Enable

“Enable” – defined as to make someone able to do something, or make something possible.

Anything worthwhile that we have accomplished, we were enabled by God to do.

Through the Apostle Paul, God clearly informs us, “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.” (2 Corinthians 3:5, CEV).

Let us repeat this truth to ourselves and for our friends close and far away,
“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.”

Anything worthwhile that we have accomplished, we were enabled by God to do.

Who, then, deserves the glory, all of it?

God does.

Humbling, is it not?

Perspective altering, is it not?

So when no one seems to notice our efforts, we can be at peace.

We are instruments who are privileged to be enabled by God to do what He has called us to do. 

May His be the only approval that we seek.

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, “Enable.” The definition of “enable is from the Cambridge Dictionary.

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.

What lies 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.

This post was originally published on November 8, 2020, as “Ahead.” Rereading it was helpful to me and I am reposting it with the hope that it could be helpful to you … whether you are reading it again or for the first time. Blessings.

Forward

“The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to move forward [toward the sea].” (Exodus 14:15, AMP).

There are any number of factors that can elicit apprehension, if not dread, when we face the prospect of moving forward. Even when what we are moving into is familiar. Even more so when what we face is novel.

A common thread shared by the familiar and the novel situation is the incomplete, imperfect, fragmentary nature of human knowledge. This quality of human knowledge means that no matter the level of research in which we have engaged, no matter the level of expertise we possess about any situation, there will always be aspects that are unknown to us.

And among the many lessons that the COVID-19 global pandemic have taught and continue to teach, are that we control less than we believe and there is much we do not know – about ourselves and those around us.

As of today, in the USA, 400,000, persons – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, employers, employees, neighbors, etc. – have died of complications of the COVID-19 virus. Tomorrow, January 20th, the 46th President of the USA, Joseph Biden, and the first female vice-president, Kamala Harris, will be inaugurated. There is so much that is unknown about the future.

Thankfully, there is One who is omniscient – ELOHIM. Thankfully, He is with us and for us as we face what is unknown to us. As we face the unknown, we can find comfort in the words of Corrie Ten Boom, “Never be afraid to trust your unknown future to a known God.” Let us make increasing our knowledge of the omniscient God, a priority, for wholehearted trust of God is tied to a deepening, intimate knowledge of Him.

“Those who know you, Lord, will trust you;  you do not abandon anyone who comes to you.” (Psalm 9:10, GNT).

N.B. A version of this post was first published on May 23, 2020.

An Invitation: Come to Bethlehem

“O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.”

We know the Babe of Bethlehem grew into manhood, lived a sinless life, endured indescribable agony on all levels, died, rose again, sits at the right hand of the Father, and will come again. Why then the invitation to “Come to Bethlehem,” especially in January, weeks after we celebrated His birth? Because it was in Bethlehem, God began to demonstrate in an unprecedented manner that when He promised to redeem us, thousands of years before, He meant it. His promise was not an idle promise. And this fact lets us know that He will keep every promise He has made to us.

The invitation to, “Come to Bethlehem” is not an invitation to physically visit Bethlehem, although you can do that also; rather, it is an invitation to turn our hearts toward Bethlehem when we need a reminder of the faithfulness of our God. The current season is such a time, wouldn’t you agree?

28-30 Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. God, in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. He chose them long ago; when the time came he called them, he made them righteous in his sight, and then lifted them to the splendour of life as his own sons.
31-32 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? (Romans 8: 28-32, PHILLIPS).


Refrain

If you had to choose, which of God’s character traits meant the most to you this year? For me, it is His faithfulness, which I connect to His immutability. The truth that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, is assuring and deeply comforting in a world where anything, all people change, and not always for the better.

I wrote and published the post I will share below in May 2020. As we stand at the end of a year unlike any most of us have experienced in our lifetime, and face a new year that no one can truly predict, God’s faithfulness, His immutability is a firm foundation on which we can stand flat-footed.

Refrain, the noun, is a regularly recurring phrase or verse especially at the end of each stanza or a division of a poem or song.

I have been wondering,
if my life was a song,
and each season a stanza,
what would be my refrain?
What would be repeated
at the end of each stanza,
each season?
I thought of several things
but kept coming back to this,
“God is faithful.” 

When the stanza was filled with sorrow,
God was faithful.
When the stanza was characterized
by uncertainty and confusion,
God was faithful.  
Whether the stanza was one of joy
and accomplishments
and the satisfaction of a job well done,
or marked with disappointment and failure,
God was faithful.

In every stanza written to date,
God has been faithful.
And for every stanza that will be written
in the future,
He will remain faithful.
If my life was a song,
and each season a stanza,
what would be my refrain?
“God is faithful.”

“Know that Yahweh your God is God, the faithful God who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commands.” (Deuteronomy 7:9, HCSB).

“Remember my affliction and my homelessness,
the wormwood and the poison.
I continually remember them
and have become depressed.
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness!
(Lamentations 3:19-23, HCSB).

Prepare

What are you preparing for this Christmas season
as others deck their halls,
and light up their trees?
As they shop for presents
and look forward to time with loved ones?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season,
as the Salvation Army bell ringers say cheerful “Merry Christmas”
and offer opportunities to share, to give to the needy?
As gifts are wrapped and cards are addressed and mailed?

What are you preparing for this Christmas season?
The familiar ache of loneliness?
The pain of the anniversary of the death of a loved one,
a marriage,
a dream?

Whatever hard thing you are preparing yourself for the best you know how,
know this –
The God of all comfort has also made preparation for you.
There is a Balm in Gilead.
He is near to the broken hearted and heals those who are crushed in spirit.
He keeps your tears.
He has numbered the hairs on your head.
He knows you are hurting more than you can describe or even believe you can bear.
He is ever present and calls you to the shelter of His arms,
the healing virtue of His presence.
He is with you always and will walk you through this season as He has every other one.

*This post is from the Archives of this blog. It was originally posted as part of Five Minute Friday in December 2014 and reposted in December 2015. Given the overwhelming grief, pain, loss, etc. of 2020, the truth of God’s abiding presence and comfort bears repeating, as does the truth that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Beyond

The LORD shall reign to eternity and beyond.” (Exodus 15:18, AMP).

Elohim has always reigned.
He reigned before time began
and He will reign when time is no more.

He shall reign to eternity and beyond.
Adonai has always reigned and He always will.

He reigns over the affairs of each life.
He reigns over the affairs of families.
He reigns over the affairs of nations.

Elohim has always reigned and He always will.
He will not be dethroned and cannot be dethroned.
His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom
and His dominion is from shore to shore.

When I do not understand,
He reigns.
When I am folded into a fetal position
by the circumstances of life,
He reigns.

When those in authority,
in the Church,
in politics,
in relationships,
in homes,
abuse their power,
He reigns.

When justice is only found in the dictionary,
He reigns as the Ancient of Days.

The Lord shall reign to eternity and beyond.”
Truth to build our lives on.

The Lord shall reign to eternity and beyond.
Selah.

The song, “He Shall Reign Forevermore” by Chris Tomlin declares the truth of the Messiah’s eternal reign, powerfully. Some of my favorite lyrics from the song are, “Into our hopes, into our fears, The Savior of the world appears.” He is present in every circumstance and He reigns.

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, “Beyond.”  The video and my comments about the song were added after the allotted five minutes had expired.