trail in woods with morning sun

Journey

trail in woods with morning sun

Today’s post is written for the Five Minute Friday link-up on the prompt, “journey”.

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Life is made of so many journeys.

Some are happy and joy-filled and some are difficult and laced with pain.

  • The journey of a small embryo as he/she grows into a full-size baby.
  • That painful journey from the safety and darkness of our mother’s womb into the bright but scary real world.
  • Our early childhood and formative years.
  • The tumultuous journey from childhood to adulthood, called adolescence.
  • Our journey of learning through education.
  • The journey of career training and job choices.
  • Many journeys of relationships, especially if one chooses to marry.
  • The ever-challenging, yet abundantly rewarding  journey of having and raising children, if we dare.

There are journeys within these journeys of life as well; emotional and mental journeys made up of experiences and our reactions to them, among other factors.

But one journey stands out to me most: my spiritual journey.

That is the path that leads me through life, either towards or far away from God.

This is the journey that I chose to prioritize, even though it is unseen.

It is the journey that will affect me the most, and bring hope and healing or hurt and pain to those around me.

Thankfully, I have a Guide and a guidebook to help me along the path.

 

Psalm 23 (NLT)

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

*****

 

drinks, vegetables, fruit, and snacks

Eat

drinks, vegetables, fruit, and snacksThis post is written for the Five Minute Friday link-up, where different bloggers will briefly write their thoughts about the prompt, “eat”.

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“Mom! What is there to eat?”

Sound familiar?

Well, what is there?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I eat lately, especially since I’m in the midst of a seven-day fitness/meal plan challenge, intended to jump-start a balanced, healthy regimen by exercising (longer than normal!), and eating a balanced, nutritious diet.

It’s easy for our kids…..OK, for us adults, too….. to just grab the easiest or most appealing snack and shove it in our mouths. In the busyness of life, it’s hard and takes discipline and planning to eat in a healthy way.

It’s more work to cook healthy meals and snacks from real, wholesome food, than to grab an expensive, pre-packaged snack or wolf down a handful of greasy, nutrition-void chips.

It’s all about choices.

We must choose our priorities, and plan to make them a reality.

So it is with our spirits.

We can browse aimlessly online, on social media, or in front of the television. We can wander nonchalantly through our favorite store, being tempted by things we don’t need or are not good for us or for our budgets.

As a slight disclaimer, I am in no way bashing the tools of technology such as social media, TV, etc., and am not suggesting that relaxing by shopping are always bad activities. They just require discipline.

What I am suggesting, even challenging us with, is to chose how we spend our time. Chose what we look at, devour, or even “nibble on” in our lives. We must mindfully consider what we are allowing to enter our minds, hearts, and our spirits.

We often tell our children the illustration about the two dogs inside of us: the vicious, self-serving, mean and unruly one; or the kind, gentle, loving, disciplined and faithful one…..and encourage them to feed the right dog. That is the animal that will get bigger, stronger, and take over our life.

Today, let’s be intentional, and choose what we eat wisely.

*****

 

closed door close-up

Learning Not to Push Open Closed Doors

closed door close-upLately I keep encountering the same message.

Don’t push open doors that God has closed.

Let go of the past.

Move forward into something new.

I’ve encountered this message recently in my various devotional readings. Interesting, as I’ve been encouraged particularly through two entirely different authors from unrelated ministries. One is from a Bible reading plan on YouVersion (the Bible app.), and the other from the Loop devotional emails I receive each week.

I shouldn’t be surprised, though, as I recall that my word of the year is “new”,  (or perhaps “change”). I honestly had forgotten about that in the busyness of these past few months.

As I shared in that earlier post, I have been in a transitional time in my life as far as work (outside the home) is concerned. Interestingly, this trend has continued for the past year, as I enjoyed another part-time job since I wrote the original post which also ended within a few months with re-structuring in the business. I am even now facing the end of my current seasonal position at a local farm, although this time it was to be expected.

As I’ve begun again to think about looking for work and what that might look like, I have thought about the possibility of “pushing on” some old employment doors. Usually, as long as I haven’t received concrete advice or an obvious “warning” feeling not to, I would proceed to “turn over every stone”, or go ahead and knock on any door, trusting God to lead me to and/or away from each job as appropriate.

But more and more, I am sensing that God has new direction for me.

This has been confirmed by those closest to me, as well.

This doesn’t mean that perhaps he will not open an “old” door, but I’m less inclined to push hard on them.

It continues to be both frightening and exciting.

Some time ago, I also wrote another post about what it means when God closes a door in our lives. I hadn’t thought about that one lately, either, but found it interesting to go back and review what God was showing me several months ago. Every once in awhile I need to listen to my own advice!

The thing about it is this: it’s easier and more comfortable to pursue the same old ways we have known. My personality especially likes my familiar routines and ways, and finds changes and new ventures stressful and usually overwhelming.

It takes courage, discipline and a little faith to step out into something new.

I cannot do it on my own, but I pray that with God’s help I will find the path he has for me for this next season.

I want my life to count, and more than that, to give glory back to him.

On this bright and sunny mid-October day, the cold weather that seemed to have too quickly sneaked up on us seems to be taking a little break, and I’m told that temperatures will be in the upper seventies (almost eighty degrees….or about 25 degrees Celsius for the rest of the world!), in the next two days.

With this recent reprieve in the cooler fall weather, as I throw open my windows, I have been inspired to apply this to my emotional and spiritual health, as well.

Instead of just “surviving” or plugging through this next unknown season (especially for job-hunting and finding my true purpose for now), I am encouraged to throw open the windows of my heart and life! Of course there is the important balance of guarding my emotions or my heart, but I wish to confront this time with intentional focus and joy, rather than dread, hopelessness or just haphazard steps.

A few days ago I read a wonderful blog post that so spoke to my heart about change that I kept the tab open all weekend because I knew I’d need to read it again. I received the link in an email from the (in)courage blog to this article called, “Why God Allows Change“, written by guest author, Melanie Davis Porter. It is just what I needed to hear again! Maybe it will encourage you, as well.

Reading this post encouraged and challenged my heart to embrace and follow God’s changes in my life, even when it doesn’t feel like it makes sense.

Thankfully, there are no surprises to God!

I simply need to trust in his proven faithfulness and plan for my life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11, NLT

Lord, help me to accept the good changes you have in store for me, and not allow the past to dictate or cloud my future. I put my trust in you. Amen.

*****

Do you find change difficult or exciting? In what area of your life do you need to put your trust in God? Is there a “closed door” that you need to walk away from today?

 

 

black and white mailbox

You’ve Got Mail

black and white mailbox

Do you remember that memorable movie line from the 1998 film?

That’s the first thing that came to mind when I heard today’s prompt, “mail”. We don’t watch a lot of movies, and certainly don’t endorse the material and values that many of them stand for, but there is something that stuck out to me about this particular movie.

I had to look it up to refresh my memory, but You’ve Got Mail is a movie about a man and a women who get to know each other online, but little do they realize they are actually business rivals. In the end of course they fall in love and it’s “happily ever after”.

The thing that stood out to me from the movie was when either person (on their now “out-of-date” personal computers), received a notification, “You’ve got mail.” It happened over and over throughout the movie as their relationship developed.

Well, guess what?

You’ve got mail.

I have it too. In fact, it’s written to the whole human race.

It’s a long, detailed love letter; one of the oldest, but greatest stories ever recorded. It’s recorded by many different authors, but written by the one, true God.

And the best thing is, the Bible stories are true.

Why not take a fresh look at your “mail”, and see what the One who created you has to say to you today?

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Today’s quick post was written for the Five Minute Friday link-up. Join me there to see what other bloggers have to say about the prompt, “mail”.

Coffee, candle, pumpkin on table

What Am I Choosing to Collect?

Today’s post is written for Five Minute Friday, a fun and inspirational link-up with many other bloggers who write for five minutes, unedited, on a given prompt.

(Confession time: I’m working on sticking to the five minute, unedited “rule”, imperfectly, but have grown towards these goals as a “recovering perfectionist”. That’s one of the reasons I chose to participate in this weekly challenge.)

Today’s prompt is, “collect”. I hope you are encouraged or inspired, too.

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Coffee, candle, pumpkin on table

 

What am I choosing to collect?

A life is full of collections, some of physical things, such as stones, shells, books, stamps, jewelry, coffees or mason jars.

But every day we are collecting things we cannot see.

What am I choosing to collect … emotionally, mentally, even spiritually?

I often make poor choices (or automatic, it seems), to collect regrets, discontent, complaints, stress, grief, hurt or negativity.

But I wish to collect something better, a collection of unseen gifts that I can share through my life with those around me, and pass on to my family and future generations.

With God’s help, I would rather be intentional about collecting good things.

I choose to collect thankfulness, cheerfulness, peace, happy memories, good thoughts, positive words, grace … simple treasures that I wish to keep.

I do have a choice as to what I collect.

 

” And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.” 

– Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)

 

 

We can make a positive impact on our own lives, and of those around us.

 

 

” The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

– 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (MSG)

 

 

What are you choosing to collect?

*****

 

 

five-minute clock photo

What Can I Do in Five Minutes?

five-minute clock photo

Today’s post is for the link-up of five-minute, (mostly) unedited writings at Five Minute Friday. Enjoy!

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Five minutes.

It isn’t very long. (Just ask me and other bloggers who are attempting to keep these posts to that short time limit!)

Perhaps because I’m being challenged in the area of time management, I feel inspired to write about five minutes (for the prompt of the word “five” today).

What can I do in five minutes?

I have a LOT of five-minute increments in each and every day, but how can I use them?

I can “waste” time browsing on social media (not that I consider all social media time a waste), I can mope around or wander aimlessly without a plan, I can get distracted or focus on the difficult or challenging things in my life.

I could wolf down a few handfuls of chips or unhealthy snacks.

I can chose to feel badly about myself or my situation, or just plain loose track of time.

That precious five minutes.

But I can be intentional.

I can make a choice.

I can spend five minutes reflecting on things for which I’m thankful.

I can pray and think and plan. I can write a to-do list.

I could spend five minutes doing “nothing”, but using the time to rest and rejuvenate my body, emotions, mind or spirit.

I could write that email, mail that card, make that phone-call.

Maybe I can put away five minutes of clutter or take a baby-step for that big project I’ve been procrastinating.

I could make something healthy to eat for myself or to share with my family.

Other options may include five minutes of exercise, writing a quick post on my blog, starting (or switching) the laundry, wiping down a bathroom, or watering my plants.

I can share a smile, give a compliment, or say something to encourage someone around me.

The choice is up to me.

I pray that I learn not to waste my five minutes.

When you put a whole lot of five-minutes increments together…..it becomes a life.

*****

What Can You Do in Five Minutes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun's rays shining through tree branches with blue sky and clouds

Listen.

Sun's rays shining through tree branches with blue sky and clouds

 

Today’s post is linked up with others at Five Minute Friday, where you may enjoy the five-minute, mostly unedited writings of other bloggers on the prompt, “listen.”

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As I think about the word, “listen”, many thoughts come to mind. That, in itself, should tell me something.

Do I really listen?

Are there too many thoughts, ideas, concerns, “to-do’s”, emotions, reactions, and distractions for me to even hear at all?

Sometimes I can’t hear myself think.

Often I don’t really listen to what others are saying to me.

At times, I feel it’s so difficult to hear God’s still, small voice.

And so, I need to stop.

I need to clear away the cobwebs from my mind and heart.

I need to “pull the log out of my own eye”, so that my ears will also be open to hear others.

I need to stop striving and trust the One who holds it all together, yet created me and knows the innermost thoughts and feelings and longings of my heart.

Let’s practice stopping…..and really listening.

May we be surprised at what we hear.

*****

 

water with rocks and foliage

Heal My Heart, Use Me to Heal Others, Please Heal Our Land

water with rocks and foliage

Today is Five Minute Friday, and today’s prompt is “heal”. I’ve decided that I’d like to write this post as a prayer. Won’t you join me?

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

-Psalm 139:23,24 (NLT)

 

Lord, my heart needs to be healed.

I cannot mend it on my own. I need your help.

Let me trust in you to do the work.

Your faithfulness has been my rock.  Your loving-kindness has been a refuge.

Let me hide myself in you, until I am abundantly sure of your undying love for me.

I ask you to heal my heart.

 

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

– James 5:16 (NLT)

 

Lord, please use my healed heart to minister to others.

I don’t want to live a self-centered, meaningless life, but one that is rich in goodness and reaches out to those around me.

Here’s my healed heart, not perfect, but being perfected by the One who made me.

I offer it to you as a gift and a tool to heal those around me.

Let me be sensitive to the needs of others so that you may flow through me.

Use me to heal others.

 

 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

-2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

 

Lord God, our land needs your touch.

Help us to humbly get on our knees and seek your face.

We ask for your forgiveness and mercy on behalf of our stubborn, rebellious land.

Only you can truly set us free.

Please heal our land.

*****

 

 

 

 

path into woods

What Path Will I Take?

20160622_102409

 

What path will I take?

There are so many choices…..or do I have a choice at all?

When I think about trying to do right, trying to find God’s will for my life, or trying to chose the path of my life, it’s sometimes overwhelming.

It can feel I have no choice, or that the options are too many and lead to confusion and lack of peace.

Will I hear God’s voice? Will I discern his direction? Will I really make something of my life?

Although we could debate on whether or not there is just one right path for our life, or whether we have many choices, I think that some things are clear.

If we have chosen to follow Jesus; if we’ve given our lives to God; if we are full of doubts and are just asking him for help…..he will not fail us.

God promises to direct our path.

He said that he would be with us.

God’s Word lets me know that he will show me the right way to go.

I just need to trust him and follow the path.

Let the words of the Psalms give you peace and courage today:

“Put your hope in the Lord.
    Travel steadily along his path.”

-Psalm 37:34a

“Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
    or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.”

-Psalm 5:8

“You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.”

-Psalm 18:36

He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.”

-Psalm 23:3

“Show me the right path, O Lord;
    point out the road for me to follow.”

-Psalm 25:4

“The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.”

Psalm 25:8

“Who are those who fear the Lord?
    He will show them the path they should choose.”

-Psalm 25:12

“Teach me how to live, O Lord.
    Lead me along the right path

Psalm 27:11a

 

He has a purpose for my life.

My life does have meaning.

It doesn’t have to be so complicated.

As long as I’m following him, God will show me the meaningful and fulfilling path that he laid out for me before I was even born.

 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

-Psalm 139:13-14

Lord, help me to live with intention and follow your path.

*****

This post is written for part of the Five Minute Friday link-up. Join me there to discover what other bloggers are writing about the prompt, “path”.

All scriptures above are quoted from the New Living Translation of the Bible.

 

 

 

flags

How To Remain Loyal

flags

I am a Canadian by birth, who is proud to live with my family in the USA.

Today’s post is written for the link-up at Five Minute Friday.

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Loyal.

The word conjures up images of soldiers and flags to some. But we all have a responsibility to become or remain loyal.

The definition of loyal is “giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.

Isn’t loyalty one of the character traits that we profess to desire?

To whom do I give or show “firm and constant support or allegiance”? How can I remain loyal?

Here are some of the people/institutions to which I wish to remain loyal:

  • God
  • my husband
  • my sons and other family members
  • friends
  • co-workers
  • my church
  • my country (and the country I live in)
  • teams or groups to whom I am committed (and for some, teams they love or feel they are represented by)

Just to clarify, while I have made a lifetime commitment to God, my husband, and my family, others on the list may change according to the season in which I find myself. I still have a firm commitment to my church, for instance, but I cannot guarantee that I will be a member there for life.

I can try to be loyal in my own strength, but as much as I wish to, I am an imperfect human. So I need some help.

Why not ask the One who is the completely and perfectly loyal God for help?

My Heavenly Father not only acts loyal; he is loyal. He’s the only one who exemplifies godly qualities perfectly, because they are part of his unchanging character.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.

-Mark 10:27, NLT

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

While I consider myself to be a loyal person, I also recognize that I cannot do anything perfectly in my own strength. Sometimes I do OK. Sometimes I falter. Other times I outright fail.

And so, I will ask my faithful God to help me to remain loyal to those to whom I owe my allegiance.

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