Five Minute Friday: Privilege

privilege

Giving to our brothers and sisters who are poor. Do we see doing so as a privilege? The Corinthian church did. Paul testified of them, “For I can verify that they spontaneously gave, not only according to their means but far beyond what they could afford. They actually begged us for the privilege of sharing in this ministry of giving to God’s holy people who are living in poverty. They exceeded our expectations by first dedicating themselves fully to the Lord and then to us, according to God’s pleasure” (2 Corinthians 8:3-5, TPT). “They actually begged for the privilege of sharing in this ministry of giving to God’s holy people who are living in poverty.” “They actually begged for the privilege of sharing in this ministry of giving to God’s holy people who are living in poverty.” How incredible is that.

I think the key to their incredible generosity lies in the fact that before they give of their substance, they first dedicated themselves fully to the Lord. Before they give of their substance, they first dedicated themselves fully to the Lord. (End of 5 minutes). When we have fully surrendered and continue to live lives of full surrender to God, I believe it is easy to see giving as a privilege. A surrendered life is a life of stewardship. Persons who are fully surrendered to the Lord and continue to live lives of full surrender understand that they are stewards, not owners. They understand the truth of 1 Chronicles 29:14 (VOICE), “All our offerings come from You, so we can give You nothing that isn’t already Yours.” When we habitually struggle internally with an opportunity to give, especially sacrificially, could it be an indication that we have slipped from the mindset of a steward to that of an owner and that a fresh surrender to God is needed?  Father, may we be cheerful givers, people who see giving to those in need as a privilege.

FMF

I am participating in a weekly writing adventure (on a Sunday) with the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s prompt is, “Privilege.” 

Advertisements

Five Minute Friday: Surrender

Surrender

“Resist” – to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat. “Resist” – to withstand the force or effect of.

“Resist.” It has been described as “a battle cry” for many who oppose the current administration and the hashtag #resist has been trending on social media for more than 12 months.

Children of the Most High are to resist unjust laws and stand up for those who are powerless and lack our privileges. We must remember however, that our first place of resistance must always be in the spiritual realm. We are told in Ephesians 6:11-13 that, “We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.” We are also given instructions for battle including this, “Therefore you must wear the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power…” (End of 5 minutes)

Our ability to resist “the unseen power that controls this dark world,” beings with surrender. Total, ongoing surrender to our Father.

“Sin is a dethroned monarch; so you must no longer give it an opportunity to rule over your life, controlling how you live and compelling you to obey its desires and cravings. So then, refuse to answer its call to surrender your body as a tool for wickedness. Instead, passionately answer God’s call to keep yielding your body to him as one who has now experienced resurrection life! You live now for his pleasure, ready to be used for his noble purpose. Remember this: sin will not conquer you, for God already has! You are not governed by law but governed by the reign of the grace of God” (Romans 6:12-14, TPT).

“But he continues to pour out more and more grace upon us. For it says,
God resists you when you are proud
but continually pours out grace when you are humble.’
So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you” (James 4:6-7, TPT).

In the Stark Trek franchise, the Borg told those they intended to assimilate, “Resistance is futile.” Sometimes, as we are bombarded by news of recurring atrocities in the world, the forces of evil can seem insurmountable. In addition, sometimes in our personal lives, after repeated failures in a specific area, we can be tempted by the evil one to believe, “Resistance is futile.” That is a lie. Resisting evil is never futile. Think of the concept of resistance training. Also referred to as “strength training or weight training,” resistance training, is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.”

The last sentence is worth repeating, “When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger.” Restated in spiritual terms, “When you engage in spiritual resistance repeatedly and consistently, your spiritual muscles will become stronger.” Let us repeatedly and consistently surrender to our Father, and repeatedly and consistently resist the evil one. And let us resist from the place of victory won for us by the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the One who led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8, AMP). And the knowledge that, even when we are at our weakest, our God, “always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2 Corinthians 2:14, AMP). Surrender and resist!

FMF

I am participating in a weekly writing adventure with the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s prompt is, “Surrender.” Links were added after the five minute window closed. The definitions for “Resist” are from http://www.merriam-webster.com. The definition of “Resistance Training” is from www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.

Five Minute Friday: Intentional

intentional (1).png

“Intentional” – done by intention or design. “Intention” – a determination to act in a certain way.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” He spoke light into existence, separating the light from the darkness. Making day and night. He spoke a vault called sky into existence, separating water from water. Caused dry land to appear, creating land and seas.

He spoke to the land and it bore vegetation. He made two great lights, one to govern the day, the other to govern the night. And He spoke to the waters and living creatures sprung to life. And birds filled the skies.

Then He said, “Let us make mankind in our own image, in our likeness.” And He did so. And then there was intentional disobedience. And a promise made – “Her Seed will fatally bruise your head.” “A Child will be born and a Son will be given.” And a promise kept.

“We also were chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plans and purpose” (Ephesians 1:11, NIRV). Our God is intentional.

 

I am participating in a weekly writing adventure with the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s prompt is, “Intentional.” Scripture links were added after the five minute window closed. The definitions for “Intentional” and “Intent” are from http://www.merriam-webster.com.

FMF

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Simplify

Simplify

Mark Zuckerberg and his crew give us 9 options for describing our relationship status on Facebook. One of them is, “It’s complicated.” Complicated. Yes. Relationships, life itself can feel very complicated. But there are these instructions in Ecclesiastes 12:14 that seem to simply life and relationships. “When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is Almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person” (AMP).

What are His commandments? The website, God’s Word First, states there are not 10 but 613 commandments in the Old Testament Law. Six hundred and thirteen! But Jesus simplifies it all for us by highlighting two. This is the summary: 1) “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and 2) “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-41). Later, in his final extended conversation with his disciples before His crucifixion, He said this, /“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another” (John 13:34, AMP).  

He did not only give this commandment, He made it possible for us to love as He loves by abundantly pouring out His love within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5, AMP). In addition, the qualities of love are spelled out for us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (AMP):

4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

8 Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]… 13 And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

Combined, the truths in Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 22:26-41 and John 13:34,  paraphrased could read, “This is what is most important, fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is Almighty God] and keep His commandments; that is, “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and love others as Jesus loves you.” Life and relationships simplified./

FMF

I am participating in the Five Minute Friday community’s weekly writing adventure, hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s prompt is “Simplify.” The content between the // was written after 5 minutes expired.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Motivate

motivate

Motivate – to give (someone) a reason for doing something; to be a reason for (something). This week’s prompt encourages self-reflection. What motivates me? What is my reason for doing what I do? A clear instruction is given in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (NIV).

I read the verses and responded with, “What? Do you mean it is not enough that I do something without complaining? You mean I have to do everything with my whole heart? I am going to need help, Abba, but You know that and have given me the Holy Spirit.// Also, hidden in these verses is a key – when I do  what I do, as unto You, the One who became flesh for me because of love, I can do whatever You require of me, with my whole heart. A response to Your incomprehensible love. So it is not that I have to. It is a privilege to serve You with all I am.//

FMF

I am participating in the Five Minute Friday community’s weekly writing adventure, hosted by Kate Motaung. This week’s prompt is “Motivate.” The content between the // was written after 5 minutes expired.

Advent Day 13 & FMF: Different

Peace (7)

“Prince of Peace.” This is one of the names given to You, the Child who was born and the Son who was given (Isaiah 9:6).

And You give this assurance through the prophet Isaiah, “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You – in both inclination and character]. Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Further, You instruct us through the apostle Paul, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests know to God. And the peace of God [that peace which] reassures the heart, [that peace which] transcends all understanding, [that peace which]  stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours] (Philippians 4:6-7, AMP). And this peace that You give, this gift of peace, is different from the peace that the world gives. It is not fragile or dependent on circumstances. It endures because it is based in You the Prince of Peace.

~~~

FMF

This post was written for Day 13 of the Advent 2017 series and for Five Minute Friday.

Advent Day 7 and Five Minute Friday: Only

hope (6)

Hope – someone or something on which hopes are centered.

“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him.” (Psalm 62:5, VOICE). Hope – someone or something on which hopes are centered.

“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him.” “I hope only in Him.” “Hope only in Him.”

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure” (Romans 8:25, AMP). “My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only Him.”

“…we also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we  suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness” (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE). “Hope and anticipate God’s goodness.”

“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him.” “Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen“ (Hebrews 11:1, TPT).

“My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him.” Hope only in Him.

FMF

This post was written for Day 7 of the Advent 2017 series and for Five Minute Friday. The definition for “Hope” is from merriam-webster.com.