Category Archives: Fiction

Into the Darkness – A Bout Rimés Poem

The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub is to play the game of Bout Rimés, which is to write a poem written with a list of ending rhyme words supplied today by none other than Tony Maude. It sounded fun, so I decided to give it a try. I have to admit I was a little surprised by where this list of words led me.

Into the Darkness

Into the darkness my Charger does drive
I have my little dog here by my side
Longing for a reprieve from this dark night
He said we could get there by one, he lied

In the darkness of my soul wars I wage
Wondering if we will ever be saved
This hell we are in is one I have made
I can see the fear upon his cute face

What we need most is a highly skilled nurse
Or perhaps to locate a faith-filled church
Could there be a fate we’d consider worse
Than losing the gun I’ve hid in my purse

We can only go forward, never back
In the darkness ahead, we can see that

 

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True Regret Leads to Victory

The other day I was thinking about why Christians sometimes continue to struggle with sinful behavior when Jesus has given us the power to overcome by His Holy Spirit living in us. I pondered writing a blog post about this topic, but wasn’t really sure what to write or what the solution was.

Then I was reading book two of The Chronicles of Brothers by Wendy Alec and came across a statement by Jether, one of the twenty-four elders of heaven (see Revelation 4:4), in response to a question from Gabriel the archangel:

“Michael . . .” [Gabriel] raised his face up to the abandoned west wing, his eyes filled with intense sorrow. “Do you think Lucifer has regret?”

“No,” a soft voice echoed.

Gabriel turned. Jether the Just, imperial angelic monarch and ruler of the twenty-four ancient kings of Yehovah, stood on the gilded steps above them, his silvered hair and beard blowing in the soft zephyrs off the sea. . . .

“If he has regret, Gabriel . . .” Jether walked toward them across the sands, the pearls covering his lime green jeweled slippers as he walked. “. . . it is regret for himself, as he realizes the consequences of his choice . . . of his fall. But true regret . . .” Jether stared upward, north of the two trees of Eden, to the colossal golden, ruby-encrusted door . . . the entrance to the throne room.

True regret is based on repentance—grieving for the sin, not the consequence of sin. The two are quite contradictory. Completely opposed.” Jether’s pale blue eyes blazed with an uncharacteristic fervor. “And they must never be confused.”
Messiah—The First Judgment, pg. 49-50 (emphasis added).

So often I think we do confuse the two. When we regret the consequences of our sin and change our behavior as a result, we think we have repented. But the change in behavior doesn’t stick and we eventually return to our old habits and behavior.

For example, we are gluttonous and overeat, never thinking of those who have little or nothing to eat. As a consequence of our overeating, we gain weight and our clothes don’t fit. We don’t really regret the sin of gluttony, but we regret that our favorite pants won’t button.

So we go on a diet and for a while we change our eating habits. But once we lose weight and get back into those favorite clothes, we go right back to our gluttonous behavior.

It is only when we truly repent and regret the sin of gluttony itself, confessing our sin to God and asking His help to overcome, that permanent change occurs.

There are a number of other examples I could give, and it’s easy to think of the sins of others and how they struggle. It’s harder to look inward and examine whether I have true regret for my own sin. There are definitely sins in my life that God has helped me completely overcome because I have had true regret based on repentance.

Victory over sin is within the Christian’s grasp. True regret and reliance on the Holy Spirit are the answer.

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Be Careful You Don’t Fall

This weekend I was out camping, and one of my favorite things about camping is that it affords me a great deal of reading time. I started a book last week and was able to finish it before we headed home from the camping trip. It is a book I have read before and is the first in a fictional series call The Chronicles of Brothers by Wendy Alec. The first time I read it was many years ago before books two and three of the series were released. I recently purchased books two and three, and am anticipating the release of book four later this year, so I decided it would be a good idea to re-read book one.

The first book in the series is called The Fall of Lucifer. It is the story of how Lucifer, the light-bearer and chief archangel of heaven, God’s first and most beautiful creation, was overcome with jealousy and pride resulting in his expulsion from the presence of almighty God and the heavenly realms. The series title—The Chronicles of Brothers—is based on the three main archangels mentioned in the Bible: Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel.

There is definitely a Biblical basis to this book, though the author does use a great deal of creativity and imagination in describing the terrain of the First Heaven and the relationships among the various angelic hosts of heaven. The Bible does not tell us of how much Lucifer adored and worshipped Yehovah before his fall and banishment, but such adoration and worship is what the light-bearer was created for. And so Alec’s description of Lucifer’s relationship with God, with the Christ, is well within the realm of Biblical truth.

As I read this book, I kept thinking of a verse from one of Paul’s epistles: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV).

There is a great lesson to be learned from The Fall of Lucifer. He was the highest of the angels of heaven, second only to God himself. He walked in the very presence of God, communed with God, and was privy to the wonders and majesty of all of heaven. He had everything to live for and everything to lose.

And yet Lucifer allowed pride and jealousy over God’s love for man, the creation in God’s own image, to lead to his fall. He allowed iniquity to dwell in his heart and refused to repent. As Alec portrays the story, there were opportunities for Lucifer to repent and God, in His mercy, would have blotted out his iniquity. The prophet Ezekiel recorded God’s description of him:

You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV).

It occurs to me that we all must heed the lesson of Lucifer’s fall and the admonition of Paul. We may think we stand firm in the truth and grace of Christ, but we must always be careful that we do not let iniquity dwell in our hearts and cause us to fall. None of us is immune from temptation.

But after his admonishment, Paul provided this encouragement:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV).

Now it’s on to book two in the series: Messiah – The First Judgment.

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Judge Not – A Poem

In church on Sunday the sermon was based in part on Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV):

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Our pastor made a comment about this passage that I had thought about before, but not in a long time. He said that when it comes to nonbelievers, we Christians should never pass judgment on their behavior. As believers who have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and correct us we have a hard time measuring up to God’s standards. How can we expect those who don’t even know Him, and do not have the blessing of His Holy Spirit to help them, to follow His truth?

As I thought about this an idea for this poem came to mind.

Judge Not

“Did you notice how Ted’s breath
still smelled of alcohol,
even still this morning?
He must have been really drunk last night,”
gossiped Esther to Melanie.
“He is such a loser and
a sinful alcoholic.
I think the boss should fire him.”

“Did you see Lola last night
with that guy from Accounting?
I hear that’s the sixth guy she’s dated
in as many months,”
Melanie gossiped to Jean.
“It’s no wonder that floozy
doesn’t have a husband!”

“Did you hear about that guy Brad
who embezzled a small fortune
from our biggest client?
They say he’s been stealing for years,”
gossiped Jean to Esther.
“What a terrible, greedy man.
He probably spent it all on fast cars!”

“See you at Bible study tonight,”
said Esther to Jean and Melanie,
after she slipped a pack of post-it notes
and a few pens into her purse.

“See you there; I won’t be late,”
answered Jean,
knowing full well she would be
because she had to drop the kids
at her ex’s house first.

“I’m looking forward to it,”
quipped Melanie,
as she wondered whether
there was still any vodka
in the bottle in her fridge.

Ted sat at the bar again,
lost and alone thinking no one cared.
If only he could find
the true meaning of life.

Lola sat next to her date,
hoping he was nicer
than the last six guys she’d dated.
If only she could find true love.

Brad sat in his jail cell, wanting to die.
Maybe the life insurance money
would pay his wife’s doctor bills.
If only he could find hope.

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A Limerick about Ponies

The FormForAll lesson at dVerse Poets Pub today is on how to write a limerick. When I read it, my initial reaction was that I don’t do limericks and that there was no way I could write one. And yet, as the afternoon wore on the inkling of a limerick came to mind in between work projects. I finally realized it wasn’t going to leave my head until I wrote and posted it.

This limerick is dedicated to my 17-year-old son who has always been a fan of good cartoons. One of his favorite cartoon producers and animators is Lauren Faust, whose most recent creation is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Part of me wants to scream because he is watching a cartoon called My Little Pony, but then he reminds me that it is about friendship and tolerance. Who can argue with that? So this is my limerick inspired by this interesting turn of events in my son’s (and my) life.

There once was a boy who liked ponies
And he and his friends were called bronies
To his mother’s dismay
He’d watch ponies all day
Saying friendship and love aren’t for phonies

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Give My Love to Rose

I’ve been listening to old Johnny Cash music in my car this past week. I love all his old stuff, but one song in particular has always been one of my favorites. I decided I wanted to share it for Music Monday. It’s called Give My Love to Rose.

It’s a sad song, but there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that the man was found before he died so that Rose would receive the message of how much he loved her.

The cynic in my always thinks, “What if they guy who finds him just takes off with the money and never gives his love to Rose?” But for some reason, maybe because of the sincerity of Johnny’s baritone voice, I believe that the message – and the money – will be delivered as requested.

As if to reinforce the message, the dying man says, “God bless you for finding me this morning, and don’t forget to give my love to Rose.” He puts what is left of his life in the hands of this man who found him, and puts the life of the man who found him in the hands of God.

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8 Polish Foods of Christmas for Recipe Friday

I know I should post some sort of Christmas-related recipe for Recipe Friday, and the title of this post might have led you to believe that I had. But instead I want to share a funny little Christmas video that I love.

When my son was younger, he really loved Veggie Tales. They are wonderful Christian cartoons in which the characters are, as the name suggests, vegetables and fruits. Each episode and movie has a Biblical lesson wrapped in a lot of fun. If you have young children, I highly recommend Veggie Tales.

This clip really cracks me up, but I won’t give away the commentary that makes me laugh every time I hear it.

If anyone has a recipe for any of these Polish foods, please feel free to share in the comments. Merry Christmas!

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The Crossroads – Prose to Poetry

At the dVerse Poets Pub today readers were challenged to take a piece of prose and turn it into poetry. The prompt suggested finding an existing piece of prose in the public domain, but I was uncomfortable with doing something like that with another’s writing, even if it is in the public domain. So I went to a short story I wrote a while back called The Crossroads, and used the first three paragraphs as the starting point for this poem. I actually think it works better as a poem than as the original short story.

The Crossroads

Sarah stared
through the picture window
across the perfectly
manicured lawn

She and John
settled here 
twenty years ago
It seemed like forever

Once she was happy here
but now a feeling
of discontent
and despair
crept over her

She knew
there was more to life
than what they had
Beyond the blooming
rose bushes
and the Sycamore tree
was the crossroads

She gazed thoughtfully
down the narrow
bumpy
dirt road
She knew where it led
Pure beauty
was found
down that road

She longed to move
away from the crossroads
down that dirt road
to a small house
with everything needed
to be content

But John
wouldn’t listen
His eye was on
a big mansion
up the highway

So here they stayed
at the crossroads
Neither willing
to go with the other
Neither willing
to go on alone

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Trains, by Johnny – A Poem

The poetry prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today was to write a poem involving trai_n_n_n_n_n_n_n_n_s. I immediately thought of the song “Down there by the Train” by Johnny Cash, and then I remembered several other songs by Johnny that involved trains. Some are well-known songs, others are more obscure. I decided to write a poem in response to the prompt in honor of Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, and his many perspectives on trains.

Trains, by Johnny

Johnny played and sang
of trains
some I know he rode
others were just
stories that he told

Freight train
carrying pig iron, not pigs
sneaky train driver
avoiding a toll on
the Rock Island Line
cocky, ’til the toll
came due

The lonesome sound
of a distant train
the mourning of a prisoner
Folsom Prison Blues
overwhelming his soul
choices of youth
defining his fate

Riding home on the train
anticipating Dixieland
Hey Porter, cries the passenger
When will we be home?
Now he smells
the southern breeze
off the train he goes

Train whistle blowin’
a line everybody knows
the Orange Blossom Special
beckoning to warmth and sun
away from city life
riding to freedom

Far from home
not a penny to his name
Waitin’ for a Train
A little money would grease
a brakeman’s palm
and a ride it would mean
but 1,000 miles from home
is where he’ll stay

The final train
all can ride free
though the cost was great
passengers well known,
the infamous and the ordinary
are Down there by the Train
Johnny rode home

I was going to post a video of “Down there by the Train” with this, but in my search on YouTube I found this great live video of “Rock Island Line” with a terrific intro about trains by Johnny and decided to include it instead. I hope you like it.

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Finding the Way Home – A Short Story

It’s a busy week visiting family in Austin, and I don’t have time to write a new post for today. Plus I don’t seem to have any good ideas for what to write. Since I’m traveling I decided I would re-post this short story that involves travel. I originally wrote this to be posted at Idylls for the King.

Susie stood at the bus station wondering which bus she was supposed to take. She was so lost and didn’t know how to get to where she wanted to go.

She approached the ticket booth and asked the clerk, “I want to go Home. Can you tell me which bus to take?”

“It don’t much matter,” answered the clerk. “They all go the same place.”

“But each bus has a different town shown on the front. They can’t all go my Home,” argued Susie.

“They all end up the same place, that’s all I know,” said the clerk. “Do you want a ticket or not?”

“I guess not,” Susie mumbled as she walked away. She knew all the buses could be the same, but she didn’t have any idea how to know which one to take.

Brett was standing nearby. He cautiously approached Susie. “Hi, my name is Brett. I overheard your conversation with the clerk,” he said. “I think I can help.”

Susie was startled, but something about Brett made her feel comfortable with him. “Do you know which bus will take me Home?”

“I just happen to have the bus schedule and free tickets for the right bus,” Brett offered. He handed her a small book with “John” written on the front. “Let me show you where your ticket is.” Brett turned in the book to chapter 3 and pointed to verse 16, which read:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV).

Susie smiled. This was the information she had been looking for. She thanked Brett and accepted the book and her free ticket Home.

As she began to walk away she stopped, thinking of the clerk. She approached the ticket booth again. “Sir,” she said, “I found out how to get Home, and since you didn’t seem to know when I asked before I thought I would share this wonderful news with you, too.” As she began to show the clerk what she had learned, Brett smiled and walked on, looking for another lost soul who was in need of directions Home.

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