Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wall

Poetry play time! Over at Seedlings in Stone L.L. has prompted takers to write a "color" poem. She started the action with one of her own titled Scarlet. I will follow her lead and go with red too.



WALL

There you sit
on your pedestal
munching
munching
my ideas of heaven
like a rabbit
with its lettuce
oblivious
eyes wide
immune to revelation
your pride
red
and hard as brick




If you would like to play too then check out RAP, Random Acts of Poetry for ongoing opportunities!



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Forget Fear

These are fearful days. I hear and see it everywhere I go. Concerns over the economy, politics and the future loom large in many hearts. I've also noticed that a certain amount of anger accompanies that fear.

Depending on your media sources, it should be fairly obvious just from headlines that end-time prophecies are being fulfilled right before our very eyes and ears. Whether or not this is "it" no one knows for sure. I feel pretty safe in saying we might at least be experiencing a test run.

I can't imagine being in this world without Jesus. Without Him there is much fear, no hope and plenty to be angry about.

Thankfully, as Christians we have nothing to be fearful of. To do so would be irrational.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

So that means that if we have faith in our God and we trust His word, we literally have nothing to fear! Nevertheless, at times we do find that we are fearful. Don't be discouraged. God knows His children well and He has provided us with fabulous tools. Let's see what we can do about having a sound mind.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

For myself, I cannot plug my ears or shut my eyes to current events. My head is the total polar opposite of sand. It won't go in! I cannot appease, disengage or be complacent. Yet, at the same time, I know that I am in this world but I am not of it. I know that if I am to do what I am called to do that I cannot have the world in my first-thoughts. The world cannot be allowed to occupy my mind.

Okay then, what about the power part?

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:10-16

Did you know that we can set our minds and put on our armor before we ever get out of bed in the morning? For some reason we have a propensity to first rouse with negative thoughts. I don't want to go to work today, go to the dentist, do all that laundry, fight the crowd at grocery store, etc, etc. You fill in the blank. Hit the snooze! See how the battle begins before we've even opened our eyes in the morning?

Last but never least is the love. People are starving for love. This is our calling.

Jesus said to him, 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40 (The caps are not mine. Think Jesus was trying to tell us something?)

So... things boil down like this:

1. Focus on the good stuff.
2. Dress for battle
3. Love, love, love

Whooops, forgot the fear! Well, how about that...





Friday, February 13, 2009

Love 1611 style

.
.



I. Corinthians. Chap. XIII.

Though I speake with the tongues of men & of Angels,
and haue not charity,
I am become as sounding brasse
or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I haue the gift of prophesie,
and vnderstand all mysteries

and all knowledge :
and though I haue all faith,
so that I could remooue mountaines,
and haue not charitie,
I am nothing.


And though I bestowe all my goods to feede the poore,
and though I giue my body to bee burned,
and haue not charitie,
it profiteth me nothing.


Charitie suffereth long, and is kinde :
charitie enuieth not :
charitie vaunteth not it selfe,
is not puffed vp,


doeth not behaue it selfe vnseemly,
seeketh not her owne,
is not easily prouoked,
thinketh no euill,

reioyceth not in iniquitie,
but reioyceth in the trueth :


beareth all things,
beleeueth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.

Charitie neuer faileth :
but whether there be prophesies,
they shall faile;
whether there bee tongues,
they shall cease;
whether there bee knowledge,
it shall vanish away.


For we know in part,
and we prophesie in part.

But when that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part, shalbe done away.


When I was a childe, I spake as a childe,
I vnderstood as a childe,
I thought as a childe :
but when I became a man,
put away childish things.


For now we see through a glasse, darkely :
but then face to face :
now I know in part,
but then shall I know euen as also I am knowen.


And now abideth faith, hope, charitie,
these three,
but the greatest of these is charitie.

King James Version 1611



Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vengeance

Many years ago I had occasions to be vengeful. Malicious treatment by people who were supposed to love me caused one of the greatest inward struggles of my life. At times I wanted nothing more than retaliation. I was a weak Christian then but knew that vengeance was not the appropriate option.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

Try as I might (and I tried), there was not a loophole to be found. That was until I stumbled across this scrumptious verse while reading my bible one day:

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22.

That was it! I would just keep being nice no matter what and it would drive my enemies crazy from not being able to "get me". I would be extra nice. I really wanted God to heap on the coals. Getting a reward for my Christian approach seemed a worthy comfort too. I was pleased to think of its deposit into my heavenly bank account. I rejoiced! The Lord had shown me the way. He would take vengeance. This was going to be sweet.

Soon, however, a problem surfaced. It wasn't working. I didn't see steam rising from the tops of their heads. There didn't seem to be a lesson learned. They didn't see the error of their ways. As a matter of fact, my newfound freedom seemed to trigger an even greater challenge within my enemies to hurt me.

I was discouraged. Not only that, I had discovered another verse that made me see that what I was doing was still a form of vengeance. By my actions, I was trying to force the hand of God to act against my enemies. Though I didn't see my enemies fall, I was glad with anticipation. In my rejoicing at this prospect I had literally transferred those consequences upon myself in the form of God's displeasure.

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him. Proverbs 24:1-18

Unfortunately, this story doesn't have a redeeming end to it. Those people are no longer in my life and nothing was ever solved between us. I recently received a wonderful revelation in regards to one of the verses though. The one about heaping hot coals on a person's head.

Evidently, according to scholars, this is a reference to an oriental custom. A fire in the center of a village was kept going day and night. If a household's fire went out then one would take a container, have it filled with hot coals, return home to rekindle the hearth fire and bring warmth again to the household. On cold days this was an enviable job, since the heat from the coals of fire kept the head and hands warmed. To heap coals of fire on someone's head, then, means to warm him, and by extension, bless him and his entire family.

Quite different from my idea of the coals representing guilt, shame or at the very least a monstrous migraine headache! I never took revenge but I wanted it by proxy. I was trying to sic God on them! My response to mistreatment should have been to bless. That's different than just being nice or not retaliating. It involves love. It involves eternity.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44



LORD, help us to see with spiritual eyes and to know that the battles that rage around us are far more important than how they affect us. May the powers and principalities that war for souls lose their strength as we continue by your grace and mercy to love, to pray and to bless. May others come alongside where we have failed.



Note: My experience did not involve any type of physical abuse. Please don't misunderstand me to suggest that anyone should endure such treatment.