Tag Archives: Bible

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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Finding Jesus in the Old Testament

Any serious study of the Bible includes some basics of Bible prophecy. There are, of course, the prophecies that Jesus:

For me, the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament through the fulfillment of prophecy is sufficient proof of the Bible’s authenticity and Jesus’ authority as King and God. One of the things I love about God is how He frequently shows me new connections when I read His Word, in answer to a prayer I said many years ago (which you can read about here). Truly all of the Old Testament scriptures are about Jesus and His relationship to His people.

Last Monday I was in a Bible Study Fellowship seminar titled “Personal Quiet Time” given by our wonderful Substitute Teaching Leader Ginger. We learned a great method for reading God’s Word and listening for what He has to say to you in the passage you’ve read.

In the middle of this seminar, as we were each practicing a method of personal quiet time we had just learned, God revealed an Old Testament – New Testament connection to me in a most awesome way.

First of all, He worked ahead of time to make what He wanted to teach me possible for me to see. For some reason I went to the seminar without either my Bible or my phone (which has a Bible app on it). I left both in the room my group was to meet in after the seminar. As I entered the seminar I sat in the front row next to my friend and fellow Group Leader Gina. When it came time for us to open our Bibles to read the passage Ginger asked us to consider, Gina loaned me her study Bible and she used her iPad Bible app. If I’d had the Bible I bring to BSF (and had left in the room) what happened next would not have been possible because that Bible doesn’t have a concordance.

As part of this exercise, we read Mark 1:35-45, which begins, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” As I read this, I was reminded of another verse that I have long felt was a call to me to not sleep in so late but rather to get up early to spend quiet time with God, as Jesus did in the Luke passage. I knew the text of the verse, but not what chapter and verse it was. Using the concordance in Gina’s Bible I found that the verse was Isaiah 50:4, which says, “The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” I was sure the Lord was trying to tell me that I had ignored His prompting to get up earlier long enough.

But then my eyes fell upon the next verses in the Isaiah passage that describe Jesus’ obedience and endurance in going to the cross, as well as His unwavering trust in His Father:

The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears;
I have not been rebellious,
I have not turned away.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from mocking and spitting.

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame.
He who vindicates me is near.
Who then will bring charges against me?
Let us face each other!
Isaiah 50:5-8 (NIV).

Suddenly I knew that it wasn’t about what time I get up, but whether I desire to know Jesus more and spend time with Him in my otherwise busy day. I realized it was okay that I am not a very early riser even if Jesus was. He had to be to beat the crowds and have any time alone with His Father; I have other options. Then, to confirm what I had heard from Him, the Lord spoke again through Ginger. As we finished the exercise and discussed what we had learned from the passage, Ginger pointed out to the group, as an example of developing personal quiet time habits, that I had found a creative way to spend time with God, and that is by doing my BSF lessons while I eat my lunch at work.

What a blessing! I learned new prophetic connections and received wonderful encouragement, all because I made the time to arrive early for this one-hour seminar. And because God is good.

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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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