Forget

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is FORGET http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

Picture credit: Dreamstime.com

Forget – we all forget things don’t we? We can all fail to remember something, a name, an object, an appointment, or even the password we set up yesterday (particularly annoying when we can remember things form a long time ago!), why we went into a room, why we opened a certain drawer or cupboard (what did I come in here for?) and we can all deliberately stop thinking about something.

Did you know that we can do something that God can’t?  Now that’s some thought!  I can do something that God can’t.  We can remember our sins after we’ve confessed them – but God can’t. 

Isaiah 43:25 ESV I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Hebrews 8:12 ESV For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Psalm 103:12 ESV As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Jeremiah 31:34 ESV And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

So, when we are reminded about our past sin, who is it that’s reminding us? It certainly isn’t God – we confess our sins and He forgets them, scripture tells us that as a fact, it’s none-negotiable. God intentionally forgets our sin, our guilt. Reminding ourselves of our sin makes us feel unworthy of God’s love for us, puts a distance between us and Him, makes us feel anxious and unable to approach Him with prayer, petitions, worship and more. But wait, isn’t that just what Satan wants to happen? Doesn’t he want there to be an unbridgeable distance between us and God, the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of all? Do we remind ourselves of our past sin, or are we listening to the accuser’s whispers, the liar’s deceptions? As the song Before the Throne of God above says: “When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Saviour died, my sinful soul is counted free, for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me”

TOGETHER

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is TOGETHER http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

During the past few years I think we have all been in a place of appreciating the support of family, friends and neighbours as we have been put under great stress and strain by Covid-19. Some of us have been shielding; some isolating; some being very, very careful. Others have been supporting – doing and delivering shopping, making daily telephone calls, checking up on vulnerable (and sometimes frightened) friends and neighbours. And along the way, we have witnessed a new and growing sense of community, as we have all pulled together to protect the vulnerable and the fearful. I don’t know anyone who has stood alone during this testing time. We were truly “all in it together”

Being together is, perhaps, the natural state for humankind. That being said, there are those of us who just love being in company, and others whose preference is to be more solitary. But I think that most, if not all, people have at least one person that is “there” for them, no matter what. And that’s important – to have someone trustworthy and reliable, someone who will stand alongside us in times of joy or sorrow, someone who will laugh with us or dry our tears, someone who cares.

I’m reminded of the AA Milne stories of Winnie the Pooh. Those wonderful friends who had so many adventures together- Winnie, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Tigger, Rabbit and, of course, Eeyore. A band of intrepid friends, supporting each other through thick and thin. The friends always looked out for each other, and tailored their activities so that they could all join in. Even when Eeyore was at his most depressed and vulnerable, they looked out for him and made sure to include him in their plans – popping round to see him, helping him and taking him along with them, lifting his mood.

But, you know, we’re all human. We all have good days and bad days. We all have ups and downs. We all have times when others can rely on us to support them, and times when we need the support of others – times when we need togetherness, times when we can’t give support because we have nothing left to give from – our well is dry.

But there is someone who we can always rely on, whether we crave the company of others or enjoy solitude and being on our own; someone who will always be “there” for us; someone who shares everything with us; someone who laughs when we are laughing, weeps when we are weeping, walks and runs alongside us, and carries us when we can go no further under our own steam.

Image from Pixabay.com

Footprints in the sand  – a poem, author unknown

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
Especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
There was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Be

Picture Credit – CarolinePalmy.com

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is BE http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

When I saw the word for today, my mind instantly went to the old(er) chorus, “Be still and know that I am God” , so I’ve put a link to it at the bottom of this post. But I have to ask, “What is it about just “Being” that we all find so difficult?”

When someone asks me who I am, my response is often about my relationships, for example, “Oh, I’m so-and-so’s Mum”, or about what I do (or did), for example, “I’m an EYP working in family support”.  Do you find the same?  When we’re asked who we are, we very often reply with what we do, and not who we are.  We reply with relationships, jobs, where we live, our role in church – not who we actually are.  Do we know who we are?  Not just our names, but who we really are? 

Sometimes the world conspires to rob us of who we are – who God says we are.  It’s so easy to get lost in the busy-ness of life, to concentrate on the doing, planning tasks, working out how we’re going to fit everything into the day, rushing around trying to fulfil people’s visions of who we are (and our own too).  But is this who God says I am?  No, it’s not!

So, who am I? And who are you? Who does God say you and me are?  Here are just some of the things God says that I am:

  • I am beloved – John 3:16
  • I am a masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10
  • I am chosen – Ephesians 1:4
  • I am Holy – Ephesians 1:4
  • I am forgiven – Ephesians 1:17
  • I am a new creation  – 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • I am redeemed – Romans 3:24
  • I am worth more than gold – Job 33:4
  • I am the Child of the King – 1 John 3:1
  • I am an heir of God – Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:7
  • I am blessed – Ephesians 1:3
  • I am courageous – Deuteronomy 31:6
  • I am free – Romans 6:14
  • I am beautiful – Psalm 139:13-14
  • I am victorious – Romans 8:37
  • I am gifted – James 1:17

So my challenge to myself today is to stop rushing around “doing”, and allow myself to just “Be”, to be who I am, to be who God says I am.

1 John 4:16, 17

Picture Credit – pixabay.com

I was given this word a while ago, and re-discovered it as I was tidying out my office space – and felt that now was the time to “put it out there” as some-one needs to hear this.  If it’s not you, then feel free to scroll on by.  If it does strike a chord with you, hold it lightly and check it out.

1 John 4:16, 1716 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” (NIV)

Above you see a picture of a tuning fork – two prongs vibrating on one base.  I heard the words, “Make sure you are in tune with Me, check your tuning, it’s very important at this time to be in tune.  Your spirit and My Spirit tuned perfectly in pitch and tone, in harmony.  The two prongs are your spirit and My Spirit and I AM the base.  Be in tune with Me now (*a sense of great urgency*).  Check your tuning.”

I saw concentrated light at the base which moved upwards and out of the forks as they vibrated in resonance. “See what happens when you’re in tune – My light reaches out.  But see …” One prong began to vibrate ever-so-slightly out of sync with the other, no longer resonating.  The light stopped.  “My light cannot reach out when there is even the slightest hint of there being a disharmony between your spirit and My Spirit.  Check your tuning – now! (*again spoken with a great sense of urgency*)

Stay in tune with My Spirit.  Remain in tune with My Spirit.  Keep your eyes firmly fixed on Me and hear My voice, hear My heart.  Keep your eyes firmly fixed on Me.  See Peter stepping out of the boat.  He heard Me and he saw Me.  He walked on the depths of the deep with his eyes fixed on Me.

The time is coming soon and will surely come when your eyes on Mine, your spirit in tune with My Spirit, will keep you safely walking with Me on the depths of the deep. In the midst of the storm shall you walk on the depths of the deep with Me.  In the midst of the storm, with your spirit in tune with My Spirit, with your eyes fixed on My eyes, shall you walk on the depths of the deep.  And your lighthouse, our lighthouse become sanctuary.”

Chance

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is CHANCE http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

What did you want to be when you were young?  A model?  Musician? Famous actor? A great scientist? A prize winner? A top athlete?  Did you achieve your youthful ambition? Do you know anyone who actually did?  So what stopped you?  Time and chance, time and chance.  For each famous actor, how many others, perhaps equally talented and even went to the same school, didn’t “get the breaks”?  Maybe they just weren’t the right face in the right place at the right time.

How many ideas, plans and ambitions have you released, let go of, seen crumble before your eyes, been left unfulfilled despite your best attempts?  Are we doomed to fail?  Are the odds stacked against us?  Or are we just not focussed on the right things?  Now there’s a thought!  We cannot “make” anything happen.  Yes we can plan thoroughly, we can work hard, we can try our very best – and still fail.  So do we resign ourselves to fatalism?  Is there really nothing we can do to change our outcomes?

God gave each of us grey matter between our ears – it’s not there just as a “filler” or stuffing for our empty heads.  God gave us brains to use, to think, to reason, to determine.  God gave each of us a body full of talents, gifts, strengths and weaknesses.  But these strengths, gifts, talents are no good at all if we don’t utilise them, if we just let them rot away unused. 

Ecclesiastes  9:11, 12 says, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”

You see, even in the Bible there are words about talent and timing – getting the circumstances lined up to give the best outcome, and then failing to get the desired results.  Life just doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. Apart from God, we have no answer to the talent and timing issue.  Certainly, the Lord has put certain systems in place governing the universe.  Certainly, the Lord has also put people in the positions they are in.  But at the end of the day, who’s really in control?  The Lord.  He is in control of both our talent and our time.

Maybe we don’t need to take a chance – maybe we need a change of focus.  Focussing on God and what He wants us to do is by far the best option as He’ll provide the right time and the right talents, the right resources for us to succeed.

TWENTY

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is TWENTY http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

Picture Credit: BBC Sport T20 Cricket

I have only recently discovered the joys of T20 cricket – why, oh why have I missed out on such a fast, furious, frenetic, skill-filled excitement for so long?  I suppose cricket has the image of being a sport for the rich and posh, the upper-class and boring, a slow and deliberate sport with strange names for the positions of players on the field (e.g. slip, silly mid off, fly slip).  The captains of the teams of 11 call the toss and the winning team is “in”, and the losing team is “out”.  Now here’s where if gets confusing – the team that’s “in” goes out to bat 2 players at a time, whilst the team that’s “out” goes in to field to get the team that’s “in” – out.  When all of the team that’s “in” is out, the team that’s “out” goes in and the process starts again.  But – and here’s the rub – I don’t need to understand it all to enjoy the game.

And here’s something else I don’t need to understand – John 20:19-23, I can just marvel at it and enjoy it!  John 20:19-23 finds the disciples locked in fear in the upper room, unsure of what has happened, what will happen, or how they are to go on.

There is much anxiety in the air this week, many, many lives are being ruined by conflict, weakness, and aimlessness. So I invite you to find your way into that room with the disciples, to ponder who or what it is you have figuratively locked the doors against in your fear, to experience the presence of Christ, to hear Christ speak PEACE, and to receive the breath of Christ being breathed upon you. Receive the Holy Spirit. Your breath mingles with the breath of God. Peace.

In this first appearance to the disciples Jesus says three things, and these three things turn out to be three gifts for us: the gift of peace, the gift of power, and the gift of purpose. The opposite of peace is conflict. The opposite of power is weakness. The opposite of purpose is aimlessness.

John 20:19-23 (NIV) says: 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus did not come into the world and die and rise again to ruin your life, but to save it by becoming our peace and our power and our purpose.

TRUST

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is Trust http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup .

Trust
A firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something.


What do you trust – what you see, what you hear, what you feel, what you think?


Who do you trust – your parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, spouse, partner?
Those lists could easily be endless.


Have you seen parents, particularly Dads, throwing their young children up into the air and catching them? The child trusts that their parent will catch them and not allow them to fall to the floor.


But what happens when trust gets broken? Then we feel betrayed, hurt, let down, angry – lots of negative emotions that swirl around in our hearts and minds and threatened to grow, spilling over and spoiling other parts of our lives.


Human beings are all fallible, can make mistakes and break trust. What we see and hear can deceive us – even the most trustworthy source of, for example, news can carry lots of political ‘spin. Our thoughts can deceive us, and our feelings are definitely not trustworthy. We can have our trust broken in all kinds of ways.


But there is something that is truly trustworthy; something that will never let you down, never lie to you, never deceive you, never break your trust. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” and the Lord will show you and tell you the truth, in John 14:6 Jesus says,”I am the way, the truth and the life.” His word is trustworthy and true, listen in the quiet of your heart and he will speak his truth to you.


We can only learn to trust by trusting. Our “trust-muscle” will only grow and develop if we exercise it and use it, just like any other muscle in our body. So let’s place our trust in something and someone who is completely trustworthy and who will never, ever break our trust.

GUESS

Guess the number of sweets in the jar. Guess the weight of the cake. Guess the right combination of numbers to win the lottery/sweepstake. Guess which horse/dog/team will win. So many “guessing” games around to tempt us to part with just a little money in an attempt to win very much more.

Another, more serious guessing game every time we drive our cars – do I have enough room to perform a manoeuvre, to overtake, to pull out of a junction? A guessing game which can have very serious consequences.

Life is full of uncertainty, of guessing games, of calculated risks, and they all have the potential to cause anxiety while we make them, and the potential for harm once made – e.g. addiction to gambling, a car accident, something with life-changing consequences.

With all that guesswork going on, wouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful to have some certainty?

Two things are certain in life: 1) this life, the life we are now living, will end; 2) those who believe in Jesus will have life eternal.

John 3:16 tells us that, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life ” (NIV)

STIR

Photo Credit: fanpop.com

Stir yourself! Are you stirring yet? Wake-up calls from my mum, echoing through time, still ring in my ears.

Yet, today I watched the breeze stirring the trees in the garden. It wasn’t a strong breeze at all, just a light stirring. Where had it come from, and where was it going? It was blowing in from the west, from the sea, a “wet westerly”. It was blowing towards the east, inland. But it wasn’t that which particularly caught my attention. I was watching the trees. The light stirring was only obvious because it fluttered the leaves. The combined motion of the leaves moved the twigs. The combined motion of the twigs moved the branches, and thus the whole tree came into motion. But it all started with the leaves.

God has sent His Holy Spirit to stir us into motion along the path which He has prepared for us to walk. We may not know the exact path. We may feel that we are insignificant, under-qualified, anxious about what comes next. The “job” may seem far too big for us to undertake. But remember the leaves? Each one had to stir in the breeze in order to bring the whole tree into motion. The same principle applies here. Each one of us must respond to the stirring of the Holy Spirit within us in order for the whole of God’s people to move as one, as the tree did.

In 2 Timothy 1:6 we are exhorted to stir up the gifts which God has placed in us – to do that, we need to know what they are. If you don’t know, ask God to reveal them to you, or ask trusted Christian friends what they see in you – you may well be surprised at what you find out about yourself.

Treasure

Picture Credit – resources.rotary5320.org

What is treasure? Can you define it? The dictionary tells me that treasure is “very valuable things, usually in the form of a store of precious metals, precious stones or money”. But there are other types of treasure.

Recently my mum gave me 2 biscuit tins of treasure. In one there is quite an amount of antique, mostly unused postcards together with some family letters. In the other are old receipts and photographs of family members, some of whom I have never met and don’t know – some have names written on the back, but some don’t, still leaving me none-the-wiser as to the identity of the person photographed. Yes, they mean something to me as they give me a link to my past, but to my mum they are precious treasures and I feel very humble and proud that she has given to me. I have sat for hours looking through those tins – some of them spent alongside my eldest daughter – deciphering handwriting and marvelling somewhat at the contents of the letters and postcards. Each one is unique – a special, unique piece of my mum’s treasure. Each one cannot be compared to any other as they are all so special, so unique and yet a part of the same treasure.

In the kingdom of God, we’re all like that. We’re all special. We’re all unique. And yet we’re all a part of the treasure which Jesus died for in order to present us to His Father.

As I looked again through the boxes of treasures my mum had given to me, and remembered the sheer delight and excitement that both me and my daughter felt as we examined each piece, I found it easy to imagine the delight and excitement shared by Jesus and Father God as they look at the treasure that Jesus is sharing – me and you. Jesus and God are both excited and delighted by me and you!

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started