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.