FIRST – A five-minute-friday post

This little musing is linked up over at katemotaung.com with many other bloggers who participate in this fun writing exercise called “Five-Minute-Friday”.

For the next 5 minutes, I will be writing on the first Five-Minute-Friday word of 2016.  That word is:

FIRST

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When I discovered that the word for this #fiveminutefriday was FIRST, two things immediately came to my mind.  The “first” one was my son.  My FIRST born.  He will be 17 this weekend.  Wow!  Hard to believe that I’ve been a mom for 17 years.  I was thinking of all the things that come with having a child.  There are tons of “first” moments that can never be repeated.  At least not with that particular child.  My favorite “first” for my little…..okay, not so little anymore guy was his very first lollipop.

He was just a barely 2 months old.  My dad, who had cancer at the time, had been in the hospital since my son was born.  Dad was home and we went to visit.  It was a tradition in my dad’s family that the grandfather introduced the little one to a lollipop.  So, my dad did.  As you can see in the photo below, that “first” taste of sweetness brought a precious smile and an even more precious moment.

first lollipop

That memory, thinking of all the “first” things that happen in a child’s life, immediately took me to a passage that I read this week as I have begun a reading plan to go through the Bible in a year.  Matthew 6:25-35 is a beautiful passage about being anxious.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

A new baby…just like a new year can come with new experiences…things that we will worry and lose sleep over.  But the Lord tells us not to be anxious.  We read that He cares enough to clothe the grass and if He cares that much for a blade of grass, won’t He also take care of us.  The beginning of verse 33 gives us a very important “first”.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,…

(STOP)

I ran out of time {smile} but do feel the need to finish.  Seeking the Lord FIRST in all we do, is the key to living our lives as He created us to.  My prayer this year is that as I face the good and the bad that I will seek Him and His ways.

Joy to You!

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In The Light

I am NOT a morning person.  Never have been and I seriously doubt that I ever will be.  I’m so convinced of this that my morning mantra is that if God wanted me to see the sunrise; He would certainly let it come up later.  {smile}

That being said, I also love my son very much.  He is growing up into a godly young man, taking on responsibilities like learning to drive and getting a job.  This is where me NOT being a morning person comes in.  My grown-up boy is now a lifeguard at our local YMCA.  When he accepted the job, one of the things we knew up front was that one, or two, mornings a week he would work the 5 to 9 AM shift.  Yes, I said 5 AM.  For those of you who don’t get up that early, the sun is definitely not up at that time.

Anyway, he has to be at the Y by 4:50.  And I am his primary transportation to work right now.

My car was in the shop last week so at 4:45 AM we hopped in my husband’s truck to head to the Y.  We drove there and after bidding my boy goodbye, I headed back home.  As I was driving, I took note that there really isn’t anyone out at this time of the morning.  And then, I saw blue lights behind me.  The speed limit right through town is 25 mph and I knew for a fact that I was not speeding.  I couldn’t imagine why I was being pulled over.

I stopped and greeted the officer as he came to the window.  Turns out I knew him as he often visits our church.  I asked him if there was a problem and he asked me if I realized that I was driving with no headlights.  I was literally dumbfounded.  He was, of course, right.  My headlights were not on.

I explained that I don’t often drive my husband’s truck and that the lights are automatic in my car so I never thought to check them.  He gave me a verbal warning and told me to have a nice day.  Grace given in the wee hours of the morning.  So thankful for that!!

I turned on my headlights and drove home.  As I crawled back in bed to sleep for another hour or so, I kept asking myself how I could’ve driven with no headlights.  Then I realized – the short distance between our house and the Y is lined with bright streetlights.  Even in our neighborhood, there isn’t a place on the route that there is real darkness.  I was brought to tears thinking of the protection that the Lord had afforded us that morning.  After all, it is dangerous to drive without headlights in the dark hours of the night/morning.

Then it hit me that I often live my life the very same way.  I roll along on the light devotions, a good sermon, verses posted on Facebook or Pinterest, or even just by opening the Bible and reading a Psalm a day.  I can get caught up in checking that off my list and not having any real illumination of truth.

This got me to thinking about how I read and study my Bible.  There are probably hundreds, maybe even thousands, of reading plans.  There are tons of tips on studying the Bible, ways to memorize Scripture, etc., etc.

The Bible says:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~ Psalm 119:105

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. ~ Psalm 119:130

God’s Word is light.  It is our road map…our GPS.  We can bask in the “light” of those other things – the good sermon, the devotion book on our nightstand, the Psalm a day.  But to REALLY live in the light, we have to be in it.  We have to read and study.

There is nothing wrong with a good devotional or a Bible study course.  Just remember that they are written by someone and will have the opinion of the author.  The Scripture holds the ultimate opinion.  One we can’t go wrong with.

I’ve started writing down key verses that really speak to me as I am reading.  That’s how I learn, by writing things down.  If I am using a devotional, I write down key comments from the author of the devotion.   Because of the influence of my friend Candace I often pray the scripture that I am focusing on.  You can read more about that over at His Mercy Is New under “praying the scriptures” section on her site.

What I’m trying to say in my ramblings is be in His Word…in His Light.  Don’t roll down the road of life believing that you are where you need to be.  God wants to constantly, consistently be seeking after Him.

My prayer is that I am more and more intentional about studying His word.

Until next time…Joy to You!

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2013…..A Review

2014
I think it’s good to look back and see how the year that is ending went.
To see if the goals set were accomplished.
To decide if goals should be set for the coming year.
I’ll start this retrospect by saying that I ended 2013 feeling more like a failure than a success.  Why?  Well, I am not really sure.  I just can’t put my finger on it.  Maybe it will come to me eventually and maybe not.  I really just cannot dwell on it…or I guess I will for at least the length of this post.
My “word of the year” for 2013 was DILIGENT.  I had a few areas that I wanted to be more diligent in and as I review them, I can see small steps to success and giant leaps to…well, less than success!
I thought of listing those areas here, giving an update, saying why/how I feel I succeeded OR why/how I feel I failed but the reality is that that would just make this all about me.
And well……I just don’t want it to be all about me.  You can click here to read my original post if you like.  Maybe you feel you need to be more DILIGENT in 2014.  If so, these maybe just the areas that you need to work on too.
I have selected a word for 2014.  It kind of goes along with being diligent because if I am diligent, this will happen.  I’ll write about that in the near future.
For now, I will say good-bye to 2013.  A year full of joy and sorrow.  A year with much laughter and tears.  A year where I was blessed to love and be loved by my family.  A year where I spent time with wonderful friends.   A year that I am so thankful the Lord allowed me to live.
Happy New Year
&
Joy To You!

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What I Learned……….

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And need to apply!
 
We attended the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention in Nashville, TN almost two weeks  ago.  The thing I love most about Teach Them Diligently is that even though it is a convention for homeschool families, their focus is on discipling our children and on building a strong home for Christ.  
 
Today, I have been reading back over my notes from the sessions I attended and thought that I would share them here.  These words of wisdom from the speakers can be applied to any home, family, Christ follower.  They are not just about homeschooling.
 
 Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis said, “Why isn’t the church affecting the world anymore?”  He also said that “we need to capture our children for God.”
 
Heidi St. John of The Busy Mom spoke of REAL LIFE.  The “I”  in this acrostic really stuck out to me.  She said, “Invest in what matters most.  These things are: grow in your relationship with Christ, nurture your marriage, disciple your children.”
 
Todd Friel of Wretched Radio said,  “the gospel boils down to this:  I am a horrible sinner and Jesus is an amazing savior.”  Wow!!!
He also pointed out “that no one can sin against us worse than we have already sinned against God.”  This puts all those hurt feelings, all the bitterness and resentment into perspective for me.
 
Rachael Carman of His Sunflower spoke on having a H.E.A.R.T for our kids.   She said, “to have a heart for our children, we MUST have a heart for God and the things of God.”
 
I have pages and pages of notes.  These are just a few that have resonated with me since the convention.  I pray that you will find encouragement in these too.
 
  Joy to You!
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D is for ………..

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DILIGENT

It’s my word for the year.  You can see my post about it here.  The definition for diligent is:

Steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious; not idle or negligent

Here are a few verses that give us an idea what the Bible says about being diligent:

So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God. (Joshua 23:11 NAS)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 NAS)

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble (2 Peter 1:10 NAS)

Since April is upon us and the year is quickly going by this seems a perfect opportunity to do a pulse check on how I’m doing.  My progress is mixed.  In some of the areas I listed in my January post, I have been successful and in others, well……..I am successfully failing.

Here are the areas that I targeted in January:

  • My time with the Lord ~ I’m doing pretty good with this one, but I will admit that I miss on ocassion.
  • Scripture Memory ~ I continue to attempt to memorize 100 verses in 2013.  These verses come from the book  100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart by Robert J. Morgan.  Since I am confessing, I’ll go ahead and admit that I am a little behind with my memorizing.
  • Our homeschooling ~ Being organized was the big challenge for this one.  I‘ve pretty much failed up to this point but I have a renewed sense of determination and am working hard on getting caught up.
  • Patience ~ I think that maybe I’m doing okay with this one but I’m not 100% sure.
  • Keeping my home ~ Some weeks I succeed.  Some weeks I successfully fail!!!
  • Health and healthy eating ~ This is a toss up.  I am exercising some, drinking more water than in the past, and paying attention to what I cook for my family but I know I could do better.
  • Relationships ~ I am sure I could be doing better on letting my family and friends know that I love and care about them.

As the year goes on, I will press forward with my effort to be diligent in all things.

Click HERE to see what others are “Blogging through the Alphabet” about for the letter D over at Ben and Me.

Joy to You!

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And the word is……………

Last year I decided to select a word for the year.  My word for 2012 was CONFORM.  My goal was to conform more to the likeness of Christ.
 
Did I reach my goal?  Did I CONFORM more to the likeness of Christ?  I think in some ways I did.  And I know in some ways, I did not.
 
 I began thinking of IF I even wanted to select a word this year.  At first I thought it best not to.  After all, it’s really just one more thing to have in the back of my mind.  One more thing from the New Year that I can’t accomplish.  Then I was having a conversation with my son and he said that this year he knows that he needs to be more diligent in his schoolwork, practicing his violin, and several other things.  Later that night I was recounting the conversation and it hit me.  I also need to be DILIGENT.
 
The next morning I decided to do a little research.  What does DILIGENT really mean?  What does the Bible have to say about being DILIGENT?
 
The definition, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is:
Steady in application to business; constant in effort or exertion to
accomplish what is undertaken; assiduous; attentive; industrious;
not idle or negligent
 
What does the Bible have to say about being DILIGENT?  There are several verses but the one that stood out the most to me is 2 Peter 3:14 (ESV).  It says:

 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to                                      be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

That was it!  I want to be found by Him “without spot or blemish, and at peace.”

So, this year I will strive to be

DILIGENT in:

  • My time with the Lord ~ it should be the first thing I do in the mornings and the last thing I do before I go to sleep
  • Scripture Memory ~ I’m reading 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart by Robert J. Morgan.  There’s a Facebook group that you can join to help in memorizing the 100 verses in a year recommended to me by my friend Marcy.  So I joined and am going to try
  • Our homeschooling ~ Organized is probably a better word but diligence will bring about organization for me
  • Patience ~ with myself and others.  Especially others and especially my sweet husband and my kids
  • Keeping my home ~ I firmly believe that being a wife and a mother is my calling from the Lord and so I need to fulfill my calling
  • Health and healthy eating ~ I need to exercise and my family needs to eat better.
  • Relationships ~ both near and far……….with family and friends.  It’s my responsibility to be sure that those I care about know that I care about them.

I am sure there are more things that I can and will, hopefully, be diligent about and I’ll write about it along the way.

I’d love to hear if you have a word for this year that you are concentrating on.  If you need some inspiration on choosing a word, my friend Marcy over at Ben and Me highlighted 50 friends and their word for the year.  Stop by her site and get inspired!

Joy to You!

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