The Five-Minute Writing Prompt Journal

I’ve been teaching a writing class, Taking the Fear Out of Writing. As a weekly  assignment, I asked the students to write for just five minutes on a specific prompt word. Yes, I used prompts from my Five Minute Friday experience.

So, imagine my joy when I came across Kate Motaung’s latest venture, The Five-Minute Writing Prompt Journal.

The Five-Minute Writing Prompt Journal is a tool for seasoned, new and wannabe writers. Based on precepts in the Five Minute Friday community, the Journal presents 52 independent one word writing prompts for writers to ponder. The “rules” are simple — free write for five minutes until until you run out of space on the page, time in the day, ink in your pen, or words in your mind. You could write every day, once a week, or whenever inspiration strikes.

The Five Minute Friday community is an online writing community that gathers weekly to free write on a single word prompt at fiveminutefriday.com. You’re welcome to join us

The purpose of the Journal is to get writers to focus, spark inspiration, provide space for you to practice your craft, and challenge you to cultivate the habit of writing regularly. Let go of your inhibiting fears and gain new confidence page by page as you practice these freewriting exercises. No overthinking, no worrying about spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or what anyone else will think — just write. If the timer beeps and you want to keep going, great! If you stop after five minutes, great! The goal is not to get it just right, but to just write.

While this book is not technically for readers, it most definitely is for writers at whatever stage of development they made be in. Interspersed through the pages are Kate’s pearls of writing wisdom which are designed to encourage you. I was particularly touched by the Writer’s Blessing.

May the pages in this journal open doors to wonder and possibility.
May you dig deep for the gems hidden beneath the surface, for treasure within.
May you push yourself beyond your own ability and draw your strength from Him.
May you delight in the gift of creative work and see in it evidence of the Creator.
May you go further than writing to find yourself and use the writing to find your Maker.

May you go further than writing to find yourself and use the writing to find your Maker!

I give it a solid five stars.

 

The Five-Minute Writing Prompt Journal

Kate Motaung

Paperback: 161 pages, $14.99 (Amazon Prime)

Publisher: Independently published (June 18, 2019)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 107351336X

ISBN-13: 978-1073513369

Kate is the author of A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging, The Five-Minute Writing Prompt Journal, A Start-Up Guide for Online Christian Writers, and Letters to Grief, and co-author of Influence: Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus (Not Me). She is the host of Five Minute Friday (fiveminutefriday.com), an online community that encourages and equips Christian writers, and she blogs at Heading Home (katemotaung.com). Kate is the owner of Refine Services (refineservices.com), a company that offers writing, editing, and digital marketing services. Kate has degree in Bible, theology, and cross-cultural missions from Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, MI, and an Honours degree from the Bible Institute of South Africa. She loves writing creative nonfiction and memoir. Her desire is to point readers to the hope found in Jesus, and to urge people to long for eternity with Him.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: There is a story about an old Cherokee chief who is teaching his grandson about life. He tells him, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.  One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. This same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about this for a minute, then turned to his grandfather and asked, “Which wolf will win?” The wise old chief turned to his grandson, smiled knowingly and replied simply, “The one you feed.”

 

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A Brief But Powerful Prayer

This week’s words for the week are a brief but powerful prayer from Robert Louis Stevenson.

Give us grace and strength to persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends and soften to us our enemies. Give us the strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath and in all changes of fortune, and down to the gates of death loyal and loving to one another.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Being faithful in the smallest things is the way to gain, maintain and demonstrate the strength needed to accomplish something great. — Alex Harris

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Rise, Shine, You People

“Come, celebrate, your banners high unfurling, Your songs and prayers against the darkness hurling. To all the world go out and tell the story, Of Jesus’ glory.

“Tell how the Father sent His Son to save us. Tell of the Son, who life and freedom gave us. Tell how the Spirit calls from ev’ry nation, His new creation.”

After hearing various popular opinions concerning His identity, Jesus asked His disciples, But who do you say that I am? With an answer revealed by God the Father, Peter confessed, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. That great confession was the rock-solid foundation on which Jesus would build His church and, He said, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (see Matthew 16:15-18).

Hell’s prince, Satan, prowls around like a lion, seeking to devour us, and we are told to resist him. Yet this is not only a defensive war. We are the body of Christ on earth, members of the church militant, the fighting church. We are on the offensive, storming the gates of hell. Those gates cannot hold out against us, because we are armed by the Spirit of God — armed with a story.

Hurling our songs and prayers against the darkness, we wield the sharp, two-edged sword of the Word, the good news of all Jesus Christ has done for our salvation. The story tells of the Father’s love for the world He created, the love of His beloved Son, sent to save us. Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man, offered up His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Out of every nation, the Holy Spirit calls people to faith through the Gospel, making each a new creation through the water and Word of Baptism.

The story seems to be a simple one, summed up so profoundly in the familiar words: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Yet there is nothing simple about it. The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16b). Its power is both hidden and revealed in the helpless Infant in a manger bed and in the weak, suffering Victim on a cross. This is the power of God which through our songs and prayers the Gospel story is hurled against the darkness. It is the darkness of sin and death, the darkness of the tomb. But our victory is assured because we are fighting a battle that has already been won — through an empty tomb — because our Lord Jesus passed through the death and darkness and overcame it all. The gates of hell cannot prevail against us, because He has conquered and we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37b).

Do you find it hard to be enthused about certain things — even though they’re good things? Why?

Does knowing Jesus conquered Satan inspire you to tell others about it? Should it?

Sometimes praising and thanking God is tough to do. How do you do this when you don’t feel like it?

Lord Jesus, You have conquered, and by faith Your victory is ours. Strengthen us for the fight, and arm us with the Spirit’s sword. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler and offered by Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministry. It is based on the hymn, “Rise, Shine, You People,” which is quoted above. Dr Geisler is a former Lutheran elementary school teacher and principal. A graduate of Concordia University in Seward, NE, she has earned master’s degrees in school administration and theology from Concordia University in Irvine, CA. She has a doctorate in historical theology from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. She has written devotions for Portals of Prayer and religion curricula for Concordia Publishing House. Most recently, Geisler won the 2015 LCMS Disaster Response Hymn Contest with her song, “Lord and Savior, Do You Hear Us?”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Pessimism removes the possibility of winning from the list of options for our lives. Never give up or stop reaching for your dreams.

 

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Power of Prayer

As we build this community prayer platform, with help from the #PrayerWarriors team, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

As we approach the throne room, let’s remember to respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

Jackie’s rotator cuff repair surgery went well. She is recuperating at home for the next six weeks.

Lord, we lift up Dave who probably won’t be getting out of hospice after all. He is declining very rapidly. We lift up his family as well.

LoLo needs  prayers. She is frustrated and in a lot of back pain.

DeBorah offered a praise and prayer request. Her blood pressure is now under control and her headaches have stopped. She is taking her meds every day. She is asking for prayers as she deals with the IRS and a levy due by June 30, plus other expenses to avoid losing the contents of her storage unit, which includes her Army uniforms and medals and  personal items from her parents.

Nancy is asking for prayers following major surgery.

Dani needs her prayer warriors for her  family. She says, “We really need this potential change in our lives.”

Kendal is very, very sick from the chemo. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Please join Bill in prayer asking God to send a job his way. Homeless in 20 days.

Erica’s aunt and godmother has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Summer asks for prayer. Every night the uncomfortable feeling in her knee turns into excruciating pain.

Rev. Kevin is facing the toughest challenge of his life, and so far he’s been facing it alone with his two dogs. He has chronic kidney disease, crippling arthritis, neuropathy, a totally pinched sciatic nerve, and his right hip is bone on bone and extremely painful. He needs an electric wheelchair, other medical needs, co-pays, living expenses, and to get the dogs their current vet care. He needs prayers.

We heard of  a number of deaths this week and there were a host of unspoken prayer requests.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week — some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We also know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up Dave, LoLo, DeBorah, Nancy, Dani, Kendal,Bill, Erica’s aunt/godmother, Summer, Rev. Kevin, and all those needing Your healing touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Bitterness and resentment steal what they have no right to take … our peace, our joy, our fullness of life.

 

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Five Minute Friday — Question

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Five Minute Friday time.We’ll get to that in a  few after our regularly scheduled advertisements about the mechanics of Five Minute Friday and a plug on it’s value from Colleen.

You know the drill. I’ll post, link at Kate’s place (fiveminutefriday.com/) and scan through the incredible work of my fellow writers. And, as I always say, you should try it as well — both writing and contributing or at least visiting the sites of this talented crew.

I’ve also been sharing other takes on the value of the exercise, taken from snippets found in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat as an added inducement to join in. Here’s Colleen’s take.

“The Five Minute Friday community has encouraged me to take up the pen when I thought I had no words; to seek friendship when I thought it was out of my reach; and to be brave when I was certain my courage was failing. This is not just a writing group, it is a sisterhood [and brotherhood] that constantly reminds me we are better together.”

So, there you have it. Five Minute Friday is so much more than just words. It’s friendship. It’s community. It’s empowerment.

The prompt this week is QUESTION. The timer has been set, so I guess it’s time to let the neurons out to roam free. GO …

Over the years, I have answered many questions. Sometimes, I really knew the answer. Other times I took an educated guess. Often I was just winging it based on my experiences.

But when it comes time to ferry across the Jordan and visit the Throne Room, there will be just two relevant questions. Our Father will look me straight in eyes and ask, “Do you know My Son?”

Like all those who profess to be Christians, I will answer affirmatively.

Then He will glance to His right and ask His Son, “Do You know this servant?”

I suspect some of the profession Christians will be winnowed, but I expect an affirmative answer.

With those formalities out of the way, the fun will begin. I will be free to ask those pressing questions that have nagged me all my life. Of course, some of them will be related to the theological and philosophical. If this salvation thing is so simple, why is it so hard for us numskulls to understand it? Why are there so many distortions to the truth? Why did You pick that time and place to enter our … STOP

world? Why not sooner? Or later? Why can’t humans just get along?

But there are other more mundane questions as well. Why is the grass green and the sky blue? {I’m expecting an answer like “You do know there was such a thing as Google in your lifetime, right?”} Who determined the color scheme of the rainbow and why? Why do rabbits live in holes? What do cows think about when they’re grazing? Why am I fascinated by flannel? Especially bright large checked flannel? Why didn’t You give me a talent for, I don’t know, carpentry? Or electronics? Or maintaining my car? Why writing?

And, of course, I’ll finally have the question answered about which came first, the chicken or the egg.

I’m thinking it’s okay to have questions … theological, philosophical, silly and mundane. What questions — serious and silly — would you like answered?

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If you want to reach Mount Olympus, make sure every step you take is in that direction. — Socrates

 

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A 1,000 Random Ramblings

I don’t know if this is a celebratory post or a venue to offer my condolences. This marks my 998th blog post. I intended to share the news of No. 1,000 on its actual anniversary date but it coincides with our Prayer, Care, Share segment Saturday and I didn’t think it would be appropriate.

As the numbers started ticking up I couldn’t help but reflect on the last almost seven years of blogging. {My Lord, has it been that long?} I’ve shared a lot of words over that time — well over a half million. {I didn’t count them but 1,000 times an average of 500. I think the math is still good.} That’s a lot of hot air coming from the free-wheeling neurons!

I use the word share because, even from day one, the goal wasn’t to push my views but involve you — readers and followers — in the intimacies of my life. My goal was and is to share my thoughts {as crazy as they sometimes are}, to share my faith walk {the soul of the  blog},  to share my accomplishments and defeats {the heart of the blog}.

Throughout our time together I’ve tried to not only entertain and inform you, but involve  you by weaving words that resonate with you. I’ve had no agenda.

I guess the formula has worked. With each little tweak I found new audiences tuning in.

On day 1, I wrote, “I have no idea what I will write about. I have thousands of ideas collected over the years, but sharing those ideas with strangers (who I hope will soon become friends!) is the challenge. That’s where you come in. I need feedback. I need suggestions.”

You have met the challenge. You’ve offered valuable feedback and suggestions over the years — well over 3,000 comments from around the world. You responded favorably to my reflections about my life with Karen and life after her death. I saw the follower numbers steadily increase as we embarked on our Wednesday Writing exercise that resulted in publication of Heaven Shining Through. Joining Five Minute Friday introduced me — and you — to an amazing group of talented writers. Over the years about a third of my posts were part of the five minute writing exercise. I  am so thankful I was welcomed into the group! This year’s tweak to include a week-long menu of topics — Sunday Sermonette … Words for the Week … Readin’ Riting’ and ‘Rithmetic … Midweek Mirth … Life and Love … Five Minute Friday … Prayer, Care, Share — forced a daily presence. My entrance in the book publishing field opened new doors and opportunities to expand through an increased presence on social media. There are now three published books — Heaven Shining Through, the novella that kicked it off; My Name Is Sam … and Heaven Is Still Shining Through, the novel inspired by the novella; and Wisdom From a Father … One Dad’s Thoughts on Life, a non-fiction work based on this blog.

To show you how this little venture has taken off, I had a scant 114 visitors in those first three months of posting and most of them were family and close friends. Last year, there were  5,179 visitors from 66 countries. Thus far in not quite half a year, I’ve had 3,315 visits. I now have 856 followers here, 578 Twitter followers and 419 Facebook friends on my personal page and 95 on my Facebook author page.

In my intro, I  noted I had thousands of random, rambling thoughts. Well, you have about 1,ooo already … and there are more in there, so, thank you for your past support and here’s to the next milestone! Keep your comments and suggestions coming!

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. — Forrest Gump

 

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Midweek Mirth

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

So, let’s smile a little!

Midweek Mirth:

The Memory Test

Three elderly men are at the doctor’s office for a memory test. The doctor asks the first man, “What is three times three?”

“274,” came the reply.

The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling, and says to the second man, “It’s your turn. What is three times three?”

“Tuesday,” replies the second man.

The doctor shakes his head sadly, then asks the third man, “Okay, your turn. What’s three times three?”

“Nine,” says the third man.

“That’s great!” says the doctor. “How did you get that?”

Simple,” he says, “just subtract 274 from Tuesday.”

And now for the bonus …

Help?

One summer evening a young son came in while his parents were setting the table for supper. Quite surprisingly, he asked if he could help. His mother said, “No, but I appreciate you asking.”

The child responded, “Well, I appreciate you saying no.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. — John W. Gardner

 

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