Day 4: Listen

“How well do you listen?” Do I hear you say, “It depends?” Me too. Factors such as interest level, internal noise, external distractions, physical ability, etc. can impact how well we listen. But listening well, giving someone our undivided attention is one of the most precious gifts we can give. It is one of the ways we communicate to others that they are valued.

In our relationship with God, learning to listen well to Him also communicates the importance we ascribe to Him. It also has implications for the quality of our very lives. Hear His words in Isaiah 55:3, “Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life,  for I will make a covenant with you that cannot be broken, a promise Of My enduring presence and support like I gave to David” (Isaiah 53:5, VOICE). In John 10:27 (AMP), Jesus said that His followers (referred to here as sheep) both hear and listen to His voice. He has given us this ability but we have to develop it. Please share in the comments what has helped you to grow in your ability to hear and listen  to God.

This post is for Day 4 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge. The theme of my series is, “Season,” based on the definition, “make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used.” Please click here to find the Table of Contents and links to other posts in the series.

Day 3: Problem

Have you ever surprised yourself by how you responded to a problem? I have and the surprise, more often than not, is unpleasant. God, however, is never surprised and uses problems to reveal to us what He has always known.

It can be a humbling experience to discover our weakness but God’s intent is not to embarrass us. His plan for us is stated in Romans 8:29, “For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers” (AMP).

He also uses problems to reveal Himself to us (think of Hagar in Genesis 16) and teach us to trust Him more. Our problems have purpose.

This post is for Day 3 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge. The title of my series is, “Season,” based on the definition, “make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used.” Please click here to find the Table of Contents and links to other posts in the series.

31 Days of Loving Well: Trust

“Those who trust in their own reasoning are fools, but those who walk in wisdom will be kept safe.” (Proverbs 28:26, CEB)

“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (Proverbs 3:5-6, AMP)

“Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in Him also and He will do it. He will make your righteousness [your pursuit of right standing with God] like the light, And your judgment like [the shining of] the noonday [sun].” (Psalm 37:3, 5-6, AMP)

“O Lord of hosts, How blessed and greatly favored is the man who trusts in You [believing in You, relying on You, and committing himself to You with confident hope and expectation].” (Psalm 84:12, AMP)

“Those who trust in and rely on the Lord [with confident expectation] Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever.” (Psalm 125:1, AMP)

“And those who know Your name [who have experienced Your precious mercy] will put their confident trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10, AMP)

//God is trustworthy. He has always been trustworthy and always will be trustworthy. If anyone walked up to me at anytime and asked, “Can God be trusted?” I would answer without hesitation and unequivocally, “Of course He can be trusted. He can be trusted completely.”

And yet there have been times when my trust in Him has wavered, weakened. And I acknowledge that has nothing to do with my Father; my lack of trust or weakened trust has to do with me. My uncertainty that although He can do the impossible, that thing that I am longing for, I am not sure that He will.

And there have been times when He has not answered my prayers the way I wanted Him to. Like when two of my sisters died within a few years of each other. Even after we had prayed in faith and believed.

But I am learning to know my Father better. Learning more of His character. Learning that no matter how much I know, I will always know in part. But finding it to be true that those who know Him will trust Him.//

And to know Him is to love Him and rest in His love and in His good plan for me.  Every time I choose to trust Him even when I do not understand, I am loving Him well.

This post was written for Day 5 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Trust.” To read other posts in the series, please click here or the image below. 

Loving well

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.