Day 12: First

First (noun):  The one coming, occurring, or ranking before or above all others.

“First giving honor to God, who is the Lord of my life.” This statement is often the starting point for testimonies, speeches, etc., in many traditional African American congregations. Like many traditions in which we engage, we can utter this statement without fully considering the implications of the words. But, “First giving honor to God,” ought to be the driving force of our lives, as articulated in the Passion Translation of Matthew 6:9, “Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn.”

Is God first in your life? What practices help you to keep Him first place and “the center on which your life turns?” If He is not, what seasoning needs to occur so that He is first?

This post is for Day 12 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge. The theme of my series is, “Season,” based on the definition, “make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used.” Please click here to find the Table of Contents and links to other posts in the series.

Day 7: Same

God is eternally the same.

He is unchanging (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 1:12; Hebrews 13:8).

This is wonderful news for us because it means that we can trust Him. Depend on Him. Rely on Him without hesitation.

But we, His children, however, are not  the same, that is, duplicates of each other.

We were not mass produced. 

He made each of us unique.

Although it is true that God uses some of the same tools to develop us, for example, His word, prayer, circumstances, the process by which He does so is not the same.

This is why it is essential that we do not compare our lives with others.

He is working out His plan for each of us, knows how to season us, so that we can fulfill the purpose for which He uniquely created us. 

This post is for Day 7 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes Writing Challenge. The theme of my series is, “Season,” based on the definition, “make (wood) suitable for use as timber by adjusting its moisture content to that of the environment in which it will be used.” Please click here to find the Table of Contents and links to other posts in the series.

Again

“For I  passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], and that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:-3-5, AMP).

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV, emphasis added).

Jesus rose again. He rose again. I serve a risen Savior. He conquered death, hell, and the grave. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He ever lives to make intercession for us. And one day soon He will come again.

Jesus rose again. I always need to remember this truth and live it but my need seems greater this week. In El Paso, TX on 8/3, forty-six people shot and 22 of the 46 died. In Dayton, OH, on 8/4, 37 shot and 10 killed. Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and friends and co-workers. All made in the image of God.//The evil of racism and bigotry unleashed terror and death in El Paso, TX. And the impact spread beyond that city and will continue to be felt.  So what do we do? “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV). In response to these specific mass shootings, what does it look like to no longer live for ourselves but for Him who died and was raised again? I believe “it” will involve being and doing.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Again.” The content behind the // was added after 5 minutes were completed.

General Data Protection Regulation (European Union)

Shall we continue or is this goodbye_

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Regards,

Esther Wright

 

 

31 Days of Loving Well: Share

share

It can be easy to share our successes,
our victories,
our triumphs,
with the people we love.

But our failures,
our weaknesses,
our struggles?
These we can be tempted,
even inclined to hide,
minimize.
Sometimes out of pride.
Sometimes out of fear
that we will be rejected.
Judged.
Disapproved of.

But true intimacy requires vulnerability.

Help me to remember this truth, Abba,
When I am tempted to hide and pretend with those I love.

Let me counter this temptation with the truth that You know me fully and love me completely.
Let the truth that I am accepted in the Beloved, be enough for me to risk being vulnerable with my loved ones.

And let me be a safe place where they can feel free to share their struggles and troubles, and flaws and know that they will be accepted and loved and supported.

Abba, I pray once more, help me love my loved ones well.


This post was written for Day 18 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Share.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

31 Days of Loving Well: Write

Write.png

“Do not let mercy and kindness and truth
leave you [instead let these qualities define you];
Bind them [securely] around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Proverbs 3:4 (AMP)

I read the Amplified Bible’s translation of Proverbs 3:4 and wondered how to implement it in my life. Especially the last part of it, “Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Thankfully, the VOICE translation provided insight. It reads, “Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth; engrave then on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; meditate on them so they are written upon your heart.”

Okay, meditating on mercy and kindness and truth is how I write them on my heart. But how is meditating on mercy and kindness and truth connected to loving well, especially loving myself well? Because to mediate on these qualities, I have to first focus on the One who is Truth, the One whose mercy (also translated lovingkindness), is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103:17), and whose kindness is unfailing (Jeremiah 31:3). And as I mediate on Him and the mercy He has shown me, I am reminded to show mercy to those who hurt or disappoint me. And forgiveness is both an act of obedience and an act of self-care, a way of loving myself, because it liberates me.


This post was written for Day 12 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Write.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or the image below.

Loving well

 

31 Days of Loving Well: Remember

Remember

“Make tassels for the corners of your garments,” You instructed the children of Israel, through Moses. “And put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner.” The tassels were to serve as a visual reminder of Your commandments and of the need to obey them.

“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God brought you out with a strong hand,” You also instructed. “Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years,” You also said.

But what they remembered was the food of Egypt, not the hard bondage and toil. Not Your mighty deliverance. They remembered what they should have forgotten and forgot what they should have remembered.

And I too am guilty of this sin, remembering what I should forget: the things that You have forgiven.

And forgetting what I should remember: that I am a sojourner; to freely offer the grace that I have received from You. These are just a few.

Help me properly remember, Abba. Help me remember.// Especially help me remember how desperately I need You for everything, every moment. For remembering well is nourishment. It is self-care. It is an act of love.

—-

This post was written for Day 11 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series. The prompt is, “Remember.” The content after the // was written after 5 minutes had elapsed. To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here or on the image below.

Loving well