Worth

Do all lives matter, have equal value, have worth, have significance? We know that all lives matter to God. He told us so Himself, for example, in John 3:16, “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, AMP).

But do all lives matter to you? I implore you to pause instead of giving a reflexive, “Of course,” answer. Because all lives do not matter until Black lives matter.  Do Black Lives matter to you? What is a Black life worth to you? What are Black lives worth to you? Are Black lives worth the discomfort of facing the truth that racism has been interwoven into the fabric of the United States of America? That we do not live in a post racial society and the American dream has existed right alongside the American nightmare for people of color? That racism has existed in the American Church?//

Do all lives matter, have equal value, have worth, have significance? We know that all lives matter to God. He told us so Himself. But do all lives truly matter to you, a Christian who is not Black? I am asking this as a Black woman. I am asking as your sister in Christ. I am asking as a member of the Body of Christ. You cannot say that all lives matter and mean it, if Black lives do not matter. And your words are most effective when they are spoken with your daily life, not just your mouth.

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, “Worth.” The content after the // was written after the allotted 5 minutes had expired.

The Love of Advent

Love

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6, NKJV)

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, AMP)

Today is the last day of Advent 2017. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Savior. There was no other way to redeem us so He, the Word through whom all things were made and are sustained, He became flesh for us. May this truth constantly boggle our minds, bend our knees, and so fill our hearts with gratitude, that our lips and lives overflow with praise and worship.

May your Christmas be filled with wonder.

His Resurrection: Historical and Personal

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Two weeks have passed since I joined with millions around the world to celebrate Easter. I realized, sometime ago, that I have not celebrated the Resurrection of Christ Jesus in as similar a manner as I celebrate His birth. But the truth is, it is the Resurrection of Christ Jesus that gives Christmas its true meaning. Isaiah 9:6 declares,

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Christ Jesus, the Child who was born and the Son who was given, came to redeem us and our redemption required His brutal death and His glorious Resurrection. We are told in 1 Corinthians 15:14-20 (AMP) that, without His Resurrection,  our faith is “vain [imaginary, unfounded, devoid of value and benefit—not based on truth]” and “worthless and powerless [mere delusion ].” Furthermore, “ If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.  But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead, [and He became] the first fruits [that is, the first to be resurrected with an incorruptible, immortal body, foreshadowing the resurrection] of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. “

I desire that the truth of Christ’s Resurrection permeate my daily living. That I meet every challenge and celebrate every victory with this truth, “But now [as things really are] Christ has in fact been raised from the dead …” Upon reflecting on what the Resurrection of Christ Jesus means to me personally, four things come to mind:

1.     I am redeemed completely and am a dearly beloved child of God.

2.     I am forgiven and His Blood cleanses me from all sin.

3.     I do not have to fear death.

4.     I have a High Priest.

I find myself dwelling on the fact that I have a High Priest and on all the benefits of this truth, as highlighted in Hebrews 4:14-16 (AMP):

14 Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

The Resurrection of Christ Jesus, a historical fact with personal meaning. What does His Resurrection mean to you? Please share your thoughts in the Comments. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

His Exclusive Claim

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As I mentioned in a recent post, I saw the movie, “The Shack,” two Sundays ago. I continue to reflect on this fictional story and have talked with several persons about it. As sometimes happens, a fresh insight came as I was telling one of my sisters about the movie and my experience of seeing it. What I noted was that the main character, “Mack,” encountered Jesus first and His words were an invitation.

I thought of John 14:6, which constitutes a part of Jesus’ response to Thomas’s question, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5, AMP). “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'” (John 14:6, AMP).

This exclusive claim of Jesus has been the source of offense for many. In the article,  “Is Jesus the Only Way?” the author, Paul Rutherford, identifies Jesus’ exclusive claim that He is the only Way to God as “the most offensive aspect of Christianity today.” He identifies the following objections to Jesus’ exclusive claim: “Tolerance;” “Absolutes Don’t Exist;” and, “Pluralism.” Rutherford also provides the Scriptural basis for believing that Jesus is the only Way to God.  (I encourage you to invest the time necessary to read the article.  I recognize the need in myself to further develop the discipline of diving deeper into the tenets of my faith, to know why I believe what I believe. Perhaps you see this as a need we have in common). 

I think of Jesus’ exclusive claim and how being offended by His claim can result in one overlooking the amazing and incomprehensible fact that God loves us enough to provide any way back to Him, more so this Way. This Way, which required the Word to become flesh  and suffer beyond human imagining to redeem us.

Also, I recall His loving invitations and will close this post with two of them and His promise to those who come to Him. I pray that if you have not accepted His invitations, you will this Lenten season. And if you have, pause to give Him thanks.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, AMP)

 Now on the last and most important day of the feast, Jesus stood and called out [in a loud voice], “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Me], as the Scripture has said, ‘From his innermost being will flow continually rivers of living water. (John 7:37-39, AMP)

“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].(John 6:3, AMP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only

 

only

 

John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

“In this is the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:9.

Only. Defined as “alone in in a class or category.” In this the last day of the 31 days series, it is fitting to turn my attention to the Only Son, Who God give for us and Who also willingly offered Himself up for us.

The Son.

The One Who is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.

The One through Whom grace and peace came.

The pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

The One Who is the only mediator between God and mankind.

The One Who is God but made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant. And being found in an appearance as a man humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on the cross.

The One Who is the Light of world.

The One in Whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.

The One in Whom we are complete.

The Beloved in Whom we are accepted.

The One Who is our High Priest.

And our Shepherd.

And Who ever lives to make intercession for us.

The Lamb.

The Lion.

The Soon coming King.

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Day 31 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes challenge. Today’s prompt is “Only.”

Click here to read previous posts for the series, 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.

Thanks to every one who read one, some, or all of the posts in the series. Special thanks to GiGiMandy, Ladymanni, and Granonine.

Sky

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A rainbow in the sky. It has not yet become a commonplace sight to me and I pray it never will. A rainbow in the sky. It was given by God as a sign, a sign of His solemn promise to Noah, his sons, and every living creature who came out of the ark, and to everyone who would live after them. It was the sign of His solemn promise that He would never again allow floodwaters to destroy all life. And He has kept His promise.

But there is another promise God made which predated and is of greater significance that His promise to never again destroy all life through  floodwaters. This promise was made to Adam and Eve, and through them to all mankind. It was His promise to redeem us, first voiced in Genesis 3:15.

And the signs of His promise were repeated in all the books of the Old Testament until its fulfillment in the New. Jesus Himself mentioned one of these when he told Nicodemus, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” And Jesus’ death is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us as stated in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. The next time you see a rainbow in the sky may you also be reminded that He kept His promise to redeem us and will keep every promise He has ever made to you.

N.B. Links for Scripture references were added after the post was completed.

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Day 12 of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes challenge. Today’s prompt is “Sky.”

Click here to read previous posts for the series.31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes challenge.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: World

This week’s prompt filled my head, bringing to mind songs I learned years ago, such as, “This world is not my home,” and “This is my Father’s world.” It also brought to mind passages of scripture, for example, John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world that He give His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” And 1 John 5:4.

But the place where I settled was John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” Tribulation, you will have in the world.

These words remind me that He never promised that walking with Him will be easy. He forewarned us that we will have trials and hardships. Pain. Sorrow. Experience rejection, even be hated for His name’s sake while we inhabit this world. But He also promised that we will overcome whatever we face because He who is in us, is greater than he who is in the world.

Tribulation, yes. Victory is also certain because of Him who lives within us. As John stated, “You are of God little children.” You belong to Him and He leads us in triumph. Nothing in this world can separate us from His love.

John 15 v33

Joining Kate Motaung and a group of courageous writers for Five Minute Friday (on Saturday). The prompt is “World.” To learn more about Five Minute Friday (and perhaps join us?) click here.

Five Minute Friday: Gift

He is the Ultimate Giver, this Father of ours. Think John 3:16. He so loved the world that He give His only begotten Son. The Son in Whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Romans 8:32 encourages us by the reminder that He did not withhold His own Son but give Him up for us, and if He has already made the ultimate sacrifice, what else will He not freely give us. No gift too big after the Ultimate Gift.

He gives us gifts daily. Psalm 68:19 reminds us that He daily loads us with benefits. Think of a front end loader full of gifts. That only approximates what He gives.

Some gifts are easily recognizable: like the breath in our lungs (which we too often take for granted), or unexpected finances, the love of family and friends. Even the heart shaped leaf I found as I walked this morning.

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Thing is though, all of His gifts are not easily recognized. Coming in the form of tribulation, trials, hard times. But these are also gifts because of what He uses them to accomplish in our lives.

Romans 5 v3-4

Joining Kate Motaung and a group of courageous writers for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is “Blue.” To learn more about Five Minute Friday (and perhaps join us?) click here.

Joy Unleashed: Elizabeth and Mary

maryandelizabeth2Photo Credit

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women,
    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
    the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
    greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
    believed every word would come true!

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before Him.
He bared His arm and showed His strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what He promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now. (Luke 1: 39-55)

Prayer:  Father, this Christmas, as we read and hear familiar passages of Scripture, may we experience a fresh sense of wonder and joy, as if we were being told of Your indescribable love for the first time.

Five Minute Friday: Dear

Joining Kate Motaung and a community of writers for Five Minute Friday. The prompt is, “Dear.”

GO

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses, to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony…” This is the opening line of most traditional Christian marriage ceremonies.

“Dearly beloved.” The term dear, or one of the meanings of the word, is beloved. Others are adored, cherished, valued, esteemed. “Dearly” means “very much.” Someone who is is dearly beloved, is someone who is loved or cherished very much. Who does not want to be such a person?

The poet, Raymond Carver, gives voice eloquently to this longing of each human heart, in his poem, “Late Fragment.”

To every longing heart, you are dearly beloved.

You are the dearly beloved of the Father. He says so. Hear with new ears the words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He give His only begotten Son…” To make us His “dearly beloved,” cost Him dearly. He made us His “dearly beloved” at the highest price.

STOP

Post edited on October 20, 2015 to prevent copyright infringement.
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