Sunday, 7 January 2018

One word for 2018....

Always a challenge, this. To think of a word to focus on, remember it AND, the biggest challenge of all: put it into practice.
Lisa over at LisaNotes has three steps to help, Reposting them here:
3 steps to choosing one word for 2016

"3 STEPS TO CHOOSE ONE WORD
1. N – Notice God’s messages
Pay attention. God is already at work in you, doing new things, preparing you for new things.
Are you hearing repetitive messages on a specific theme lately? Does a particular song touch you deeper than others? Have you been drawn to a certain book or author?
God can work through any of these avenues. Dig out a single word among those messages. Stay present to his wisdom. It’s not something you sweat over, but something you notice and receive. Accept what comes without having to understand it fully. God will reveal more when the time is right.
2. O – Only one thing
Keep your focus narrow. It’s better to give your full attention to one main word or concept than be distracted by a hundred little resolutions. Be most attentive to one thing at a time. This thing. At this time. With this person.
Your one word choice doesn’t have to be profound or complex. Keep it simple and relevant to this season of your life. It’s a step, not the complete journey.
When you welcome whatever comes in this one day—accepting it as your reality and being with it (even if it’s something that needs to change in the next moment)—you stay most in the presence of God. Once you own it now, he’ll guide you what to do with it next.
3. W – Withdraw anticipated outcomes
Release expectations now of where your one word will take you later. Let go of a specific outcome you may have in mind.
When you lay out too detailed a specific future (or conversely, linger too much in times past), you’re less alive for times present. Yes, still plan for the future (thankfully, because I love to plan!), but hold those plans loosely.
There’s no way you can predict how God will use your word. Just know this: God will honor your intentions to honor him through it. Trust that his grace will be enough.
Today is when God moves and where grace lives.
Pray about receiving your word from God, then hand it right back to him.
Let him embed it into your life one relationship at a time, one day at a time, one situation at a time.
He knows what he’s doing. Now."
Ah.

I think my one word this year might be.....drum roll......GENEROUS!

Generous...in what, with what?

Money comes to mind, of course. I've been working on that one for some time.

Time: not such an issue. Generally, I'll happily give other people time, when I can, particularly if time is needed to provide a listening ear.

But attitude...well, that will be a challenge.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The end of the beginning.

Epiphany. The Twelfth Day. January 6th.

I have come to the end of an attempt to reflect on a little of the Christmas story every day. What a privilege.

Single words and phrases, as I have leant over them, have jumped off the page.
New learning as sunk into my thoughts as new insights seep into my soul.

I have imagined how Mary must have felt; become better acquainted with Joseph; marvelled with Zechariah and Elizabeth; entered into the simple, harsh world of the shepherds; encountered Herod; journeyed with the wise men.

I have loved these few moments with a tiny portion of Scripture. Now, what next?

Friday, 5 January 2018

Motivate

Energy. Or lack of. Sometimes it seems so very hard to put on that bright face, to feel cheerful, to get on and do what oughttobe/needstobe done.

Blame the weather. Blame circumstances. Blame other people. Blame the dog.... but in the end, the Blame Stops Here. With me.

Sometimes, you just have to Do The Next Thing. Tidy the bedroom. Feed the dog. Switch on the computer. Make the coffee.

Sometimes, that works. It’s just enough to set wheels in motion, start rolling downhill before picking up momentum, fill loose sails with long-sought after wind after a period of endless becalm.

Sometimes, though, Silence and Stillness is what is needed. To return to the core of being, the essence of living, just sitting and breathing and remembering the Creator and the Gift of His Son is just enough to just fill me with gratitude and thankfulness and energy and delight, so much that I am motivated to leap up and Go Out and Serve because that is what He has created me to do. To just love and obey and carry on rejoicing while I still have breath.

Taking part in the weekly Five Minute Friday link up. Writing freely, without pause or edit (you can so tell!), for five full, short, minutes.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Advent resources

Beginning the Jesse tree - documented on my home blog, with many other ideas for Advent study - has got me thinking of other resources, too. Pinterest is fantastic for ideas on a Jesse tree symbol exchange.

Brilliant prayer ideas from 24-7, based on Light, Peace, Love, Hope and Joy..

Something to think about - next year.

Dreams and visions. Again.

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and reentered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfillment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
Matthew 2:19 - 23

Almost back to where this Story began
with Joseph, second player.
He, who often seems a bystander.

This creative carpenter, dream-inspired.
Obedient to God's quiet promptings.
Instrumental in taking Mary to Bethlehem for the birth.

Strong in faith,
in love and care,
in obedience.

How good is God.
Continually guiding, loving his people
to keep His son safe.

God will continually guide and love us
to keep His son safe in our hearts
if we let him.

May God give us
dreams and visions
and may we be obedient to follow.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Terror. Terror did not, in the end, win.

Terror. Not the usual word we associate with the Saviour's birth story.

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.) That’s when Jeremiah’s sermon was fulfilled:

A sound was heard in Ramah,
weeping and much lament.
Rachel weeping for her children,
Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone,
dead and buried.


Matthew 2:16 - 18

God knew. God knew. Foretold hundreds of years before.
How
do we reconcile the Good News with the bad?

Only simple answers
cut it.

God is good.
(He sent us a Saviour.)
Sin is bad.
(Our tendency, without God's help, is to sin.)

So we wait, in the sin-filled meantime, for His Kingdom To Come
in all eternity.
So we wait, in the power of His Spirit in us, for His Kingdom To Come,
to break into our lives in His power,
in the here and now.

Comments, articles, books, libraries
are written about this truth.
Me, I can only
keep it simple.

God is good!

Joseph obeyed.

"Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Joseph.
An almost forgotten hero, in spite of his continual presence
in all Nativities,
in muttered oaths of 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph',
in conversations and Biblical narratives.

We know
he was a devout, God-fearing man,
faithful and obedient to the Law.

And here he is again,
faithful to his family,
obedient to God's word.

Joseph,
as his ancestor was,
a dream-discerner.

This time, though,
there was no doubt.
The command was urgent.

'Get up!  Go! Take the child!'

Discernment on its own
is fruitless without obedience.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Wisdom

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”
Matthew 2:13

Another dream of warning.
How good is God
to come to us
in dreams and imagination
with life-saving truth
and advice.

I pray
that I will discern God's will
as readily as the wise men,
even when,
especially when,
it comes to me in a dream.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Divine warning.

In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.
Matthew 2:12

Matthew, who writes for the Jews, talks of this.
Of legendary wise men, foreigners, non-believers,
the first to acknowledge Jesus as KING.

These soothsayers, perhaps practised
in divination and other dark arts
with which Yahweh forbids involvement.

"Occult Practices:
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.  You must be blameless before the Lord your God."

God can use everyone and anyone for his divine purposes.

Hallelujah!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Worship

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshipped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
Mark 2:11

The gifts.

"They presented unto him gifts - These were presented to him as King of the Jews, because they supposed he was to be a distinguished prince and conqueror. It was customary in the East to show respect for persons of distinction by making presents or offerings of this kind. See Genesis 32:14; Genesis 43:11; 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Kings 10:2; Psalm 72:10-15. This custom is still common in the East, and it is everywhere there unusual to approach a person of distinguished rank without a valuable present.

Frankincense - Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark, and suffering the gum to flow out. It is highly odoriferous or fragrant when burned, and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God. See Exodus 30:8; Leviticus 16:12. It is found in the East Indies, but chiefly in Arabia; and hence it has been supposed probable that the wise men came from Arabia.

Myrrh - This was also a production of Arabia, and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. The name denotes bitterness, and was given to it on account of its great bitterness. It was used chiefly in embalming the dead, because it had the property of preserving dead bodies from putrefaction. Compare John 19:39, it was much used in Egypt and in Judea. It was obtained from a thorny tree, which grows 8 or 9 feet high. It was at an early period an article of commerce Genesis 37:25, and was an ingredient of the holy ointment, Exodus 30:23. It was also used as an agreeable perfume, Esther 2:12; Psalm 45:8; Proverbs 7:17. It was also sometimes mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Saviour, when about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion, Mark 15:23; compare Matthew 27:34. The offerings here referred to were made because they were the most valuable which the country of the Magi or wise men produced. They were tokens of respect and homage which they paid to the new-born King of the Jews. They evinced their high regard for him, and their belief that he was to be an illustrious prince; and the fact that their deed is recorded with approbation shows us that we should offer our most valuable possessions, our all, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Wise men came from far to do him homage, and bowed down, and presented their best gifts and offerings. It is right that we give to him also our hearts, our property, our all."
 (Barnes' notes, Bible.cc)

The wise men brought expensive gifts.
In reality, what can I give
the King of Kings?
I have nothing.

Only a heart.
May I be see the Lord Jesus
and be overcome
in worship.