Five Minute Friday: Embrace

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing challenge. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Embrace.”

I imagine he left with a jaunt in his step

Well dressed body

Well shod feet

Perhaps with a servant or two

Maybe on a camel or whatever animals

The financially well endowed rode

I imagine he left without looking back

Feeling mighty

Feeling Free

But now he was returning

Penniless

Likely gaunt

Filthy

Ragged clothing

Bare, dirty, calloused feet

Smelling awful

Looking nothing like the arrogant younger son

who had demanded “his” share of the estate

and departed  

But his father who had been looking for him

Recognized him, even at a far distance

And ran to him

And embraced him

Filthy body and all

And kissed him

And welcomed him home

But my Father did more than that for me, for us

The Word became flesh

Left heaven’s glory

Walked among us

Showed us the Father

And then stretched His arms wide to die for us

The ultimate, eternal embrace

Five Minute Friday: Friend

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Joining Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday click here. This week’s prompt is “Friend.”

GO

I have lived most of my adult life in states where I did not have any family, the result of graduate schools and job opportunities. No, it has not been easy. Loneliness is something I became acquainted with intimately and telephone calls have been a life line. And with the addition of text messages, the opportunities to connect have expanded.

I have lived most of my adult life in states where I do not have any family but I have never lived in a state where God has not blessed me with dear friends, many of whom are like family. True friends are really a wonderful blessing and a priceless gift. There is no way to adequately describe the freedom of being with someone who has seen you in worn clothing, knows the security code to your home, has seen you ugly cry. Brings you flowers just because, is available at any time of day or night. Celebrates your accomplishments with abandon. Is a safe place and makes being vulnerable less scary. Trusts you and can be trusted. Thank you, Father for my dear friends.

STOP

 And a special thank you, Abba, for family members who are the dearest of friends. 

Five Minute Friday: Slow

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I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community (on a Saturday) for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Slow.”

I have a crock pot. I have had it for over 10 years but have not used it ten times. It clearly is not one of the most frequently used items in my kitchen. Interestingly enough, when I do use it, I am always satisfied by the quality of the meal made.

Why have I not used it more? You guessed it. It is a slow cooker and unless I have intentionally chosen to cook a particular dish over an extended period of time, I use other utensils at my disposal.

I am thinking as I write of the things God has purposed for my life and yours. And how often, it seems that He is working very, very slowly to accomplish His goals. Much like if He is “cooking with a slow cooker.” But His timing is perfect. And He can never be rushed. And the finished product will always be worth the wait. Whether it is a situation or a change He is working in us.

 

Five Minute Friday: Weak

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I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Weak.”

GO

Loss and lack. These two states are common sources of weakness. Think of some one with a weak immune system. Some of the factors which can weaken our immune system include, chronic stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and lack of proper hygiene habits.

Anemia can also be a source of weakness and can be caused by a loss of blood. It is interesting to me that the loss of blood can be visible, as in when someone has an open wound. But the loss can also be internal. And that type of loss may take longer to uncover.

In addition to loss and lack, sorrow can also make us weak. Hear David’s words, his prayer to God, “Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.” (Psalm 31:9, NIV). Yes, sorrow can make us weak. Drain the strength and joy, and sometimes even the will to live, right out of us. Thankfully, whatever the source of our weakness, there is one Source through Whom we can experience healing and restoration. Whether it is physical, spiritual, or emotional. He is our Healer and the Restorer.

STOP

He may use diverse means to bring about healing and restore our health and strength but He is the Source of it all.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Safe

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Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community, for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Safe.”

GO

“Music was my refuge,” wrote the peerless, Dr. Maya Angelou. “I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” Powerful words.

But music has never, to my memory, been my refuge. What music has been was the instrument, the vehicle which reminded me, Who my true Refuge is, and ushered me into His presence when I was hurting. And lost. And confused.  And needing His comfort desperately.

Hymns such as “Hiding in Thee” written by William O Cushing in 1876.

“O safe to the Rock that is higher than I,
My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly.
So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be;
Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m, hiding in Thee.

Chorus
Hiding in Thee, Hiding in Thee,

Thou blest rock of Ages, I’m, hiding in Thee.  

And, “You are my hiding place.”

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You”

STOP

No. Music is not my refuge. It often is the means by which I am ushered into the presence of my true, Safe Place … my Heavenly Father. The Omnipotent One.

The complete lyrics for, “Hiding in Thee,” can be found here.

 

Five Minute Friday: Breathe

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Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Breathe.”

GO

Children hold their breaths. I wrote the words and have the inner knowing that this is a reminder, even a rebuke to me, and that it speaks of maturity and the need to resist acting like a brat. I am not sure that I will be able to flesh this thought out fully in this post but I have a sense that I will at some point.

Children hold their breath. Sometimes, one article notes, it is done involuntarily such as in those moments when it is the result of intense crying. Sometimes, however, breath holding is voluntary and associated with tantrums.

I have not thrown a tantrum as an adult. And I do not deserve a medal or applause for that which is not unusual in childhood. But let me clarify. I have not thrown a tantrum in the physical realm but I know I have done so in the realm of the spirit.

Breathing involves, at its simplest level, the acts of breathing in and breathing out. And there are times I refuse to expel what is harmful to me, wrong ways of thinking, for example … spiritual carbon dioxide, so to speak. And when I do so it is hard to breathe in the life He offers. And I hear Him gently but firmly insist, “Just breathe, Esther. Just breathe.” And He helps me do just that.

STOP

Five Minute Friday: Control

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Joining Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Control.”

Control. There is a peace which comes from accepting there are limits to what I can control. To accepting that, more often than not, and especially when other people are involved in the equation, I have less control than I may think.

Control. There is a peace that comes with accepting that I have less of it than maybe I would like. But this acceptance does not give me a waiver to be irresponsible, to say whatever and do whatever I choose. Rather, it frees me to focus my attention and efforts on developing self-control.

Self-control. My Father clearly communicates this is a trait He expects me to have. This is evident in both the Old and New Testaments. From verses such as Proverbs 16:32 which states, “Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city,” to 2 Peter 1:4-7, which instruct me to “make every effort” to add self-control to knowledge.

Thankfully, self-control is also a component of the fruit of the Spirit, so I do not have to give in to despair when I fall short of the mark. Instead, I can yield to Him with the confidence that He is effectually working in me, giving me both the desire and ability to do what pleases Him.

Five Minute Friday: Refine

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Joining Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday Community (on a Saturday) after an absence of many weeks, for our weekly writing adventure.  To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Refine.”

GO

I want to be a refined lady, “elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, or taste.” “Cultivated, well mannered, polished, gracious,” with impeccable taste. I want to be a refined lady.

My Abba also wants me to be refined. But His focus is not on my outward appearance. No, His focus is on my true self, my inner being. His focus is on what cannot be seen with the natural eye but which can be revealed through my words, behaviors, and priorities. He is focused on changing me into the image of His Son.

His process of refining me, and all His children, as C. H. Spurgeon, noted in his message, “Refined, But Not With Silver,” is done with discrimination with regard to the means He uses to refine us. He knows us intimately, created us uniquely, and tailors His refining process based on His knowledge of us. He is committed to refining each of us and does so with compassion, love, and patience and will complete the process.

STOP

I will be a refined lady but not in outward appearance. From the inside out.

 

Five Minute Friday: Surrender

 

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Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is “Surrender.”

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

The lyrics above are the first verse and the refrain of the hymn, “I surrender all,” written by Judson W. Van DeVenter in 1896. I learned this hymn as a child and, for many years, thought that my surrender to God was a one-time deal, much like is seen in images of various generals surrendering after losing a war. Life has taught me, however, that my surrender is a daily, sometimes, minute by minute process. And a life-long one.

I have learned that I may have surrendered to Him in one area of life only to discover that there are other areas where I am resisting and pushing against His Lordship. And He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is sovereign apart from me. But it is my obedience, it is my surrender with every choice that I make which establishes His Lordship in my life, and liberates me to experience the fullness of life that He desires and designed me to have. Surrender.

To read posts on this prompt by other members of the Five Minute Friday community, click here.

 

Five Minute Friday: Enjoy

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Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday Community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s writing prompt is, “Enjoy.”

GO

“Enjoy” – possess or benefit from. I read this definition of enjoy and thought of the Thanksgiving holiday and the practice of giving thanks around the dining room table for what we have, both people and things.

I think of this practice and I think of what I possess or benefit from. There are many things from which I benefit; this is true. But, strangely enough, I am stuck on the word possess. Possess. As in own something.

I know that the reason I am stuck on this word is because of a verse I read earlier. This verse begins with the hard question, “Who do you think you are?” It continues with, “Everything you have was given to you. So, if everything you have was given to you, why do you act as if you got it all by your own power? (1 Corinthians 4:7, ERV).

This verse reminds me that I own nothing. I am a steward. A truth reinforced by verses such as Deuteronomy 8:18, which reminds me that HE gives me the power to gain wealth. And Acts 17:28 (NIV) which states, “For in HIM we live and move and have our being. “ And 2 Corinthians 3:5, “We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do.”

 STOP

I needed this reminder and realize that I need to live within this paradigm: All from and through Him. Nothing without Him.