Sunday, February 7, 2016

Five Minute Friday Fun: Focus

Hey there friends!

A little confused by the title of this post? Oh! It's not Friday is it?

Oops! I kinda missed Friday's blog land party at Kate's place.
But thankfully, she allows us to link up after Friday and doesn't mind if we come to her party late.

I just couldn't pass this Friday's one word prompt by - FOCUS. It's been on my heart all weekend.

The truth is that I have quite a few posts still in draft stage waiting for me to figure out what and how to say what's on my heart. And then sometimes I just.... have. to. write. This is one of those times.

Let me explain why and then I'll start my five minutes.

On Wednesday night there was an urgent prayer request on Facebook from a friend. It's for a seven year old boy's dad..... a motorcycle accident.... in surgery..... mom passed away a few months ago.... he has a baby brother.

And so I pray and ask hubby to pray.

The next day, Thursday,  I see the update that the dad made it through surgery and is in very critical condition in ICU.

And I continue to pray. Update hubby and he continues to pray, too.

Surely God will be merciful and allow this dad to heal and recover and live. And my heart breaks for the seven year old who has already experienced enough grief .... more than a seven year old should ever have to.

And that evening I ask if there is any update. And I read my friend's reply. The dad passed away earlier that day.

No!
Why?

I am angry that this is the end of this life and the beginning of unimaginable grief for the families. That this is the way prayers are sometimes answered. And it seems so unfair for the two boys left without a mom and now their dad.

And what do I say?

How do I respond? What should my comment be?

You see I'm leading a ladies Bible study {Missing Pieces by Jennifer Rothschild} and we're talking and learning about things like -
is God fair?
does God care?
is God there?
does God ere?

That Facebook prayer request on Wednesday?
It was posted on our Bible study group's FB page.

I sat there for the longest time trying to figure out what to write. How to encourage.  And it was really hard. There are no answers that will satisfy when an event like this happens and makes us ask "why".

So I wrote -

"I too feel heartbroken for the children and the other family members. Yes, it is things like this that make us ask all those hard questions we're learning about each week in our Missing Pieces study. Hubby and I will be praying. And like you, trusting God and His perfect will."

And than this one word prompt on Friday. Yes! That's the answer we need in times like this.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

FOCUS

When life lands a hard blow and knocks you off balance - don't loose focus.

And when the answers don't come easy... or at all - don't give up.

What should you do? How do you regain your balance?

The answer is where our focus lies. It does not need to be on the "Why?" or the "What if?"

Our focus needs to be on Who.

On the One who knows what we're going through. Hebrews 4:15
On the One who counts our tears. Psalm 56:8
On the One who will never leave us or forsake us. Deuteronomy 31:8
On the One who is forever faithful. Psalm 100:5
On the One who is close to the broken hearted. Psalm 34:17-18a

In order to stand back up and find peace when life knocks us down, our focus needs to be on our faith and on the facts.

Faith - choose to believe and stand on the promises of God that are found throughout His word.
Facts - God's character is: faithful, just, loving, gracious, merciful, good, righteous, all-knowing.

Faith + Facts = Peace

"You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You."
Isaiah 26:3

and STOP!



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

  "Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning."
Lamentations 3:21-23


Love ya, 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Monday Morning ~ Let's Make Some Ripples


Hi friend!!!


Happy Monday Morning!

I have a question for you on this cold Monday morning in January 2016.

And yes, even here in sunny Florida. It's cold people! It was 25 degrees on my porch thermometer at 6:30 am. And if it was colder on your back porch this morning, well, yay for you. Let's just all agree it's brrrrrrr cold. {sorry, I guess being cold makes me grumpy}

Gonna go get me a hot cup of coffee now..........

Okay I'm back. Yum! Peppermint mocha coffee in hand. I already feel not so grumpy cold.

So anyways on to my question:

Have you made any ripples yet this year?

Now before you think the cold has given me some weird kind of brain freeze and I better hurry and down this mug of hot coffee, let me explain.

As we go through our day, from the time we wake up until the time we close our eyes at night we make "life ripples".

A life ripple is the result of something you do that makes an impact (hopefully of the positive sort) in another person's life that day. It's only a small thing.

A splash?
Nope. Not what we're looking for here.
That would be like when your brother would do a cannon ball into the pool. He would always feel this need to splash while you're laying next to the pool minding your own business, reading a magazine and catching some rays as a teenager. Cold water, wet magazine and the surprise of it all. This kind of huge ripple or splash results in yelling (by me) and laughing (by said brother).

A wave?
That isn't it either. Even though I love the rhythm and sound of the ocean's waves that is a bit too much for what I'm talking about today. And waves can be destructive and cause erosion.

A tsunami?
Not a tsunami.  Oh my no! NO!

Just a gentle ripple.

Think of throwing a stone in a lake and how it makes small, almost delicate ripples. And you throw a second stone in and you get more ripples and these now overlap with the first set. The lake is no longer calm. It's changed. There's a special beauty to the design and playfulness of the water now.


 
I alone cannot change the world,
but I can cast a stone across the waters
to create many ripples.         
~ Mother Teresa
 
 
I think we create ripples every day and don't even realize it. The thing is that life ripples can be a positive and beautiful thing or a negative and destructive thing.
 
Small positive life ripples are things like ....
.... pray with a friend who has just shared the struggles in her marriage
.... a quick word of encouragement to the cashier who just got yelled at by the previous customer
.... write down a Bible verse to share with your co-worker
.... invite someone to go for lunch or a cup of coffee
.... volunteer at a soup kitchen
.... invite someone to church
.... a quick phone call to check on that person who hasn't been in church in a few weeks
.... send a note of encouragement to whoever, whenever God put's it on your heart
These small acts of kindness can start a ripple effect in that person's life for beauty.
 
However, the opposite of each of these would be .....
.... tell your friend you don't want to hear it again for the hundredth time
.... be the person yelling at the cashier
.... share an inappropriate joke with your co-worker
.... leave someone out when you're inviting others in the group for lunch or coffee
.... never, ever volunteer to help those less fortunate
.... don't invite anyone to church
.... don't call and do ignore the one you haven't seen in awhile
.... don't listen to the prompting's of the Holy Spirit to reach out to someone
These small acts of unkindness can start a ripple effect in that person's life for hurt. 
 
My last few sips of my coffee are cold now and hubby just announced it's warmed up to a balmy 40 degrees on the porch. Guess I better get on with my day.
 
I'll leave you with this challenge:
Let's get started together. One life ripple at a time.
 
Our ripples will overlap and together we'll make a difference. It's only 25 days into the new year so we have plenty of days left.
 
2016 -  the year of the life ripples!
Yay!! Who's with me?
 
{disclaimer: I made up the phrase "life ripples". Remember, you heard it here first.}
 
Love ya, 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Five Minute Friday Fun: Reflect

Hi friend!

What day is it?
It's Friday!

And what does that mean?
It's time to party and have us some 5 Minute Friday fun! 

The party is at Kate's place in blog land. It's a linky party / blogger flash mob / free writing exercise. Whatever you want to call it, I say it's just plain fun - blog land style.


 ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
and GO!

REFLECT

I'm sitting here wondering what I want my life's story to reflect.

And hands down, every time, in all my ways - I want to be a light for Jesus.

As a child I remember singing a sweet little song in Sunday school while I ate my animal crackers and drank apple juice from a little paper cup {funny how some memories stick with you} that went something like:

"A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I'll be a sunbeam for Him."

I haven't eaten animal crackers in many years and for some reason apple juice gives me a stomach ache.


But, the meaning of that Sunday School song still rings true in my spirit. As an adult it's become an often whispered prayer:

Dear Jesus,

Help me each day to reflect your love and grace to every person I come in contact with.

May I have an attitude that honors you.
Help me to see others as you see them.
And help me, Lord, to reflect your love to them.

As I read my Bible each morning and am reminded of your love, grace, mercy and faithfulness help me to reflect those things through out my day.... to the unloved, the lonely, the hopeless, the misunderstood and the hurting.

I want my words to speak truth and life. Help me to encourage others.

I want to reflect Jesus ... to be like a mirror reflecting His love and grace to those around me.

I want to be a sunbeam for Him.


and STOP!



~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

So friend. What do you want your life's story to reflect?

{* Five Minute Friday Fun disclaimer- this took longer than five minutes, but was still fun and written on Friday night. I'd say that two out of three is not so bad.}

Love ya,