Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Snow on the Evergreen

Jesus, who lets the fir tree tell
the blessings of Immanuel,
sheds love abroad within my heart,
like snow in the deepest part.

El, Good Father of greatest love,
and kind assurance from above,
sends forth a peace from Heaven’s crown,
like snow falling gently down.

Savior, the path He chose to die,
whose blood was spent to sanctify,
bestows a grace from only Him,
like snow coating every limb.

Unspeakable Gift, Risen King,
who for me, angels and nature sing,
atones my wrongs to make all right,
like snow turning green boughs white.

Spirit, Creator, Holy Friend
from kingdom joys that never end,
secures a seal of righteous clean,
like snow on the evergreen.

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


Snow on the Evergreen 

Our wooded glade is lacking snow right now with a recent warming trend. It’s refreshing to be reminded of the green beneath, the waiting day of spring arrival. But, we like snow in winter. It belongs. Good thing! There is snow in our forecast here in my neck of the woods.

What does the Bible say about snow?

White as Snow
Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the LORD:
Though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18 

When the sunshine beams on snow, we can hardly see anything else. I have driven my car in a whiteout. For a few moments, there is blindness. Quite a scary situation if you happen to be traveling around 55mph.

God can make sin white as snow. He can blot out any trace of it! He invites us to come and reason with Him. Who would turn down such an opportunity from Heaven itself? Probably someone who thought she had no sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:8

Hard to believe there are people who deceive themselves. They don’t want to hear the word ‘sin’. They might want special treatment with their sin. They don’t want their way to be labeled ‘sin’. They want to be justified. Do we decide for ourselves what is sin? Or, does God define it? Has He made it so there are multiple ways to interpret what He has written? Is there an owning up to sin? For some, there is nothing to own up to.

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

‘If’ is a big word. The devil is banking on creation staying in a lie. The devil doesn’t want us to think we need cleansing. He’s not for redemption. He’s not for God’s work.

We know that Abraham believed and God credited it to him as righteousness. Sinners have always been welcomed in churches. Church is a hospital for sinners and not a showcase for people who claim they are not sinners. They chose not to reason with God, who sent provision of purification of sin by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sin. 

White as Snow: What else does the Bible say about snow?

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 
Daniel 7:9-10

What a scene! Yes? No wonder Daniel was grieved in spirit. Do those who say they have no sin really think they can go up against the Ancient of days? Best wishes to them. But, we know better.

White as Snow:  In Matthew 28:3, it says:

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.

and Revelation 1:14:

His head and his hairs were white like wool,
as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire. 
     
These images paint a powerful picture of Jesus. All judgment has been given to Jesus. Earth is His footstool. Justice will be done, one of these days, just as His Word says.

It’s interesting that snow and fire are mentioned. Fire would easily melt snow. But maybe, because Jesus is all-powerful and made these elements anyways, it is no bother to have them together if He so chooses.

Clean, fresh snow covers up the dirty ground. When we receive Christ into our heart, God gives us the power to become His child. Our sins are covered, like the white coating of winter snow on the evergreen tree. He credits our faith to us as righteousness for eternity. His love is shed abroad in our hearts. Peace and grace settle in. 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9


Own up with the highest authority, to the Creator, who made as-white-as-snow snow. Reason with Him who encourages patience.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Patience in the New Year
A Diamante Poem

Patience,
difficult, virtuous,
waiting, longing, enduring,
fruit, commandment, forbearance, resignation
tolerating, restraining, submitting,
crucial, desirous,
Longsuffering.


Our soul waiteth for the LORD:
he is our help and our shield.
Psalm 33:20


Wait for it….
Wait for it….
Wait for it…

Waiting. Who among us likes it? Not too many, including me.

Yet, waiting, or patience, is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:

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

Did you find “patience” in the above verses? Since I use the King James version here on my blog, the word for patience in the above verse is longsuffering.

Long. Suffering.

Hum. I’m letting that sink in. Even short suffering’s not that great!

I remember a young woman who always wanted to have fun. She lived by the motto that if something wasn’t fun, it wasn’t worth doing. But, think about that: How can everything be fun? Does God make sure everything is fun for us? Or, does He sometimes send, or allow, difficulty for us to endure? Is faith an easy ride? Or, are there high waves to sail over? And if so, why?

Here it is, my word for the 2020 year: Patience.
Every post on Poems and Prayer this year will end with the word “patience”.

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

Patience is better than pride. And anger. Go figure! Seriously, though, I think God knows it’s difficult for us to be patient (and easy for us to be proud and angry). God’s Word to us is for a reason. He wouldn’t have had it put in the Bible if it weren’t so and He wants us to study it for our benefit.

And so, for example, knowing His Word, we can appreciate an older, patient woman keeping her composure when a younger, angry woman spouts off in a long, slow grocery line. Or, be encouraged by the beauty of a seasoned grandfather taking time to help the grandchild. Or, gain a lesson from watching a child waiting for the younger child to correctly write the letters of her name.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.
Hebrews 10:23

Faith without wavering is maintained better with patience, wouldn’t you say? We are assured through God’s Word and by the Spirit that our journey will be worth our integrity to go another day, waiting on the Lord. The devil doesn’t want creation to believe there are any prized promises to endure for from our Creator. Don’t be listening to him.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
Hebrews 12:7

As we know, discipline doesn’t seem pleasant at the time. But, in the end, it can bring a good result. Some of us were disciplined as children. And some of us parents have disciplined our children (and wondered if we disciplined enough or too much). There is discipline in waiting on God. The Holy Spirit inside us guides our words and actions. The devil doesn’t want creation to respect the authority of the Creator. Don’t be listening to that, either.

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
Genesis 16:2

Sarai, who eventually became Sarah, was 90 years old. But she had to wait a little bit longer, didn’t she? Well, she didn’t. She figured that since she couldn’t get pregnant it might be good to have children through Hagar, her maidservant. Sarah’s plan sounded reasonable to her but it wasn’t God’s plan. Abram, who would become Abraham, and Sarah learned to wait on the LORD. And they were blessed for it.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

There is something to waiting on the Lord. It involves not giving up no matter how long the suffering continues. Resignation means sticking to something no matter what difficulty continues to plague. It’s resolve. It’s guts—nerves of steel in keeping faith in an awesome God even in the face of adversity. A saying shines true: “God doesn’t get His best sailors on calm seas”. There will be high waves. Maybe even God allowed them. But, God is bigger than the waves.

Prayer is that privilege available to us to affect an outcome. Patience and prayer go together. Through diligence, we can keep praying about the thing that keeps us up at night. Even when struggling with prayer and patience, Jesus can intercede on our behalf. He knows the sick heart barely able to pray on. He can heal the broken heart. There is blessing in waiting on the Lord. There is reward in acknowledging that God is in control.

Here, in my neck of the woods, we had a fair amount of snow, about a foot. But, there is bare ground showing now due to warm days and rain lately. The downhill ski places nearby must be crying. Rain is the worst element when trying to keep snow on the mountain for skiers and snowboarders. Our patchy glade isn’t pretty with half old snow and half matted lawn. Today’s drabness is temporary. I know these woods will come alive in spring.

I just have to have patience.

Sunday, December 15, 2019


Boughs of Hemlock

Boughs of hemlock, full, adorning,
blessed to greet the winter morning;
like gifts, when Magi came afar,
from the east, and bowed beneath the Star,
and knelt at the feet of the King of Kings,
Creator of created things,
who became creation—a love to carry—
and trusted the goodness of Joseph and Mary.

Boughs of hemlock, rich and stately,
along the roadside, waving greatly;
like palm tree branches on the way
to Jerusalem, on that dark day,
when our Lord and Savior Jesus wept;
and on the road to the cross, kept,
to atone for us eternal peace—
from sin’s death hold, a sure release.

Boughs of hemlock, sprinkled with snow,
delicate grace on branches low;
like the change of season from winter to spring.
A new life planted, faith will bring
bearing fruit from a spirit clean,
and harvest of an evergreen.
God’s Word is truth, sustaining, well,
and honored, as the boughs will tell.



God is the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Psalm 118:27


Boughs of Hemlock

The time has come to end the year and think of the upcoming new year. I’ve been wondering what word God would place in my heart for the 2020 year. And I have it! But, I’m not going to reveal the word in this post. You’ll have to wait (clue!) until next year (January 1st)!

This past year, all my blog posts have ended with the word ‘peace’ and today’s post is the last one for the 2019 year. Peace is awesome. We want to live in peace, not pieces. And it’s the third fruit of the Holy Spirit, right after love and joy. The Giver of peace that passes all understanding is Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Isaiah 9:2

It’s no fun groping along in the darkness. We might run into something, hit our head, stumble and fall down. After a while, we might begin to hear strange things and become paranoid. When light shines in, it alleviates troubles. Light changes the scene, lifts the turmoil and soothes the ache. Likewise, when existing day to day in death shadows, the reminder of vibrant life in, for example, a child’s laugh is celebrated. Shadowy death hovers over us. But, that same great light shines today.

Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
Isaiah 9:3

According to this verse, it seems joy is relational. It seems our joy in the harvest is according to our work done, like the farmer’s hard work all season being finally paid off with a good crop. Granted, it would be awesome to sit just inside Heaven’s pearly gates. But, the grander places further into the golden city might be discovered for those who, given ten, made one hundred. Remember the man who did nothing with the one talent he was given? He was stripped of it and thrown out (Luke 19:11-27).

For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, and the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
Isaiah 9:4

God allowed victory for the nation of Israel with a small group of men. It was deliberate that the odds looked ridiculous against Midian as Gideon led a few men blowing trumpets and breaking jars against their enemy, a ridiculousness similar to Sarah giving birth at the age of 90 and King Hezekiah seeing an angel standing in the battlefield after it killed 185,000 men of the king’s enemy because Hezekiah prayed for help. Many Bible stories showcase that God is not timid in making a point.

God’s first words recorded in Genesis are “Let there be light”. I think that’s deliberate, too. Jesus is the great light seen by the people walking in darkness. Only Jesus Christ can break the yoke of sin, swipe the staff of the task-master and crush the rod of Satan, the prince of darkness.   

For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
Isaiah 9:5

I’ve never been in war nor do I wish to be. But, I remember visiting Gettysburg, PA and it was said that gunfire could be heard in Washington D.C. That’s loud! Surviving soldiers often had hearing damage. Confused noise and garments rolled in blood describe the terrible scene of war. The results of Hell, of losing the battle of salvation, of unbelief, will be with fire. Or maybe this verse means something else (or in addition to): Man’s battle is different than Christ’s battle. Earthly warfare is different than spiritual warfare. On the one side, there’s confusion. But, on the other, there is no confusion (or garments rolled in blood).

Now, we come to the well-known verse at Christmas time:      

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Unto us a child is born and that child is Jesus, the Son of God, the reason for the season. The reason for the Bible!

He is given, a fantastic present!

He rules the hearts of those who trust Him. He governs then, now and in the time to come. After all the failing governments of the world, we’ll enjoy a government that rests on His shoulders! Consider the meanings of the names that soar above all other names. We want to be on the wonderful, helpful, mighty, everlasting, peaceful side of government and eternity.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:7

Governments come and go. Over time, they end and a new government rises up. And the same is true with peace. It comes and go, only to be replaced by the ravages of war. But, not so with Jesus in command. There is ongoing just government and perpetual peace in the kingdom of the King of kings. How can this happen?

Because of zeal. God’s zeal.    

Remember the zeal of the LORD. It’s His enthusiasm that will bring about things. If you’re having a downer day or even holiday, remember how powerful God is and that He is able to accomplish great things. Pray. Ask the Giver of peace for the help needed to endure a difficulty. He is the great sustain-er who is waiting to hear from you in prayer.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
I Corinthians 14:33

Merry Christmas to you!

With green boughs in hand, welcome the Prince of Peace.

Sunday, December 1, 2019













 


The Sapling’s Star

The night is cold, it is bitter cold,
and the trees are moving, creaking,
screeching in the cold, dark, winter night,
as the stars begin their peeking.

They can see the patch where the maples grow,
nestled in for winter, napping,
and beneath the trunk of a mighty red,
they can see the smallest sapling.

They are shown a strength in its tiny limbs,
of a promise building, keeping,
of a hope to give unsparingly,
of love for the woodland sleeping.

And they wonder who is showing this,
in whose light a-basking, savoring?
High above the sapling is its Star,
shining brightly, ever favoring!

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me
that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old,
from everlasting.
Micah 5:2

The Sapling’s Star

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Here’s news to smile about: the Designer of the Bethlehem Star loves us! God wonderfully shone a light on the giving of His most precious gift—His Son, Jesus Christ. From the beginning of time, this birth was carefully orchestrated. God knows us, even when we were knitted together, fearfully and wonderfully, in our mother’s womb.

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139:13-14

When there is a full moon, it can be mystical to walk through the woods at night. Moon shadows streak across a snow-covered woodland floor. A maple sapling in starlight stands beside the stoic trunk of its parent. In time, it will grow to the height and majesty it is destined.

God, through the prophet Micah 700 years before the birth of Christ, tells us that from the little tribe of Judah, in the town of Bethlehem, He would call to Himself a ruler from everlasting. Micah prophesied of a restored kingship in a kingdom that will last forever. He was talking about Jesus Christ. But, he never got to see the Messiah (on earth).

And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
Micah 4:8

And

So shall my word be
that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing
whereto I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11

Do you recognize the sovereignty of the Designer who proclaimed the very first words, ‘Let there be Light’? Do you hear the authority of our Creator who created the stars and named them? Do you see the undisputed right of the presence who sent the one-of-a-kind Bethlehem Star? 

Who being the brightness of his glory
and the express image of his person,
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down
on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 1: 3

And

For it pleased the Father that in him
should all fullness dwell.
Colossians 1:19

How fortunate we are to know the prophecies written in the Bible and see their fulfillment! And, like Micah, we wait for something too— for Christ’s second coming. Now, it’s our turn to wait! Those who wait on the Lord will renew their wings and see that restored kingship so richly talked about.

Prayer is a privilege letting us know God is working specifically in our life because of specific prayer. Bring what weighs heavy on your heart in the woods at night to the Everlasting Father in Jesus’ name and see what kind of light He sheds on it. Prayer is a great step of faith.

But the LORD said unto Samuel,
Look not on his countenance,
or on the height of his stature;
because I have refused him:
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

As we look to the Christmas season coming before us, remember the events of that special night beneath the Bethlehem Star. Jesus, God’s word made flesh and the mighty ruler who establishes a bright kingdom that will last forever for those who put their trust in Him accomplishes because:

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

And this man shall be the peace.
Micah 5:5

May starlight shine your way to peace.