Tag Archives: Bible

Fearless – A Poem

This poem was inspired by my Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader, who has been a great inspiration to me. We are doing a study of Matthew and some of the phrases in this poem are inspired by the encounters with Jesus that we have been studying.

Fearless

Fearless disciple
following Christ
wherever He may lead
Into the storm
or to foreign lands
wherever there is need

Fearless child
of the Living God
rejoicing, “I am freed!”
The cross of Christ
the Gospel true, she
rejoicing plants a seed

Fearless leader
forging ahead with
teaching we do heed
The Word of Life
the source from which all
teaching does proceed

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The Widow’s Offering – A Pantoum

This poem was inspired by the story of the widow’s offering recorded in Mark 12:41-44. I wrote it for an Advent devotional that my church is putting together. Each daily reading from the devotional will be offered for all to read on the church website at www.cofaith.net beginning on December 1.

The Widow’s Offering

You gave all You had to give, You gave me Your life
Like the widow’s offering to the treasury
Through Your great poverty, with love my soul is rife
Blessed by the abundant life, my sin You bury

Like the widows offering to the treasury
I am called to give what truly belongs to You
Blessed by the abundant life, my sin You bury
Now I embrace through You this life that is brand new

I am called to give what truly belongs to You
Without worry that it’s all I have left to give
Now I embrace through You this life that is brand new
And as You forgave me today I will forgive

Without worry that it’s all I have left to give
Even if lowly as the widow I may be
And as You forgave me today I will forgive
Praying others will see You when they look at me

Even if lowly as the widow I may be
Through Your great poverty, with love my soul is rife
Praying others will see You when they look at me
You gave all You had to give, You gave me Your life

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Whom Can God Use? – A Poem

Three weeks into the study of Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship I’ve already learned — or been reminded of — a great truth. God can, and does, use the most unlikely and undeserving people to accomplish His great purposes for mankind. He can use even me and you, whether we believe it or not.

Whom Can God Use?

Whom can God use?
He used Tamar the Hittite
Rahab the prostitute
Ruth the Moabitess
And the Gentile wife of Uriah
to create the line of King David
the ancestors of Messiah

Whom can God use?
He used Pharaoh the hard-hearted
Moses the murderer
Herod the Great, a cruel king
And Joseph the carpenter
to set up and fulfill prophecy
of calling His Son out of Egypt

Whom can God use?
He used Peter the hot-head
Thomas the doubter
Mary Magdalene the prostitute
and Paul the murderous zealot
to spread the Good News
of His mercy and saving grace

Whom can God use?
He used June from Australia
My sister the atheist
New friends in Bible study
And an angel in a dream
to call me out of my exile
from the hell of depression to the Light

Whom can God use?
He can use you
no matter your past
Despite all I’ve done
He can use me
to share His sweet love and light
with a world lost in darkness

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Something New

Note: As you read this post, you might ask yourself why I am telling you so much about my hair dyeing experiences. Trust me, there’s a purpose and a lesson to follow my seemingly rambling story.

In early July I decided to color my hair with a box of auburn hair dye that had been in my hall closet for about five years. We were on vacation for two weeks but didn’t go anywhere and I was starting to go stir crazy so it seemed like a good thing to do. The dye was more like a bit of highlighting, only slightly changing the color of my hair. A few people noticed but not too many. Within six weeks the color had faded significantly because it was the kind that washes out in 24 shampoos.

Then over Labor Day weekend I decided I wanted to do it again because I liked the slight red hint to my hair color, so I went to the store to get a box of the same dye. Unfortunately, that brand and color were no longer available (it having been five years or more since I bought it). So I selected another shade of red in another brand, though still the non-permanent kind that is supposed to wash out, this time after 28 shampoos. I took it home and dyed my hair the Sunday before Labor Day.

The color change was much more dramatic this time. I really wasn’t sure I liked it at first and was reluctant to go out in public as a redhead. Even my color blind husband could tell it was a very different color when he returned home from a backpacking trip at the end of that week. Many people have noticed and commented on my new hair color, and a number of them have taken to calling me Red. Even now, several weeks and many shampoos after dyeing it, my hair is still strikingly red. Today at church I had someone I barely know come up to me for the express purpose of telling me she really liked my hair color. Because the many comments I’ve gotten have all been positive, the new color is starting to grow on me and I think I will probably re-dye it when it fades.

On my way home from church I was thinking about how many more comments I’ve gotten with this dramatic hair color change then I did when I just highlighted my hair. It occurred to me that these experiences are a great analogy for the Christian life.

Scripture tells us that faith in Christ will change us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV). But sometimes we are afraid of a bold new creation that God has called us to be. Instead, we allow little highlights of the new to show through. The change in us is subtle and noticed by only a few, just like my first experience of dyeing my hair with a subtle red highlight.

But if we allow Christ to truly change us and boldly allow His light to shine through, others will notice, even many people we don’t know well. People may even comment on the change. As Christians, as we see this new creation in others, we should comment on this change and provide them with encouragement. Just as receiving positive comments about my new hair color has made me feel much more comfortable with this change, the new Christian will feel much more comfortable with the changes Christ makes in them if they receive positive encouragement.

The apostle Paul taught us to encourage one another when he wrote, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12 (NIV). Let us, then, mutually encourage one another to let the Light of Christ shine so that others may see the change He has made in our lives. Let us share the great peace and love He has placed in our hearts. Let us never be ashamed of the new creation that we are in Christ, even when the world scoffs at our faith. Just as I have come to appreciate the nickname Red, let us appreciate and rejoice in the name Christian, followers of Christ, His new creation.

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My God of the Little Things

The God of the Universe has done some very big things, like creating the Universe and all that it is in it for starters. He enabled Moses to part the Red Sea, caused the walls of Jericho to fall, walked on water, and calmed a raging storm. And the biggest thing He did was to give His life to save ours, thereby defeating death forever.

So when we think of God, we think of the big stuff and sometimes think it is only the big problems that we should bring to Him in prayer. We pray for cancer to be cured, wars to be ended, and the economy to turn around. Many people think that we shouldn’t bother God with the little day-to-day issues that we all deal with. But I disagree. Although God is indeed the God of the big stuff, I know that my God is also the God of the little things.

He proved this fact to me just last week. Let me tell you what He did.

Several weeks ago I was asked to be a group leader for a local evening class of Bible Study Fellowship. I attended the pilot class last spring and the evening timeframe worked great for me because I work fulltime and could never attend the day class. But there’s added responsibility and time commitment with being a group leader, not the least of which is the leaders’ meetings that start at 5:30 a.m.

Now anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a morning person. Most mornings my alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m. and I hit the snooze button two or three times before dragging myself out of bed. And most mornings when I do get up my feet hurt terribly as I walk to the bathroom. It generally takes two cups of coffee before I feel awake. So I was very concerned about how I was going to get up at 4:20 a.m. so that I could make it to the leaders’ meeting on time. So I prayed about it and asked the other BSF leaders to pray about it, too. It was a little thing – getting up on time for an early meeting – but I prayed about it anyway.

The morning of the meeting came. I had set my alarm for 4:20 a.m. When the alarm went off, my eyes popped open and I was wide awake. I got right out of bed without hitting the snooze button even once. As I walked across the floor, I realized my feet didn’t hurt at all. I started the coffee, but didn’t have a cup until after my shower and then I only had one cup before leaving the house. I took a travel cup with me, but it took me most of the two-hour meeting to finish it. Even more amazing than that, I wasn’t tired all day long at work.

My God of the little things was with me that morning, and I trust that He will be with me as I continue to fulfill the responsibilities of BSF group leader that He has called me to.

Whatever little things you are facing today, trust in the God of the little things to see you through. Don’t wait for the big stuff before you call on Him; the little stuff that matters to you matters to Him, too.

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Wait for the Harvest – A Poem

When your basket is empty
and the harvest is far away
despair is all your heart recalls
and you can’t bear another day
call on the Lord of the harvest
He will hear you when you pray

In times of great tribulation
your faith the Lord is growing
His perfect and pleasing will
is what He desires your knowing
He will deliver harvest aplenty
fill your basket to overflowing

* * * * *

In the book of Ruth, Naomi finds herself with an empty basket, an empty life. After traveling to a foreign land, her husband dies and then her two sons die. She is left with only her two foreign daughters-in-law. Her life is bitter and barren. But then she returns, with her daughter-in-law Ruth, to her homeland in Bethlehem just at the beginning of the barley harvest. By the end of the story the Lord has refilled her basket with many blessings. During our group discussion of chapter 1 last Monday evening the idea for this poem was born.

4/2/13 update: I’ve shared this for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night today. Head over and check out some other poetry.

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Refuge – A Found Poem

Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people
and your God my God.

The Lord is my refuge.

May the Lord repay you
for what you have done.

The Lord is my refuge.

May you be richly rewarded
by the Lord, the God of Israel,
under whose wings you have come
to take refuge.

The Lord is my refuge.

He has not stopped showing
his kindness to the living and the dead.

The Lord is my refuge.

Praise be to the Lord,
who this day has not left you
without a guardian-redeemer.

The Lord is my refuge.

May he become famous throughout Israel!
He will renew your life
and sustain you in your old age.

The Lord is my refuge and my redeemer.

This found poem is from various verses throughout the book of Ruth, which we just started studying this week in my Bible study class.

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Presidential Wisdom – A Poem

Great presidents of these United States
Washington and Lincoln we honor on this day
May their words of wisdom
Bless and keep us on our way

Of all the dispositions and habits
which lead to political prosperity,
religion and morality are indispensable support.
¹

May we never forget that
It is impossible to rightly
govern the world
without God and the Bible.
¹
In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say,
it is the best gift God has given to man.
All the good the Savior gave to the world
was communicated through this book.
²

As we face violence and economic crisis
remind us, O Lord, that at its core,
It is the eternal struggle between these
two principles—right and wrong—throughout the world.
They are the two principles that have stood
face to face from the beginning of time;
and will ever continue to struggle.
²
Let us raise a standard to which
the wise and honest can repair;
the rest is in the hands of God.
¹

Help us, O Lord, to not forget what history
and the wisdom of experience teach.
Let us with caution indulge the supposition
that morality can be maintained without religion.
Reason and experience both forbid us
to expect that national morality can prevail
in exclusion of religious principle.
¹

Teach us, O Lord, to emulate our forefathers and say,
I have been driven many times upon my knees
by the overwhelming conviction that I had
nowhere else to go.
My own wisdom and that of all about me
seemed insufficient for that day.
²

This “found” poem is based on quotes from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as indicated by the footnotes to italicized words as follows:

¹George Washington
²Abraham Lincoln

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The Heart of Mankind

I read this quote by Nelson Mandela posted on Facebook the other day:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

At first glance this quote seems right and a wonderful sentiment. And it is partly true — people can be taught to love and the objects of hatred are often taught. But I’m not sure I agree with the idea that no one is born hating. If no human being was ever born hating then who taught mankind to hate? It had to start somewhere.

In Genesis we see Cain expressing hatred for his brother Abel — hatred so strong it led him to commit the first murder. If Cain was not born with that propensity to hate, then who taught him to hate his brother? Surely it wasn’t his parents, Adam and Eve. What did they know of hatred? Only what they had learned from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but I doubt they would have taught that knowledge to Cain and suggest that it was the better course.

After several generations had passed after that first act of hatred by Cain, the Bible tells us, “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6:5 (NIV). Nothing has changed since that time.

I believe that envy, jealousy, selfishness, and pride, which lead to hatred, are all more natural to the human heart than love. I know that when I once looked into my own heart, this is what I saw. Even now there are times when those feelings can so easily rear their ugly head. I doubt that I am so different from other people in this regard, and yet so many fail to see the defects in their own hearts but want to believe that love comes more naturally to them.

Not only can we be taught to love, we must be taught to love. “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV). Apart from God, and the knowledge of His great love and mercy, the inclinations of the human heart continue to be towards evil. Love flourishes in the human heart and overcomes hatred and selfishness only where love is taught.

Thankfully, “God is love,” 1 John 4:8 (NIV), and He is willing to change the human heart that trusts in Him.

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The Things People Will Believe

I am always amazed at the things people will believe and repost on Facebook. Here are just a few examples:

  • Once again the “fact” that the coming month has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays, and 5 Sundays, and that this won’t happen again for 823 years, has been going around. The shared post usually says that if you pass it on you will have good luck or come into some money. It’s fairly easy to debunk this claim by looking an online perpetual calendar, which will reveal that any 31 day month that starts on a Friday will have this 5 Friday, 5 Saturday, and 5 Sunday pattern. And yet people keep falling for this.
  • A well-meaning warning has been circulating again of a new “trick” of car-jackers. The story is that the car-jackers put a piece of paper on the back window of a car in a mall parking lot and then lay in wait for the owner. When the owner gets in and starts the car, they notice the piece of paper in their back window, and jump out with the car running to see what it is. The would-be car-jacker then jumps in the car and drives off. There are apparently no reported cases of this actually happening in all the years it has been circulating via email and now on Facebook.
  • During the recent election season a post about how members of Congress do not pay into Social Security and all draw salaries equal to their salaries in office for the rest of their lives regardless of how long they were in Congress. A simple search on www.snopes.com will reveal the truth about the retirement options of members of Congress. And yet people continue to repost this, calling for change.
  • Since it is the Christmas season, the post attributing a long monologue to Ben Stein has been going around. The first few paragraphs are part of a commentary Stein gave on TV several years ago. But then tacked on the end are some blurbs about Madeleine O’Hare, prayer in schools, and several other topics about how our government is anti-Christian, all of which have been circulating in some form or another for years, and are not in any way attributable to Stein. The mere fact that these things have circulated forever should be enough to make anyone be skeptical. And yet people keep reposting it.

It seems that just because something is posted in a nicely formatted box or comes with a picture of a celebrity people are willing to believe and repost without checking the source of the information. People can be so gullible about the stupidest things.

And yet these same people will often refuse to believe the miracles of God. Even though we have eye-witness accounts of many of these miracles—from the shepherds telling of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus to the post-crucifixion appearance of the resurrected Christ to over 500—people refuse to believe. It is unfathomable that the One who created the world and all that is in it would come to us as the child of a virgin, would live His relatively short life mostly in obscurity, then would die a horrible and brutal death, and be raised from the dead to walk again among the living. It is unfathomable—unless one is willing to believe in the miracle of love and grace.

The apostle John summed up the eye-witness accounts of the authors of the New Testament when he wrote: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”

Some argue that the eye-witness testimony of the New Testament is not reliable because we can’t really know if the Bible as we currently know it is an accurate representation of what was originally written. However, both the quantity and quality of available early manuscripts of the New Testament books, as well as the short time span between the available manuscripts and the events they cover, all point to the reliability of the New Testament. As compared to other accepted writings of ancient philosophers, the New Testament is unparalleled in its reliability. Here is part of a chart from I’m Glad You Asked by Ken Boa and Larry Moody, pg. 93, comparing the New Testament to other writings:

Author Date Written Earliest Copy Time Span Number of Copies Accuracy
Homer ca. 850 B.C. —— —— 643 95%
Plato ca. 380 B.C. ca. A.D. 900 1,300 years 7 Not enough copies to reconstruct original
Aristotle ca. 350 B.C. ca. A.D. 1100 1,400 years 5
Caesar ca. 60 B.C. ca. A.D. 900 950 years 10
Tacitus ca. A.D. 100 ca. A.D. 1100 1,000 years 20
New Testament ca. A.D. 60 ca. A.D. 130 100 years 14,000 99.5%

The Bible makes some incredible claims about Jesus and the means of salvation. But when you check the source of this information, the reliability of its eye-witness accounts, and the internal consistency of the promises of God contained in this wonderful book, it doesn’t require gullibility to believe. It only requires an open mind to believe in miracles.

If you are interested in exploring the reliability of this Good News further, I highly recommend Boa and Moody’s book.

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