Grow ~ A 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Post

Today’s prompt is a little more difficult.  And I’m not really sure why.

Maybe the difficulty is because I have a long list of things to get done before I head out of town for a few days to a conference.  Honestly I feel like my to-do list is GROWING!!!  Or maybe I’m just tired.  I’m not sure but will take a stab at it anyway.

Timer Set…and GO!

Let’s start with the definition:

to increase by natural development, as any living organism or part by assimilation of nutriment; increase in size or substance

to form and increase in size by a process of inorganic accretion, as by crystallization

to arise or issue as a natural development from an original happening, circumstance, or source

As I read the definitions I am processing the word and wondering what it is in my life I would like to GROW?  Here are a few things I came up with:

  • my faith

  • my compassion for others 

  • my knowledge of God’s Word   

  • my ability in my interests / hobbies

  • my confidence to share my faith  

Here’s what I realize as I type this short list, there is only one that I can do by myself — my ability in my interests / hobbies.  And truthfully, I can’t even do that all alone.  But I’d like to focus on the others for a minute…..since that’s about all I have left {smile}

The Bible talks about GROWing in our faith (salvation), in how we love others, in sharing our faith and even in the knowledge of His Word.  Take a look at these verses:

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — (1 Peter 2:2 )

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:3)

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:7)

And then there is the best news of all.  God does not… I repeat does not GROW weary.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary;  his understanding is unsearchable.  (Isaiah 40:28)

And STOP!

So today, I’d encourage you to think for a few minutes about what you would like to GROW in your life.  Ask the Lord to show you specifics.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

 

My landing page for this 31 day series is HERE

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Invite ~ A 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes

It’s Friday again and that means that the word prompt for the Five Minute Friday free write, as part of the Write 31 day challenge, was sent out at 10 pm last night.  I’ll be honest, it’s been a long week and so I didn’t look ahead so that I could consider the topic.  And this one has several directions in my mind:And GO…

Let’s start with the definition, as has been my practice.  To INVITE is:

to request the presence or participation of in a kindly, courteous, or complementary way,

to request politely or formally

to act so as to bring on or render probable

to call forth or give occasion for

to attract, allure, entice, or tempt

Looking at the part of the definition “to request the presence or participation of…” immediately took my mind to Jesus and how He INVITED Zacchaeus to come down from the tree where he sat so that he could see Jesus.  And then, Jesus went to his house for dinner.  He INVITED Himself over.

Admit it, you are singing in your head…..🎶 Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he.  He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see. 🎶  {smile}

The two INVITATIONS in this have always  amazed me.  First, Jesus INVITES Zacchaeus to come to Him.  To leave the place he is in and come to where Jesus is.  He does that with us too.  Jesus INVITES us to spend eternity with Him.  In order for that to be a reality, we have to INVITE Him to live with us.

The second is that Jesus INVITES Himself over.  Now we don’t get INVITATIONS in the mail from Jesus but He does want to be with us all. the. time.   He wants to come to our house — not our street address, although that is a natural byproduct!  He wants to indwell us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

And STOP…

I’ll conclude with a song that I think sums up our INVITING the Holy Spirit to be a part of our lives.  It’s a favorite of mine.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

For a complete listing of all the posts in this 31 day series, click HERE to go to my landing page.

Story ~ A 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Post

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Welcome to day 6 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Challenge.  Today is fun because I didn’t know until 10 pm last night what the prompt would be.  I went to sleep thinking about the word:

And GO……….

When I think of the word STORY, I have three directions that my brain immediately goes.  Yes, I know that makes me sound a little crazy {smile}. The first is the old hymn by Fanny Crosby Blessed assurance.  The chorus goes like this:

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long;

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.

Oh how I want others to say I praised my Savior all the day long when they tell STORIES of me.

Another direction was when my grandmother wasn’t quite sure if I was telling her the truth.  She would say, “are you telling me a story?”  Let me clarify that I did not lie to my sweet Nanny. At least not that I remember {smile}.

Anyway, I digress.  As has been my typical task with the Five Minute Free Write prompts, I first look up the definition of the word and then the synonyms.   The definition of STORY is:

a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.

a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.

The synonyms are in my daily graphic around the word prompt.

The third direction is something given to me awhile back as food for thought and it has changed the way I think about the Bible in relation to STORIES.

All my life, I’ve been told STORIES out of the Bible.  In Sunday School, the teacher would say something like, “Today we will read the STORY of Noah.”  And we have Bible STORY books. I get it.  And in many ways, that is an accurate description…at least according to the one of the definitions of STORY … the Bible is a narrative of true facts.  And it is used to instruct.  There are verses and it can even be amusing.  (I mean I do think our creative God has a sense of humor).  I completely agree with all of that.  And then when you look at the synonyms…it is history, adventure, biography and even tragedy.  But can I ask you a question?

Do you think of referring to the accounts in the Bible as STORIES, makes it seem less important?  Less true?  I had never thought of this.  I grew up in church.  Every Sunday School class, VBS, even most of the Bible studies I’ve attended and gone through refer to them this way.  And then one day, I heard a pastor ask if we are honoring God by referring to His Word as a STORY.

And STOP…

My time is up and I do not want to belabor this topic but I can not stop here so please bear with me.  I really do see the value in expressing to children that we are reading or talking about STORIES from the Bible.  It helps them to understand, especially for very young kids.  But I also want to honor the Lord. So, my prayer as I close is that God’s STORY is honored.  That as believers we don’t water down these accounts to just a tale about people and places that could give anyone reason to doubt that God’s Word is true.  That when I am sharing or teaching others an account of the Bible that I don’t make light of the people and events that took place.  It’s Biblical history.  And it’s part of who we are.

I’ll leave you with something fun that I read – or heard – somewhere that said we should think of the Bible not as just a STORY but as HIS STORY.  Hint:  look at the word HISTORY.

Until tomorrow…Joy to You!

 

For a complete listing of all the posts in this 31 day series, click HERE to go to my landing page.

Refined

Think back to when you gave your heart and life to Christ.  Did you think that it would be easy?  I was 7.  I hadn’t really known struggle or hardship.  At least not what REAL struggle and hardship is.  I sort of floated through life and honestly, I didn’t even understand what it meant to truly live the Christian life.
Fast forward to college and it was more of the same.  School was hard; I have to really study to make good grades.  I was away from home for the first time and I knew no one at my college when I first got there.  I had my heart broken for the first time, both of my grandmothers passed away my Senior year, and time management was hard.  I thought, in my early 20s brain, that these things must be what people meant when they said that life would be difficult sometimes.  After college, the level of difficulty in life waxed and waned.  There was job loss, my father’s cancer and death, more job loss, financial pressures….
You get the idea!  It really never seems to end.  I have a precious friend who says the difficulties in life are just sanctification and refining.  Since I’m 40+ years into my walk with Christ, I know that she is right.
And the fact that scripture tells us that He refines us also confirms it.  In Jeremiah 9: 7, the Lord says:

“Behold, I will refine them and test them, …”

And in Zechariah 13:9 we find these words from the Lord:

And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Here’s the good news.  The result of this “refining” is shared with us in Malachi 3:3 where it is said that those who are refined “will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.”  I love that.  He refines me and out of it comes righteousness in my life that I can offer back to him.

I have no idea the amount of refinement that needs to be done in my life.  But I trust that the Lord knows exactly what I need.  I am being pleasantly surprised that in the testing, in the refining, I find myself a little stronger…a little more brave.  I know that it is His steadfast love holding me up…giving me courage.  Such a blessing!

Sometimes it’s the little refinements that make the most impact.  That might seem crazy but it has proven to be true in my life.  As mentioned in my last post, life in our house is changing.  This changing is proving to be a refining process for me.  I pray that I can offer praise to the Lord for the difficulties as well as the victories as we go.

Until next time.

Joy to You!

ALSO:  As I am tweaking the look and feel of my site, some things are a little odd.  Please bear with me as I am editing and adjusting in preparation to change the look of my blog in the near future.  Thank you in advance.

The Words of My Mouth

When my son was just a little guy, he spouted out a curse word in the middle of Walmart! I was mortified.  I quickly looked around to be sure that no one I knew heard my sweet boy’s words.  15+ years later, I still am not sure how he knew the words most less how to use them in context.

As soon as we got home, I made him eat butter….(which may seem strange but he literally gagged at the taste of butter back then).  After a spoonful of butter and a good explanation from me as to why we don’t use words like that, I went to the Bible looking for a verse that he – and I – could memorize to remind us that our speech should honor the Lord.

This verse has been one that I have never forgotten.  Since he was around 3 at the time, I simplified it for him but I can assure you that over the years, I have reminded him of our learning the meaning of this verse.

Recently I have been reminded of the importance of this verse.  I try not to be careless with my words but sometimes, well…it just happens.  God’s Word tells us that our words are to encourage and lift others up.  The old saying about stick and stones – I just don’t believe it.   But did you know that it’s been around for a very long time? Since 1862!! That’s 155 years of taunting on the playground.  I’m blown away.  Here is the other thing that got me.  It is reported that it first appeared in The Christian Recorder which was a publication of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  Here’s what Wikipedia (I know, please don’t judge me) says about the phrase, “The rhyme persuades the child victim of name-calling to ignore the taunt, to refrain from physical retaliation, and to remain calm and good-natured.”  But it’s just not true. Words hurt!

I just have to say it again…..words HURT!!

Psalm 64 is a plea for protection from an enemy, from the wicked.  But verse 3 speaks the truth of what is on my heart here.  It says “…bitter words like arrows,”.    And when they pierce us like an arrow and forgiveness is sought and given, there are times that those hurtful words are like a branding on our brains and on our hearts.  I have four words that haunt me.  For over twenty years now, these four words have effected me.  And not in a good way.  Because someone who, at one time was very important to me, said something hurtful I struggle with self-esteem. It’s a hard truth for me to type out loud.

I love what Proverbs says about our words.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

~ Proverbs 16:24 ~

Isn’t this what we should strive for?  Giving “sweetness to the soul” of those we love? Of course, there are times that truth, that is hard, must be spoken.  But God’s Word addresses that too!  In Ephesians chapter 4 when Paul is preaching to the church at Ephesus, he shares that “speaking the truth in love” helps us grow towards Christ.

I’m on a journey in this life.  I am not perfect but I praise the Lord for laying things on my heart that I need to give attention to.  The words of my mouth are something I need to pay more attention to.  I need to let my “yes be yes” and my “no be no”.  I need to use my words to give “sweetness to the soul” of others.  And if there are hard things that need to be said, I need to say them “truthfully in love”.

Until next time……

Joy to You!

 

 


NOW ~ A FMF Post

It’s ironic that the Five Minute Friday word of the week is “NOW.”   The irony is that it’s Saturday and I am just writing.  The link-up stays open for a few days and well, I felt like what I have on my heart is worth posting past Friday.

For anyone not familiar with the purpose of Five Minute Friday, Kate Motaung hosts this link-up where many women come together and write about one word – for 5 minutes.   As mentioned, this week’s word is NOW.

Here goes:

In the last 4 months our family has two friends to pass away in their sleep.  Both have left my heart broken.  Not just for the loss of this friend in our lives but for their families who unexpectedly went to their heavenly home….without warning.

Both had a personal relationship with the Lord.  Praise God for that!  I know where they are.  I even kind of envy them.  I mean, can you imagine, Christmas in heaven?  Worshipping at the feet of Jesus for eternity!!! What an eternity it will be.

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Oddly enough, over the past several weeks, our church has been going through Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love.    In one of the chapters, Chan tells of how we never know when God will call us home.  He tells of a man who gave a eulogy at a friend’s funeral and died immediately after he sat down from speaking.  He was at a funeral when he died.  In the eulogy, he told the attenders of the funeral that they need to be ready for the Lord to take them home.  He told them of the importance of accepting Christ.  Then he died.

Last week, we attended the funeral of our second friend who passed away.  The pastor at the funeral clearly presented the gospel.  He shared with the friends and family of our friend that he (our friend) would want every one of them in heaven some day.

(STOP) …. (But, of course, I’m not quite done!)

The time is NOW.  We can not afford to delay sharing with those we love about Jesus.  I’m guilty!  I’m not very vocal about my faith.  I mean I live it out…or at least I try to.  My goal is for others to see Christ in my.  But I’m not perfect! I still mess up.  That’s called sin.  The cool thing is that Jesus continues to offer me grace and mercy.  Daily.  Sometimes minute by minute.

I have no idea how many days the Lord will allow me to walk on this earth but what I do know is that He has me here for a purpose.  And part of that purpose is to share His love with others.  To share the gospel and to walk alongside of new believers.

I pray that I don’t let the opportunity I have NOW slip away.

Joy to You!


This post is linked up with Kate Motaung.  Please hop over and read what others are saying about the word “NOW.”

More Than We Ask Or Imagine

Life has been full of ups and downs for our family over the past 5 months.  My husband is in full time ministry.  And ministry comes with challenges.  One of my dearest friends often says that,

Ministry is never easy or convenient!!

She is right.  The hardest part about full time ministry is that sometimes the Lord’s plans take you to a new ministry.  That is where we are right now.  We have been where we are for 5 years.  We have loved and been loved by a congregation of precious people.  We have had the honor and privilege of being in a strong homeschool community.  We’ve done ministry in our small town and grown to love the people here.

Within the next few weeks, we will move on.  I’ll write more about the details of our new place soon but today, I am overwhelmed at what God has done in our family in the past few months.  We have seen answers to big prayers and small prayers.  I wasn’t surprised by answered prayer.  Just reminded that He hears us and that He does answer.

I’ve been doing a Bible study on prayer and a few weeks back the focus verses were Ephesians 3:20-21.

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I was immediately humbled.  For months I had been asking God for the obvious.  These verses reminded me that He will do more than just the obvious.  He will answer the things I pray for, in His will, and even the things I didn’t know to pray for.  He will answer my needs and sometimes, He may just give me the desire of my heart.  I know all of this…I just really needed the reminder on that particular day.

The last part of these verses stuck out to me.  Three words almost jumped off the page:

“…throughout all generations,…”

This is about my kids.  And my grandchildren.  And my great-grandchildren.  And many more after that.

God wants to show up and show out in our lives so that what He does impacts the lives for generations to come.  That is an incredible thought to me.

Today is Good Friday.  I have no idea what the cry of your heart has been to the Lord.  What I do know is that He desires to give you more than you can imagine.  Think about the disciples.  Even though Jesus had been telling them exactly what was going to happen to Him, I’m not sure they really understood.  And then, they met Him after His resurrection.  Can you imagine what they felt?

I am praying the lives are changed this Easter season. That hearts are turned to the Lord and that those touched will experience more than they ever “asked or imagined” through their life in Christ.  I expect Him to continue to show my family His plan and purpose for us.

What about you?  What do you ask or imagine from the Lord?

Look to the cross and know that He went there for you.  For me.

Joy to You!

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