Generous

The Word-prompt for today in the #Five Minute Friday group of writers is: Generous.

When I first took my first faltering pen to begin writing I listened to a week of Conference talks by Christian writers and I was blown away by how generous they all were of one another and their works. There was no jealousy, no grabbing of the limelight for themselves, no holding onto their own writing tips, rather they shared, they shared their journey, their fears, their tips, the things they had learned along the way, they encouraged.

I found kindred spirits at the conference and immediately thought, ‘I want to be like this, I want to encourage, I want to have this same generous spirit’. Where did this generosity come from? I believe it came from their walk with God, they had humble, teachable spirits and walked with a generous God.

So, then my walk with God should reflect in my life. If I am walking, talking, emulating my generous God, then that should flow on out of my own life, where I am then generous towards others with my possessions, my time, my praise, my encouragement.

We only have to look at creation to see how generous God is, the way He abundantly blesses the creation, it is not just functional, it is beautiful.

O Lord my God, how great you are!
    You are robed with honor and majesty.

    You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
    you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
    you ride upon the wings of the wind.
The winds are your messengers;
    flames of fire are your servants.

You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.

Psalm 104

He is generous in His forgiveness of our waywardness,

Let the wicked change their ways
    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
    Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

Isaiah 55:7

He is generous in His salvation.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

When we know the generosity of God then who are we to hold back, we should freely give of all that the Lord has given us.

Show

The word prompt today for the #FiveMinuteFriday group of writers is: Show.

The first thing you are told in any writing course is “show, don’t tell” but that can be hard to do, it is easier to just tell.

However, in relation to the stories in our Bibles they have captured that knack of ‘showing’ God’s goodness, faithfulness and patience with us rather than just telling of it.

Take for example the Patriarchs in Genesis they had such dysfunctional families! They lied, they deceived, they had favourite children, they had broken, messy relationships. At times we may wonder why their stories are even in the Bible, yet, yet they SHOW us God’s patience, they show His mercy, they show His grace.

And where best does God SHOW His love to us but at Calvary, on that cross of Jesus.

How do I know God loves me and has mercy on me, but in His Word, in my Bible. Again and again there are examples of God showing His love to mankind and also in my own life again and again.

View

I’m joining the #fiveminutefriday group of writers today to write on the word prompt – view.

This picture may not strictly be a “view” , but it is what I woke up to on Tuesday morning!

Such joy!

It has brought a smile to everyone’s faces.

A surprise at this late time of year.

After the sorrow of the previous week comes new life, new joy, new hope.

Surprised by joy.

“weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”

Forget

This post is written in conjunction with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers, who write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s word is: Forget.

So although this is the prompt for this week, events have taken place here in our small, isolated, rural community which we will never forget.

We thought we were safe, we thought we were secure, we thought we could escape violence, darkness and evil, but they came to us this week. They came and they devastated, they caught us unaware, horrified they have shattered families and our communities. We will not forget.

The mist hangs low over us this morning, reflecting the heaviness of our moods and emotions. As the rest of the country basks in sunshine we are enveloped in the sorrow and misery of the mist. In being isolated, from what often seems the rest of the world, we are also insolated in our grief, in our sorrow.

Fragile.

Broken.

Sad.

YET let us not forget our God and all His benefits to us. Even here, even now, even in this hard our God speaks:

Do not fear, for I am with you.

Do not be afraid, for I am your God.

I will give you strength, and for sure I will help you.

Yes, I will hold you up with My right hand that is right and good (Isaiah 41:10)

Together

Hello dear friends! I have missed you! I have missed just sitting down here and sharing my thoughts with you, so when I saw that the Five Minute Friday prompt today was together, I just had to make the time to be together with you.

I am a solitary person and don’t need a lot of interaction, but I am realizing more and more that God’s promises are for us together, when we do fellowship in community, when we do church as a body then God blesses.

We often sing Psalm 133 in our church during communion seasons, I’ll quote it from the New Living Translation, but we sing it ofcourse as a Metrical Psalm.

Psalm 133

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David.

How wonderful and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
    that was poured over Aaron’s head,
    that ran down his beard
    and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
    that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
    even life everlasting.

That says it all really !

God bless you!

Stir

This post is written to link with #Five Minute Friday: write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is “Stir”.

We all know stirrers don’t we? Those people in our work place who like to stir up trouble, they sow seeds of dissension and cause friction between colleagues and between colleagues and management. We also have them in our wider family circles – those whose heart are bitter and who stir resentments into the family pot, spoiling relationships, taking the fun out of occasions, causing strife.

Let us not be like that; let us not be the ones causing the dissension; bringing the friction into relationships or stirring the pot of resentment. Let us instead sow love and harmony, stirring one another up to good deeds; wholesome thoughts and healthy boundaries.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 

Hebrews 10:24

Danger

This post is written to link with #Five Minute Friday: write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. Today’s prompt is “Danger”.

I have COVID! Yep, after all the precautions, insolations, masks, zooms etc for the last 2 years, now once the danger has passed and precautions relaxed now I get COVID!

But I wonder if that is how it is in life too? In times of danger we have a natural ‘flight or fight’ response, but once that danger has passed so too we drop our guard and perhaps that is the most dangerous time of all?

This is what Peter says:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Stay alert! Don’t let your guard down! Watch out!

Why?

Because our enemy, the devil, he is prowling around looking for our weak spot, looking for a chance, an opportunity to catch us.

Sometimes that is an obvious trap and we are immediately on alert, but other times it is drawing us away insidiously to the next “shiny” thing. Or perhaps he exploits our weak areas where we are prone to sin, or he catches us in his web of lies, entrapping us in those doubts and lies till we believe them over the Word of God.

We may relax our guard, we may think we are okay, we may have come out of a big battle and think phew, ‘glad that is over with’, but the devil – he never takes time off, he is always on the prowl.

So let us everyday put on the whole armour of God, for only then can we withstand his attacks:

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm

Ephesians 6:11-13

So friend, let us spur one another on and remind each other to every day put our armour on because just when we think the danger is gone, it is not.

Heal

The Prompt word for today’s #Five Minute Friday group is: Heal. So in light of the recent shootings and sadness’s experience by my fellow writers in the USA, I have written a Lament.

The Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nation – A Lament

O Lord our God, how long?

How long before You act?

How long before Your justice

Is revealed in our nations?

How Long O Lord will our leaders remain arrogant and prideful

Filling their own pockets and bellies,

How long will they rob and steal from the poor.

Show Your mercy to the nations.

How long, O Lord, must we suffer

And hear of wars and rumours of wars.

How long must we hear of earthquakes and famines?

Before You make Yourself known to the Nations.

How long O Lord before our children are safe

At school, at college, at play and in the world?

How long must the innocent suffer?

Lord, heal the tears of our nations.

O Lord our God, we look to You,

The Man of Sorrows and the One acquainted with grief.

We make our declaration

That in You there is healing for our Nation.

Know

I’m joining with the #FiveMinuteFriday group of writers to write for 5 minutes on this one word prompt, Know.

I find that I have different levels of knowing things, I may have a vague knowledge of something, or someone, I may think I know, or I may know something in my head, but that doesn’t translate into my heart and life.

I think that is what I feel about knowing God loves me. Yes, I know He does, the bible tells me He does, every Christian book and sermon echoes the love of God, but really how much do I allow that knowledge to really sink right deep down within? Listen to what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians 3: 17-19:

“Then you, being rooted and grounded in love,  will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.…

When I think negative thoughts of God, when I choose to accuse Him of being uncaring, or absent, then I am not allowing that knowledge of His love to fill my life. When I am feeling unworthy and withdraw from God’s love, then I am not trusting, not really grasping the length, width, height and depth of God’s love for me.

To know, really know the love of God, I have to allow that love in.

Both

I apologize to the #fmf community for not being with you for a while, been BOTH busy and also writing! BOTH is the one word prompt from today in the community of writers.

We have been looking at the Psalms of lament in our Bible Study this week and it amazes me how the Psalmist can hold both doubt and trust, despair and hope, lament and praise at the same time.

But we too experience that tension between faith and doubt in our lives. We believe, yes firmly and steadfastly, yet at the same time when we worry and allow our circumstances to overwhelm us we doubt God is able for that specific thing. We hold both trust and unbelief in our hands.

Perhaps we are just like the father we read about in Mark’s gospel chapter 9; his son was sick, he was worried; he was more than worried, he was probably despairing at each and every convulsion the boy had, what could he do, how could he get his son better? So he comes to Jesus and asks if it is possible if He could do something. Jesus tests him and says: “Everything is possible for one who believes.” and we get that and in our good moments we believe that, but in our fear and anxiety, like the father we cry out: “I believe, help me overcome my unbelief” .

We hold both in our hands belief and unbelief, but our God is faithful and He doesn’t act according to our faith, but according to His own faithfulness!