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.

wp-image-1171514837jpg.jpg

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

comfort.png

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.”

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.”

 

 

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.)

Legacy

 

Legacy (1)

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22, AMP)

Legacy. I cannot recall what made me think of legacy recently; however, for several weeks, I have considered this concept on and off. Then on Father’s Day, the first portion of Proverbs 13:22, came to mind – “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”

To think of an inheritance in terms of finances is not an incorrect view but it is a narrow perspective and an incomplete one. It is noted in the Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 13:22 that, “A good man, by being good and doing good, by honouring the Lord with his substance and spending it in his service, secures it to his posterity; or, if he should not leave them much of this world’s goods, his prayers, his instructions, his good example, will be the best entail, and the promises of the covenant will be an inheritance to his children’s children.

When I think of my father (and my mother), it is the intangible components of my inheritance for which I am most grateful. Furthermore, I unashamedly hold the view that it is this type of inheritance that has eternal value, and it is the focus of today’s post.

Proverbs 13:22, highlights that leaving an inheritance for his grandchildren is one of the earmarks of a “good man,” but I recognize that every person, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, political affiliation, or any other demographic, leaves an inheritance or legacy. The question is, “What intangibles are we bequeathing? A strong work ethic or laziness? Deception or  integrity? A willingness to forgive or a bent toward holding grudges and difficulty forgiving others and/or yourself? Selfishness or generosity? A legacy of service or an attitude of entitlement? Gratitude or ingratitude? Trust or distrust? A victim mentality (“Everyone always does me wrong?) or the mindset of an overcomer? A legacy that is centered on God or a self-centered one?

There is a saying that, “What crawls in one generation, runs in the other.” This sobering statement emphasizes the importance of recognizing and effectively addressing hurts, unhealthy thinking patterns or behaviors in our own lives, or run the risk of them showing up with stronger roots and a more pervasive nature in our children, in some form.

Is there an experience from your childhood that is still unhealed? Still shaping how you relate to others and/or other choices you make? Subtract the age you were when the wound was inflicted from your current age. It can be sobering to realize the length of time an experience has affected us negatively. If we have children and/or grandchildren, they are also feeling the impact of that unhealed hurt in some way. Even if we do not have children or grandchildren, people in our lives are feeling the impact of that wound. Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who is able to heal us in every wounded and broken place, no matter how long ago the wound was inflicted or has been infected … if we allow Him to do so. And if we do, in that moment, we can begin to change our todays and the legacy we will leave behind. I pray that we will make this choice repeatedly and  often, for however long it takes for us to whole.

 

Permission

NationalPrayer Day

Permission: the right or ability to do something that is given by someone who has the power to decide if it will be allowed or permitted

Whose permission do you need to be your best self?
To be bold instead of fearful or anxious?
Self-compassionate instead of self-critical?
Humble instead of puffed-up?

To forgive  yourself and others,
instead of being imprisoned by unforgiveness?
To go of the past instead of torturing yourself
with guilt,
regret,
and shame?

Christ has set you free.
Walk free.
Live free.
You have been called to liberty.

Give yourself permission to be your best self.
You already have God’s permission
and His enabling.
You do not need permission from anyone else.

Five Minute Friday: Future

Jer 29v11 (1).png

It is hard to imagine a future when you lack hope.

It is hard to have hope when everything you can experience through your senses give you no reason to believe that the current circumstances will change.

It is hard to reach for, look forward to a future that, to your knowledge, will be more of the same.

The same pain.
The same struggle.
The same loneliness.
The same barren efforts.

But if you are His
you may feel hopeless but you are never without hope.

For He is the source of hope.

And He has made this declaration,

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Did you hear that? He has plans to give you a future and a hope.

Not just a future but one that is hope filled.

And He is able to do just what He says.

So I join with the apostle Paul in praying, “Now may God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you believe, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy spirit.”*

You have a future, a glorious future.

future

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

*Romans 15:13

for the days when you’re in over your  head, in rough waters, and/or between a rock and a hard place

Isaiah 43 v 1-3 Msg.png

“Don’t be afraid.”

These were the words handwritten after my name, beneath the bright yellow smiley in a card I received recently. The card was from a fellow participant in Round 11 of Five Minute Friday Snail Mail. (Also know as #fmfpartysnailmail; see link at end of this post for a description).

I read it and had two simultaneous thoughts. (Okay. Not actually simultaneous but they occurred in such rapid succession that they seemed to occur at the same time).

One thought was, “I am not aware that I am afraid.”

The other was, “But there have been times when you did not know you were holding your breath until you exhaled.” Point taken.

And I have lived long enough to know that HE can send me resources and truth before the trial comes. And it is only after the fact that I realize something that came to me in a season of relative quiet, turned out to be the rope I needed to hold onto, the firm place I needed to stand on, the safe place I needed to hide when the storms hit, and my world is shaking.

The handwritten note contained most of The Message translation of Isaiah 43:1-3. I read the verses and was encouraged. So, just in case you can use some encouragement right now, I want to share the portion of this passage which was shared with me. Even if things are going well, perhaps you can hide it in your heart for the days when  you’re in over your  head, in rough waters, and/or between a rock  and a hard place.

” …Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God…”

(As promised, here is the link which explains the hashtag fmfpartysnailmail.)

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Sing

sing

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

GO

 “How shall we sing a song of the Lord; in an alien land?
(But how can be sing a song to the Lord, in a foreign, or a strange, land?)
(Psalm 137:4, Wycliffe Bible)

“Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song in this wasteland? (Psalm 137:4, Message)

I can almost feel their heartbreak, the heartbreak of the children of Israel who had been led captive to Babylon because of their sin, their prolonged disobedience to God. They were asked by those who had captured them to sing one of the songs of Zion. They felt unable to do so.

And there are seasons in all of our lives when the idea of singing, of singing a song of the Lord, of singing a song to the Lord, in the place where we are, seems inconceivable. For where we are seems like a “wasteland,” “a foreign place.” But it is in those places and in those seasons that we must sing; we need to sing a song of the Lord, of His goodness and His unending grace of His mercy and of His faithfulness. Of His love and His promise to always be with us, when He seems most far away. It is then we must sing a song to Him.

STOP

Declaring to Him, “You are faithful. You are gracious. You are full of compassion and plenteous in mercy. There is no one like You. Your loving-kindness endures forever.” Because singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, worshipping Him focuses our attention on Him. Reminds us Who He is. And when we remember Who He is, we are reminded of who we are in Him, and of His promise to be with us always … in the fire, in the water, in the flood, in the wilderness. And work everything together for our good. He gives us the strength and the grace in the wasteland. And sometimes He transforms the wasteland, the wilderness, into a place where flowers blossom. Sometimes He transforms us in the wasteland, in the foreign places. Sing.

“… and Peter”

_... and Peter ..._

A drowning person’s life flashes before his or her eyes.
Or so I have been told.
And if there is truth in this statement,
I wonder if Peter’s life with Jesus flashed before his eyes
as he drowned in an ocean of shame, horror, pain, and disbelief
after doing what he had sworn he never would,
that is, abandon Jesus, the One he had left all to follow.

I wonder if he saw the moment when Jesus called to him and his brother Andrew
as they were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, and said,
“Come follow me and I will send you to fish for people”?
And when He touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law as she was lying in bed with a fever, and the fever left her?

I wonder if remembered vividly the moment his feet touched the water after he asked, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus responded, “Come”?
And when he responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” with the revelation given to him by the Father, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

I wonder if he saw the thousands being fed with a little boy’s lunch, and Lazarus coming out of the tomb after he had been dead four days, and Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount?

I do not know but the One Who knew Peter would deny Him, not once but thrice in a short space of time, and loved him still, He made sure that Peter knew that there was forgiveness, and redemption, and restoration for Peter.

First, He sent the message of His resurrection through the angel, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
“… tell his disciples and Peter.”
“ … and Peter.”

Later, He would pose a question to him three times, “Do you love Me?”
And by the end of the conversation had commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him.

Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him,
Sometimes with my words.
At other times with my silence, behavior and choices.
Like Perer, I have been guilty of denying Him.
Perhaps you are too.
Thanks be to God, we can all be certain that,
no matter what we have done,
the same forgiveness,
redemption,
and restoration that Peter was given,
is also available to us.