Sustenance from the archives+: Close

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In this time of grief
when every ounce of joy seems to have leaked out of my soul.
And there is no running here.
Not even a brisk walk.
Just steps that seem heavy and are trudging.

When there is a weariness down deep.
And there is laughter but only the shallow kind.
When I am inclined not to praise.
And most of all, You seem so far away.

I remember Your words:
You are close to those whose are broken hearted.
Living within me by Your Spirit.

Within.
I do not have to reach out.
Just within.
And although I may not feel You near,
You are right here.
Holding me close.
Breathing life into me.
Healing into my wounded places.
Giving me strength.
Giving me comfort.
Giving me grace.

In this time of grief
when every ounce of joy seems to have leaked out of my soul.
And there is no running here.
Not even a brisk walk.
And my steps are heavy.
And I do not feel you near.
You are close.
Close.
Closer than anyone else can be.


The funerals for those murdered in the Tree of Life Synagogue began on Tuesday, October 30. Pope Francis correctly stated, “In reality, all of us are wounded by this inhuman act of violence.” May it matter to us at the core of our being that yet again precious lives were taken violently in Pittsburgh, Kentucky, across the nation, and around the world. May we accept God’s comfort, obey His command to love others as He loves us, and use our voices boldly for His cause and against evil.

Today’s post is for Day 31, the last of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. It was originally published on May 24, 2014, as “Five Minute Friday: Close.” I wrote it during a season when I was grieving the death of a second sister in a space of two years. God was my refuge and the source of my comfort then as now.  

Sustenance from the archives+: Voice

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The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The Lord is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.

The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The Lord on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.

(Psalm 93:1-4, NKJV)

I hear the floods, ABBA.
I hear the floods of uncertainty, division, hatred, discrimination, pain, exclusion, and racism.
I hear their voices, ABBA, even within Your House.
I hear the voices, ABBA, echoing through the years.
But it is Your voice that I choose to give my undivided attention.
It is Your voice that matters.
Because You, the LORD on high,
You are mightier than the noise of many waters.
Than the mighty waves of every sea.
You, LORD, sat enthroned at the Flood, 
And You, Lord sit as King forever.
You, Lord will give strength to Your people;
You, Lord will bless Your people with peace. 

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
he voice of the Lord
divides the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”

 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

(Psalm 29:3-11, NKJV). 


Today’s post is for Day 30 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge.  It is one of the “+” in the series title “…archives+.The prompt is, “Voice.”  To read Day 29’s post please click on the link below.

Day 29: Together


Sustenance from the archives+: Together

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I read the prompt and the first thing that came to mind was the verse,  “And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)” (Colossians 1:17, AMP) 

He holds all things together.
He holds all things together.
In Him all things consist.
He is the Word through Whom all things were made
and He holds all things together.

He holds all things together.
The planets that are known and unknown to us.
The oceans teeming with life.
He holds all things together.

The earth on which I stand with all its many components.
The molecules and the cells.
The flowers and the plants and the trees.
All creeping things. 
Times and seasons.
He holds all things together.

He holds all things together.
Including me.
When I am falling apart or think I will.
When my world or my heart is shattered.
When the things that I valued and held close, tried to guard, are breaking apart in spite of my efforts.
He holds it all together.

Held.
In His hands.
All my moments.
All my days.

Held.
By Him.
Cohered.
Brought back together.
Made new.
Made whole.

“He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).”


Today’s post is for Day 29 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge.  The prompt is, “Together.” The original version of this post was published on April 18, 2014 as, “Five Minute Friday: Glue.” To read Day 28’s post please click on the link below.

Day 28: Song

 

Sustenance from the archives+: Song

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“How shall we sing a song of the Lord; in an alien land?
(But how can be sing a song to the Lord, in a foreign, or a strange, land?)
(Psalm 137:4, Wycliffe Bible)

“Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song in this wasteland?
 (Psalm 137:4, Message)

I can almost feel their heartbreak, the heartbreak of the children of Israel who had been led captive to Babylon because of their sin, their prolonged disobedience to God. They were asked by those who had captured them to sing one of the songs of Zion. They felt unable to do so.

And there are seasons in all of our lives when the idea of singing, of singing a song of the Lord, of singing a song to the Lord, in the place where we are, seems inconceivable. For where we are seems like a “wasteland,” “a foreign place.” But it is in those places and in those seasons that we must sing; we need to sing a song of the Lord, of His goodness and His unending grace of His mercy and of His faithfulness. Of His love and His promise to always be with us, when He seems most far away. It is then we must sing a song to Him.

(End of 5 minutes)

Declaring to Him, “You are faithful. You are gracious. You are full of compassion and plenteous in mercy. There is no one like You. Your loving-kindness endures forever.” Because singing songs of praise and thanksgiving, worshipping Him focuses our attention on Him. Reminds us Who He is. And when we remember Who He is, we are reminded of who we are in Him, and of His promise to be with us always … in the fire, in the water, in the flood, in the wilderness. And work everything together for our good. He gives us the strength and the grace in the wasteland. And sometimes He transforms the wasteland, the wilderness, into a place where flowers blossom. Sometimes He transforms us in the wasteland, in the foreign places. Sing.


Today’s post is for Day 28 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The prompt is, “Song.” The original version of this post was published as, “Five Minute Friday: Sing,” on April 22, 2017. To read Day 28’s post, please click on the link below.

Day 27: Whole

Sustenance from the archives+: Whole

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The Merriam-Webster  dictionary defines “whole” as complete or full, not lacking or leaving out any part. And just in case I was still struggling to understand the meaning of whole, it goes on to tell me, “whole implies that nothing has been omitted, ignored, abated, or taken away.

Whole.
We are all broken, by virtue of being human and heirs of the legacy of the first man and the first’s woman’s disobedience.
How is wholeness found?
How do we become whole?
Not through another human, regardless of what the romantic novels say,
as articulated in statements such as, “You complete me.”
Not so.
Not true.

There is only one Who completes us –
The One Who was all man and all God.
Christ Jesus.
Here this truth spoken in Colossians 2:9-10,
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

Broken? Flawed?
We all are.
But we do not have to remain that way.
There is One who makes us complete.
Whole.


Today’s post is for Day 27 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The prompt is, “Whole.” The original version of this post was published as, “Five Minute Friday: Whole,” on April 10, 2016. To read Day 26’s post, please click on the link below.

Day 26: Moment

Sustenance from the archives+ & FMF: Moment

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A moment, Merriam-Webster’s dictionary tells us, is “a minute portion or point of time.”

“A minute portion.” Small. Tiny.

But what a difference a moment can make.

A momentary glace away can cause an accident.

A word thoughtlessly spoken in a moment can inflict a wound that takes years to heal.

A decision made on the “spur-of-the-moment” can result in consequences that last a life time.

Taking a moment to encourage someone can make the difference between someone giving up or continuing to press forward.

Taking a moment to notice God’s goodness and give thanks can transform the mundane into the sacred.

A moment.

A minute portion or point of time.

But what a difference a moment can make.


Today’s post is for Five Minute Friday (FMF) and Day 16 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The prompt is, “Moment.”  To read the post for Day 25 of the series, please click on the link below. To learn about Five Minute Friday (FMF), click here.

Day 25: Capture

 

Sustenance from the archives+: Capture

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They soared above my head and I reached for my cell phone to capture them in flight. I could not access the camera on my cell phone quickly enough and was frustrated as the flock quickly disappeared from my view. Moments later, another flock flew above my head and it seemed I was being given another opportunity to capture the beauty overhead. I took several shots this time but was disappointed when I looked at the photos. What was clear as day and life sized viewed through the lenses of my human eyes, was captured by my cell phone’s camera as dots in the expanse of the sky.

This experience reminded me of the fact that the lenses through which I see do influence the quality of my vision and my perception of my experiences. I used my cell phone’s camera, which was okay for close up shots of stationary objects, to capture birds in flight; however, what I needed were lenses designed to capture motion from a distance.

And I think of how often I rely on the lenses of my experiences, and emotions, and the opinions of others to understand the circumstances of my life, when what I need are the lenses of faith. Faith, we are told, “makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1, CEV).  We are told also that we need faith to please God; thankfully, He has given us faith and we can develop our faith, as one Bible teacher notes, “by feeding it on God’s Word and by putting it into practice (or exercising it) in everyday living.” The lenses of faith. I need them.


Today’s post is for Day 25 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The prompt is, “Capture.” The original version of this post was published as, “Lenses,” on September 26, 2016. To read Day 24’s post, please click on the link below.

Day 24: Brief