Tag Archives: Peace

Not Just a Statistic

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem in common meter, but to use some of the tricks that Emily Dickenson used to make common meter a little more interesting. I love an opportunity to sort of break the rules of form, but only a little.

The topic of this poem is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I decided this challenge was the time to trot it out.

Not Just a Statistic

Statistics are eye-opening
But overwhelming—sad
Three thousand babies killed each day
Yet women’s rights can’t cede

Statistics belie tragedy
Each single data point
A mother—and a single child
Ever a mournful plaint

Behind each dreaded statistic
Individual lives
Each one suffering painfully
Waiting to know God loves

Let’s look beyond the statistics
Open our eye as well
To all the hurt souls who need us
Provide hope as they wail

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The Gospel Misunderstood

Today is going to be Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub (I think). At any rate, I wrote this for Open Link Night. It was inspired by several conversations I’ve had lately—some in real life and some online. So often the Gospel is misunderstood by Christians and non-Christians, and that makes me quite sad, because it is the best news I have ever heard.

The Gospel Misunderstood

Humans have selfishly gone their own way
I know ‘cuz for so long I did the same
Living my life by my greedy desires
I refused my need to call on His name

The Gospel is the Good News of mercy
Undeserved but offered freely to all
There’s no longer any need for penance
Only our repentance after the fall

Fear of punishment turns many away
Knowing deep down that their heart’s filled with sin
They think God judgmental and nothing more
By His sacrifice He welcomes all in

There’s no condemnation for me in Christ
He paid the penalty that I once owed
Although I endured the consequences
Redemption and friendship to me He showed

If you have rejected a vengeful God
Look closer and you’ll find amazing grace
Daily relationship with Him, who’s love
Will never leave when you seek His sweet face

Please don’t misunderstand the Gospel news
Clinging to sin that will be your ruin
Believing judgment all that God offers
When truly His love and grace He’s proven

Turn from a life that’s empty and broken
Turn, as I have, toward our God of love
Seek the peace that comes only through Jesus
The way, the truth, and the life from above

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Slips Away

I’ve been thinking a lot about my sister Peggy lately, perhaps because her death is the subject of the first chapter of the book I’m working on. Yesterday the refrain for this Kyrielle came to me and then I finished the poem this morning.

Slips Away

Quiet descends on deep darkness
My soul housed in this jar of clay
Groans bitterly in God’s winepress
Her soul slips silently away

Regrets of wasted time oppress
Why did I wait another day
I am here now nevertheless
Her soul slips silently away

Over memories I obsess
Jesus come save her soul I pray
His peace descends on me to bless
Her soul slips silently away

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Afternoon Observations

Today I’m going to try my hand at a haibun. I read one that Bjorn wrote the other day, and he pointed me to the dVerse Poets Pub post about this poetry form that I missed last year. I’ve been wanting to try one ever since. My Poetry Dictionary says that this form can have more than one haiku as long as there is one at the end. Mine includes three haiku.

Afternoon Observations

The sun shone brightly on my back deck. Just me, my Kindle, a notebook, a green ink pen, and a bottle of water—thought I’d read a little 1st John, maybe write some poetry. A slight breeze wafts the scent of lavender from the garden. It’s peaceful. Then the backdoor opens and I’m joined by my son—and his cat. He’s been relegated to being an indoor cat because he once got himself stuck 40 feet in a fir tree, and didn’t learn his lesson. If I had my druthers, the cat would stay inside, but my son feels sorry for him and wants to let him roam the yard a bit, even if he must be supervised. And close supervision is essential.

Up, up, up he climbs
Stupid cat can’t help himself
Rescued just in time

My son isn’t quick enough to stop him. So he has to climb the tree—in Birkenstocks—after the cat, who won’t let go of the branch he’s clinging to. Finally, the cat is in hand and handed down to me. Back into the house they go. My peacefulness returns—the breeze blows gently, the sun beats down on my shoulders—but it doesn’t last.

Caw, caw, caw the crows
Expressing their discontent
Keep song birds away

I don’t know why they have to be so noisy. They woke me earlier this morning and now they’re disturbing my relaxing time on the deck. They make me feel a bit discontent myself. But at last they move on to another neighborhood to disturb the occupants of a different deck. Peacefulness returns again. I close my eyes and soak in the sound of songbirds tweeting and twittering. I love the warmth of the sun. I open my eyes and survey the many flowers we’ve planted—bright purple petunias, fragrant lavender, blue lobelia, salvia just beginning to bud, brilliant yellow snap dragons, perfectly pink carnations and zinnias.

Daisies, alyssum
White flowers of the garden
Bees drawn to color

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Reputation

No one whispers to you
what they whisper about you
to others

Though they might
taunt and tease

And while there may be
truth in the taunting
it’s never the whole truth

Only God knows
the whole truth
your whole heart
the pain in the depths
of your tortured soul

And He whispers to you
You are my beloved
What they say
doesn’t matter to Me
Don’t let it define you

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Where Peace Is Found

The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub is to write about something that is part of our every day life. I could have written about any number of things, but decided to write about prayer.

Where Peace Is Found

Kneeling here
elbows leaning on my soft footstool
head in my hands
I find peace

Reading Psalms
thoughts leaning on God’s promises
Bible in my hands
I find peace

Praising God
soul leaning on my sweet Jesus
heart in His hands
I find peace

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Nothing to Fear

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself

and bears if you’re in Yellowstone
loneliness if you’re all alone

failure if your theory is flawed
sickness and death if you don’t know God

Yet if God is on your side
there’s nothing to fear
just trust and abide

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It’s 2:00 a.m.

Anthony Desmond has challenged us over at dVerse Poets Pub to write a poem incorporating 2:00 a.m. Here’s what I came up with.

It’s 2:00 a.m.

It’s 2:00 a.m.
I should be sleeping
Tomorrow’s a big day
But I’m wide awake

It’s 2:10
I should be snoozing
But in the dark I lay
Thinking it all through

It’s 2:20
I should be snoring
The moonlight shines gray
All I can do is worry

It’s 2:30
I should be dreaming
Instead here I am praying
Now I wake, it’s morning

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Jeremiah Preached the Gospel

I’ve been reading through Jeremiah, alternating with Hebrews, as part of my Bible-in-a-year reading schedule. I’m up to chapter 23 of Jeremiah, but I kept thinking about chapter 17. So I went back and re-read chapter 17 the other night. As I read through it, I realized that this passage encompasses the Gospel and that is why I was drawn back to it.

I love when I find the essence of the Gospel of Christ in the Old Testament (it’s all over the place, you know), but I didn’t really expect to find it in Jeremiah. This is a book by a prophet that the Israelites did not like. His gloom and doom predictions for Israel resulted in the priests and “prophets” plotting against him, and he was arrested, whipped, and put in stocks. He spoke on behalf of the Lord to warn the Israelites of God’s anger because they had turned away from Him, and he predicted that many of the Israelites would die at the hand of the Babylonians or from famine, and that others would be exiled to Babylon, if they did not change their ways.

But in the middle of all of the warnings and predictions is this passage that I believe encompasses the Gospel in a nutshell:

Wisdom from the Lord

 5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.

 7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT).

Verses 5-6 speak of those who trust in their own ability to be righteous and believe they can earn their own way to heaven. When their judgment day comes, they will be cursed because they have trusted in human strength. Even in this life, their spiritual lives are barren and they have no real hope or strength in the face of the trials of this life.

Verses 7-8 speak of those who trust in the Lord Jesus for their salvation and know that they have no hope of righteousness on their own. They are not bothered by the trials of this world because they have the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain their spiritual life. They have the hope of eternity with God.

I love the imagery of this passage of Jeremiah. When trouble comes, and it will come for all of us, the one who trusts in human strength is “like stunted shrubs in the desert.” But the one who trusts in the Lord “like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.” The stunted shrub is the perfect picture of worry and hopelessness. How can such a shrub ever survive? But the tree by the riverbank is the perfect picture of peace and hope. Such a tree will survive the worst drought because it has tapped into the source of life.

In this passage, water is life for the plant. In the New Testament, Jesus promises living water to all who believe in Him.

Jesus Promises Living Water

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) John 7:37-39 (NLT).

The question that faces every human being is whether they will trust in human strength or will put all their trust in their Creator. How about you? Do you seek to earn your own salvation through the strength of your own righteousness? Or have you chosen to trust in Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for your sins, recognizing that your strength and righteousness are nothing compared to His? When the drought comes, will you die of thirst because you have no power to create living water? Or will you thrive because you trust in the One who offers an endless supply of living water for all who believe?

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Kind Words and Iron Doors

It’s Day 29 of NaPoWriMo. I have mixed feelings about the month of celebrating poetry coming to an end. On the one hand, it’s good to have the motivation to write every day. On the other hand, some days it’s nice to not feel compelled to write. Today I’m hanging onto the one hand, and I’m completing a poem that was inspired by a Facebook post I saw yesterday. It’s off-prompt, but that’s okay.

Kind Words and Iron Doors

A Turkish proverb says
Kind words will unlock
an iron door

Often this is true
and so we ought
to speak kind words
always willing to open
an iron door and let peace in

But some doors
iron or otherwise
are sealed from the inside
by bitterness and hatred
so strong even the kindest words
won’t make them budge

These doors to the heart
can only be opened
by forgiveness from within
by the occupant’s choice
to step outside
into a world of grace and peace

5/21/15: Shared for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

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