we go, however long it takes. He teaches you to slow down, and introduces to you within that process new strength, new faith and revelations of the truth of who He is and always has been.

I think of Moses. He was hidden in a basket and found by the Egyptian girl. He was raised by the Pharoah in a palace. One day he did something very impulsive. His anger got ahead of his rationale  and he killed an Egyptian. He then ran away to the backside of a desert and didn't return for 40 years. He lived a secluded life. He married, had kids and raised sheep. A slow start. He thought He probably thought he would die there with no remembrance or legacy. But we know God didn't forget.

And then the wilderness. Forty years walking in circles. Many died. Moses was now leading a slow, complaining people. How did he feel?

But God, I don't have 40 years left! It's all been circles! No, it hasn't. Knowledge is increasing and it seems time is flying and everyone is hurrying and expects you to keep a pace. And when you can't keep up, out feel you let everyone down. But time is the same. One second lasts one second. There are sixty seconds in a minute and sixty minutes in an hour; days, weeks, years, the same.  It's all God's slow process and it's for our learning who we are and who He is. It's learning how to make space for His grace. It is not in ourselves to become who we are because we haven't a clear view.

I don't understand chess. How do I know what the other person is going to do? I guess it has something to do with the odds. I can't gamble with God. It's Him against no one really. I can't fight Him. I can't flee Him. He wants me to slow down. Not really a bad thing. But when He quickens me, He wants me to keep pace.

If I drink my coffee slow, the warmth of it will envelope my senses.

The extract is by the teaspoon and it infuses the whole batch.

A sprinkling rain will refresh and nourish the ground, whereas a deluge will flood and destroy.

Too warm too soon in Winter can make for an unproductive crop in the summer.

We want a quick healing, an instant reconciliation, complete understanding. We don’t want to write a second and third draft, rehearse a twentieth time, repeat the course again.

It takes time, it takes slow and it takes process to see and discover all we are created for.

Friday, February 17, 2017

FMF with Kate Motaung
The word is “weak”

Not Meant for Shame, Only Gain

“We are weak, but He is strong”. Remember the child's song? “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”.  I sang it in Sunday School. I loved it. I knew I was weak and wanted to trust there was someone who was stronger who would help me. The only thing I really saw was people who were getting stronger, learning more and not helping.  I saw my weakness as a negative thing so I got stronger in my pride and I left the song behind for the children. I could handle things on my own. When all fell apart around me it became my cry, my plea. However, I didn’t sing it with assurance, I sang it with desperate hope. “Oh Lord, please let it be true”.

When I finally reached out and called out to the Lord it wasn't in my strength. It was in weakness. My own strength never draws Christ unto me. It's the one truth I keep learning. Is also the one thing I still don't like. Who likes weakness? Don't we usually try to hide it?  We boast in what we accomplish, the good and healthy decisions we make, how far we have come, but who boasts in weakness? Seems like once we think we have it together we blow it, if not in one area, then in another.  It can paralyze and pride can move right in. The moment I think I am strong, it's like asking the Lord to step aside and let me take His place.

Jesus didn't die for the strong or as the strong. He died in His own human weakness. He had to be broken and depend on God the Father.  I too need to be broken and depend on Christ the resurrected one. Then I can look at my weakness and say “It is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed”. (Lamentations 3). And in our weakness, that is where Christ strengthens us. That is where the confidence comes from. That is where we will find our true hope.  The children's song is for all of God's children, no matter how old. He is our daddy, our Abba.

Paul said “But He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me”. Paul knew, and he had more to boast of in his flesh than most. But he met the Lord and his accomplishments took a back seat. May I keep seeing my weakness as an avenue to Christ and not a refusal to believe in His power.

When I finally dare to fall to pieces, that is where I will fall into peace.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The word this week is “safe”
Kate Motaung Five minute Friday

The I can and I cannot of safety

//Psa 91:1

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

I can stand beside you
I can listen to you
I can talk with you
I can cry with you
I can laugh with you
I can pray with you
I can feed you
I can advise you
I can support you
I can hold you
I can drop what I'm doing and come to you
All to help you feel safe.//


I cannot save you
I'm not God

I cannot explain it all
I'm not all knowing

I cannot heal you
I'm not the physician

I cannot remove it all
I'm not all powerful

Only the one who can save you is the one who can safeguard you.

We are not protected from the storms; we are held tight in the storms.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I’m writing again with Kate Motaung five minute Friday
I know I thought I wouldn't do this anymore, but I decided it is a good exercise for this wannabe writer. And yeah, I wrote for five minutes and then some. I'm a slow thinker.

Breathe Easy

//Breathing moves us into the next moment. Life continues only because we breathe. “God breathed into his nostrils and the man became a living being.” Gen 3:6. God exhaled into us His life so we could inhale and exhale it back to each other; a constant exchange of life between life. What a precious gift, and probably the least recognized until we are grasping for it.// Think of every blood cell carrying oxygen to your heart so you can breathe. Yet just think of the things that constrict our breathing. All of the toxins of pollution, smoking and chemicals that we can never thoroughly escape. Yet the rejuvenation and resuscitation of our amazing, created bodies can keep us surviving so much.

What about the spiritual? I Think of the toxicity of words. Words that I inhale into my thinking and exhale into others have power. They can motivate and lead to more life or they can constrict, causing labored breathing in the soul. We can bring life or death with our words. We can breathe out hate and distrust, or encouragement and hope. I know that I have done both. I have caused many a soul attack. Yet I somehow am being resuscitated  all the time.

What resuscitates the soul?

One thing I believe is the prayers of others. Oh, how I seem to breathe easier when I know someone is praying for me. I feel the surge of spiritual adrenaline propel my soul. Even if physically drained I know my soul is still breathing. Jesus rebuked the disciples for not praying with Him in His greatest hour of need in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed so earnestly He sweat drops of blood. His prayer took Him to the cross.

Where will our prayers take us? Where will they take others? Inhaling and exhaling the breath of God.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Writing with Kate Motaung

I thought a lot about this. Almost didn't write, again, but it is one word that gnaws at me so here it is, the one lesson I spend my life not quite learning. The word is control.

All the wanderings
All the disobedience
All the wars
All the evil kings
All the strategies
All the deaths
All the persecution
All the Martyrs
None of it ever stopped God from fulfilling His plan

Whatever the suffering
Whatever the immorality
Whatever the war
Whatever the hatred
Whatever the pretense
Whatever the fear
Whatever the abuse
Whatever the injustice
None of it will ever stop God from fulfilling His plan
He is in complete control

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The word with Kate Morning is…


I wrote. For  two days analogies were formed, gathered from what I heard, what I saw and what I knew. Getting sliced and diced, falling short from lack of thought and expression even though a novice, right now didn't sit well with me. I’m hearing too much of that these days. In the end, angry with myself, the shredder got its fill and I sat with nothing I considered suitable. And the deadline (in my mind) ad passed.

Often God takes all I have and lets it fall. I fight for what I deserve believing I will somehow be less without it.

Refining is removing the strength that inhibits the pure. I think “what good is the birthright if I'm going to die anyways?” I sell it short.

Redemption is absolute and finished. Christ redeemed me. The refining process is continual.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6

Friday, January 13, 2017

Lean Toward the “Middle”

Yes, this is a five minute Friday word. I said I was done, but, okay, I am slowing down, weaning myself, and really to be honest, following the rules, which means 5 minutes fom // to //

Christ hung on the cross in between 2 thieves. He was in the middle. One said “Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! The other said “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom”. Lk 23:42

He wouldn’t come down. His dying was to pay for the sins of both.

Now resurrected He is seated still in the middle between the redeemed and the lost. Am I demanding He save me from my situation? Does He have to prove Himself again to the lost? He promises.” …lo, I am with you always, even into the end of the world”. MT 28:20 And…”I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever..” Jn 14:16

Should that not be enough?//