Present

You know the gift giving protocol…
You present your best gift to the one being celebrated,
as demonstrated by the wise men who brought Jesus
gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

But this Christmas, you may be asking,  
“What if my best gift is a shattered heart?”
Jesus will take it.

What if it is a mind that cannot stop racing?”
Jesus will take it.

What if it is a crushed spirit?”
Jesus will take it.

For He,
the One whose birth we are celebrating,
welcomes such gifts,
takes them,
and reminds us of the reasons He came:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
(Luke 4:18-19, NKJV).

Come and present all you are
and are not.
Jesus will take you.

/ – /

The Christmas season can be very difficult for many, and especially after the grief, uncertainty, pain, and varied losses of the past 24 months. But Jesus calls us to come as we are and find all we need in Him. Will you accept His invitation?

The original version of this post was published in. 2020.

Behold

Behold (verb) · see or observe (a thing or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one).
Synonyms:
look at · see · observe · view · watch · survey · gaze at · gaze upon · stare at · scan · witness · regard · contemplate · inspect · eye · catch sight of · glimpse · spot · spy · notice · make out · discern · perceive · take note of · pay attention to · mark · remark · consider · pay heed to · espy · descry · look · lo ·

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, NKJV).

Behold!

“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:5-7, NKJV).

Behold!

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 10:13, NKJV).

Behold!

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1a, NKJV).

Behold!

Look at.
See.
Observe.
View.
Watch.
Survey.
Gaze at.
Gaze upon.
Stare at.
Scan.  
Witness.
Regard.
Contemplate.
Inspect.
Eye.
Catch sight of.
Glimpse.
Spot.
Spy.
Notice.
Make out.
Discern.
Perceive.
Take note of.
Pay attention to.
Mark.
Remark.
Consider.
Pay heed to.
Espy.
Descry.
Look.

Behold! “What wondrous love is this, O my soul.”

I am joining (on a Monday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Behold.” The definition of “Behold” is from www.lexico.com. Removing the hyperlinks from the synonyms and other clean up tasks extended the time beyond five minutes. 🙂

Expectation: FMF Link-up

This definition of expectation, “basis for expecting: ASSURANCE,” raised the question, “What is my basis for expecting anything from God?” I believe one factor is knowledge. If my knowledge of Him is superficial or inaccurate, my expectation of Him may lead me to be disappointed in Him for not being my Genie or Father Christmas.

He is not there to grant my every wish. He is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do, according to His sovereign will and in His time. Not mine. I need an accurate, maturing knowledge of who He is and such knowledge does not come by chance.

I am joining (on a Monday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The current writing prompt is, “Expectation.” The definition of “Expectation” used in the post is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. The post was edited for clarity on 12/8/2021.

Nourish

Nourish – to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health and growth.” Do we know what nourishes us? God’s questions recorded in Isaiah 55:2-3, reveal that we do not always know what is truly nourishing and as such use our God given resources (time, finances, strength, etc.) in pursuit of things that do not nourish us.

Here are the verses in the VOICE translation.
I don’t understand why you spend your money for things that don’t nourish
        or work so hard for what leaves you empty.
    Attend to Me and eat what is good;
        enjoy the richest
, most delectable of things.

 Listen closely, and come even closer. My words will give life,
  for I will make a covenant with you that cannot be broken, a promise
    Of My enduring presence and support like I gave to David.

And He gives us these precious promises in Isaiah 58:11, The Eternal One will never leave you; He will lead you in the way that you should go. When you feel dried up and worthless, God will nourish you and give you strength. And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended; you will be like a spring whose water never runs out. (VOICE).

Let us come as we are, right here at the beginning of the Advent season, to receive the nourishment that He offers and we so desperately need daily. Let us come.

I am joining (on a Monday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Nourish.”

FMF Link-up: Hide

God is just. God sees. “No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to” (Hebrews 4:13, VOICE).

I use these truths to ground me when I see injustice. When I see harm done to others – someone who looks like me, as well as those who are by appearance, language, etc., different – and the perpetrator or perpetrators walk away, seemingly unpunished, even celebrated.

I remind myself that God sees. That God is just. That, “No creature can hide from God: God sees all. Everyone and everything is exposed, opened for His inspection; and He’s the One we will have to explain ourselves to.” (Hebrews 4:13, VOICE).”

The enslaved woman, Hagar, called Him, El-Roi, the God who sees, or as translated by the VOICE, “The God of Seeing” (Genesis 7:13). No one can hide from God and nothing is hidden from the One who is also the Ancient of Days and the Judge of all the earth.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s writing prompt is, “Hide.”

FMF: Wander

Sometimes I wander in my mind
and get lost in thought.
Sometimes I wander with my feet
and am pleasantly surprised by what I see,
even if I get lost.
Sometimes like the prodigal son,
I wander away from my Father.
But whether I am lost in thought,
in body,
or in spirit,
my Father never loses track of me.
He always knows where I am.

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. You have laid your hand on me! This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
(Psalms 139:1‭-‬6, TPT).

I am joining (on a Saturday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s writing prompt is, “Wander.”

Morning: A Prayer (FMF Link-up)

Father,
You know when a night comes if it will become a night season. You know. I do not. You know. And gracious God, You who are my Maker, You give songs in the night.

You enabled Paul and Silas to sing at midnight in a prison after their clothes were torn from them and they had been severely beaten. You enabled them to sing, dear Father. And You who give songs and grace in the night seasons and remain with us throughout the night, You assure us that morning will come and with it joy.

And when the morning comes, may I, like the psalmist David, sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning. For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. To You, O God my strength, I will sing praises. For God, You are  my stronghold, my refuge, my protector, my high tower, the God who shows me steadfast lovingkindness. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Morning.” The verses of Scripture mentioned in the post, in the order shared, are Job 35:10 (NKJV); Acts 16:22-25 (NKJV); Psalm 30:5 (HCSB); Psalm 59:16-17 (AMP); Psalm 5:3 (NKJV). This post took a tad longer than five minutes.

FMF: Still

Legendary gospel singer and songwriter, arranger, record producer, and pastor, Andrae Crouch, wrote many songs that uplift me. But one of his songs that moves me most is, “God Still Loves Me.” Here are some of the lyrics:

When I was a child I sang a song
Yes, Jesus loves me
That was years ago and now I’m grown
Yes, Jesus loves me
The city where I live, so many things have changed
They say nothing ever stays the same
The grass is brown, many buildings torn down
Oh, and people I’ve known, they’re not around
But God still loves me


God still loves me. And because of His enduring love for me, I seek His strength to say as did the prophet Habakkuk,
“Though the fig tree does not blossom
Though the fig tree does not blossom
And there is no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock is cut off from the fold
And there are no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord;
I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

(Habakkuk 3:17-18, AMP).

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Still.” Click this to hear the song.

From my FMF Archives: Need

God is our greatest need. We are dependent on Him for every breath we inhale and exhale. The resources we use are His. The gifts we have are His. As He tells us through the Apostle James, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes] (James 1;17, AMP).

God is our greatest need. And yet, we need each other. Not in the same way we need God but we need each other. And this need is His doing. He has so purposed it that we develop in the context of our relationships.  Iron sharpening iron. Each a member of Christ’s body. Each with a special purpose and function. God is our greatest need. But we need each other. He designed it to be so.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Need.” This post is from my FMF archives (the 2019 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge).


Who Cares

May I state the obvious? There is much heartbreak, grief, and uncertainty in the world.

May I state also what is often asked in seasons such as this? If there is a God, does He care?

The answer is, there is a God and He cares. More than anyone human can comprehend. The Cross is the ultimate demonstration of His unfailing love.

Others have asked the question over the centuries. The question and the answer are beautifully shared in the words Frank E. Graeff wrote in 1901, reportedly after meditating on 1 Peter 5:7, following a season characterized by difficult trials.

Does Jesus Care?*

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?

Refrain

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Refrain

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Refrain

God cares. God cares. He cares for you, personally, not just the world. He cares. We may not understand what is happening in our lives. We may not understand what is happening in the lives of our loved ones or our communities and nation(s) but we can be confident in this truth – God is and He cares for us.

“Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over your very carefully]. ” (1 Peter 5:7, AMP)

*Copyright: Public Domain