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. 

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. 

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.

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.

Refrain

Refrain, the noun, is a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or a division of a poem or song.

I have been wondering,
if my life was a song,
and each season a stanza,
what would be my refrain?
What would be repeated
at the end of each stanza,
each season?
I thought of several things
but kept coming back to this,
“God is faithful.”

When the stanza was filled with sorrow,
God was faithful.
When the stanza was characterized
by uncertainty and confusion,
God was faithful.  
Whether the stanza was one of joy
and accomplishments
and the satisfaction of a job well done,
or marked with disappointment and failure,
God was faithful.

In every stanza written to date,
God has been faithful.
And for every stanza that will be written
in the future,
He will remain faithful.
If my life was a song,
and each season a stanza,
what would be my refrain?
“God is faithful.”

“Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, HCSB).

“Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
(Lamentations 3:19-23, HCSB).

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, “Refrain.” The Scripture verses were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. The definition of “Refrain” cited in the post is from merriam-webster.com.

Here

In an airport when trying to find a restaurant, or in a shopping mall while trying to locate a store, or on a walking trail when you are trying to determine where you are, finding a location map with an arrow or circle with the statement, “You are here,” can be a relief. But location is always in context. If I am standing to the left of something, there is always a right side. If I turn to the east, there is a north, south or west.

There are times, however, when we do not know where we are… in life that is. Perhaps, worse yet, we do not know how we got there. Thankfully, our God, Elohim, never loses track of us. He always knows exactly where we are, how we got there, and what it will take to get us back on track. In the midst of all the uncertainty, the unknown that characterizes our current global season, we can be sure of that fact. God knows exactly where we are so, like pilgrims before us, let us look to Him.

Psalm 121 (NKJV)
“God the Help of Those Who Seek Him”
A Song of Ascents.

1I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?

2My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

4Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

6The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

7The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.

8The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Perspective

I have never had to cope with anything like the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been working from home.

Attending church online.

Connecting with family via zoom and WhatsApp.

Walking primarily in my neighborhood for exercise.

Occasionally taking photos as I walked or in my backyard.

I have been doing all these things for about four weeks.

But it was not until a day this past week that the reality
that I did not know when my new normal would end
descended on me like a weighted blanket.

But heavier than the awareness was the question
that seemed to come from deep within,
“Will I be able to keep trusting God through it all?”

God in His mercy provided perspective.
He does not ask me to trust Him through it all
but to trust Him moment by moment,
and gives me the grace to do so.

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, “Perspective.”

Another

Four months. Has it really only been four months since we began the new year? Began it with hope and anticipation, and perhaps even gratitude that 2019 was behind us? Was it only four months ago that we began the new year with resolve that this year would not just be another year? That it would be different? That we would be different?

We seemed to have lived a lifetime in these four short months. A lifetime that has become characterized by uncertainty. Where loss has become the norm. Where it seems that we went to bed one night and hours later woke up in a different world. A world in which, as of today, 2.2 million people are known to be infected with the coronavirus. And over 150,000 have died.

Into the cycle of bad news after bad news, another story, another perspective needs to be injected. Christ is Risen. He sits at the right hand of the Sovereign God interceding for us. We are not alone. God has a good plan and will bring us through this.  

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, “Another.” The statistics cited in the post are from the website marketwatch.com.