5 Minute Friday: Because

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Five Minute Friday!

I have 5 minutes. Why? Because!

GO!

My employment situation is a negative mess. While I am grateful to have a job, I am not a good fit to the position or the management style. There are some days that I have to get up from my chair, walk out the door, and take a trip around the warehouse while praying. It is emotionally draining. Many Many days I ask God, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY???”

It has been 10 months, and just this week, this nerve wracking week, I began to get some answers from God.

“Because, you draw nearest to me when you can’t fix your situation by yourself.”

“Because, I am using this frustrating place to speak to you. You can hear me, don’t pretend you can’t.”

“Because there are some people there that need to speak to you about me every day, and you have found yourself needing the encouragement of those fellow believers each day. Right?”

“Because. I don’t have to explain all of My plans to you. Just trust Me.”

While it encourages me to hear God in this, it has not made the job or the work place any easier….yet…it was a bear of a week.  I have a lot of self searching to do before that happens, I am sure. But He is right, I do hear Him talking to me. I’ll happily take that as my starting place!

STOP.

Trust Him with all your heart (Psalm 28:7),

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5 Minute Friday: Hold

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It’s 5 Minute Friday!  Check out 5 Minute Friday here. Scroll to the end of the post to read what everyone wrote.

Every now and then, sometimes more than now and then, I get carried away with myself when things go wonky. Yes, wonky.

Being a type A, task oriented person, I tend to jump right in with the “fix.” Then a few minutes into the fix that is never going to work, I feel it come over me….

HOLD.

HOLD UP.

HOLD IT.

HOLD EVERYTHING!

And then……Dear Father, thank you for reminding me that my immediate action should be to come to You. I know that without You, I am just going to spread the mess out more, not clean it up. But You O Lord, know how to solve it before it even happens. I turn my eyes to You now, and I give You this crazy wonky problem. I can’t fix it, but You can. Thank You for being a patient God. Thank You for reminding me that I don’t have to fix this problem, because You already know how it turns out. Thank you for reminding me to seek You first, before the panic, before I jump in with both feet. You have this, and I am grateful for it. Amen.

Some day I am going to learn to respond by seeking His wisdom first, instead of reacting with my own fix. That will be a great day!

Do you respond to craziness by remembering to ask for God’s divine assistance first? How have you taught yourself to put your own problem solving on hold in favor of His?

Seek Him first. (Matthew 6:33),

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My Man Nehemiah: 2

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Nehemiah card #2. Print, size, and tuck into your envelope.

Wanted! Project manager who has a heart for his people, is willing to relocate, is a planning and organizational genius, can motivate his team, is a creative problem solver, and has a strong desire to serve God..

That’s Nehemiah. God hired him for the job and Nehemiah got it done.

Nehemiah chapters 3 and 4 are some of my favorite chapters in the bible. As a project manager, I could not love more the way Nehemiah inspires his people to join the team, present a united front,  and together, get the job done. No matter what it takes. Even the goldsmith, the perfumer, the high priests, the politicians, and Shallum’s daughters are rebuilding walls and gates.

These chapters do not tell us Nehemiah’s motivational techniques, but they do tell us some things about working in service for God:

  • Everyone has an important part to play. Even if the project is not your strength, it is God’s, and if He calls, He will give you what you need to contribute. The entire chapter 3 is full of the names of people and how they each played an important part.
  • Work together. Take a look through chapter 3 and see how many times it says, “next to him.” We are not in this alone.
  • Serving God sometimes requires humility.  Eliashib the high priest built the sheep gate (3: 1). Shallum, who ruled half of Jerusalem, got his daughters out there and made repairs (3:12). It could be hard to garner respect from your constituents and parishioners when you are dirty and sweaty, and limping from dropping rocks on your toes. But this project was bigger than their reputations.
  • Work willingly. Even though the haters were loud and obnoxious opposition, the israelites had a mind to work. And they kept at it. (4:6)
  • Pray and make a plan. (4:9)
  • Be steadfast in your work. Nehemiah’s team had to build with one hand and carry a spear in the other. The threat to their safety was spoken loudly, so they stayed up all night guarding, and made repairs all day, they carried their weapons wherever they went, and never let their guard down. That is not the easiest way to repair a city, but they got it done. (4: 21-23)
  • Trust God for success. When the going got tough, Nehemiah reminded them who God is, and for whom they were building and fighting. (4:14)

When you look at what Nehemiah and his people had to overcome when rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, it makes delivering a meal, tutoring a child, or serving in the soup kitchen look like a walk in the park. You can do it!

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2 ),

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My Man Nehemiah: 1

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My small group is studying our way through Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A heart that can break. Nehemiah is one of my favorite guys in the bible. I can relate to some parts of his story. I have learned and am continuing to learn from him. You know how every time you study some passages, you find something new? Nehemiah is like that for me. And Kelly’s study has tons of life application.

In lesson 1, one of the things that really struck me was the importance of intercessory prayer. When Nehemiah found out that his people were in great distress and the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, he prayed. He seriously prayed with weeping and mourning and fasting for four months. He prayed God’s character to Him, he prayed God’s own words and promises back to Him, he confessed the sins of the Israelites, and he really believed that God would move in response. Day and night! Four months of this! And God did move in response to Nehemiah’s heart for his people….in amazing ways.

lesson 1

(Card #1, print, size, and put inside your envelope)

It made me think about the way I pray. Wow, I am really lazy compared to Nehemiah. But, it made me realize that God does appreciate when we are really moved by something. Maybe I can’t tell Him or ask Him too many times. After all, what God wants most from us I think, is our attention, our time, our desire to be in relationship with Him. God called Nehemiah to pray and he did not stop praying until God gave His answer.

My small group loves to make their own visual reminders with me as we study, but this time, because I missed them all summer, I have made each of them these cards….one for each lesson (print them out for yourself if you want!), tucked in a velum envelope. You can make an envelope very easily. Print out the pattern. Size it as desired. Cut it out and trace it on a piece of vellum scrapbook paper. Cut it out. Fold where the lines are.

Use any paper adhesive you like. I used double stick tape to hold it together.

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Print out these words, or design your own. Slip it inside the envelope, trace on the front of the envelope with a Sharpie. Slip your cards inside.

Take time today to pray for your country.  (1 Timothy 2:2 NIV),

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Postcard from God: Clothing

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Today’s postcard, and this one.

Make this postcard that you can keep in your purse, or bible, or wherever you will see it often. Print the front and the back on card stock, or photo paper, or 90 lb. watercolor paper. Print them front and back on one piece of paper, or to make it sturdier, print two pieces and glue them back to back.

Then keep an eye on the mailbox, you never know when we might get another postcard.

 

 

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Rejoice always (I Thessalonians 5:16),

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5 Minute Friday: Ready!

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It’s 5 Minute Friday and I am really going to try to keep to 5 minutes this week. Last week (my first try at this), I used 8 minutes….cheating! Check out 5 Minute Friday here. Scroll to the end of the post for the goodies.

Breathing

Breathing

Go!

My Mom is a person who is always ready on time and she passed that on to me. I would rather be an hour early than a minute late. Many times, I am standing by the door or window waiting for my ride, or pulling my car over so I don’t get to someone’s house too early. Can’t help it, it is a part of who I am. Good grief, Aunt Stella has been known to arrive 2 hours early. It’s in the blood.

Finding out this week’s word gave me a little shocker. Well, it was probably the Holy Spirit using this week’s word…. I realized that while I am always ready on time, and even before time, for mostly everything, I am not always ready for the things to which I am invited by God. God’s divine appointments. God’s plans for my life. God’s calling and sending.

What is up with that? It took me more than two weeks to get ready for the last thing to which God called. Talk about dragging your feet. Queen of procrastination. Ignoring. Don’t want to! And then I was ready. And He blessed me almost immediately. Not being ready makes absolutely no sense.

I am learning to be ready early for God’s invitations. My ready time is getting better, but He asks for us to be ready when He calls, not after He calls. Not to think about it for two weeks. Not to keep asking if He is sure that is what I should do. But be standing by the door waiting and ready.

How about you? Are you better at being ready for God’s invitations than I? Do you have any words of wisdom to share about being ready?

Above all else, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23), 

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5 Minute Friday: Whisper

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I found this phenomenon on Kate Motaung’s blog and I am giving it a try! This is my first 5 Minute Friday. The rules are to write for 5 minutes on the given topic. This week, it is Whisper. From Kate’s instructions, “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” So, here goes nuthin’.

Whisper

Two weeks ago I went with a couple people from church to deliver filled backpacks to kids at a local trailer park. The kids were excited and polite and it was a joy. While there, I chatted with a young single Mom who was preparing her daughter, who seemed to be about 6 or 7, to have surgery in a couple days. The daughter was clingy and did not speak. Mom said this would be her 23rd surgery.

What Mom and I talked about was how hard it was for her to be present during all this hospital time. Each time, she had to skip work, throwing her farther and farther behind in being able to afford necessities.

It has been two weeks and I cannot get that young Mom out of my mind. I thought maybe I could help her and asked the office at the trailer park to give me her name and address, which of course turned out to be against the rules. They said they would deliver a note to her if I wanted. I really wanted to be anonymous in this. ……..

In my house, growing up, there was no yelling. In fact, the quieter our Mother was, the more trouble we knew we were in. It made us have to get right up to her, where she could look into our eyes. And we had to listen carefully.

God is doing this to me in regard to the young Mother. “Is this about you, or about her?” “Maybe she needs someone to talk to, not just an anonymous gift card now and then.” “How about putting a face and hands and feet to My work on this one?”

ACK! I sometimes ask God to be undeniably clear so I know exactly what He is saying or asking. But, clearer does not necessarily mean louder, right?

Being a little introverted, I never like this message from God. But, there is no doubt, it is how He grows me, and also no doubt that the blessings might be amazing. So, I am giving up my plan to be anonymous to go with God’s quietly whispered, looking into my heart, words of direction. I am writing that note.

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I confess. 8 minutes.

Be kind and compassionate (Ephesians 4:32),

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