Sustenance from the archives+: When

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When?

“When will the pain disappear?” the brokenhearted asks.

“When will the grief dissipate?” the bereaved wails.

“When will the morning come?” the one seemingly trapped in the longest night season whimpers.

When?

“When will hope return?” the despairing soul moans.

“When will I laugh again?” the sorrow-laden whispers.

“When will I be free?” the imprisoned cries.

When?

“When will I receive justice?” the wronged pleads.

“When will the weight be lifted?” the heavily burdened implores.

“When will the fighting be over?” the wearied warrior sighs.

When?

God knows. God knows. God knows.

May we find comfort in this truth,

accept His grace

and trust Him.

No matter what.


Today’s post is for Day 15 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The post is one of the “+” in the series title “…archives+,” in that is freshly minted. The prompt is, “When.” To read the post for Day 14 of the series, please click on the link below.

Day 14: Ask

Sustenance from the archives+: Ask

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“And when you pray, do not go on and on, excessively and strangely like the outsiders; they think their verbosity will let them be heard by their deities. Do not be like them. Your prayers need not be labored or lengthy or grandiose—for your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him” (Matthew 7:7-8, VOICE).

“Your prayers need not be labored or lengthy or grandiose –for your Father knows what you need before you ever ask Him.”

My Father knows what I need before I ever ask Him. My Father. My Father.

My Father knows. My Father knows what I need. My Father knows what I need before I ever ask Him.

My Father knows what I need before I ever ask Him.

Why then do I need to ask Him? Because He is my Father and more than simply meeting my needs, He desires an intimate relationship with me. And my deepest need is an intimate relationship with Him. I must ask because I need to know how dependent I am on Him. I need to ask because prayer is communication between a loving Father and His beloved child. He is not just “a deity,” He is my Father and that is why I ask.

Our Father in heaven,
let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.

Manifest Your will here on earth,
as it is manifest in heaven.

Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no   less—
And forgive us our debts
as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[But let Your kingdom be,
and let it be powerful
and glorious forever. Amen.]

(Matthew 7:9-13, VOICE)


Today’s post is for Day 14 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The post is one of the “+” in the series title “…archives+,” in that is freshly minted. The prompt is, “Ask.” To read the post for Day 13 of the series, please click on the link below.

Day 13: Talk

Sustenance from the archives+: Talk

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“We need to talk.”
When I have uttered these words or had them spoken to me, they were usually the prelude to a difficult conversation. One that I would rather not have but one that is necessary. Abundant grace and wisdom are usually needed for such conversations, if the issue or problem that is the focus of the conversation is to be addressed in manner that is helpful. Also needed are a non-defensive posture and the discipline and willingness to listen, instead of focusing on what we want to say next.
“We need to talk.” Abba, whether I utter the words or have them spoken to me, let Your instruction in Ephesians 4:29, guide me:

“Don’t ·say anything that will hurt others [L let any rotten/unhealthy word come from your mouth], but only say what is ·helpful [good] to ·make others stronger [build others up] ·and meet [L according to] their needs. Then what you say will ·do good [give grace; be a gift] to those who listen to you” (EXB).


Today’s post is for Day 13 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. I could not find anything in my writing archives that fit the prompt, “Talk,” so today’s post is freshly minted. 🙂 To read the post for Day 12 of the series, please click on the link below.

Day 12: Praise

Sustenance from the archives+ & FMF: Praise

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I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High” (Psalm 7:17, NKJV).

Father,

I do not always feel like praising You and sometimes, in the moment, I am blinded to the reasons to praise You that each day contains. The cause of my “not feeling like praising You” mindset (or tantrum?) and the reasons for my blindness can vary: a difficult day, a challenging week, or even years that seem characterized by one struggle after another; minor or not so minor daily stressors or irritations; someone’s rudeness or lack of consideration; rush hour traffic; physical pain; sleep deprivation; prayers for which I have not seen answers … the list goes on.

Psalm 7:17 reminds me of one reason I consistently have to praise You, namely …. You. “I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness …” You are righteous, Father, in all Your ways. Loving to all You have made. When my circumstances and/or the circumstances of those whom I hold dear in my heart seem to contradict Your character, help me to remember that circumstances change but You never will. You are and will always be my reason to praise You.


Today’s post is for Day 12 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge (and FMF). The post was originally published on July 3, 2013, as “Imperfect Prose Link-Up: Reason to Praise.” To read the post for Day 11 of the series, please click on the link below. To learn about Five Minute Friday (FMF), click here.

Day 11: Door

FMF

Sustenance from the archives+: Door

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The Word, in human flesh, declared Himself to be the Door for the sheep.” The Door through which anyone who enters will be saved and will be able to come in and go out freely, and will find food that sustains.

This same Almighty One, Creator, give Noah, the only one on earth during his time who found favor with God, The Almighty give Noah specific instructions for building the ark, including where to place the only door. This same Almighty God, also shut the door of the ark after all living creatures, Noah, and his family entered in.

This same Door, also sets before us open doors and stands at the door of our lives and knocks, giving us the freedom to decide whether we will open our doors for Him.

He also does a curious thing – He takes our Valley of Achor (troubling) and makes it a door of hope and expectation. What an amazing God.

Today’s post is for Day 11 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The post was originally published on May 2, 2015. To read the post for Day 10 of the series, please click on the link below.   

Day 10: How

 

 

 

Sustenance from the archives+: How

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How
The way in which; that

Forgiven. Forgive.

“I will be merciful when they fail,
and I will erase their sins and wicked acts out of My memory
as though they had never existed.” (Hebrews  8:12, VOICE)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves
release forgiveness to those who have wronged us” (Matthew 6:12, TPT).

“If we walk step by step in the light, where the Father is, then we are ultimately connected to each other through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son. His blood purifies us from all our sins” (1 John 1:7, VOICE).

“And forgive us our debts
as we forgive those who owe us something” (Matthew 6:12, VOICE).

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).

“And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]” (Matthew 6:12, AMP).

Who is a God like You, who forgives wickedness
And passes over the rebellious acts of the remnant of His possession?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindness.

He shall again have compassion on us;
He will subdue and tread underfoot our
wickedness [destroying sin’s power].
Yes, You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.
(Micah 7:18-19, AMP)

“Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you,
just as we also forgive those who have wronged us.” (CEB)

Forgiven. Forgive.
How?
The way in which; that
Help me, ABBA. Please.

Today’s post is for Day 10 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The seed of this post was in draft form in my archives as, “As we forgive.” I began writing it on August 28, 2014, and never finished it.  The definition of “how” is from oxforddictionaries.com. To read the post for Day 9 of the series, please click on the link below.

Day 9: Inspire

Sustenance from the archives+: Inspire

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A marathon, we know, is an endurance race. So is life.

There is a point in a marathon, when runners hit “the wall.”* All runners. They experience a sudden wave of fatigue some where between miles 18 and 20.

The reason this occurs is that they have run out of carbohydrates stored in their body. Run out. Yes, we know what that feels like in this race called life. We run out of energy. We run out of courage. We run out of the will to keep going, to endure.

And I think of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians, “We remember before our God and Father….your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”’ “Endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And I think too of the encouragement and instruction in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” “Looking unto Jesus.”

And I am reminded that He is the source of my hope and my faith, two of the spiritual “carbohydrates” that I need to keep going. He is my inspiration. He inspires and spurs me on. He gives me reason to keep going and enables me to do so.

*Some of the information about “the wall” was obtained from runersconnect.net. This original version of this post was published on July 28, 2017.   

To read the post for Day 8 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” please click on the link below.

Day 8: Comfort

Sustenance from the archives+: Comfort

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“Comfort”*
Comfort.
It can come in a touch.
In a smile.
In a card.
In a word.
In a memory of being loved,
cherished,
valued.

It can come in a hug.
A rub on the back.
A two handed cupping of the cheek.
A whispered hush
offered in response
to a wail of fear
in the dark.
A reminder that Mom or Dad is here and near.
In a hand being held
when it reaches out.

It can come through various medium.
But all comfort that comes without conditions,
without strings.
And brings peace,
and soothes,
and calms,
and offers true solace,
has only one Source –
The God of all comfort.
For He comforts us
in all sorrows and
then makes us vessels,
conduits of His comfort.

*This poem was originally published on July 14, 2017 as Five Minute Friday: Comfort.
To read the post, Day 7: Hope, of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” please click on the link below.

Day 7: Hope

Sustenance from the archives+: Day 7 – Hope

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It is hard to imagine a future when you lack hope.

It is hard to have hope when everything you can experience through your senses give you no reason to believe that the current circumstances will change.

It is hard to reach for, look forward to a future that, to your knowledge, will be more of the same.

The same pain.
The same struggle.
The same loneliness.
The same barren efforts.

But if you are His
you may feel hopeless but you are never without hope.

For He is the source of hope.

And He has made this declaration,

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Did you hear that? He has plans to give you a future and a hope.

Not just a future but one that is hope filled.

And He is able to do just what He says.

So I join with the apostle Paul in praying, “Now may God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you believe, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy spirit.”* 

You have a future, a glorious future.

*Romans 15:13

NB: This post was originally published on this blog as “Five Minute Friday: Future” on June 2, 2107.

Sustenance from the archives+: Day 4 – Why & FMF – Share

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Day 4: Why

“Why?”*
Inherent in this one word question is a search for answers,
a pursuit of information or understanding.

Sometimes it is rooted in childlike curiosity.
At other times, it is a desperate cry in the face of the previously unimagined,
that which turns “them” into me, into us:
The bereaved.
Survivors of an earthquake or other natural disasters,
or personal events with an emotional impact of tsunami-like proportions.

The betrayed or the betrayer.
The divorced.
The fired.
The suddenly unemployed.
The previous homeowner whose house is now in foreclosure.
The evicted.
The newly diagnosed.
The parent of a child with mental health or developmental challenges.
The list can go on and on.

There is another question that I was taught years ago,
one to which, I am still learning to turn to after a difficult event.
One that moves me away from the default question, “Why?”
From what is often the futility of reaching for and even demanding
answers that God in His sovereignty may not provide on this side of eternity.

The other question is “What?”
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Because I truly do have a choice in how I respond,
and more times than I like, my response is all I have control over.

Experience has taught me that I may not be able to voice this question immediately,
not while the aftershocks are still being felt,
not during the time when emotions are raw and disorientation common.
Then my need is not for answers but for comfort and strength and abundant grace,
and family and friends who hug freely without the need to speak,
especially trite statements that provoke and even wound instead of heal.

But at some point, if I am to truly live in my new normal,
live without resentment and bitterness and anger and self-pity,
or a sense of having been somehow or somewhat betrayed by my Father,
I must sit with the “What?” question.
“What will I do with what has happened?”
Hold on to it?
Or turn it over to the Father
and accept His beauty for my ashes?
His oil of joy for my mourning?
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?
Allow Him to use, as He sees fit, what He permitted in my life?
Let His strength be demonstrated in my weakness?

“What will I do with what has happened?
It is a question that no one can answer for us
and the answer or answers will shape us and our “after the … lives,”
as well as the lives of persons to whom we are connected.

Copyright © 2016. E. W. Wright. All Rights Reserved. 

*This version of the poem was originally published as “Why? What?” in the book, Sliced Bread: Food for the Spirit, released November 16, 2016, and shared on this blog on September 12, 2017.


Five Minute Friday: 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 originally published on this blog on October 18, 2017.

To read posts for Days 2 and 3 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” please click on the link below.

Day 2: Afraid & Day 3: Believe

Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday.