Start

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” I am mulling over these words by tennis legend, Arthur Ashe. My response to the writing prompt, “Start.” When I feel stuck, unsure of what to do next, what would it be like for me to start where I am?  It may be as simple as picking up a letter from the pile on the desk and filing it. Or whispering the name of Jesus. Or opening my Bible and reading one verse.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” “Start where you are are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” There is usually something I can do in every situation. That something is pray. That something is worship. That something is remembering the faithfulness of God. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” What would either of these steps be for you?

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

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Testimony

“Who are you?” This question of identity can surface in any season of life and demands an answer. “Who are you?” The question was posed to John the Baptist and Scripture records his response: 

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”

21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

And he answered, “No.”

22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”

23 He said: “I am

‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:

“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’

as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1:19-23, NKJV).

Interesting enough, he began by stating who he was not and when he stated his identity, he used the words God spoke of him hundreds of years before his birth, through the prophet Isaiah. We all have moments when we are asked, “Who are you?” John’s testimony lets us know it is okay to begin with who we are not as long as we end by testifying to who God says we are.

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

Again

“For I  passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:-3-5, AMP).

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV, emphasis added).

Jesus rose again. He rose again. I serve a risen Savior. He conquered death, hell, and the grave. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He ever lives to make intercession for us. And one day soon He will come again.

Jesus rose again. I always need to remember this truth and live it but my need seems greater this week. In El Paso, TX on 8/3, forty-six people shot and 22 of the 46 died. In Dayton, OH, on 8/4, 37 shot and 10 killed. Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and friends and co-workers. All made in the image of God.//The evil of racism and bigotry unleashed terror and death in El Paso, TX. And the impact spread beyond that city and will continue to be felt.  So what do we do? “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV). In response to these specific mass shootings, what does it look like to no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised again? I believe “it” will involve being and doing.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Again.” The content behind the // was added after 5 minutes were completed.

Five

4 Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. 5 Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” 6 But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

7 Philip answered Him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”

8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?” 10 Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted (John 6:4-11, NKJV).

Whatever the nature of my need, God has always known what He Himself would do in response to my need.

Like Philip, I may wrack my brain to come up with a solution and recognize that my plan falls short.

Like Andrew, I may become aware of resources, “five barley loaves and two small fish,” but justifiably, from a human perspective, see the resources as insufficient.

Insufficient until the One who has always know what He Himself would do, intervenes.

And when I trust Him with my “less than enough” He transforms it into more than enough and meets not only my need, but the needs of many others. Our blessings are never only for us. We are blessed to be a blessing.

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

Willing

Perhaps there were several Bezalels in the nation of Israel but God clearly stated which Bezalel He had chosen for the work of constructing the sanctuary. He named Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And Bezalel had an impressive skillset given to him by God for His purpose. In addition to filling him with His spirit, God filled him with wisdom, understanding, knowledge and diverse skills, including the skills  to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And the ability to teach others (Exodus 35:30-36:1, NIV). 

After identifying Bezalel by name, Moses stated that he and the other skilled individuals, equipped by God for His purpose, were to do the work exactly as God instructed. “Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work” (Exodus 36:2, emphasis added).

//In the chapters that follow, the incredible work that Bezalel and others did is described but I think it is safe to say that all that they did was predicated on this fact, they were willing to come and do the work. May what was true of Bezalel and “every skilled person to whom the Lord had given ability,” be true of each of us – may we be willing to do the work He has called and equipped us to do. Even if we receive no human applause.

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 prompt is, “Willing.” The content behind the // and some of the Scripture references were was added after 5 minutes were completed.

clearance and lessons

I found two items in the clearance section at the back of the arts and crafts store – a chipped plate and a damaged sign.

The chipped plate reminded me that things do not have to be perfect for me to be grateful.

The damaged sign reminded me that I can be brave even when wounded.

The life lessons gleaned from the clearance items give them worth far beyond their original price. And just in case you appreciate a great deal, I will share the original prices of the items and what I paid for them: the plate was $8.99 and I paid .89 cents; the sign was $23.99 and I paid $2.39 (plus tax). Sweet.😃

Take

“I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.” Rarely are these words uttered by someone overwhelmed by good things that are happening to her. Typically, they are the words of individuals who feel at their limit in the face of situations or circumstances that have taxed them beyond endurance.

“I. Can’t. Take. It. Anymore.” is frequently followed by, “I give up,” spoken verbally or via behaviors. But at the end of ourselves, God offers a promise, a hope that anchors our souls: “We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously” (1 Corinthians 10:13, TPT). Praises be to our gracious God. In our own strength we cannot. Through Him we can.

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