Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas...
I haven't posted for a few be honest I wasn't even sure anyone would notice.  I know that God has given me these poems to be shared and that is the purpose for this site, but sometimes I wonder if it is making a difference or being a blessing to anyone at all.  But with Christmas right around the corner, I really wanted to share these two poems today as my way of wishing anyone who visits a very Merry Christmas.  Because when it comes right down to it, it's not about me but it's about the only thing that ultimately matters. The biggest, most important thing that has ever happened in the history of the world is....

The Miracle of Christmas

Love far beyond measure
To comprehend it, I can not
How a soul so unworthy
God sees without spot
The demonstration of God’s love
Of His mercy and grace
Was found in a lowly manger
In a baby’s tiny face
I’d like to have a time machine
To travel back through the ages
And talk to Mary and Joseph
From the Bible’s pages
Just what did they think
Did it feel very odd
To see the child’s shining face
And know they were looking at God
Did they fully understand
As they raised their little one
That the boy that they cared for
Was Messiah, God the Son
Oh the miracle of Christmas
From that time till this
Is that God gave us himself
So that heaven we would not miss
It’s much more than a season
Or a time of year or day
It’s the spirit of eternal love
Living in our hearts always

Luke 2:19 ... But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

It is clear from scripture that both Mary and Joseph knew and understood that the child they raised was the Messiah.  Did you ever stop to wonder at how strange that must have been for them?  Just how much or how clearly did they understand?  What was going through their minds that time when they thought they had lost Him, only to find Him in the temple, “about His Father’s business”.  They were just normal folks trying to do the right things as they cared for the Son of God.  Wow!?!

Merry Christmas
(A response to the politically correct)

Jesus Christ is Christmas
It’s the celebration of His birth
Strip away all of the tinsel
And you’ll find what Christmas is worth
The Baby born in a manger
Is Jehovah in human form
The same is the Man upon the cross
Whose body was beaten and torn
The world wants to take away Christmas
And replace it with holiday cheer
But it’s only the real meaning of Christmas
That allows for us to be near
To the God of all the ages
His presence we could never obtain
Except for the true meaning of Christmas
No lasting treasure could we ever gain
So as long as there’s breath in my body
And as long as my voice can be heard
I’ll repeat the phrase “Merry Christmas”
With all the meaning that’s found in God’s Word

Matt 1:18-25 & Luke 2:1-21

Instead of printing these two passages here, I would encourage you to take your Bible and read them for yourself.  One of my favorite family traditions was started when our kids were very small.  Before we open the first gift, we read the Christmas story.  As they have gotten older we have begun to share by each reading a portion.  It draws us together as a family and reminds us that Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree but rather the gift on the tree that was born in that simple manger.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just a Glimpse....
I heard a phrase a few years ago that has really stuck with me.  It says that "we need to have eternal eyes", basically it means that we should live our lives with a view of heaven in mind.  The trouble is that we tend to get "earthbound" in our thinking.  So much all around us can be distracting, even some things that are really good things.  God has given us so much in this life for our enjoyment, but it must be kept in balance with the reality that as a Christian, this world is not our home.  It would be so much easier to keep our focus if we could get....

Just a Glimpse

Just a glimpse of Glory Lord
I’m longing now to see
More and more I find myself
Homesick to be free
From the bondage of this world
And the struggles all around
For I am not at home here
My soul yearns for higher ground
I’m a citizen of a Heaven
And I surely realize
That this life is just a journey
Always looking for the prize
But so many things seduce us here
Lord help me to release
All the things that hold me here
That I may know real peace
Because at times I feel too much at home
In this place that’s not my home
When I’m really just a pilgrim here
And my journey is not done
So just a glimpse of Glory Lord
Will help me on my way
May my affections be on things above
Until that glorious day
When the curtain will be lifted
And not a glimpse but fully shown
We’ll be at home in Glory then
And know as we are known

Col 3:1-2 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

I have often said, and I firmly believe, that if we could ever once get a clear view of the eternal, it would totally transform our thoughts and our actions.  I wonder why God doesn’t give us that ability.  But then where would be the faith in that?  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With Veterans Day just past, this poem came to mind.  Freedom is probably one of my favorite words in the English language because it carries such depth of meaning.  My heart felt gratitude is stirred every time I see one of our countries finest in uniform.  I always try to make it a point to let them know that I appreciate their service.  But real freedom goes so much deeper than that.  Real freedom is something that only Christ can make available to us.  Unfortunately there are so many Christians that never learn to experience this freedom to its fullest, because of the choices they make.  I can't imagine anything more precious or valuable.  More than my gratitude for our service men and women, I am so grateful for my freedom from the penalty of sin.  I am grateful that I can have the freedom from the power of sin, as I yield daily to the Holy Spirit.  And I am most grateful that one day I will have freedom from the very presence of sin!  I can't think of anything we are more in need of than real, true, lasting....

If I be lifted up
I will draw all men to me
Jesus speaking of his death
The truth that sets us free
Real freedom is in Christ
Free to love and to serve
Free to be different
If you’ve got the nerve
Free to escape
The bondage of sin
Free to have victory
Over the old man within
Free to avoid
The scars and the shame
Freedom to call
On the power in His name
“Give me freedom or give me death”
One man once bravely said
We make the choice between the two
By the path we choose to tread

John 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
I Cor. 6:12  All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

When I was young, I wanted “freedom” more than I wanted just about any other thing.  Freedom to “do my own thing”, to make my own rules.  I thought, as I’m sure many do (especially in the teenage years), that having that sort of freedom was the key to happiness.  But the older I get and the more I grow in grace, the more I understand that real freedom, that produces genuine happiness and joy, is in yielding “my own thing” in order to do “His thing”.  There is a freedom in the will of God that cannot be understood or experienced any other way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Battle ...
The book of Proverbs is probably my favorite in the OT because of it's variety of practical advise, and because it is so rich with nuggets of wisdom.  One of the passages that stands out to me most, and that I often reflect on is in the 23rd chapter and verse 7 where it says that... "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he"..... Interesting that it doesn't say "as he thinks in his mind".  Although every thought begins in the mind, it is the thoughts that we allow to sink into our hearts that determine the type of person that we become.  The good news is that we get to choose those thoughts.  Parents will often tell their children, "you can be anything you set your mind to"!  And that is so true, but that isn't just for children.  If you don't like where you are in life, change your will be amazed at what can happen when the right thoughts (infused with the truth of the Word) work their way into your heart!  The devil knows this is true and tries to use it against us.  That is why God has given us all of the equipment we need to face...

The Battle
There is a battle raging
A war for all of time
So fierce the attack of the enemy
It’s the battle for the mind
Deception and delusion
Are the weapons of his choice
And a dulling of our hearing
So that we don’t hear the voice
Of the One who is Commander
The Captain of the Host
The only One who knows what’s best
The One who loves us most
The opposition questions
Has God really said
Or is that really the interpretation
When in the Book we’ve read
He lays the traps to snare us
To destroy us if he can
And he makes no real distinction
Whether woman child or man
But the thing that still amazes
Is our foolishness and pride
For we often go into battle
With our armour laid aside
And wonder why we falter
When temptation comes along
Though we’ve been given everything we need
To stand firm resolved and strong
So take note my friend and understand
This battle won’t be done
Until one day we stand in Heaven
And the final victory is won

Eph. 6:11-17   Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Here in these 6 verses the Apostle Paul gives us a way to connect the principle of Proverbs 23:7 to the practical of everyday living.  This is an amazing passage to me, not just because of the truth it conveys, but the fact that we as believers so often do not take full advantage of it.  Our Captain has provided for us every protection and weapon that we need to be victorious overcomers in the spiritual warfare that we face every day.  Yet, all too often I find myself going into my day without one or all of these firmly applied.  What about you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cowboy Kind of Man...
This poem still makes me smile every time I re-visit it.  It is one that is a little more fun than it is deep, but there is some real meaning if you look and listen closely.  All of us had dreams of what and who we wanted to be when we were kids.  Unfortunately, too often we forget how to dream as we get older.  Maybe our childhood dreams were totally unrealistic, but that energy and imagination is the stuff that can push us to doing great things for the Lord and for those we love.  For me, I just wanted to be a .....

Cowboy Kind of Man 
I dreamed of bein' a cowboy 
When I was just a child
But I grew up where the concrete grows
And not the west when it was wild
John Wayne and Gary Cooper
And Jimmy Stewert these
Were the kinds of men I hoped someday
that I'd grow up to be
men of courage and of honor
and a style that was all there own
Men not afraid to stand for right
even when they stood alone
But I'm all grown now and I wear wingtips
Instead of cowboy boots
And I carry around a ball point pen
Instead of a gun that shoots
But I think cowboy is an attitude
A way of lookin' at things
A certain way of dealin' with
Whatever this life brings
So maybe I don't ride a horse
Or rope or throw or brand
But it's deep inside not the work you do
That makes a cowboy kind of  a man

 I Cor. 13:11  "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

It’s one thing to “put away childish things”, it is quite another to let your dreams of childhood die entirely.  I believe we need those childhood dreams to keep us young at heart and keep us striving to be the very best we can be.  Do you dream of doing great things? Do you dream of making a difference? Be a person that honors God.... and never stop dreaming!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Road...
This poem was written as my oldest daughter was moving out of our home.  It is a challenge to myself as well as to all three of my children, who are all now young adults.  I can remember being where they are now, in my late teens and early twenties, and thinking that there was plenty of time to become the man I wanted to be.  But what I didn't fully understand at the time, and what I believe many young people fail to grasp, is that every choice that is made is shaping the future.  In a very real sense we get to decide what the future will look like.  It is simply a destination along....

The Road
The road you're on
Is the path you choose
The way you go
Whether win or lose
It’s the road of life
That takes you there
To your destination
And it's only fair
That you should know
Many years from now
There's no mistake
And no surprise how
You got to that place
Because it's on the way
Along the very road
You are on today
So look ahead
Ten years or more
Along the road you’re on
What lies in store
Do you like what you see
Do your dreams live there
Are you happy with life
In that place where
Your road has led
From the choices you make
What about your children
They too are at stake
It's really quite simple
Not much more to say
Your whole future is determined
By the road you choose today

Eph 5:15-16 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

How much of our lives do we live on purpose and how much do we live simply in reaction to what is going on around us?  How much time do we spend really thinking through and praying over the choices we make?  I don't mean the really big ones like who will we marry or what state we will live in etc., but I am talking about the day to day choices...those all too often soft little choices...that mold our character and therefore our lives and futures.  It is true that God is a God of second chances, but there are no "do overs".  As Christians, we must be wise with the time we are given and make the most of our opportunities for the Lord!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Strongholds ...
I was reminded of this poem this past week when my pastor preached a message about strongholds.  I think that most Christians today are really clueless as to just how real the spiritual battle is that is going on around us.  Proverbs says that " a man thinketh in his heart so is he".  From this one small statement in scripture we can understand just how powerful our thoughts truly are.  It may not be the "big" sins that are your struggle, but what about in the area of being critical, or envious, or judgemental?  Where are your thoughts taking you?  Are you giving Satan a chance to build ...

                Every thought’s a soldier
            In the battle for the mind
            And we decide the victor
            By the ones we give our time
            The warfare may be spiritual
            But it’s as real as any war
            Though some may ask the question
            Then what’s the battle for
            The battle is for strongholds
            Whether right or wrong
            The more we run into them
            The more we make them strong
            If we yield our thoughts to Satan
            Then our minds he can control
            And the strongholds will be his
            Though he may not have our soul
            But if Jesus is commander
            Of the thoughts that wage the war
            Then the strongholds will be righteous
            And we’ll be conquerors evermore

          II Cor. 10:4-5   For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The concept of spiritual strongholds is important to understand.  It follows the principle of spiritual warfare.  If the devil can work his way into your life in some small area, he will build a stronghold there and begin the process of enlarging the size of that stronghold until he has your entire life in bondage.  In a war it is important to defend your territory.  Never give Satan an inch or he will take much more than a mile.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lost in the Middle...
I know many people that are going through some really tough stuff these days.  Whether it's the economy or some physical struggle or a relationship that is not going well.   It's just part of living in a fallen world.  This poem was written at a time when I felt like I had to look up to see bottom.  Days on end crying out for answers and for God to just make it stop.  But I can honestly tell you that during that time was some of the most intimate times with my God and some of the greatest spiritual growth of my life.  However at the time I just felt....

Lost In the Middle
Lost in the middle
Of the story of my life
Looking back as much as forward
And too often asking why
Searching for the answers
When no answers can be found
A gentle voice says Trust Me
My grace is all around
The times you thought I’d left you
I was closer than you knew
And the pain I have allowed because
I know what’s best for you
The trials and the struggles
They are only for your good
With each test you have responded
Just as I knew you would
It’s never more than you can handle
And there is a grand design
To make you more like Me my child
Because I love you and you’re mine
You see I’m smoothing out rough edges
For My glory I’m molding you
With a bigger picture in My mind
Someday you’ll see it too
But for now there’s peace in knowing
I’ll always give you what you need
And my grace is all sufficient
Have no fear and rest in Me

1Co 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
2Co 12:9
 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It has been said that “the trials of life will either make you bitter or make you better”.  The difference is where you put your focus during those times.  God doesn’t test us so that He can see what we are made of, but rather so that we can see what we are made of. 
“You know what you get when you squeeze an orange?.....
you get what’s on the inside!"  It’s just the same with people, when we get squeezed, what comes out is what was on the inside already”

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Right on Time...
I had a friend, a best friend actually, that I loved to spend time with.  Mark was the kind of guy, that no matter what we were doing; whether we were playing basketball or snow skiing or just hanging out, somehow the conversation would always end up on the Word or the Savior or some other Theological subject, and I loved it!  The Impact that he had on my life in the short time that we got to spend together is amazing to me. I still miss him to this day.  He passed away over 14 years ago, but when he died I made a promise that I would always be there for his family if there was ever even the smallest thing I could do for them. This past year his oldest daughter got married and I had the opportunity and the privilege of singing at the wedding. I also wrote this poem for the occasion.  It was interesting to see how God worked in her life as she waited for just the right guy.  Proving once again that God is never late, never early, but always....

Right on Time 
God is always right on time
Like a symphony He moves
Never early and never late
His sovereignty He proves
So often we don’t understand
Just how the pieces fit
The melody and harmony
Our lives are His instrument
He orchestrates each circumstance
Mixing tones both dark and bright
He blends the chords together                 
So that it all comes out just right
He will bring someone into our lives
While another will disappear
It’s all a part of His grand design
Though the reasons aren’t always clear
May we always recognize
That our God is in control
And in submitting to His perfect will
We find peace to rule our soul 

*For Jill*

Ec 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  

Everything in our lives both good and bad, whether we realize it or not or whether we understand it or not, is in the hands of our God and is always right on time.  Funny how we often think that God's timing is off somehow.  Sort of like Mary and Martha when Lazarus died in John chapter 11.  They were just sure that Jesus was 4 days late, but Jesus had a higher motive than just raising Lazarus from the dead.  He was about to put on display His awesome power and glory.  I truly believe that we would witness more of His power and glory in our own lives if we could trust Him completely and submit to His sovereignty.  We all have our plans and schedules, but we must be flexible when things don't go according to plan and trust that our Lord knows exactly what He is doing and He is always right on time.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Times of Prayer...
I heard an awesome message today on the topic of prayer and before the morning services were over the following poem was on paper.  I could hardly wait to post it.  I have to admit I love that feeling when God lays something on my heart like that and it almost writes itself.  In the busyness of the world we live in today it has never been more important or more needed for us as Christians to spend time alone with God.  

Times of Prayer
I feel such weakness
In times of prayer
Distractions within and without
Confront me there
My flesh tries to conquer
The time seems so brief
My mind tends to wander
While my spirit seeks release
God has bidden me to come
Bringing my troubles and care
He Himself has promised
To meet me there
So why then such struggle
When the reward is so sweet
Is my heart so unruly
That it resists such retreat
If I could really see Christ
In all of His glory
And remember His grace
And the power of His story
I should be compelled
To more intensely pursue
My times in prayer
And my devotion renew

Luke 11:1  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Notice that in the verse above, the disciple did not ask Jesus to teach them "how" to pray or "what" to pray, but rather "teach us TO pray".  As Believers, we all know how important it is to pray.  Not just meaningless rituals but to really pray and connect with our Creator.  We all know that there is great blessing and increased faith the more we pray.  Why then is it so difficult for us to spend quantity and quality time in prayer?  I don't know of anyone who believes they spend too much time in prayer.  If we are to have an impact on our world and for the Kingdom, it will not happen without prayer.  Is there any more important aspect of the Christian life than prayer?  And yet is there any more neglected aspect of the Christian life than prayer?  Prayer is our opportunity to talk friend to friend with the Creator of the universe...the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Stop and think about the enormity of that for just a second.  Unfortunately I think that all too often we mistakenly think that prayer was designed so that we could change or effect the mind of God...when the truth is that prayer was designed so that God could more easily change us.... As the saying goes.."little prayer, little power..more prayer, more power..much prayer much power"

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The List....
This is actually one of my favorites.  It was written after a study at my church about what it really means to live a spirit filled life.  How we measure or gauge our spiritual maturity, I believe, is far different than how God does.  Is our Christianity about the do's and don'ts or is it marked by love, worship and service out of a pure heart?   Do we measure by a list or are we moment by moment yielding to the Holy Spirit?

The List
When a soul is first made alive
By the Spirit and the blood
The excitement and the joy explodes
It consumes them like a flood
God begins to work in them
And their life begins to change
Little by little and piece by piece
Their priorities rearrange
Then along comes some well-meaning one
Who believes they know what’s best
They confront this new one with their list
“You must look just like the rest
Here is the list of do’s and don’ts
If you truly want to please God
To really be accepted
This is the path you must trod”
And so this new believer
Now focused on the list
Loses their joy and excitement
Liberty in Christ is missed
And all too soon they fall away
Because the list contains no power
And walking in the Spirit
Wasn’t taught them from the hour
When they first came to know the Lord
And their heart was opened wide
Not that it’s wrong to have a list
But only the Spirit working inside
Can produce a truly righteous life
Full of love and liberty
The freedom to live above the list
Is what it really means to be free

Gal 5:1  
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

I grew up in a culture that promoted the "list" and I will be honest and tell you that it almost ruined me.  I didn't understand or take ownership of what it really meant to be a child of The King until much later in life.  To have the Holy Spirit actually living inside and wanting to teach me and lead me in every aspect of my life.   Please don't misunderstand, I do have my standards and convictions.  But how do I treat a new believer, a baby christian, that doesn't have those same standards?  Would I mistreat or look begrudgingly at a new born baby that didn't talk or walk when and how I thought they should?  Or would I give them time to grow?  Sort of a weak analogy I know, but you get my point.  Only God can bring a believer to true maturity in Christ.  My job is simply to love and encourage them.  

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life and Dreams...
It was fairly easy to choose which poem I would post first.  Although this is not necessarily my best effort, it is the first one that I saved in the process.  It describes how I was feeling a few years ago as I looked back over my life.  I am so thankful for a God that never gives up on me and always offers second chances.  I wonder how many others look at their lives and wonder what might be missing?

Life and Dreams
How does one begin to tell
The tale of a life not lived full well
Of decisions made and choices wrong
And the times you just don’t feel that strong
Where do you look at forty five
When you know you’ve lived past half your life
And the things you thought and the dreams you dreamed
Are nowhere now to be seen
Is it so wrong to want for more
To wonder what else might lie in store
If only you dare to make the choice
To lift your head and raise your voice
Can dreams be revived at any age
If only you’re willing to take center stage
And act on the voice that’s in your head
It’s never too late...unless you’re dead 

Prov. 16:9  "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps."

The one central truth that I hold to in my life is that God is always in control and He never makes a mistake. So often, I believe that we fail to follow our dreams because; we are afraid of failure, or worse, we are afraid of success, or possibly those dreams are stained with sinful desires. God has made us to dream and to desire to achieve. I believe it is right and normal for us to want to become all that God has created us to be. What happens to so many people that go through what is commonly known as “mid-life crisis” or "identity crisis" is that their dreams and expectations clash with God’s purposes and plan for their lives. The happiest people in life are those that have yielded their dreams and expectations to the Lord, and are actively pursuing God's plan. Although I am not always right on, that is where I want to be!

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