Sunday, July 15, 2018

Seasons of Love

Greener than grass, sweeter than pink,
God meant the stars he made in a blink.
He’ll pick daffodils
upon Springy hills
and fill my gold tin to the brink!

Truer than blue, warmer than sun,
God meant the life he gives in his Son.
He’ll lead without fail
through Summer’s dark trail
and hurry my feet to a run!

Brighter than orange, richer than brown,
God meant the joy he vows to his own.
He’ll catch golden leaves
from Fall’s brilliant trees
and make a bouquet for my crown!

Whiter than snow, bolder than red,
God meant the words he truthfully said.
He’ll call a warm beam
by Winter’s cold stream
and melt the snowflakes on my head!

For I am convinced that
neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38

God meant the stars that He made. God meant the Life that He gave.
God meant the joy that He vows. God meant the words that He said.
And maybe God meant the hurt, too.
Life is a waiting room. How well do you bide your time, waiting to be called? Do you follow Jesus? Do you obey His commands to love others and treat them as you would have them treat you while sitting there in that waiting room of life? Do you want to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant” from the Great Physician when you go to meet Him? Jesus said to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. He said if we love Him, we would obey His commands. 
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
John 14:15 
In the corner of the waiting room is an active beehive. Sometimes, we get stung. The sting of a hurt goes deep. But, I have learned that damage to my heart raises my awareness of God’s hurt.
Does God hurt? 
Now, there’s an interesting question. I wonder what Bible verses I could think of or find that support this. The first one that comes to mind is the one about when Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives facing Jerusalem, knowing not everyone would recognize His coming to them.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets
and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed
to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks
under her wings, but you were not willing!”
Luke 13:34 
Jesus knew not everyone would believe in Him. But, He went to the cross anyways. If you have decided not to believe and to not recognize Jesus as the Son of God, who died on the cross for your sins, God hurts for you. Not loving Jesus is hurtful to God. Not loving God, the Son is hurtful to God, the Father. It’s like taking care of your baby, feeding her milk and the right food, changing diapers, playing, teaching her and reading to her, caring for her, loving her for 18 years and then she blatantly tells you she wishes she had a different mother. How many parents have had a teenager say this?
God is hurt when we don’t trust Him—when we turn our back on Him. There is hurt when we go against Him, come up with terms that promote distance from Him, separation from Him, even hatred of Him. He is hurt when we walk a prodigal path. 
Jesus wept.
John 11:35 
This verse comes from the time when Mary was distraught over the death of her brother, Lazarus. She cried bitterly and Jesus was deeply moved in spirit because of her terrible loss. He shared in the hurt that Mary felt. But, I’m sure you know what happened next. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days! I think of Psalm 138:8…God will perfect that which concerns me. And Hebrews 4:15…God is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. All the more reason to always be praying!
God was probably hurt when Jonah wouldn’t go to Nineveh the first time. I think it says God grieved that he had made man around the time of the flood. Lots of kings and rulers in the Old Testament did evil in the eyes of the LORD and this was hurtful. Can you think of other verses explaining God’s hurt?
Damage to the heart raises awareness of God’s hurt. Maybe this is one of the reasons God allows the hurt. Somehow, knowing God is not immune to hurt can help me bear mine. It makes me see a human quality in God. (Of course, He came first and we are made in His image.) It makes me sympathetic. It helps me endure my hurt. He is greater and His hurt is more costly.
And now, here is some good news: God can heal the broken-hearted. I discovered years ago that the local drugstore doesn’t sell any band-aids for wounds on the heart. What gauze can be placed over a bleeding heart? What repair can be made to fix a damaged heart? (And I'm not talking about the physical realm.)
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 
God heals. He is our Mender and Restorer. Which brings me back to my poem ‘Seasons of Love’. God loves us throughout the year, throughout the seasons, throughout difficulties, over hill, over dale, through the woods and on the trail. He can make it right. Trust Him to restore and deliver with sufficient grace and JOY!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Peaceful Rock

I headed for a place I know,
not wanting any clock,
where my burdened ears can hear the flow,
resting well on Peaceful Rock.

By the brook, I’ll sit and close my eyes,
where the canopy is thick,
and contentment there I’ll realize,
as I hear the water skip.

I will sit for many hours there,
or at least what seems to be,
and I’ll hear the water sing His care,
of the love He has for me.

And my troubles will go down the way,
where the ravens tend to flock,
yet the perfect peace of God will stay,
trusting well on Peaceful Rock.

“Come to me, all you who are
weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28                                                   

It has been my way to love you, even though it has been your way to not love me.
From the words of Isaiah the prophet:

I carry you: I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry you, and will deliver you.
Isaiah 46:4

God tells me He will carry me, which is good news when I struggle with going on. He reminds me He has made. I think of creation and everything He has made. He is the Creator and the theory of evolution is only a poorly-devised, empty theory. It’s not truth. 

Also, I think of my hurt and troubles. He has made that which causes my hurt. There is a plan there, somewhere. He tells me He will bear. He can bear my hurt. He can carry and deliver me from my troubles. Knowing that restores my way to love even the one who does not love me. Praying holds me fast and secures me.

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me, 
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Psalm 71: 1-3

God, who created the Heaven and the Earth and time itself, can carry me. I find that fantastic! It’s because He loves us. Oh how He loves you and me! I trust you know the Rock of Salvation. God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life
set me free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2

Jesus, the Son of God, bore the iniquities of the world on the cross. By faith, believers are released from the bondage of sin. Why? Because this is the way God has done it. Oh, Freedom! Sin as white as snow! Faith equals freedom! And our Rock, Jesus, has prepared a place for us.

Not so for the faithless. No faith equals no freedom. I would encourage you to not end up in that sinking boat. Stay away from the blazing ship that sinks to Nethergloom. The party’s in Heaven, no matter what songs or verse have been written otherwise.

Peaceful Rock is an actual place around my parts of the woods. Well, kind of. The kids, my husband and I would stroll there and dip our hands and feet in the cool brook water from the rock’s edge. Dappled shade from the surrounding thick forest outlined our family outing. And at the center of it all was that rock, Peaceful Rock—where we sat protected from the troubles of the world. Faith equals JOY!

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Faithful Trail

On the faithful trail, I’ll go,
where the ferns are thick and greening,
and the undergrowth goes up and down,
and the way is not revealing.

But upon the trail, I’ll follow,
as I pass beneath the basswoods,
as I walk along the touch-me-nots,
and a patch of tangled dogwoods.

I’ll trust when at the gully,
where the woods are dark and deepest,
and I’ll cross along the Cherry Tree,
where the bank is all the steepest.

At trail‘s end, I‘ll have rest,
in a special, hidden clearing—
in the grass, I’ll watch the passing clouds,
and the warblers I’ll be hearing!

The Faithful Trail

“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even though we cannot see Him or hear Him, He exists and is real. All around us, creation points to our Savior. Faith is being sure.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for

 and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Pray for confidence. Ask for growth in being certain. Pray for endurance, considering Him who endured such opposition from sinful people. Run the race before you. Walk the trail with prayerful perseverance because the just will walk by faith.
And without faith

it is impossible to please God,

because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists

and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Regularly, pray for growth in faith, wisdom and knowledge. See if there is blessing for this prayer practice. See if God is listening. Know how much He cares for you and graciously gives to you.

This righteousness from God

comes from faith in Jesus Christ

to all who believe.

Romans 3:22

Pray for faith like a mustard seed in the hearts of your loved ones. Remember Peter walking on water? Ask for this kind of belief in the lives of your family. Pray believing God can and that goodness and mercy can surely follow you all the days of your life.

Then he said to him,

“Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Luke 17:19

By maintaining your faith, you’re actually making yourself well. Be praying that faith will be on earth when Jesus Christ returns someday, as He said He would. First, He came as a sacrificial Lamb. Second, He will come as the reigning Lion. I trust you know that, as the Bible says, the return of the King is coming.

As you walk through the woods, taking in the smells of fresh earth and flowery fragrance, commune with God in solidified faith and exuberant JOY!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Where The Leaves Dance

A soft breeze, a gentle sigh,
I’ll be where the leaves dance.
I’ll look up through at skies of blue
and fall within a trance.

In relaxed state, I’ll contemplate
and hear the wood thrush echoing.
His gorgeous tune releases me,
a distant place is beckoning.

How could God make these woods so fine?
All worries are asunder.
I’ll close my eyes and take it in,
this quiet place of wonder!