Five Minute Friday: She

I think of her in a different way this Mother’s Day weekend.
She, the one who carried me in her womb
and her heart
and with her prayers.
I wonder if she thought of the one who was stillborn,
as the time of my birth came close.

First she carried me in her womb
and then continued to carry me with her prayers.
And, if the words of a pastor-author are true
that our prayers out live us,
I am still being carried by her prayers,
even as I carry her now
in my genes,
in my heart,
in my memory.

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 prompt is, “She.”

quieting the soul

Of one thing I am certain: my soul has become calm, quiet, and contented in You. Like a weaned child resting upon his mother, I am quiet. My soul is like this weaned child.” (Psalm 131:2, VOICE).

Be still, my soul.

“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.  And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.” (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE).

Be still, my soul.

“You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].” (Isaiah 26:3, AMP).

Be still, my soul.

“Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, VOICE).

Be still, my soul.

“David, too, was in anguish. Some of his men talked about stoning him because they were so bitter about their families being taken. But David took comfort in the Eternal One, his True God.” (1 Samuel 30:6, VOICE).

Be still, my soul. Know that He is God.

broken

When I think of broken, I think of bread,
homemade and store bought,
and the One who made us and was broken for us.
The One who declared and in the same breath issued an invitation,
“This is My Body that was broken for you. Take, eat of it.”

When I think of broken, I think also of glass,
and hearts, and lives, and spirits.
Of friendships and relationships, and dreams.
And the song which speaks healing truth,
“The Potter wants to put you back together again.”

The Potter, who is also the Bread who was broken.
The One who allowed Himself to be broken.
He is the One who repairs, makes new,
makes whole what was broken.

O how good it is to know there is no restriction on what He can make whole,
because the breaking is sometimes due to my own carelessness,
my devaluing of the sacred and the precious.

O how good it is to know that repair does not require wealth,
nor fame, status or the like,
only brokenness and the willingness to be made whole.

Thank You, Potter. Thank You, Living Bread.

N.B.: Versions of this post were published on July 27, 2013 & May 21, 2014.

midweek boost: permission

Permission: the right or ability to do something that is given by someone who has the power to decide if it will be allowed or permitted

Whose permission do you need to be your best self?
To be bold instead of fearful or anxious?
Self-compassionate instead of self-critical?
Humble instead of puffed-up?

To forgive  yourself and others,
instead of being imprisoned by unforgiveness?
To go of the past instead of torturing yourself
with guilt,
regret,
and shame?

Christ has set you free.
Walk free.
Live free.
You have been called to liberty.

Give yourself permission to be your best self.
You already have God’s permission
and His enabling.
You do not need permission from anyone else.

N.B. A version of this post was published in 2017.

“… and Peter.” (And me.)

_What do you say about yourself.. (1).png

A drowning person’s life flashes before his or her eyes.
Or so I have been told.
And if there is truth in this statement,
I wonder if Peter’s life with Jesus flashed before his eyes
as he drowned in an ocean of shame, horror, pain, and disbelief
after doing what he had sworn he never would,
that is, abandon Jesus, the One he had left all to follow.

I wonder if he saw the moment when Jesus called to him and his brother Andrew
as they were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, and said,
“Come follow me and I will send you to fish for people”?
And when He touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law as she was lying in bed with a fever, and the fever left her?

I wonder if Peter remembered vividly the moment his feet touched the water after he asked, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus responded, “Come”?
And when he responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” with the revelation given to him by the Father, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

I wonder if he saw the thousands being fed with a little boy’s lunch, and Lazarus coming out of the tomb after he had been dead four days, and Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount?

I do not know but the One Who knew Peter would deny Him, not once but thrice in a short space of time, and loved him still, 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.’”
“… tell his disciples and Peter.”
“ … and Peter.”

Later, He would pose a question to him three times, “Do you love Me?”
And by the end of the conversation had commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him.

Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him,
Sometimes with my words.
At other times with my silence, behavior and choices.
Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him.
Perhaps you are too.
Thanks be to God, we can all be certain that,
no matter what we have done,
the same forgiveness,
redemption,
and restoration that Peter was given,
is also available to us.

NB: This post was first published on this blog on 4/17/17 and reposted on 4/11/18. It is one of my favorite posts and for that reason as well as the fact that the content still is true of me, I wanted to share it again.

Every Step

From the moment of His birth, every step Jesus took brought Him closer to Golgotha and the Cross, where He would willingly pay the incomprehensible cost to redeem you, me, the world. Every step.

The trip to Jerusalem at age 12, where, after searching for Him for three days, Mary and Joseph “found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions,” astonishing all who heard Him (Luke 2:41-47, NKJV). To the Jordan River to be baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). Into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan after fasting for 40 days and forty nights (Matthew 4:1-11).

Every step. By the Sea of Galilee on numerous occasions such as when He called the first disciples (Matthew 4:18-22). Up on a mountain where He taught his disciples many things, including what we know as “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:1-12). In Capernaum, where He spoke the word that healed the centurion’s servant and drove the fever from the body of Peter’s mother-in-law with a touch (Matthew 8:5-15).

Every step. To the country of the Gergesenes, where He set two demon-possessed men free (Matthew 8:28-34). To the house of Jairus where He raised his daughter from the dead (Luke 8:41-56).

Every step. Through Samaria and to the Samaritan woman who came to draw water and met the Messiah, the Living Water (John 4). To the tomb of Lazarus where He demonstrated that He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:1-44). Every step.

And every step you and I take moves us closer to the purpose for which God created us, or away from it. Every step. Every choice, every decision matters. May we heed more than ever the instruction in Hebrews 12:1-2 (AMP):

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us,[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

And with the assurance that He directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9) may we pray like David, the psalmist and king, “Establish my footsteps in [the way of] Your word; Do not let any human weakness have power over me [causing me to be separated from You]” (Psalm 119:133, AMP).

As we continue walking through this Holy Week, may we see with fresh eyes, hear with open ears and hearts, and worship.

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NB: A version of this blog post was first published on 4/3/17.

P.S.
I want to invite you to join me and thousands of others across the nation and in other countries to use your feet to make a difference, by participating in World Vision’s Global 6K for clean water, on May 22, 2021. Please watch the video below and click here for additional information. Thank you.

Holy Week: God’s Plan, Timing & Love

The first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, documents the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, beginning with Abraham, the father of Isaac. Verse 17 states, “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.” Forty-two generations.

Even without counting the generations from Adam to Terah, Abraham’s father, 42 generations represent a large number of people, living life in all its dimensions. And, encompassing all these numerous people and all their living, was the Omnipotent One, existing outside of time, but diligently, patiently, lovingly, meticulously working out His eternal plan of redemption, through humans and in time, to bring us back to Himself.

4 “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” (Galatians 4:4-7, NLT)

These verses are worth reading again and again until they sink deep and indelibly into our beings. Why wait for a later time? Let us read them again at least once now. Shall we?

He made us His very own children at an incalculable cost. You. Me. As such I find it impossible to muse on His Plan and His timing and not think of His incomprehensible love, which has been and will always be His motive for all He does for us.

The classic hymn, “The Love of God,”* speaks powerfully of God’s love.

  1. The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.
  2. When hoary time shall pass away,
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
    When men who here refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call,
    God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
    The saints’ and angels’ song.
  3. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

Holy Week, which began this year on Sunday, March 28th, invites us to reflect on God’s Plan, His timing, and His love.

*Lyrics are from https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/The_Love_of_God/ (Public Domain)

infused ordinary

Ordinary… A day with only the typical activities scheduled.
But is it possible that hidden in the ordinary are secrets of the extraordinary that are revealed with keys such as gratitude, obedience, praise, attention?

Ordinary … A person who is seen as average. Having no talents that the rich and famous, those with status, seem to possess. But that ordinary person can make a life changing difference in the life of another human. By an act of kindness, by the recognition of Imago Dei in another, with love, an ordinary person could change the world in which God placed them – a job, a neighborhood, a family. 

Ordinary does not mean insignificant, or worthless, or unimportant.

Yahweh has a way of infusing ordinary moments, days, people, with His presence, His matchless power, making each His own, and transforming them all.

*A version of this post was originally published on 10/11/2013.

Possible

What is possible to me? Philippians 4:13 (AMP) states, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” The answer is whatever God has called me to do by His strength and His power. He strengthens and empowers me to fulfill His purpose.

But one ingredient is necessary, namely my willingness. I am not always willing to do what God has called me to do for various reasons – fear, the desire to stay in my comfort zone, risk aversion, to name a few. But in the face of my unwillingness, God does not throw up His hands and leave me to my own devices. He continues to work in me. As  Philippians 2:13 (AMP) states, “For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.” What a gracious, merciful God.

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. This week’s prompt is, “Possible.”

Green

Green.
In a traffic light, it signals go.
In things that grow, it is an indication of life and thriving.

Water is not needed for the former
but is a necessity for the latter.
The former is inanimate.
The second is alive.

And so is the human spirit.
It needs water to thrive.
And that water is the Word of God,
written by human hands,
not from their own imaginations but,
as one such scribe noted,
God-breathed.”

This Word is as alive,
as potent now as when it was first spoken.
It continues to give life
and hope and strength,
and encouragement.

It continues to transform and
God honors it above His name.
He has declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away,”
meaning,
what He has spoken will happen.

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, “Green.” Links to Scripture verses were added after the allotted five minutes had ended.