But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through
all generations. Psalm 33:11
I was driving past the elementary school on my way to work, and as I always do, I prayed for the children on their way to school. Praying for their futures and what God has for them. Blessing them. Praying for parents raising their babies in these times. Praying for them courage and strength to teach, train, and raise them to be healthy and thriving adults—physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have learned that within the diversity, transitions, and modernism of the world, there is a life to live well. There is joy to experience. There is truth that prevails with God as we love well and personify His heart, character, and grace to the world.
But how do we do that with the climate culture we are part of, and the challenges we face personally, locally, and globally? There seems to be a lot to worry ab0ut; fear that cycles in an endless loop like the 5’oclock news. We are threatened by internal stress, anxiousness, fear, and uncertainty about the future. It’s hard to find peace while navigating the tension and chaos surrounding us. So how do we balance the stress of life with the goodness and beauty that also are a part of what God created and desires for us to experience?
As I prayed for the next generation, I felt hope rising within me as I was reminded of the powerful and beautiful truth that God doesn’t change. He is the same God who has been with every generation, showing the world that He is Holy and good. He is Love. He is Truth. And He is still to this day—in the midst of the current culture climates and generations with their own challenges—the God who created the world, makes a way in the desert, does the impossible, and is capable of changing our situations. His unconditional love keeps shining into the darkness and can help with the anxiety and uncertainty that consumes our hearts and minds. He knows us intimately and cares for us deeply. He is the only One that truly understands all nations, tongues, and people. Every culture is His. He is Love and Redemption and is still today all about Jesus saving us and transforming our lives making it well with our souls. One gospel of God who loves His creation and wants a relationship with us.
It’s in the knowing Him, being loved by Him, and trusting Him for all the things that concern us, that help us with our anxiety and fears and offer us hope based on His promises. We can be confident that God has been, is, and will continue to be faithful to every generation. He will find those who make His love and Presence known and will be there for all that turn to Him. He cares about what we care about and wants to strengthen and encourage us in our journey. He wants to show us the way to grow and overcome our situations through relationship with Him, prayer, reading His Word and understanding a greater way to live, love, and be loved.
The key is to stay focused on God in the midst of changing cultures, world dynamics, presenting knowledge and available technology. We must equip ourselves and have a faith that remains firmly grounded in who God is, what His Word says, and the love and grace He has freely given us. We must believe that His promises are eternal and live our lives ready to share that same hope we have to every person living their personal chaos and challenge. As the enemy of our souls fights harder, we must commit to fighting harder too. Stay in prayer, read and study to know God’s Word, and stand in His immoveable love and truth.
Wherever He sends you, tell the world about Jesus and His great love; His power to save, and the future hope that you have. Tell people what He has done for you and be a vessel for how He wants to use you, offering love, truth, grace, mercy, hope, and freedom to the next generation. Be a testament by enjoying your life while accepting that life is full of hardship and struggles. Love well and speak truth with grace as you go through your own realities of life and battles of faith. Turn to Him as He is faithful to comfort and restore, healing the pain, and teaching you a better way to live. God will never stop loving the world or the people in it. His heart is that all would be saved, and all would know Him and His deep love for them.
If Jesus were here today, walking the earth, I believe He would say the same thing as He said then, “…why is your heart troubled? “ “…. do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.” (Deuteronomy 4:9) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) “…the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)
Be encouraged, God is still at work through all generations to redeem, restore, and have relationships that will last for eternity for all people, cultures, and nations. His heart has not changed toward His world, and His Love and Truth will live on for the next generation.
Love and hugs, Rikah
Fun practice to do:
As you read the Bible, keep history historical to learn from, and look specifically for God’s character throughout the Old and New Testaments, marking it with a © to remind you of who He still is today, and for all the generations to come.
A poem from Shattered: A Heart in Search of Mercy - A Book of Hope & Healing
MERCY (Inspired by John 8:1-11)
Boldly, desperately, Your mercy calls me!
Bring your woes and the pain that binds
the crushed spirit, the broken heart
So I run to You, knees buckling
bowing before You
my hair falling across your feet to wipe away my tears
sins so dark, I can't get away from the accusations they throw
shame consumes as their rocks are chosen
standing as witnesses against me
as if I am nothing, not worth saving
My failures and mistakes evident
caught in the act
never even thinking this would be something I'd do
Their Ignorance dominates, deceptively concealed
righteous ones hiding behind holy words
but it's in the chaos and condemnation, Lord, You speak
Your loving eyes baring into my soul, declaring what is loving and just
Tender mercy speaks my name
grace releasing the shame I no longer carry
accepting who I no longer am
free from the things I no longer desire to do
One by one my sins disappear
wiped clean off the chalkboard of remembrance
erased are the memories I tried to destroy in my own incapable and non-existing power
each offense now crucified
the weight of shame becoming light as a feather...flying away
Sweet peace kneeling before Your mercy seat
forgiven of the hurt I've caused
forgiving the one who hurt me
a beautiful dance between heaven and earth
memories fading fast
confession sweet to the spirit
Love washing me clean
leaving me secure under waterfalls of grace
sins red as scarlet now white as snow
this is mercy's victory
Amazon.com: Shattered: A Heart in Search of Mercy: 9798986681504: Thomas, Rikah: Books
Imagine the athlete resting the night before the big race, anticipation breeding excitement. All the training, practice, daily sacrifice leading to this moment. A big moment to accomplish a lifelong dream of winning a medal, or at least try.
Imagine the artist standing before a blank canvas, getting the feel of the paint squeezed onto the palette, and taking in the space available wondering what to bring to life!
Imagine the musician, melodies and harmonies floating through their mind, as they sit to create the next masterpiece in song.
Creative people dream of accomplishing things bigger than us. It’s who we are. We want to finish what we start, or at least start what we desire to finish. But how do we run our race to victory, or even know which race is ours to run? In the Bible (Numbers 13), God’s people were told to go in and possess the land that God was giving them, thus taking ground, taking their ground. Running their race. Some saw the obstacles and felt it impossible, even overwhelmingly fearful, while others saw the blessing and wanted to move forward in faith and courage.
How does this apply to our writing assignments? How do we know what God has for us? How can we be certain of the right race at the right time, prior to putting time, resources, and energy into it? How can we know if our creative dreams and goals for writing books, movies, plays, songs, or doing art, line up with God’s will for us sharing the stories within us?
Let’s look at three ways we can run our race to victory in our writing and creative assignments.
All things are possible with God! So may you proceed with clarity, strategy, and focus as you run your creative race, crossing the finish line with joy and celebration when your God-given story and message have life to inspire others. Happy creating!
“Inspiring hearts and minds through words and art.”
Which Response Will I Choose?
It’s a new year with new promises and possibilities! I think of all things I want to write and create; so many things I’ve heard God speak to me about. That blog. That story. That novel. That song. I see the visions of what could be, and then I find myself at a crossroads of choosing faith or surrendering to doubt.
As I sit by the warm fire, coffee in hand, the story in Luke Chapter 1 fills my mind. Intrigue over an angel, two chosen people, two promises, and two possible conceptions unfolds. As I read, I feel the questioning of my own heart—am I more like Zechariah, or am I like Mary? And if the time is now, which response will I choose for 2022?
The first character I see is a didn’t-know-it-yet-soon-to-be-father, named Zechariah. He was the priest on-call, whose job was to burn the incense in the temple. As the people were praying and he was busy about his duties, an angel of the Lord appeared to give him a message.
He told him not to be afraid. He told him that his prayer had been heard. It seems that Zechariah had been praying for a child even though he and his wife, Elizabeth, were too old and she had never been able to conceive. The angel even told him to name the child, John, and gave specific details about how John should be raised and how he would live; what his life would hold for God’s kingdom.
In response, Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man, and my wife is along in years.” Seems like an honest response, right? I can relate to the praying, seeking, longing, and desire to conceive and birth my dreams. I can also resonate with hearing the details of my promise—the book title, the message to share, the story to tell—for God’s kingdom. I’m hearing, but how can I be sure?
A little while later, Mary is also visited by an angel of the Lord, who says to her, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you...do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
Mary too asks a question of the angel, “How will this be since I am a virgin? She then follows it up with, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”
At first glance it looks like they both were doubtful on how such promises could be fulfilled, considering their realities—one being old age, the other having never been with a man to get pregnant. Life had given them both challenges and truths to consider, and, yet, God had spoken.
This got me thinking about my life and the things I believe God has spoken to me about. In this case, specially about my writing assignments and the books I will birth. The stories I will tell, and the messages He wants me to share with others. Maybe it wasn’t through an angel, but I know He spoke, whether through His Word, through another person, or in tangible circumstances and creative ways that gave me glimpses of His plan for me.
At a foundational level, I know He invited me to write. Write anything. Write everything. Take the next step. Believe what He showed me in the quiet places. Bring them to life. Write because I sense deep within that God gave me a story to tell. To share what He has done for me. To boldly put it all out there for others to read, watch, or listen to, so they can be encouraged, comforted, and touched by God through the words I share.
As we go into the next year and hear God leading us to write, will we choose to respond like Zechariah, with doubt and unbelief because we are focused on the challenges? Will we think more about, how will I ever get that book out when I’m (fill in the blank) too old, don’t have time, don’t have the resources, feel discouraged, or don’t believe I can? Or when we hear that the time is now—to write, edit, or maybe even publish, will we choose to have the heart of Mary, and believe that in the midst of the challenges, we can confidently say about our writing dreams and promises, “Let it be for me as you have shown me and spoken so many times before. For Lord, I know you are able, and your word never fails.”
Happy writing and creating this year! The time is now to say yes to God, yes to your story, yes to believing that with God all things are possible, and you can finish what you started.
Have fun and enjoy the process; we are cheering you on! KWA
Happy New Year!
Rikah Thomas 😊
“Inspiring hearts and minds with words and art.”
KWA Vision Lead
Sitting across from you, I see your gaze intently watching
You see right through me
My thoughts on display like a star filled night
Your love is evident
My husband, my friend, my child
Whoever is across from me
Desperately pursuing my attention
You speak, I see your lips moving
But I don’t hear you
For my cell phone keeps buzzing and beeping its own jingle
The adrenaline in my body responds
Addicted and joyful over the noises and sounds
Keeping me posted of another meaningless message coming through
Like a serpent striking its prey, I quickly snatch up my phone
My eye on you
And one on the prize
Speedily entering my manufactured data filled images of me
Emojis, Bitmojis, Memojis, GIFs, and photos galore
To share my life
So, I feel special, known, important, seen
In this world of knowledge
Edited and filtered vulnerability
These idols of metal and plastic
Controlled by technology, satellites, and apps
I’m not even sure I believe the stories I tell
You sit quietly, looking at me dramatize this imprisoned-by-the-cell-phone moment
As if it were life or death
While true conversations and connection quickly fade away
Leading me astray
from this intimate moment that will never be
Because I don’t see you
I don’t treasure you
The one so close, I can touch you
Share a smile with you
Hold your hand
If I chose to
Sadly, I’m desperately missing you
Being missed by you too
Over a phone
Over social media creating the scarcity of real socialization
Pushing away relationship of flesh and blood
Encouraging further isolation
By way of a distant heart
The witnesses around us
Pause to wonder what you’re feeling
As I continue interrupting our time together
To pick up another call
And send another text.
By Rikah Thomas © 2021
Books by Rikah Thomas
Heavenly Ink (Poetry & Prose)
Be at War: Battle for Love (Fiction)
Loving & Hating This Thing Called Church: A Journey of Healing
What Does Your Heart Long For?
As I sat on the beach, I was reading the book of 1 Samuel and came across the story of Hannah. She longed for a child to the point of deep anguish and prayed to the Lord as she wept bitterly. She couldn’t let go of the desire. The longing. The want.
I could resonate with her as I too was praying to God about a deep longing I had. Only what I wanted was regarding my writing and the hunger I lived with to write more books. Impact more people for Him. Inspire others through the written word and art. Amid life, work, family, and ministry, I wanted this deep yearning to become reality.
I felt like Hannah pouring my heart out to God and letting Him know my anguish and need.
As creatives/dreamers—whether we are writing books, articles, blogs, screenplays or songs, we have this yearning inside to take what we sense God is giving us and produce all these creative babies to offer to the world. We long to share our stories to inspire and make a difference in someone’s life.
We can’t help it. We dream of it. We pray for it.
And sometimes we are in anguish because of it and can feel downcast at having to wait and wonder if publishing books, producing songs, or writing plays that people read, hear, or see will ever happen for us.
The other thing I noticed in the story was Hannah’s husband, Elkanah. I saw the way he wanted to love his wife in her pain and wanted to be enough for her. He even asked her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”
There was no doubt Elkanah loved his wife and was concerned for her, and that he wanted to cheer her up. But he couldn’t alleviate the burden she carried. He couldn’t. It was not a bad thing, God simply had something different for Hannah that was birthed from her relationship with God and His purpose for her life.
I was reminded of the people we may come across in our lives that mean well but may not know the calling and longing we carry around to write. To create. They mean well when they say we shouldn’t worry or try so hard, or maybe they try to persuade us to stop writing because nothing has happened with it yet.
Reading about Hannah encouraged me to keep praying, seeking God, and writing my heart out. Own my longing and what I desire. Don’t expect others to get me, get my passion, or understand my need to create and put something out there in the world. It’s not a bad thing. Let it be enough between me and God, that this is for me to do. This is my creative baby to pray for and what He has put in my heart to accomplish.
Fellow dreamers, I want to encourage you today that wherever you are in the process of your dream, keep writing. Keep believing. Keep asking. Keep moving forward and continue praying for what you long for. (And when you hear your loving, concerned, Elkanah in your life—maybe a spouse, child, or friend—be gracious, and KEEP WRITING! Good news, Hannah got her miracle and had a son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord. She also went on to have more children as God blessed her and Elkanah.)
Your passion and desire to write and create is your gift from God. It is your Samuel to dedicate to the Lord when it is birthed. It is your joy to offer up.
Happy creating and dreaming in 2021!
Blessings and hugs,
I love using words to paint pictures. I love using paint to speak words of art. - Rikah