Friday, October 24, 2014

Being Daring - 31 Days - Five Minute Friday

Every Friday a group of fearless bloggers gathers at Kate Motaung's place for a five-minute free write.  Leave your perfectionism at the door, and just write!

The writing prompt for today is DARE.

START

That I am an introvert is not news.  From that you may have deduced that evangelism is not my spiritual gift.  I'm much more comfortable behind the safety of my keyboard.


In the past two weeks, though, the Lord has nudged me to share the Gospel with two people.  I was comforted that I could communicate through email, but sharing was still not easy for me.  I had to scrape up every bit of courage I could find.  I wanted to give the truth without damaging the relationships.

I wrote a short paragraph that hit on a few major points:
  • Salvation by grace, not by works:  I can't do anything to earn my way into heaven
  • Religion vs. relationship:  Religion tends to make ritual the goal (have to do this or that)
  • Faith is an integral part of who we are:  It doesn't fit into a compartment on Sunday morning
I sent that along, with some pre- and post-paragraph text.  I don't know how these two people will react upon reading it, but I am confident that I did what the Lord wanted me to do.

Doing God's will can feel like a daring move--I felt as though I was bungee jumping!--but He does equip us to do what He sends us to do.   I rest in the assurance that I am not responsible for anyone's conversion.   I can spread the Word, but only the Holy Spirit can move in someone's heart.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)
STOP

Thursday, October 23, 2014

To Hope or to Expect? - 31 Days

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm switching word prompts between yesterday and today.  So today I'll be writing on EXPECT.

START

I recently finished a novel in which one of the characters said that he never expected anything, because then he was never disappointed.

Many years ago I said that I choose to be an optimist, because I can always cry later.

When I was working in a customer service-oriented field, our boss said that we should expect customer relationships to be 100/0--that is, we should never expect ANYthing from our customers, but that we should do everything to make our customer relationships work.

What do you think?

Of course we hope, but do we expect?  The Bible tells us to do both.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. ... Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:18-19, 23-25)

[F]or I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:19-21)

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2b-5)
It wouldn't be reasonable for me to expect to get a new car tomorrow.  If that was important to me, I would surely be disappointed!

To expect healing for a loved one?  Tough question.  We can hope and we certainly should pray, but sometimes it isn't God's will.  He can work miracles, but sometimes He chooses not to.  He doesn't owe us an answer to Why?

To expect to go to heaven someday?  Yes, for certain.  I know that we can expect the Lord to keep His promises.  He always does.  And eternal life for those who trust in Jesus is one of those promises.

When do you think we should expect, and when should we hope?  When should we just let it go?

STOP

I think a word study, including some related words like confidence, would be very interesting!

If you'd like to catch up on my 31 Days posts, please click here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Look at This Zebra Cake! - 31 Days

Since Wednesday will be a busy day for me, I am switching the writing prompt for Thursday (LOOK) with the one to be announced on Wednesday morning.

This is a completely different topic than anything I've been writing on.  Once again I am stretching the prompt, but I will stay within the five minutes.  I will, however, be doing some proofreading so that I don't mess you up.

START

Over the weekend I baked this really cool zebra cake:


I baked this from a mix, but now that I know the technique, next time I'd make it from scratch.

The box says it makes one 9-inch layer, but it looked like a lot of batter.  I used a 3-inch deep pan so it wouldn't overflow.  It might have been okay in a 2-inch deep pan.

So the idea is this.  Make half-batches of chocolate and white cake batters.  You should have enough batter to make TWO 9-inch layers, so plan accordingly:  you will get more stripes if you use 2 tablespoons of batter per circle rather than 1/4 cup.  I haven't tried it.

But this is how I did it.  Pour 1/4 cup of the chocolate batter into the center of a greased, floured round pan.  Pour 1/4 cup of the white batter into the center of that.  Working quickly, keep alternating until you run out of batter.  You'll have something that resembles this:


Bake according to the original recipe.  Cool the layers and frost as you like.  I'd fill and frost it with vanilla buttercream or Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting (because it's more of a pure white than buttercream made with butter and vanilla extract.)

What do you think?

STOP

If you'd like to catch up on my 31 Days posts, please click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sharing the Love - 31 Days

Monday has been a hectic day, so I'm totally going to stretch the writing prompt for Tuesday.  I'm taking a SECOND to tell you about some of the best bloggers I've met through 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and 31 Days.

This post took quite a bit longer than five minutes, because of interruptions and the links I'm including.  I'm giving myself some grace, and I'll get back to the five-minute limit tomorrow!  Here we go:

Somehow I didn't meet Kristin, who participates in Five Minute Friday, until now.  At the incredible k she's writing a series for her Encourage Daily Campaign.  She's sometimes funny, sometimes serious, but always encouraging.

Anita at Blessed but Stressed is writing a series called 31 Days of Encouragement for Caregivers.  Even though I'm not a caregiver, I've been appreciating her posts.  Yesterday she posted about hope, and it's been one of my favorites so far.

Just recently I've discovered Jen at Growing in Faith.  She's writing 31 Days of Moments in Africa.  She's a real storyteller, and I think you'll like her, too. Don't miss her post about the spider.

And then there's Abby, whose series is Snapshots:  Soul of a Nation -- Hungary.  She shares stories and photos that go far beyond what you would find on a tourism website--stories about real people, real trials, real joy.

Finally, I can't forget about Kate Motaung, who is hosting 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.  She's writing 31 Days of Life in South Africa.  So far she's shared about her arrival in South Africa, the theft of her car, her wedding, and more.

I hope you'll check out some of these bloggers, if only just to say Hi!

If you'd like to catch up on my 31 Days posts, please click here.

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