Category Archives: Poetry

Heaven Is My Home

The Poetics prompt over at dVerse Poetry Pub today was to write about a fantasy world. Being ever the rebel, I decided to write about a real world that many think is mere fantasy.

Heaven Is My Home

Streets of gold
No sun, moon, or stars
because Jesus himself is
all the Light that’s needed

Some say it’s a fantasy
Pie in the sky when you die
but I know in my heart it’s real
Heaven is my home

Joy abounds
No pain, tears, or sin
because Jesus himself paid
the price and made all right

Some say it’s a fantasy
Pie in the sky when you die
but I know in my soul it’s real
Heaven is my home

God’s throne of
ruby and jasper, flashes
of lightening surround Jesus
the Lamb upon His throne

Some say it’s a fantasy
Pie in the sky when you die
but I know in my heart it’s real
Heaven is my home

Cherubim, seraphim
Living creatures like lions,
ox, and eagle covered in eyes
singing Holy, Holy, Holy

Some say it’s a fantasy
Pie in the sky when you die
but I know in my soul it’s real
Heaven is my home

And forever I will sing
Holy, Holy, Holy
to the Lamb who was slain
because Jesus is my King

 

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Patience in the Homestretch

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. October 30 was my last post, to be exact, so it’s been 25 days. I blame it on being in the homestretch of finishing my poetry book.

I finished the final edits of the poems and decided on how to break it into chapters two weeks ago, but then I agonized over format, font, and what Bible verses to include after some of the poems. I thought I had it all done, then I read the specs on CreateSpace for how to format the final PDF and realized I hadn’t done something right. That required changing the font size and paragraph formatting of each individual poem.

Two days ago I uploaded the final PDF to CreateSpace and set up all the necessary book information. I also registered my new publishing company, John 14:6 Publications, with the Oregon Secretary of State as an Assumed Business Name to be the publisher of this and future books I have planned. I’m all ready to publish!

Except, I don’t have a cover yet. My cover designer, who is my son, is still working on designing my cover. I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard, because I’m anxious to be done with this project. I feel like an overdue pregnant woman. (And trust me, I know how that feels because my son was overdue.)

But in Bible Study Fellowship we recently studied a passage that reminded me of why I asked my son to draw the cover art in the first place. Exodus 31:1-5 (NIV) says:

Then the Lord said to Moses,
“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”

I know that God has gifted my son with artistic skill, the ability to draw beautiful designs. I’ve seen the concept sketch he did for my book cover—which only took him 10 minutes to sketch while I read him some of my poems—and I know it was truly inspired. I know that God gave me this resource so that I didn’t have to pay someone else to create my cover.

I also know that God told Moses to make sure the skilled and gifted workers, who fashioned the tabernacle exactly according to God’s pattern shown to Moses, got their Sabbath rest. Even though the work of building the tabernacle was important, regular rest in the Lord was more important. And I knew when I asked my son to create my book cover that he had other responsibilities, including art school and work, and that he also needs his rest.

And so I am being patient. The book will be done soon and available on Amazon.com and other online retailers. My goal was to have it published by year’s end and by the grace of God that will happen.

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My Lesson – A Poem

Over at dVerse Poets Pub today, Claudia has challenged us to write about anything we want, but we have to really look at it first. No clichés or hollow shadows of the thing allowed.

My Lesson

My BSF lesson was just some questions,
Bible passages to read—long passages
This is the life of Moses, Exodus and all that

Now it’s filled with my scribbles,
that half cursive, half printing jumble
that is my barely legible handwriting

Good thing no one else has to read it
It’s just for me, and to share with my
Saturday morning discussion group

But the real lesson is yet to come

I’m amazed every week, with each new lesson
that others don’t always have
the exact same answers as I do

We read the same passages yet
we glean different principles as
God’s Word speaks into each life, each heart

My lesson is that our Creator, omniscient
that He is, has a different lesson for me
than He has for you today, this week

Perhaps next week, or next year
I’ll be on the same lesson as you are now
or vice versa as our circumstances require

And that makes me rejoice
that my God truly knows
our daily needs and provides

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The Battle Within – A Poem

The challenge over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write about war. As I was reading the prompt, a song came on my iPod (on shuffle) about the war between sinner and saint within each of us. And it just so happens that last night at my Bible Study Fellowship class we discussed the war between the Amalekites and the Israelites. So I decided to bring it all together and get to the root of war, which is pride.

The Battle Within

The great battle rages
throughout the ages
Pride brought war to the table
with Cain versus Able

Self became king
my right to my things
Love turned cold
as ego grew bold

Witness the Amalekites
against the Israelites
For the sake of arid land
in a desert of sand

But it’s the battle within
that rages against sin
This is where it all started
when we became hard hearted

Witness cruel ISIS
a great global crisis
We seek human solutions
to their persecution

The answer to war
lies in humility, not more
fighting with pride
unless we fight what’s inside

But the battle is won
if we look to the Son
At last peace will reign
when He comes again

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To Publish – A List Poem

Today over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting at the Bar, Tony Maude challenges us to write a list poem. As I read his article and poetry examples, I decided to write a list about the things I still need to do to self-publish my poetry book. I accomplished a lot this summer towards my goal of publishing by year end, but loose ends remain. I think a to do list on paper, instead of just in my head, will be helpful.

To Publish

Talk to reviewers
“How’s it going? When do you think you’ll be done?”

Consider suggested edits, proofread and edit

Decide on Bible verses to include and where
And divisions, do where do I include divisions?

Promote the book on Facebook, blog, Twitter

Final formatting, styles, font, so many decisions

Edit the preface and acknowledgements
Finish the front matter

Tell everyone I know I’m publishing a book of poetry

Encourage Benton to finish the cover art
Love the concept sketch; can’t want to see his final draft

Create a final PDF
Proof one more time to make sure it’s right

Upload PDF to CreateSpace
and upload cover art to design cover

Publish

Pray (wait, this probably should be first on the list)

Start on the next manuscript

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Obstacles – Hopefully Not a Bad Christian Poem

Last weekend I went to the Oregon Christian Writers fall one-day conference. It was a great conference filled with inspiring moments and lessons to learn. There were take-aways that will be incorporated into the poetry book I’m working on, but there was also a new poem I wrote.

One of the break-out sessions I went to was “How Not to Write a Christian Poem.” We talked about what makes a poem a “Christian poem.” My thought was that it must have an underlying Christian theme or worldview. Another comment was that it should glorify God—I liked that, too. We read a few poems and talked about whether we thought they were Christian. For some poems there was agreement, for others there wasn’t.

Of course, beauty and goodness are in the eye of the beholder, and I might like a poem you don’t, and vice versa. In the final analysis, though, we learned that a good Christian poem should:

  • not be overly laden with “Christianese”
  • not be trite or include over-used language
  • not be dull and boring
  • not be overly sentimental (I’m not sure how the presenter defined this)
  • be based on truth and the author’s experience

As part of the session, we each wrote a poem in the space of about 5 minutes. I thought I’d share mine just as I wrote it there. It needs some work to be a finished poem, but I liked the direction it went under the time pressure I was facing.

Obstacles

Obstacles appear
sickness and pain, busy-ness and loss
seemingly at random in my path
deterrents to my dream
The American dream of success and great gain

What is my dream?
A nightmare it seems has
overtaken me instead
Chaos in my world, in my mind

I thought I knew what was best
but Your detours have led me
to the real dream

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Words from Above – A Poem

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday (and still there today) is to write a poem about our thoughts on the failure of language to capture our thoughts and feelings. I immediately thought about the challenge of writing a poem to a specific form, though the poem I penned isn’t to any set form but the one that came to me as I wrote.

If you want to read more poetry, head over the dVerse and check out what’s offered up in the Mr. Linky box.

Words from Above

Writing poetry to form
Struggling to make words conform
To meter and rhyme
A set scheme of repeating lines
Yet still sound sublime

It’s a challenge I love
Splendid words come from above
When self I dethrone
And don’t rely on my own
Desiring God be known

Still language falls short
His grandeur words distort
The best I can do
Is share what I know to be true
To touch a heart or two

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Darkness to Light – Take Two

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to think of our words as seeds and to consider what we want to grow from what we write. I decided to share a revised version of a poem I wrote almost three years ago. I recently submitted the original version to a poetry contest, and although I did not make it into the final round I received some great feedback, so I decided to incorporate that feedback into this version.

What I hope will grow from these seeds are encouragement, hope, and faith for at least one person who is struggling today with the darkness of depression.

Darkness to Light—Take Two

Darkness surrounded me
Darkness invaded my mind
Darkness enveloped my barren soul

In the darkness
The evil one whispered
Thoughts that seemed my own
They’d be blessed without me
It would be better if I was dead

Tears drowned me
Tears flooded my mind
Tears drenched my barren soul

Through the tears
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I believed were true
I am broken beyond repair
These tears will never end

Pain ensnared me
Pain clouded my mind
Pain threatened my barren soul

Amplifying the pain
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I was powerless to deny
This pain will forever cripple me
I will never know joy

Then God’s Light
Pierced the darkness
Illuminating my soul
Revealing the sin in my mind
Proclaiming the way for me

Forgive Jesus whispered
As I’ve forgiven you
Your darkness will subside
His words are true

Then God’s Love
Dried all my tears
Infusing my soul with joy
Clarifying truth in my mind
Declaring healing for me

Live Jesus whispered
As I live in you
Your tears will be dried
His words are true

Then God’s Truth
Erased my pain
Protecting my soul
Clearing lies from my mind
Redeeming my life for me

Love Jesus whispered
As I forever love you
Your pain will be decried
His words are true

Darkness, tears, and pain
Replaced by my Savior’s
Light, Love, and Truth
Holding me forevermore
He is my Light

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Repent and Follow Jesus – A Poem

This poem is a found poem of sorts. It is based on the principles from my Bible Study Fellowship Teaching Leader’s lecture on Matthew 11–12. I rearranged the exact words of her four principles, but the concepts are what she shared regarding this passage of scripture.

Repent and Follow Jesus

Go straight to Jesus, trust His Word,
when facing doubt and frustration

Indifference to Christ’s revelation
brings only condemnation

To those called by God who humbly obey
in faith He brings peaceful elation

The proud who stubbornly reject Christ
will be excluded from His gift of salvation

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Have You Read What He Said? – A Poem

You think He’s a prophet, a great teacher,
nothing more, nothing less

Seriously?
Have you ever read
the many crazy things He said?

He spoke like a street corner sandwich-board

From that time on Jesus began to preach,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

Or a homeless man rambling on
about angels and demons

The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom.
The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

He was homeless, with no place to lay His head

No one listens to a crazy man with a sandwich-board
or the homeless man rambling on

You surely don’t call them prophets, or great teachers
just crazy, nothing more

He spoke like a paranoid schizophrenic
certain the ones in power were after Him

We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered
over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.
They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles
to be mocked and flogged and crucified.

He was plagued by delusions of grandeur
claiming He was God; had always lived and always would
even after He died, He claimed He would rise again

“On the third day I will be raised to life!”
 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

No one would listen to someone who made such claims today
They would lock Him in the loony bin, put Him on meds
until He understood He was just a man

The leaders of His day did even worse
They crucified Him because He claimed He was the Messiah
the Son of God

Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man
sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.

Then the high priest said, “Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.

But He offered some great advice, you say
and spoke of love and forgiveness

That He did, but His advice, His commands
turned many away who thought His teaching too hard

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. . .
And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. . .
And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out.

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up on the last day.
For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

Those who followed Him then, those who follow Him now
do so not because He was a great teacher or a prophet
but because He was who He said He was
Immanuel, God with us
nothing more, and certainly nothing less

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