Friday, December 1, 2017

Boughs of Hemlock

Boughs of hemlock, full and adorning,
true to greet the cold winter morning;
like gifts of the Magi who came from afar,
from the east, they followed the Bethlehem Star,
and knelt at the feet of the King of Kings,
the Ruler, Creator of all living things,
who became His creation—a pure love to carry—
and trusted the goodness of Joseph and Mary.

Boughs of hemlock, rich and stately,
along the roadside bending greatly;
like branches of palm trees that lined the way
to Jerusalem, humbly, on that day,
where our Lord and Savior Jesus wept,
and upon the road to the cross, kept,
to atone for us an eternal peace—
from terrible sins, a sure release.

Boughs of hemlock covered with snow—
on the branches, grace will show;
like the change of season from winter to spring,
belief, a new life in Him, will bring—
of the branch bearing fruit, He will trim it clean,
and restore to completion the new evergreen.
Honor God’s Word, understanding well,
God’s Word will be honored, as boughs will tell.
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus!

Some things are worth the wait. I've looked forward to many things in my life. Joy came when the thing I had waited for was realized.

Such were the days before Jesus Christ was born. Prophets foretold and scripture explained. But not everyone understood. The revealing of God's Gift would be made known to us. The Son of God would be born in Bethlehem, just as the God-inspired prophets proclaimed years before.

On coming to the house,
they saw the child with his mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasures
and presented him with gifts 
of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Matthew 2:11
The Magi visited the newborn King after he was born. They had followed that special Star and found Jesus, the Savior of the World. Here in the woods where I live, hemlock trees are like gifts. Their green branches remain when other trees have shed their leaves. That bit of green color helps lift a winter scene. Creation adorns each day of wait.

Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
while others spread branches they had cut
in the fields. Those who went ahead
and those who followed shouted,
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Mark 11:8-9  
Hemlock boughs remind me of Jesus' walk to Calvary. Following the way of love all the way to the cross, Jesus endured. I must also try to follow the way of love. Tough as it is sometimes, I know it's a command and not an option. Evergreen trees remind me each hour of wait.

Then he opened their minds
so they could understand the Scriptures.
Luke 24:45
Who would not trust an incarnate God who can open minds? He made our minds! But he gives us free choice. Not all understand because not all believe. Not being a dictator, God is the greatest giver of The Greatest Gift! Snow on the hemlocks is like the covering of the blood of the Lamb. Our sins are covered. God gives His Holy Spirit to dwell in us. Creation honors Christ each second of wait.
"My command is this:
Love each other as I have loved you."
John 15:12
And there it is...the verse my poem is based on. May we be good at following orders. Minds that have been opened know more than minds that have not been opened. Those minds appreciate what Christ has done for them. Pray for the opening of minds.

As steadfast as evergreens, keep following, trusting, praying and waiting for Jesus to return, as He said He would. 
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus! 
It's worth the wait. All that has happened solidifies our hope.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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Copyright 2014

Woodland Praise
Praise God in prayer.

Thanksgiving is coming soon. It’s a time for family and friends and remembering to be thankful. Indeed, we should be every day. I find the things I have committed to the Lord in prayer that have been answered need to be acknowledged and appreciated back to the Lord. I know it is His doing and so I must thank him for his provision and goodness to me. God listens and loves with an everlasting love.

 The one who said thanks...

Remember the story of Jesus healing ten men with leprosy but only one of them came back to him and said thank you? 

One of them, when he saw he was healed,
came back, praising God in a loud voice.
He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—
and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:15-16

There are a lot of things to be thankful for: freedom, not being persecuted for your faith, reminders to pray for those being persecuted for their faith, a warm house, good water, a job, family, friends, abilities, joys God gives on a beautiful silver platter, music, and the list goes on. What do you thank God for? Tell Him when you pray. Present your concerns but remember to praise God for what He’s doing. Count your blessings, name them one by one!

When Jesus was entering Jerusalem and people were yelling out 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!', the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke his disciples. And his reply was:

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet,
the stones will cry out."
Luke 19:40

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel.
Psalm 22:3

Here in the woods, nature speaks thankfulness. The barren trees know God is in control as they wait quietly for winter snows to come. The sun shines through the trees, reminding all creation of God's faithfulness. God knows who is thankful. It doesn't go unnoticed. 

Present your requests to the Lord, with thanksgiving, and live by faith with fantastic hope

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

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Copyright 2014


Sometimes, the night is long. And in it, I feel like giving up. I wallow around in the dark of despair. No one knows the troubles I've seen. No one has ever cared for me.

It just so happens that the last two sentences are NOT true. Jesus knows the troubles I've seen! And Jesus has out-cared everyone else! What a friend we have in Jesus!

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable
to show them that they should always pray
and not give up.
Luke 18:1
The parable is about the persistent widow. She kept going to a judge seeking justice. Finally, he said he would see to it that she got justice, her persistence rewarded. Jesus assures us that God will bring justice to those who repeatedly cry out to Him. When God says he will do something, you can count on that.

Cast your cares on Him who looks at the heart. Continue expressing your heart-felt concerns and hurts. Don't give up. Explain how you feel. Keep committing to God what weighs heavy on your heart.
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
Psalm 42:3
The Bible is full of promises and rewards held for those who remain faithful and hopeful to the end. I remember my mother having this saying in her office...'No condition is permanent.' In time, things change and can be better. God is aware of tears and suffering. Hannah had prayed in bitterness of soul. She spent some time crying from being distraught. God saw and heard Hannah. Her mourning turned to joy!

I prayed for this child, and the LORD
has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27
"There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God."      
1 Samuel 2:2
Happy November and All Saints Day.
November 5th is the International Day of Prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. Please remember them that are in bondage for their faith.

Sometimes, the night is long. But morning always comes. Keep trusting God with your cares and all you commit to Him in steadfast hope. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017