Young

Congressman John R. Lewis, died on July 17, 2020, at the age of 80 years. He had served as a congressman for approximately 34 years. He was known for, among other attributes, his courage and integrity and for causing #goodtrouble. He was willing to risk his life for what he believed in. At the age of 23, he was the youngest of the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington

Centuries earlier, four young men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were taken as captives from their homeland to serve a heathen king in Babylon (Daniel 1). They were also known for their courage and integrity and were willing to lay down their lives out of their devotion to their God.

As I reflect on the life of Representative John Lewis, and on the four Hebrew young men, I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy, You are young, but don’t let anyone treat you as if you are not important. Be an example to show the believers how they should live. Show them by what you say, by the way you live, by your love, by your faith, and by your pure life.” (1 Timothy 4:12, ERV). These men are examples to us in all stages of life./ With God’s help, we can also be courageous and godly examples to others, instead of cautionary tales.

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. This week’s prompt is, “Young.” The link to the Time Magazine article was added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. 

Smile

What makes you smile?
A memory,
captured in a photograph?
Elicited by a smell,
a sound,
a touch?

What makes you smile?
Anticipation 
of a moment to come?
A visit?
Picking up a book
and immersing yourself once more 
in the cadence and artistry of another’s words?

What makes you smile?
The knowledge that you were chosen
by God before the foundation of the world
to be holy and without blame before Him in love?
I hope this truth makes a smile
blossom from deep within
and gives radiance to your eyes,
face,
and entire being.

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, “Smile.” The link to the Scripture passage was added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. 

Endure

I am a solider.
The moment I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, He enlisted me into His army.
I am a solider but most of the time I do not live as if I am a solider.

God uses various methods to remind me of this truth, to give me a reality check. Verse 3 of  2 Timothy 2, was one such reality check, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The verse reminded me that I am a solider and caused me to reflect on whether I am a good solider.

What does it mean to be a good solider? My initial thoughts are that a good solider has a different mindset from a civilian, knows his enemy, knows her weapons and how to use them.

Lord of Hosts, help me understand what it  means to be a good solider. Help me be a good solider.// Let me not be surprised by hardship. May I understand that hardship is common in the life of a solider and believe that You will always give me the grace I need to endure. Also, I can be assured that You do not allow hardship for hardship sake but hardship has a purpose, as stated in Romans 5:3-5 (AMP):  “And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

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, “Endure.” The links to Biblical passages were added and the content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. 

People

I have heard that in some families, those who had earned the esteemed position of elders –
the aunties,
and the great aunties,
and the Mamas,
and Grandmamas, etc., –
and who, in that position, needed no one’s permission to ask questions of anyone, would pose this question, “Who are your people?” to men and women, friends, and hoping-to-be-romantic-partners, who they were meeting for the first time. Or, if they were hearing about the person from someone else would ask, “Who is her/his people?” The idea being that if the tree was known, a correct perception could be had of the fruit.

It is true that family of origin plays a significant role in shaping a person. However, for the person who has become a part of the family of God, these spiritual roots take precedence over all earthly family ties.// Our truest identity is found in Whose we are. So when asked, “Who are your people?” our first response can (and perhaps should be), “I am a child of God.”

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, “People.” The content after the // of this edited post, was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. The song, “People of God,” powerfully reminds us of our identity in God.

Compromise

Compromise can seem like a dirty word.
Like the first step down a slippery slope
that leads to a pit that will result in destruction,
of values
and morals
and all things good.
And some compromises do.

But before you take a stand against compromise
make sure that you have identified your non-negotiables,
and the reasons that they are your non-negotiables,
and that those reasons are based on the immutable Word of God,
rightly divided,
and not on opinions,
or familial traditions,
or cultural preferences
mistaken for universal truths.

Compromise can seem like a dirty word,
Like the first step down a slippery slope 
that leads to a pit that will result in destruction
of values
and morals
and all things good. 
We all need non-negotiables to help us navigate life.
But our non-negotiables must be based on the immutable Word of God.
Not on opinions,
familial traditions,
or cultural preferences.
All of which can change.

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. This week’s prompt is, “Compromise.”

Worth

Do all lives matter, have equal value, have worth, have significance? We know that all lives matter to God. He told us so Himself, for example, in John 3:16, “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, AMP).

But do all lives matter to you? I implore you to pause instead of giving a reflexive, “Of course,” answer. Because all lives do not matter until Black lives matter.  Do Black Lives matter to you? What is a Black life worth to you? What are Black lives worth to you? Are Black lives worth the discomfort of facing the truth that racism has been interwoven into the fabric of the United States of America? That we do not live in a post racial society and the American dream has existed right alongside the American nightmare for people of color? That racism has existed in the American Church?//

Do all lives matter, have equal value, have worth, have significance? We know that all lives matter to God. He told us so Himself. But do all lives truly matter to you, a Christian who is not Black? I am asking this as a Black woman. I am asking as your sister in Christ. I am asking as a member of the Body of Christ. You cannot say that all lives matter and mean it, if Black lives do not matter. And your words are most effective when they are spoken with your daily life, not just your mouth.

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, “Worth.” The content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

How

When Elohim makes a promise He is responsible for the who, what, when, where and how the promise is fulfilled. Our focus ought always to be on the One who made the promise, valuing Him above all that He can give. 

But sometimes without realizing it, our focus shifts to the promise itself and we can find ourselves preoccupied by the when. When will what was promised be fulfilled?// And if we are not careful to shift our attention back to where it belongs, on the One who made the promise, treasuring Him above all that He can give and has promised to give, like Sarah of old, we may try to take control of the how.  And as happened with Sarah and Abraham, when we try to take control of the how, unanticipated consequences can result that last for generations yet to come. 

Let us trust the One who made the promise with the details of the promise. His timing is perfect and He does all things well. And nothing He has promised compares to Him.

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

Stay

Should I stay or should I go?
It depends on why you are staying.
It depends on why you are considering leaving.

If you are staying out of obedience to the Father,
you can count on His grace to be sufficient.
You can count on His strength.
You can count on His comfort.
You can count on His promises to be sure.
You can count on Him being ever present,
which is the only reason you can be brave
in the face of all things that threaten.
You can count on Him to heal.
You can count on Him to provide.
You can count on Him to give songs in the night.
You can count on Him to be your refuge and your fortress.

If you are leaving out of obedience to the Father,
you can count on His grace to be sufficient.
You can count on His strength to walk away.
You can count on His comfort.
You can count on His promises to be sure.
You can count on Him being ever present,
which is the only reason you can be brave
in the face of all the unknown that lies before you.
You can count on Him to heal.
You can count on Him to provide.
You can count on Him to give songs in the night.
You can count on Him to be your refuge and your fortress.
You can count on Him.//

Staying or leaving does not always involve physical movement. We must stay grounded in the truth of who God is and what He has said about Himself and about us, even when everything seems to contradict the truth. We need to walk away from old attitudes, perspectives, and ideologies that are crippling or poisoning us. That keep us from walking in the freedom Jesus died to provide. That keep us silent in the face of racism. That blinds us to the pain of others. That keep us professing truth but not living it out if and when doing so seems too costly. Staying or leaving does not always involve physical movement.

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, “Stay.” The content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

Born

What are we born into?
Perhaps a family, even when it consists of a single parent.
Into a community, even when we are the only one of our kind.
Into a culture shaped by beliefs that existed before we came in human form.
Into a country where, if infected by racism,
the content of your character will matter much less than the color of your skin,
and that color may leave you dead in the streets or in your homes.

What are we born into?
All the above but also into the purpose of  Almighty God,
Who is not color blind
and created us in His image
and calls us His children.
The only One who can move us
beyond momentary outrage and horror,
to a true searching of our own hearts,
and true repentance for the biases and prejudices,
and other sins we will find there.
And transform us into the salt and light
so desperately needed in this dark world.

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, “Born.”

Forward

“The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea].” (Exodus 14:15, AMP).

Anytime, every time we move forward, we go into the unknown. No matter how much research we have done. No matter the level of expertise we possess. Any time, every time we move forward, we go into the unknown. It is so because human knowledge is incomplete, imperfect, fragmentary (1 Corinthians 13:9, AMP). As such even when what we are moving into is familiar, there will always be aspects that are unknown to us. There is, however, One who is omniscient – ELOHIM. Thankfully, He is with us and for us as we face what is unknown to us.

This truth brings me deep comfort as the world reels with the unknown that is the coronavirus. And I see a link between Proverbs 3:5 and the words of Corrie Ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust your unknown future to a known God.” The link is this, wholehearted trust of God is tied to a deepening, intimate knowledge of Him.

“Those who know you, Lord, will trust you;  you do not abandon anyone who comes to you.” (Psalm 9:10, GNT).

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, “Forward.” The Scripture verses at the beginning and the end of the post were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.