Rescue (for FMF Link-up)

If there was anyone who knew what it was like to need rescue and what it was like to be rescued, it was Simon whose name was changed by his Rescuer (and ours) to Peter. Like the other disciples, he was afraid when they saw what they thought was a ghost, walking toward them on the water. After Jesus immediately identified Himself and told them not to be afraid, Peter ventured out on the water and began walking to Jesus. That is until he took his eyes off of Jesus, began to sink, and cried out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus did so immediately. One could safely say that this was a physical rescue.

Later, after he did what he had sworn he would not do, namely, deny Jesus, his actions again driven by fear, he needed to be rescued, this time from shame and pain. And Jesus rescued him once more, without him asking him to do so, at least out loud.//  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.” Peter’s Rescuer (and ours) mentioned him by name.

Sometime after sending the message, He would pose a question to Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” And by the end of their conversation commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him. And Peter did so to the point of dying a martyr’s death.

I am grateful that Jesus is still in the rescue business, as Lauren Daigle reminds us in her song, “Rescue.”

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. The writing prompt is, “Rescue.” The content after the // was written and the links to the Scripture verses and video were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

Five Minute Friday: Summer

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, “Summer.”

“The day is Yours, the night also is Yours;
You have prepared the light and the sun.
You have set all the borders of the earth;
You have made summer and winter.”
(Psalm 74:16-18, NKJV).

Gracious God and Father, Psalm 74:16-18, among many other verses in Your written Word, remind us of Your sovereignty. Remind us that You are in control.

The day and night, the borders of the earth, the seasons of nature and of our lives are ordained by You. Summer and winter cannot be more different and different things are required to successfully navigate each season.

But there are also things that remain the same. Truths we can count on in every season. Truths such as Your faithfulness. You remain in the same and You are with us in each season, providing all that we need. And our greatest need in summer, winter, and all other seasons is You. Always You.

Five Minute Friday: Lift

I lift up my gaze when I am walking.
It is inevitable.

It is not just to see where I am going.

Sometimes it is to follow a bird on the wing.
At other times it is the sunrise that captures my gaze.

In one of my favorite Psalms, of the Songs of Ascents, Psalm 121, the psalmist wrote,
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From whence does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.”

While on the journey of life,
I notice the hard seasons, “the hills.”
I notice them.

Sometimes this noticing is accompanied by jolts of or the drumbeat of anxiety.
But the answer is the same for me as it was for the psalmist,
“From when does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.’

May eyes, my gaze always be drawn to You.
May these words be true of me, //
“I have set the LORD always before me;
because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. “(Psalm 16:8)

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, “Lift.” The verses from Psalm 121 are verses 1-2 (ESV). The content behind the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

From the archives: Complete

“You complete me.”
These three words have been repeated at least 100s of thousands of times.
In movies.
In poems.
Whispered sincerely by lovers
and even by besties (BFFs).

But whenever the words, “You complete me,” are stated by one human being to another,
they constitute a falsehood,
because no human being,
no matter how loving,
how selfless,
how noble,
can complete another human being.

There is only One who can complete us –
God.
We can enrich each others’ lives.
Be used by God to sharpen each other,
to move each other toward our destiny,
to encourage and uplift,
but never complete.

To expect someone to complete us
is to put a burden on that person
​that he or she can never carry,
and it set us up for disappointment.
Let us look to God to make us whole.

This post was originally published on 9/21/2018, in response to a writing prompt. The definition of “Complete” used in this post is from merriam-webster.com.

Another offering of “Slow”: FMF

I am joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday (FMF) community (on a Monday) for our weekly writing adventure. This week’s prompt is, “Slow.” It has been several weeks since I accepted the standing invitation to engage with my writing tribe so I decided that, instead of missing another week, I would offer again, a post written for FMF in 2017.

____

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.

To learn about Five Minute Friday, click here.

More: A Prayer

Abba Father, You cannot be or become more.
You cannot be more compassionate because You are full of compassion and plenteous in mercy.
You cannot be more constant because You are faithful and unchanging.
You cannot become more powerful for You are and always will be omnipotent. 
You cannot be more generous because You have already given Your Son, in whom dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
You cannot be more present because You are omnipresent and have promised never to leave us or forsake us (and You cannot lie).

Abba Father, You are able to do exceedingly more than we can ask, think, or imagine.
Your grace is and always has been sufficient. 
You are omniscient so there is nothing for you to learn and nothing surprises You.
You are the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles.
You are Love and love us unconditionally, perfectly, eternally. You cannot love us any more than You already do.

Elohim. Adonai. I am the one who needs to become more:
More aware of my desperate need of You.
More focused on You and Your purpose.
More yielded to Your will.
More quick to forgive.
More loving. 
More compassionate with myself and others.
More grateful.
More of who You created me to be for Your glory.
Help me, Yahweh.

A version of this post was published on March 9, 2019.

Five Minute Friday: She

I think of her in a different way this Mother’s Day weekend.
She who carried me in her womb
and her heart
and with her prayers.
I wonder if she thought of the one who was stillborn,
as the time of my birth came close.

First she carried me in her womb
and then continued to carry me with her prayers.
And, if the words of a pastor-author are true
that our prayers out live us,
I am still being carried by her prayers,
even as I carry her now
in my genes,
in my heart,
in my memory.

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, “She.”

broken

When I think of broken, I think of bread,
homemade and store bought,
and the One who made us and was broken for us.
The One who declared and in the same breath issued an invitation,
“This is My Body that was broken for you. Take, eat of it.”

When I think of broken, I think also of glass,
and hearts, and lives, and spirits.
Of friendships and relationships, and dreams.
And the song which speaks healing truth,
“The Potter wants to put you back together again.”

The Potter, who is also the Bread who was broken.
The One who allowed Himself to be broken.
He is the One who repairs, makes new,
makes whole what was broken.

O how good it is to know there is no restriction on what He can make whole,
because the breaking is sometimes due to my own carelessness,
my devaluing of the sacred and the precious.

O how good it is to know that repair does not require wealth,
nor fame, status or the like,
only brokenness and the willingness to be made whole.

Thank You, Potter. Thank You, Living Bread.

N.B.: Versions of this post were published on July 27, 2013 & May 21, 2014.

midweek boost: permission

Permission: the right or ability to do something that is given by someone who has the power to decide if it will be allowed or permitted

Whose permission do you need to be your best self?
To be bold instead of fearful or anxious?
Self-compassionate instead of self-critical?
Humble instead of puffed-up?

To forgive  yourself and others,
instead of being imprisoned by unforgiveness?
To go of the past instead of torturing yourself
with guilt,
regret,
and shame?

Christ has set you free.
Walk free.
Live free.
You have been called to liberty.

Give yourself permission to be your best self.
You already have God’s permission
and His enabling.
You do not need permission from anyone else.

N.B. A version of this post was published in 2017.

“… and Peter.” (And me.)

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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 first published on this blog on 4/17/17 and reposted on 4/11/18. It is one of my favorite posts and for that reason as well as the fact that the content still is true of me, I wanted to share it again.