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.

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!

Spring

I used to think Autumn was my favourite season of the year, but this year it definitely is Spring. Spring is the word-prompt for the #Five Minute Friday group of writers today.

I don’t know why this past winter has seemed darker and longer than others but it has, February came and I was hopeful for the first signs of spring, but alas none came which made winter drag out even more. But in with March and wow Spring has sprung in!

Such joy, such hope, such delight, such relief!

I wonder if we are a bit like that spiritually too? We long for the dark winter of our souls to be over, to be past, we long to feel the joy of the Lord again. It seems like such a long time that we have been sitting with this darkness and low feeling at our feet, that we long for it to lift, to see a ray of light, even a beam of sunshine in our souls.

We are not good at “sitting” with pain, with trials, with hardships, with depression, with darkness, we are always wanting to rush on, to move past it, to get to the other side. Yet, Yet often it is in our weakness that we see and experience more of God’s mercy and Grace, so perhaps the lesson of Winter is Patience and the joy of Spring is the reaping of that patience?

Today, I am thankful that I live in a country with seasons and I am thankful to have the God who is faithful through each and every season which come, both of nature and of the soul.

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.’
Gen 8:22

Easy

I agree with Kate over at #Five Minute Friday, that I have an easy life in comparison to many around the world. I have much to be grateful for, much to give thanks for, yet I find myself this morning having a pity-party for one!

I haven’t had one of those for a while, I used to be very prone to them, but have been trying to practice thanksgiving which has definitely helped keep the pity-parties at bay.

But today I am feeling sorry for myself. So I acknowledge that, I acknowledge that I have allowed burdens to build and weigh on me, instead of putting them down, I have gathered them all up and I am feeling sorry for myself that I have to carry all these things, no-one knows, no-one cares etc, here I am with a heavy load, poor me!!

But wait a minute.

What was that?

Did I hear my Lord speak?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Ah such sweet words!

But in order for me to take up this yoke, I need to first of all put down all those burdens, worries, cares, concerns and anxieties which I have gathered. My Lord is humble and gentle of heart, He knows, He sees, He understands and He didn’t give me any of those burdens I am carrying. So I put them down, so that I can learn of Him, so that I can take His yoke which is easy because He is the other half pulling the weight and His burden is light, He doesn’t put anything on me which He Himself is not going to help me carry and be with me for the time I do.

Today Lord, I put my burdens down, may I let You teach me, and may it be Your burden and Your yoke I come under and not those of my own making. Amen

Carry

Last week I poured out my grief, fears and burdens about being a Military Mama and I thank everyone of you who responded and prayed for us. I felt upheld, I felt carried. Appropriately Carry is this week’s prompt over in the #Five Minute Friday Writing Community.

Today the passage which sprung to my mind is:

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Isaiah 46:4

And that reminds me of the faithfulness of God. He is the same God who created me, who will carry me through all of life’s journeys; He is the faithful God who will not give up on me, but will sustain me through each of life’s seasons; He is the faithful God who will rescue me from that fearful dark pit.

So today, I exult in the faithfulness of my God who is the same, ‘yesterday, today and forever’. The God who is my creator, my maker, my redeemer, my Lord and my shepherd. The same God who stood at the door of my heart and knocked all those years ago, He is the One who has carried me; He has been faithful even now that I am grey haired, and He will continue to be faithful, He will continue to carry me.

Praise be to His Name!

Peace

Today, very appropriately, the word prompt in the #Five Minute Friday Group is: Peace.

Peace.

Such a rare find.

Peace of heart and soul and mind.

Peace in families, in communities, in countries, in the world.

I am a military mama, so as you can imagine Peace is being hard fought for on so many levels just now, both at home and abroad.

I did not want to be a military mama. I married a veteran and naively thought that he had left the army behind him, not knowing it would always be there in him in the form of PTSD, flashbacks and inner turmoil. So I definitely did not want my son to go down that same road.

Yet here I am a military mama with a declaration of war made and my son already away.

Peace?

Where is peace in this?

Heartbreak, tears, anxiety, worries yes these are all mine, but what about peace?

Well peace is hard fought for both globally and internally.

I am reminded of this verse

You will keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on You,

Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

So today, my eyes are on the Lord, I will battle to keep my heart and mind set on Him, because I do trust Him, He is the Lord and nothing gets past Him.

They say peace is a person, peace is Jesus. He is my peace today, my mind is fixed on Him today.

Stretch

When my kids were small I longed for time and space to myself, now that I have an empty nest I have that, however, time can stretch out in long intervals and I have been particularly conscious of that for many people through lock-down – long stretches of time. For us during lockdown we tried to punctuate those time stretches of hours of the day or even days of the week by small tasks, routines or treats.

When you do have a stretch of time it is all very well to think very lofty thoughts of using that time in prayer or meditation, so you start and 5 minutes later you are finished, the hour stretches on in front of you!!

When I was working through a 12-step program the motto very much was ‘one day at a time’, however, I found that was too long a time period, it had to be moment by moment that I surrendered, that I checked-back my thoughts and emotions.

Stretches of time can be a blessing or a difficulty to work through to fill, but perhaps that is the secret, living moment by moment.

Stretch is the Word prompt from today’s #Five Minute Friday group of writers.