Monday, April 28, 2008

Repentance - Christian Poem



Purge me, Lord, without, within.
I'm sick of self and sick of sin,
Sick of turning my own way,
Of finding night instead of day.

You alone can make me clean,
Can fill me up with good unseen.
Make me pure in all I do
So all my ways will shine for you.


Wash away my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.
--Psalm 51:2, HCSB

...how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?
--Hebrews 9:14, HCSB

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Astrology Fails Again

Here's an interesting news story, "Astrologers Fail to Predict Proof They Are Wrong."

As Christians, we should not be smug. Science has sometimes been slow to show the truth of Christianity.

What, then, should our reaction be?

Maybe thanks to God that we're not enslaved to astrology. (You don't read your horoscope, do you?)

Also a prayer that the Lord will send workers into his harvest fields.


You are worn out with your many consultations. So let them stand and save you--the astrologers, who observe the stars, who predict monthly what will happen to you.
Look, they are like stubble; fire burns them up. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. This is not a coal for warming themselves, or a fire to sit beside!

--Isaiah 47:13, 14 CSB

Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
--John 4:35, ESV

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Slave of Christ - Christian Poem


If I am a slave of Christ,
Purchased with his sacrifice,
I must serve him faithfully--
Jesus, LORD who's over me.

Serving him is my delight.
All his ways are wise and right.
As I serve, I soon can see--
All his slaves are truly free.

For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
--1 Cor 7:22-24, ESV

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Blind Leading the Blind: Juanita Bynum

I'll admit it...I read some gossip; the story of televangelist Juanita Bynum's upcoming appearance on the TV show Divorce Court. There are several sad things about this story, but perhaps the saddest is that Ms. Bynum, whose web site says she is "an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher, prophet, recording artist and media personality," does not base her thinking on the Bible. She was certainly in a bad marriage. Police reported that in a public altercation her preacher husband choked her, pushed her down, kicked her and stomped her.

Bynum said she would always love Weeks [her husband], but made a decision to "love me more." What about loving God more than either husband or self?

She said suicide crossed her mind, but "I didn't because the name Bynum represents a legacy of people that have gone before me and had I done that I would have given too much power to an individual to not just wipe me out but to wipe out the integrity of the legacy I was born in." What about the fact that suicide is a violation of one of the Lord's ten commandments, "You shall not murder"?

She surely has a right to try to protect herself from physical abuse, but she has no right to call herself a Bible teacher when she doesn't apply the Bible to a deep crisis in her life.

May the Lord have mercy on her and on her husband, leading them to repentance.

Father, raise up workers for your harvest fields...workers who are genuine servants of yours, ablaze with truth, filled with your pure Spirit, speaking the message of Jesus not for money, not for fame, but for your glory.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Saved by Grace through Faith

Faith is and is not a work.
"This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." - John 6:29

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." --Ephesians 2:8, 9

There's no merit in faith.
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. --Romans 11:5,6

If we say we're inherently better that others because we believe the Lord, then we think faith is meritorious, and we're wrong.

If we think faith is not a gift, that doesn't necessarily mean we think it's meritorious.

(Scripture quotes from ESV)

The grammar of Ephesians 2:8-9 doesn't say directly that faith is a gift. It says that being-saved-by-grace-through-faith is a gift. So, is the faith itself a gift, or isn't it? I don't think that's as clear as some would say. If faith isn't a gift, then it's merely the non-meritorious way of accepting a gift. Either way, we would not believe unless the Lord had chosen us and called us.

How are we saved? By God's grace. How do we receive and experience that grace? By faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lost Creativity - A Christian Poem


I left my creativity somewhere,
And can't remember just where.
Was it at work?
Did it slide under my desk, a shy, slithery snake?
Or did I drop it in the garden
Between the eager lettuce and the prim parsley?
Maybe it was on the road--
Went spinning off like a loose hubcap.

No, none of those,
And it didn't morph into a UFO
And sail to one of William Shatner's worlds.

No, I remember now.
The Lord said he had a fresh supply for me.
He sounded eager to show it to me,
But I got busy and forgot to pick it up.

Because of the LORD's faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!

--Lamentations 2:22,23, CSB

You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don't receive because you ask wrongly, so that you may spend it on your desires for pleasure.
--James 4:2-3 CSB

Environmentalism

C. Marie Byars has an interesting post on Faux Environmentalism.

First, a disclaimer: My income comes from the petroleum industry, but I try not to let that affect my environmental views, either direction. Remember also that in this blog I'm not speaking for my employer. I want to be wise concerning the environment and faithful to God.

I think some politicians want to use environmentalism as an excuse for stronger government.

Still, there are simple things we can do that probably make a difference. Here are some...
1. Live closer to where we work, or vice-versa.
2. Never use charcoal lighter fluid. A metal fire-starter ring with crumpled newspaper works just as well.
3. Drive a vehicle with higher-than-average gas mileage.
4. Eat less meat. I've seen it claimed that the production of meat produces more ozone-depletion than does transportation. Whether or not that's true, we'd almost certainly be healthier and gentler on the environment if we ate less meat.
5. Turn off incandescent lights when not in use.
6. Avoid traveling to Tahiti to attend environmental conferences. (Yes, it's been done.)
7. Recycle a little more of what we use.
8. Let grass clippings stay on the lawn for fertilizer, if the lawn is of a type that will tolerate that.
9. Plant more trees than we cut down. Near where I live, they are currently clear-cutting large amounts of the native forest and replacing them with subdivisions with names like "Arbor Trails." Such a practice is scandalous. I think it should be illegal.
10. Replace each car's air filter at least once a year.
11. Drive gently, avoiding sudden speed changes.
12. Stop being a slave to fashion in clothing.

Here are some environmental ideas that I think have dubious value:
1. Restricting yourself to locally-grown food. This week our newspaper mentioned an inn with a 5-star restaurant that serves locally-grown food; they can arrange for you to arrive by helicopter, if you wish.
2. No longer making Bibles with oil-based covers; using leather, bonded leather and other recyclable materials instead. (Am I the only one who wonders whether it actually takes more oil to make the leather cover? What about greenhouse gas production from the two types? Are old Bible covers really what's clogging up our landfills?)
3. Buying carbon credits, brokered by the company you own, to offset the carbon footprint of your mansion.
4. Pushing for the US to use ethanol from corn instead of gasoline. One problem with the ethanol is the large amount of groundwater that's being pumped to produce the corn. The groundwater is just as scarce a resource as is the oil. Better ideas: Pushing for fuel economy, for public transportation, for car-pooling or for better electric cars.
5. Ripping out all of the asbestos in old schools and burying it, instead of merely sealing it off with some sort of coating.

I thinking about the environment, let's keep truth in mind:
--The Lord calls us to be stewards. A steward is neither to waste things nor to keep them from their proper use.
--People are sinful. Unsaved radical environmentalists are just as sinful as are unsaved radical polluters. We can expect people on all sides to be dishonest and selfish.
--We must not pretend that we need 100% certainty before taking action on an issue. We don't want to be like the tobacco companies which denied for decades that there was any link between smoking and cancer.
--Our religion is to be Jesus, not the environment.

"Whether then you eat or you drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
--1 Corinthians 10:31, NASB

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Heavenly Life - Christian Poem

It's not just the freshness.
It's not just the health.
It's not just the beauty.
It's not just the wealth.

It's lack of corruption.
It's unending peace.
It's evil's chains broken.
It's total release.

It's all our best dreams
And much more, it seems--
It's day without night.
It's Jesus, the light.

They will never be hungry or thirsty again. Neither the sun nor any burning heat will ever overcome them. The lamb in the center near the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs filled with the water of life, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
--Revelation 7:16, 17, GW

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beautiful Mistake



This photo came out better than I expected. I think my cell phone's lens was dirty!

It's wonderful how the Lord can take even our mistakes and use them for his glory.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Educated Superstitions

Educated people may make fun of people who believe in old superstitions such as these:
--If you break a mirror, you'll have seven years of bad luck.
--If a black cat crosses your path, you'll have bad luck.
--If you spill salt, you should throw some over your shoulder.

However, I've found that the educated can have their own superstitions. Here are some:
1. Locally-grown food is better than food that has been transported farther.
2. Organic seeds are best for planting in your vegetable garden.
3. Tax cuts will balance the national budget.
4. Installing fluorescent lights instead of incandescent will save so much energy and reduce carbon dioxide production so much that it will make a great difference in global warming.
5. You can be ecologically-responsible while living with just your wife in a 5000-square-foot house and traveling to Tahiti for conferences on global warming, so long as you buy carbon offsets.
6. Spirituality is important, but truth is not.
7. The random evolution of species is an established scientific fact.
8. Electing Obama (or Clinton or McCain) will solve lots of the world's problems.
9. Pornography is socially neutral.
10. Jesus is a myth.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Longing for Pentecost - Christian Poem

Father,

I'm hungry for a bit of Pentecost--
    For unexpected fire,
    Extravagant worship,
    Bold evangelism,
    Missionary zeal
    And new tongues.

I love the stability
    And the predictability
    And the maturity
    That come with a focus on
    Teaching the Bible,

But when do you shine forth?
    When do you blow through our lives
    With such a mighty rush
    And burn above our lives
    With such dancing fire
    That people rush to see the source of the sound
    And then are shocked to have their lives
    Touched by your fire?

I don't want the shallow fakery
    Of miracles that depend on
    Hair spray and TV cameras.
I don't want the deceptive miracles
    That come to those who worship the miracles
    Instead of you.

You are enough, with or without signs,
    And I thank you for that.

Still, I'm hungry for a bit of Pentecost.


On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
--Acts 2:1-4, NLT

Thursday, April 10, 2008

For Ed - Christian Poem

Note: A day or two ago, I was taking photos and came across a man who'd just finished mowing the lawns around some businesses. We started visiting. His name is Ed. We spoke mostly about business-related things. I told him that I write poems, but don't make my living from them. Before leaving him, I told him that everyone needs Jesus and needs a good church. It turns out that he's got a good church, but hasn't been going lately. He said that as he came out of his shed earlier with the mower, the word "poem" kept going through his head for some reason. He figured God had sent me to him.

Pray that Ed and his family will worship with God's people this Sunday.

________________________

We grow and flourish like the grass,
But swift as birds, our days all pass
Beyond today to yesterday
Where they will not return our way.
We've spent them building up a life;
In search of dollars or a wife.
But when our days on earth are done,
Our only hope will be God's Son.
If we've not trusted him by grace,
We'll shrink in terror at his face.
But those who truly trust him now,
Well-blessed before him, then will bow
Receiving all their great reward
And hearing "well-done" from their Lord.


And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
--Matthew 25:33

Bluebonnet Season

This is the season for bluebonnets and other wild flowers in southeast Texas, especially in Washington County. My wife and I went there earlier in the week. Her photos were better than mine, but here are a few of mine to give you a taste of the beauty.






The Lord has placed beauty all around us. If this world is so beautiful, what must the next be like?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Another Christian Poet

Today I received a comment from Mike Bullock, a British poet. I've added a link on the side of this blog. Some of his poems are quite good. I liked Eternal Magnet, He Didn't Die and Plummet.

He comes up with some interesting word choices. He compares sinful thoughts to "septic grain."

The following lines are memorable...
Soothe my injured, battered soul
Tip it in Your mixing bowl
Break it down and add Your Love
Fit my hand into Your glove

May the Lord use Mike for his glory.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Depth of My Sin - Christian Poem

Depth of my sin,
As deep as all hell.
Filthy and dead,
Putrid as well.

Light of God's love,
As bright as the sun.
Paid for my sin,
Filled with God's Son.

Depth of God's grace,
From heaven to me.
Past all I'd earn.
He set me free.

...that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
--Ephesians 3:17-19, ESV

Monday, April 07, 2008

Courage in a Wheelchair



Yesterday I was at a nursing home, preaching at a church service. Mr. Wallace is one of the most faithful attenders at those services. His wife is often with him. He's been in nursing homes since a stroke about 30 years ago. In the years I've been going there, he's lost almost all of his hearing. He may be singing when we've long since finished a hymn. When we finished, he told me the same thing as usual. "I couldn't hear what you said, but I'm sure other people did, and I thank God for that."

Compare your life with that of Mr. Wallace. He's almost always cheerful and thankful to God. How about you?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Growing in Tough Places



Only rock on every side;
Cannot climb and cannot hide.
I must hang on where I am;
Trusting like a little lamb.

God has put me here to grow.
That's the one thing that I know.
One thing more...to lift my face
And with joy reflect his grace.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds...

--James 1:2

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Fig Tree



Come on into my back yard.
I want to show you a tree--
There it is, over in the far corner,
With all that leafy enthusiasm.

Why's it that odd shape?
It's shaped low and wide, like a biscuit.
That's because I prune it severely.
It was a dozen feet* tall in January; I cut it down to five.

Oh...for the fruit.
Yes, it's a fig tree.
Look closer now, and you'll see the fruit developing already.

What did you say?
Oh, yes, I suppose it does seem cruel to cut it so much,
But that's the only way to get the best fruit.
There's another fig tree one street over.
It's at a rental house,
And the people don't trim it,
Because they don't care about the tree
Or about the figs.
I suppose they may cut it down some day,
But mine is mine,
And it gives me sweet, sweet figs.


*A dozen feet is a bit over 3.5 meters.

Do not despise the LORD's instruction, my son,
    and do not loathe His discipline;
for the LORD disciplines the one He loves,
    just as a father, the son he delights in.

--Proverbs 3:11-12, HCSB