Sunday, July 29, 2007

No More Guilt

No more guilt, no more shame
For those trusting in the Name.
All is clean, all is fresh
By Christ's gift of his own flesh.

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith...
--Colossians 1:21-23, ESV

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Stormy Morning



The day is growing darker now,
Though breakfast's not yet done.
The Lord may give us rain today
Instead of summer sun.

The clouds march past like infantry
Assembled on parade.
The countless ranks unblinking pass
In awesome strength arrayed.

A distant rumble of the drum,
A sharp note from the fife,
And now the clouds unleash their rain,
Artillery of life.

"If you follow My statutes and faithfully observe My commands, I will give you rain at the right time, and the land will yield its produce, and the trees of the field will bear their fruit."
--Leviticus 26:3-4, HCSB

Note: I wrote this some days ago. We have no rain yet today, which is fine, since we've had much more than normal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cat's Tail



I hope you enjoy this photo of our cat's tail. Photography has helped me see the beauty that's around me every day.

My Best, or His?

"Each day I'll do my best,
And God will do the rest."
These words that sound so fine
Are just the devil's line.

Each day God does the best.
In him, then, I will rest.
This ends my soul-dead strife.
In Jesus, I have life.

Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.
--Zechariah 4:6, ESV

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jesus Was Gracious to Judas

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He called him
And loved him
And taught him.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He trained him
And commissioned him
And sent him out to minister.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He honored him with the money bag
And with the morsel
And didn't embarrass him even as Judas left to betray him.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.

Jesus was gracious to Judas.
He warned him
And waited for him
And gave him every opportunity to repent.
Yes, Jesus was gracious to Judas.


When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot's son.
--John 13:26, HCSB

From the life of Judas Iscariot, we can conclude the following:
1. Even hearing the greatest teaching is not enough, without the new birth.
2. Even seeing the greatest miracles is not enough, without the new birth.
3. Even having the greatest example before us is not enough, without the new birth.
4. Even being active in Jesus' work is not enough, without the new birth.
5. The Lord knows from the beginning who are his, but just as the 11 did not suspect Judas, so we are imperfect in determining the spiritual condition of others.
6. When people are treacherous toward us, we must seek to be like Jesus: gracious, but speaking the truth.
7. The many, many people who must have been blessed through Judas--receiving good news, receiving healing, having demons cast out, having alms given--must have received a genuine blessing, even though the messenger was false. A wonderful ministry is no guarantee that the minister is really saved. Conversely, when a minister proves false, it is no indication that the blessings received through that minister were false.
8. Jesus' gracious treatment of Judas, even though he knew from the beginning that Judas would betray him, shows the glorious perfection of Jesus and the moral bankruptcy of Judas.

NOTE: For the basic idea behind this poem and for most of the eight points that follow, I'm indebted to my pastor, Richard C. Caldwell, Jr.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Creeping Pride

I've seen a creeping pride
That wants to grow inside
My often-fickle heart;
To claim I'm set apart:
I'm better far than you
Because of things I do.
But this proves the reverse,
That I may be much worse.
There's nothing good in me
Except the Lord, you see.

Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
--Romans 12:16, HCSB

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

First Grandchild



One look at your eyes,
So wide with surprise,
So deep and so blue,
So fresh and so new,
And I'm in your thrall:
No balance at all.

I thank God for you;
For your parents, too.
May you, child, be blessed
With true holiness.

I'm praying that you
Will be born anew
And inwardly blaze
With glory and praise
For Him in the skies
Who gave you those eyes.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
--Proverbs 17:6, ESV

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Place of Singing



How beautiful the songs of grace
That rise and flow within this place!
They lift our spirits, wave by wave,
And point to Jesus, strong to save.

The melodies are new and old.
The styles are gentle or are bold,
They speak to age, or speak to youth,
But all the words ring out with truth.

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.
--Colossians 3:16, HCSB

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Giving


If we give with bleak regret,
We don't know the Savior yet.
If we give because we must,
We have not yet learned to trust.
If we give to gain men's praise,
We won't gain eternal praise.
If we give with joy and love,
We're reflecting God above.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
--2 Corinthians 9:7, NKJV

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Life's Speed


This is a poem I wrote a dozen years ago.


The years creep by,
And childhood's slowly gone.
The years begin to walk a steady pace
As we're teens, then young adults.
The years walk quicker, then they jog
As we hit our twenties and our thirties.
By forty-five, the years are running in an easy lope.
Each is distinct, but then is gone before we know it.
That's where I am now.
I wonder--as we hit our eighties,
Do years fly by like utility poles on a country road,
Seen at sixty miles per hour?

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
--Psalm 90:2

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Quote: Not Taking Our Sins Lightly

Here's a quote from my pastor, Richard C. Caldwell, Jr.

"Never take your sins lightly. If we do so, we're treating lightly the suffering of Jesus on the cross. God's grace never encourages anyone to continue in sin. God's grace forgives sins and sets people free from their sins...not sinless perfection, but turning from sin to a new lifestyle."

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
--Titus 2:11-14, ESV

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer Evening

In Sunset Park
Approaching dark
Those many years ago
We children ran
Without a plan--
Except to move, to go.

The fireflies' light
Flashed dim - not bright.
I caught one, too, you know.
Then watched it blink
Another blink
And then I let it go.

The fountain pool
Looked still and cool
As night began to fall.
Then lights of blue
And red ones, too,
Came on to color all.

I've been away
Decades, I'll say,
From childhood's Sunset Park,
But I may find
It in my mind
As summer days get dark.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
--James 1:17, ESV

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God's Logic for Me

I am strongest when I'm weak.
I am highest when I'm meek.
I am wise, though thought a fool
And am freest in God's rule.

I receive more as I give,
And by dying, I will live.
That's the logic which will last
When this present life's all past.

The foolishness of God is wiser than men.
--1 Corinthians 1:25