Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Strength in Psalms

I love the Psalms. I get such comfort and strength as I read and think: This was a man, just like me, limited and subject to the human nature. However, David and other psalmists loved God with all their heart, to be able to realize God’s power and mercy towards our lives.

Psalm 7:1-17 (NCV)

LORD my God, I trust in you for protection. Save me and rescue me from those who are chasing me, Otherwise, like a lion they will tear me apart. They will rip me to pieces, and no one can save me. LORD my God, what have I done? Have my hands done something wrong? Have I done wrong to my friend or stolen without reason from my enemy? If I have, let my enemy chase me and capture me. Let him trample me into the dust and bury me in the ground. (When I read this, I do fear a little. I wonder at David’s confidence in his relationship with God)

LORD, rise up in your anger; stand up against my enemies’ anger. Get up and demand fairness. Gather the nations around you and rule them from above. LORD, judge the people. LORD, defend me because I am right, because I have done no wrong, God Most High.

God, you do what is right. You know our thoughts and feelings. Stop those wicked actions done by evil people, and help those who do what is right. God protects me like a shield; he saves those whose hearts are right. God judges by what is right, and God is always ready to punish the wicked. (I pause here and pray for those whose hearts are still dark; I don’t want anyone to suffer God’s punishment)

If they do not change their lives, God will sharpen his sword; he will string his bow and take aim. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he has made his flaming arrows.

There are people who think up evil and plan trouble and tell lies. They dig a hole to trap others, but they will fall into it themselves. They will get themselves into trouble; the violence they cause will hurt only themselves. (This comforts me. Sometimes I wonder why people are cruel; this reminds me that human nature has always been like this)

I praise the LORD because he does what is right. I sing praises to the LORD Most High.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How can God not be real

I wonder when I hear people say "I don't believe in God". I ask what they believe in, and most cannot say. But some respond "Oh, a great being", "a higher power", or, sadder still, "nothing, when you die you die." Some say "How can God be real, with all the suffering in the world?" 

Open your eyes, sometimes I say. How can God not be real? We breathe, we hope, we aspire. And for what, if there is nothing? But until people experience this good grace for themselves, they cannot know. And some are so shelled with pride, they cannot reach a thought that's not their own. 

I pray for them, that their eyes are opened, their hearts softened, and their pride abandoned. 

God is great: imposing, noble, heroic, splendid
Some do not believe. I wonder
How can His presence be denied?
What thoughts do they possess
That leads them through the dark place
Where God is real, but they are blind?
Where is their laughter?
Where is their hope?
Living in one dimension
Straight-line birth to death

Tick marks along the line of life events

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter is the reason Jesus came

The cross stands, empty, in the highlights of dawn,
A faint shadow falls upon the bloody ground,
A crude crown lay abandon, the marks of His body still in the dust.
In the dark and silent cave the
Son rises, sits, still swaddled.
He removes the rags of death and smiles.
Standing triumphant
Commands the stone to move
And walks into the bright morning.
This is why He came, why He died;
To conquer death,
Remove the gardens curse,
Leading the way to the tree of Life.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Consider Him who is faithful

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Lamentations 3:25-27 (ESV)
Consider Him who is faithful.

I turn dreams to heavy things,
Demanding, like a child.
I lose sight of vision
Staring at the present reality
As if it was the only one.
I seek the Lord for answers
Already given in the vision world
Of faith and certainty. 

Oh faithless heart, distraction of my sight!
My soul grows faint in battle
With my soddened self.
I cry for mercy, relief from such a foe. 

Mercy always comes. And such a sweet face.
The Lord smiles.
My soul finds rest in the gleam of His eye.
I stand again to move through one more day,
Just present reality,
And reach the vision set in trust for me. 

Then there will be one more.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I will not let my life
suspend on quiet threads.
Life is remembrance,
the immortal chance
to leave a wisdom,
and improve the place I stand
for those who come after
a thousand years, and time worn
stones, the names are smooth
where they lie now, and where then,
and who remembers, or is better
for their birth.

Some advance the generations,
teaching  stories that contain
seeds of consolation, wheels
and turn.

But my gift is not a grave
and who I am is not the thing
But that I have some insight
and I lived the sorrows
others will have.
To them I give the consolation
that life is only death
but between lies laughter, and actions of joy. 

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I have learned that I am judgmental

I realized today that I am judgmental. I was blind to it. I was praying about something that has bothered me since a few months after I was saved. God told me I am judging. So I am praying and searching my heart to see why these kinds of things bother me so much.
I was saved into a church with many rules. No makeup, no movies, women wore skirts, and so on. What I began to notice is that although people will not go to the movies, they would watch the movie on TV. The women darkened their eyelashes with hairspray. People found ways around the doctrine they professed to believe.
I saw a woman who did not drink spit out a bourbon hot dog she had been porking down. One of the women in the office mentioned there was bourbon in the sauce. I understood why she did it, but she just looked ridiculous to the unbelievers in the group. She had already eaten twelve of them, and swallowing one more would have been polite.
Today on Facebook I saw a girl share the cover of a book she was excited about reading. One the cover, there was a bare-chested man and a woman kneeling so that her head hit his belt buckle. The woman’s blouse was falling off her shoulders and down her breasts. I laughed and had to refrain from responding. This is the same girl that brought a conversation to a screeching halt one evening by announce she would NEVER see an R rated movie. She made such a pucker face, everyone just stopped talking.
This kind of mindset drives me crazy. It makes me crazier when I see this in Christians. We get so much opposition from unbelievers, and when we are not true in all our actions, we just look stupid.
Christians have a core belief that Jesus is Lord, God’s Word is true, and baptism is important. Yet depending on the denomination and maturity level, we do have differing beliefs. We all walk in the light that we have, and operate in the measure of faith God has given us.
I guess that I think if you have a belief like not wearing makeup or going to movies, then live with it and do not try to have fake makeup and watch the movies on television. The movie does not get any holier because it is on TV. If you do not watch R rated movies, do not read R rated books. Just be true to what you believe, and do not say things to impress other believers. The only one we have to impress is God.
But as I pray, God says to me “What is that to you? You do as I have instructed you.”   

Does the Bible support slavery:Why would we ask such a question

Does the bible support slavery? This topic is trending, but I have to ask “Why?” Slavery exists in today’s global society, and has existed since the beginning. Slavery highlights the condition of man’s heart, to capture and subjugate others to a man’s will. I have to wonder if we, as Christians, do the same with God’s Word.
Depending on the condition of our hearts when we read the word, we “hear” it is different ways. Are we still holding onto the illusion that our will somehow has an effect on God’s Word? Have we learned to push our own thoughts, desires, and expectations aside so that we can truly hear what God is saying?

I have heard of a type of study termed Precept. This study involves three steps: observation, interpretation and application. Precept offers sound advice about interpreting the scripture in that Precept teaches that one scripture alone cannot form a belief, but the belief must be supported throughout the scripture. What caused me to pause in this is the third tier of Precept: The first step in application is to find out what the Word of God says on any particular subject through accurate observation and correct interpretation of the text. Once you understand what the Word of God teaches, you are then obligated before God to accept that truth and to live by it.

While the concept of Precept is excellent, are we studying God’s Word in this way to increase our knowledge of God’s Word, or to increase our submission to God’s Word? Submission means to surrender our concepts, expectation and desires to God and be willing to hear what He says to us.  As we study God’s Word, we acknowledge that God discussed slavery. However, Jesus teaches us that we must treat others as we would treat ourselves. Jesus teaches us how to live as Christians in Matthew 5. The entire chapter is devoted to bringing our flesh into submission to God’s Word. Even if the Bible discusses slavery, Matthew 5:39: But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. (ESV) Cross reference.

This is the will of God:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:1-12 (ESV)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life happens as we breathe

I wrote this poem to read at my brother's memorial. My brother fell off the dock where he worked and hit his head. It was a sudden passing.

From breath to breath we are born and die.First flashing as a star, shining with every promise,Then settling into orbit, steady into life as breath exhales.We turn, and what we leave is what we bringBetween the breaths
Ecclesiastes 3 begins: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. In this book, Solomon explores the meaning of life. By the end of chapter 12, Solomon understands that the lures and adventures of life alone are  meaningless and shares “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

Friday, January 9, 2015

God's Word is alive

God’s Word is alive-it did not dry with the ink. It seems some Christians believe that the Word cannot be heard or understood based on individual verses; yet God speaks to the heart through a verse or chapter.

I have been perplexed lately about the disturbances I have felt in my heart. I listen to others talk, and hear their ideas concerning leading people to the Lord, and about how they believe they should live. All are good, but there is something that is unsettling to me.

I have been praying and seeking God about this. I did not know if I was missing something, believing falsely, or what was going on. I began to look up the word ‘reasoning’, because this is what seems happening in the conversations. And, in my Christian walk, I do not count on reasoning, but simply believing God.

I read John 8:47 and this helped me a lot. John 8:47 (KJV) He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Based upon my own experience with Jesus, it was not argument or justifications, but the overwhelming presence of God and the realization that this was the truth that brought me to salvation.

During the 70s, the “Jesus Movement” began. Many of my friends were being saved, and we talked about their experience. I was not moved, and did not feel a great need to ‘find Jesus’. I was working on a poem about the origins of creation, and asked a woman I worked with, who was a pastor’s wife, if I could come and speak with her and her husband about some questions I had about descriptions in the Bible. We talked for a long time about the giants in the land and some aspects of what the Word said about creation. As I left, the pastor suggested I read the book of John.

Not knowing the Bible, but remembering the word "John" I got out the Catholic bible my mom had given me when I was married. I opened it, found John 1, and began to read. This is what I read, and this is what happened.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:1-14(NKJV)

Agnostic eyes read these words.
My brain translating concepts into thoughts:
Flowing electricity
Through the fortifications of all I knew.
Stunned, I stared at lilac walls,
Laced with the afternoon sun.
I sat, looking at the big book in my hand,
My brain clicking internal binary codes,
Programming inroads
Through disconnected memory files
And suddenly,
Organized sense awoke.
A veil was lifted:

I gasped, “I’m saved.”

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I can do all things through Christ

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Phil 4:13 (NKJ)
This is a great testimony of faith, which requires us to swallow our fear and stand on strong legs. To accept this statement as truth means that we are willing to act, even if we are afraid. We meet challenges head on; we rely on the strength of Jesus in our times of sorrow and crisis. We keep the eyes of the heart firmly fixed on the Rock, and on the truth that God is able, even when we are not.
In the mind's eye, we stand; we take the hand, lean on the arm, of our loving parent. We cast aside our pride, the independence in the human spirit that craves to do it by ourselves, to prove to God that you are worthy.
God does not care about your worthiness. He already knows you weakness, your sins, and your limitations. When the Christian accepts that God is real, and that He is the rewarder of those that seek Him, God stands, opens His arms, and accepts us. He does not say, "Well, okay, come into my kingdom. But if you want to stay here, you better straighten up." He greets us as a mother greets her newborn child, taking the fragile, helpless infant into her arms, cradling the child, filled with joy, and overcome by love.
Just as a child learns to crawl, walk, and interact with strangers, always keeping a watchful eye on the mother, so Christian learn that they can accomplish all the things that they are asked to do by keeping a watchful eye on God.
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. When you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1Cor 10:12-13)  This passage reminds me it is Christ who is strengthening me; there is no room for pride. In each situation, it is important to remember that God will not ask us to do what we cannot do. If we become involved in a situation or challenge that is beyond our capacity, God Himself will provide the way to remove ourselves.
As we mature in the Christian walk, we learn that God is always with us, always on our side. Life throws us curves, disappoints us, and challenges us. However, as the pride, selfishness, and worthless ambitions dissolve, we begin to adapt to the personality of God. We grow to understand who we are in Christ, and seek His purpose in our lives. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we understand that in ourselves we know nothing.
We begin to see the world as God sees it, filled with humans looking for hope. And we have that hope. "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." (Phil 4:10-13)
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" is the verse from the King James Version. Knowing that we can do all things through Christ, we are strengthened by that knowledge.