Five Minute Friday: Turn

It’s Friday.  Turn.  It’s a choice today.  Will I let my eyes fearfully stare at the overwhelming stuff of life?  Will I glare at things I have no power to change?philippians 4.4 fmf.png

Or will I turn my eyes away from what is seen, but not understood with my limited perspective?  It’s a willful choice to make my eyes turn in faith believing God is bigger.

I choose today.   Eyes on Jesus and Shine.  Eyes on Jesus and Shine with His glory.

Eyes on Jesus and shine His Light in this dark world.  Be a reflector of His Light on the physical circumstances all around me.  Let His presence bring Peace and JOY.

Gaze upon Him, join your life with His, and JOY will come.  Your faces will glisten with glory.  You’ll never wear that shame-face again.  Psalm 34:5 tpt

This week Holy Spirit has been teaching me from the book of Philippians.  This is what I have gleaned while I’ve chewed on the words this week…

Rejoice, rejoice and press on…

How does one do this?  I’m honestly asking.  How does a finite person of limited power and ability choose not to look at the circumstances?  What will cause my eyes to turn to things above?

Simply choose Jesus.  Simply call on His name.  Jesus.  Jesus.  Jesus.FMF turn

I can’t do it in my own strength.  I listen for His voice.  The voice of my Shepherd tenderly calling my name.  That’s it.  It’s Him.  I want to look at Him.   My heart can’t help but look up when I hear Him call my name.

When my heart turns, my eyes follow.  I have to turn my eyes to Jesus.  Focus on Him.

Turn away from my circumstances.  And He will make me able.  Then when my eyes and my heart are settled on His presence with me, I rejoice.  And again I will rejoice!

I will press on…and I will fulfill my calling in the name of Jesus.

Finally, as my Shepherd trains my heart and my eyes to remain turned toward Him, I will win the prize.  For Jesus is the prize!

Ponder:

Is there something on which you’ve fixed your eyes?  Is it something in your circumstances over which you have no power to change?

Do you hear Jesus, your Good Shepherd calling your name?  Will you turn your eyes toward Him?

If you don’t think you can do it… ask Him.  He’ll help you.  Bow at His feet.  Let Him cup your chin and lift your gaze.  He’s calling your name.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

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Congratulations, Kate Motaung, on the release of your new book.  Please click here to purchase A Place to Land by Kate Motaung.  You’re going to be so glad you’ve added this book to your reading collection.

Today I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {release}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued by this concept of writing five minutes on one word, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Really it’s ok that it’s not even Friday anymore.  Jump in with me.  Oh so simple!

 

The Other Side

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and is in all.  Colossians 3:11

The Other Side

other:  a: being the one (as of two or more) remaining or not included; held on with one hand and waved with the other one  b: being the one or ones distinct from that or those first mentioned or implied; taller than the other boys  c: second; every other day*

The Scripture verse in Colossians 3:11 above is one that seems to stick with my thoughts about the word other.  However, I’m not entirely sure why except that God says in His word that we are all His creation.  He sees no nationality or skin color or gender or any other demographic as other than the beauty of His creativity.

And then in Colossians, the idea which seems to shatter the divisions, which other implies, is the statement:

Christ is all is in all.

So, this word – other.

When we first moved into our neighborhood seventeen years ago, our sons were elementary age youngsters.  My husband and I along with our sons were thrilled to move into a house on a quiet cul de sac with a huge backyard in which they could just run and play to their hearts’ content.

Colossians 3.11.png

Our neighborhood is large and built on both sides of a busy two-lane road.  Nonetheless, we are the same neighborhood, with the same HOA, and the same pool and tennis amenities offering the same favorable reputation for family living in a highly ranked school system.  Or so we thought until our youngsters began to tell us what an unfortunate choice we had made to buy a house on the ‘other side’.

We did live on the smaller side of the subdivision, and true, the pool and tennis courts were across the busy two-lane street.  Also true, the children on our side of the neighborhood attended a different elementary school than the children on the other side of the street.  And yet, once all of the children matriculated out of elementary school they all attended one middle and one high school.

And so, we talked often with our sons about this idea of living on the ‘other side’.  The truth of which we continually reminded our family was this:

  • the houses on both sides of the road were all basically the same skeletal structure
  • quality crafted with unique outward details
  • all called by the same subdivision name
  • And most importantly built by the same builder.

the other side of cc.png

I guess I’ll wrap it up here, and hopefully, someone other than me might benefit from pondering these thoughts.  It’s unfortunate that our sons felt a bit less than friends who lived on the ‘other side’.  It’s a sad realization that we live in such a comparison culture.  I catch myself battling that temptation.

Now that they are adults, our sons recognize the truth and the same goodness of their one neighborhood divided by a busy two-lane road.  They have fond memories of their days of riding bikes, football and baseball in the backyard, kick the can and flashlight tag with neighbors.  The truly funny thing?  Our family still lovingly refers to the location of our house as ‘on the other side’ of Cedar Creek.

Ponders:

We are all created – all human beings – no matter where we live or what we look like – in the image of Father God, Creator of all life.

So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.  Genesis 1:27 nlt

God made all of us out of all the same material of skin and bone, veins and blood, cells and genes, and skeletal design.  All in His image.  All uniquely crafted.  All purposely designed by the loving Creator.

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through Him, God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through Him and for Him.  Colossians 1:15-16 nlt

Truly God in His majesty, sovereignty, and holiness is Other.  There is none like Him.  No other who would qualify as His equal.

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11 nlt

Do these scriptures cause you to ponder the idea of God’s otherliness?  What thoughts do you have regarding yourself, others and the idea God has created all of us in His image, but there is none like Him?

Is there an idea above, which you would like to continue to bring before the Lord and learn at His feet, from His word and by prayer in the spirit?

Thanks for pondering with me.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

~Lisa

*Merriam-Webster.com

other -FMF-Square-Images-34

Congratulations, Kate Motaung, on the release of your new book.  Please click here to purchase A Place to Land by Kate Motaung.  You’re going to be so glad you’ve added this book to your reading collection.

Today I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {release}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued by this concept of writing five minutes on one word, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Really it’s ok that it’s not even Friday anymore.  Jump in with me.  Oh so simple!

 

FMF: How might I be intentional today?

This Five Minute Friday focus word is intentional.  My 5:00 timer is set and off we go!

When I think of the word intentional all I can think of initially is how far I fall short.  And then I choose to turn my eyes toward Jesus and realize He is the example of intentionality.

Father is the One who intentionally walked with His creation in the cool of the evening.  He talked with them and listened to their questions and delighted in their new discoveries.

Father is the One who gave away all the inheritance to the ungrateful son, watched him run off to fulfill his desire for pleasure, and still stood at the road watching for His son’s return.

Jesus is the One who stopped in a crowd to intentionally acknowledge the faith of the desperate one for whom His power went out to heal.

Father is the One who intentionally taught His son, Noah, to build a boat.  Father knew the rain, of which Noah knew nothing, would come to destroy all but those who would seek shelter in His provision.

Jesus intentionally called from the cross to His mother and to John so that she would be cared for while He intentionally went to make a place for her for eternity.

I have no shortage of examples in my Father, my Savior, and I count on Holy Spirit provision living in me to intentionally set my mind to focus on my next assignment of intentional love.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!

Lisa

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Wisdom from Kate Motaung regarding the intent of Five Minute Friday:  It’s really not about the quality — it’s about showing up. It’s about sitting down, setting the timer, and doing the work. It’s about the discipline and the practice of letting the words flow. It’s about releasing fears and embracing imperfection. And we do it together.

So, now that you know how simple this is and that it’s not about perfection – join us!  Set your timer with me. 5:00 and GO!

Day 31: What if {rest} is a place to be rather than something to do?

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.  The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!”  Ruth 1:8-9 esv

Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you?  Ruth 3:1 esv

On this last of 31 days gleaning with Ruth, I’ve been asking the Lord why Naomi chose prioritized rest for her daughters in law.  On their way out of Moab, Naomi stopped and blessed the young women to go home and find rest – each in the house of a husband.  And later for Ruth, after the harvest season was completed, back in Bethlehem of Judah, Naomi’s desire and priority was to find her a place of rest.

Looking at the Hebrew words used in each of the two verses I realize Naomi’s idea of rest is far different than our American Merriam Webster definition of rest, which is – repose, sleep… a bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.

{rest}

Ruth 1:9 – in this scripture reference the Hebrew word for rest is mĕnuwchah according to blueletterbible.com meaning – figuratively, consolation (specifically, matrimony); hence (concretely) an abode:—comfortable, ease, quiet, rest(-ing place), still.

And then in Ruth 3:1 the Hebrew word for rest is mânôwach, maw-no’-akh; quiet, i.e. (concretely) a settled spot, or (figuratively) a home:—(place of) rest.  This word for rest in the Hebrew carries with it the idea of security.

As we’ve journeyed along through the book of Ruth, we’ve witnessed this desire of Naomi come to fruition.  Ruth obediently followed Naomi’s instructions to wash, dress and lay at the feet of her near kinsman, Boaz.  As strange as that might seem to our modern western cultural norms, and especially inside the church – Boaz was the man Naomi hoped would step up to the role of Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, and Naomi knew how to get his attention without crossing a morality line.  To be covered, taken in, sheltered – to become the wife of the kinsman redeemer would mean rest, home, peaceful security and hope for her future.

Nowhere at all do we find an indication of Naomi desiring for Ruth the idea of rest in the sense of doing nothing, sitting around her tent, being still – not working – a cessation of being active.  Certainly, as a young woman, the expectation would have been for her to care for her husband and hopefully children as time went by.

In the days of Ruth and Naomi, women worked hard with great physical labor just to gather water and prepare a meal.  Their daily tasks were far beyond my view of keeping up a household – driving to the grocery store, buying and unpacking food already prepared for me, and gathering water through my indoor plumbing!

And so, while it is important to set aside time to rest from work – to stop the busy routine, the constant motion of going and doing and exhaustion, today the concept of rest Holy Spirit is highlighting is more in the realm of security under His wing.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.  Psalm 91:1-2

 

31 days gleaning into the nightSo, if anyone were to ask me:  “What is your one big take away from 31 days of gleaning with Ruth?” – it would be the concept of rest as relates to being sheltered under God’s wing.

I’m a busy lady, just as most of you are busy with your daily life activities.  As I look back on the last 31 days of writing every day, maintaining my full-time employment, caring for family (which includes 3 dogs) and home, and checking in on neighbors, it’s been an overly full month.  And yet, the fact that I am now crossing the finish line (with you) on this project is proof enough – this was God’s idea.  Truly because Holy Spirit has been leading the way, and I have simply followed under His direction, this adventure has been anything but burdensome.  Rather, it is has been a JOY feast for my soul.

I’m reminded this morning of Jesus’ definition of rest –

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:29-30 ESV

Yes, do you see it too?  Jesus teaches when we join Him in His work, under His gentle supervision, we will find rest for our souls.  It’s true!  I’ve experienced this truth in every one of the last 31 days.  I pray today you too are taking Jesus at His word, to join Him – yoked with Him – in His work for today.  As you choose today to submit to His gentle training, I am confident you WILL find rest for your soul.  I can’t wait to hear the testimonies…

Father, thank You for sheltering me under Your Wing and for covering me with Your Feathers as I’ve met with You in Your Word daily.  Holy Spirit thank You for teaching me in the peacefulness of the first fruits of the day.  Thank You, Jesus, for giving me rest in my work because this is the work You called me to do.  May I remember always and come often to sit at Your feet, my Lord, to rest with You and work with You under the security of Your habitation with me.  I give thanks to You God for You are good and Your steadfast love endures forever.  Amen.

Ponders:

  • What is your definition of rest?  Do you see rest as a state of being?  Or do you see rest as something to do?  Do you have room in your life for both forms of rest?
    • Is Holy Spirit highlighting a particular form of rest for you to prioritize today?
    • Would you like to make my prayer your own prayer today?  How might your prayer be different regarding rest?  In what areas of your life are you seeking rest?
      • Let’s pray together to be taught by Holy Spirit and to glean His truth for our good and for His glory.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  May God bless you richly with a desire to be tucked under His great Wing – covered by His Feathers as described in Psalm 91, and may you experience His tangible presence and an overwhelming sense of security no matter where you are or what tasks you are performing.  May you find yourself lying at Jesus’ feet and listening to His loving Shepherd voice calling you by name.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

Day 27: Who is it that {overcome}s the world?

Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he (and she) who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  1 John 5:5 niv

{overcome}  it’s a promise for the one who perseveres through, over and around – for the one who puts their eyes on Jesus and never stops following the sound of His voice.

Looking this morning at the question in 1 John 5:5 my first response would be the automatic Sunday School answer – “JESUS!”  However, as I finish reading the scripture, the answer is plain as day…

It’s me!{overcome}.png

Only (me, we, those of us) who believe Jesus is the Son of God.  We are the ones who are given the privilege, the opportunity and the guaranteethe promise of overcoming the world.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve not really set out to overcome the world.  I just want to overcome the obstacles which seem to be impeding my current progress.  The slammed shut and locked doors… the tightly shuttered windows… the physical resources which seem to be leaking out without enough flowing back in.

I doubt Naomi set out to overcome the world.  Nor Ruth.  Probably not even Boaz.  Though certainly, the book of Ruth is an overcomer’s true story.  There’s much for me to glean from this small book of Ruth as pertains to my own life and circumstances I face.  These obstacles aren’t any more impossible for me than they were for Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.

Clearly, we see a familiar pattern in Ruth – as we see all throughout the Bible.  It’s an easily recognizable pattern in my own life as well:

  • there’s a problem – an obstacle to {overcome}
  • what can I do to gut it out, fix it, endure it, resolve it
  • I can’t do it… it’s too hard… I need help
  • Cry out to God for help, mercy, rescue
  • Turn back toward home, head down, overwhelmed with shame – disillusioned and hopeless.

31 days gleaning into the night

Before we get all the way home, He’s there – open arms, welcoming, glad to see us.  Father is ready to provide everything we need and Jesus is ready to hold our hand and persevere with us every step while Holy Spirit teaches us to listen and follow Shepherd’s voice.  The next thing we know – we’ve {overcome}… because Jesus came to overcome the world!

Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 niv

Ponders:

I feel absolutely sure we each have something in our lives to {overcome}.  Perhaps the real questions are deeper than what appears on the surface.  Jesus usually wants to take us deeper, right?

  • I wonder if you will ask Holy Spirit for His perspective on what it is He has for you to overcome?  I’m asking too.
    • Perhaps it looks like famine, but is it really fear of lack – feelings of abandonment?  Perhaps the obstacle looks like your spouse or your children or career or…, but maybe it’s really fear or doubt or pride or….?
  • Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NIV
    • What do these words mean for you?  Will you ask Jesus – honestly – pouring out the well of emotion, which is undoubtedly tied to this thing that looks impossible to our human eyes?
    • Will you turn towards Jesus, sit at His feet and allow Him to cup your chin and turn your eyes toward Him?  Will I?
    • Will we place our hands in His, trusting and persevering because He has overcome the world?

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  Persevere friend all the way through.  There’s no guarantee your story will end the way you always thought it would.  It is a promise, if you yield to God writing His story in your life, the end result will yield a harvest beyond your wildest imagination.  Mark 4:20 in The Message

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

31 days fmf overcome

It’s Friday and the surprise word Kate Motaung has for us today is {overcome}.  Thanks, Kate, for listening to Holy Spirit for word prompts and sharing them with the rest of us.

So come along and join in the fun.  Set your timer for 5.  Pray, ask Holy Spirit for His words, type and publish.

{Overcome} the temptation to sit this one out, {overcome} the lie that you have nothing to contribute to the body.  We need to edify one another…. {overcome} for the edification of the body of Christ and for God’s glory!    Click here to read and or join in the link up for today’s Five Minute Friday

Day 26: Ready for a {change} of heart?

For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:12-13 nivchange

How do you feel about a change of heart?  What does that mean?  Are you in a season in which you feel something needs to change?

I’m there.  And I was there before these 31 days began on October 1st.  My feeling has been for a number of years – our circumstances need to change.  We’ll be alright if we can just hold on until my suntanned feet man feels better… and he finds another opportunity in the next chapter of his career… and on and on…

Then one day when our circumstances will come back into alignment when the famine season is over, everything will be good again.  Then I’ll have the opportunity to leave my 9 to 5 and write and speak to women and minister and disciple.  When God changes our circumstances.  God, when are You going to change our circumstances?

{Change} be made different, transform, alter – take a different position or course or direction.

Is it just me or is there anyone else out there who might be reading along who feels sure all will be well in their lives if God would just hurry up and change their circumstances?  I’m confident I’m not the only one.  Most every heart conversation lately seems to follow a similar trail.  Women at work, discipleship knitted hearts, couples in our home group and neighbors – followers of Christ Jesus – wondering, “God, what are You doing?”

Interestingly, our circumstances haven’t changed.  As I’ve learned, more than once in my life, there’s really not much over which I have control, except myself.  If nothing else around me is changing and I want to live the abundant life and produce a harvest bushel of the fruits of the Spirit of God, the only other choice is to cry out, “Father, change me.”revise

As I pondered the idea of 31 days – gleaning in the book of Ruth I already knew I would be changed.  I’ve walked this journey with the Word became flesh long enough to know that I know if I spend 31 days soaking in His truth and open myself up to be taught by His Spirit, I will be changed – transformed – my thinking renewed – perspective changed.

God’s Word is Living.  He is Jesus, Conqueror of death.  God’s Word is Active.  Jesus is present in our circumstances.  God’s Word is Sharp.  Jesus, wielding a scalpel, removes what He sees in us which doesn’t belong as we yield to elective surgery.

I started out this journey thinking the reason for Naomi’s suffering, the loss of life and utter despair had to be the result of their wrong choice.  If only they had stayed in Bethlehem…  If only they had turned around and gone home…  If only – a thousand different “if only” wonderings for my own life.  I needed to know in this 31 days what Holy Spirit desired to teach me through my questions.

He is changing my perspective on my need to always get it right.  If God’s goodness and grace for Naomi was completely dependent on her making all the right choices then there would be no way to explain the marriage of Ruth (a foreigner coming under the protective wing of the Almighty God) to Boaz (a near kinsman redeemer) and the resultant lineage of generations leading to the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

God is bigger than our twists and turns.  He is bigger than our wanderings.  God is greater than our circumstances.  He knows where we are and how long the impossible will last.  He sees the end from the beginning and He knows the way through and out.

And I wonder if my Father might be thinking the steps of my journey are making an interesting pattern as He weaves my story into the grand fabric of His creation.

What do you think?

Ponders:

The aim:  we are changed by the Word of God to be transformed daily into the image of Christ regardless of our circumstances.

The truth:  our circumstances expose the stuff in us which does not resemble our Lord.  It is the circumstances of life, the seemingly impossible, not budging no matter the force of my will, which causes me to surrender to the change my Lord wants to do in me.

  • Is there a change of heart you are needing today?  Will you ask Holy Spirit to teach you through His living and active word?
  • Will you write out the scriptures to which He leads you?  Will you make them your prayer for change – a transformed heart?
  • Are you willing to choose elective surgery under the precision of Jesus’ scalpel today?  Let’s do this together.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!

~Lisa

 

 

 

Day 23: Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?

Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”  Ruth 4:11-12

{work}

Work is a hard word at our house these days.  Every time my husband and I meet someone for the first time, he is asked, “So, what do you do?”  It’s a question which produces more angst, frustration, and sadness than I can bear to watch.  work

My husband struggles with how best to answer the question.  Should he say he’s retired or should he say he’s in between opportunities?  Should he open up the vulnerable place of stating his desire for another opportunity to work in his career field?  All the answers lead to more questions and ultimately reveal the length of time we’ve waited in this particular famine season.

We’re not farmers, but reading through the book of Ruth in this dry season on our journey, we have a new perspective on work – or the lack of it.  We have a new appreciation for the man or woman who desires to produce for their family, has the knowledge and skill, but at every turn finds the doors are closed.

The current work drought for my man feels much like the farmers’ in the time of the Judges who had land, seed, skill, and knowledge to grow crops in their fields, and yet they could not control the weather.  For all their effort, working hard to bring a harvest, the stuff of life beyond their control overwhelmed and a famine season was the result.

What {work} do you do?  It’s a question through which the core of our identity is revealed.  The question and the feelings it provokes for the positive or the negative can be a false sense of identity unless we are securely rooted in Whom we serve.

May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give

I love this blessing on Boaz from his neighbors, friends, and family in Bethlehem.  Though Boaz most certainly was a landowner, a farmer and it seems clearly a man of good reputation and high status in the community, he was blessed to build a home and to bear offspring to bring glory and honor to the Lord God Almighty.  31 days gleaning bushel of wheat

I wonder when I am able to ask Boaz, “So what did you do for work back in Bethlehem?” what his answer will be.  Somehow I believe knowing he acted honorably as a kinsman redeemer, married Ruth and became the father of Obed and eventually the great-grandfather of King David all greatly overwhelmed the satisfaction received from working his job.  Maybe?  I look forward to asking Boaz this question.

 

Ponders:

  • This is my ponder today…  Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?
  • Chewing on this Scripture from Colossians, I’m asking…
    • Lord Jesus, what do You want me to know about my life’s work?
    • How do You see me in my life’s work?
    • Will You teach me how to best honor You and serve You in my life’s work?
    • How do You want to shape my identity as a Christ follower through the work I do?  Would it change my perspective if I recognized my true calling is an Ambassador for You no matter the daily grind of my day to day activities?
  • How might I pray this prayer for my husband and others who are in a famine season of their life’s work?

we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;  Colossians 1:9-11 esv

 

Day 22: Is not your yoke easy and your burden {light}?

Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon.  Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”   Ruth 4:9-10 esv

{Light} – lighten the load, remove a burden from your shoulders…

burden is light

This morning as I ponder the word for today – light – while reading and praying through God’s word for us in Ruth, I see the picture of the kinsman redeemer removing the burden of the weak, the poor, the widow and oppressed.

This scripture is sure to raise an eyebrow and cause our modern day skin to crawl and a shudder to run down our spines as we are justified in rejecting the idea of women being purchased as a bride.  I’m in full agreement.  Not at all should we think it’s ok in any way shape or form for another human being to be purchased by another.

As much as we are opposed, this was the true status of women in the time of the Judges.  Had not Boaz stepped forward as the near kinsman who had received the right of purchase of Elimelech’s estate from Naomi, Ruth would not have a place of honor, of shelter, and an opportunity to have children to carry on the name of Naomi’s family.  Truly, the near kinsman was God’s provision in those times to care for the widows, orphans, the poor and oppressed foreign peoples of the world.

This scripture in Ruth, is God’s Word – God breathed – and God by the power of His Holy Spirit means for us to see Jesus as our Kinsman Redeemer.  Who can argue?  We who walked afar off from God –  burdened under a yoke of sin… we needed to be purchased.  And purchased we are by the blood of the Lamb of God sacrificed on our behalf.  Jesus, Son of God, is our kinsman Redeemer who declares today the JOYFUL purchase of His bride.

Jesus calls out to all who will have ears to hear…

“…For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:30 nlt

girl in wheat 31 days

Grateful we are… those of us who have been released from our burden and have received the good news in the presence of many witnesses the truth, “I have been ransomed.  My Redeemer has paid a great price for me with His own blood.  I am no longer dead, but alive and my new name which my Redeemer has given me will live on in eternity with Him as His bride.  Hallelujah! Amen.”

Ponders:

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
    lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
    and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
    and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
    and do not hide from relatives who need your help.  Isaiah 58:6-7

  • How do you feel about the idea of being purchased out of bondage?  Have you submitted to your need for the Kinsman Redeemer to purchase you out of death and darkness?  Will you receive the gift of Jesus’ ransom today?
  • If you know you have been redeemed by the Kinsman Redeemer Jesus, how does this story help you reflect on the gift God has given you?
  • Will you pray with me and ask Holy Spirit for a fresh view of God’s grace toward the widow, the poor, the oppressed, the slaves to sin and the dead without His loving purchase?
  • Are you willing to share a new understanding of God’s word, His grace, love and redemption through this small book of Ruth?

Eyes on Jesus…you’re Shining!

~Lisa

FMF: {depend}

Again – it’s past Friday, and yet I will make a deliberate effort to write 5 minutes on Kate’s  word prompt for this week {depend}.

Why?  fmf logo

I haven’t quite figured out the answer to “why?” just yet.  It’s not because I have so much time.  It’s not because my posts are widely read.  It’s not because anyone is {depend}ing on me to write and post.  It’s not because I’m being paid or in any way receive a monetary reward – or any material reward for that matter.

It’s just that I have so many thoughts and words and ideas racing through the twisting, turning highway of my mind.  At times all the words and thoughts – truth and lies – get tangled up together as if a major mangled pile up has taken place in my brain.

Writing helps me sort.  Typing out words and allowing Holy Spirit to bring to mind the truth of Scripture through which my thoughts need to be sifted brings me great peace and comfort.  By putting it out there on my blog and sharing my posts through social media, possibly someone will benefit from my sorting and filtering through the truth of God’s word.  Someone might become untangled by truth and ultimately receive peace and comfort and rest in reassurance Jesus has never left them.  No, not for one moment, have we been left alone!

And what does any of this have to do with the word prompt {depend} anyway?                                                              (5 minutes on my timer begins)

I’m learning in my personal conversations with Holy Spirit, and He is highlighting for me a very deep-rooted fear in me.  It’s a fear of {depend}ency.  It’s a fear of another person clinging to me.  It’s a very real fear of an unhealthy attachment – {depend}ency.

This is an odd quandary.  I value {depend}ability.  However, I fear {depend}ency.  And so, on this part of my life’s journey, I am often asking Jesus to teach me.  What is the difference between {depend}ability and {depend}ency?

I desire to be {depend}able.  Equally, I value other people being {depend}able.  However, I reject {depend}ency.  In my work, I strive to be someone who can be counted on – reliable.  I show up.  I get my work done.  I am purposeful in meeting my employer’s expectations.

Spoiler alert – I’m not perfect.  As much as I want to be {depend}able all the time, perfectly, 100%, without exception – I’m not.  No one is.  I value {depend}ability in the people I work with and for, and they are most of the time – {depend}able.  And then there are those few times when they are not.

There’s GRACE for this!

It’s the same in my family, with friends, in church and truly, every circle of life in which I live and breathe and move and have my being through Christ.  I desire to be {depend}able, and I desire others to be {depend}able with the full understanding on my part that the only trustworthy {depend}able One is God, my Father, Savior, and Counselor.  (5 minutes, but my thoughts continue)

Depend - fmf - square

So far, my conclusion is {depend}ency has to do with perfection.  It feels to me that someone {depend}ent on me expects me to be perfectly available and all-sufficient, all knowing and all present for their every need, all the time.  And I reject that – wholeheartedly I say “NO!” to that kind of expectation placed on me.  I fear that type of suffocating {depend}ency.  I run from it.

And through our sorting, Holy Spirit and me, through the filter of God’s word, I believe this is the correct reaction.  The only One Who can be perfectly available and all-sufficient to carry every burden and supply every need, being perfectly present all the time is God as the Word become flesh, Jesus, our Savior, and His Holy Spirit, Comforter, the gift to us received at salvation Who never leaves us – NEVER!

God is perfectly dependable.  And so yes, when I feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up because I feel a dependency overshadowing me, I will pull back and redirect in all love and in truth pointing toward Jesus.

I’ll walk you to Him.  I’ll introduce you to Him.  And then I will leave you with Him.  Because He is all you have ever – and will ever need.  You can {depend} on Jesus.

I hope you would do the same for me.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7

FMF: {support}

 

More-FMF-Square-Images-10Five Minute Friday for September 15, 2017:  {support}

I’m way late, but we had a tropical storm come through Atlanta this past week.  I’m giving myself a bit of GRACE and taking my time.  Pondering with Holy Spirit about this word {support}.

I’ve seen so many examples of {support} this past week right here in my own neighborhood.  Lilburnites, Jeremy and Nikki, opening their home on Facebook to anyone of their friends in Southwest Florida who wanted to take refuge away from Hurricane Irma.  Astounding!  For all who think no one cares or gives or loves open-handedly anymore.  That’s just a plain lie.

For all who think no one cares or gives or loves open-handedly anymore.  That’s just a plain lie.  Filled with Holy Spirit, Jesus cared and gave and loved open-handedly through Jeremy and Nikki and then through other Lilburnites who saw their example and moved into action in {support} of them.

I loved my husband’s response…overhearing his conversation… “I’m not capable of this kind of human kindness.  This is Jesus.”

fmf logo

 

Five Minutes on the timer:  GO!

 

I read {support} and I think support beam.  I think support beam and then my mind jumps to my Dad.  25 years with Eastern Airlines as a mechanic and then nothing.  The company is gone and his job is gone.  NO support there.  Earthly support is temporary.

My Dad went back to school and finished a 4-year construction degree at FIU in south Florida.  With his degree, he became a construction manager with Habitat for Humanity for a number of years before he retired.  He certainly helped to support families with affordable housing, but through Habitat, there was more support offered than just providing a roof over people’s heads.

People were taught sweat equity.  People learned to serve, get dirty, and give of themselves.  People learned to pray – not just for themselves, but for others in need.

Through Habitat for Humanity, my Dad ministered support to people far outside the earthly physical support beam of a house.Support Moses Aaron and Hur

Which brings my mind around to Moses and Joshua and Aaron and Hur.  Joshua was sent by Moses as battle commander to defeat the enemy forces, and Moses was Joshua’s prayer support.  However, this was a mighty, bloody and deadly battle against an enemy not so willing to give up territory.

As Moses prayed with His arms lifted high, Joshua and his army gained territory, but a man can only pray with arms lifted for so long before gravity takes over.  As Moses’ arms would weaken and fall the enemy forces would gain ground in the battle.

Huh, Moses providing prayer support needed support.

Anyone tracking with me on this pathway of thought?

Aaron and Hur brought a stone, on which Moses was able to sit, and then Aaron held up one of Moses’ arms and Hur held up the other.  They prayed and supported and prayed and supported together until the victory was won!

Ponders:

  1. What battle are you fighting while someone offers prayer support?
  2. Are you providing prayer support for someone in a battle?
  3. Does the prayer support need support?
  4. Let’s ask Holy Spirit to guide and direct us to a victory battle plan.  Holy Spirit will you bring the people to provide the prayer support and the arm support and the perseverance to pray until victory is won?