Lovely Poems

Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope. 
                                                   ~ Theodore Roszak
 
“But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season.
                                                  ~  Jeremiah 17:7-8
 
     God has been my refuge and my strength. For about three months, I was at saturation level with the acid in the air everywhere I went. Loving friends and family told me to essentially, “be the duck,” and let things roll off my back.  I just could not manage it.  My spirit was aggrieved and I could not articulate anything that was interpreted any other way but in a political context.
     I was at a delightful tea party this past weekend with some of the women of the church. We signed up for it in support of our women’s organization. The setting was classic, the table was appointed beautifully.  One of my daughters was with me and at some point during tea, when I spokeabout how I was doing, she flipped the conversation to  what I was doing and began to list my accomplishments and those to come.  I could not understand why, but after a fashion, the mood lightened.
     When we got together later in the week, she told me that I sat up straighter and things were lighter.  The things she spoke of were not things I would have said about myself, but when I heard them from my daughter’s mouth, I felt chosen and special.  So easy to forget when the air is thick.
     Yesterday, I noticed the yellow of a daffodil straining against the stem waiting to pop out.  Yes, some of the loveliest poems are nature’s. I feel as if my joy is tied to the daffodil’s blooming.   Today, look around you, find the poem under your nose, or within your vision.  
Lord, help me to let go and let You lift my chin, my heart, my head.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Deep Listening

If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow. ~Chinese Proverb


So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:9 MSG

     Patient in a moment of anger. 

  •      Taking that extra breath.
  •      Counting to 3 or 10, whistling silently
  •      Perhaps timing your thoughts to the Lord’s prayer.
     I heard a new phrase in a group yesterday, “listening deeply.” Sounds wonderful. Hard to do. Hard to turn off your head and just listen to the speaker. Hard not to be already formulating your answer because you are excited, or already thinking ahead. Not so hard when you look at the speaker instead of jotting down thoughts, or checking the cell phone. Just so hard to be still and listen.  I can only speak for myself, but the very phrase made me slow down and listen harder, not just hear the words and move on.
    As we travel through Lent together, try to pray for those who vex you, listen to those whose message seems foreign to you just to practice listening deeply. We are all moving forward by the power of God. That alone gives me pause.
      Go with God on your journey today O Reader!  Maybe even considering sharing what you heard deeply.
     Lord, open my ears and hold your hand over my mouth that I might listen deeply to the speaker, know what they are thinking.  When my mouth does open, let my words be kind, responsive, devoid of anger, full of You.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Investigate

Love. The indigenous nature of the soul… 

                                                         ~Morris Hyman

 
Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.
                                                       ~ Psalm 139:23-24
 
     Then guide me on the road to eternal life.  Literally the bottom line. No matter what else is going on in this country, my prayer is that the Creator of the Universe, continues to use His only begotten Son to guide me (and all the rest of us!) on the road to eternal life.  I want to take as many with me as I can.  Love them beyond measure, be fair, be kind, like Jesus.
     My foot ends up in my mouth so many more times that it is out, but with God’s help, there is a laugh and a moving on.  It is so easy to immediately list the things that I want fixed in me, but I know that if my eyes are fixed on Him, that is the best beginning to every, any day.
     Try today, to let God lift you up, and just enjoy the new view. Let yourself feel the love and revel in it.  I don’t know how long that will take for you.  I do know that it will take the time to make the time.  No matter what you are holding against yourself, God’s hand is gentler, kinder, surer, and God knows you like no one else and loves you like no one else.
 
Forgiven – Crowder
     Because of Him,
     Linda

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D-O-G, G-O-D

Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks. ~Goethe
 

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG

     Opinionated.  It is the word a friend used to describe our dog.  She said he was like this since birth. Prefers to bark, while wagging his tail if he knows and loves you.  Will bite the stranger who insists that they know better and that if they simply extend their hand, he will know that their smell is magical. He is all of 8 and a half pounds and about 14 years old. He is not a snuggler, he throws himself at us on the couch, positioning his body so that if we breathe, or think of moving, he knows. He won’t take his medication – yes we’ve tried it all.  He cries when he hears us in the driveway and he knows the difference between a few hours and a vacation.  But when we come through the door, he is a one dog greeting committee who acts more like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! Indeed this little old man is quirky.
     However, when we are sick, he is there, unmoved, all day long.  When he is asked if he wants to go for a ride in the car, you couldn’t have a better passenger, and if you say the word “walk”, Kirby gives whole new meaning to liturgical dance!  
     It all boils down to this, He just wants to be with us.  With all his quirkiness and opinionated nature, he loves us like a hurricane and just wants celebrate…every moment…all the time.  
    Kirby is alot like God in his devotion. Unquestioning, devoted, faithful, and yes, opinionated.  Perhaps there is something to the whole G-O-D spelled backwards thing.  The difference is, Kirby thinks he rules our world.  God actually does, being the Creator.
   Oh how he loves us!
 
(David Crowder- Oh How He Loves Us)
 
Lord, help us to me more like a faithful dog, and less like a controlling entity.  Thank you for loving us, with all of our quirks.
Thank you for being close as breath.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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If we would have new knowledge, we must get a whole world of new questions. ~Susanne K. Langer

 

You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth! When my skin sags and my bones get brittle, God is rock-firm and faithful. Look! Those who left you are falling apart! Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again. But I’m in the very presence of God— oh, how refreshing it is! I’ve made Lord God my home. God, I’m telling the world what you do!

Psalm 73:25-26 MSG

   While my husband and I were on Hilton Head, we took a boat ride to  called Dafuskie Island.  It is just minutes from Hilton Head Island, and  whole new world.  There is much rich history on this island.  For me, the fascination began when we pulled in to the church.  Inline image 1
The First African Baptist Church to be exact.  To its left, the “roots” of this church have been rebuilt.  
Inline image 2  This is called a Praise House.
I liked it immediately.  (Just the name alone!)What I learned was that some plantation owners recognized the need for the slaves to have a place to worship.  They made the houses small to avoid large numbers being able to plan.  The only instruments were walking sticks used to keep the rhythm,  the human body, the voice.  Drums were not permitted (in many praise houses if not all) because the fear was that the drums “talked”.The people were divided.  Men and women worshiped separately for as many as four hours at a time.  This gave them time to sing, praise, pray and catch up on the news of the others.
    Four hours! Can you imagine being at church for four hours?  Sunday was sacred to master and slave and though they worshiped separately, they worshiped.  One of the most amazing things to me is that the church (the white building) is growing, and has a full time pastor.  The congregation is fully integrated and pretty much non-denominational.  An amazing experience.  
     Some of my questions were answered about the ways of African American worship got its start, and I was so joyful that the church, on an island of 400 full time residents, is growing, as is the industry.  The community is harmonious and cooperative.  Nature requires it (regular hurricanes).  
     I returned on the cruise, in the rain, feeling a new joy, a new sense of church and a deeper respect for the people our ancestors forced from their homes to serve. 
    Today, as you walk about the country, praise the living God.  With your voice, with your steps, with your whole being. Be a Praise House.  He is the island to which we must repair.
Gullah Singers
 
    Because of Him, 
    Linda

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The Sun Going Down on Anger

My dear, don’t let the sun go down upon your anger; forgive each other, help each other, and begin again to‑morrow. ~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, “Jo Meets Apollyon,” 1868

 
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Tim 1:7 (KJV)
 
     For the past few months, although I did not identify it well, anger has been building in me and the stress and fear were its close companions making a very unholy trinity.  It started last summer and like good fly paper, picked other things up as it hung there.   My left eye had begun to twitch, involuntarily, at the oddest moments.  Between church, work and home so many things contributed to this twitch and my anger was kindled so very simply.
     My husband and I took a trip to South Carolina.  We walked on the beach every morning but one, for about an hour.  We held hands and walked, let the surf tease us, and oh the glorious perpetual date we were on!  Good walks, good food, good conversation. We had a precious visit from a friend while we were there, a friend, who went out of her way to be with us. We had a difficult conversation and recognized that we both saw the solution to so many of our nation’s challenges right now is to focus on the one who holds all authority, all power, all control. After so many months, my eye did not twitch for 8 days!
     I came out of “hiding” and let the breeze blow the sands of anger across the beach, absorbed by the outgoing tide.  
     My husband and I talked and planned and laughed like newlyweds and God gets all the glory.  The Lord’s love poured through my husband and I received it.
      Too many suns went down on the anger that had been building up, and my vision was clouded, it affected everything around me.  I am so happy to say that God truly restored my soul by the waters of the Atlantic, which were quite still where we were.
        I am praying for you, dear reader, that God will keep your eye on God, that your steps are strong and confident, that your heart will be troubled no more.  That you can let it go. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, 
Amen
 
Let it Go – The Newsboys
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Self Esteem

In my day, we didn’t have self-esteem, we had self-respect, and no more of it than we had earned.  

 
                                                       ~ Jane Haddam

 
God loves all who hate evil,
And those who love him he keeps safe,
Snatches them from the grip of the wicked.
 
                                                         ~ Psalm 97:10
 
     Self -esteem, seems to me, to be an entitlement.  Self-respect -something that we are responsible for procuring, not a given right, not something we are entitled to, but something in which we are actively participating to achieve.
 
     In looking in the dictionary, it would seem that one is a part of the other’s definition, explanation, but it the world of education, self-esteem is often a part of the curriculum, and there is little or no emphasis on keeping one’s eye on the Lord. (I was being VERY optimistic here!)  
     When one focuses on oneself, all others fall by the wayside, when one focuses on the Lord and has one’s being by living and moving in Him, one cannot help but do things for others, spread joy, lend a hand or an ear.  As one focuses on the Lord, the self is fed without a constant focus on oneself.  I am not saying that one shouldn’t take stock of one’s situation regularly and look at goals and health, etc.  
     I am saying that the healthy balance comes through the lens of Jesus Christ. There is a built in check list for worthiness, grace, mercy.  It all begins with Jesus, and ultimately ends with Jesus.
And every single situation is colored by God’s love for us.
      Today, let your eyes, ears and heart be filled with the love of God, the direction of Jesus, the kindness you wish someone would show you.
 
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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