Try

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Most Fridays, I join Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. All of us writing on that same word.

Today the word prompt is … Try.

In reading the word prompt before heading to bed, one thought went through my head, “I am going to try not to do this one.”

Even as I was drifting off to sleep, I was aware of the word weaving its way into my thoughts. I tried hard to avoid it but somehow, I knew, try as hard as I may, “Try” was going to still be present in the morning.

The early morning hours found me in the usual routine of reading and Bible study. My mind was trying to move on in thought but the word kept on pulling me back. Try ….

“…but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15, NLT)

Try to do good … to attempt or endeavor to do something.

It has to mean even more than what meets the eye. I try to lose weight. I try to keep up with the ironing. Those are trivial things. This, “try to do good”, must mean more.

Pulling my commentary off the nearby shelf I read:

“Try to be kind” fails to convey the urgency and effort implied in Paul’s exhortation … The Christian must actively “pursue” … Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to pursue the good “always”, for “each other” and for “everyone else” as well. (New American Commentary, Volume 33, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, page 180)

Paul knew this was necessary and must be continuous in our lives. We must seek that which is good for one another, those things which will benefit and bless and grow each other in the love of the Lord and for one another.

Today –
let’s try to do good.
To each other and
to all people.

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Today I am joining … Five Minute Friday and Faith Filled Friday and Fellowship Friday and Blessing Counters .

Slow Compassion

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Yesterday I shared about the compassion of Jesus. Jesus felt for those around Him. He was moved by the lost, the hungry, the sick, and those grieving.

And we should be as well.

This morning in my devotional, Streams in the Desert, I read these two words which have provoked much thought – “slow compassion”. The words sunk deeply as they came on the heels of verses read in my earlier morning study time.

Slow compassion >>>

Those things we feel urged to do today but put off:

  • the phone call
  • the card
  • the visit
  • the apology
  • the hug
  • the gift
  • the time
  • the conversation

We stall, for whatever reason, maybe even a good reason. We decide we will do it another day, maybe tomorrow, or after we think it through a little better. The thought remains just a thought, never becoming the action intended. In putting it off, we lose the passion to do it. Slow compassion often leaves us unmoved.

Scripture gives us advice on “tomorrow”:

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life …” (Psalm 90:12, NLT)
“For my days disappear like smoke …” (Psalm 102:3, NLT)
“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.” (Proverbs 27:1, NLT)

In James Chapter 4, James so wisely warns us not to be self-confident in planning or boasting about our accomplishments. And following right after those verses, he writes, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:17, NLT)

And quick as wink, the two came together >

Slow compassion is knowing what to do,

and not doing it.

What is it you are feeling compelled to do today? If you know in your heart you are to do it, do it. Today. Don’t wait.

“Give what you have, for you never know – to someone else it may be better than you can even dare to think.” (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

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Today I am joining … Thought Provoking Thursday and Everyday Jesus and Beloved Brews and Looking Up .

Until We Meet

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For the most part, I am a people person. Not an extrovert by any stretch of the imagination. Just one who loves and enjoys the people around me. My son tells me, I am a relational person.

People matter to me. I enjoy relationships which make me think deeper, laugh till my sides hurt and help me to grow, to change into more of what I am supposed to be.

And therein, lies the challenge because relationships can bring joy but they can also bring pain.

As hard as I try at times to withdraw, to keep myself from yet another hurt or disappointment, I long for relationships. This graphic has prompted me to think about the quandary relationships often present –

7a016e9f871efdd443daa8e80147847bIsn’t that just the way we can be at times? We try to convince ourselves, maybe even to the point of belief, we can navigate life on our own. Our walls go up, our hearts can harden ever so slightly, as we tell ourselves not to be concerned about those around us.

Until we meet the One Person in our life who removes the protective shell … Jesus.

Jesus, fully God and fully Man. He had relationships while on this earth which brought Him to all the same experiences we would in this life.

He knew the love of a mother, and the pain separation would bring, as He hung on the Cross.

He knew the fun of siblings, and the challenges of family relationships.

He knew the importance of community and accountability, and the deep loss of denial and rejection.

He knew the joy of friendships, and felt the tears of friends.

Let’s learn from the compassion of Jesus:

  • He helped others find their way. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36, NLT)
  • He fed the hungry, taking care of practical needs. “The Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” (Matthew 15:32, NLT)
  • He came alongside of those mourning. “When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped.” (Luke 7:13, NLT)
  • He wept with His friends. “Then Jesus wept.” (John 11:35, NLT)

Our hearts will remain unchanged,
until we meet
Jesus.

Today I am joining … Three Word Wednesday and Tell His Story and Women With Intention and Wedded Wednesday .

Stir It Up

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It had been a long time since I had made a chocolate pudding pie. I kept thinking of the chocolate creaminess, the whipped cream on top until I finally went out I went to buy all I needed.

I used the cook and serve pudding, not the instant kind. You might be wondering why I am sharing this with you.

As I stood stirring the pudding mix and the milk, it seemed like hours for the two to mix. The two remained separated and distinct UNTIL … heated through and through.

Folding egg whites into chocolate cake batter

“Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6, NKJV)
“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” (NLT)

It is in fanning the flame within us, heating it up through and through, that we will each find ourselves stirred up and ready to be used for our God’s glory.

We each have been given gifts suited for our personalities and abilities. Each one of us has a purpose, one we need to live out so that we fulfill His plan. And when we do, we will find satisfaction in life.

Interestingly, I began reading “Living Faith” by Dr. Helen Roseveare a few days after making the pudding pie. She writes of the very same Scripture:

…to become one consistency… We needed to be stirred until there was no separation left between solid and liquid, between secular and spiritual, weekdays and Sundays. Our lives needed to be of one consistency, through and through, ready to do the task for which we were created.” (Page 37)

So today dear friends, may we ask the Lord to show us exactly what needs to be stirred in us. What have we left dormant, as just a small flicker, that needs to be fanned into a burning flame?

Hear the reminder, “I am who God says I am.” (Beth Moore, Believing God). Your gifts have been placed inside of you with intention.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NIV)

Hear the reminder,
“I am who God says I am.” (Beth Moore, Believing God)
Your gifts have been placed inside of you –
with intention.
Stir it up.

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Today I am joining … Testimony Tuesday and True Story and #RaRaLinkup and Intentional Tuesday .

The Proof

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B8ueDs-jlnOHKh5opADmWFkopLuc9mKqLo5jbF9oiBMWe have all said things we wish we hadn’t. There are also the words we wish we had spoken. This week, we read James 3 to learn about the power of our tongues and wisdom:

  1. Nothing is as hard to control as our tongues. We can control large horses and huge ships but our tongues present quite the challenge. “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.” (James 3:7, NLT)
  2. The proof is in our tongues. James reminds us our tongues can do great damage, “set a forest on fire” (verse 5) or speak blessing (verse 9). “The proof that you have God’s Spirit in your life is not that you speak in an unknown tongue, but that you know how to control the tongue that you do know about.” (J Sudlow Baxter)
  3. Mere human effort will not control our tongues. When both blessing and cursing come from our mouths, we are hindered in our ability to build up community. Others will not know what to expect from us and therefore, will not trust us. It truly will take a work of the Holy Spirit. Only a transformed heart produces a transformed tongue.
  4. We show our wisdom. Wisdom is to be an action, one we do and live out each day. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds.” (James 3:17, NLT) A good question to ask ourselves is … Are we “reaping a harvest of righteousness?” (verse 18)
  5. Look at the harvest. In reading this chapter in The Message, I discovered … “By our speech we can 1) ruin the world 2) turn harmony into chaos 3) throw mud on a reputation 4) send the whole world up in smoke.” Getting along with one another, day after day, year after year will take hard work. I found this bit of wisdom as well from The Message > ” Live well, live wisely, live humbly.” In so doing, we will reap the blessings.

Let’s turn our hearts and tongues over to the only One able to help us control it.

And reap a harvest of righteousness.

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Today I am joining … Inspire Me Monday and Playdates With God and Reflect and Sharing His Beauty and #SmallWonder .

Boast on Him

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“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:1-3, NLT)

God our Father, you and you alone are good. Our desire is to glorify you at all times, to recognize your preeminence over us. Have mercy on us, and cause your face to shine on us so we may taste and see that you alone are good. Thank you for your providential plan that brings trials into our lives so you may teach us to cry out to you for deliverance. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

(taken from the Holman Old Testament Commentary, Volume 11, pages 187-188)

 

Today I am joining … Give Me Grace and Sunday Stillness and Spiritual Sundays and Scripture & A Snapshot .

It’s All About Parenting

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My week consisted of hawks flying overhead most days, wild bunny adventures, and laughter in the middle of several nights with my husband over ridiculousness. It all felt good and right and blessed. I did not get to see my two littles and am sitting here realizing how much I truly miss them. Children and grandchildren bring so much to our lives and so, here are five posts I read on children and parenting this week:

1) Teenagers. Can any word strike fear in the heart of a parent like this one? Well after the words, “terrible two’s”? In this post, we find some truths about parenting teenagers which offer much hope that we all can survive those years. The-Truth-about-Parenting-Teenagers-600x315

 

2) First time motherhood. Nothing can make us feel more inexperienced or vulnerable. In this post, we’ll find ten things one mother wishes she had known before becoming a mom. ten-things-1-600x535

 

3) Fears. We all have them. In this post, we’ll learn “rather than sharing our fears with our children, we can help them learn to have courage instead.”  mother and son playing on summer beach

 

4) Our children get hurt. In those moments, we often wonder what to say. In this post, we’ll read “5 Things Every Girl Needs to Hear.” Or if you have sons, here is what they need to hear as well. 1

 

5) Parenting. It can surely take a lot from us. At times we may find ourselves wondering if we have lost ourselves. But if we take a moment to pause, this post encourages us to look and see the way we gain a version of ourselves we never dreamed possible.

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Parenting – it’s truly quite the journey. None like it. Be blessed in your journey this weekend!

Love,
Joanne

 

Today I am joining … Still Saturday and The Weekend Brew .