Sunday, February 26, 2012

Indecision


photo credit: Bob Adelman, 1965

My indecision
Followed me at every turn,
Turning shopping into research,
Label-reading into a strange art.
Which was better--
Chicken Noodle, or Chicken with Rice?
Beefy Bean, or Bean with Bacon?

I read the red and white labels,
Read them again,
And finally, painfully,
Made a choice.
"And," as Frost said,
"That has made all the difference."

Or has it?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

(1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)
 
I based this poem on the thoughts that came when seeing this old photo. Not until after I wrote the poem did I realize that the fellow in the photo is Andy Warhol, who became famous for painting a picture of a can of soup. I wonder...did he ever pay any royalties to the person who designed the soup can?

For other people's thoughts about this photo, click here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Graced

From Blog12

Day by day, with joy I see,
Jesus Christ has set me free.
By his grace, I now can say,
All my sin is washed away.

I will hide my sin no more,
Not deny my heavy score.
No, I'll boast of what he's done.
Glory, praise to God's own Son!

Blessed are those who wash their robes, 
so that they may have the right to the tree of life 
and that they may enter the city by the gates.
(Revelation 22:14 ESV)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

God's Mercy

From Blog12

His truth corrects and frees.
His mercy guides and keeps.
He rules my times and ways.

He always knows and sees.
He never tires or sleeps,
And so I lift my praise.


I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
(Psalm 7:17 ESV)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

God: The Package


The presence of God
Is packaged
And shrink-wrapped
And priced
And bar-coded
And sold (enter credit card number here)
And shipped by UPS
(Next-day delivery $4 extra).

But is it really his presence?
Or will he overturn the trinket sellers' tables
And the chairs of the credit verifiers?
What if he drives out the vendors
And the entertainers,
Leaving only those who came to pray?
What if he's not impressed
By tickets sold
And gate receipts
And market share
And new rules followed?
What if he's impressed by nothing
But a simple, faithful heart?

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
(Mark 11:15 ESV)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teach Me to Pray

From Blog12
Father, teach me to pray...
It's not the words that I lack,
Nor the theory,
Nor the method.
It's the heart.

Help me clear away the weeds
Of earthly treasures and earthly pleasures.
Make me settle for nothing less
Than fellowship with you
And knowing you--
Knowing there's nothing higher
To which I can aspire.

Yes, teach me to pray.

Now Jesus1 was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

--Luke 11:1 ESV

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Smell of Sacrifices

From Blog12

In my mind, I smell the ancient Jewish Temple--
Smoke of sacrifices
And of incense
Rising up to Yahweh.
I smell it
Over all the area,
Permeating the place.

The Temple's gone, the sacrifices stopped,
But the smell continues--
Smoke of sacrifices of his people,
Incense of their prayers,
Rising up to Yahweh.
I smell it
Over his true people,
Permeating all around.

For those who are perishing,
The fragrance of their coming death.
For those who are being saved,
The fragrance of their coming life.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ESV

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Roman Catholic Church Is Right This Time

baby bentrup
Photo by paparutzi; photo license here.

First, a couple of disclaimers:
  1. This isn't basically a political blog, and I don't intend to make it one. The solutions to my nation's problems are mostly spiritual, not political.
  2. As most of you know, I'm not a Roman Catholic. A number of their beliefs are un-biblical.
Now, let me begin. In the Roman Catholic Church's recent controversy with President Obama concerning contraception, the President was wrong--and still is wrong. If the government can compel Roman Catholic organizations to pay for contraception under every health insurance policy they buy (pay for it, whether directly or as a part of a package), then the government is forbidding them to practice their religion freely. I'm scared of the Roman Catholic Church's doctrines, but I'm more scared of having a government that tells me that I'm free to practice my religion, but only if I don't do it in public; don't do it in my daily life. Christianity is, by its very nature, a religion that requires actions in public. It requires living in righteousness. It requires exposing evil.

As for contraception itself, the Lord said to be fruitful and multiply. He didn't say to "be prosperous and limit your offspring."

The religious laws of the Jews didn't keep a woman pregnant all of the time. The prescribed waiting period for sexual relations after a birth would have kept a couple apart during some of the most fertile times of her life. Now, I don't believe we are bound by all of the uncleanness laws, but I believe that (at the very least)  people (and churches and religious organizations and leaders of NON-religious organizations) should be free to follow their consciences on this matter.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Monster Within



The monster within
Would woo me and thrill me
And ruthlessly kill me.

The monster within
Would wine me and bed me
And gnaw me and shred me.

The monster within--
My enemy, sin.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin
and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:11 ESV)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

(Romans 8:13, ESV)

The illustration is cypress tree roots (or "knees"). They aren't sinister, but they can look odd.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Lord Jesus Christ, I Want to Know You

From Blog12


Lord Jesus Christ, I want to know you--

To know you as a person,
  And not just a force;
To know you as a person
  Who plans my life's course.

To know you as my Savior,
  And not just as law.
To know you as my Savior
  From guilt red and raw.

To know you in your fullness,
  And not just in part;
To know you in your fullness,
  The depths of your heart.

To know you in your suffering,
  And not just your youth;
To know you in your suffering
  For speaking the truth.

To know you in your rising,
  And not just your death;
To know you in your rising--
  My source of each breath.

To know you in your power,
  And not in my own.
To know you in your power
  That you make my own.

Lord Jesus Christ, I want to know you.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, 
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 
(2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, 
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God 
and not to us. 
(2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

I used the photo of the three stems, as a reminder (NOT as a representation) of the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
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