Stretch

Sometimes life can stretch us thin
because there is always the unexpected,
and there are always changes
and that which we cannot control.

Sometimes we stretch ourselves thin
trying to juggle balls of responsibilities,
some of which are not our own,
grasping for opportunities,
reaching for approval,
knocking on closed doors.

Whether the source of the stretched-thinness
is other or self,
the invitation of our Savior,

the One, “who stretches out the heavens
and lays the foundation of the earth
and forms the spirit of man within him,”*
is the same:
“Come to Me.
Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life.”
*

I am joining, (for the first time in many weeks), 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 writing prompt is, “Stretch.” *The Scripture references in the post, in the order shared, are Zechariah 12:1 (AMP) and Matthew 11:28 (MSG). In service of full disclosure, this post took longer than 5 minutes and was edited. 🙂

Expectation: FMF Link-up

This definition of expectation, “basis for expecting: ASSURANCE,” raised the question, “What is my basis for expecting anything from God?” I believe one factor is knowledge. If my knowledge of Him is superficial or inaccurate, my expectation of Him may lead me to be disappointed in Him for not being my Genie or Father Christmas.

He is not there to grant my every wish. He is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do, according to His sovereign will and in His time. Not mine. I need an accurate, maturing knowledge of who He is and such knowledge does not come by chance.

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, “Expectation.” The definition of “Expectation” used in the post is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. The post was edited for clarity on 12/8/2021.

FMF: Wander

Sometimes I wander in my mind
and get lost in thought.
Sometimes I wander with my feet
and am pleasantly surprised by what I see,
even if I get lost.
Sometimes like the prodigal son,
I wander away from my Father.
But whether I am lost in thought,
in body,
or in spirit,
my Father never loses track of me.
He always knows where I am.

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. You have laid your hand on me! This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
(Psalms 139:1‭-‬6, TPT).

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 writing prompt is, “Wander.”

Morning: A Prayer (FMF Link-up)

Father,
You know when a night comes if it will become a night season. You know. I do not. You know. And gracious God, You who are my Maker, You give songs in the night.

You enabled Paul and Silas to sing at midnight in a prison after their clothes were torn from them and they had been severely beaten. You enabled them to sing, dear Father. And You who give songs and grace in the night seasons and remain with us throughout the night, You assure us that morning will come and with it joy.

And when the morning comes, may I, like the psalmist David, sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning. For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. To You, O God my strength, I will sing praises. For God, You are  my stronghold, my refuge, my protector, my high tower, the God who shows me steadfast lovingkindness. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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, “Morning.” The verses of Scripture mentioned in the post, in the order shared, are Job 35:10 (NKJV); Acts 16:22-25 (NKJV); Psalm 30:5 (HCSB); Psalm 59:16-17 (AMP); Psalm 5:3 (NKJV). This post took a tad longer than five minutes.

FMF: Still

Legendary gospel singer and songwriter, arranger, record producer, and pastor, Andrae Crouch, wrote many songs that uplift me. But one of his songs that moves me most is, “God Still Loves Me.” Here are some of the lyrics:

When I was a child I sang a song
Yes, Jesus loves me
That was years ago and now I’m grown
Yes, Jesus loves me
The city where I live, so many things have changed
They say nothing ever stays the same
The grass is brown, many buildings torn down
Oh, and people I’ve known, they’re not around
But God still loves me


God still loves me. And because of His enduring love for me, I seek His strength to say as did the prophet Habakkuk,
“Though the fig tree does not blossom
Though the fig tree does not blossom
And there is no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive fails
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock is cut off from the fold
And there are no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the Lord;
I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!

(Habakkuk 3:17-18, AMP).

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, “Still.” Click this to hear the song.

City

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. The writing prompt is, “City.” The content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

—-

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]. For by this [kind of] faith the men of old gained [divine] approval.” (Hebrews 11:1-2, AMP).

“By faith Abraham, when he was called [by God], obeyed by going to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a foreigner in the promised land, as in a strange land, living in tents [as nomads] with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs of the same promise. For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11: 8-10, AMP. Emphases added).

He carried me away in the realm of the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain. There he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. It was infused with the glory of God, and its radiance was like that of a very rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:10-11, TPT).

Abraham lived as a foreigner in the land that God had promised to give him and his descendants. He did so by faith. Faith, “the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”

The Holy Spirit tells us through the apostle Peter that we do not belong here (1 Peter 2:11). Abraham had this mindset.// He understood that he was an alien. A stranger. A pilgrim. A sojourner. A temporary resident. Because of this faith shaped and fueled mindset, ”he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” This holy city, which Abraham was looking forward to, is described in Revelation 21.

Abraham had the mindset of a foreigner in the land of promise. What is our mindset in the land in which we now live?

He was “[waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has foundations, [an eternal, heavenly city] whose architect and builder is God.” Are we? And if we are, what fuels our longing? Escape from “the troubles of this world”? The desire to see loved ones who have gone on before? All of these are understandable but where does the desire to be with the Architect and Builder of the city, the One who redeemed us with His own blood, the Author and Finisher of our faith, fall among all the reasons we are looking forward to the city, (if we are)?

Desperate

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. The writing prompt is, “Desperate.” The content after the last //, including the lyrics for the hymn, “Come Ye Disconsolate,” were added after the allotted 5 minutes had expired. The definition of desperate used in the post is from www.merriam-webster.com.

-//-

Definition of desperate

1a : having lost hope
//a desperate spirit crying for relief
b : giving no ground for hope
//the outlook was desperate

2 a : moved by despair or utter loss of hope
//victims made desperate by abuse
b: involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration
//made a desperate leap for the rope

3 : suffering extreme need or anxiety
//desperate for money
//desperate to escape
//celebrities desperate for attention

4 : involving extreme danger or possible disaster
//a desperate situation

5 : of extreme intensity
//… a desperate languor descended heavily upon her, and she slept …— Elinor Wylie

6 : SHOCKING, OUTRAGEOUS

How desperate do things have to become, how desperate do you have to feel before you ask for help? Acknowledge that you are in over your head? Hanging on by a thread? That you are at the end of your rope and your grip is loosening? How desperate do things have to become, how desperate do you have to feel before you ask for help?

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” wrote the sons of Korah, as stated in Psalm 46:1. “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way  and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46: 2-3, NLT).

We do not have to wait until things get desperate or we feel desperate. We have help right at the beginning, we have help in the middle, we have help at the end and every moment in between. What was true for David is true for us. “Behold, God is my helper and ally; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul [my upholder].” (Psalm 53:4, AMP).// Hear the invitation in the lyrics of the hymn, “Come Ye Disconsolate.”*

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure!
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life, see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above.
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heav’n can remove.

*Thomas Moore (pub.1816). Copyright Status: Public Domain.

Teach

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 writing prompt is, “Teach.” Scripture images and the link to C. T. Stubbs’ poem were added after the allotted five minutes period had ended.

– // –

“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
(Psalm 90:1-2; emphasis added).

The verses above are the opening statements of a prayer of Moses. Perhaps it was his privilege of experiencing God as no other human did before the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, that shaped his prayer. His awareness that God has always existed. That unlike mankind, His existence is not counted in days.

I do not know when he prayed this prayer. He lived to be 120 years. Whenever he wrote it, he understood the transient nature of our time on earth and prayed, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NKJV). Other translations read:

“Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.” (Psalm 90:12, ICB)

“Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction.” (TPT).

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” (CEV).

Which ever translation we favor, the truth remains – we need God’s help to use wisely the time He has allotted us. As, C. T. Studd wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

From

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 writing prompt is, “From.”

-//-


“Lord, You have been our dwelling place [our refuge, our sanctuary, our stability] in all generations.
Before the mountains were born
Or before You had given birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.” (Psalm 90:1-2, AMP).

“From everlasting to everlasting, You are [the eternal] God.”
ADONAI, You have always been God.
You have always been God.

As long as I knew them, You were the God of my maternal grandparents.
You were also the God of my parents for all of the time we lived together on this earth.
But You, as someone said, have no grandchildren.
So, although You were the God of my grandparents and parents,
there was a moment when I had to choose You to be my God.
This moment happened before my 10th birthday.

Even when I was unfaithful, You remained my God.
Even when I walked in rebellion, You remained my God.
In the hard seasons of life and the seasons of joy, You remain my God.
From everlasting to everlasting You are God.
You are my God.


Drive (Five Minute Friday Link-up)

What drives us?

What is the “Why” for what we do or do not do?

To our chagrin, if we are honest, we realize that much of our decisions are driven by what we believe is good for us, what others expect of us, and/or to avoid consequences. But among the 31,102 verses in the Bible (according to Wikipedia), there are the following three verses:

“Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, [a]not we ourselves [and we are His].
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3, AMP).

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” (Ephesians 2:10, AMP).

“So then, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of [our great] God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, AMP).

And I wonder, how different would my life, our lives be if our decisions are guided by these truths? If these truths become our “Why?” If these truths are what drive us daily, moment to moment?

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 writing prompt is, “Drive.”