Purpose

The Chief End of Man is to Glorify God - Free Bible Study Classes, Free  Bible Resources

It is Five Minute Friday time again! This is where we write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is Purpose.

So what came to my mind was the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

  • Q1. What is man’s primary purpose?
    Man’s primary purpose is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

That is our ‘raison d’etre‘, our purpose or reason for living.

To glorify God – that means to acknowledge His greatness and give Him honour by praising and worshiping Him, mainly because He, and He alone, deserves to be praised, honoured and worshiped, we give glory to Him by recognizing that greatness, by giving Him His rightful place in our lives.

Enjoy Him – that means we have fellowship with Him. We have His presence! We have relationship with this great God.

So we are not worshipping an unknown God, we are not worshipping and glorifying God out of fear, but in relationship. We are worshiping, praising, giving Him the glory because we know Him and love Him. There is no greater purpose and no greater joy that this.

City

The word prompt for today in the #Five Minute Friday Group is City.

What does this word conjure up for me? What do I think about when I think of a city?

Well truthfully, my heart sinks! I think of noise, crowds, traffic, fumes, dirt, people shoving, jostling, dirty streets. I think of getting lost, of feeling overwhelmed, of feeling like a country bumkin who doesn’t know the rules of the city amidst the city-slickers who know and play by the rules!

It is the feeling of inadequacy and of not fitting in which the city brings out in me. Although thinking of this is a bit like life in general really, we all want to “fit in” to belong; we want to ‘be part of’ what is going on, no-one wants to feel alone and vulnerable, unseen, unnoticed, unimportant.

So city life or country life – same human needs, same human desires, same basic need for connection.

I’m a country bumkin, but I still need human connection, I still need that touch of someone understanding; someone seeing me, hearing me and just as importantly I need to be that ‘someone’ to another person who crosses my way today; just to sit with them, stand with them and let them known that they are seen, that they are important.

So many people with similar stories desperately needed more than the help that we were prepared to give. What they wanted even more, however, was for someone, anyone, even a stranger who was still trying to learn their language, to sit for a while, or just stand with them and let them share theirs stories. I perhaps should have known this, but I was amazed to see the power of human presence. In my pride, I thought that I knew exactly what these people needed, but I would never have thought to put conversation or human connection on my list. Once again, I was profoundly humbled.

Nik Ripken, The Insanity of God, Pg 86

Desperate

Psalm 34:4-5 - Inspirational Bible Verse - Bible Verse Images

Ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? Ever feel desperate?

Desperate is the Word Prompt for today’s #Five Minute Friday group of writers, joining with them today to explore this.

There have been times when I have been desperate and I’m sure you have too, when you have found yourself squeezed into a tight place not knowing what to do, feeling almost as if you were loosing your mind.

We not alone in this I know, in good company really when you think King David went through exactly the same feelings. In 1 Samuel Chapters 20-22, we see David fleeing for his life from King Saul who was trying to kill him, so he flees to the relative safety of Gath, only to discover that actually it wasn’t that safe for him there either! So what does he do? He feigns madness, so that he will appear unthreatening, so that they will leave him alone! Does it work? Yes it does!

I have never had to feign madness, but in moments of desperation, squeezed, stressed and battered on every side I have felt that the line between sanity and insanity is a very thin line indeed.

But let’s not leave it there, what did David do? He prayed, we know that because He tells us that in Psalm 34, yet this is not a Psalm of lament, but a Psalm of trust and of Praise. Definitely something to learn and be gained from this.

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.

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

Psalm 34:1-6

Possibilities

Ecclesiastes 3:1 For Everything There Is a Season - Free Art Downloads -  Bible Verses To Go

For those who follow my blog, you know that I like Seasons, Routines and Rhythms, so I am glad that we are now half-way through August; the school session is starting again and with that more routines, activities, studies etc.

I do believe that we need the Rhythms of Rest and I am thankful that the Summer time brings that, but I am also glad when we get back to a form of routine. This year especially with the last of the Pandemic Restrictions being lifted there is the sense of possibilities! Possibilities of face-to-face meetings; possibilities of spreading wings; of connecting; of re-connecting; possibilities of God doing new things and not just going back to the way things used to be!

I’m thankful for the break, for time to breathe, the time to reflect & question ways ahead and thankful that we can hold those questions from one season till the next without needing answers, but going with the pointers God provides along the way.

For Everything There Is a Season

and A Time

For every Purpose Under Heaven

Ecclesiates 3:1

Accountability

Joel Tabora, SJ on Twitter: "Walk Humbly with your God  https://t.co/KKirzgy21e… "

Mmmh all sorts of thoughts and feelings are conjured up at this word! This is the One Word prompt today in the #Five Minute Friday Group of Writers.

Accountability? Love it or hate it? Love it because we get things done? Hate it because it means that we have to do what we said we would do and there is little room for procrastination?

I think accountability takes humility, it takes humility and honesty to open up to someone else and even confess those thoughts which have been in your mind simmering away, that to share them, tell someone else about them and what we want to do about them takes guts.

But in the opening up, in the sharing comes clarity and direction. With another can come a plan of action to reach a goal. With another comes the accountability to keep on with that plan to keep that goal in focus.

And with accountability to another comes support, the carrying of one another’s burdens, along with the sharing comes a caring, a partnership, a friendship, a fellowship in Jesus.

Sometimes Jesus is our accountable partner; but often Jesus will place someone on our path to be our accountable person and we have to take the guts, be brave and share with that person and have that person walk along the road beside us, and as we open to them, we open a bit more to Jesus and the thing which has been holding us back is no longer a stumbling block, but a step along our path to healing.

Overgrowth

Recovering An Overgrown Garden - Tips On Reclaiming Overgrown Gardens

Last week we looked at living in the mist; today I want to keep with the seasonal theme and look at the amount of overgrowth there is in the summer.

I don’t know about where you stay, but where I live the summer time sees a lot of growth yes, but very soon that growth gets out of hand and becomes a bit of a wilderness! Where once there were well-trodden paths, those are now hidden by the overgrowth; where once the grass and fields had looked nice and neat and trimmed, they are now a mass of overgrown invasive vegetation. It almost seems like an impossible task to keep on top of things.

I want to transfer this imagery to the spiritual realm to see what truths we can glean there.

So, say I went through a hard winter of the soul where spiritual growth seemed sparse; then entered a time of spring of hope that there were good things to come. Then at long last comes summer and with it light and life and joy and spiritual growth and fruitfulness.

However, as summer progresses and the initial relief, joy and thanksgiving for the present blessings has lost its sheen. Now there is so much growth that really, I have lost my way! I no longer can see those well trod paths of prayer, supplication, remembrance which I trod in the winter time, the hard time.

This growth spurt has also produced weeds which have crept into the well manicured garden of my soul and if I am not careful could threaten to take over certain areas of it. Those insidious weeds of pride creep in and take root, the weeds of worry and doubts grow & threaten to choke out the blessing of God’s presence.

Thorns and briers of resentment and bitterness begin to take root where there should be joy and gladness; the overgrowth of self-reliance begins to spread and takes over where there should be humility and dependence upon God.

Come the Autumn my Heavenly Father, the Head Gardener, will prune and cut back those out-of-control areas, but meantime, meantime I need to do some work. I need to tend and take care of my soul; I need to find those paths again which lead me to God in humility; thanksgiving and dependence. I need to do some weeding to stop the spread of pride; independence; worry; fear and I need to cut back the growth of the briers of resentment, bitterness and self-reliance.

What about you, where do you need to work in your life just now, pulling up the weeds and cutting back the overgrowth? Where do you need to again find your well-trod paths of prayer and supplication?

Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.”

[Jeremiah 6:16]

Drive

Desire, drive, and determination! | Running motivation quotes, Running  quotes, Running motivation

I am joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers to write for 5 minutes on the Word prompt: Drive.

Drive = A drive is a very strong need or desire in human beings that makes them act in particular ways. … If you say that someone has drive, you mean they have energy and determination. (Collins English Dictionary)

In the bible the Israelites were to drive out those already living in the promised land; they were to drive out all worship of foreign gods and we see how Jesus drove out demons.

There is a force, a might, a power, an action, a determination to see it through.

So what do I need to drive out of my life today?

Do I need to drive out lukewarmness? Grumbling? An ungrateful spirit? Cares and worries of the world?

Do I need to be determined and take the action required to drive out prayerlessness and unbelief?

Lord, show me where I need drive in my life right now. Amen.

Life in the Mist

We are experiencing a lot of Mist in our weather systems just now. Mist which clings, which completely engulfs the mountains and hills round about, mist which makes you feel that there is no horizon and can even make you lose your way.

Sometimes life can feel a bit like that too can’t it?

Whether it is pain, grief, guilt, difficult circumstances, broken relationships, or even just the grind of everyday life can feel like living in the mist, everything else is completely blotted out. You look up – nothing; your look around – nothing; same old, same old; nothing.

That can be wearying; it can make you forget that there is hope; forget that there is a life outside your own situation; forget that there is another world existing out there where there is sunshine and joy! And it can make you lose your way; how do you find God when He seems hidden, enshrined in a mist which you cannot penetrate or see through?

The thing about mist is that it is a vapour, it is merely hiding real life; hiding what is real and what is still there. And so with us when we feel we are living in the mist; it is not all there is. It may be our present reality; but there is more; it may be hidden for a while, but there is more. And that is where faith and facts come in over our feeling.

We may feel lost in the mist; but the fact is that God is still there; God is still good; God is still in control; God still has His love set over you. Those are the facts. Faith is the bridge between your feelings and the facts. Faith keeps you hoping; keeps you believing; keeps you trusting that one day that mist will clear and the Son will shine on you once again. Faith keeps you going when all else fails.

So today what are you going with? Your feelings? Or the facts? Are you exercising your faith to trust that God has got you even when enshrouded in mist?

Order

Pin on Jesus

I haven’t been on here for a while, so thought I’d jump on today to bring a bit of order to my life. Order is the prompt word today from the #Five Minute Friday community of writers.

I like order! I like a nice peaceful, ordered life with routines, rhythms and seasons. I like headspace and I would like to live a serene life, passing through seemingly unruffled by life’s trials.

However, Life is not like is it? Sometimes it is chaotic, with demands from others, demands from work, demands from church, from community, from family. Or crisis strike, there is an illness, hospital visits, an accident, or even just children, marriage, moving home. There are so many things which can through me off my stride and send me into chaos.

That is why I love the creation narrative where we see God bringing order out of chaos:

Genesis Chapter 1:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters.

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 

4 And God saw that the light was good.

Then he separated the light from the darkness.

 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

The earth was empty, formless, without order, a bit like life without Christ – empty of meaning, no purpose or order, no sense of identity or being rooted in eternity.

The same God who brought order to the universe can and does bring order to my otherwise chaotic life.

Today, I am grateful for that order.

Thrive – A Review

Perennial Plant that Thrive in Summer Heat | Signals AZ

Thrive was the word given to me for this year to “Thrive, not just survive” . So six months on how are you doing, how am I doing? Are we thriving?

Six months and it has been mixed, it started with us still in Lockdown, then slowly there were tentative steps into re-opening, re-starting, and then re-entering the big world again. One thing I was absolutely sure of was that I didn’t want to go back to the pressures of ‘pre-Covid’ life and that every season I want to thrive.

So how do you Thrive in this new way of living? How are you planning on Thriving this Summer? Using the Acrostic Letters of the word THRIVE, let me share with you how I hope to thrive this summer.

T – Time with God – always first and foremost to seek Him first, to build relationship, to build trust. How do I do that? With daily, intentional bible study and I have also started using a Pause App on my phone which is building a practice of pausing & reconnecting with God throughout the day or before starting a new task/event

H -Hope – Building Hope is not an easy thing, it takes discipline to turn your eyes away from your immediate circumstances and onto God, it takes discipline to remind yourself of God’s past faithfulness, as He has been with you before; He will be with you again and to remind yourself that no matter what is happening in the world God is still on the Throne, He is King and He is over all.

R – Rest – Building rest into your life also takes practice, but the benefits far outweigh any work involved in planning rest periods into your day, into your week, your month and into the season. Summer is often a time when people go off on holiday and this is important; it is important to take a break from the normal routines of life and to slow, to think of other things and to feed your soul with beauty and joy.

I – Intentional – for all these things I am building into my life, I have to be intentional, I have to actually have a plan, write it down and review it. Every season I write down goals for different aspects of my life and review them as the season goes on, add to them perhaps, this includes what I am going to study in the Bible, what books I may want to read, what fruits of the Spirit I wish to work on, what relationships are needing prayer and attention, as well as work and church life and rest periods

V – Victory – So easy to keep slipping at the same things isn’t it? So easy to write it off as just ‘my weakness’, whereas in actual fact there is victory found in Jesus. We can forge new pathways in our thinking; and instead of always going into our default of self-defeating attitudes and behaviours, we can forge new ways. For this I have to identify what these faults/weaknesses/areas of sin are and then find ways to counteract them, often this starts with my ‘stinking thinking’ and how to speak God’s truth into those thoughts and areas.

E – Encourage – A great way to thrive is to encourage others. Get alongside others, share your own struggles, encourage them in theirs, open the Word together, pray together, make space for one another to listen and to hear the unspoken words and also to joy together, praise together, laugh together.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Praying for you my dear friend, that you too will find ways to Thrive this summer, drop me a comment below on how you plan to do that, so we may encourage each other.