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The Promise

We knew well the promise,
The promise we had clung to
Because it was our hope
In slavery
In wandering
In battle
In captivity
In every ceremony.
But we had nearly forgotten the promise,
Had drifted away from the truth.
Then the prophet Isaiah
Called us back
And declared again the promise of salvation
That would come in the Messiah.
“And the Spirit of the Lord
Will rest on him.”
So encouraged,
We continued our expectant waiting.

Years later
Another man declares the same promise
Keeping the hope of salvation alive
In our hearts.
As a long line of believers is baptized,
From among them
One stands out.
When he rises from the water,
He stops.
The sky opens
And the Sprit comes down
To settle on Him.
“This is my beloved Son
With whom I am well pleased.”
Our wait is over.
Salvation is here!

The Gift

In that humble place
Mysterious men from the East
Lay down their gifts
At his feet:
Gold for the King
Frankincense for the anointed One
Myrrh for Him who would die for humanity.
I don’t think anyone in that room
Fully understood
The meaning of those gifts
Or all they foreshadowed.
How could they?
But they didn’t have to comprehend
In order to give.
Just believe.

In this humble heart
I try to comprehend the mystery
Of this gift of grace.
I am a child of the King.
I am anointed to serve.
I will live forever.
I struggle to embrace
The full meaning of this
Indescribable gift.
But I don’t have to understand
In order to receive.
Just believe.

Coming Home (VI)

Soon.
A precious word
Full of the promise of coming satisfaction.
Wonderful, new things
Sweet reunion
A fresh start.
But first
There is much to do.
Many farewells
Hugs and kisses
Selling and cleaning and packing
That could all go on forever.
Meanwhile,
On the other side of those mountains
Nestled in the valley,
You wait
And cling to that word
Soon.
I promise you
Soon you will hear me say
I am home.

Dear Jimmy

“Dear Jimmy,” it had begun.
That was all he read
Before it was snatched from his light hold.
The sweet, girlish words
Meant for his eyes
Were passed from hand to hand
Through the classroom.
The boy, in hopes of stealing the letter back,
Jumped, ran,
Dove, lunged,
And reached where he could –
All without result,
Except that of increased grins and giggles
And mocking looks.
Finally,
He stood in the center of a circle of faces.
They watched,
And waited to see what he would do.
He waited,
And watched them as they stared.
He begged within himself
That the red-haired girl who now held the letter
Would have mercy on him.
Her freckled smirk made him wonder
If she would.
Perhaps it was the tragic look on his face,
Or the hint of tears in his defiant eyes,
Or the crimson on his hot cheeks,
Or the nervous shuffling of his feet –
Or perhaps it was that she had penned the letter –
That erased her teasing smile.
She looked shy.
He seemed anxious.
She paused.
He held his breath.
She stepped forward.
He did the same.
She held the letter toward him.
He leaped forward, hesitated, and hastily
Clasped the letter that had been
Held for ransom
At the cost of embarrassment.
Then he ran from the room filled with snickers.

Sabbath

After a week of
Going and rushing
Doing and accomplishing
So much list checking,
When my mind is full of
Figuring and fretting
Planning and panicking
With a good measure of
Cautious hoping,
Today
I enjoy the peaceful resting
The simply being
Of Sabbath.

My hands are not raised
In praise
Nor are they clasped together
In prayer.
In this hushed awe of gratitude
For grace and joy
And provision,
They are folded softly in my lap
Signaling quiet finality.
It is finished.
I am done with working
On all this
And will find my rest in You.
Shaloam.

Old E-mail

I saved your e-mail for over a year
Even though I tend to delete messages
Rather quickly
In an effort to save virtual space
That I can’t even see.

I saved it because
It made it easy to read
Your words that told me I was loved
Appreciated
Already missed
Bittersweet words that still
Make me catch my breath
By bringing that time so vividly
To my mind
And heart.

I am now far removed
From that time and feeling
But those words can remind me
In an instant
And humble and uplift me
All at once.

To Be Content

Philippians 4:11b (NLT)
… for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

Contentment. Not something that comes easily to us women. Just look at the commercials geared toward women. Pants that make your legs look longer and leaner. Cereal that gives you more energy. Pain relievers that make you feel better. And the cosmetics! Lotions, powders, mascara, perfumes, soaps. It can boggle the mind.

We can be discontent about other things as well. We often think My house isn’t big enough or The furniture is outdated. We complain about our husbands. And don’t you wish you could be a little more like the woman in your office who has it all together? Chances are that she wishes she could be a little more like you.

I have a hard time being content. If I gain weight, I’m not happy. But if I lose too much, I’m not happy, either. I stare at my closet full of clothes and declare, like we all do, that I have nothing to wear. (Working for UPS would solve this. A brown uniform every day!)

Contentment isn’t always easy. But it is a vital part of our relationship with God. James tells us in his book that every good gift comes from God our Father, and that never changes. Never! Not when the dishwasher breaks. Not when you are passed over for a promotion. Not when your husband forgets your anniversary. Not even when you go through devastating trials like the death of a loved one or loss of a job.

God still gives us the good gifts. And to be ungrateful for what He gives us is to insult His perfect love for us. It is more than a lack of thankfulness; it is a lack of faith in Him. We need to trust that He has a plan for us, and that whatever trial or disappointment we experience is a part of that plan.

Be content with what you have. Because the same Jesus who loved you enough to die for you is also the One who loves you enough to give you everything you need and more.

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