{Five Minute Friday}: Reflect

Reflect{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is REFLECT.}

Yes, I am a week late on the Five Minute Friday drill. Lately I always seem to be a bit late. Reflect is the perfect word for me at the moment because it is exactly what I’ve been doing lately. Truthfully, I’ve had a lot going on. {As many of you may have noticed by the quietness on my blog.}  A new marriage. A baby on the way. A move. And even major surgery while pregnant – complete with complications. All of these changes have given me a lot of things to ponder.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).

Yet everything that I have gone through over the past few months has brought me closer to God. It has also shown my weakness and His strength. I haven’t always been the dutiful Jesus follower. Sometimes quite the opposite. I’ve been listening to Pastor Rick Warren’s sermons on the “Habits of Happiness” to get some more happy and more strength. And the Lord’s providence is amazing. {I encourage you to check out this series. Life changing!] These sermons were right on time. In Pastor Warren’s sermon entitled How To Keep From Stressing Out,” he said that I need to go directly to God – talk to God, pray about everything! Don’t talk to other people or read self-help books or whatever you do. Talk to God. It was a good reminder that I needed to seek God first in everything – big and small. And honestly, I wasn’t doing that as consistently and faithfully as I should have. I am a big-time reader and researcher. So, when I have a challenge, I immediately go into action trying to fix it. But what about praying to God first? I was convicted.

“Never worry about anything. Instead in every situation let God know what you need in your prayers and requests…” Phil 4:6 (GW).

Reflection has really been key these past couple of weeks. As I ready myself for a baby, I am reflecting on my life with God. I know only God will sustain me as I take this next big steps in my life – becoming a momma and learning how to be a good wife.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22

Praying God will sustain you and give you strength,

Hope

Five Minute Friday

{Five Minute Friday} Last: So the last will be first, and the first last.

“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 NKJV

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is LAST.}

So many thoughts come to mind with the word “Last.” I immediately think about a conversation that I had last night with a new friend who is a sister in faith. She talked about her life before Christ. And she mentioned that she always had to be first – first in her school and in her career. She constantly needed to be on top. And then she learned that she didn’t need to be first because she had Jesus. She just needed to do her best in the eyes of Christ.

Although I have never been a person to constantly need to be first in terms of competition with others, I have always set really (really!) high standards and goals for myself. And even though there seems to be nothing wrong with setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I wasn’t doing what God wanted me to do or what Jesus wanted for my life. I was doing what “I” wanted and thought was right. I set the goals and I only {without God} set out to achieve them. This was my way of thinking and behaving before I began a life with Christ. It is wrong thinking, not biblical, and not what God calls us to do.

It’s hard when we are taught by modern American culture that we are to be ambitious, goal-oriented, and competitive. We are to live in this dog eat dog world. This is the manner in which we, as Americans, are supposed to live, survive, and thrive. However, this is not the life that God calls us to live.

“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:16 NKJV

Life is not a race. And more importantly, no matter what – we are called to follow Christ and what he wants for our lives. We are to strive to have life with Christ. And those of us that truly follow Jesus, with their hearts and souls, will have the greatest reward – salvation and eternal life with Jesus Christ. His heavenly reward exceeds anything on planet Earth. It doesn’t matter whether we were first here or last here – we are all equal in Christ.

I’m still learning this lesson. God is working (working hard I’m sure) to continue to show me how I am supposed to live. I know that I am finding such peace and rest in the Lord when I focus on Him – and not whether I am first to achieve my numerous goals.

Praying that you are living your best life in Christ,
Hope

Five Minute Friday

{Five Minute Friday} Beloved

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is BELOVED.}

Honestly, this word is hard for me because I instantly want to write about a boyfriend or my puppy. And then I heard a soft voice nudging me to write about how I am so very loved by our Lord.

I think it really hasn’t sunk in that I am loved, unconditionally by God. I am his Beloved, and God is mine. It’s like a love that far supersedes any humanly love – although you have a little glimpse of Godly love when you are loved well by others.

Yet Godly love is beautiful and perplexing. How can God love us in spite of our faults, errors, and just not being perfect like Him?

How can God love us in spite of our errors or sins? How can God love us enough to send His Son to perish for our sins?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Honestly, this kind of love is so overwhelming to really fathom.

But as I continue my walk with God, I lean on that love. I need that love. And I’m truly comforted by that love when the pains and hurts are so deep that nothing else can soothe me.

I’m developing a level of forgiveness towards others that wasn’t possible if I didn’t know that I was loved and therefore forgiven {constantly forgiven} by God.

God is love, amazing love. And I’m not sure how others can truly love if they don’t know God. {Is it even possible?}

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39.

I’m just thankful that I can wake up each morning knowing that God loves me – even when I’m not sure if anyone or any other thing in this world does.

I’m God’s beloved. And that’s all I really need to know.

wishing you peace and comfort in God’s love,

Hope
Five Minute Friday

{Five Minute Friday} Bare

Ecclesiastes 3:11, Click for Source

Ecclesiastes 3:11, Click for Source

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is BARE.}

Lately, I’ve been feeling very bare.

I think my daily surrendering to God has something to do with it. For the first time in my life, I am addressing my fears, mistakes, and errors in front of God.

Yes, I know that He sees it all. The bible tells us so. And frankly, in my relationship with Him, I know that He knows. I can tell by what I learn in prayer and what just appears in my path. {You all know what I’m saying, right?!}

But I do believe there is something to be said for laying it all in front of him – going bare. And there is a special intimacy created by giving everything to Him – your good, bad, and really, really ugly.

Yes, I think my relationship with God has been strengthened by being painfully honest about my life. Sometimes it is really hard though … and I wait for the healing. And in some areas, I am still waiting.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV

The beauty I’m discovering is that God meets us wherever we are. And I know that He will make it all beautiful in its time. And for this, I am so thankful.

 He creates beauty in our “bareness.” Thank you God.

wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

Hope

Five Minute Friday

P.S. There will be a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on my blog on Tuesday, February 12th. Please check back!

{Five Minute Friday} Afraid

{Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is AFRAID.}

Honestly, I am afraid that I will not live God’s plan for my life. His plan is guaranteed to be so much bigger, better, and awesome… and just plain holy! (Can plain and holy even go together?) Yet, there are times when I know that I am doing my plan or just muddling around in the dark.

Lately, I’ve been sincerely praying to God to show me His plan for my life. My mission. My ministry. How I can help build His Kingdom. I am asking God to reveal to me how I can be used by him each day, every moment to his Highest Good, which I know is mine too.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

My prayer:

Dear God,

Please give my life a sense of purpose. I surrender my life to you.

“Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to whom?” (I heard Marianne Williamson share this prayer on Oprah and I thought this was so fantastic.)

I know that if I am following God’s purpose for my life that I will never feel afraid.

wishing you hope, joy, peace and purpose,

Hope

Five Minute Friday

welcome mat

{Five Minute Friday} Welcome

welcome mat

[Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is WELCOME.]

So week after week, I go searching and longing for a church home where I feel welcome.” And I think “welcome” has several meanings. First, and perhaps most importantly, my spirit must feel welcome or at home. For me, it requires that the sermon or the pastor’s message resonate with me. I want the words to dig in deep – to set up a place inside of me that requires me to think, meditate, and pause. I want the sermon’s words to challenge me and take my faith to the next place – God’s place.

And secondly, my ears must feel welcome. Yes, this sounds silly, but I believe that my soul will be stirred and welcome where the music moves my heart and spirit. You know how you listen to a song and it sticks with you all week.

And finally, in my search for a church home, I want to feel welcomed by the church {God’s people}. I’ve discovered the difference between “nice” and “friendly” in the recent weeks. I’ve visited several churches where the people were nice – meaning pleasant, said hello, well-meaning, but carried on about their business.

It wasn’t until I visited a friendly church where I felt the difference. I felt like they were waiting for me. Like they somehow rolled out a warm welcome mat. I was met with hugs and questions about myself and what I liked to do. They really tried to get to know me. They even wanted to spend more time with me – little old me. I felt the beginnings of friendship.

God is welcoming. God is friendship – the ultimate friendship and when you find him… He digs in deep into your soul.

wishing you hope, joy, peace, and lots of welcoming experiences,

Hope

Five Minute Friday

My window

[Five Minute Friday] Join

My neighborhood window

My neighborhood window

[Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is JOIN.]

“In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5 [NIV]

So, this past Tuesday I decided to go to the Reality SF Connect Group in my neighborhood. They are studying the Psalms. Oh how I love the Psalms.

I wanted to join a Connect Group because they are a wonderful way to meet other Christians and study the bible. I belonged to one in Los Angeles and really grew in my faith.

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20 [NASB]

Plus, I know hardly anyone in San Francisco and very few people in my neighborhood.

Besides, I need want to meet new people and make new friends. And I specifically wanted to make new Christian friends. I wanted to create a friendship circle in which Christ is put first.

And sometimes you can only go to a fellow Christian to talk about life’s struggles because only they understand life from your same perspective. Christians simply need other Christians.

And occasionally, I learn more in the Connect Group meetings than I do in church because the Lord just feels so personal there.

I love hearing how Christ affects the lives of others. I love seeing the faces of people light up as they share praise report. And I love praying for others – together.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.”  James 5:16a (MSG)

I love seeing the power of Jesus.

It’s nice to find a community of believers especially that live really close to me. I’m imagining the Lord blessing and looking over my little neighborhood.

I just need to remember to draw myself out of my shell, so that I can make new friends and grow in Christ.

Do you belong to a community group based out of your church? What do you think of your group? How have you made new Christian friends? I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

-Hope

Five Minute Friday