Any comfort from His love?

it's a girl!

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love?…” (Philippians 2:9, NIV; emphasis added)

Definition of Comfort:*
1:  strengthening aid: a) assistance; b) consolation in time of trouble or worry; solace
2:  a feeling of relief or encouragement 

Is Christ’s love for you a strengthening aid? Does it assist you? Give you consolation in time of trouble or worry? Does His love provide solace? Bring relief or encouragement? Does His love inspire you with courage, spirit or hope? Spur you on? Make you more likely to do something?

Christ’s love is and provides all of the above but experiencing these benefits of His love, requires that we believe that He loves us. Experiencing the benefits of His love requires that you personally believe that He loves you.

Do you believe that God loves you? Doubts about His love can arise and torment us when our belief in His love for us is based on our circumstances. Our circumstances, however, do not provide proof of His love. The unchanging, unequivocal proof of His love is found in His Word. A powerful example of this proof is expressed in 1 John 4:9-10 (AMP) –

9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

Doubts about His love for us can also arise as a result of our failures, our sins, especially those we have confessed and returned to repeatedly. His love for us, however, has never been based on us, as is demonstrated in Scripture verses such as Romans 5:7-8 (NKJV) –

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

His love is also steadfast, unchanging (Psalm 86:15; Psalm 136). He is love and for Him to stop loving requires Him to stop being Himself and He cannot change.

Whatever your circumstances or failures, you can know and believe that God loves you. You can accept His love for the first time or be reassured of His love for you. You will find His love to be a strengthening aid that provides assistance and solace, gives consolation in time of trouble or worry, brings relief and encouragement. Inspires you with courage, spirit and hope.  Spurs you on. Makes you more likely to do something (for example, accept yourself and love others).

*merriam-webster.com

Five Minute Friday: Collect

Collect (1)

Lessons in trusting our Abba.
They come to us in various forms,
including those situations in which we are faced with the choice to collect or let go.

As in the one faced by the children of Israel in the wilderness,
when He provided manna with the clear instruction to gather only what was needed for each day.
Some chose to trust and obey.
Others chose to collect, gather more than was needed only to have it become filled with maggots.

Lessons in trusting our Abba.
They come to us in various forms,
including those situations in which we are faced with the choice to collect (gather) or let go.

As when we are hurt by others,
betrayed,
maligned.
We are faced with the choice to collect offenses.
Become offense collectors.
Or the choice to forgive and be grace givers,
recognizing that we have been forgiven more than we have ever been hurt.
That we are the recipients of abounding grace.

Lessons in trusting our Abba.
They come to us in various forms,
including those situations in which we are faced with the choice to collect (gather) or let go.

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Collect.”

Your pace

 

Your Pace.png

I was on the return leg of my morning walk. Perhaps the turtle was also. It was moving up a slight grassy incline of the golf course which ran parallel to the sidewalk where I walked.

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I cannot recall if I voiced my doubt or just thought it, but I was certain the turtle could not reach the top of the incline.

It was the first one I had seen personally, so I  drew near for a closer look, the story of the tortoise and the hare, in mind. Naturally, the turtle responded by pulling its head into its shell and stopped moving.

I resumed my journey and when I glanced over my shoulder, noticed that the turtle had not only proven me wrong by reaching the top of the incline, its pace was faster than I had expected. I sprinted back to it and captured its movement, first in a photo, then in a video.

Like the turtle, may we keep moving at our own pace and ignore the naysayers. May we also adhere to the wisdom provided in Hebrews  12:1-3 (AMP).

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Five Minute Friday: Comfort

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Comfort.
It can come in a touch.
In a smile.
In a card.
In a word.
In a memory of being loved,
cherished,
valued.

It can come in a hug.
A rub on the back.
A two handed cupping of the cheek.
A whispered hush
offered in response
to a wail of fear
in the dark.
A reminder that Mom or Dad is here and near.
In a hand being held
when it reaches out.

It can come through various medium.
But all comfort that comes without conditions,
without strings.
And brings peace,
and soothes,
and calms,
and offers true solace,
has only one Source –
The God of all comfort.
For He comforts us
in all sorrows and
then  makes us vessels,
conduits of His comfort.

comfort

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Comfort.”

Identity, Purpose and Self-talk

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19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”
22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” (John 1:19-23, AMP)

What we say about ourselves, most times, if not always, carries more weight than what others say about us. But what we say about ourselves can be influenced greatly by persons we listen to the most, especially those who are important to us. As such what we say about ourselves can reflect internalized messages from others.

“Who are you? What do you say about yourself?” were two of the questions posed to John the Baptist, by those who want to know his identity. John’s response is exemplary. It was clear and completely based on what God spoke about him, through the prophets Isaiah and Malachi, hundreds of years before John’s birth. At some point, John’s purpose and, in it, his identity was revealed to him. This allowed him to clearly state who he was and who he was not.

“Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” Most individuals wrestle with these existential questions about identity and purpose at some point in life. “What do you say about yourself?” As it was for John the Baptist, the answers to our questions of identity and purpose are found in the words of God, our Creator, our Father. (Click here for examples of what He says about us). Any description of ourselves, anything we say (and believe) about ourselves that is not based on what He says about us needs revision, urgently. Immediately.

What do you say about yourself?”

Five Minute Friday: Play

Play

//I smiled broad and deep then chuckled out loud at the memories of children at play. Of my own times of play as a child:

The abandon.
The lack of concern about clothing or body being covered with dust or sweat.
The heat did not matter.
The freedom of running hard.
Breathless.
Joyful.

Children don’t know and perhaps would not care, even if an attempt is made to tell them, that play is important to their development. That it is through play that they develop their imagination, dexterity. Their physical, cognitive and emotional strengths. That they are learning to work in groups, to share, to resolve conflicts.

Play also has benefits for adults. It can relieve stress, boost creativity, and improve relationships and our connections to others. Let us give ourselves permission to play. We need regular playtime as much as children do.

I encountered this quote by George Bernard Shaw, today, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”//* Let’s play.

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Play.”

FMF sq image Play

*Content between the // were written within the 5 minute window.

Some sources of information about the benefits of play are the American Academy of Pediatrics, PsychCentral, and HelpGuide.org. The latter has several helpful suggestions for creating opportunities to play. For example, “Schedule time in a park or at the beach to throw a Frisbee or fly a kite with friends.”

Imago Dei and Self-evident truths

Imago Dei and Self-evident truths

 

 26 “Then God said, ‘Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]….’ 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27, AMP)

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Excerpt from The Declaration of Independence, 1776).

How do we live as if each person was created in the image of God? Is it true that the following truths are self-evident: all men are created equal; all men are endowed by their Creator with rights that are impossible to take away or give up? Rights that include “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?” Do we really believe this? I wonder because true belief changes behavior.

Five Minute Friday: Blessing

Oranges have essential vitamin contents, antioxidants, protein, water percentage, and fiber. These are necessa (1)

Blessing –
“Help and approval from God”

Blessing.
Also defined as “a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being.”

That You want to bless me,
I have no doubt.

You have made it clear in Your written Word.
The equivalent of a written promise.
Many of them.

An example being the one You made to Abraham.
The one You called friend.
“I will bless you amd make you a blessing.”

Blessing – defined as “a beneficial thing for which one is grateful”
Grateful.
I am not always grateful because I do not always recognize what You have given as a blessing.

Especially when it does not look like what I asked for.
Beseeched You for:
Healing.
Restoration of a relationship.
Freedom from pain.
Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.

But I can testify to the truth that
in time.
With grace.
With maturity.
I come to recognize that what seemed as anything but a blessing
in fact was,
because of what You did with it in my life.

Count Your Blessings

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Blessing.”

 

 

Still desperately needed: His Light. His Love.

HIS LIGHT. HIS LOVE. (2)

With the goal of determining if there was a blog post that I could repost this week, I searched my blog using “June 2016” as my search criteria. The post, “His light. His Love,” was the first to appear. The following paragraph grabbed my attention, “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies like the mass shootings which occurred in Orlando, FL, in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016.”

An internet search highlighted the truth that tragedies have continued unabated since June 12, 2016. They include several natural disasters. Among them were the following:  flooding in Louisiana from August 12-14, 2016, which resulted in 13 deaths and an estimated 30,000 people displaced; three earthquakes in Italy in three months, which killed hundreds of people; hurricane Matthew in October 2016, that resulted in an estimated 1,600 deaths and damages in excess of $10.5 billion. The start of the new year brought no relief. In January 2017, more than 130 million people were affected by humanitarian crises such as disease outbreaks, natural disasters and conflict. It is believed that 58 million people are displaced worldwide and terrorists attacks continue, with the people of England experiencing multiple attacks in less than 14 days.

“You are the light of [Christ to] the world” we are told in Matthew 5:14. “God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit,” Romans 5:5, informs us.  What was true in June 2016, remains true in June 2017 – “In every season of life, the world needs His love and His light. And this need is, perhaps, never more glaringly evident than during seasons of darkness and pain, ushered in by tragedies…” We are His light to the world and His love has been “abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Father God, the world still desperately needs Your light and Your love. The heavens tell of Your glory but You have purposed that Your light be seen and Your love be shown through us, Your children. We acknowledge that our ability to reflect Your light is too often impaired, and instead of love, what is seen in us is condemnation and self-righteousness. We confess our weakness. Our sin. Cleanse us, Father, so that Your light in us can be clearly seen. Help us let go of everything we need to and allow You to remove that from which only You can free us, so that Your healing, transforming love in us can constantly overflow to others. And Abba, help us love, not just in word but in deed. In Jesus Name.

Five Minute Friday: Steady

steady

//“Steady as she goes.” This is an order or instruction given to a helmsman by the captain, to keep the ship heading “steadily on the same course regardless of gusts of wind or cross-currents.”*

“Regardless of wind or cross-currents.” You give me similar instructions, as in keeping my eyes on Jesus, “the Author and Perfecter” of my faith.

But sometimes, like Peter, I take my eyes off of You and, like Peter, I begin to sink beneath the waves. At other times, I stray off course, following things that distract my attention from You.

Sometimes, I remain on course but instead of steady strides, my knees buckle beneath the weight of grief and loss. And discouragement. And cares You never meant for me to carry on my own.

Then, as the lame man experienced, You speak to me as Peter did to him and take hold of my hand with a firm grip and raise me up. And like him, my feet and ankles become strong and steady. And I can say like Habakkuk did, “The Lord God is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] //
on my high places (of challenges and responsibility).” Thank You, Abba. Thank You.

FMF steady

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community,  for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about the Five Minute Friday community, click here. This week’s writing prompt is, “Steady.”

*Information about the nautical phrase, “Steady as she goes,” can be found here.
(The content between //the double slashes //, was written within the allotted 5 minute time frame.)