Tag Archives: Truth

What We Deserve

We think we all deserve God’s love
All good gifts that come from above
A good God wouldn’t send folks to hell
And therefore the story we tell saves all with love

Except, of course, men like Hitler
Terrorists and Jeffrey Dahmer
They don’t deserve to see heaven
Don’t belong with the eleven we are so sure

But just where do we draw the line
What is your fate and what is mine
We all deserve God’s holy wrath
Because we’ve followed our own path and think we’re fine

We must be repentant sinners
When the truth of God’s mercy blurs
Vision of the Lamb who was slain
And how He took all mankind’s pain troubled heart stirs

Not one of us deserves God’s grace
Praise to Jesus who took our place
He saw our need and came to save
His life for us He freely gave, we must embrace

* * * * *

As is typical for me, when I learn a new poetry form I can’t write just one. The idea for this poem was originally going to be an essay, but this morning this Florette started forming in my mind, so I finished writing it while I ate my breakfast and decided to post it in time to share for Meeting at the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub.


Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Why Are We Surprised?

When people do terrible things, such as yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Paris or the most recent school shooting in Oregon last month, people are surprised. And when you believe, as our culture seems to, that people are basically good, the surprise is understandable.

But my Christian brothers and sisters, why are you surprised? Scripture tells us that we are all born with a sinful nature. In Romans 3:23 Paul points out that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are all of us sinners—the difference is the degree to which we accept that fact and the measures we take to overcome our sinfulness. When others sin, we should not be surprised.

Nor should we be surprised as things seem to get worse in our world, as we hear stories of terrorism, of child abuse, of the acceptance of pornography as normal, of the staunch defense of the practice of abortion, greedy corporations and politicians putting their own bottom line first, and much more. The daily headlines can be depressing, especially if they take you totally by surprise.

Spend much time at all in scripture, however, and you’ll find that the current state of our world is not a surprise to God and shouldn’t be a surprise to us. We see a clear warning in Paul’s second letter to Timothy:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV).

That verse pretty much sums up our culture and our news headlines, including the tabloid headlines about our favorite stars.

So if we aren’t to be surprised about what is going on around us, what as Christians should we do? Especially in the wake of a terrible tragedy like the multi-site terrorist attack in Paris yesterday? Well, again, let’s turn to scripture for our answer.

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Thinking of the people of Paris, the phrase that stands out to me in this passage is “mourn with those who mourn.” We certainly do today. And we encourage all to trust in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who alone is able to change hearts and help us overcome our sinful nature.


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A Cautionary Tale and Forgiveness

I’ve been pondering my past, my regrets, a lot lately and it was starting to get me down. Regrets will do that, you know. I was really starting to let it get to me, praying that God would just let me forget the things I’ve done and have had happen to me that I wish I could change but can’t.

But some things aren’t meant to be forgotten (even though they’re forgiven) because God wants to use them as a cautionary tale to others.

So here are my thoughts, my warnings to those young girls who might be heading down a similar path that I once followed. Trust me, you don’t want to get to 50 and wish you could either forget or go back and change your teen years.

Teens today think it’s cool and acceptable to have sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend, even if they have no intention of it being forever. Sometimes a teen girl will have sex with her boyfriend because she is looking for love and acceptance and thinks that’s the only way to find it. Sex is just no big deal, they think. But it is a really big deal. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to say my husband is the only one I’d ever had sex with. Well, I could say it, but it wouldn’t be true. And there is nothing I can do to change that.

God’s Word says that sex is to be reserved for marriage. Our culture thinks that’s old-fashioned and that sexual freedom is better.

Clergyman Richard Cecil once wrote, “God denies a Christian nothing, but with a design to give him something better.” Sex outside of marriage is denied by God because monogamy and having only one special, perfect lover is better.

Though I can’t go back and change the past, I was reminded by a favorite Sanctus Real song the other day not to let that get me down because that was the old me and Christ has made all things new. The lyrics to that song speak to me. The second verse and chorus are:

My mistakes are running through my mind
And I’ll relive my days in the middle of the night
When I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride.
Sometimes I feel alone and I cry.

And in this life
I know what I’ve been
But here in your arms
I know what I am

Well, I’m forgiven
I’m forgiven
And I don’t have to carry
The weight of who I’ve been
‘Cause I’m forgiven

Forgiven, Sanctus Real

Every day we make choices. I pray young men and women will make Godly choices instead of the worldly choices I made when I was young. I pray that if you are reading this cautionary tale, you will take it to heart and avoid the regret, the struggle of reliving your days in the middle of the night. Practice patience and self-control, waiting until you find your real one true belove, the one you have married, to discover the wonder and joy of God’s gift of sex.

But if you are like me, if you have regrets, remember that you, too, can be forgiven. When a woman who had led a sinful life came to Jesus, He had compassion on her. “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Luke 7:48 (NIV). He will say the same to you.


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Spiritual Coup

The past has no hold on me
it reveals my old self but I am new
Created in Christ Jesus
in an amazing spiritual coup

I’m not sure when it happened
though it happens day by day
I become more like my Savior
in the most marvelous way

And yet some days I stumble
drifting in the dark
I forget to seek the Spirit
who helps me hit the mark

But He is ever faithful
never forsaking me
He restores me to the way
His grace the golden key

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One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

When I was five, a brand new show called Sesame Street first aired on TV. I, and many kids in my generation, loved this show and grew up learning a lot while having fun. One of the segments on Sesame Street included a song with the lyrics: “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things is not the same.” (If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, you no doubt read those lyrics with the iconic tune in your head.) As the song played, there would be four items on the screen, such as three circles and a square. Or there might be four completely different shapes—a star, a square, a circle, and an oval—but three would be red and one would be green. The goal was to teach kids the concepts of same and different.

In our culture today, we seem to have forgotten this lesson in one important area of life. There is an activity that is very different from all other activities—it is, in fact, unique—but our culture has lumped it in with all other activities. If we were to play the game of “One of these things is not like the others” with the following list of activities for a third date, some would have a hard time deciding which one was not like the others:

  • Going to a movie
  • Having a picnic
  • Going for a hike
  • Having sex

One person might say the picnic is different, because it is the only one that involves food. Another person might say that the hike is different because it involves outdoor exercise. Still another might say that the movie is different because it costs a lot of money.

But really, the one of these things that is not like the others is having sex. It is the only unique activity that can result in the creation of another human being. It is the only activity that, once it has been done, changes a person’s status from being a virgin to being not a virgin. It is an activity that bonds two people together in a way that can never be completely broken even if they break up and never see each other again. (“The two shall become one flesh.” Mark 10:8).

But thanks to the sexual revolution, this beautiful, unique, creative, and intimate activity has been reduced to just another Friday night option. This wonderful gift of God has been reduced to “hooking up,” “bumping nasties,” “getting laid,” “getting lucky,” and numerous other terms that I won’t post here.

Last month we were watching Last Comic Standing—and I’ll admit I didn’t think any of them were funny—and one of the comics said, “I had sex in high school, like a normal person.” Our culture has reached the point where everywhere you turn you see casual sex and it’s expected that teenagers will have sex, or they aren’t normal. Even on the TV sitcom Big Bang Theory, Leonard the nerd—the last holdout of young men who didn’t have sex in high school like normal guys—had sex with several different women before he met and married Penny.

We hear that Planned Parenthood’s birth control services are essential because abstinence for teenagers or young adults just isn’t an option. But why isn’t abstinence an option? When and why did we as a culture decide that it was better for our young people to have sex whenever they want? When did we decide self-control just wasn’t something to teach our children?

Perhaps if our culture didn’t teach young men that they are normal only if they’ve had sex at 15 or 16, then the 16-year-old boy who raped me when I was 14 wouldn’t have thought it was okay. Maybe if our culture didn’t treat sex like just another activity that boys (and more often these days girls) can’t help but do starting at a young age, then we wouldn’t have so many pregnancies of girls in their teens and early 20s, often followed by abortions.

Maybe if we taught our sons and our daughters that their virginity is not something they should be itching to lose, like smelly bag of garbage, but rather is something to be kept and cherished like a bag of gold and gem stones until they find the right person to share it with. Because once you lose it, you can’t get it back.

We hear much in the news about the rape culture in our colleges and wonder what to do about it. Well, it’s not just in our colleges. It’s in our high schools, it’s in our television programming, it’s big money at the box office. I believe the rape culture stems from the inability of our culture as a whole to see that “one of these things is not like the others.” Casual sex and a focus on “getting laid” as opposed to finding true, lasting love have blurred the lines between what’s acceptable and what’s not for many in our culture. When we tell young, unmarried men they aren’t normal if they don’t have sex, is their obsession with it really a mystery?

But in God’s culture, the lines aren’t blurred. Sex is a unique and intimate activity that is to be reserved for a husband and wife. Before marriage, God calls us to have self-control when tempted and He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us with that self-control (and more). (See Galatians 5:22-23).


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Blessings of Boldness

Being bold and courageous is hard and sometimes risky, but it’s always worth the risk. Last week when I posted my 6th Anniversary post, I mentioned that I was going to share on Monday about the blessings of being bold. But one of the two things I planned to share didn’t go as I had planned and so I didn’t write that post. After God added another blessing to the mix, I’m now ready to share.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my personal experience with Planned Parenthood. I was terrified to post it, but I did, on a Wednesday evening thinking no one would see it. That one little post ended up getting more views and shares in three days than I’ve ever had for any post. Some of my posts have been viewed more over the long haul, but never in such a short period of time.

Then, about a week later, I got a comment from Randy Alcorn (okay, it was from his media relations specialist) asking if he could re-blog that post. Of course I said yes, because being re-blogged by an author with his credentials is a great blessing for a relatively unknown author like me. Plus, it meant my story now has the potential to touch even more lives and be a blessing to others. His post including my re-blogged post went live on Monday here.

The next blessing came when I was bold and courageous to share my story in church this past Sunday. We are doing a sermon series on how God changes lives, and He has definitely changed mine. It was hard and risky to share my story, but it was well worth the risk. Afterwards I got lots of hugs, plus a few people who said they had been through something similar and that what I shared helped them. I also received some follow-up notes from some members of our church, including a handwritten note that came in the mail (those are my favorite kind).

I was all set to share the link to the audio of my testimony in my post on Monday, but it turned out that the recording got messed up and you couldn’t really hear it. There was a lot of static and my voice was so quiet that even when the static stopped for a second or two, you couldn’t hear me. I was so upset, because I knew there were people who had asked me to send them the link because they wanted to listen but weren’t able to come to our church that morning.

So, because I didn’t have the audio to share in this post, I had decided not to write it. Then I mentioned to my awesome husband that the audio had been messed up on my testimony and he replied, “I recorded it. It’s on my phone.” I was so happy and felt so blessed that he cared so much to have recorded it. I was able to upload it to SoundCloud and create the recording below.

And the triple blessing in all of this is that I discovered how easy it is to use SoundCloud and embed a SoundCloud clip into my blog, so now I can add audio readings of some of my poetry, too.

Anyway, the lesson for me this week is that God is good and often works to bless us even when we think He’s forgotten us or doesn’t care. That is the story of my life, but it’s also the story of the recording of my story. I was disappointed that He didn’t make sure the church recording of my testimony worked out, but He had a plan for me to see how much my husband loves me. And how much He loves me.

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The End and the Beginning

Over at dVerse Poets Pub today Gayle is asking us to write Japanese death poems, preferably in the tanka or haiku form (though she said we didn’t have to adhere to strict syllable counts). I decided to write a tanka, which I’ve never done before. I don’t know if I followed all the rules, but I did stick with the 5/7/5/7/7 syllable counts.

My poem illustrates how I hope I will face death some day, at least this is my plan. I didn’t set out for it to rhyme, but it does, so there you go.

The End and the Beginning

My wandering over,
my suffering now to cease,
my eternal home
in sight, now my hope and peace
embracing the sweet release


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Suicide Is Not Selfish

Today, Sept. 10,  is World Suicide Prevention Day. I decided to share just a little post from my perspective.

Often we hear it said that those who commit suicide are selfish because they hurt the people they leave behind. But if you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or tried to commit suicide, you know that is not the case. (If you never have, it is very difficult to understand.)

I’ve only been truly suicidal once, but my thoughts were far from selfish. At the time, my actual thought was that my husband and son would be better off without me because I was so depressed and broken that I was no good to them.

Thoughts of suicide often follow a long pattern of trying to get well with little or no success. It stems from hopelessness and a sense of feeling like you are a burden to those around you. To consider suicide is to desire to unburden others.

Unfortunately, the thought processes of a person who is suicidal are just simply wrong. I know mine were. I can’t imagine where my husband and son (who was 1 ½ then and is 20 now) would be if I had gone through with it. They certainly would not be better off. That thought was a lie.

There is always hope, even when things seem the most hopeless. What a person struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts needs is love and hope. They need understanding and reassurance that the rest of us would not be better off if they were gone. They need to know we are there for them and that they matter to someone.

They need to know that God loves them and wants what is best for them, and that “This too shall pass.” But in the meantime, we are there to be a shoulder to cry on and a heart to confide in.

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Grace and Mercy

The deepness of my soul You know
But still You don’t get up and go

Ev’ry mean thought and evil deed
Only point to my deepest need

Although I can never undo
All my transgressions against You

There is grace and mercy divine
I, Lord, am Yours and You are mine

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I Am a Reluctant Watchman

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is offered by guest bartender Lynn. She is asking us to write about what the watchman sees. I decided to take my first line from the Isaiah verse she quoted, with a slight modification. This prompt was actually perfect for me this week as I’ve been writing more (in prose/essay form) about my personal experience with abortion. I’ve felt a little like the watchman, though a reluctant one.

I Am a Reluctant Watchman

Go set a watchman; let her announce what she’s seen
Declares the Lord our God
It’s not about me, knows the watchman, but where I’ve been

I don’t want to play watchman in our world today
I tell the Lord my God
It’s not about you, He replies, you must go this way

And so I speak the atrocities I’ve both seen and done
Trusting the Lord my God
Then I share the compassion of Jesus the Son

Murder I see and murder I’ve perpetrated
Grieving the Lord our God
For our own convenience children are daily terminated

Lies I was told and deception reigns supreme
Angering the Lord our God
I wish I could say this is only a horrible dream

But He’s set me a watchman to announce what I’ve seen
Glorifying the Lord my God
With the truth I learned when I was just seventeen

Choices made out of fear can never be undone
Whispers the Lord my God
But they can be forgiven by the grace Christ has won


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