And, at long last, I am finally doing a blog post again. Wow time goes fast!
So this post will be a quickie, a five minute Friday link up with Kate Motaung.
And it's on the word crave.
There are many things I get cravings for. Some are smaller... chocolate, a chai tea latte, sunshine, a hug, a chat with a friend...
And some are more substantial... financial security, a sense of belonging, a healed heart, the chance to fulfill dreams...
The smaller things are much easier to come by, but they are also very brief. The larger things may be available for a season, and are wonderful while they last, but these can prove to be temporary as life brings changes.
Is there such a thing as a craving that can be fully and forever satisfied?
The good news is yes, yes indeed there is. The deepest longings of the heart, the desire for joy, peace and wholeness that can be had during any circumstance, can be found in the God who made your heart.
I have been through a lot and I can attest to the truth of this. When I seek God's presence, when I praise Him no matter the situation, that is where I find every craving satisfied.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." -- Matthew 11:28, NASB
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." -- Romans 15:13, NASB
"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him." -- Psalm 62:5, ESV
Time for a Five Minute Friday finally! (http://katemotaung.com/2016/08/11/five-minute-friday-lift/)
I keep meaning to post more.... but either things come up, or I am too tired or the juices just won't flow........
Anyways, here goes five minutes on: LIFT
Oooh this word has possibilities! What direction to take?
Hmm, well perhaps the best starting place is a verse:
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:1-3 (ESV)
Though I am in the rather flat Red River Valley, this is the first verse that comes to mind. It is one that has always given me comfort and pointed me in the right direction faith-wise.
While I have neither mountains nor hills as a physical reference point, there have certainly been many nonphysical ones. And if I recall this verse when I look at those, that helps me remember to look at God instead. When I lift my eyes to God, He reminds me that He is more powerful still... strong enough to save, and tender enough to love me through to the other side, holding me while I wait.
Oh yes, that waiting valley... God has moved more than one mountain for me, but never as quick as I would like.
...But that waiting is where faith is forged... in the waiting when the questions come... the wrestling and the wondering... in the waiting God can seem so far...
...But when hope is clung to after the questioning is through, when eyes are lifted to God and feet are standing on His promises, even when that does not feel true...
God will show just how mighty and faithful He is, and what was weakness becomes deep strength.
I know this full well from experience. I have dealt with mighty mountains... thankfully God proved mightier.
I have been unemployed twice, and that was rough. But the roughest was divorce. And God is still helping me through that as it was only five months ago.
As I lift my eyes to God, He has been lifting me... out of what ifs and whys and into peace... out of bitterness and into forgiveness... out of brokeness and into wholeness...
It is a healing process, but I am uplifted by the friends God sends my way, and by God Himself.
Finally a month later, another Five Minute Friday! ..... Technically, its very very early Saturday........ but I have not gone to sleep yet so for me it is still Friday. :)
The word is Protect.
The first thing that came to mind upon seeing "protect" was the idea of protecting the heart... thoughts, attitudes and perceptions...
There is this idea found in Proverbs 4:23 --
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life."
Biblically, the heart involves the mind, will and emotions... so all that encompasses should be "protected" intentionally - as much as is possible anyway. It is certainly not easy, especially with emotions.
But as what happens in the heart influences attitude and leads to action - the "springs of life" - guarding it is very important.
I want springs of life that are clean and pure... that resemble a joyful, nourishing, fresh mountain stream... that are life-giving to me and those around.
How does that come about? Well there are several verses to that effect... two of the best, or at least my favorites, are:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
It starts with the thinking... the right kind of thoughts lead to a sense of peace, calm, joy... which lead to actions rooted in care, wisdom and rationality.
I have been shifting to a more positive focus, rooted in God's promises and His love, and I notice I am much happier and better off for it. That does not mean I am in "Lala Land" or am out of touch with reality - I remain fully aware of responsibilities, obligations, and needs that have to be met. But I am trusting God instead of wasting worry on matters. I am figuring out when I just need to wait on God to act, and when and what I need to act on. It takes practice... it's a process... but thankfully God is patient and faithful as I continue to keep a check on my attitude.
And it's time for another Five Minute Friday post! Linking up with katemotaung.com. The word is HAVEN.
1, 2, 3, GO:
Haven is one of those words that sounds like what it is... it is like a peaceful exhale of breath when saying it softly...
Haven... security... safety... shelter... refuge...
What a lovely word!
For me, a haven is where peace can be found, and healing can happen. Chains are undone and wings of joy unfurled.
I have two kinds of havens - one based in the physical, one in the spiritual... one tangible, one beyond normal reach.
The physical is found in the listening ears, the encouraging words and loving arms of family and friends. To be heard, understood, validated and lifted up by people I fully trust... it breathes life into broken areas, it soothes and strengthens... brings smiles and laughter... and firmer footing through reminders of the truth.
The spiritual is found in my faith - not religion, but a relationship with the God of the universe... with Jesus, the Son, and the Spirit... God's presence brings a peace like no other. A relationship with God means He is always available, always understands, and always comforts. When I call on Him, He pours love and joy into heart beyond description.
There are seasons when God feels far away, but I know He is still with me, and after coming out of those, the sense of His presence suddenly is back in a flood of sweet renewal like water after a desert journey, and that is when I realize the strength and grace He gave me all along.
...And God is so good, that though He might feel far away and His haven unreachable, He sends His love through the haven I find in friends and family. And eventually... the wilderness ends and I am enfolded once again in God's haven.
I can go through anything and come through stronger, be renewed, and have all the broken pieces knit together and healed by running to my haven.
One more thing.... this is after the five minutes, but inspired by "Haven" and still a rough draft...
Healing in the Haven
Searching for safe harbor
amidst the stormy seas
Where is the calm
Where is the peace
The exhale of a breath
A cry for calm
A plea for peace
A whispered prayer
A waiting heart
Then a stir in the air
Love is outpoured
From the author of love
The God who holds the world
This God holds my heart
and sends His healing touch
throughout every part
Every part of my being
is becoming renewed
as I am being healed
In God’s haven
I am forever sealed
Psalm 73:28 (NASB)
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge
Psalm 94:22 (NASB)
But the Lord has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge.
Isaiah 26:3 (AMP)
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].
One of these days I will actually post more often... but that could be awhile as busy season is about to start at work which means overtime, and summer has arrived which means yard work... and when I'm not working at my job or in the yard, I intend to enjoy the lovely weather before winter is back, walking, biking, and heading to the lakes. :)
Anyways..... this post is another Five Minute Friday.
Here goes five minutes on the word EXPECT.
1, 2, 3... GO.
Expect feels like such a weighty word... but three main things come to mind: 1) expectations change; 2) the unexpected often happens; 3) what can be expected from God.
According to Merriam-Webster, expect is: to think that something will probably or certainly happen. : to think that (someone or something) will arrive or that (something) will happen. : to consider (something) to be reasonable, required, or necessary.
Synonyms: anticipate, await, look for, hope for, look forward to; suppose, presume, think, believe, imagine, assume, surmise
When I was a little girl, I believed that I could step into the world of make-believe and be anything, do anything... and I assumed there would always be a prince to rescue me if I needed help.
As I got older, I anticipated adulthood, excited about the possibilities and freedoms that I supposed came with growing up...
... and then reality awakened me to the fact that being an adult is not nearly as exciting and freeing as it appears from the lenses of childhood. And I just hoped that I could find a career that I could settle into, and perhaps start a family of my own.
During childhood, I certainly never would have expected to be where I am. I would not have believed all the storms that God has brought me through.
I did not expect having to go through unemployment twice.
I did not expect to be married four years then be divorced as of two months ago.
I did not expect the amazing friends God would send my way and the family support He has blessed me with. I did not expect the wonderful feeling of closeness, of peace in God's loving presence.
And now... I expect that God will take care of me, that He will continue to love me, that He will bring healing and wholeness, and that He will keep His promises.
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21
Wow......... over a year....... and I'm finally back to blogging...
And to kick off the close of the long hiatus, I am joining up with Five Minute Friday (http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/ ) - a five minute free write inspired by one word, which in this instance is: EASY.
So... here goes...
Easy... I wanted to chuckle at that word choice... at the irony. That has been the farthest thing from reality, and what I have been craving most.
Seas have been stormy indeed. I have been tossed about and lost all sight of the shoreline. There was only wind and waves...
However, I was often so distracted by the waves that I missed the One walking on them.
Life has not been easy... but now that the seas have at last started to calm, and light is visible through the clouds, I realize that God was indeed there with me, watching over me, but the storm had to run its course. And if I had realized it then, I could have found more peace in the midst of it.
Thankfully, God is very patient with me, and is proving again and again that He really is good, and He really does keep His promises, though it may involve painful waiting.
Life is not always easy, but God is always good.
And it really is true that through the hardest lessons, the most is learned, and strength is forged.
"I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you.
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you."
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Well, it has been quite awhile! Too long... way too long...
Anyway, I'm finally posting again, and it's an FMF (five minute Friday), linking up with http://katemotaung.com/
The word is "Send"
On the heels of the holidays, the first thing that I think of when I hear "send" is the amazing grace God sent to the world when Jesus came as a baby.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17
God sent salvation, restoration, deliverance... for all who repent and believe...
That definitely tops any other gift in history that has ever been, or ever will be, sent.
But God sent more than just a free ticket to heaven...
In John 14:16 Jesus told his disciples, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever." (Amplified Bible)
For those who believe in Jesus, they receive not only eternal life but God sends His Holy Spirit who is always present with the believer, as it says in the verse above, to comfort, strengthen, advocate...
As Jesus said in John 10:10, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The Holy Spirit empowers those who belong to God to have that abundant life.
And to take it another step further with this "sent" idea...
God sends us who are His to share with the world what He offers and what He has done.
"Then said Jesus to them again, 'Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.' "
So send I you ...
We have been sent the ultimate gift, the miracle of grace, a reservoir of strength and peace to reach into, a place to turn for guidance... us Christians who haven taken hold of that gift should -- and in fact are instructed to do so -- spread this light of truth.
I know I often lose sight of that fact, of the astounding weight of what I've been given.... I need to take my eyes off myself, off of ordinary routine ruts, off of problems, and on to God and how I can thank and serve Him by sharing His gift.
........And it's time for another FMF (Five Minute Friday) (link: http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/23/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-24-dare/ ) ....... seems these are all I have time for posting lately! I must remedy that.... Anyway, this FMF is ....................................................................... DARE.
(Inspired by Matthew 14:22-33)
I can hear Jesus calling me,
challenging me, encouraging me,
"Step over the rising waters,
take my hand, and dare to be free.
Dare to give me your trust
when you fall face first in the dust.
Dare to love and serve
when you've worn out every nerve.
Dare to see blessings
when it seems you have nothing.
Dare to hold tight to my side
when life is a roller-coaster ride.
Dare to reach for your dreams
no matter how far they seem.
Dare to believe my promises are true
and that I have a never-ending love for you
Dare to find your peace,
your strength, your joy,
your hope, your every need
And as you do this,
you are daring to be set free.
For when you dare to step out
over crashing waves to grasp my hand,
chains of fear, insecurity and doubt
will break open as I lead you to land.
Dare to come to me,
for I have the keys you need.
Dare to rest in my love,
O my beloved one.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
There is something fascinating about "new."
Whether it's a kid with a new toy, an adult with a new car, a college grad moving to a new town, or parents expecting a new baby...
...from trying new food to a new job...
...from a new hairdo to a new house...
With anything new there's a mix of emotions involved -- a thrill of anticipation, a chill of fear, a surge of happiness, a rush of excitement, a sense of wonder.
Each new thing has these emotions in varying degrees, but even a simple new thing brings at least a small measure of emotional energy. This is the first common thread among "newness."
What is the other common thread?
Think about it. What happens after some time passes? Does something that is new stay new?
By its very definition, something that's new cannot remain new. The new wears off and it becomes familiar. And the emotions tend to fade along with the newness.
At a glance, this is no different with the Christian experience.
As a new believer in Christ, after realizing who I am and who God is and putting my faith in Him alone, I was so excited and “on fire for God” as the expression goes. I had such a thirst for knowledge and such a passion for growing in faith and following God.
But then that wore off. The routines and busyness of life set in and crowded out all that energy and zeal. And now sometimes God is just part of the routine, and sometimes I just ignore Him because I get too busy, or because it seems like too much work.
Every so often there is a spark of renewal – brought on by a retreat, a touching sermon, a deep discussion at bible study… but then the kindling for that burns out as well.
But that is not how it should be for those following the God that the Bible presents.
The God of the Bible is about more than just a ticket into heaven -– yes, if you repent and believe in Him you will be guaranteed to go to heaven, but God wants to give you more than that –- He wants to see your life changed, renewed, on this side of heaven.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The apostle Paul wrote, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)
Every day is an opportunity for an adventure with God. Something new to learn, a way to grow, a chance to share His love. If I could wake up in the morning and have this attitude, and ask God to guide me and be mindful of Him through the day, I would never be bored from the ordinary, nor overwhelmed by the busyness. Rather, I would be "staying new".
Staying new –- it may seem like an oxymoron, but with God all things are possible. And He is all about making things new.
In fact, as a Christian I am called to "put on the new self" (Colossians 3:1). God has made me new, and that is more than just a one time deal; it is an ongoing process. Each new day is a chance to be renewed -- as long as I "stay new" by abiding in Christ.
Linking with http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/02/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-3-new/ for five minute friday (although with this I believe I went a bit beyond five minutes... I was on such a roll!)
So this is my first time doing a five minute friday linkup... a free write for five minutes. (http://katemotaung.com/2014/09/11/five-minute-friday-ready-and-a-challenge/) I'm not the best with free writes, but here goes. The prompt is "ready" ... so ready set go!
It never ceases to amaze me that God is always ready, always waiting for me.
I don’t have to be good enough. I don’t have to strive harder. I don’t need to follow a list of prescribed behavior.
When I am following Him, reading His Word regularly, listening to His voice, He is ready and waiting.
When I mess up, He is still ready and waiting.
When I ignore Him, He remains ready and waiting.
When I make mistakes, He is ready and waiting.
When I am ready to confess and repent, He is ready to forgive and extend grace and love.
I am so thankful that while I am far from perfect, I belong to a God who loves me, no matter what.
A God of unconditional love, unconditional readiness. A God who waits steadfastly. A God who always has open arms to run into.
I love the song When God Ran by Phillips, Craig and Dean (for full lyrics click here), it paints a beautiful picture of this concept.
I was so ashamed, all alone, and so far away.
But now I know, that He's been waiting for this day...
I saw Him run to me,
He took me in His arms,
Held my head to his chest,
Said "My son's come home again!"
Lifted my face,
Wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice
I felt his love for me again.
It is never too late to run to God.
Psalm 36:7 - How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 40:11 - As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 145:18 - The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
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Hi, I am Angela, and welcome to my blog. I am a woman trying to rise above the tides of this life, seeking to grow closer to God and share His love in the process.