Category Archives: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday blog posts

Order

God create the heavens and earth out of chaos and brought order.

There is calmness in God’s order. Step out early in the morning to watch the sunrise, hear the birds sing, enjoy the stillness. In the morning, I will lift up my voice to the Lord. (Psalms) As I watch the sunset and the moon rise in the evening, I must admit I reflect on the beauty of what I see and try not to remember the chaos of the day.

Peace brings order, a calmness to one’s soul.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.

This song was written by the author after watching a ship sink with his wife and daughter. God provides an order, a calmness that our souls desire. Even in the depth of sorrow, God’s word offers comfort that goes beyond human comprehension. And I will admit beyond my comprehension and level of trust at the time. Even though I leave my troubles and burden at Jesus’ feet, I often pick them up again.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

When I pick up my burdens again, I repeat this verse. Even though the seas may rage (at times my troubles) surround me, I can walk in peace. God can order my steps (and tongue) to speak out His Truth in peace. A kind word turns away anger.

(Dichotomy) When you speak a kind word in God’s Truth, you will incite others to anger. No one likes to be confronted by their hate for God. It will create a sea of turmoil. Trust God’s word.

I exist in God’s order and live in the turmoil man creates. Understanding this, I rest in God’s hand, I can walk knowing God orders my steps, I can be a peacemaker by a kind word in Truth, I can put my faith in God’s Word (the engine) and not my feeling (the caboose), I can let God be the fixer and trust in HIs plan. I can trust in His well-ordered plan. This well-ordered plan is based on a relationship with Jesus.

How do you keep this relationship in order?

Strong

Seoul, South Korea Everland Theme Park and Zoo

Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 That is the first verse that came to mind along with the song. But real strength, Christ-centered strength is a hard calling. First, it does not call you to be a doormat. You must speak the TRUTH. God tells us how.

Let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead. 1Peter 3:8

Do you ever have trouble with ANTS: Automatic Negative Thoughts?

Does it come out when you’re driving? How about a neighbors junkie yard? How about when you see an unruly child or parent? How come there is never anything good on TV? Why are they dressed like that in public? (I have more but I will stop.) Ant bites sting. Too many bites, then a volcano of emotions are likely to erupt.

Being strong in the Lord means so many different things. It takes strength to trust the Lord with your wayward child. It takes practice to turn a kind word when you feel angry. It’s hard not to desire that evil gets repaid and wait on the Lord to be the judge. It takes prayer to walk humble with our God. It takes a powerful amount of trust, when you are blinded and cannot see the way.

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and HIs ears attend to their prayers. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. I Peter 3:12

How are you Strong in the Lord? It comes in so many different ways.

Summer

Photo: by Rlbrown/ Family Picture, Second generation cousins

Twirls and whirlybirds in the wind, playing with cousins and friends.

Walking barefoot in the grass and hoping summer will last.

No school, outside and free, it’s the time just to be me.

Cousins on the porch swing, shelling purple hull peas.

I will snap green beans instead, if you please.

Summer snacks come straight from the garden.

We enjoy the evening breeze when the chores are done.

Climbing trees, city pool, river-side camping, and sandy shore

are childhood summers that make me wish for more.

I’ve watched my kids and now grandkids enjoy many summers too.

Their memories are intertwined with mine both old and new.

What more can I say, summer is a time to play.

Deserve

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

What a great prompt for this week as we celebrate the Fourth of July. My legacy as an American began in the 1700s’ when Thomas Ballard landed in Virginia. Since then, my family served in the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, WW1, WW2, the Korean War, and many other family members who served in the military. My family has worked this land as farmers, were traveling pastors, area magistrates, doctors, nurses, business men/women, general laborers; and suffered through wars, death, loss, depression, and more.

I grew up listening to my mom’s cotton-picking stories. My family donated land for educational purposes; my great-grandfather would mill corn for free so that every family, white and black, would have food for the winter. Understanding the freedom I think I deserve was built by men and women long before I existed.


Understanding what I think I deserve begins with understanding my history and the twisted version. For example, the misuse of Thomas Jefferson’s letter about the separation of church and state was misapplied, the horror of Roe vs Wade and the death of millions of innocence babies. It means understanding the difference between being a Constitutionalist vs. a progressive.

So, what do I deserve? Nothing. But I enjoy what my family has given, sacrifice, and built. I enjoy what other families have given, sacrificed, and made. God has given us as Americans a type of government that never existed before.

God moves hearts to preserve and maintain as best we can a nation that offers opportunities to those who are willing to work for it, even in a flawed system. We work and trust God for his blessings.

The good in anything takes time to seek, time to sit still and think, time to find friends who will support you, time to create, and time to dedicate yourself to serving God first.

Quiet is when I can hear myself think!

Photo by Simon Berger on Pexels.com

It seems that my brain is always rushing around with to do lists, assignments, tasks, programs, appointments. I need a calendar to keep up. Pray without ceasing, pray throughout the day, mediate on the Word but my brain is still racing.

Quiet is a time when noise is silent around me.

Quiet is when my mind rest from busyness.

Quiet is when my mind can unscramble.

Quiet is an undisturbed morning routine.

Quiet is sitting in the cool of evening.

Quiet is sorting out precious thoughts and memories.

Quiet is when I can contemplate, consider and reason.

Quiet is not complaining.

Quiet is waiting.

Quiet is when I listen, and God’s Word speaks to me.

Ps 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but it leaves will remain green. And it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

Ps 123: My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip. He who keeps you will not slumber.

Habakkuk 3: 19 He has mad my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk in high places.

When quiet time is over then I can walk like I have hinds’ feet in high places.

LIFT

Lift is the force that directly opposes the weight of despair and holds you up in the air.

Lift is generated by every part of your being, your words, your heart, your soul, your physical state, your mental well-being.

Lift is the aerodynamic force that produces motion as you trust your soul to Jesus.

The power of your words can build you up or tear you and others down.

The depth of your forgiveness sets you free from internalizing other people’s opinions.

The feelings of hurt and despair are natural, but the roots of bitterness don’t have to grow. I grew up hearing a bird flies overhead, but they don’t have to make a nest in your hair.

Jesus said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” In other words, God’s forgiveness doesn’t rest with me but in the depth of His love for me and you.

How to Disagree

Don’t hide behind others,

Don’t hide behind social media posts,

Don’t hide in a gossip mills or behind rumors,

Don’t vent uncontrollable and hide behind false anger.

Don’t spew angry words.

Don’t internalize their hurtful words.

BUT INSTEAD…

Do wait before spewing angry words

Do Inhale deeply then exhale swiftly

Try again…

Do inhale deeply on the count to four-

Hold for two and

exhale slowly- 4..3..2..1.

Go again,

Do give yourself a butterfly hug with cross taps.

Cross your hands, tapping the opposite arm or shoulder. The right-hand taps the left side and says, “Hello, mate. Let’s settle down.” The left-hand taps the right side and says, “Yep, we’re better together.”  Tapping back and forth, calms your brain. Sounds silly, I know, but it works. It’s like a hug from a butterfly that sets your mind free to think. (excerpt from WITT the anteater, WIP)

Do Think of strategies that follow the golden rule.

Do for others as you would have them do for you.

Growlers, howlers and whiners throw fits, Thinkers of all kind use their wits.

WITT: Wait, Inhale, Tap, Think (copyright RLBrown)

Ps. 133.1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” 

John14: 27…”…My peace I give you….Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Recovery Steps:

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Forgiveness is the first step toward personal recovery. Forgiveness is for your sake so that you are free of ANTS: Automatic Negative Thinking. (I have written a book called Trouble with ANTS/unpublished as of yet.) The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life. Remember that you may pick up your anger and hurt again. It is a process of letting go and taking steps toward healing.

Use your wits to get rid of stinging ants.

“Witt is an affable creature since he uses his brain. Witt recycles negative thinking by spelling his name. 
The W stands for Wait before spewing angry words. Impossible?  Not with help from the letter- I. 
Inhale by breathing deeply and then exhale swiftly. Breathe again, till you can hold and then slowly let go. Brave breaths take courage and practice to stay angry words.
With your angry words in check, it is time for step three. The following letter is T and it’s time for Taps. Cross your hands, tapping the opposite arm, knee or shoulder. 
The right-hand taps the left side and says, “Hello, mate. Let’s settle down.” The left-hand taps the right side and says, “Yep, we’re better together.”  Tapping back and forth, calms your brain. Sounds silly, I know, but it works. It’s like a hug from a butterfly that sets your mind free to think.
Think of actions that follow the golden rule. Do things that you would like others to do for you. 
Remember, not to throw fits because thinkers use their wits.”
Excerpt from Trouble with ANTS and Witt the Anteater/ (WIP) Copyright RLBROWN

You can find your inner strength when you are at rest. Watchman Nee’s book, Sit, Stand Walk explains the process perfectly. We rest in God’s Word, Stand on His promises, then walk in confidences and speak the God’s Truth.

The next steps also may be difficult. God did not call you to be a doormat. You may have to walk away, repeat the forgiveness process but that doesn’t mean to allow offenses to continually happen. It means stay the course and trust in Jesus.

NOTES: A mind locked into this fight/flight/freeze mode reverts to its natural protective instincts and cannot reason until both sides of the brain are calm. So, when confronted with a stressful, hurtful, sad, annoying situation, it is necessary to use both right and left sides of the brain to reason. Through research and working on applicable methods with my students, I developed a strategy to assist students in troubling times: Witt. WITT is an acronym that helps students remember what to do before, during, or after an emotional outburst. It takes practice to learn how to free your mind to think and not react. Wait, Inhale, Tap, Think.

I developed the idea for this story through research on brain development and breathing techniques for managing emotions. I gained an understanding by working with students and created a hands-on method for younger students to develop coping skills through practice.  Rhonda Brown 

I have no excuses, no not one!

None will suffice even with a life devoted to Christ.

Photo: RL Brown at Moss Mtn, AR

Mistakes made,

some intentionally

some by ommission

some in ignorance

but made just the same.

Actions taken to help

Actions done by myself

Actions that blindly hurt

Yet, the outcome–

Could have been different

Could have been avoided

Could have been resolved

No excuses, No not one!

But to trust in Jesus

His victory, won!

Rushing Through the Middle

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I’ve often read the beginning and end of the book to see how it starts and how it will end. I’ve even put a book back on the shelf if I didn’t like the ending. I’ve rushed through the middle of a book and stayed up all night just to get to the end.

Life before 18 seemed like an eternity. I couldn’t wait to be 18. Oh, the joy of being 18 again and the wisdom to know what to do with it. ( I would stop rushing around like a grasshopper and never looking up…God’s description of man.) It seems I’ve been in the middle all my life as:

  • The middle child
  • Middle of the sandwich generation
  • Center of my family negotiating
  • Middle-grade teacher
  • Middle of mid-life crisis

Even in retirement, I am still in the middle of my husband’s surgeries. I guess life is really lived in the middle. The best part of any book or life is in the middle: happy moments, life events, friendships new and old, and life. Life is lived in the middle of whatever stage you are in.

So, my advice to myself is to slow down and make sure I’m walking in the middle with Jesus. It will be messy but a much better story with Him in it.

Isaiah 40: 26 Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number. He call them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.

I’m an like a star, in the middle of His creation and I am not missing. I am not missing in the middle of a messy life. Jesus is stuck in the middle with you…and me.