clearance and lessons

I found two items in the clearance section at the back of the arts and crafts store – a chipped plate and a damaged sign.

The chipped plate reminded me that things do not have to be perfect for me to be grateful.

The damaged sign reminded me that I can be brave even when wounded.

The life lessons gleaned from the clearance items give them worth far beyond their original price. And just in case you appreciate a great deal, I will share the original prices of the items and what I paid for them: the plate was $8.99 and I paid .89 cents; the sign was $23.99 and I paid $2.39 (plus tax). Sweet.😃

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Take

“I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.” Rarely are these words uttered by someone overwhelmed by good things that are happening to her. Typically, they are the words of individuals who feel at their limit in the face of situations or circumstances that have taxed them beyond endurance.

“I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.” is frequently followed by, “I give up,” spoken verbally or via behaviors. But at the end of ourselves, God offers a promise, a hope that anchors our souls: “We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously” (1 Corinthians 10:13, TPT). Praises be to our gracious God. In our own strength we cannot. Through Him we can.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Take.”

Question

On a mountain in Galilee, His disciples came to Him and He taught them many things:

He had provision for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those persecuted for righteousness.

Believers are salt and light.

He, Christ, fulfilled the Law.

Murder begins in the heart and adultery can be committed in the heart without an adulterous act being performed.

He taught them to tell the truth, go the second mile, love their enemies, how to give, how to pray, how to fast, and where lasting treasure is to be stored.

But it was not until He taught them the cure for anxiety that He began to ask them questions. Questions such as, “Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing?”// Directing their attention to the birds of the sky, He informed the disciples that their heavenly Father feeds the birds then He asked them, “Aren’t you worth more than they?” His questions continued with, “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 5:1-6:34, HCSB).

When we are tempted to worry or catch ourselves worrying, may we take a few doses of this antidote contained in Matthew 6:25-34, stretch out on His sure promises, and pull His promises up like a blanket to keep the chill of doubt and worry at bay. Our heavenly Father knows what we need and He is the perfect Father. Let us make seeking Him our priority for He who is our greatest need has promised to meet all other needs.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Question.” The content behind the // was added after 5 minutes were completed.

Five Minute Friday: Promise

“But you promised!” The words are often a wail fueled by disappointment when a promise made to a child is not kept. And no amount of explanation, at least in the immediate aftermath, is consolation enough.

I am a child, although a grown woman. I am God’s child but He expects me to handle disappointments with maturity. Not respond with the uncontrolled outbursts of anger and frustration reminiscent of the tantrum of a 2-year old, but with the grace He gives. And the knowledge that every promise He has made is, “Yes and amen,” in Christ Jesus, but I do not set the timetable for the fulfilment of those promises. The timing is His and His alone. After all, He is sovereign and can be counted on to do all things well, always.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Promise.”

Practice

“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).” It is not our natural inclination to give thanks. We have to practice doing so. One definition of practice is, “To perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient.” We have to develop the practice of giving thanks to God in all circumstances. This practice requires several things, among them the recognition that giving thanks is an act of obedience. An act of obedience which, like everything else God asks us to do, He provides sufficient grace for us to accomplish. Giving thanks to God in the good times stems from the awareness that God is the source of all good gifts (James 1:17). Giving thanks in difficult times, stems from the belief that He is sovereign and works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Oh that we would practice giving thanks so that we can become proficient at doing so.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Practice.” The definition of “Practice” used in this post is from merriam-webster.com. The benefits of being grateful and expressing thanks are well researched and documented. Should anyone be more given to gratitude than the children of God? One of my favorite resources for developing the practice of giving thanks to God in all circumstances is Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. An additional resource is the website http://onethousandgifts.com/ where visitors are invited to share the things (gifts) for which they are thankful.

Confident

I am confident because …

  • Even before He made the world, God loved me and chose me in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. God decided in advance to adopt me into His own family by bringing me to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure (Ephesians 1:4-5, NLT).
  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14).
  • God has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and without blame before Him in love,  having predestined me to adoption as His by Jesus Christ to Himself, and He made me accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:3-6, NKJV).
  • God is working in me, giving me the desire and power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13) and He will never give up on me. He is doing a good work in me and will continue working until Jesus returns (Philippians 1:6).

Because of these and other truths, I can be confident in every situation. My confidence is not self-based, it is God-based. As the Apostle Paul stated, “This is the kind of confidence we have in and through the Anointed toward our God. Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5, VOICE).

I am joining (on a Sunday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Confident.” I am #speakingtruthtomyself today and sharing it, perchance you need to hear it also, as you face a new week. Take courage (my) heart.

Five Minute Friday: Build

I was not good at Math in college. The passage of time revealed a contributing factor. There was a year in high school when a change in teachers resulted in me missing essential knowledge, that was the foundation necessary to build the skills I needed for later Math courses.

Foundation. Every building needs it. Without a solid foundation, no matter how good the quality of materials used to construct a building, all effort is wasted.

“On Christ, the solid rock, I stand,” states a classic hymn, “All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.” He is the only foundation upon which we can build lives of stability and meaning on earth and build for eternity.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Build.”