31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Five Minute Friday (and Reasons to Praise: Day 31 – Leave)

Five Minute Friday

GO

“Leave”

I read the prompt and His words sprung up in my spirit strong

Wrapped themselves around my heart like a salve

Pouring in oil and wine

Moving me to tears with its firm assurance.

“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.”

Never

Not through the waters

Not through the fire

Not through the darkness that seems to hide My face

Not through the betrayals

Not through the leavings that come through endings

Caused by physical death

Or life choices

Never

Always there

24/7

Every day

Every season

Never

Not one moment when I am not with you

Not one second when I have even looked away

Much more walked away

Never will I leave you

Not when you sin

Not when you fail

Not when you doubt

Not when you pout, resist my Sprit, openly rebel

Choose your own way instead of Mine

Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake You.

I keep My promises always

So know that I will keep this one also

As impossible as this may seem

Especially when you think of all that has ended

Put you together in your mother’s womb

And will bring you safely home.

Never will I leave you.

Never.

Hebrews13_5Photo Credit

STOP

Father, thank You for Your promise and thank You that you are the Promise Keeper.

This post is number 31 for the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Thanks to all who have walked with me through the month of October by reading one, several, or all of the posts in this series. Thanks to Kate Motaung for the invitation. Joining her for  31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Five Minute Friday.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 30 – First

GO

First

Having to do with time, as in beginning

With order, as in he is first in line

And importance, as in top priority

We see first attached to various things

Churches

Banks

Credit Unions

Restaurants

Thrift stores

Musicians

Birth order

Gears

Kits designed to provide aid

But when I think of the truest definition of first, “preceding all others in time, order, or importance” and “foremost in position, rank, or importance,’ I realize that there is only One Who precedes all others in time, order, or importance. Only one Who is foremost in position, rank or importance … the Son.

 first 2

Slide1

STOP

Father, thank You that You are the First and the Last; The process of making You first in my life and keeping You first, Your rightful position, is an ongoing, moment by moment decision. Help.

This post is number 30 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 29 – Unite

GO

unite

Father,

These two verses speak to the fact that I can have a divided heart. They also speak to the fact that, regardless of what divides my heart, pulls it in different directions (and the list can be long), You are the only one who can unite my heart, cause it to be undivided.

You are the only one with the ability to unite my heart, a condition that is necessary so that I can fear Your Name. The fear, the reverence, the awe of You that Your Word declares is the beginning of wisdom. The fear that drives out the fear of man and all other fears that bring torment.

You are the only one who can give me singleness of heart. The singleness of heart that I need to obey You without reservation, as did the children of Judah. Father, give me an undivided heart. Unite my heart. Give me singleness of heart. Such a heart will align my priorities with Yours. Will hold the desires that You have. Father, unite my heart.

STOP

This post is number 29 in the series “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 28 – Wake

GO

“Wake.” Defined as “to cause a person or animal to be awake after sleeping and to stop sleeping; to become awake after sleeping.”

To cause someone to stop sleeping.

I think of how often I use and hear the statement, “I woke up this morning at such and such a time.” I woke up. Sometimes I think the emphasis is placed on the I as if it was by my own doing that I woke up. With this emphasis, I miss the reality of the miracle that He was the one Who woke me up. He was the one Who granted me another day. He was the cause of my awaking after sleep.

Slide1

In fact He is the One in whom I do everything.

Slide2

He wakes me up physically but also wakes me up spiritually and in other areas because sometimes I am sleep walking though my life. He has used circumstances as well as His Word to wake me up to my need of Him and His purpose for my life.

STOP

Father, thank You for the reminder that I need You to be and I need You to do … everything.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 27 – Free

GO

A bird gliding or soaring up above is one of the images that comes to mind when I think of the word, “free.” I also think of three verses in the Bible that talk about freedom.

Isaiah 61:1

Slide1

 Speaking of Jesus, hundreds of years before His first Advent, Isaiah declares that one of the reasons for the Messiah’s coming was to set prisoners free.

  Slide2Jesus tells us in John 8:36 that when He sets us free we are truly free.

 Paul writing to the Galatians tells them that Christ sets us free so that we can remain free. And he warns them to not allow themselves to be imprisoned or enslaved again.

Slide3The fact that we can become re-enslaved by our own actions from what God sets us free is sobering, and I wondered, “What is one of the things that we can allow ourselves to be re-enslaved by?” The answer? Unforgiveness.

No one deserves forgiveness, including me. It begins with a decision, one that I choose to make in obedience to God and with His help, and with the knowledge that the one who benefits most from forgiving someone is me.

Slide4

STOP

Father, I do not deserve Your forgiveness and especially not the incomprehensible price You paid to be able to forgive me.  Thank You that that the truths of Philippians 2:13 and 4:13 apply to the task and journey of forgiving.

This post  (which took longer than 5 minutes) is number 27 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 26 – Visit

GO

Visiting family is a source of great joy for me. But what brings me even greater joy (or should I say a different type of joy?) is having family visit me. Surprise visits are wonderful because of the joy of an unexpected blessing; however, I truly enjoy planned visits. The anticipation of a loved one’s arrival. Taking the time to prepare. To do everything within my power to let them know from the moment they arrive to the time the leave, that I am thrilled and thankful to have them in my home. They appreciate my preparations but I also know that it would not matter to them if I did not put forth any special effort. They just appreciate the time, the pleasure of being together.

Long conversations are a hallmark of these visits. Taking place around the dining room table. The kitchen. The living room. In bedrooms. But silence is also embraced without concern that the absence of words means that something is always wrong.

Visits, however, even when they last a long time, are by their very nature temporary. We see examples of this in the Bible when God’s angels visited various individuals with messages from Him or when God Himself showed up, as “The Angel of the LORD.”

How wonderful that for us who live under the new covenant, God does not (typically) visit us as He did in the OT. He takes His abode, He resides in us by His Spirit and we also take up residence in Him. Yes. Yes Yes.

STOP

Father, thank You for loved ones and for the blessings of visits with them. Thank You also, that our bodies are Your temple and our lives are in hid in You.

This post is number 26 in the series “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 25 – Enjoy

GO

Children have to be taught many things: to share, be mannerly, tie their laces, button their shirts, etc. But one ability they seem to be born with is the ability to enjoy things, experiences, moments. It is likely we have all watched a child eating an ice-cream cone or a favorite food. Their eyes sparkle. They want to enjoy the very last drop. Their feet sometimes move to a rhythm they alone can hear. Enjoyment.

If children are born knowing how to enjoy their life, it means that we all had this ability at one time. What happened? Do we lose this ability as we age? Or does the rush and tumble of life bury our ability to enjoy what He has given? And it is all from Him.

bible-god-quotes-103

The “when … then” mindset is an all too familiar one, for example, “When ‘this” happens I will slow down and enjoy things more. But I wonder, when I do not take the time to enjoy what He gives now, is this ingratitude? We are told that He gives us everything to enjoy.

1 timothy 6-17

I believe He wants us to do so now. How about it?

STOP

Father, May I be better at taking time to enjoy what You so richly give, and in so doing, live more from a place of gratitude, intentionally expressing to You the thanks You deserve.

This post is number 25 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Five Minute Friday (and Reasons to Praise – Day 24): Dare

GO

I cannot think of dare or daring and not think of courage or of fear, because daring involves doing something that many people are afraid to do. Or doing something that I am afraid to do usually. Then it does not matter that others do whatever “it” is without fear.

The dares that matter most, I believe in this moment, are those personal dares that stretch me beyond what I have done with ease, the so familiar “comfort zone.” It is when I need the reminder, “God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of sound mind.” And the reminder, “I am with you always.”

The dares that matter are those that require me to have sufficient courage to try (we are not even talking succeed). The courage to try, knowing that I could and will likely fail.

Daring to speak truth when the lie is easier, and does not hold the possibility of rejection. Admitting a lie instead of covering it up. To dare, is to have courage. To dare is to confront and there are few words more scary than confront is to the people pleaser.

STOP

Father, I thank You that with Your enabling, I can dare, that is have sufficient courage to face the unfamiliar, even the unknown, and to be who I truly am.

This post is number 24 in the series Reasons to Praise. Linking up with Kate Motaung for 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Five Minute Friday.

Five Minute Friday

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 23 – Look

GO

I look multiple times a day, that is, I turn or direct my eyes in a particular direction. Sometimes the look is a glance, brief or hurried. Sometimes the look is a stare, with eyes wide open. Sometimes, when I am angry, the look is a glare. Fierce. Of the if-looks-could-kill-you-would-be-dead type. At other times, the look is a stare triggered by disbelief, “I cannot believe what I am seeing. Seriously? You are in the store in your pajamas?”-look; followed by conviction because I am shown that I am being judgmental. The look can also be a peer, when I am trying to see something but doing so is difficult.

So I can look, glance, glare, stare, peer, but how often do I see? That is, truly notice or become aware of what I have turned my eyes toward?

STOP

Father, I do not just want to look at You, turn my eyes in Your direction. I want to see You because what I see transforms me. Help me to see You. Help me see as You see.

2Co3.18

Photo Credit

This post is number 23 of the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 22 – Expect

GO

Expect – “to anticipate or look forward to the coming or occurrence of; to look forward”

And I wonder

What do I expect …

of myself …

of the world …

of those I love …

And above all else … of my Father?

I recall saying to an intimate once, “Have you noticed that I no longer expect anything of you?”

But on reflecting on that statement now, I realize that I had not given up on expecting

It was that I no longer expected the good, or the decent, or a change

It was a way to protect myself from disappointment

But living from a place of self-protection

Adapting a defensive posture in the world is oh so very limiting

Oh so constricting

Even imprisioning

Yes, disappointment hurts

But what is grace for

If not for the hurts and disappointments of life?

I have good reason to have good expectations

Because my Father promises to always be present, up close and personal

To work all things together for my good

He assures me that His plans for me are good

He can help me to have proper expectations of others

And look to Him to be all that no human can be

expect

Photo Credit

STOP

Father, I praise You for Your faithfulness. Thank You that You never misrepresent Yourself. You are who You say You are and You will do what You say You will do. Help me not to expect others to be who only You can be to me.

This post is number 22 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.