Rush. A Five Minute Friday post.

RUSH.
I really don’t like the word rush. Even seeing it tonight, creates a little bit of a flutter in my gut. It makes me uneasy like something uncomfortable might happen. I never did like to be rushed. I like to do things in my own time, my own style, not to be forced into a certain method or a timed test….this five minute Friday activity sometimes even feels like a “timed test.”

 

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Remember those timed tests in typing class or on those dreaded ACT tests in high school? UGG! I was a ball of nerves and never did well on those! If I set my own goal on myself, then I am very competitive and I work overtime to meet it. If it’s pressure I put on myself, I can do it. If it’s pressure from someone or something on the outside, it makes me feel pushed.
I like the idea of not being rushed. The ideal type of thing for me, is to sit at my desk at home, or in my over-stuffed chair, on in the boat, creating or typing the latest projects on my mind. I like quiet and calm.
I’m very thankful not to be in the rush-a-day world I was in when I was teaching. I was constantly behind. They say that teachers might have “school dreams” even after retiring. I actually did the other day! I had a dream that I was NOT ready for school, the kids were coming in, I was running through the halls, not knowing where the reading books were, and I wasn’t ready for the reading groups. The bell was ringing! The kids were arriving!
Now I set my own hours and pick the activities I want to do. I like to take it slow and think things over. I work on lowering my stress wherever possible. I’m learning to say no to more things and do a few things well.
What is something that makes you feel rushed? What do you do to lower your stress?

 

You can read other stories about the word “rush” or even write and post your own story here. https://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/08/30/fmf-link-up-rush/

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Live Like You’re Loved

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Maybe you’ve heard the song by the group, Hawk Nelson, called, “Live Like You’re Loved!” I know we are so loved by our Heavenly Father. In Jeremiah 31:3, God said, “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.”
That is such a comfort. It feels like a warm blanket placed around me after a chilly swim. When I took walks last year during the winter, I often would repeat that to myself how God loves me with an everlasting love. That means it was infinity before, the present, and infinity ahead.
It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that God always knew me and always will carry me. Sometimes the anxiety was so great, it felt like I was smothered. I couldn’t breathe deeply, felt raw inside and out. It’s like trying to climb out of a well, with no steps or footholds. You just keep sliding back down. The thoughts become irrational, as I had a hard time going anywhere. I know the Holy Spirit was encircling me then, and I know He does now.
Part of the song goes, “His love has made you more than enough, so go ahead and be who he made you to be.”

 

I hope you can enjoy the song.

That electric guitar on the chorus!!

 

 

Posted in anxiety, fear, Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung, God's Love, Lake Michigan, love, summer, sunsets | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Way

When I do Five Minute Friday prompts, the first thing that pops into my head is usually what I have to go with. If I analyze it and worry that my idea isn’t good or debate if everyone else might have the same idea, that never works. The prompt word this week is WAY.

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The first thing I was thinking about was the passage from John 14:6, where Jesus proclaims in one of his “I AM” statements, that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except by him. I also remembered the song with the lyrics, The Way, the Truth, the Life, I believe you are!
He is the Way, the only way, the path, the right road, it doesn’t work out to do life without Him.
He’s the truth. He tells the truth, he knows the truth, and he is the only one we can trust. He IS truth.
He’s the life, he’s the only way to have life, he breathes life, he gives life, he IS life.
What a blessing! What amazing news. It’s not exclusive, it’s inclusive. He shows us the way, and tells us the truth and gives us life. Hallelujah! Jesus is the Way!

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Enjoy this song by Pat Barrett – The Way (New Horizon)(Acoustic Video) God often speaks to me through songs and I’ve been playing this one many times tonight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAwjuFPoYBE

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Even IF

Word prompt of the week, is IF. Find many stories at Five Minute Friday on Kate Motaung’s blog. http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/06/28/fmf-link-up-if/

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When I first saw the word prompt this week, this story plunked itself into my brain and would not go away. The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel amazes me.
These three men were summoned before King Nebuchadnezzar and told they must worship his god made out of gold. They refused.

They said, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. It had been made so hot, the flames killed the soldiers who threw them in. Then the King saw four men walking around in the fire and thought it was an angel of the most high God. Ultimately, King Nebuchadnezzar believed in the one and only God, who could create such miracles.

This story makes me wonder. In times of fiery trial in my life, would I say the same thing as Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego? Or would I just go along and worship the gods of this world? I pray that I would follow my God. But in reality, wouldn’t it be so terrifying to be threatened with a fiery furnace? Would I be able to trust God to save me? Do I trust and follow Him in the trials of daily life?
The words these three men used as they spoke to the King before they were thrown in the fire, are such a challenging testament of their faith.
The God we serve is able to deliver.
He will deliver us.
Even IF he doesn’t, we will not serve your gods.
Those are bold statements. Our God is a God of miracles and these men were brave to state these things and trust Him. They surrendered to His will for their lives.

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Mother’s Day Can Be Difficult

Mothers Day is not all flowers and candy. The day does not always look like a Norman Rockwell magazine cover. To some it’s a dreaded day for good reason.

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Those who want to celebrate the day need not feel guilty, but in our hearts we should be sensitive to those who struggle on this day. Each of you has your own stories, I’m sure there are many reasons for hardships.
Possible scenarios which can make a Mother’s day hard:
• A woman who was abused in some way-maybe even at the hand of a mother who was supposed to love them. Their childhood memories are mostly painful.
• A woman whose mother has passed away-don’t judge if it’s still hard after 2 months or many years, it was still their mother.
• A woman who has lost a child in some way, miscarriage, illnesses, accidents, an infant death.
• A woman who had a mother that had mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.
• The mother-child relationship was a strained one and didn’t heal in adulthood.
• The father of the child left with the kids, the mom has no contact with them. The mother or child long for a relationship.
• The incarcerated mother.
• A woman who wants to conceive a child but for whatever reason they have not.
• A woman who longed to marry and have children, but it has not yet come.
• Adult children could be out of their mother’s life, maybe the mother or child have forgiveness issues to iron out. Pride keeps them apart.
• A daughter who has to watch her mother sink behind the veil of Alzheimer’s Disease.
• An adopted child who has a wonderful loving family, but also desires to find their biological roots.
• The mother who gave her child up for adoption and wonders where her child is.
• A child who is holding vigil on a mother tonight, knowing she’ll be walking through the pearly gates soon.
• Fill in your blank____________________________. What is your particular issue about motherhood?

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Many of these issues could happen with a son just as well as a daughter. Let’s just remember to keep our eyes and hearts open to those who struggle. Be a listening ear where you can.
If you have reason to celebrate, then by all means do! If you have a step-mom, a mother-in-law, aunt, grandma or mentor, show them your appreciation. If you have children, be thankful you can celebrate being their mother.
Take it one more step:
If you know of a person who is a mother, send them a card, email, or text to let them know they are thought about, or that they’re doing a great job. It could be your mom, a neighbor who is a mom, a friend who is struggling, a mentor, or a lonely mom. Put your thinking cap on and take a few moments to encourage someone today. The few moments you spend could make a world of difference to someone else.
I would love to hear about how you celebrated or brought some light into someone’s day. Blessings to all!

In hope and joy,

Myrna

Posted in Family, Grief and loss, making a difference, Mom, mother loss, Mother's Day, mother-child connections, Motherless Daughters, Mothers and daughters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Come to the Water

As a kid, I was deathly afraid of water. When my parents sent me for swimming lessons, I fought and hung on to the doorposts in fear. Unfortunately, I was forced to go and none of it ended well.

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In my teenage years, I got accustomed at my own speed. As an adult I’ve loved being in and around water. Amazingly enough this “chicken of the sea” has appreciated boating with my husband for 30+ years. When I heard an illustration about a pool of water it resonated with me.

 
We’ve been attending meetings to learn and be encouraged to share with others about growing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The teacher, Pastor Dan, brought up the following example, which I’ve gained his permission to share. Some of these metaphors were birthed in a prayer group he recently attended. I was so inspired that I took liberty to bring the storyline farther along.

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He told us to imagine the whole stage area as an outdoor heated pool on a warm day. The deep end has a high dive with the required 12-foot-deep water, and also a springboard for diving. On the other side is the shallow end. There are sloping stairs in the corner which provide entry into the water. People can sit in lawn chairs on the deck.

 
Use your imagination to relate this to how people can learn, grow and live in the power of the Holy Spirit. The floor and walls of the pool represent the foundation of the Word of God, the Bible. The water is the Holy Spirit of God.

 
On the shallow end, some sit on the side dangling their feet in the water. Maybe one is sitting on the top step and only allowing their toes to get wet. Some step down the stairs one at a time carefully getting used to the water. Some are walking around in the familiar part of the pool. A person could enter the shallow end and ease themselves into the deeper water. When he’s ready he can let himself float a bit or tread water.

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In the deep end people can lie back in the warm water, relaxing in the warmth of the Holy Spirit’s presence. When they’re comfortable, they might not be afraid to attempt new swimming strokes and don’t mind if their feet never touch the bottom. They enjoy the peace of the Holy Spirit surrounding them. Someone could do jumps and flips off the springboard delighting himself in the Lord.

 
Some are uncomfortable with change and stay in one place at all times, or even get out of the pool. You could be the person who wraps a towel around their shoulders and listens.

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Spectators are sitting in the lawn chairs watching. Some are not willing or able to get into the water. Others frown, cross their arms or fall asleep. Many others will decide to go into the water for refreshment.

 
People are at various stages cooperating with the Holy Spirit and understanding how he works in our lives today. No person is better than another. We who are enjoying the deep end should never go grab someone from other positions and push them into the pool. God will work in them in His perfect timing.

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We should be respectful and let others go at their own pace. No one would ever want to be pushed off the end of the high dive. A person who’s thrown in might get injured or maybe they can’t swim. All the positions are okay. Let others get used to the water and don’t push.

 
The more we become like the Lord in our character, the more people are attracted to the warmth in the pool of the Holy Spirit.

 
The heater’s on. The sun is out. The sign on the pool gate says, “Welcome.”

 

Posted in fear, gifts of the Holy Spirit, God's Holy Word, Holy Spirit, listen, love, Spiritual gifts | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fast and Pray

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I revised this guide I made a few years ago, for a presentation about fasting. It’s my prayer you will be encouraged to find a time soon to fast and pray. Have you felt called to something deeper?

What is fasting: Refraining from food for spiritual reasons. It’s a powerful spiritual discipline for a season of time, to seek God’s will and purpose.

Why fast?: Personal revival, pray for others, revival of the nation, the world, fulfillment of the Great Commission, seek God’s will to glorify Him.

Examples of fasting in the Bible—Old and New Testaments.

David:  Ps. 35:13; Ezra 8:21

Daniel:  Dan. Chap. 1; 10:3

Joshua:  Josh. 7:6—fell face down till evening, dust on heads—walls of Jericho

Elijah: 1 Kings 19:8

Moses:  Ex. 34:28

Esther:  Es. 4:14-16

Paul and the Apostles:  Acts 13:2-3

Jesus:  Matt. 4:1-10, 14; Matt. 6:16—Jesus said, “when you fast,” not if you fast; Luke 4:1-13.

Modern day: John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jentezen Franklin, Francis Chan

 

Fast safely: Research different ways, talk to doctor, consider your situation, medications, occupation, etc. Some people should not fast from food.

How long and what type is right for you: Absolute fasts are no food or water. Partial fasts of various methods, such as skip a meal once a week, 3 days long, liquids only, etc.  A Daniel fast is “No meats, no sweets.” Nutritional balance option–a liquid diet based on fruits/juices in the mornings, vegetables in the afternoons, and broths in the evenings. Lots of water. Various ideas on the websites below.

Spiritual preparation: Examine your heart, detect any unconfessed sin. Ps. 66:16-20. Exhaling the impure and inhaling the Holy Spirit.

Managing your schedule: Consider your occupation–how long, what kind, adjustments, weekends, time off, etc. You work out a time. Start small. The important thing is that you spend time in prayer and Bible reading. Don’t distract yourself with errands and busy work. Build up your spiritual muscles.

Managing reactions of friends and family: Saying things like “I have different plans for lunch today,” or drinking water at a luncheon. Family– explain, educate, they can participate. Children could refrain from video games, TV, desserts, etc.. We shouldn’t keep it from people, or lie. Satan can use fear of reactions to keep us from fasting.

How to make your spiritual experience the best it can be: Devote yourself to seek God when you’re weak. Sing, read the Bible, pray, listen, prayer walk, music, get away alone, etc. Avoid social media or TV, limit texting and emails. Satan will try to discourage, make you hungry, grumpy, or trouble stirred up in your family, etc. He’ll do anything he can, because he knows God may reveal something special.

*Keep a journal of prayers and answers.

*It helps to have a fasting buddy–to check in occasionally for accountability, support, and sharing what the Lord has been impressing on your hearts.

Evaluation: After a fast, open your eyes to what God has shown or taught you. Adjust and plan for your next fast.

 

Fasting can transform your prayer life into a deeper personal experience.

Don’t fast to manipulate God. Seek His face and not His hand.

 

Additional verses:

Habakkuk 1:5— “…I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

Eph. 3:20—“….He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

Matt. 6:16-18—“when you fast….wash your face….”

Matt. 6:33— “But seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given unto you as well.”

Romans 12:1—“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Matt. 17:21—“This kind only comes out with prayer and fasting…”

Isaiah 58 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen….”  (Full of wonderful reasons for fasting.)

 

Helpful links:

Francis Chan:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT0vXPde7Ss&t=218s

Jentezen Franklin:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QDJNWecmdk&t=497s

Campus Crusade for Christ site—Bill Bright

http://www.ccci.org/training-and-growth/devotional-life/personal-guide-to-fasting/02-why-you-should-fast.htm

 

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