Reach

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I”m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. We all write on the same word.

Today’s word is …

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We’ve all said it at one time or another … “I love you to the moon and back.” Somehow the distance being so great from the earth to the moon is supposed to express how greatly we love. Hearing we’re loved to the moon and back somehow seems to out our hearts to rest.

For the last few weeks, I have been watching as some are going through struggles. Some are near to me and greatly loved. Some I have never met yet their stories have impacted me deeply.

I have found myself praying for healing, for provision, for employment, for answers, for miracles.

I have had some sleepless nights, restless in bed as I have wrestled and questioned God. He has tremendous ability to remain silent, not providing answers no matter how much I have hounded Him. And so I wait. Just not as silently as He.

I have asked “Why?”, “When?”, “Will You?”, “How?” and “Where?”.

And He has remained silent except to let me know this one truth ….

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.”
(Psalm 36:5, NIV)

I guess you can say … He loves each one of us to the moon and back!

 

Today I am joining … Five Minute Friday and Everyday Jesus and Friendship Fri. and Faith Filled Fri. and Essential Fridays and Fellowship Fri. .

Good News for Weary Women

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Women today really do bear a great deal of pressure each day. We seem to become inundated with lists and not just grocery lists. In her book, Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice, Elyse N. Fitzpatrick, tackles the problem of living in order to maintain our list of rules, goals, and to -do’s.

978-1-4143-9538-81While these all have their place in our lives, and can often be well meaning, the problem is they become the means by which women begin to measure their worth. They also become an act of futility as no one can keep such a standard for very long, including:

  • have well behaved children 24/7
  • be a Mary AND a Martha
  • be meticulously groomed and feminine 24/7
  • be involved in every Bible Study
  • have a home cooked meal every day
  • be up before the crack of dawn for devotions
  • stay up way after everyone is in bed to pray
  • have a perfectly clean home 24/7
  • have the perfect marriage
  • never have a personal struggle

While each may be a good goal in and of itself, none will cause God to love us any more than He already has. These lists, often received from church, well meaning friends, Facebook or another social media outlet, can place unrealistic expectations which then become a source of frustration.

The author brings us to the realization we are already loved and accepted by God – as we are.

“There is good news for you. You don’t need to learn secret steps, try harder and harder, wear yourself out to be beautiful, snag Mr. Perfect, or raise perfect children. You are already welcomed, loved, forgiven, and completely okay. You can laugh and rest and resist all the ways the world lies to you and tells you  you’re not good enough. And you can love God because He has already loved you. You can be free to fail, to rest, to love, to be weak, to grow, and to know that everything is already given to you in Him.”

In each chapter, Elyse shares wisdom which shatters these burdens we place on ourselves. She also includes a “Bad News/ Good News” article, stories from the lives of women she met or interviewed, and questions for discussion or thought making this a wonderful book to use for Bible Study, a book club, or small group.

** While Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions expressed are my own.

Today I am joining with … Thought Provoking Thurs. and Quitting Thurs. and Thurs. Favorite Things and Cozy Reading Spot and Booknificent Thurs. and Hearts for Home .

 

Let’s Celebrate Together!

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I’m still thinking about “success”. I just can’t seem to let go of it.

For most of us, we chase after success thinking we achieve it when we achieve a certain goal … perhaps number of friends on social media, or “likes”, or retweets. It may be when we hit a certain income level or title at our jobs. Or for some, not mentioning names :) ,  perhaps it is when our scale tells us we have hit our desired weight.

Success – it really does look differently to each of us.

Dictionary.com tells me success is “achieving an outcome, the attainment of wealth or fame, triumph”.

This brought to mind a servant who was entrusted with some money, belonging to his master, for safekeeping while his master was away. He did a good job investing the money, earning double the amount. Upon his return, the master had this to say to his servant:

Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21, NLT)

Sounds like the servant was successful. He was given a promotion.

We have no idea how long the master was gone on his trip. We do know for whatever the length of time, the servant was on his own. He had to work with no supervision from his master.

We can learn three things regarding success from this passage:

  1. Success means being “good”. This speaks of our character. We are to be … morally excellent, honorable, kind. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Proverbs 22:1, NIV)
  2. Success means being “faithful”. This means we are true to follow through on our word. We are reliable and can be trusted. We can be counted on.
  3. Success means “handling this small amount”. Whether the job is viewed big or small, we are responsible to do what we have been given. “Do not despise these small beginnings…” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

Here’s the thing about success ….

It doesn’t matter whether the job is big or small. If we are faithful to do the job, God views us as successful. And He invites us to celebrate with Him.

What is it He is calling you to do today?

Do it.

And let’s celebrate together!

Today I am joining … Three Word Wed. and Wedded Wed. and Wed. Prayer Girls and Whimsical Wed. and Works For Me and A Little R & R and Tell His Story .

 

Clouds & Fire

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It was the last day of our vacation. How had it gone so quickly?

I was out of bed at 5AM. The comforting aroma of the coffee dripping enveloped me as I waited for my first sips to fully awaken me. The kitchen was dark as if it was the middle of the night. The water and mountains were still and black until about 5:40 when the sun began to rise.

I read my Jesus Lives devotional, several times, for what God would say to me in this moment …

“My Presence continually moves along before you – keeping you from stagnating and showing you the way forward. In spite of the difficulties of the arduous trail you are following, your success is certain: I will be found by you!”  (pages 88-89)

We would be leaving, going back home and the days ahead are unknown to each of us. We think we know what they hold but, in actuality, this is presumptuous of us as we truly do not know at all.

PillarI turned in my Bible to read, in Exodus, where God promises to go with His people. They wandered in the wilderness, longer than ever originally intended, and yet God went with them. He gave them a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They were in the wilderness, en route to the promise, not sure of the way. The only sure thing was that He was with them.

As the sun rose (which was just beautiful FYI) and the burst of orange spread over the lake and mountains, I remembered He is also with each one of us. We each are desirous of “success” in the days ahead and for each of us, I imagine “success” looks differently.

And here’s the thing … the only “success” which is certain is that He will be found by us as we, individually, seek Him. So if success is finding Him, think of this … He was found in the cloud and in the pillar of fire. He looked different at different times of day.

I cannot help but wonder this morning if part of our problem is our own expectations. Our expectations of what He should be, what He should do and how He should do it can keep us from finding Him. In other words, we are looking for the pillar of fire when He is the cloud or looking for the cloud when He is in the pillar of fire.

My prayer for the days ahead is simple … May we each experience the success of simply finding Him in our days.

No expectations.

However He is found.

In the cloud and in the fire.

Simply find Him.

 

Today I am joining with … Unite and Testimony Tues. and Playdates With God and Titus 2 Tues. and Titus 2sday and Coffee for Your Heart .

 

Shepherds & Lambs

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“He protects His flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in the fold of His garment.” (Isaiah 40:11)

In reading this verse, I found myself curious to learn more about sheep. What is it about this creature which makes us so much alike?

  • Sheep form relational bonds. They are social animals who enjoy having a best friend.
  • Sheep are defenseless animals having no means of protecting themselves.
  • Sheep have good hearing but poor vision, therefore, often cannot see where they are going. This is the very reason they respond well to voices.
  • Sheep have excellent memory. Combine this with the above fact and you have the very reason they can memorize up to fifty human voices.
  • Sheep cannot right themselves from certain positions. Left alone, they would die in about one hours time.
  • Sheep are nervous, timid and easily frightened animals. When fearful, they react and run even if they do not know where they are running.

We bear such similarity to sheep …

We have a strong desire for a best friend, someone to hear our innermost thoughts and share our burdens. We are often defenseless, bearing injuries from circumstances and relationships. Many times we, as well, have no idea where we are headed in life. Perhaps we have even wandered aimlessly at times. We possess the ability of memory, holding onto both the good and the bad. We even hold onto memories we would have been better off to let go of. We can find ourselves in predicaments and positions which we cannot right on our own. And who of us, has not been known to run even when we have no idea where we are running?

Seriously, I am discovering I am in greater need of a shepherd than I ever could have realized. And gratefully, I have one ….

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, NLT)

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and they know me.”
(John 10:14, NLT)

I have a Shepherd who leads me where I will be protected and safe. He will fight for me. My needs will be provided. He will go before me to lead the way, calling so I will hear His voice. He does not leave me alone but pursues me when I have gone awry. He brings His peace when I am fearful so I will not run amok.

He is the Shepherd and gratefully, I am one of His sheep.

Today I am joining … Unforced Rhythms and Sharing His Beauty and Mon. Musings and Inspire Me Mon. and Making Your Home Sing and Make a Difference and Motivation Mon. .

 

 

My Hiding Place

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My view each morning for the last week ….

photo-164My heart rejoices in You, Lord, for You are my strong shelter in times of trouble and danger and stress, my hiding place to whom I may continually resort.

I praise You for Your love and Your wisdom. You are too wise to ever make a mistake, too loving to ever do anything unkind. You act on my behalf, accomplishing what concerns me and fulfilling Your purpose for me as I call on You. Thank You that You love me deeply and tenderly. You desire my love and rejoice to do good things for me.

You are my inheritance, my share in life, the One who satisfies my longing soul and fills my hungry soul with goodness.

How precious is Your love to me, O God! I sing for joy as I take refuge in the shadow of Your wings!

(from 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers, page 15)

 

Today I am joining with … Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Spiritual Sundays and Sunday Stillness and Scripture & a Snapshot .

Change

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Today I am joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. We all write on the same word.

Today the word is …..

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We are on vacation this week. Lake Winnepausaukee, New Hampshire. We have been coming here for about twenty six years, only missing one or two summers to go elsewhere. We always seem to return though.

Over the years, much has changed.

My children have grown older. And so have I.

We have stayed at different homes as homes were no longer available or our needs changed. Our wants have also gone through changes as we discovered our enjoyment of pool and air hockey to fill our nights with fun and laughter.

Much has stayed the same. We still want to go out to eat at Hart’s Turkey Farm for dinner. The remark was made, “It just would not be vacation without going there.” We still go mini golfing, swim in the lake, fish off the docks and go to FunSpot. Our grandchildren are now remembering the same enjoyments and asking to go to our “places”.

Memories are being revisited for some and forged for the younger ones. But this morning, I am reminded of one thing which, over these many years, has not changed and in fact, will never change ….

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.(James 1:17, NIV)

I am not sure what will change by next year but of one thing I can be assured, He will remain the same.

He does not change.

Today I am linking with … Five Minute Friday.