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.

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.”

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.”

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.

Could

“How could you?”
More times than not, 
when this question is posed to another human being
it issues forth from a hurt place.
A place of pain, 
betrayal, 
disappointment, 
disbelief.
How could you have an affair?
How could you lie to me all these months?
How could you lose our life savings?
How could you have flunked out of school and not let us know?
How could you get married without any of us there?
How could you….
The list could go on and on.

But when directed to Jehovah God,
our, “How could yous?”
come from a place of wonder that leads to worship.
How could You love me so?
How could You say I am accepted in the Beloved?
How could You pay such a price to redeem me?
How could You forgive me when I fail again and again and again?
How could You take the mess that is my life and make something beautiful out of it?
How could You, Adonai?
How could You?

And His answer.
given from Genesis to Revelation is,
“Because I chose to.”

I am joining (on a Tuesday) 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, “Could.”

Mercy

We are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain the mercy and grace we need. And we all need mercy. And we all need grace desperately, every moment of every day.

The invitation is based on the finished work of redemption completed by our High Priest, Jesus, who is personally and intimately acquainted with what it means to be human. But several factors can cause us to slink into the presence of our Father, head and eyes downcast, like beggars, instead of beloved children. Among them are: 1) overwhelming guilt that has morphed into self-condemnation; 2) shame issuing forth from the erroneous belief that we are the mistakes we made and unworthy; and, 3) the lack of knowledge of who God truly is and as a result, our misperception of who we are to Him and in Him.//

Daughters and sons of the Most High, the full price of our redemption, your redemption has been paid. The shed Blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who is now your High Priest, gives you unlimited access, anywhere, everywhere, anytime, every time, to the Throne of Grace. You belong there. You are welcome there. Come. Come boldly.

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV).

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, “Mercy.” The content after the // was added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.  The truth of Hebrews 4:14-16 is expressed in this song, “Great is Your Mercy.” I hope it is a blessing to you.

Right

There is a season for everything and a time for every purpose under heaven – including a time to keep silence and a time to speak. So instructed king Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7). He also notes in Proverbs 25:11 (CEV), “The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.”

Each verse speaks to the importance of timing. If we are unaware of the right time to be silent and the right time to speak, we can find ourselves in the unenviable position of saying the “right” words at the wrong time, and hurting those we are attempting to help.

One of the seasons in which this error is common is during seasons of grief. I have heard of and been the recipient of words designed to comfort that did nothing of the sort. Words such as, “God knows what He is doing,” are true but immediately after a loss occurs and someone is drowning in grief, may not be the right time to say those words.  “I am sorry,” or “I do not know what to say,” may be better options.//

Let us ask God for wisdom so that we can become better at saying the right words at the right time, especially to those who are hurting. We will not always get it right but we can become better comforters, unlike Job’s friends. The song, “Not Right Now,” sung by Jason Gray, is one of my favorite songs about responding to those who are grieving.

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, “Right.” The content after the // was added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.