Five Minute Friday: Other

Other

Other – a person­ or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known.

Other – distinct from, different from, or opposite to something or oneself.

Different – not the same as another or each other; unlike in nature, form or quality.

When and for what purpose did different, other, come to mean

less than,

deficient,

inferior,

even in His Body?

O God who made us in all our diversity from one original person,

Open our eyes to see how this lie has pervaded our lives. Set us free so that we can live truth and not just speak it.

FMF

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, “Other.” The definitions for “Other” and “Different” are from oxforddictionaries.com (emphases added).

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“… 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 originally published on this blog on 4/17/17

Five Minute Friday: Provide

Provide

It is a familiar story, this story of Abraham and Sarah and God’s promise that she would have a child after decades of not being able to do so. It is a familiar story, this story of God keeping His promise and Isaac being born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. It is a familiar chapter in this story, the chapter in which God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. And how Abraham obeyed believing, as we are told, that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead.

It is familiar also, this scene in this chapter when Isaac asked his father, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And Abraham responded, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” And He did. And we understand that this familiar story also points to the Lamb of God, the Word made flesh, who would willingly give Himself for us (end of 5 minutes). God provided the Lamb.

Genesis 22:14 notes, “And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’” And we have this promise. This foundation to build our lives upon. This blanket to wrap ourselves in. This shield against questions such, “Does God care? Will He provide what I need?” We have this promise of provision enfolded in three questions: “In face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—can we not trust such a God to give us, with him, everything else that we can need?” (Hebrews 8:31-32, PHILLIPS, emphasis added).

He is with us. He is for us. And even when He does not provide the thing, He always gives Himself. And when we have Him, we have all that pertains to life and godliness

FMF

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, “Provide.”

 

Five Minute Friday: Tired

Tired (1)

“Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God’? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become tired or grow weary; There is no searching of His understanding. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who has no might He increases power” (Isaiah 40:27-29, AMP, emphasis added).

1-5 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it].

14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh, and lived among us; and we [actually] saw His glory, glory as belongs to the [One and] only begotten Son of the Father, [the Son who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, who is] full of grace and truth (absolutely free of deception) (John 1:1-5, 14, AMP, emphasis added).

“Now He had to go through Samaria. So He arrived at a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the tract of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down by the well. It was then about the sixth hour (noon)” (John 4:4-6, AMP, emphasis added).

“For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin” (Hebrews 4:15, AMP).

When God, the Word, became flesh, He became “tired from His journey” (John 4:6, AMP). He became “tired from His journey.” We have a High Priest who is able to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations. He was tempted and knows exactly how it feels to be human in very respect as we are, yet without committing any sin. Stretched out on this truth, I pray for my siblings in the faith and for myself:
“Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings” (Ephesians 3:16-19, VOICE). In Jesus name. Amen.

FMF

I am joining Kate Motaung, our host, and other members of the Five Minute Friday writing community (on a Saturday), for our weekly writing adventure. The prompt is, “Tired.”

Declaration of Dependence

 

Declaration of Dependence

I say it without shame.

I shout it clearly

without restraint.

I need God.

Desperately.

Every moment.

In every situation.

In all seasons.

This is my Declaration of Dependence.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear great fruit. Without Me, you will accomplish nothing” (John 15:5, VOICE).

This God made us in all our diversity from one original person, allowing each culture to have its own time to develop, giving each its own place to live and thrive in its distinct ways.  His purpose in all this was that people of every culture and religion would search for this ultimate God, grope for Him in the darkness, as it were, hoping to find Him. Yet, in truth, God is not far from any of us. For you know the saying, “We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God.” And still another said, “We are indeed God’s children.” Since this is true, since we are indeed offspring of God’s creative act, we shouldn’t think of the Deity as our own artifact, something made by our own hands—as if this great, universal, ultimate Creator were simply a combination of elements like gold, silver, and stone (Acts 17:26-29, VOICE).

 

Context

Context

The trees in the photograph below are at least 20 feet high but against the expanse of the sky, appear much shorter. Context makes a difference.

David and Goliath. In this well-known Bible story, the two opponents used starkly different contexts to assess each other. Goliath viewed David from his over 9 feet frame, donned with a bronze helmet, a bronze coat of mail that weighed 125 pounds, and bronze leg armor. On his shoulder he held a bronze javelin and in his hand a spear with a shaft as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds (1 Samuel 17:4-7, NLT). I imagine that in Goliath’s mind were memories of his many victories that earned him the title, “champion.” He looked at David and was insulted. As he walked toward David, he sneered in contempt and roared, “Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?” Then “he cursed David by the names of his gods” and yelled, “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” (1 Samuel 17:41-44, NLT). Context.

David looked at Goliath and saw “a pagan Philistine” who was allowed to “defy the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26). He looked at him and recalled that the LORD had rescued him from the claws of the lions and the bears that attempted to steal lambs from his flock. David looked at Goliath and believed that the LORD would also rescue him from Goliath (1 Samuel 17:34-37). In response to Goliath’s taunts, David replied, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47, NLT). Context.

The context Goliath used to assess David was himself but God was the context David used to assess Goliath. We know how that storied fight ended. What context are you using to assess the challenges in your life?

 

Beloved. You.

You are beloved (1)

Whatever the name on your birth certificate. Whatever names others have called you. Your truest name is, “Beloved.”

Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either” (1 John 3:1, VOICE).

“This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, VOICE).

The Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, testified, “We know how much God loves us because we have felt his love and because we believe him when he tells us that he loves us dearly. God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him. And as we live with Christ, our love grows more perfect and complete; so we will not be ashamed and embarrassed at the day of judgment, but can face him with confidence and joy because he loves us and we love him too” (1 John 4:16-17, TLB).

May we believe God when He tells us that He loves us dearly. Remember, He is not a man that he should lie. Let His word stabilize your emotions and banish all doubt suggested by your circumstances. As stated in this note in the VOICE translation related to 1 John 3:1-2,

“When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God, we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts. We must silence the sounds of condemnation so we can hear the voice of God’s loving assurance and remember that He has selected us to be part of His family.”

My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2) 

Beloved. That is who you are.