Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012 What else is there?

John 21: 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

I love the book of John, especially as I think of it as the words of John, Jesus' best human friend, the disciple whom Jesus loved, as he identified himself in Jn. 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20. For three years John pretty much hung out with Jesus, about every where He went. In Mark 1:35, we read these words: And in the morning, rising a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place and there prayed, and Simon and they that were with him followed after him. I can just imagine John leading this bunch as they pursued Jesus.

All of that to say, John had a ton of stories he did not record. Did you ever try to imagine what those stories might be? All week, ever since I read those words in John 21 again, I have been thinking about that, imagining what John might have seen Jesus do.

Certainly it would have been in His character to heal sick people, and there were a lot of them. Can't you see the leprous, the blind lying on torn blankets, perhaps outside the open market where people bought and sold vegetables and meat? Or outside the temple? Or even following the crowds that followed Him?

I lived in Africa before internet and radio service, and it always amazed me how word traveled. I can imagine somehow word traveled ahead of Jesus that He was coming, and people laid out their sick and blind and wounded in hopes that Jesus would touch them. And I can't help but wonder if John just left a lot of those stories out.

Can you imagine how many meals John shared with Jesus, and all the long relaxed conversations that stretched into the night under the stars? John left the details of those intimate evenings out. I can imagine that Christ's followers asked a lot of questions, perhaps like Thomas's, and John, perhaps in respect for his friends left those stories out.

And as I thought about all those stories that John left out, I thought a lot about all the stories of our lives that we leave out, that we fail to notice, stories of how God worked and continues to work - to keep us from or through danger. Stories of how He provided our needs, food or lodging or medicine. Stories of how we almost fell or succumbed to temptation or stories of how when we did fall, He picked us up and washed us off and gave us a fresh start...forgiven.

It is sad that we are so busy we forget to thank Him for all the stories He wrote on and with our lives.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012 Holy Season

Easter, called Holy Season is upon us, so I thought I would share some of my poems born of the season.


A tiny child’s heart beats
For the first time
In the chill air of dusk,
Beating away the seconds,
Flowing through
His veins.

His mother cradles Him
Swaddles Him in lengths
Of fine linen.
Laying Him in a manger,
She kneels beside Him
In wonder,
Caressing His brow.

And the child grew
And waxed strong
In spirit
Filled with wisdom
And the grace of God
Was upon Him.

A mother’s heart beats faster.
Tears course down her cheeks
For the child she cannot find.
The words of Anna
A sword shall pierce
Thy own soul also
Sing a dirge
She is not ready to hear.

A boy sits in the temple
About His Father’s business,
Yet wounded by the pain
He hears in His mother’s voice.
Joseph and I
Out of our mind
With grief,
Searching for you.

The boy of calloused hands
Grows into a Man
Of strange charisma,
The Carpenter Messiah
Called to a wedding,
A last grand celebration
To be shared with His
Mother who had pondered
These things in her heart.

Redemption flows through
His veins, His heart
Broken, His blood
Spills out, an offering
A payment in full
Buying back the souls
Of men.

The wood of a manger
Exchanged for the wood
Of a cross.
The linen swaddling clothes
Of the Infant exchanged for the
Linen grave clothes of the
Redeemer. Sin’s debt
Marked in red

A tiny child’s heart beats
For the first time,
Beating away the seconds
Of redemption
Flowing through
His veins, a warmth
Waiting to be spilled out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012 Be encouraged!

Did you ever notice how when you are sick or hurt all of you hurts, and even thinking is difficult?  Well, I experienced that this week, and writing seemed impossible.  However, early in the week, I created a page of encouraging Scripture for a friend, not realizing it was also for me, and you.  So here goes, and may you be blessed by God's Word today.

Psalm 107: 28-21 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm to calm, so the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

Psalm 104:33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise unto my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

Psalms 111:2,4 The works of the Lord are great sought out of all them that have pleasure therein...He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

Psalm 112:4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness; he is gracious and full of compassion and righteous.

Psalm 118: 5-6, 14, 24 I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me....The Lord is my strength and my song and is become my salvation.....This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 119:50, 114,143, 165 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me....Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word....Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delight...Great peace have they which love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.

Psalm 120:1 In my distress I cried unto the Lord and he heard me.

Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalm 141: 2 Let my prayer be set fopr6th before thee as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 145:8-10, 17-18 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all and his tender mercies are overall his works. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy saints shall bless thee.....The Lord is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

Psalm 147:P 11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

I Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

March 18, 2012 Aa Safe Haven

John 1:7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Last week we spent a couple of days in Connecticut, and one of my goals was to see a lighthouse.  Here is the first one we saw and the words that came out of that experience.

Stonington Lighthouse      

Not very tall,
my first lighthouse,
laid up granite scarcely
as high as my house.

Yet its beam of light
reaches ten miles
out into the open sea
warning ships of the dangers

of the shoals,
shallow waters, and
 sharp rocks ready
to pierce a hull

and drag the ship
and its crew
and all their families
to a grievous death.

I always thought a
lighthouse was there
to guide a ship into
safe harbor,

but I was wrong.
Sometimes that is what
the light is for,
but other times

it’s there to warn
the oncoming ships to
go another way
to safety.

My Bible says that Jesus
is the light in the world,
sent by God that all men
through Him might believe.

And when they embrace
that Lighthouse, they will
not only avoid the shoals
and sharp rocks and

dangerous shallows,
but that Light will guide them
home to a safe haven
of joy and peace.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16, 2012 It's all about perspective

Ephesians 4:18  Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.

I love walking the beach, looking for story-starters, bits of flotsam and jetsam that turn into lines of a poem or find their way into a story or an essay.  I came home from a birthday trip to Connecticut today with a little box full of story starters, along with a couple of pieces of wood too large to fit in my little plastic box.

It was a freakishly warm March, yes March, day, and we wandered the beach, just above the water’s edge where the wet sand was easier to walk on.  Though the cloudless sky was a brilliant blue, my eyes were directed at my feet searching for unique shells or sea glass or …just one of the treasures I am going to tell you about here. 

Just under the lip of a hillock of sand, I saw an oval object, smooth like an egg, it looked, but dark, perhaps the darkness of having emerged recently from a stray tidal wave.  Anyway, I picked it up, and the surface, bumps polished smooth by endless thrashing about in the waves weighed comfortably in my hand.  Half the size of an egg, it lay there, heavy for its size until I could resist it no more, and it went among the “saved for later” souvenirs.

Thursday morning, I spilled my treasures out into the light, and there it lay, a pale pink surface, speckled with tiny black bits, and in a child’s language, covered with diamonds. Now I know they were not diamonds, but  tiny reflective surfaces catching and spinning back at me glittery silvery light

As I thought about it, this verse came to mind, Having their understanding darkened.  When I picked the stone up Wednesday, mu understanding was darkened, maybe by my sunglasses, but I sure didn’t see the beauty that waited for me.  On Thursday, I wondered too what other beauty I miss because of the blindness of my heart; as Paul puts it in the same passage, v. 20, “But ye have not so learned Christ.”

Two things came to mind – when have I missed beauty because I chose my way, ignoring the Spirit who poked at me to go in another direction. AND when have I missed beauty because I took no time to think something through, when I jumped to a conclusion based on old news or past prejudices. Like the rock I almost tossed back, I wonder how many people I have tossed back, missing the beauty and light God wanted to show me through them.