Thursday, December 17, 2015

Choice: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Kate's site.

Kate's prompt was that we have a choice. We get to choose our own word this week.
That's not easy for me. I like to have structure, something to start with.
I'm not God. In the beginning He spoke, and everything that wasn't, suddenly WAS.

Still, made in His image, I believe He uses us when He has something to say.
We have a choice in the matter. If we are choosing to listen to Him and His prompting, then we will be able to speak in His authority into a situation. Perhaps He will use us to bring courage where there is fear. Or, we will bring freedom where there has been an enslaving.
God still speaks, and He speaks through His people.

He could use us to bring life to a dark and weary soul.
He had a choice and chose to bring salvation through a human girl and the child she would bear to the hungry, empty, angry world.

The world hasn't changed, and neither has God.
"In the beginning was the Word (Jesus) and the Word (Jesus) was with God and the Word (Jesus) WAS God."
(John 1:1)
"Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord,“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:4-8)

So, you see, God has always and will always exist. You have a choice. Will you choose to exist in His presence or away from His presence?
You have a choice.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reflect: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Here's the link to Kate's page.


Tonight's prompt is Reflect.

I am actually using my timer tonight. *Good girl*
At first, reflect stirred nostalgic candlelight and year-end memories by the fireplace.

Quickly, though, I realized how self-focused that post would have been.

My vein tonight is reflect as in a reflection.

My challenge?  That when others are human to me, that I would be a mirror, but that instead of seeing themselves, they would see Jesus looking back at them.

How do we accomplish this?  With love. "Rid yourselves of all malice" literally means to bless.

If a hating, spewing person does not get a hateful, spewing reaction, but instead one of love, they will be confused.

"I tell you bless those that curse you.
You will heap flaming coals upon their head."
Romans 12:14 "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse."
Romans 12:20 "On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Matthew 5:40-48 in the Voice Translation states:

40 If someone connives to get your shirt, give him your jacket as well. 41 If someone forces you to walk with him for a mile, walk with him for two instead. 42 If someone asks you for something, give it to him. If someone wants to borrow something from you, do not turn away.
43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

The more we are looking outward to the needs of others, the less focused we are on our own needs (and wants). This does not mean irresponsibility, but instead, unselfishness. When somebody hurts you, ask yourself "why?" Was it really you they were upset with? Or are you an innocent casualty?

If we will choose to reflect instead of react, we will be Jesus to a dark world. And, on that silent, holy night, when the world was just as dark and gloomy as it was before He came, and still is, HE was brilliant and glorious, and He Was and Is and Is to Come!

When we allow our lives to reflect Jesus to others, we are removed from the depth of the sting that their "light and momentary" wounds cause us.
We can alternately choose to reflect on what they have done to us, moving the focus inward, and I think you and I both know, that there's a lot less of Jesus in that choice.

*timer has spoken*

Blessings to you and a Merry Christmas!!

(and I again ask for your linkup number or url in your comment, please, pretty please, so I can read your post and comment back!!)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Blessed Are The Pure of Heart: A Book Review

As somebody who enjoys books immensely, it was an honor when a friend of mine asked me to read and review his novel. I met Andrew through Kate Motaung's weekly linkup, Five Minute Friday.

Andrew has a blog, you can follow him over here.

This novel was engaging from the start. You are quickly thrown into a situation that causes you to empathize for the characters you have met. The series of events that follow are brilliantly woven together. From the beginning to the end, you will think you know what is happening, and then be given a curve that was unforeseen.

What I really appreciated about this novel is that the characters are very realistic. These are easily people that live next door to you, that you have met. You care about every moment of their lives, and there is not a single moment in the book that is wasted.

Without giving away anything, I also appreciated the ability of the book to stretch your ideas of what is possible in the human realm, in the spiritual realm, and how God uses people to affect others. This is a work of fiction that I have recently given as a gift to a friend who served in the Army overseas. The main character is a veteran, as is the author of the novel. His experience comes through the pages and gives insight to the adjustments back to civilian life for our soldiers.

I hope you will get a chance to read Andrew's novel, and then a chance to send one on to a friend. This was a very gifted writing. He also has an e-book on Amazon currently for soldiers who may be struggling with PTSD and the holidays. He and his wife Barbara are true servant-heart people that offer shelter to rescue dogs, and I hope you will visit his blog and leave him a comment or two.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

OneWord365: Humility

Alece over at has been such a kind friend to me. I've been blessed to share guest posts over there several times now. This is my most recent, and I hope you enjoy it!

Some people have difficulty choosing their word for the year. Some people have a moment of inspiration. It seems the more time you meditate and center in on what God is speaking to you, the easier it is to hear what He says.

When you ask God to speak one word over your life, be prepared for Him to make a mighty change—sometimes that process begins before the calendar declares a new year.
My first year, the word was “trust”. I felt that I did not trust God fully, though my mind wanted to trust Him. By the end of the year, the transformation happened, and I do trust Him! This second year, my word has been “joy”, but He has been teaching me about grace. It’s amazing. Really. I can’t stop writing about it!
For 2016, the word He’s leading me to and through? “Humble”.
This is not a fun word to be led through. And the process began much earlier than I thought it would. Still, He is speaking and is gentle in His teaching, and it’s necessary for where He wants to use me next.

 To finish the post, please visit:

Season: Five Minute Friday

Prompted but unscripted, a "free write" for five minutes with no edits, no re-writes. Every Friday (or Thursday night if you're at the Twitter party), we receive the week's prompt and write. Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, and usually spontaneous, this community has grown so much and now means a lot to me! Join us, it's so much fun! Here's the link to Kate's page.


Tonight's prompt is SEASON.

Of course, in December, "Deck The Halls" will instantly pop into your head if you're a fan of Christmas carols.
If you're cooking, you season your food with various spices.

But truly? Season has had a different meaning for me lately.

I'm in a new job this year. One I hadn't really planned for. So, I'm in a season of learning. In that season, I make mistakes. And I really don't like making mistakes. I like to do a magnificent job the first time. Most of the time, I'm naturally good at whatever I try. Except athletics. I get a participation award in every event.

And I think that God intended for this job to undo some things in my life that needed to be undone. It's been a season of humbling. And truly? It's been ugly. There are things that needed to be surfaced and removed, and God allows us to have the perfect situations to uncover those hidden things. Character traits that are external don't extend to every part of our internal selves. I don't want to see those parts of me that haven't been transformed by His hand, but the only way for the process to unveil is for His good hand to bring it to the light.

This is why the fruits OF THE SPIRIT are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Those are contrary to human fruits.

And, fresh fruit in season is delicious. Out-of-season fruit is rare and expensive. And past-season fruit is overripe or unfavorable for consuming.

My fruit? Useless. My righteousness, as Paul puts it, is "dirty rags". (and if you go to the Greek, it's even more appalling than just "dirty") My good deeds are for naught.
But, God's glory and grand plan? All good fruit.

He created the world with a plan. He just happens to let us affect each other to eventually cause us all to be turned to Him and give Him the praise and honor and glory and worship! Some people encourage us, some cause us to be refined.

The best part about seasons is that they change. When we've gone through a season, we can look back with relief or with wonder, but it's gone and the new has come.

Our seasons offer a chance to mentor others who are coming behind.
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Where I live, we have four seasons, and they are all beautiful. So, I'll close with Nichole Nordeman's "Every Season". Exactly a year ago this weekend, I had the great honor of standing in line and meeting her. I'm not a big celebrity person, but her music has impacted me since 1998. This was as close to a starstruck moment as there will be for this math teacher. 

Blessings on you in whichever season you are in. Whether summer, autumn, winter, or spring, may you find wonder and beauty in some small way, to remind you that God is in every season

P.S. Please include your url or linkup # on Kate's list so I can return the favor of reading and commenting! :D