Wave the white flags and put your hands in the air. It’s time to surrender.
Does your heart sink when you hear those words?
Does the word “Defeated” ring in your ears?
Let me encourage you to take a new view of this necessary posture and attitude that is required for a successful Christian walk.
Surrender is to relinquish possession and transferring it to another. Some people have had to surrender their driver’s licenses. Others surrendered their position of control. Still more seem to have surrendered their capacity for reason upon crossing the threshold of an educational institution, never to be seen again.
Matt 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (NASB)
I don’t know about you, but my eyes always find the word ‘rest’ in these verses.
I want to pass over the whole bit about taking Jesus’ yoke on myself. Why in the world is THAT sandwiched in between such lovely thoughts?
Because to be honest, I am weary. I’m tired of “adulting” as some wordsmiths put it. I grew into child raising with my kids, learning as I went and drawing from memories of how my parents did it. But this whole thing of parenting my Alzheimer’s stricken mom is uncharted territory. Being the sole decision maker is daunting. Oh, I do have a husband and sister-in-law who support me but it’s my name on the Power of Attorney, making this baby of the family feel heavy-laden.
I’m looking for rest.
Jesus’s solution is for me to sidle up to Him and slip that yoke over my head. This doesn’t sound so wonderful to me. But it’s only through an act of obedience that reveals the immense blessing I couldn’t see before.
The yoke makes me close enough to have a private conversation with Him, and He with me. Jesus teaches me how I can shoulder the yoke without chaffing from it. He gives me joy for the journey and points out the beauty that can be found in the midst of the task.
A yoke signifies labor, hard work, and harnessed effort. It serves as a reminder that I don’t trod this earthly sod alone. I am paired with Someone who is gentle and humble in heart Whose greatest joy is to bring me to the Good Place with God. If I trip he won’t leave me. He is right there to get me back on my feet so I can continue.
The yoke and the burden are part and parcel of this sinful world.
We are all under authority.
We all have to contend with burdensome tasks.
I don’t want to give up.
I want to give in to God.
Set your timer and write for five minutes and see what you get from the word prompt of the week. That's what we call Five Minute Friday. Find more posts about our word this week HERE.
May my words be few and worthy of You
May my actions give body and shape to the love You desire to show.
Keep me in the good place, where Your Presence is - only there will I be whole.
Let not my joy be derived from the manufactured number of my worth.
Let not my focus target fame.
If I write, it is for Your glory.
If I muse, may I stir up thoughts of You.
If I ponder, may I willingly wander Heavenward to the One who answers all.
Attacked by yet another poetry bug, my Five Minute Friday post took me to a lyrical place. And, as always, I surprise myself with the final product of this timed exercise. I thought I would write about intentional joy, but after a simple observation of my blog’s Facebook page stats and realizing that 3 followers had un-liked it, joy was flung aside and I was left to ruminate on this unwelcome news.
My writing gig is not for profit or recognition. It’s a response to a nudge from God to improve my speaking – on the radio (my job), to groups of women (my ministry), in conversations (my personal contacts with others).
I find that I must be intentional in how I approach my platform. Why am I doing this? Will my words enhance God? Can I be content if my ‘numbers’ NEVER increase?
Shine the light on me, if you must. But I will intentionally turn it back to My God who gave us all words in the first place so that we would converse with Him and give Him praise.
This post brought to you by the word "Intentional" and by the Five Minute Friday Link-up.
Clear away the clutter.
Reading my title makes me shudder.
For the thing I know to do
I can’t bring myself to do.
Make space for more
A goal worth achieving
Takes muscles yet to be revealed.
That which I want to do
Reduced to my knees
To ask for help.
This was an interesting process.
I am always surprised with what I end up with as I write my 5 minute post. Channeling my inner e e cummings it seems. At least I didn’t regress to Yoda-izing my phrases. Sheesh!
Thanks for reading this post to the end. You can find some really wonderful thoughts on our word prompt for this week, ‘Simplify’, at Five Minute Friday, a writer’s community where we write our thoughts about one word for five minutes and let the whole world see the result.
I have to admit it, I get up in the morning faster when I have a goal to accomplish.
Or a tasty breakfast to consume.
Or special people to spend time with.
The proper motivation will create within me the desire to see the promised end result, regardless of the necessary preparation. It’s the goal that makes all the hard work worth it in the end.
This year I’m joining the One Word train and will focus much of my writing on my word for 2018 – Joy. At first I thought it would be easy-peasy, fluffy sweet sentiments on something that makes me smile all the time. I was surprised to find that many times when joy was mentioned in the Bible it was in accordance with suffering.
I’ve been dwelling on one verse in particular, in Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NASB)
Well SURE, Jesus could do that because He is God. Right?
But if Jesus is my example I must follow in His footsteps. I know that I am not greater than my Teacher. My calling is not to die for the sins of the world, but to live for Him who did. The resulting joy is being in His presence now and forever.
For the joy that I have now, I relinquish my agenda and follow His. This means not doing things according to the popular trend or in line with the trendy analytics. I most likely will function counter-to-the-culture. Raised eyebrows looking my way.
Shake it off, baby. Shake it off.
For the joy that is to come, I sacrifice my sense of what joy MUST look like. Sunshine and roses? Fireside coziness? Roller coaster high?
No, I don’t think so.
Joy is wrapped up in the package of the One who gave completely of Himself, obediently. To the point of death on the cross for my sin SO THAT I could be seated with Him in the heavenly places. His pain for my gain. Joy is Jesus.
Joy is running the race to the finish line and being handed the victor’s crown by The Victor – and laying it at His feet. I don’t want the award for the race, I want to see Jesus face to face.
That is Joy.
This post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday - a writing community spurred on by one word writing prompts and a love to elaborate on them. Also, we like each other. Check it out!
A paradox is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.
It makes my brain hurt until I open my dictionary and unravel each word.
Paradox - a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
Mystery - anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.
Enigma - a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence.
God came down to earth in the likeness of human flesh to save us from our sin.
I cannot understand.
But this I know:
Only a perfect love would sacrifice dignity, power, and glory for anyone, much less an enemy. Like me. Sinful me.
Only a wise God could see that a solution to sin’s corruption would only be found in His perfection.
**** STOP ****
Only a faithful God would write Himself in history from the beginning and never exit until the fullness of His Story has come to pass.
Only a gracious and merciful Creator would freely offer salvation through His own Son to ANYone who would believe and receive it.
You don't have to understand.
Just raise your hands and receive.
This ponderous post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday. The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write for five minutes on the prompt of the week. Check it out!
I recently went on a 3,000 mile trip over the Thanksgiving holiday from Southeastern Pennsylvania to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The object of the journey? To visit with our 4 sons and their wives and families and spend Thanksgiving with my hubby’s side of the family. Although our backsides were a little worse for wear, it was a pleasant trip and worth the effort. This was the first time in 5 years that nearly everyone from David’s extended family, over 40 of us, were gathered together in one place.
But the highlight of the trip for me were the good-byes I got from my 7 year old granddaughter and her 4 year old brother. Saying “bye” to someone you hardly know can be awkward and has been difficult at times. But this time I was surprised with a couple of exuberant, whole-hearted hugs from Cadence and Titus. I was quite taken unawares. It warmed my heart better than any hot cocoa or cappuccino ever could. Somehow we had broken the invisible barrier of familiar strangers to genuine relationships that share common experiences.
You see, my husband, daughter and I spent the day with Cadence, Titus, and little brother Malachi, a few days earlier. Both parents had previous obligations so we were blessed with an entire day of just hanging out together.
My husband and I were able to show them our love by being with them, listening to them, cuddling while reading a story, giggling about goofy antics by Grandpa or the kiddos. We had become for them more than a face and voice on a computer screen during a Skype session – our presence had transformed into something 3 dimensional, tangible, real.
Because we came near.
This time of year we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. God made man. The Divine wrapped in human flesh. God with us – God near us.
I pray this Christmas season that you would embrace Christ - He is near. He is the breath of a prayer away. Allow Him to show you His great love for you by drawing close to Him.
This post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday. The object is to write for five minutes on the prompt of the week. Check it out!
With every invitation there is a sense of mystery and anticipation. Maybe even dread, if you are an introvert. But one invitation that has been handed to me and anyone who follows Jesus gives pause to the receiving. It is His invitation to join in the fellowship of His suffering.
Oh no, Lord, anything but that! Please……..
But He gently persists in His request to join Him in that exclusive companionship. Ever courteous, always the gentleman, drawing me forward in the hard places that require me to leave something of myself behind. Yet, I resist out of fear of the unknown, of anticipated pain (physical and emotional), of loss. I can only see the negatives from this whole process. Is it really necessary, Lord? Must I follow you there?
He leans close and reminds me that is was for joy’s sake He went to the cross for me so that I could have the blessing of His presence in this earthly life as well as the next. True love requires sacrifice; suffering. To leave a part of yourself behind for the sake of the ones you truly love. The union that results is joyous!
True Christianity is the sharing by example the life of Christ through our own, in all aspects.
He holds your invitation in His nail-scarred hand. Will you receive it?
This was written in response to the prompt to write for five minutes on one word for that day, in this case ‘invite’. If you’re interested in finding out how you can join this community of writers/encouragers, check out Five Minute Friday.
Hot tea is my go-to beverage morning, noon, and night. Recollections of visiting my British grandmother’s home evokes happy memories of sitting at her kitchen table waiting for the kettle to whistle and drinking fresh-brewed tea as hot as I could take it.
Conversation would rise just like the steam in each cuppa’. Bits of news. Quick little catch-ups. Happy silence with a few sips here and there.
I had to chuckle as I was filling the canister with tea bags this morning. I wasn’t going to write anything today. But God got my attention with a phrase printed on the flap of the tea box. Every cup tells a story.
As I thought about it, I could see that it’s true. Each time I put the kettle on I am at a different part of my day. The first cup is my wake-up buddy. The second cup is a warm encouragement to begin the tasks for the day. Subsequent cups fuel me and give me pause as each one is consumed.
I’m not sharing my story with another person, per se, but the experience brings me in touch with soothing memories and a reminder that I do have a Companion who is with me at all times.
Five Minute Friday is a community of writers who encourage each other as they free write for five minutes and share their results.
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it……..”
Famous opening lines to Mission Impossible run through my mind as I recall the beginning of the newest phase in my husband’s and my ministry. Our move away from our grown children and grandchildren and parents in the Midwest came as an unexpected turn in our 30+ year sojourn with the Lord. I got the head’s up before my hubby did, though, in a most peculiar way.
We had a house guest staying with us who was a friend of one of our sons. She would have episodes where dizziness and fainting would come upon her and she knew she needed to lie down and concentrate so that she wouldn’t fade out. She asked me to talk to her until the episode passed. Just talk. Well, I’m used to asking leading questions and keeping quiet during the answers, which wasn’t a help to this young lady. So, I began a running monologue of my life and our ministry.
It’s odd when you have to keep talking about yourself. It begins to sound like you’re thinking out loud. She got a complete history lesson on how I met my husband, where we’ve lived, how the modular house that we were living in at the time was built, and so on. Then she asked me a question, “So, is this your forever home?” You see, we had moved 10 times before we moved into that house. But we always told the Lord that we would go where ever He called us as long as he made it clear to us. The young lady’s eyes grew big and she needed to know if God would call us to move from this home, our forever home, would we actually go?
I had to think before I answered her. I need to be honest with myself and with God.
Would I move if God called us? I knew what I had to say.
“Yes, If the Lord called us to another place, we would move.”
The room was still, except for the sense I had that someone had leaned over my right shoulder and asked, “Really?’
Though I already knew what I would find, I turned to see who said that. No one was there.
But, I understood that God had heard everything I had said.
My time is up, but the story has just begun. This odyssey of transition began in May of 2012. Although it would take up much space to write out the entire scenario, this improbable move away from our family and home towns to a “foreign land” on the East Coast (c’mon, you know that ANYTHING different than how you grew up is foreign) was designated by God, alone. And, I will testify that He has proven Himself to us at every turn reminding us that we are indeed following His call.
When I ‘heard’ that voice ask me ‘Really?’ I knew that God was speaking to me. He was tapping me on the shoulder and testing my sincerity to the promise David and I had said we would keep.
Our move almost 5 years ago has been the most difficult, emotionally draining, and ultimately rewarding relocation we have ever made. In accepting our mission we have agreed to receive whatever responsibilities have been designated by our Good God. If you have sensed that God is tapping you on the shoulder for a mission improbable, know that you don’t go it alone. He has promised to be Emmanuel – God with us.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Five Minute Friday Link-up is an encouraging group of writers who write for five minutes on the word of the week and share it in the link-up.
Hello! My name is Vicki Johnson, aka, gracefilledgirl.