Green

Green.
In a traffic light, it signals go.
In things that grow, it is an indication of life and thriving.

Water is not needed for the former
but is a necessity for the latter.
The former is inanimate.
The second is alive.

And so is the human spirit.
It needs water to thrive.
And that water is the Word of God,
written by human hands,
not from their own imaginations but,
as one such scribe noted,
God-breathed.”

This Word is as alive,
as potent now as when it was first spoken.
It continues to give life
and hope and strength,
and encouragement.

It continues to transform and
God honors it above His name.
He has declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away but My words will not pass away,”
meaning,
what He has spoken will happen.

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. The current writing prompt is, “Green.” Links to Scripture verses were added after the allotted five minutes had ended.

Once

Once upon a time…” is a familiar opening phrase for most fairy tales that I recall reading or heard narrated in a movie. “Once upon a time…”

What are some of my “once upon a times”?

Once upon a time, I was married.

Once upon a time, I lived in a different state.

Once upon a time, I could go outdoors without a mask.

Once upon a time, I could hug my family, friends, and acquaintances even if we did not live in the same house.

(Sometimes even individuals to whom I had just been introduced, who declared themselves huggers.)

Once upon a time, I was a brand new employee instead of a seasoned veteran.

Once upon a time, I published, for the first time, something I wrote.

Once upon a time

This phrase is true for fairy tales and for human stories.

But it is not true of God’s story.

He has always existed and is unchanging.

Upon this truth I build my life with all its “once upon a times.”

Sunrise. Masterpiece.

As I began my morning walk that day, years ago, I paid attention to the sky, as is my wont.  “Muted,” I thought, referring to the colors of the sunrise.

The colors began to change (or were more colors added?) as I continued the outward leg of my journey and, on my return trip, I noticed further change.

As I moved closer to the corner of my street, I felt an inner prompting to turn around. I obeyed and laughed out loud in wonder and joy. The colors of the sunrise were no longer muted.

And then the lesson was gently spoken:

If you watch a painting in the early stages of the creation process, you may be unimpressed. Do not be hasty in your evaluation. Wait. Give the painter time to finish the painting. The end product will blow you away.

So it is with a human life. We are all a work in progress. God is creating a masterpiece in you. And He continues His work over the length and breath of our days.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].” (Philippians 1:6, AMP).

(A version of this post was published as “Lesson from a sunrise” on April 16, 2016)

Design

Creator God, You are intentional. Chance is not part of Your modus operandi. You have an eternal plan and are working it out, as the hymn writer stated, “as year succeeds to year.”

Creator God, You are intentional. Chance is not part of Your modus operandi. When You made the world, it was according to Your design. When You give instructions to Moses for the tabernacle in the wilderness, You were specific in Your instructions.

When You made me, You were no less specific and made me according to Your design. You included some things and left out others. You determined the times, places and seasons of my life.
As David testified, all of the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. You, Yourself said You have counted the hairs on my head. You know each word I will speak before I say them.

Photo Credit: YouVersion Bible App

Creator God, You are intentional. Chance is not part of Your modus operandi. I have no reason to envy anyone. I have every reason to trust You.

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, “Design.” Links to the hymn and passages of Scripture referenced were added after the allotted five minutes had expired.

Grateful

What does it mean to be grateful? Two of the definitions provided by Merriam-Webster are, to be appreciative of benefits received and express gratitude. If these definitions are correct, (and who am I to challenge this source?), it appears that to be grateful requires at least three things: the first is the recognition that I am the recipient of benefits; the second is that I appreciate the benefits; and, the third, is that I express gratitude. 

The psalmist-king David, who existed long before the creators of the Merriam-Webster dictionary drew breath, clearly understood these truths about being grateful. In Psalm 103:1-2, he exults,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:”

He then goes on to list the benefits he has received from God (as we have)//
“Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:4-5, NKJV).

And what he mentions is clearly not an exhaustive list. In Psalm 68:19-20 (NKJV), he declares,
“Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.”

So I ask myself, “Am I grateful?” “Do I really recognize that I am the recipient of daily benefits from God, or is there some part of me that believes that I have earned what I have?” “Do I appreciate the benefits God has given or am I ungrateful for what I have based on my belief that I do not have all that I think I need, want or deserve?” “Do I consistently express gratitude to God or do I complain and grumble more that I give thanks?”

What about you?

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, “Grateful.” The content after the // was added after the allotted five minutes expired.

Grief

Grief has a taste and a smell,
and a touch.
It is an ache and a sense of helplessness,
bewilderment about what is
and uncertainty about what will be
in the absence of who and what was.
Grief can be a weight,
an anchor that immobilizes.

Grief has a sound:
sometimes it is silence,
at other times a wail,
a whimper,
a cadence,
like that of soldiers’ boots
marching in sync across our days.
Grief can be a dance of unfamiliar steps
where, before, harmony existed.

Grief unveils our common humanity
but can be an isolating experience.
Yet there is One,
spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,
as A Man of Sorrow,
acquainted with grief.
He knows grief intimately
and is close to those who are grieving.
He knows and He is near.
Always near.

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, “Grief.”

Ahead

“What lies ahead?”
When it comes to human experiences, no one knows for sure.
Engagements can be broken and weddings cancelled.
Marriages that began with hope, love, and passion
can end before the first wedding anniversary or after the 30th.
Jobs that seemed to have so much possibility
could end in unexpected termination.
A patient could come through a complicated surgery successfully
and die during recovery because of an unrelated infection.
A day that began with a brilliant sunrise could end in a fierce storm.
A few words spoke thoughtlessly could inflict a deep wound
that takes months or even years to heal.
A conversation with a stranger
could lead to a life-long friendship.
One idea could become a multi-million business.
One blog post could provide encouragement to a discouraged soul.

What lies ahead?
When it comes to human experiences,
no human knows for sure.
But the omnipotent, omnipresent,
omniscient God and Father knows.
And has promised sufficient grace,
and added strength,
and comfort,
and above all,
His abiding presence,
and an eternal home.

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, “Ahead.” The song, “Already There,” is encouraging to me and I wanted to share it.

disappoint

There are people,
things,
situations,
outcomes
that disappoint us.

And when it comes,
disappointment can droop the shoulders,
wilt the spirit,
dim our vision to the good and the beauty in front of us,
make it difficult to hear the melodies being sung.

What we need when disappointment comes is truth and the memory of it.
The truth that we have experienced disappointment before,
were given grace to keep going,
and will be given the grace
to walk through the current disappointment also.

The truth that we never face disappointment alone;
the God of hope is always with us
and because He is,
disappointment can be the seed that bears fruit
in our lives and the lives of others
that exceeds anything we could have imagined.

The truth that God is still worthy of our praise
no matter what.
And we can trust Him.

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, “Disappoint.”

hold

You are trying to hold your world together
while you yourself
seem to be hanging on
by a thread.

The knot you made at the end of your rope
has started to unravel
and you honestly do not know
how much more you can take.

Take a deep breath.
Exhale.
And take another.
Right now that is what is needed.

Breathe in.
Hold for a few seconds
then slowly exhale.

Let go of the tension you have been holding
in your shoulders, your neck.
The world will not fall apart
while you take a moment to breathe.

And when you breathe in this time,
remember,
God is holding you.

When you exhale,
remember,
He has never let you go.
His grip is firm.
His hold is sure.

You can let go of what you cannot control.
Let the tears come.
He is still the God of all comfort.
His plan for you and those you love is still good.

In the midst of all the change
He is I AM.
Sovereign.

Photo by TUBARONES PHOTOGRAPHY on Pexels.com

I am joining (on a Monday) the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here or here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Hold.” The song, “Whole Heart,” by Hillsong UNITED encourages me and I wanted to share it.

Help

“The Helpers”

In your family and circle of friends,
in your community,
you are known as one of the helpers.

You can be counted on to be one of the first who offers to help.
You are dependable also.
If you said you will help, you do.
Your word is your bond, no matter the cost.

But what do you do when you need help?
Who do the helpers turn to?

Some helpers are notorious for not asking for help,
for reasons such as “not wanting to be a bother.”
And so they struggle alone with their challenges,
While continuing to give out.

A word of caution,
a gentle but firm reminder to you helpers who follow this pattern,
you cannot keep pouring without being replenished.
Ask for help.
Allow others the privilege and the blessing of helping you.