Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Potter



The potter takes the clay
And shapes it as he wills,
With plans for use some day
Beyond the fiery kiln.

The clay can't choose its shape,
Its color or the sheen
The potter wills to give or take.
His vision reigns supreme.

O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
--Jeremiah 18:6, ESV

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
--Romans 9:21, ESV

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kingdom Come - Christian Poem



His kingdom is not of this world,
With armies and banners unfurled.
It's entrance is silent as light,
But some day he'll rule all with might.

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world."

--John 18:36, NASB

Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become {the kingdom} of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."
--Revelation 11:15, NASB

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paradoxes - Christian Poem



Ancient message, ever new:
Die to self, to really live,
Heaven to inhabit you.
Find yet more, the more you give.

Jesus died but is alive--
Gone to sky--he will come down.
Kill your passions. You will thrive.
For his slave, a royal crown.

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

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lord, Help Me Repent - Christian Poem



Lord, help me repent
Of my shallow repentance--
My hypocrite ways
That should burn in your furnace.

Establish my hope
In my savior's returning,
And thus make me pure.
Lord, for you I am yearning.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
--James 1:22

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

God's Promises - Christian Poem


Each perfect promise
      Guarantee by God
Is live truth, sword-sharp to slice through doubt and hypocrisy
Leaving fillet of fresh faith
Nourishment of saints

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
--Hebrews 4:12 NASB

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pray for Zimbabwe

On aldaily.com I found a link to this horrifying story of what's been happening in the nation of Zimbabwe. It's a long, terrifying article.

Imagine living with such inflation that prices change multiple times a day. Imagine living in a country where most of the able-bodied adults have left. Imagine living in a country where the life expectancy has dropped by 26 years since 1990.

Read the article. Also pray for Zimbabwe.

Here are some lessons to learn from this situation:
1. Education doesn't solve problems of the heart. When you educate an evil man, he becomes more dangerous.
2. Other nations will rarely interfere when a government destroys its own nation.
3. Civilization is sometimes just a thin veneer. There's an evil that burns in the hearts of people.
4. Sometimes it seems that everything good is lost, that there's no hope. Yet as Christians, we know there's always hope.

    When evil rules and virtue hides
    And terror's strong on every side,
    When even thinking makes one shake
    With horror at death's growing stake,

    When all the best can do is wait
    For judgment on a ruthless state
    That persecutes all righteousness
    And honors gods of wickedness,

    The Lord is still alive and well.
    He has prepared his burning hell
    For those who glory in their shame,
    But saves all those who trust his Name.

I heard, and I trembled within;
my lips quivered at the sound.
Rottenness entered my bones;
I trembled where I stood.
Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress
to come against the people invading us.

--Habakkuk 3:16, HCSB

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who Can Save Me? - Christian Poem


I cannot save my soul
Or make myself alive
Or make my spirit whole
Through that for which I strive.

By nature, we're not ill;
No, we are stinking dead.
Salvation's--by God's will--
Through Jesus Christ instead.

He paid the awful price,
The fee we could not pay:
His dying sacrifice
Our only hope, the way.


But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath.

--Romans 5:8-9, HCSB

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reflections on Habakkuk 3:8-13



Yahweh comes with a still, small voice
Urging us, even us to come,
Calling us with his holy word,
Promising what we truly need.

Yahweh comes with a trumpet sound
Mighty mountains will all fall flat,
Plagues will come on the rebel hosts,
Nations falling like rotted trees.

Yahweh comes and the sun stands still
Nations fall from his wrath and ire.
Evil cringes before his will;
Righteous all now are saved at last.


Was Yahweh displeased with the rivers?
Was your anger against the rivers,
    or your wrath against the sea,
    that you rode on your horses,
    on your chariots of salvation?

You uncovered your bow.
    You called for your sworn arrows.
        Selah.
You split the earth with rivers.
    The mountains saw you, and were afraid.
    The storm of waters passed by.
The deep roared and lifted up its hands on high.
    The sun and moon stood still in the sky,
    at the light of your arrows as they went,
    at the shining of your glittering spear.
You marched through the land in wrath.
    You threshed the nations in anger.
You went forth for the salvation of your people,
    for the salvation of your anointed.
You crushed the head of the land of wickedness.
    You stripped them head to foot.
        Selah.

            --Habakkuk 3:8-13, WEB

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dragonfly - Poem



A dragonfly helicoptered by,
Paused to check the controls,
Then lifted off again
To finish his mysterious flight plan.


And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds--livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so.
--Genesis 1:24, ESV

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lord of Beauty and of Grace - Christian Poem



Lord of beauty and of grace,
May people see you in my face.
May they hear you as I talk
And see you in my daily walk.

May they not remember me
(There's really just not much to see).
May they, Lord, remember you
And praise you then for all you do.

As all of us reflect the Lord's glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
--2 Corinthians 3:18, God's Word translation

Saturday, August 09, 2008

56 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor


Are you a good neighbor? Am I? Here's a list of more than 50 ways to be a good neighbor.

1. Bring food to welcome a new neighbor, especially if your ages or cultures are quite different.

2. Maintain your house and yard.

3. Visit someone who is house-bound.

4. Plant a flower.

5. Invite someone to visit in your home.

6. Improve a park.

7. Pick up your litter.

8. Pick up someone else's litter.

9. Gently but firmly correct a neighbor's child who's doing something wrong or dangerous that the parents don't know about.

10. Thank a policeman or a teacher or a pastor who's doing a good job.

11. Give away something you don't need.

12. Plant a tree.

13. Visit someone is prison or in the hospital.

14. Speak kindly to an immigrant.

15. Be involved in some level of government, if you're good at it.

16. Cook a meal for someone who's ill.

17. With permission, prune a neighbor's bushes.

18. Use your expertise to help someone for free.

19. Pray for or with someone.

20. Give a gift to someone who isn't expecting it.

21. Speak the truth.

22. Consider others when planning the volume, timing, frequency and duration of your parties.

23. Babysit for someone at no charge.

24. Organize a group of people to paint a single mother's house.

25. Help someone move in or out.

26. Care for someone's house, yard and pets while the person's on vacation.

27. Smile at people you don't know.

28. Report a fire or a crime.

29. Share seeds or plant cuttings or flower bulbs.

30. Play or sing live music in a park.

31. Fight a fire, but don't go into a burning building to rescue property. (For grass fires, a dampened throw-rug may be your best tool until the professionals get there.)

32. Pull a weed that's growing in a public place.

33. Clean someone's rain gutters.

34. If you live in a cold area, shovel someone's walk or organize a group of neighbors to buy a snow-blower jointly.

35. If you live in a warm area, mow the lawn of someone who temporarily can't.

36. Give someone the down payment for a car.

37. Give someone a car.

38. Encourage someone who's doing the right thing.

39. Volunteer at a nursing home.

40. Teach a Sunday School class.

41. Help someone find a job.

42. Provide a mature male example for a fatherless boy, or a mature female example for a girl whose mother's institutionalized.

43. Help someone after a disaster.

44. Attend a funeral, or at least send a card.

45. Bring someone a gift of home-grown flowers or a craft item that you've made.

46. Drive carefully.

47. Listen to someone's troubles.

48. Return a lost item or a lost pet to its owner.

49. Take an elderly person to the grocery or to the doctor or to church.

50. Provide an hour or two of care for an invalid, to the relative who usually provides care can go out.

51. Help a new neighbor know where things are or how things work.

52. Take walks with a neighbor.

53. Teach a neighbor a craft or a skill.

54. When taking your children to a park, take along a neighbor's child.

55. Show equal respect for the mayor and the yard man.

56. Organize a block party.

So, are you a good neighbor? Am I? Jesus said to "Love your neighbor as yourself." I don't normally reach that standard. Lord, make us better neighbors...both because it's right and because it honors you.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Rain of Living - Christian Poem



Thank you, Lord, for rain of living
Joyful steady drops you're giving
Drops that nourish, cleanse, refresh
Mercy upon land and flesh

Fresh us with your Spirit, too,
Wake down deep with thought of you
Thus you nurture spirit, soul
Body - by grace-rain made whole

Listen, heaven, and I will speak. Earth, hear the words from my mouth.
Let my teachings come down like raindrops. Let my words drip like dew, like gentle rain on grass, like showers on green plants.
I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Give our God the greatness he deserves!

--Deuteronomy 32:1-3, GOD'S WORD translation

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dealing with Depression from a Christian View


Today I heard of yet another person struggling with depression. I've written poems about depression (to see them, search this blog for depression). Today I'd like to share some of the things I've found help with depression. If you're depressed, I'd urge you to do some of the things on this list.

1. If you're not a whole-hearted Christian, trust Jesus Christ. Be full of the Spirit. The Bible says "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

2. Exercise a lot. Half a century ago my mother used to say, "I don't understand why people kill themselves. If they'd just decide to run around the block until they dropped dead, they'd feel better before they dropped dead." Scientists now tell us that strenuous exercise releases endorphins, which work to make you feel better.

3. Use the gifts God's given you. As you see him working through you, you'll rejoice at what he does.

4. Use anti-depressants (either St. John's Wort or prescription medicine) if you need them. For some people, they are like turning on a light. Yes, they can have side-effects, but the medicine may enable you to start doing enough other things right so that you won't always need a lot of medicine.

5. Keep a thankfulness journal. Each day, write the date and three things you're thankful for. Sample:
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 03 August, 2008
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Thank you, God, for interesting clouds today.
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Thank you, God, for saving us by faith, not our works.
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Thank you, God, for a good bed.

6. Repent of every known sin, but don't spend time worrying about unknown sin. Trust the Lord to deal with it. (See 1 John 1:9.)

7. Get adequate rest--not too much, not too little.

8. Balance emotional stimulation and quietness. If crowds excite you, realize that after being with them, you may need some quieter, "down" time. You may feel a bit sad during that time. You may find that if you prolong exciting times longer than you should, your recovery time is longer. That's OK, if you understand it.

9. Give yourself permission to have moods, but not to be self-pitying nor moody.

10. Stay connected to friends, family and church. Don't isolate yourself. If you're hurting deeply, tell someone.

11. Each day, do your best to do what needs to be done, whether or not you feel like it.

12. Enjoy Sabbaths and vacations without guilt.

13. Intentionally praise the Lord. Try singing with a Christian recording. Try moving your body as you do so.

14. Persistently tell yourself the truth. Tell yourself the truth about God and his promises, about your own strengths and your own weaknesses.

15. Avoid making long-term decisions while depressed.

16. Thank God that your depression can make you more able to help others, as you experience the Lord's comfort and faithfulness. See I Thessalonians 1;3.

17. Never ever for a moment allow yourself to think your depression can be solved by violence against yourself or against others.

18. Learn to enjoy simple things: a sunset, a child's smile, a frog, a pencil.

19. Don't let others make you feel guilty for not being perennially upbeat.

20. Trust the Lord. Entrust your emotions to him.

My friend, I urge you not to linger helplessly in your depression. Use everything the Lord gives you. Serve the Lord. Serve others. Use the wisdom he gives. Find your way out, into the joy of his presence.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rescued By Faith - Christian Poem



My works can never pay my way
Of rescue in God's judgment day.
By faith is how the righteous come
And live before the Holy one.

...the righteous will live by his faith.
--Habakkuk 2:4, World English Bible

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It's not the result of anything you've done, so no one can brag about it.
--Ephesians 2:8-9, GOD'S WORD translation

Friday, August 01, 2008

Prejudged

The King of Glory stood condemned
Before he spoke a single word.
That guilt was founded not on facts
But on the pride of those who judged.

He chose to not defend himself--
There's no defense before a court
That doesn't want the holy truth
But only thirsts for guilt and blood.

The best an honest man can do, such times,
Is show the evil of the court
And show that if they don't want truth,
He'll never help them in their lies.


    Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.
    Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."
    When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, "Is that how you answer the high priest?"
    Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
            --John 18:19-23, NRSV