Thursday, October 15, 2020

 

The Trees Of The Field

The colors of life are in the fall,
where God’s bright truths are shown to all.
The trees of the field will clap their hands
and spread God’s love throughout the lands.

Warmest brown leaves tell it straight,
“We all have sinned and tend to hate.”
Red shiny leaves sing of love
coming down from God above.

Bright orange leaves make all see,
“Christ bore all iniquity.”
And swirled yellow leaves give a smile
to be with Him in just a while.

The colors  of fall are rich to see
the Painter of Eternity.
The trees of the field, forever true,
display God’s love for me and you.



For ye shall go out with joy,
and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills 
shall break forth before you into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12


The Trees of the Field

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has everything in control. He holds the earth in place with its laws of gravity, properties, rotation, force—stuff you’d learn in a physics class. My son strikes up conversations about this, mostly from his interest in a really cool scientist who debunks the evolution theory a lot and who operates a dinosaur park in Alabama.

Romans 1:20 says that the divine qualities of God are plainly seen. Look at all the intricacies of plants and animals and at the scope of outer space. I once heard a man say: ‘No way could a God make all that is on the earth and in outer space. That’s way too much for only one being to do!’.  Boy, is he ever in for a rude awakening. By His creation, we know God is vivid. Check out this passage in Revelation of vivid descriptions of Jesus:  

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me.
And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks
one like unto the Son of man,
clothed with a garment down to the foot,
and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
His head and his hairs were white like wool,
as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
And his feet like unto fine brass,
as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as
the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand
seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp
twoedged sword: and his countenance was as
the sun shineth in his strength.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
And he laid his right hand upon me,
saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and
the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death.
Revelation 1: 12-18 

Did you know that Jesus holds the keys to Hell? It isn't Satan who holds them even though that’s where he lives. You would think the inhabitant of a particular place would obtain the key to it. But Satan doesn’t hold any keys. He’s been stripped and he knows his ultimate destruction in the end. Because of it, he is always trying to take down as much of God’s creation with him on his way out.

And Jesus holds the keys of death. I think in order to hold the keys of death, one must have conquered death. We know Jesus did. Jesus was raised from the dead three days after He willingly went to the cross for us. Satan will never be able to conquer death because it is already written by the Living God that Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever (Revelation 20:10). 

How powerful is Jesus? We have a glimpse—extremely. It’s the kind of power like “Don’t mess with me, man!” It’s the kind of power you would fall dead-like to, like John did. I think glimpses are about all we can handle in our present form. There will be another form to take. First Corinthians 15 speaks of being raised immortal and incorruptible. The 13th chapter says someday we will see clearly. Maybe in new bodies, we will be able to handle seeing this kind of power. 

When you pray in Jesus’ name, it means something. Talk about a powerful friend! Lift praises and concerns to God our Father in the power of the name of Jesus. The lists never end. But God's mercy endureth forever.

Here’s a prayer request for you: please pray earnestly, like Elijah, and persistently, like the widow who kept going back for justice and finally got it, that our public schools would not teach evolution. Students who are taught that we evolved from apes, which the Bible never says, experience worthlessness. Some students say if we’re all evolved matter with no hope after death, what’s the point of living? Is a loving Creator taught in the public schools? I’m not happy that my tax dollars contribute to the evolution lie and promote depression in young minds. Will you take it up with me to a higher authority? This is not a new prayer request but let’s keep at it, like that widow (Luke 18:1-8). 

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6 

May creation remind you of Christ’s authority and eternal love for you. May the trees of the field, painted by the Painter of Eternity, help you live in joy, peace and patience.

Thursday, October 1, 2020



THE ORANGE LEAF

Gorgeously brilliant, a true, bright hue,
a one-of-a-kind, a marvelous view.
And there I see it beam in the sun,
the perfect orange leaf unlike any one. 

Ongoing giver, the star of spring,
a dainty orange tree, a new life to bring.
And there I trace it, sent through the sky,
the free swirling seed that came from up high.

Delicate showcase, the crown of fall,
an emblem of change, the best of them all.
And there I catch it, crisp in the air,
the Maple Tree’s Gift that none can compare!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6


THE ORANGE LEAF

The brisk air brings Autumn as maple trees change into vibrant color. Some kids love to jump into piles of leaves. And some try to catch a leaf as it swirls down from the top of a tree. Maybe it will be placed inside the pages of a book to be preserved.

Either the words spoken by Jesus Christ in John 14:6 are truth or foolery. There aren’t many ways to God, only one. We know that by faith in Christ, God's Son, we have reconciliation, salvation, eternal life, joy, inheritance and victory.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

 (of his dear Son…)
Who is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn of every creature: 
For by him were all things created,
that are in heaven, and are in earth,
visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions or 
principalities, or powers:
all things were created by him, and for him.
Colossians 1:15-16


and

For it pleased the Father
 that in him should all fullness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood
of his cross, by him to reconcile
 all things unto himself;
by him, I say,
whether they be things in earth,
or things in heaven.
Colossians 1: 19-20


Although everyone is made in God’s image, not everyone is a child of God. God wouldn’t have sent His Son to die for our sins if we were already His children. We need redemption.

But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, 
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
John 1:12-13


Receiving Jesus is believing in Jesus, kind of like catching that special orange leaf! In the book of Revelation, God, angels, elders, beasts and living creatures acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only one worthy to open the book at the end times. No one else anywhere in all the universe is able to open that book or even look at it. The whole heavenly host will witness the event and I think we’ll see it too, no matter what side of eternity we’re on.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Revelation 5:9


The book of Revelation shows us what will happen once the book is opened by Jesus, the Lamb of God, broken seal after broken seal. 

It is Jesus who will start the vengeance that God said He would have. 

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31 

It is Jesus who will issue judgment. 

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.
Matthew 25: 31-32

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Verse 46


It is Jesus who will begin the harvest of the earth and make war.

And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
Revelation 14:16


Remember what happened to people like Korah and King Sennacherib. They are examples of what not to do. Instead, turn to God in prayer like Moses and King Hezekiah did, much to Korah and King Sennacherib’s demise. 

Pray that your loved ones know how much Jesus loves us. Ask God to help you and your loved ones understand His Word. Pray for your enemies, and for steady faith during this time.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
Ephesians 2:13-14

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Colossians 3:12-13


May your name be recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life because of your belief. May you catch the Orange Leaf that the Maple Tree freely gives! In this season and because of that catch, may you put on kindness and patience.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

 









THE FRUIT OF THE TREE

It’s Autumn and the harvest time,
when the apple trees are bearing
sweet fruit that’s worth a mile-long hike,
and the afternoon for sharing.

We will know the apples that we seek
by the goodness they are yielding,
by the bounty they have rich in store,
and the fragrance all so pleasing.

But the trees that have no tasty fruit
and are pleasant not for eyeing,
offer branches that are mostly bare,
and some look as though they’re dying!

In the rosy light, we’ll choose the best,
and our baskets we’ll be filling;
the love of Jesus in our hearts
will, with grace, be over-spilling.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The Fruit of the Tree

Autumn is underway here in the woods with its distinct fragrances—apples, rain, cool mornings, frequent cups of coffee and tea and roasting from the oven, which sat mostly dormant during the hot summer months. God, the Creator of seasons, is in control. He gives us what’s next. That is kind of tough to think of, especially this year when every week is a new turn. But the truth is, God is in control. He has a time table and vegetation itself is a clock.

What fragrances do you love?
What fragrances does God love?
 
Then took Mary a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly,
and anointed the feet of Jesus,
and wiped his feet with her hair:
and the house was filled with the
odour of the ointment. 
John 12:3


Mary anointed Jesus before He went to the cross for us. We read in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible that God was pleased with the aroma of sacrifice.

And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8: 20-22


And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
Leviticus 23:18


And in the New Testament:

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.
Ephesians 5:1-2


As I think on these verses, I’m reminded that the kindness extended to me should be reason enough to be kind to others. God sent His Son to be an offering for our sins. Being obedient unto death on the cross, Jesus made purification for our sins by laying down His life for us. He went, knowing not everyone would choose to believe. I must deny myself, pick up my cross and follow. Denying one’s self involves sacrifice. 

They that trust in their wealth,
and boast themselves in the multitude
of their riches; None of them can by
any means redeem his brother,
nor give to God a ransom for him:
(For the redemption of their soul is precious,
and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should
still live for ever, and not see corruption.
Psalm 49: 6-9


No payment is enough except that which was made by Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. The Lamb who was slain is the only one worthy to open the book and loose the seals in Revelation 5. It was John the Baptist who declared “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
Matthew 3:8


As the season turns, we’re reminded that the Bible teaches us to turn. Turn around to Him who is tapping on the shoulder. Follow Jesus who loves us. Obey the command to love others.
 
And I gave her space to repent
of her fornication; and she repented not.
Revelation 2:21


Somehow, our Creator knows who repents and who doesn’t. A designer knows his design. Those who repent gain eternal life. The Holy Spirit enters into a welcoming heart producing fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Pray, then, for:

F   ragrant love.
R   idiculous joy.
A   bundant peace.
G   rand patience.
R   eal kindness.
A   luring goodness.
N   on-stop faithfulness.
C   ompassionate gentleness.
E   ven-keel self-control.

Ask that you would have these traits over-flowing like a basket of apples tipped over and spilled out. Pray that God would turn your hurt into ridiculous joy. Ask God to give abundant peace to your spouse who is heartsick over his family. Pray that God would bless your enemy through your real kindness to him. Ask God to help you have grand patience, even in a turbulent year like this one. Pray that your children maintain even-keel self-control through troubled times. God knows what we need. But, will we ask? Will we keep asking? Will we wait on the Lord only to soar on wings as eagles? Will we rely on prayer, that privilege to express our heart to the Heart Reader?

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for
as we ought: but the Spirit itself 
maketh intercession for us with groanings 
which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts
knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints
according to the will of God. 
Romans 8:26-27


and 
 
Even so every good tree 
bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matthew 7:17


These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:13


On the woodland trail, there is a wild apple orchard where some fallen apples have been crushed under foot. The smell permeates the air. There will be a season for those who wait on the Lord to renew their strength. May the fragrance you love be the same God loves as you pray to sustain a faithful life through patience.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020


 









FOREST WINDS


The September winds are kicking up,

and the poplars, all so grandy,

along the road are saying, “Turn!

Your way is not too dandy!”


Their silvery leaves are telling me,

as the sun falls in, and merry,

that the way I go is not that good,

and I’d best let someone carry—


Carry me to where the birches dance,

and the ferns, on a wind a-borning,

do swirl and twirl, as I listen well,

to their end-of-summer warning—


Warning of the way that I think’s right,

which is not, to be contrary,

for there are commandments to obey,

and they’re anything but airy!



There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, 

but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 14:12


FOREST WINDS

The September winds are kicking up. A yellow hue is appearing on the trees and some leaves are already orange and red. Apples have fallen on the ground. Autumn has begun, here in my neck of the woods. 

And with the changing winds, I have exciting news: the book I had self-printed at a local print shop in 2014 is now being self-published and available worldwide! When I had 50 copies of Seasons Of Love: Woodland Poems of God’s Love printed, I thought I was self-publishing and gave the books away as gifts to celebrate my 50th birthday. Now, and with additions, it is truly self-published and available to more readers, like you! I hope you are encouraged by this poetry collection which is accompanied with colorful paintings and enclosed in a matte finish cover. If you purchase my book, I want to say Thank You! And that goes for your prayerful support as well, and time writing a kind review. 

Have you noticed how the wind moves the ferns and branches in the woods? Sometimes, a whole bunch of trees sway from the wind and other times, one lone fern has caught a windy swirl while other ferns around it are motionless. It looks as if it’s waving.

The Word of God is the standard by which to live. The Word of our Creator is the authority by which all creation is measured. Creation can remind us of warnings. Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is.

Know ye not, 

that to whom ye yield

yourselves servants to obey,

his servants ye are to whom ye obey;

whether of sin unto death,

or of obedience unto righteousness?

But God be thanked, that ye were the

servants of sin, but ye have obeyed 

from the heart that form of doctrine which

was delivered you. Being then made free

from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:16-18


What we obey is what we are a servant to. The passage from Romans explains that a person can be a servant of sin which leads to death or a servant of obedience which leads to righteousness. It seems the opposite of obedience is sin. The devil is fighting against the winds of obedience that kick up. Don’t be listening to him.


When we read about the prodigal son in Luke 15, we learn of poor choices and reckless attitude, squandered inheritance and wild living. We are aware of wayward direction. It seemed right at the time. But one day, the prodigal son came to his senses and returned to his loving, patient father.


Know ye not that the unrighteous

shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

Be not deceived:

neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,

nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, 

nor revilers, nor extortioners,

shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you: But ye are washed,

but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified

in the name of the Lord Jesus,

and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10


Washed. Sanctified. Justified. These are the wonderful words for the righteous, for those who experience God’s mercy, for children of God, for people who made a u-turn. Why did they make a u-turn?


Then he saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Matthew 26:38-39


The Son of God willingly went to the cross for us because He loves us and was obedient to His Father, praying, “Thy will be done.” Our faith in God’s provided perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, equals being washed, sanctified and justified. People make u-turns because of faith. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life live forever. Live to be there!


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9


All unrighteousness is forgiven. Only Jesus is able to make this amazing thing happen! No one else can forgive any sin. That’s because Jesus Christ bore all sin on the cross. No one else bore sin. He alone is faithful. This verse rings true only IF we confess our sins. To do that, we must own up to our sin. It is realizing personal efforts towards justification fall short. It’s acknowledging self-centered seemingly right ideas and traditions not relying on Christ lead to death.


If ye love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:15


Because of a grateful heart for Jesus, we can strive to obey commands and go and sin no more. Because of love for what Jesus did for us, we can try to pray ‘Thy will be done.’ Because of Jesus, we can be patient and live under grace.


And I will pray the Father,

and he shall give you another Comforter,

that he may abide with you for ever;

Even the Spirit of truth;

whom the world cannot receive,

because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:

but ye know him;

for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:16-17


It’s good to know God’s mercies are new every morning. He wants a relationship with us and that is very encouraging. God is the God of second chances. God created to have a relationship.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.

Matthew 6: 9-13


...being confident of this,

that he who began a good work in you

will carry it on to completion until

the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 


There must be glorious forests in Heaven waiting for us to walk among them. May forest winds guide you to them in your obedient patience.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

 







AUGUST SONNET

Raise voices like the shrilling crickets make
in August, when they start to stridulate.
In summer heat, and for our season's sake,
match all the buzz cicadas resonate.

Crash cymbals through dark troubles, quick and sharp.
With louder tymbals, drum out jubilee.
Beat sistrums with an angel's ringing harp
and tap with Heaven's rhythmic tympani.

But, I know every tiny abdomen
will, one day, be a chamber passed away.
Yet, for my merry soul, a glad 'amen'
sings out the promise of eternal's day.

So long as Christ lets voices amplify.
So long as hearts are raised to glorify.


And David and all the house of Israel
played before the LORD on all manner
of instruments made of fir wood, even
on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels,
and on cornets, and on cymbals.
2 Samuel 6:5


AUGUST SONNET

Raise a voice in thankful praise.

Is prayer a list of requests only? Is there a list of praises to offer in prayer as well? Requests and praises go together much like the sounds of crickets and cicadas in the hot summer month of August. 

And Hannah prayed, and said,
My heart rejoiceth in the LORD,
mine horn is exalted in the LORD:
my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;
because I rejoice in thy salvation.
There is none holy as the LORD:
for there is none beside thee:
neither is there any rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2

Hannah lifted praises to the one and only God. We, too, rejoice in God’s salvation. We know God seeks a personal relationship with us, His creation. He is not one to make us have a relationship with Him but wants us to come to Him of our own accord. 

Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
1 Samuel 2:3-4

As Hannah continued her prayer, she recognized that God doesn’t like pride. (‘Pride’ is not a good word. The word “pleased’, I think, is better.) Words of pride come from a heart that is not as good as it could be. Humility over selfish pride is the better choice. Hannah knew our actions are weighed by God. Wouldn’t the Creator be the one to measure what He created? Hannah knew that someone’s boasting of their own mightiness can be turned around for the one who had stumbled but trusted God.     

They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
1 Samuel 2:5

Hannah was a prayer warrior. Back in chapter one of First Samuel, we read how she, in bitterness of soul, prayed and made a vow to God. When a vow to God is made, you better be sure to keep it! Hannah did. God granted her prayer request to be able to have a baby and she gave her baby up as she vowed she would. Like Hannah, we know God can grant our requests. He can turn things around from impossible to possible. Those who were full could end up hiring themselves out in order to eat and those who were hungry could end up full. Hannah, once barren, went on to give birth to more children while Peninnah, the other wife with many children and who had provoked Hannah, grew feeble. God can turn things topsy-turvy because of a prayer request.

The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
1 Samuel 2:6-7

Hannah continued her prayer, making acknowledgments gained only by realizing God is all-powerful. She knew first-hand as we can know today. We sense God’s presence near as He dwells within us. God, the Holy Spirit, enables us to understand what we didn’t understand before. We can even glimpse an understanding of cosmic mighty power produced by a single spoken command— “Let there be light!”

He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
1 Samuel 2:8-9

Hannah continues her prayer. It made me think of Job. Job made these same kind of realizations. God doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We gain knowledge and wisdom in our time. It’s up to us in our generation to seek and find, to draw near, to believe, and to become children of God. 

Hannah’s prayer ends with this declaring verse:

The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
1 Samuel 2:10

The boy God gave Hannah would become Samuel who would anoint David as king. When I first read verse 10, I thought of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and God’s anointed. I think we are blessed in our generation to be able to see God’s Word across time. Our almighty Creator will judge the earth. Best be covered by the blood of the Lamb.

Hannah prayed both earnest requests and thankful praises. We can learn a lot from this smart, prayerful lady.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:25-26

It’s the season of drawn-out summer days here in my neck of the woods. Let chirping crickets and buzzing cicadas remind you to make your requests known and to pray thankful praises for what God has done. He is able to turn sorrow into joy through having patience

Saturday, August 1, 2020



BLACKBERRIES

Blackberries ripen, full and sweet,
to make for me an August treat.
Their goodness calls me, “Come and dine!”,
so up I climb to make them mine.

Safe underneath the ash and beech,
the berries grow within my reach.
I pluck them quickly for my pail
and eat my fill along the trail.

Blackberries splendid, good and free,
are like the graces given me.
God’s fruit is for the picking ones,
and with it, love and mercy comes.


O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
Psalm 34:8


BLACKBERRIES

Behind our house and up through the woods on a trail, there is a field owned by our neighbor. Well, it was a field. Shrubs and saplings have grown, turning the once open field into the beginnings of a wooded area. With our neighbor’s permission and long pants, it can be therapeutic to take an August evening and pick blackberries. Frozen away until a cold winter evening, they will make nice additions to an oven-baked cobbler. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Can we trust God?
Can we trust His words in the Bible?
Can we know He is a Rewarder to those who trust Him?

I sought the LORD, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4

David, the psalmist who wrote Psalm 34, knew that those who seek God will have a better result in finding Him. 
Seek and find. 
Taste and see. 
Ask and receive. 
Pray and be heard.

The psalm begins with praising the LORD continually. Praying praise focuses our attention on God who can deliver us from our problems as He has done for people in the past. Our Creator wishes for us to draw near to Him with our joys and concerns. Many people have as recorded in the Bible. It's true for us today.

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psalm 34:5-7

With eyes on the LORD, troubles can disappear. How do we not know that an angel stands nearby? How do we not know that deliverance might be around the corner? Who wouldn’t want to taste, see, receive and know? We are His creation, made in His image with eyes, ears, nose and taste buds. He wants us to experience His presence in our lives.

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
Psalm 34:10

David must have known about lions when he tended his father’s sheep. We can seek God in prayer, like David did, with that growing list of hardships and disturbances including this coronavirus. We can rely on God’s attentive ear to hear things we choose not to be complacent about. And then, we must trust God’s timing.

What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Psalm 34: 12-16    (and 1 Peter 3: 10-12) 

You don’t want to be the one the LORD will cut off! Ask God where the good road is and then walk in it. Pick the good practice and stick to it. Pick the best blackberry and then drop it in your container! Jesus said to follow Him. If we’re used to going our own way, it might be tough to follow. Thankfully, our Savior is patient with us. Every morning is another opportunity to live the victorious life. 

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;
and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 
Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
Psalm 34:18-19

The local drug store has bandaids for scratches from berry briars. But there isn’t anything there for a broken heart. God heals the broken-hearted and saves the one with a contrite spirit. Even with all the thickets we have to sometimes walk through, God is there to pull us out of them. God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Let’s live for the reward He gives!

Psalm 34 ends with a promise:

The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants:
and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
Psalm 34:22

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
James 1:2-3

Yes! Yes to all three. We can trust God, His Words and know He is the Rewarder! 

Taste and see. God’s fruit is for the picking ones. And there is a warm-baked heavenly cobbler ready to be enjoyed from the gathering of patience.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

What the Brook Sings

Shall I compare you to a singing brook?
You are more joyous and more exquisite.
Spring waters rip the banks I overlook
and summer’s heat can lessen jolly wit.
Sometimes, slow singing turns to babbling quick
and ripples skip a beat in foolishness.
Or, quality has ended by a stick
where pools have gathered foam in quietness.
But your sweet lyric voice will resonate
and not be muddled by the season’s tolls.
A song together we will celebrate
in melodies of Heaven's happy souls.
So long as you hear what the brook sings of.
So long as you know it is My true love.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you:
continue ye in my love.
John 15:9

What the Brook Sings

There is a marriage of our spirit with God's when we have faith.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
Romans 8:16

By faith, we obtain the Spirit of sonship even though we fall miserably short of God’s glory. We can cry out to our Father who hears us and helps us live according to the Spirit. His Spirit testifies with our spirit.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Hebrews 13:4

Would it be no surprise that since God decreed marriage is honorable in all, Jesus’ first miracle was performed at a wedding? Or, that the first miracle involved changing something into something else (water into wine)?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Matthew 19:6

In the marriage covenant relationship, a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife. A vow is kept, even in sickness, poorer conditions or worse circumstances than when unmarried. It’s best to agree in faith, being equally yoked. It’s better to agree to not break faith with each other. Like two oxen pulling a cart together, the husband and wife help each other trudge mud puddles and step over dips in the road. As a husband and wife give their heart to each other so we give our heart to Jesus. And Jesus tells us His yoke is easy.  

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
1 Corinthians 7:4

You’ve probably sung the old hymn “I Surrender All”. This hymn talks of giving all to Jesus. The marriage illustration applies to our faith in our risen Savior. It’s God’s Spirit that we must surrender to and not our sinful nature.

All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

Besides, look at this verse:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:6

He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
John 3:29

When Jesus came to be baptized, John the Baptist recognized Jesus as the Bridegroom. The husband of the bride is the bridegroom. And who is the bride? We are, the Church, which is all believers across time. We wait for the bridegroom who will return for His bride, the Church. Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Ephesians 5:25

Can you hear the brook sing of God’s love to us? We submit to Christ’s authority because of what He has done for us on the cross. His atoning death provides forgiveness of sins.

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Revelation 19:7

Will you be at the great wedding foretold in Revelation? You are invited. I believe I have loved ones already saving me a seat. Plan now to attend. Make your reservation. Don’t throw the invitation out!

God married human characteristics with the human birth of Christ, His Son becoming His creation. We are graciously made co-heirs with Christ, the Son of God, if we truly have the Spirit of sonship. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call, we will be changed. Creation will become immortal, imperishable and incorruptible bearing the likeness of its Creator for eternity.

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
1 John 5:12

When you trek to the brook in the woods, pull up a rock, sit down and pray for faithfulness and patience. He who gave Himself for us remains faithful.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Romans 8:9

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Hebrews 10:36

Support marriage and have patience.