Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Tiny Voices

One tiny voice cries on throughout the night,
Amid despair and anger acted out,
‘Til those outside the walls hear every shout.
Two distant hearts, in fit of rage, take flight.

Approaching sirens split the evening sky.
Amid pain and confusion, voices calm
‘Til soothing comes; the touch of healing balm.
In strangers’ arms, the babe ceases to cry.

Then likened to a bird without a nest,
The little one stays here awhile, then there,
Instinctively desiring love.  But where
Could someone without someone’s love find rest?

     One tiny voice cried on throughout the night
     Amid the bits of cloth to shun the cold
     And damp.  For long ago in days of old,
     Each innkeeper blew out his welcome light.

     To think, that the Creator of the earth
     Took on Himself an earthly form and face
     And we beheld Him, full of truth and grace.
     Yet those He came to save denied His worth.

     Then likened to a bird without a nest,
     The King of Kings stayed here awhile, then there,
     Expressing love as only God can share,
     Knowing firsthand the need for peace and rest.

          The unloved humbly washed His holy feet,
          The palms of His hands dispelled rejection,
          Our hearts lifted with the resurrection;
          His compassion and love became complete.
               So now, let us adore this holy Child.
               Said Jesus to each man, “Come, follow Me.”
               I AM the poor, the longing to be free,
               The weak, the helpless babe, the one defiled.
                                  ~ae  12/11/2001

“For God
 did not send His Son into the world
 to judge the world,
but that
 the world should be saved
 through Him.”  
                   ~John 3:17

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks!

   Give thanks.  Say grace.  Pray.  Give the blessing.  Offer thanks.  Say a prayer…  There are many expressions referring to the manner in which we share our conversations with God in corporate settings, among family gatherings, or at home around the dinner table.
   The best expression that I have encountered is the phrase my dad would say every day for as long as I can remember… “Let’s return thanks.”
   To return something means to relinquish it, to give back, to restore it to its rightful owner.  The opposite of returning something would be to keep it, to hold on, to stash, to store or stockpile, to put it on the shelf, to file or to cling to it.
   What is thanks?  It is not an object, yet its presence transforms its host.  It has no form, yet it shapes the mind it occupies.  It weights nothing, yet its absence is too heavy to bear.  It earns nothing, yet its benefits are priceless.  It has no face or outward appearance, yet it is revealed through the countenance of its tenant.   It has no life of its own, yet it is a conduit for fullness of life.
   Thanks, alone, is nothing.  To thank infers the presence of a giver and a receiver.  To say, “Thanks!” is to say, “I thank you.” 
   What does it mean to give?  To give is the act of providing, of offering, of bestowing, of donating, of imparting, of transferring, of handing something over to someone else.  In order to give something to someone, we need to begin by owning it or producing it.  In contrast, when we return something to someone, it initially belonged to someone else.
   Is it wrong to “give thanks”? 
   God’s Word instructs and encourages us…
                “Give thanks to the Lord” ~I Chronicles 16:7
                “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord.” ~Psalm 92:1
                “Do not cease giving thanks…” ~Ephesians 1:16
                “Always to give thanks…”~II Thessalonians 1:3
                … and countless similar references throughout the Scriptures.
   So what’s the point?
   We cannot conjure thankfulness from scratch.  The act of thanksgiving is sourced in God alone.  He is the Creator, the Beginning, the Initiator of all things.  All that we have, therefore all that we have to give, originated with Him.  Any act of giving on our part is, in reality, returning to Him what is rightfully His.  On the contrary, not giving thanks could be described as keeping, hiding away, or stashing what was meant to be returned to its rightful Owner. 
   Could it be that to not give thanks, without any intention of returning it, would be considered stealing?
   This concept of thanks, of thanksgiving, of returning thanks, offers entrance into a deeper realm than what our capacity of understanding can provide.  It is sobering. 
   Thanksgiving is holy… a sacred act of yielding, of submission, of acknowledging our position in respect to God's.
   As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s return thanks to Him together.

"The Lord is near.

Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving,
let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts 
and your minds
in Christ Jesus."
                                 ~ Philippians 4:5-7

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daddy, Please Carry Me

Daddy, please carry me up on Your shoulders,
Hold me up.  I can see what You see.
The feel of Your whiskers
and course wavy hair
and the scent of Your closeness gives comfort to me.

Daddy, please carry me up on Your shoulders,
Hold me up.  I am frightened and small.
I feel so much bigger
and steady and brave
whenever I sit on your shoulders so tall.

Daddy, please carry me up on Your shoulders,
Hold me up high.  Now everyone knows
that You are my Father
and I am All Nations,
and that my dependency upon You shows.

Daddy, please carry me up on Your shoulders,
Hold me up.  I can lift up Your Name;
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Prince of Peace,
Child Messiah who shoulders my shame.

Jesus, please carry me up on Your shoulders,
Hold me up even when my ways offend.
Your zeal will forever establish Your kingdom;
Your righteous judgments and peace will not end.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
and the government will
rest on His shoulders;
and His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace. 
There will be no end to the increase of His government
or of peace,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and righteousness
from then on
and forevermore. 
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.” 
                                             ~Isaiah 9:6,7

The Weaned Child

A nursing babe thinks only for the moment,
His stomach soothed but never satisfied,
His sense of smell, of touch so overwhelming,
His need for milk, for love intensified.

A weaned child has experienced a fullness
Beyond the nourishment from mother’s breast.
He understands a measure of contentment
To stay enclosed within her arms at rest.

The natural man thinks only for the moment,
His passion soothed but never satisfied,
His sense of hopeless void so overwhelming
His need for truth, for love intensified.

A man of God experiences fullness
Beyond whate’er the world can give at best.
He understands immeasurable contentment
To stay enclosed within God’s arms at rest.

The babe cannot refuse milk altogether;
In lack of sustenance, would fail to thrive.
And yet he cannot simply nurse forever;
In lack of growth, unable to survive.

Just so, God gave creation for the moment,
Knowing full well that it would not suffice,
Nor could man live or grow in earthly pleasure.
Thus, He requires that man must be born twice!

“Surely I have composed and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child rests against his mother,
my soul is like a weaned child within me.
O Israel, hope is in the Lord
from this time forth and forever.”   
                                              ~Psalm 131

Behold, His Power

Before the stars, the sun, the earth,
Before the time began its pace,
The Father had arranged your birth,
He knew your name, He saw your face.

Behind the leaves, the shadows grew,
Behind the sin of Eden's man,
The Father saw, the Father knew,
He loved you and He had a plan.

Beneath the cross, the scorn, the pain,
Beneath the darkening of the sky,
The Father's Son removed your stain,
He gave you access to draw nigh.

Beside your plate, your evening meal,
Beside your father, hand in hand,
The Father's love to you was real,
He touched your heart to understand.

Between the days, the months, the years,
Between the pages of His Word,
The Father holds your joys, your fears,
His Spirit makes your rest assured.

Because He is the Holy One,
Because you are his precious child,
The strangers look, the neighbors see,
His Light gives hope to life defiled.

Behold, His Power is Divine,
Behold, His mercies new each day.
The Father declares, "You are Mine!"
His matchless splendor paves your way.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Untold Story

There once were some Letters quite small,
Who went to a square dancing ball.
With each promenade,
A new Blend was made,
More Blends than the caller could call.

In the room were some arguing Blends,
Who decided they would make amends.
With every handshake,
A new Word did they make,
So it really made sense to be friends.

Next day, several Words took a stroll.
Before long they began to cajole.
In discussing the weather,
One lead to another,
And a Sentence became their new goal.

One Sentence made everyone laugh.
And as others joined on his behalf,
They giggled and chuckled,
‘Til everyone buckled,
Not knowing they’d formed Paragraph.

Well, Paragraph walked way behind,
Forming thoughts with those of like mind.
Soon Story was born,
And by dawn the next morn
‘Twas tapered, buffed up, and refined.

Now, Story got wind of some news;
That if he were to don some ink shoes,
His verbs and his nouns
Would spread all over town,
Instead of by ones or by twos.

When Story gained fortune and fame,
And all asked for him by his name,
It may sound absurd,
But he thanked every Word,
Blend and Paragraph by which he came.

I Do

He speaks to me;
His still, small voice
says, “Come to Me”.
There is no choice.

I try to do,
I strive to be.
It’s not enough;
I am not free.

I long to feel
His embrace,
to hear His voice,
to see His face.

I am alone,
broken and bare.
I cry to Him,
He strokes my hair.

All that I am
is Christ in me;
the Hope of Glory
set me free!

~ae  12/29/1998

The Door

To know of a door
is to know of one side.
A door that is closed
will no secrets confide.

To knock on a door
is to want to go in.
A door is a welcoming
quest to begin.

To open a door
is to see something new;
the doorway impending
with fresh hope in view.

To enter a door
is to cross the threshold;
a step through the doorway
where mysteries unfold.

The cost of man’s choice
to relinquish all hope
left man without God
and unable to cope.

The Door came to offer
the Way to God’s heart,
which only the Father
could truly impart.

The Door frame consists
of a manger and hay,
a cross with some nails,
and a stone rolled away.

The Truth paves the Way
to a Life that is new;
the Doorway impending
with fresh hope in view.

Come!  Take off your shoes.
And however you’re dressed,
the Door beckons you;
enter into His rest.

“Jesus says, 
‘I am the Door; 
if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved
… I came that they may have life, 
and have it abundantly.’”  
                          ~John 10:9,10

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blank Pages

Happy 50th Anniversary, Dad & Mom E.  May God bless you richly as you continue to walk hand in hand with Jesus and with each other.  I love you gigantically!

*       *       *       *       *
Fifty years yielding
to our precious Savior,
we savor His flavor,
forever in view.
                Setting the stage
                for more years to unfold,
                love more treasured than gold
                and His mercies anew.

Books filled with pages,
each book overflowing,
each paragraph showing
great things He has done.
                Yet blank pages linger
                and thus will remain
                unwritten and plain
                ‘til new days are begun.

Blank pages bursting     
with intrigue and mystery
of all that makes history
yet to be penned.
                Bare pages anxious
                for thrilling occurrence
                with joyful assurance
                fresh ink will commend.

Fresh pages aching
to tell of His glory
in every new story
that steps into shoes.
                Clear pages flowing
                in ceaseless unveiling
                of days never failing
                to bear the Good News.
"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, 
if there is any consolation of love, 
if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, 
if any affection and compassion, 
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, 
maintaining the same love, 
united in spirit, 
intent on one purpose."  
                                           ~ Philippians 2:1,2

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Snowin' Blowin'

Snowin' blowin' horizontal
Wind 'n' flakes make folks disgruntal
Wonderin' if the weather front'll
Up and blow away.

   But until the sun is shinin'
   Everybody quit yer whinin'
   Everything'll be just fine, an'
   Then you can go play.
 P.S. Side note to Ranchers, Linemen, Snowplow Drivers, and other amazing people who work every day out in it; thank you for all you do... you are our heroes!

Paws for Refraction

Boy slept soundly in the chair.
Cat saw sleeping boy was there.
Cat feigned casual and coy.
Cat completely ignored boy.

Boy breathed slowly in and out.
Cat saw opportune lookout.
Boy was tired and boy was ill.
Cat jumped to the windowsill.

Cat leapt blithely to boy’s chest.
Boy slept through his needed rest.
Cat gave tail defiant flick.
Cat began to groom and lick.

Cat yawned. Cat stretched. Cat lied down.
Boy woke up and walked around.
Cat leaped down and hissed at boy.
Cat sought others to annoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paws for Reflection

Boy slept soundly in the chair.
Dog saw sleeping boy was there.
Dog found every doggie toy.
Dog placed toys on top of boy.

Boy breathed slowly in and out.
Dog nudged toys with furry snout.
Boy was tired and boy was ill.
Dog was sad that boy was still.

Boy slept through his needed rest.
Dog was gloomy and depressed.
Dog gave boy a loving lick.
Dog would mimic being sick.

Dog sighed deeply.  Dog lied down.
Boy woke up and walked around.
Dog took every step with boy.
Boy pet dog.  Dog wagged with joy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When We Watch ~ When We Do

When we Watch, we…
show up                                              
observe others expend effort            
have no control of outcome              
are a spectator                                  
admire others                                    
disapprove of others                          
are still                                                           
notice emotions of others                  
have nothing to lose                          
are safe                                              
see the loss and gain of others          
are being influenced                          
perform one-way communication     
employ wishful thinking                     
see results                                          
are independent & uninvolved          
have expectations                              
are relaxed                                        
When we Do, we…
make a difference
are participants
are admired
are active
feel the rush
are vulnerable
lose and gain
are influencing and being influenced
develop relationships
build confidence
accomplish results
are dependent and interactive
are satisfied
get tired
“Commit your works to the Lord

and your plans will be established.”
~ Proverbs 16:3 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Only One Snowflake

     If you look way up into the sky, and if you have extremely amazing vision, you might see a tiny supercooled cloud condensation nucleus gathering moisture from the humidity surrounding it.  As it freezes, it gains mass and falls through the atmosphere.  If you keep watching it carefully, you might observe as it begins clinging to others like it and forming a cluster of ice crystals…. called a Snowflake!
     When God created all things, he spoke them into being.  But when He created man, He formed him from dust particles and completed His new being with the lifegiving moisture of His breath.  Then man turned a cold shoulder to the authority of his Creator, his whole being transforming into a vessel empty of spirit and full of sin.  Man’s independent, self-reliance and assurance in his own reasoning identified him as fallen and separated from God’s presence.

     The average snowflake is made up of approximately 10 18 water molecules which cling to its nucleus.  This moisture is acquired at different rates, at different temperatures, and in different patterns as each snowflake falls through the atmosphere all the way to the ground.  Thus, snowflakes are uniquely shaped; there are no two alike.
     God created man in His own image, yet each of us is inimitable, distinctive and matchless… even identical twins are unique from each other in some respects.  He gives special gifts, talents and abilities to each of us, places us in a variety of environments, families and cultures, and His Spirit prompts, guides and whispers to our innermost beings as individuals.

     Even though ice is clear, the many facets and imperfections of each snowflake diffuse and reflect light, indicating the presence of all colors of the spectrum.  Thus, when snowflakes fall in the daytime or within the range of a source of light, they appear to be pure white.  However, if they are observed falling in the dark with the nighttime sky as their background, they are black, demonstrating the absence of color.
     Man has form and substance, body and mind, heart and soul.  Man is a complicated being sporting many strengths and imperfections.  It is only as a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that the presence of God is indicated.  The radiance of Jesus’ Love, the enlightenment of God’s Word and the captivating freshness of His Grace demonstrate a beautiful and intensely desirable quality… called Faith!

“By faith we understand
that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God,
so that what is seen was not made
out of things which are visible.” 
~ Hebrews 11:3

“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom…
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
~Psalm  51:6,7

Monday, November 8, 2010

Behold the Dawn

... for my son, James

Behold the dawn
sheathed within soft mantle;
mountains wholly secreted,
overwhelmed by heavens
bearing days of snow
not yet fallen.

From where shall my hope come?
Mountains I knew so well
have vanished,
obscured memories
grasping for clarity.
Only one glimpse would suffice;
of their very being,
of their magnitude,
of significance,
of hope.

Yet they remain,
Must I see them
to know they are there?
Must I have answers
to know hope?

As I ponder
gazing expectantly,
the mountains, my mountains,
are refreshed,
gathering nourishment for strength to endure
an endless storehouse for all of life;
there will be spring again.
But for now…

In time, my eyes will see
my mountains again
in all their inexpressible beauty;
for misty uncertainty,
pursued by the sun,
has no foundation,
no grasp.

And so it is
with hope.

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; 
from where shall my help come?  
My help comes from the Lord, 
Who made heaven and earth... 
He Who keeps you will not slumber."  
                                             ~Psalm 121:1-3

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Brother's Toothpick

   Have you ever seen people walking around with toothpicks in their mouths? 
   Every ounce of maternal instinct in my mortal being trembles with horror at the thought of wood slivers imbedded in their gums or through their lips, or worse yet…   They might trip on air molecules or step on a cat’s tail, causing them to *gasp* swallow the toothpicks! 
   How could they be so ignorant not to fear these possibilities like I, in my knowledgeable awareness, am so carefully diligent to do? 
   And when they talk, the toothpicks in their mouths bounce up and down and are tossed side to side causing such distraction to their listeners.  I am appalled at such rude behavior, not to mention the germs these saliva-absorbing little bacteria storage units must harbor.
   Have you ever seen a log in someone’s eye? 
   I never have.  It doesn’t really make sense; a log can’t fit into an eye.  Logs are so big that I can’t even lift one, so how would I fit one into my eye?  I’ve measured them…

“For in the way (I) judge,
(I) will be judged;
and by (my) standard of measure,
it will be measured to (me)…”

“But (I will) seek first His kingdom
and His righteousness.”
~Matthew 7:2 & 6:33

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Think a Thought

I thought I thought a think;
it landed in the sink
I heard a tiny “clink!”
My squint became a blink,
and groaping for my think
I think I thought a thought;
What if I caught my think,
and when my think was caught
it turned into a thought?
The think that clinked would not
be sought within the sink,
for think was now a thought.
And if I think more thought,
my thought will grow a lot,
and when big thought is caught,
and then this thought is taught,
the thought will fill the sink
and make a giant “Clink!”
and everyone will think.