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

Rescue (for FMF Link-up)

If there was anyone who knew what it was like to need rescue and what it was like to be rescued, it was Simon whose name was changed by his Rescuer (and ours) to Peter. Like the other disciples, he was afraid when they saw what they thought was a ghost, walking toward them on the water. After Jesus immediately identified Himself and told them not to be afraid, Peter ventured out on the water and began walking to Jesus. That is until he took his eyes off of Jesus, began to sink, and cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus did so immediately. One could safely say that this was a physical rescue.

Later, after he did what he had sworn he would not do, namely, deny Jesus, his actions again driven by fear, he needed to be rescued, this time from shame and pain. And Jesus rescued him once more, without him asking him to do so, at least out loud.//  He made sure that Peter knew that there was forgiveness, and redemption, and restoration for Peter. First, He sent the message of His resurrection through the angel, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Peter’s Rescuer (and ours) mentioned him by name.

Sometime after sending the message, He would pose a question to Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” And by the end of their conversation commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him. And Peter did so to the point of dying a martyr’s death.

I am grateful that Jesus is still in the rescue business, as Lauren Daigle reminds us in her song, “Rescue.”

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, “Rescue.” The content after the // was written and the links to the Scripture verses and video were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

City

I am joining (on a Sunday) 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, “City.” The content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

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“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, AMP).

“By faith Abraham, when he was called [by God], obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, as in a strange land, living in tents [as nomads] with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11: 8-10, AMP. Emphases added).

He carried me away in the realm of the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain. There he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It was infused with the glory of God, and its radiance was like that of a very rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:10-11, TPT).

Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land that God had promised to give him and his descendants. He did so by faith. Faith, “the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”

The Holy Spirit tells us through the apostle Peter that we do not belong here (1 Peter 2:11). Abraham had this mindset.// He understood that he was an alien. A stranger. A pilgrim. A sojourner. A temporary resident. Because of this faith shaped and fueled mindset, ”he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” This holy city, which Abraham was looking forward to, is described in Revelation 21.

Abraham had the mindset of a foreigner in the land of promise. What is our mindset in the land in which we now live?

He was “[waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” Are we? And if we are, what fuels our longing? Escape from “the troubles of this world”? The desire to see loved ones who have gone on before? All of these are understandable but where does the desire to be with the Architect and Builder of the city, the One who redeemed us with His own blood, the Author and Finisher of our faith, fall among all the reasons we are looking forward to the city, (if we are)?

Desperate

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. The writing prompt is, “Desperate.” The content after the last //, including the lyrics for the hymn, “Come Ye Disconsolate,” were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. The definition of desperate used in the post is from www.merriam-webster.com.

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Definition of desperate

1a : having lost hope
//a desperate spirit crying for relief
b : giving no ground for hope
//the outlook was desperate

2 a : moved by despair or utter loss of hope
//victims made desperate by abuse
b: involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration
//made a desperate leap for the rope

3 : suffering extreme need or anxiety
//desperate for money
//desperate to escape
//celebrities desperate for attention

4 : involving extreme danger or possible disaster
//a desperate situation

5 : of extreme intensity
//… a desperate languor descended heavily upon her, and she slept …— Elinor Wylie

6 : SHOCKING, OUTRAGEOUS

How desperate do things have to become, how desperate do you have to feel before you ask for help? Acknowledge that you are in over your head? Hanging on by a thread? That you are at the end of your rope and your grip is loosening? How desperate do things have to become, how desperate do you have to feel before you ask for help?

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” wrote the sons of Korah, as stated in Psalm 46:1. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way  and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46: 2-3, NLT).

We do not have to wait until things get desperate or we feel desperate. We have help right at the beginning, we have help in the middle, we have help at the end and every moment in between. What was true for David is true for us. “Behold, God is my helper and ally; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul [my upholder].” (Psalm 53:4, AMP).// Hear the invitation in the lyrics of the hymn, “Come Ye Disconsolate.”*

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.

*Thomas Moore (pub.1816). Copyright Status: Public Domain.

Teach

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, “Teach.” Scripture images and the link to C. T. Stubbs’ poem were added after the allotted five minutes period had ended.

– // –

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
(Psalm 90:1-2; emphasis added).

The verses above are the opening statements of a prayer of Moses. Perhaps it was his privilege of experiencing God as no other human did before the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, that shaped his prayer. His awareness that God has always existed. That unlike mankind, His existence is not counted in days.

I do not know when he prayed this prayer. He lived to be 120 years. Whenever he wrote it, he understood the transient nature of our time on earth and prayed, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NKJV). Other translations read:

“Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.” (Psalm 90:12, ICB)

“Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction.” (TPT).

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” (CEV).

Which ever translation we favor, the truth remains – we need God’s help to use wisely the time He has allotted us. As, C. T. Studd wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

From

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, “From.”

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“Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.” (Psalm 90:1-2, AMP).

“From everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.”
ADONAI, You have always been God.
You have always been God.

As long as I knew them, You were the God of my maternal grandparents.
You were also the God of my parents for all of the time we lived together on this earth.
But You, as someone said, have no grandchildren.
So, although You were the God of my grandparents and parents,
there was a moment when I had to choose You to be my God.
This moment happened before my 10th birthday.

Even when I was unfaithful, You remained my God.
Even when I walked in rebellion, You remained my God.
In the hard seasons of life and the seasons of joy, You remain my God.
From everlasting to everlasting You are God.
You are my God.


Drive (Five Minute Friday Link-up)

What drives us?

What is the “Why” for what we do or do not do?

To our chagrin, if we are honest, we realize that much of our decisions are driven by what we believe is good for us, what others expect of us, and/or to avoid consequences. But among the 31,102 verses in the Bible (according to Wikipedia), there are the following three verses:

“Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, [a]not we ourselves [and we are His].
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3, AMP).

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (Ephesians 2:10, AMP).

“So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, AMP).

And I wonder, how different would my life, our lives be if our decisions are guided by these truths? If these truths become our “Why?” If these truths are what drive us daily, moment to moment?

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, “Drive.”

Order (Five Minute Friday Link-up)

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 (NKJV)

The Lord who orders our steps is sovereign, omnipotent, and omniscient.

“He knows the way that I take,” Job testified.*

He knows the terrain over which the steps He has ordered will take us.

He knows the pace that is necessary to keep us moving forward.

He has a purpose and destination in mind.

He knows the seasons through which we are walking.

He knows the supplies we will need to execute the steps He has ordered: grace; favor; rest; encouragement;
perseverance; a steady diet of His word in adequate portion sizes to strengthen us, refresh us, and help us let go of the baggage that weighs us down and impairs our progress.

He knows that we will stumble.

He knows that we will fall but He is there to pick us up, to uphold us all the way Home. 

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

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, “Order.” The “supplies” mentioned in the post in no way comprise an exhaustive list. Among other needs, we also need community.
*Job 23:10.

Another offering of “Strong” for FMF

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community (on a Monday) for our weekly writing adventure. This week’s prompt is, “Strong.” I am sharing a post originally written in 2019, for a 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge.

-//-

It is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life, of life in the Kingdom of God: the person who is most aware of her need of God, that he can do nothing without Him, is strong. This truth is clearly demonstrated in what God said to the Apostle Paul after he beseeched Him three times to remove an unnamed “thorn.” He told him,  “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9, AMP).

This revelation changed Paul’s perspective on his circumstances. He exulted, “Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me. So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength]” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, AMP).

Let us read that last phrase out loud together, “..for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength] (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, AMP). Our ABBA has never required us to be strong in our own human strength.