Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Shame lifted
Chains broken
Prison bars pulled away
The enemy defeated

Lies revealed
Curses broken
Wounds healed
The enemy defeated

Truth spoken
Grace received
Mercy revealed
Christ in victory

Love experienced
Forgiveness flowing down
Time to walk again
Christ in victory

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Will Your Verse Be?

O Me! O Life!
(Walt Whitman)

O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill'd with the foolish
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish then I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of objects mean, of the struggle ever renew'd,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring - What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here - that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

I will be the first to admit, I don't usually read poetry from the time this poem was written - much less use it in a blog post. It reminds me too much of English class and how much I disliked it and struggled with it.

A few days ago, I was watching the movie "Dead Poet's Society" with a friend, when a part of this poem caught my attention. At the start of the poem, the despair of the poet is evident. He is looking for the good amid all the bad he sees around him. The last two lines of the poem offer the answer to his despairing question:

          That you are here - that life exists and identity
          That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

It can be easy to despair of anything good when we look at the world we live in. The violence, disease, war, poverty, hatred that seems to overwhelm us. Even the circumstances of our own life can cause us to despair. To ask the question: Where is the good?

But, that's not where we are to get stuck. There is something beyond that for us. Our very existence means that we can be a part of the good in the world. We have an opportunity to pay a part in what happens.

The English teacher in the movie "Dead Poet's Society" asks his class a question after the last line of the poem is read. He asks, "What will your verse be?" What part in the drama unfolding around us will we play?

         The powerful play goes, and you may contribute a verse.

This life goes on and we are here. We have a chance to contribute to the good in the world. To contribute to what God us up to .

What will your verse be?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What's Left When Life is Shaken?

What is the foundation you have built your life upon?

If things are shaken, will it be left standing?

Or will it crumble beneath you?

It's easy to get started building our lives on shaky foundation. We may not do it intentionally. We're probably not even aware we're doing so. Things get going well in life and we slowly begin to drift from the firm foundation we should be building our lives upon. And we drift to something less secure in the long run - even though it seems secure at the time.

It's when things change, when our world is shaken, that we realize the foundation we were building isn't secure. When we come upon something unexpected or something difficult happens and we're no longer able to rely on what we were relying on, because it won't stand any longer.

God says in His Word that He will shake things so that only what cannot be shaken remains.

At the time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is, created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
                                                                                               ---Hebrews 12:26-29

It will bring down the things we have created that we have tried to build our lives upon. What is left will be what cannot be shaken - that thing we should build our lives upon.

The writer of Hebrews tells us what this is . . . it is the Kingdom of God. The foundation we build our lives upon needs to be God and His ways. Our lives should be founded on the gift of grace and forgiveness Christ offers us through His death and resurrection. That is the foundation that can never be shaken by what life brings. That is the foundation that will remain even when everything else falls away.

To build our lives on this foundation, we have to choose to accept the gift we've been offered. It's not about things we do or things we earn. It's about accepting the gift of love and forgiveness we've been offered, and learning to live in that.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The God We Serve

"Even to your old age and gray hairs
          I am He, I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
          I will sustain you and I will rescue you."
                                                           (Isaiah 46:4)

"Remember the former things, those of long ago;
          I am God, and there is no other;
          I am God, and there is none like Me."
                                                           (Isaiah 46:9)

These words were spoken to a rebellious people who were being drawn back to God. The prophet Isaiah was sent to call Israel to turn back to God and to declare that was coming for those who didn't follow God.

In the midst of it, God reminds His people of Who He is and how He will look after them - how He will care for His people. God desired for His people to turn back to Him. He loved them and He would bring them through the challenges.

The God Who said these words to Israel is the same God we follow today. He loves and cares for us. He want sot bring us through everything that comes our way in life - the good and the bad.

In these verses, God says He will sustain, carry us, and rescue us - all because He made us.

God will sustain us. He will be exactly what we need to get through anything that comes our way. Because God is with us, we will be able to hold on to the end to endure.

God will carry us. When we don't think we can possibly get up again when life seems to have handed us one more blow that we could possibly get up from, God will carry us through. He won't leave us on our own. He will carry us when we don't have the strength to stand or take another step.

God will rescue us. When we have walked off the path and gotten ourselves into a situation we can't get out of on our own, God will rescue us from it. All we have to do is ask Him - cry out to Him - and He will come and rescue us.

God is God. He stands alone. There are no other gods that human hands have made that can take His place. There are none like Him. We can be sure that the God we choose to follow will not leave us alone.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Elusive Peace

Silence falls with the snow
A blanket of white covers
Noises muffled and distant
Silence becomes my friend
An escape from the rushing
Leaving busy-ness behind

Peace - often seems so far away
But in this moment it reigns
What always seems elusive
Has come so very near
How do I make it more than this?
How do I learn to live in it?
In the midst of the busy
In the midst of the rush
How can peace reign always?

If Jesus came to bring us peace,
Why does it seem impossible
To find in each of our days?
As I ask, He answers me

"You have to choose to turn your eyes
Turn the towards Me
Take them off your circumstances
And keep them always on Me
Then My peace will reign
In your every day life"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Are New Year's Resolutions the Way to Go?

New Year's Resolutions . . .

Do you make them?

Should you make them?

I've been thinking about the whole idea of new year's resolutions the last couple of weeks. It's that time of year when we look forward to another year and often feel a need to set some goals - to make some resolutions for the new year.

They seem like a good idea at the start of the year. And then we get to February and we haven't kept most of them. We've broken them and it's easy to feel discouraged.

A couple years ago, I wrote a post about how to keep your new year's resolutions. I don't disagree with anything I wrote in that post, but now I wonder if setting new year's resolutions is really the way we should be going.

In the two years since I wrote that post, I've seen things in my life take a very different turn from what I had planned in January. Things have gone in a direction I couldn't have imagined at the start of the year - a better direction that was definitely from God. Seeing that makes me wonder if new year's resolutions are really the best way to go. 

What if, in making them, we put ourselves in a box and take a chance of missing out on what God has for us because we're focused on what we think should happen?

What if, instead of making new year's resolutions, we began the year with seeking God? With asking Him what He has in store for us and surrendering our will and ideas to His plans?

What if we decided we would follow God's leading wherever it takes us - even if it's not what we would have planned?

Instead of setting a plan in place that we may or may not keep to a small or large degree of success, what if we were intentional about surrendering the year to God as it begins?