Five Minute Friday: Excuse

EXCUSE

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” (Esther 4:11, NKJV)

The words above were Queen Esther’s response to the horrendous news from Mordecai that all the Jews were to be annihilated, and to his appeal for her to go to the king, her husband, and plead for her people.

We know how the story ends but as I think of these words, I acknowledge that Esther’s response was fact based; however, it seems self-centered, given what was at stake. I do not judge Esther because I know I have been guilty of stating facts as an excuse not to do hard things. I pray that God will always place a Mordecai in my life, who will expose my excuses for what they are and hold my feet to the fire. He has placed me where I am for His purpose and it is not “facts” that matter but my obedience.

FMF

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

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Silence

Silence.png

This was to be a post for the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up, in response to the prompt, “Silence.” I began the post, intending to reflect on these words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

My search for the quote brought me to this article, “Martin Luther King, Jr. and Silence” by Marybeth Gasman, in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her article, in turn, led me to this excerpt from a sermon Dr. King give after Bloody Sunday, in Selma, AL, on March 8, 1965:

Deep down in our non-violent creed is the conviction there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they’re worth dying for. And if a man happens to be 36 years old, as I happen to be, some great truth stands before the door of his life — some great opportunity to stand up for that which is right. A man might be afraid his home will get bombed, or he’s afraid that he will lose his job, or he’s afraid that he will get shot, or beat down by state troopers, and he may go on and live until he’s 80. He’s just as dead at 36 as he would be at 80. The cessation of breathing in his life is merely the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. He died…

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand up for that which is true.

So we’re going to stand up amid horses. We’re going to stand up right here in Alabama, amid the billy-clubs. We’re going to stand up right here in Alabama amid police dogs, if they have them. We’re going to stand up amid tear gas! We’re going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the world know that we are determined to be free!

And then with five minutes long gone, I faced these words by king Solomon, whose life to me is the cautionary tale,

1To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,    
And a time to speak.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 NKJV, emphasis added).

And these words spoken by Mordecai to Queen Esther,

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14, NKJV)

And I give up any thought of adding the post to the Five Minute Friday link-up but share the words here. There is no wrapping this post up neatly. The divinely inspired words quoted above demand more than platitudes from me. It requires repentance. It exposes the need for discernment. And courage. And action.

Five Minute Friday: Need

NEED

Sometimes I confuse them –
my wants (my desire for something)
and my needs (what is essential, necessary, required for my wellbeing).

Sometimes I confuse them –
my wants
and my needs.
Thankfully, my Father never does.

And I have this assurance, “Your Father knows what you need
before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8).
And this instruction from the Word made flesh,
“Pray then, in this way:
Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our
debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the
resentment].

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen]’”
(Matthew 5: 9-13, AMP)

I pray for wisdom to distinguish between my wants and my needs.
And for grace to be content with what You provide.
Choosing to believe that You give good gifts
and will meet every need
(and even some wants)
in Your perfect timing.

FMFI 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, “Need.”

31 Days of Loving Well: Rest

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“And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days], because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done.” (Genesis 2:2-3, AMP)


Few things can foster an appreciation for rest the way a day of challenging work can. Work that was demanding and stretched us. Left us mentally and/or physically tired. Few things can foster an appreciation for rest the way a day of challenging work can. But it is possible to ruin rest by worrying about what happened during the work day or what has to be done the next day. May we embrace rest by following the instructions in 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:6-7;  let us cast every care on our Father who cares for us, pray about everything and allow His peace to guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Today’s post was written for Day 31, the final day of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. It was fitting that the final prompt is “Rest.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who accompanied me on this journey by praying for me and/or reading a post.  

31 Days of Loving Well: Refine

refine

Refine
(transitive verb)
1 :to free (something, such as metal, sugar, or oil) from impurities or unwanted material
2 :to free from moral imperfection :elevate
3 :to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing
4 :to reduce in vigor or intensity
5 :to free from what is coarse, vulgar, or uncouth

1 “Surely there is a mine for silver,
And a place where they refine gold.
“Iron is taken out of the earth,
And copper is smelted from the stone ore.
Man puts an end to darkness [by bringing in a light],
And to the farthest bounds he searches out
The rock buried in gloom and deep shadow.”
(Job 28:1-3, AMP)


As I continue to reflect on what it means to love my work well, I feel the need to acknowledge that I am not speaking of loving my work the way in which I love God or a person. Also, I acknowledge that if I am not careful, I can elevate work or anything to the place where only God must be. That being said, I recognize that I can have deep appreciation for my work and the opportunities it can provide to develop and refine my skills. In addition, I can deeply appreciate how God can and has used work to refine me. In my work He has exposed pride and my deep need of Him. He is also teaching me patience. Thanks be to God for the gift of work.


Today’s post was written for Day 30 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Refine.” The definitions of “Refine” are from merriam-webster.com. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

31 Days of Loving Well: Follow

Loving well(3)

Week 5 – Loving my work well: Introduction

Work. Too often, I view my work as something I have to do. I want to change my perspective. I want to see my work as a privilege. A blessing. Even on the hard days.


“As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him [becoming His disciples, believing and trusting in Him and following His example].” (Matthew 4:18-20, AMP)

“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew (Levi) sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me [as My disciple, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk].” And Matthew got up and followed Him.” (Matthew 9:9, AMP)


When Jesus called his disciples, told them, “Follow Me,” their obedience to his call required them to leave the work they were doing. For Simon Peter and Andrew, the two brothers, following Jesus required them to leave their fishing boats. For Matthew, it required him to leave his work as a tax collector. For me, and I suspect for many other Christians, His call to follow Him, leaves us in the same workplaces, in the same dailyness of our lives. He leaves us doing the same thing(s) but for a different purpose. We learn that our work is worship and this change in perspective is one reason we can love our work well.


Today’s post was written for Day 29 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Follow.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

31 Days of Loving Well: Connect

CONNECT

Leading Someone to Christ

God wants us to love people unconditionally… to serve them, to help them, to pray for them, to show compassion to them in tangible ways. And in doing so we will show forth the love and grace of our God to a lost and dying world. But, all the love and service in the world can’t save a person. There has to be a point where someone opens their mouth and tells people the truth about sin, eternity, Christ’s love and the saving grace that’s only found in Jesus Christ.”

One of the most important and fulfilling parts of being a follower of Christ is leading someone to receive salvation and start a relationship with the Lord. (The Oaks Fellowship. Retrieved October 28, 2017)

 

“When we invite others to come to the Person of Jesus, telling of His wondrous love and sharing what Jesus has done in our lives, the gentleness of Christ is seen in us, and others will be drawn to Him.” – Jack Hayford. (jackhayford.org. Retrieved October 28, 2017)


In this fourth week of the 31 Days of Loving Well series, I have reflected on loving those I do not know, well. As I write this final post of the week, I am convinced that the ultimate way to love those I do not know, well (and anyone else in my life) is to connect them to Jesus.

To connect (transitive verb) is to place or establish in relationship. It is true that I cannot make someone chose to accept Jesus as Savior; however, the quotes cited above remind me that I have been given the privilege and have been commissioned and empowered by God to invite others to come to Him, by my words and my life.


Today’s post was written for Day 28 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Connect.” The definition of “Connect” is from merriam-webster.com. The quotes were added before the 5 minute timer began. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.