Purpose

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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

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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

Accountability

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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.

Drive

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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.

Order

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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.

Slow

I have missed a few weeks, but happy to be joining today again with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers where we write for five minutes on a one-word prompt and today’s word is: Slow.

The reason I wanted to jump back in here when I saw the prompt is that I would so love to share with you the book I am currently (slowly) going through: “Growing Slow” by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

Jennifer compares the seasons on the farm with the seasons of our life and how each season has its time of slow. She poses reflection questions at the end of each chapter which make us pause and reflect on what we have just read. It is such a timely book as we emerge from Lockdowns not to rush back into our previous hectic pace of life.

I won’t say anymore about it, it just so resonates with me, and perhaps one of the reasons I haven’t posted anything for a while is because I am growing slow, waiting, reflecting, pausing.

Selah!

Middle

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Joining again this week with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers who write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt. This week’s prompt is: Middle

I am a middle-child; probably past middle-age; still in the middle of menopause; still living in the middle of coming out of Lockdowns; still in the middle of trying to get back to work.

In the middle of the has been, but not yet of the Kingdom of God; in the middle of being renewed; in the middle of being made into the likeness of Christ; in the middle of being made holy.

As they say: ‘Life is not a rehearsal’ and I, like most others, are having to navigate our way through this life with many twists and turns and ways we have never been before, it is new, we have never walked this way before, we don’t get to try it out and then go back and do it again, better next time.

Life is the here and now, the daily nitty gritty, daily decisions, daily pressures, daily joys and sorrows, laughs and tears. I have never walked this way before, yesterday is past, tomorrow still to come, I am in today and am blessed that God has said, “I am with you”; “I am with you in this; I am with you in this messy middle” and that is what makes the difference – God being with me.

She

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I’m joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers today to write on their one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: She

I don’t know why, but perhaps it is because I am reading through Genesis just now, but when I saw the prompt my immediate thought was of Adam saying to God “She gave me the fruit”, She made me eat it, She is to blame!!!

We all do that don’t we? Well I do anyway, I blame others, I deflect the blame away from myself, I self-justify why I have sinned, or fallen or done or said something I shouldn’t have. We don’t want to be the bad one, we don’t want to be thought of as unkind, so we justify our words and actions to make them sound acceptable.

However, there is no excuse! We have sinned, we have been unkind, said some not nice things, got angry in the heat of the moment and we need to acknowledge that, we need to hold our hands up and say, ‘that was me, I did that’ because only then can we come to God in repentance and only then can we receive His forgiveness, His grace.

So next time instead of blaming, let us acknowledge ‘it was me’ and turn to God for His grace to forgive and wipe us clean of this blame game.

Remedy

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Joining with the #Five Minute Friday community of writers today to write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: Remedy.

Last week’s prompt was Broken, which I never got round to writing about, but which I have pondered all week.

In our Bible study group just now we are doing a study in Genesis 1-11 and I have been struck and touched afresh by the detailed, intricate, delicate beauty of creation and have wow’d over it. But I have also been saddened and have sat with that sadness for several days over the brokenness and destruction sin brought to that beautiful creation.

I see that brokenness in the world around me and in my own life, I see its destructive force, but from my Genesis study I also see that there is a Remedy. Right there, right then when sin was committed and brokenness entered; Grace entered too! Right away there was a remedy, a plan of salvation, God’s greatest work yet to put in place a plan of redemption, a plan to buy back that broken world, a plan to bring it back to glory!

God’s remedy plan is God’s grace, is God’s work of salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ, and we long for that coming day when all will be restored!