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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 16 September 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IN THE EYE OF THE STORM

 

It’s everywhere. Both TV and the internet are all a-bluster over Hurricane Florence. Or course, she is not “just” a tropical storm. Or depression or whatever.

 

Still, she’s wreaking havoc and leaving the mess behind her.

 

But more than Florence, or any hurricane, aren’t there storms in our lives that sometimes leave us devastated? Don’t we feel battered and wind-blown, tossed about like a leaf in a strong gust.

 

And where do we go, where can we go to escape the turmoil?

 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  – John 16:33

 

Is He not our peace? No matter the circumstances? Does He not walk with us through trial and tempest?

 

Somehow, the Christian life is expected to be trouble free and blissful. And while we do have joy that the world does not and cannot know, we are far from exempt from troubles of this life, whether great or small.

 

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  – Isaiah 26:3

 

So yes, the wind is whirling around me as I write this. Rain has spattered off and on for most of the day, and the forecast says there’s more coming.

 

But I will sleep in peace tonight because the One who made the wind and waves is with me. He neither slumbers nor sleeps, but He watches over me as I do.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLenL4HQaRQ

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, In the Eye of the Storm

 

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 9 September 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – GOD IS IN CONTROL

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – GOD IS IN CONTROL

Of course He is. He’s omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. Nothing escapes His knowledge, and nothing takes Him by surprise.

 

Why, then, is the world in such a mess? Our lives?

 

 Because Love.

 

What does He want from us? Expect of us?

 

Relationship. It’s always been relationship.

 

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… Genesis 3:8

 

This, of course, is when Adam and Eve hid from Him. The Bible doesn’t tell us that Father God spent time in the garden prior to this moment. But we can infer from His words and actions—we are made in His image. No other animal, just us. Father said it wasn’t a good thing for Adam to be alone.

 

He never intended us to live this life alone. And He never intended us to live this life without Him.

 

We blew it, of course.

 

But God already had a plan. Fast forward a few hundred years.

 

He became what we are so we could become what He is—again.

 

Relationship.

 

Love, real and true and pure, is not forced. It is not coerced. It is from the heart, willingly and freely given. It’s all He’s ever wanted.

 

But He doesn’t force it on us. He doesn’t force us to choose Him.

 

Read that again—choose Him.

 

CHOOSE HIM.

 

It’s a choice. It’s always a choice. It has to be. Love is not forced. Love is not coerced.

 

…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  – Joshua 24:15

 

Father God gave—gives—us that choice, daily, moment by moment. And in those moments that we do not choose Him, there are consequences. In those moments that we do not choose Him, we are, by default, choosing the enemy. Or at the very least, we are giving him an opening. And, as his only purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, he will take that tiny sliver and force his way in.

 

And what was just a tiny sliver, a moment of weakness or indiscretion or carelessness, turns into pain and disaster.

 

The enemy may—no, he WILL—do all he can to keep up separated from Father. But he has no power except to lie to us. When we sink our spiritual teeth into the Word Father has given us, when we return and cling to Him, He welcomes us back with open arms. He washes us anew and never grows weary of it.

 

And when we cling to Him, when we stand on His Word and Truth and speak it as the Sword thatit is, we, too, have power and authority over the enemy to crush him under our feet. Like the worm he is.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, God is in Control

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 2 September 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – I AM A FRIEND OF GOD

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – I AM A FRIEND OF GOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcxKRsn-hGc

As I was considering what to write about today, this song came to mind. The name of this feature comes from this concept. I launched Front Porch Fellowship in August of 2016.

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/blogwords-sunday-7-august-2016-front-porch-fellowship-why-this-title/

 

“No great theological discourse. No lamenting prayers—or maybe there are. Not hours of reading the Bible. No singing and dancing and praising Him, even. Just abiding.”

 

All of these have their place and time. But none of these are requirements to “have church.”

 

This springs from a few different sources. One of those took place twenty-something years ago when my best friend was living with us. I can’t recall now why, but there were times we couldn’t make it to the Wednesday evening service at church, and we’d go for a walk instead. We realized, in our conversations, that we were, in fact, having church. The fellowship of two friends, spending time with our heavenly Father.

 

“Because He is a friend. And friends do stuff. And sometimes they just sits. Quietly. Being friends.”

 

“We walk and talk, as good friends should and do.” I heard that years ago, and I have come to a place in my life where that defines my relationship with Father, friendship.

 

Being a Christian is not about following a religion. A set of rules. A list of do’s and don’ts.

 

Being a Christian is about a relationship with our heavenly Father. And there’s only one rule, “Love Him with all your heart, and love others as we love ourselves.” As I’ve learned how He loves me, I’ve been able to love myself in the same way.

 

Interacting with our Father doesn’t have to—nor should it—be a formality. While we are not little “mini gods” running around, we are created in His image, and as we seek Him and grow in the knowledge of Him, we are transformed to be like Him.

 

He is our friend. Someone to laugh with. Someone to talk to, to turn to when we’re lost or lonely, or broken hearted. A shoulder to cry on.

 

Like all friendships, it’s not all one sided—it’s not all just me talking. I have to have ears to hear His voice. I have to dedicate my time and my self to grow the relationship. I have to put in if I expect to get anything out of the relationship.

 

Have you walked with Him lately? Talked with him? Have you spent time just being with Him? No words, no expectations. Just being the friend He says you are?

 

There’s nothing so precious.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, I am a Friend of God

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 19 August 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – REST

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – REST

 

Come to Me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.  – Matthew 11:28

 

It seems I’m perpetually tired, and there are several reasons for that. For so long I believed if I wanted a thing done, I had to do it (not out of control, but out of fear someone would think me stupid or incompetent for asking for help, let alone delegating!)  Add to that the crippling depression I didn’t even know I suffered. Soul deep, heart deep.

 

Even after I was free from the depression, I still felt compelled to do.it.all. To prove I could. To prove my worth. It was exhausting.

 

Enter my diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. The irony of RA, for me at least, is that while I do not believe Father “put this on me” to teach me a lesson, I do fully believe it is the result of what is tantamount to abuse—self-abuse, by way of pushing myself beyond limits. By not allowing myself any down time. By not letting myself rest.

 

On the seventh day, God rested.

 

Was He tired? No. Did He sleep? No. He neither slumbers nor sleeps.  Why then, did He rest?

 

He set the example for us. Rest, He says.

 

But do we? Do we truly rest? In Him? Do we seek Him, do we allow ourselves to slow down, to cease striving? Going? Doing? Too often we do not.

 

Come to me, He says. Be still, He says. Be still and know that I am God.  – Psalm 46:10

 

More than physical rest, He desires for us a rest in our soul, in our spirit. Peace that passes understanding. Assurance that He is, in fact, working all things for our good. (Romans 8:28)

 

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  – Matthew 11:28 – 30

 

Rest in Him. Lean on Him. Be still, and hear His still, small voice. Feel His breath upon your spirit, His whisper in your heart.

 

Rest, and be refreshed. Rest and be restored. Rest, and know that you are His.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Rest, Matthew 11:28 – 30, Psalm 46:10

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 12 August 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – SIMPLE PRAYERS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – SIMPLE PRAYERS

 

I felt myself drifting. The cord fraying and wearing thin. My connection growing distant and weak.

 

The name of Sunday’s feature, Front Porch Fellowship, came about… “Because sometimes you can’t make it to church. Or, what the world commonly thinks of as church.”

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/blogwords-sunday-7-august-2016-front-porch-fellowship-why-this-title/

 

Without a car, and without a way to get to “church,” Father met me where I’m at—at home—and we have church, just the two of us. And to the name of this feature, many times, it takes place, well, on the front porch.

 

And, like so many things in life, I began taking it for granted. After all, I’m having “church” pretty much anytime. But anytime so easily slips into sometimes, which fades to once in a while…

 

And I was feeling empty.

 

I simply told Father I missed Him.

 

And an amazing thing happened. Refreshing washed over me. His presence became tangible to me once again. His strength and joy and purpose has and is rising up in me.

 

He has promised,

 

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

 

He didn’t leave me. He didn’t abandon me. He didn’t go do something else until I needed Him again. He has been right here with me, right by my side all along. I had only to call out to Him.

 

And He has wrapped His loving arms around me, drawing me close, back to intimacy I so crave. All because of a simple prayer.

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Simple Prayers

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 5 August 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – COMMITMENT

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – COMMITMENT

“I promise.”

 

How many times do we spout those words, only to find its fulfillment too difficult. More difficult, perhaps, than we had thought. Perhaps, even, without regard to keeping our word. Procrastination, distraction, dare I say it, laziness—and the promise comes up empty.

 

Swing the pendulum 100 degrees to the opposite—and the fault is in not knowing when to say no. Taking on more than a body ought. And punishing our own selves in the pursuit of it. And by punishing, I mean losing sleep, missing out on family time or fun recreation. Skipping meals.

 

Neither is the picture of honor in commitment.

 

I have a tendency toward the latter, though I’ve come to realize the fault in it, and am learning to say no when I.just. can’t.

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/blogwords-sunday-19-march-2017-front-porch-fellowship-all-the-things/

 

I posted in March on Father’s promises, which are always—always—YES and AMEN. If Father says a thing, He is faithful to do it. And that’s the final answer.

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/blogwords-sunday-11-march-2018-front-porch-fellowship-promises/

 

But us… Sometimes not so much.

 

What, exactly, is commitment?

 

Dictionary.com says, “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.”

 

And dedicated is, “devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty or integrity.”

 

I could go on. Honor and integrity are in short supply anymore—and ironically in high demand. You see, I believe it all comes back to Jesus. Then again, everything comes back to Jesus.

 

I’ve seen the verse, “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”” slung about to mean we all must suffer. I don’t believe that’s His meaning at all. That’s Luke 9:23 by the way.

 

I believe that in Him we have fullness of joy. In Him, we have peace, and vision that we don’t have without Him. It’s about relationship. If Jesus can say to His Father, not My will but Yours, knowing full well He would face death, and a brutal one at that, then surely we can trust Him with our lives. ps—Jesus was tortured and tormented, but in the end, He wins.

 

And so can we.

 

If it seems I’ve gone off topic I haven’t. (kinda looked that way to me, too) But when we’re in relationship with Him, we have knowledge and understanding and discernment to guide us in commitments we make—or shouldn’t make.

 

My downfall, if I had to pinpoint a single thing, is distraction. The same you-wouldn’t-believe-the-extent imagination that feeds my creativity kinda also distracts from a task at hand… (and this cursed sickness in my body runs interference) (a lot) but my determination is pretty powerful. Confession: there is a degree of my former self, telling me I have to or [fill in the blank] won’t love me, won’t approve, will criticize, will condemn…

 

Not Father. He approves me. Period.

 

And so I strive to honor Him in what I do. The very things He gives me to accomplish. For me, among other things, that is to write.

 

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/03/04/blogwords-sunday-4-march-2018-front-porch-fellowship-all-creation-worships/

 

That’s one of my favorite posts, by the way. And yes, I realize I’m pointing back to a bunch of previous posts…

 

This whole rambling post does have a point, and that is my commitment to Father to write. (including this post, and me feeling meh today… )

 

I believe a commitment is our honor. To Him and to one another. And, perhaps more importantly, to ourselves. For if we don’t have our honor, what are we left with?

 

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Commitment, Promises, Dedicated, Honor

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 29 August 2018 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ALL CREATION WORSHIPS

FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – ALL CREATION WORSHIPS

* still in recovery mode – two weeks of insomnia whammied me!!!

 

Several years ago I was walking around a small lake. It’s a favorite spot, and I take the walk whenever I visit there.

This particular time I had been listening to a certain praise and worship CD, and one of the songs was playing in my head.

 

 

As those words sang in my mind, my eyes looked up at the trees—and I wondered (as all good authors do) “How does a tree worship God.”

 

I had thought it an idle thought. Until He answered me.

 

 

So simple and yet so profound.

 

And as all good writers also do, my mind took it another step.

 

 

Of course I knew the answer, even then.

 

 

And with an algebraic turn, or perhaps putting the pieces in a puzzle, that meant that I worship Father by writing.

 

So today (Saturday) as I was sitting outside, basking in a miracle moment today, and praising Father for this long awaited thing, I glanced at the trees.

 

And I was reminded of what He told me those years ago—to worship Him, I be what He created me to be.

*note the use of “be” vs “do.”

 

So, and pardon the license with grammar, but I be writing. I be working—and I be worshiping Him—as I be writing.

 

And that brings me even greater joy.

 

 

What about you? What has Father created you to be? What do you do to worship Him?

 

#Blogwords, Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, All Creation Worships

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