Friday, April 6, 2018

Breaking Point

The word is release,  just short, incomplete thoughts to spark thought.

Release! Ha,  I wish we could be released from these viruses! I had a cold for 7 days. It took my energy,  my strength, my perspective. I sat around like a beached whale whimpering like a puppy. I was annoying, even to myself. I am not a good sick person. The basic symptoms ended, but weeks later I am still looking for my energy level, the virus, I believe, settling into a different area of my body. It's not just me. Others I know are going through the same thing.

Like waves in the ocean, such is life. It seems we are released from one trial and yet another one is right behind it,  or more the case, overlapping. I looked up the different waves. Each one has its own construction and release based on the depth of the water, the length of the wave and the velocity of the wind. They all do have a breaking point, where the wave crashes and is released.

Such the waves in the Christians life often reflect the depth, length and velocity of our relationship to God and people. We cannot stop the trials from coming or life from happening. The joy is that we will one day be released from our bodies of death into a body incorruptible.

Until then, I wish I was healthy!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

God meets Me in the Middle

Writing on the word "settle" linked with

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[ your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Col 1:19-23

Today is Saturday,  the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter. I am thinking about the disciples and deliverance and being settled in between. Oh the Christian now can be settled. We know the history. We have the Holy Spirit who is our witness and comforter.

Are we always settled? I'm not. I just peeked at a few things that happened after the crucifiction. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joses were looking from a distance to see where He was laid. They sat across from the grave, I'm sure in great grief,  but also I suspect they were figuring a plan. When they returned home they and some other women prepared spices and perfumes. My question is, how did they expect to get on the other side of that stone?

The Sabbath was the next day. It was Jewish law they could do nothing but rest. I know that grief sometimes buffers anxiety. In grief everything seems to slow down. There's not the energy for any adrenaline surge in any direction.

Do you remember the story of Daniel? King Darius was deceived into issuing a law that anyone found serving any other King for 30 days would be cast into the lion's den. His governors of his kingdom hated Daniel and knew he prayed to God. So he was caught and it was told to the King. This upset him but there was nothing he could do to revoke the law. He said to Daniel “The God who you constantly serve will himself deliver you. A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den and the King sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.” Dan 6:16-17. The rest of the story? God shut the mouths of the lions and delivered Daniel.

I see a few similarities here.

What do I do when I see my hopes hanging, bleeding out before me. And there are laws, either of the land or of my own making that cannot change. Can I be settled knowing that God will deliver me? There are things that I cannot change, and things that can never be undone. But I can continue in faith and don't move from hope of the gospel.

These are just a few thoughts to get us thinking in this journey of ours.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

When The Road Bends

Ps 143:10 “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”

Do you have specific daily routines? Have you ever noticed that one change can throw you off completely? With me it started with one gradual change and then over time I notice it is affecting my whole day. It is like a domino effect. My thought patterns are more displaced. Add sickness to the mix and suddenly I feel I am under an avalanche of misguided emotions and thoughts.

But even in these times, the Father is not moved or shaken. Neither should I be. Changes will come. They are good. Sometimes God allows the routines to go to bring me out of the monotony. Sometimes a rest is needed so something else can be accomplished that I don't even know. Even though the schedule may be different,  God is still asking that I follow His leading, maybe down a path I have never been.

Linking up with

Saturday, March 10, 2018

When I Am Just Too Tired

FiveminuteFriday (on Saturday)
Five minutes of thoughts into words.

Ps 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him”.
My actions tell me when I'm overtired:

Like the time I worked overnight and couldn't get the proper sleep for ten months andmended up not knowing my name or what day it was half the time.

Or the time I was driving with some ladies to a Bible retreat after working all night long. The first thing I did was go through the easy pass without having an easy pass transponder in my car. I argued with them until they refused to go unless I surrendered my control.

And then one day I went to make coffee and instead of putting coffee in the filter, I put the cat food. Multi-tasking is not my forte when tired. Luckily I noticed in time.

What about the time I baked oatmeal cookies and while eating them I realized I had left out the oatmeal. They became brown sugar, raisin cookies. A new recipe is born.

Some things make for good stories later, but not all. The most frequent and obvious telltale sign of my lack of sleep is my emotions. I tend to get very annoyed very quickly.

Stress, anxiety or poor decisions are all factors of sleep deprivation. A scripture that comes to mind is Romans 12:1, 2 “Therefore I urge you,  brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not conformed to the pattern of this world,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Whereas there is responsibility and definite work to be done and concern to be had in this world,  I need to examine the patterns of the world by which I shape my life. Renewing (waking up, strengthening,  regenerating) my mind to Christ's will transform me more and more. Tired should be healthy and sleep, restful.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Make Despair the Pathway to Hope
Just rough drafts and maybe incomplete thoughts to whet your appetite for the Word of God
Todays word is ‘regret'

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. “My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. Job 23:10, 11

Do I have regrets? Am I sorry for careless decisions and impulsive acts of my will and passions? Is regret the same as repentance? Do I look at my consequences and just wish nothing had ever happened the way it has transpired? What about God,  does he regret me as he regretted creating man before the flood? That's what it says in Genesis 6. Is God a God who repents and regrets what He has done? Num 23:19 “God is not a man,  that he should lie; neither the son of man,  that he should repent….” Is that contradictory?

Where it is true we all make mistakes and suffer consequences,  our hope is in the redemption of God rather than the remorse of our fallen wills. The way to redemption is through our godly sorrow. It works to salvation not to be repented of.

I can,  and often do,  regret things all day long. I think we have to always keep a check on ourselves,  not to lead us to despair but to remind us of the perfect salvation we possess. Grace shows us our inheritance but does not diminish our responsibility. God hates our sin. Before the flood He had foreknowledge. He saw the wickedness of man. One translation says “it repented Him”,  it all brought sorrow and grief to His heart to know they would never respond anyway no matter what He did. He saves whosoever wills but He knows who they are.

Frank Sinatra made the song famous “Regrets,  I've had a few,  but then again,  too few to mention.”  I wonder if now he would do it his own way.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Why the prompt is 'why'

//Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord. And He will have compassion on him,  and to our God,  for he will abundantly pardon. For your thoughts are not my thoughts,  nor are your ways My ways,  declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”. (NASB) Is 55:7-9

I see people hugging one another with comfort and tears and even some laughter. I greet some I haven't seen for a long time. I sit beside one woman who I have met a few times,  really a relative by marriage,  but we have never spent any real time together. People are dressed,  some in jeans,  others in slacks, some in skirts and dresses. Some men have ties,  as well as others in sweatshirts. We are together,  yet I feel apart,  except for those I am sitting with and a few I know. I have never met the one for whom the funeral is for,  yet I am friends with his mother. Even her, with our schedules, we ave not been spending much time together.//

I ask Jesus,  quietly,  in my heart,  “Why”,  why do we care about the way people are dressed at an event? Why don't I purpose to make room in my life for those I used to spend so much time with? My thoughts wander to others who are not an active presence any longer.

As I watch and wonder and ask, voices settle into quiet and eyes focus forward as the service begins. My eyes are attentive,  but my question still lingers. I quietly say to my friend beside me,  “We are just all people who need God.”

I never heard a word about clothes. No one chided me for not spending time with them. I know we all have these why questions. I think the answer is “we are just all people who need God. One day we will know the why of it all.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wise or Foolish?

The way of man is to attain whatever one wants by whatever means is available.

It starts as soon as we come forth from the womb. A baby's first cry is attended to with arms of protection and warmth. Wrapped snug in warm blankets and immediately fed mimics the safe environment of growth and development. To a baby, a seemingly cruel ejection into a world of exposure brings the greatest joy to a mother that transcends the pain of delivery.

And so a battle begins. We don't recognize it as such,  but all of a sudden,  the innate roles of parent and child take their perspective places on the field and the goal is to be on the same team and play the game together. The reality is our human nature in each player wants to make our own rules.

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction”.

King Solomon wrote Proverbs. The Lord asked him what he wanted and he answered “wisdom”. And because he didn't ask for riches or fame,  the Lord gave him all of it,  inclusive. Proverbs begins with the difference between a wise man and a fool. Divided into three sections,  verses 1 through 6 gives definition;  to know, discern, receive, give, hear, acquire and understand. Verses 8 through 19 describes the fool. Verses 20 through 33 describes the consequences of a fool.

There is a song from the 60’s with the line “everybody plays the fool,  there's no exception to the rule”. Oh,  how we find it hard to accept and admit that to ourselves,  let alone others. Even Solomon,  who wrote these words ended up losing his kingdom because of foolishness. It doesn't make the words untrue. It just confirms their validity even more.

We want what we want. Human nature is insatiable. Jesus died on a cross and paid for our sin by paying  the penalty for it because we couldn't pay for it. Insatiability cannot be cured by insatiability. There is never enough. Only completeness can satisfy completely!

This year Easter falls on April 1,  which is April Fool's Day. There are many takes on the origin of that day from the switch to the Julian calendar to the vernal equinox to the hilarity of Spring’s beginning. I like to remind myself of Psalm 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart,  there is no God”. That is sad,  for without God what will satisfy your endless cravings? Where is one's hope? My hope is in the sacrificial love of God giving me an expected end in heaven someday. I may have come with insatiable need,  but I am leaving with a glorious fulfilled promise!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Right and Privilege prompt is privilege
It is a privilege to write my thoughts with other Christians.

I am privileged to be a member of a few closed groups on social media. Not personal,  but by public invitation,  I responded,  answered a few questions,  and was in,  just like that. Once there,  I obtained all the benefits of being a participant,  albeit there were rules to abide by.
If I were to see myself there by right,  and I was smart enough,  I could possibly,  with subtlety,  manipulate the dynamics and cause a paradigm shift to the entire purpose. Not to worry,  I have no intention of such a thing. We see that these terms get intertwined and entangled in our understanding.

I would perhaps say it this way….By privilege I submit, knowing I am favored; by right,  I take ownership,  believing I have authority. How does that sound?

God the Father sent Christ the Son to give to every man the right to be called the Children of God,  Jn 1:12. That right there is my human right. It was God's favor,  his privilege to bathe us in His mercy and adopt us into His family giving us all the blessings. Within that family,  yes there are rules,  but unlike earthly groups, if we are truly a part,  we cannot be dismembered. We can be disciplined and corrected. Just like our own children will always be our children,  no matter how estranged or distanced they may become.

So my first question is,  first to myself,  “In what space am I recognizing my rights or liberties,  and in the confines of that descriptive do I recognize my privileges”? My next one is “How tragic is it when I don't exercise the one right that God gives me that secures my eternal destiny?” It is one thing to decline a privilege,  but a right forbidden are what people overtly protest. God has provided an opportunity for every person. He is without blame if it goes ignored.

Friday, February 2, 2018

With Whom Do I Agree

Fmf word this week is agree.

//So often my silence speaks what and who I agree with much more than
my words.

Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Acts 8:1

 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:13-16

Sooner or later God has His way no matter with whom I may agree. Saul's agreement with putting Stephen to death threw a grenade that blasted the Jews right out of their familiar surroundings. The Gospel was thrust into unchartered territory. Philip began preaching and even Simon the magician believed and was baptized.

I continue to be astonished at what some people, especially Christians, compromise in this world...and I also. I am blindsided by my own opinions too often and fail to consider that God knows exactly what He is doing. His plan has a much further expanse into each life than I ever could see.//

I am reading through Proverbs with other Christian women. I am amazed at how lax I have been in paying attention to the words of this great book as a whole. It is a concert of godly instruction.  When people say we don't come with instructions,  I firmly disagree. We do. It is called the Bible. And Proverbs is given for every situation I could be faced with. But are they just words to agree vocally with? No,  if I give them no thought in my actual daily dealings and thinking, then am I really agreeing with them? Or are like mantle pieces I may take off my mind's shelf from time to time to impress.

Saul agreed to have Christians slaughtered. Later He agreed with God and suffered as he had once made others suffer,  but with a blessed purpose. We can stop agreeing with the enemy,  in whatever form that takes on,  and we can begin to agree with God. Either way there will be suffering in the end. Either way God’s plan will prevail. I would rather suffer with the people of God. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us”. Rom 8:18

Saturday, January 27, 2018

To Whom Will I Surrender?

The word for this week at FiveminuteFriday is surrender

The road before me is barely visible. Heavy rains make it difficult to drive. Street lights and the yellow line that marks the lane are shrouded with dense nebulous fog. I have an address,  but have never been there before. I listen to the voice on the GPS of my tablet trusting I won't miss the turns. These devices help,  but we all know the route they take you is not always the fastest. It is hours before dawn,  it is unfamiliar ground,  and I feel alone.

This scene is fictional that I speak of,  yet it describes to me this word surrender. There are many similarities to life situations where you must decide who or what to surrender to. This word has slid off my tongue in the past so frivolously,  perhaps underestimating the consequences. I tell myself  things will get better,  grace will abound,  God will forgive, and all things will work together for good. That is what my Bible says. It is all true. However, how often do I surrender to the wrong things and become servant to them. It may be years later that I realize the consequences. It may be poor health and physical pain, or it may be addiction, or it may be poverty. It could be estranged relationships. It could be lost opportunities.

It isn't always easy to discern and follow the light of Christ. Things seem vague and situations complex. My heart is to know I am on the right path. To be blind is not sin; to see and not acknowledge you were blind is sin. Christ sees no shame in it. Repentance means turning around and walking in the opposite direction. That involves thinking in a different way to solve your problem than you were thinking when you created your problem. And then there is that fork that you are at, and you don't want to follow the wrong path. Once again, I must choose. When I choose to surrender I am choosing captivity; when I choose not to surrender I am choosing captivity. I never serve two masters. I always serve one. The option to surrender to Christ and not myself nor another person makes serving in love possible. He did what the Father told Him to do, and then He gave His life for me.

It is an ongoing process for each one. "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity". 1 Cor 13:12,13. Our walk on this earth is so often dim and obstacles can distort the path. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". Ps 119:105

Friday, January 19, 2018

Where Do My Intentions Lead me?

Five minute Friday where the prompt is "intentional"

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 5, 2018

What Motivates Me

The word is Motivate
The first word for fiveminutefriday in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year And A Never Changing God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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