Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Your Word

Over the last month, God has begun in me an amazing journey through Psalm 119. God has drawn me to this Psalm not just for reflection, but as a conversation between him and I. I am taking it a stanza at a time and as I meditate on His Word, the Spirit is inspiring me to respond in verse. Though I am a writer – I have no words to express how God has touched my spirit in this process so far, however I can share some of the experience with you by sharing a few of the poetic responses that has come from my study time.


IN YOUR WORD
So many choices,
so little knowledge
from which to make a decision.
How am I to know
the road I am to travel?
I cry out for direction
only to receive a chorus
of conflicting answers.
How am I to choose
from this chaos of indecision?
On my knees I seek Your guidance
and You draw me to Your Word.
With a word from Your lips – You created,
with an utterance – You conquered sin.
In the silence of Your written Word
You enlighten me,
You console me and
You guide my steps.
In Your Word I hear Your counsel,
witness Your example,
and Your wisdom is revealed to me.
Each time I seek You in Your Word,
Your comfort embraces me.
Your love settles in my heart
for You are with me.
In Your Word I seek forgiveness
and You bless my soul with grace.
Your Word nourishes and fills me
more than any food or drink.
Lord, I ask only that Your Word
breathe life in me
and in the power of Your Word
You would change me.

Response to Psalm 119:9-16


About the picture:
Parkwood Presbyterian Church (July 2011)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Soul Stirrings


Over the last month, God has begun in me an amazing journey through Psalm 119. The book of Psalms is a book of poetry and song. It was the hymnbook of God’s people for centuries before Christ came and continued to be the music of the church for centuries after Jesus assumed his rightful place as Head of the Church. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm and, until now, I had avoided it for just that reason. However, God drew me to it for study.

Psalm 119 is an alphabet poem. It’s divided up into 22 stanzas of eight verses each. In each stanza, each of the eight verses begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (The first eight verses begin with the first letter of the alphabet; the next eight begin with the second letter and so on.) Each of the 176 verses speaks of God’s law – his commands, his precepts, his word, his promise. And each verse is a complete thought which can stand alone, apart from the rest of the Psalm. As a writer, I can tell you that any one of those attributes is difficult enough to accomplish – having all of them together in such an elegantly melodic form is just further proof to me that the Word of God is just that – the Word of God!

God has drawn me to this Psalm not just for reflection, but as a conversation between him and I. I am taking it a stanza at a time and as I meditate on His Word, the Spirit is inspiring me to respond in verse. Though I am a writer – I have no words to express how God has touched my spirit in this process so far, however I can share some of the experience with you by sharing a few of the poetic responses that has come from my study time. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting what the Spirit has led me to write.

SOUL STIRRINGS
With all of my heart
Lord, I will seek You
and humbly submit
my will to Yours.
When I search Your Word
to find my path,
Your Spirit satisfies
my thirsty soul
and You reveal the road
mapped out for me.
Oh that Your ways were
within my power,
that Your holiness was
my overriding desire.
Never would I foolishly stray,
nor hang my head
in the light
of Your glorious perfection.
And in that pure light
of Your holiness
Your love showers me
with forgiveness
washing away
the stain of my sin.
Peace and joy are mine
in the arms of my Savior.
Blessed to walk
in the company of my God
to listen and learn
along life’s journey.

Response to Psalm 119:1-8

About the pictures:
Parkwood Presbyterian Church (July 2011)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Write a Poem About a Pair of Sneakers

THE SAVIOR'S SANDALS
An ordinary pair of worn leather sandals
scented with the odor of sweat and dirt
from a thousand miles walked.
Not the offensive smell one would expect,
but the sweet fragrant offering of
His duty, love, and determination
to sit among and to save His children.
The straps torn and mended in many places
by a loving mother or dedicated disciple,
or perhaps by His own calloused hands.
His very footprints molded into their soles
from years of service in walking His path.
Day after day, they laid themselves down
upon the rocks that would slice His heel
and the burning sand that would grind at His feet
as He traveled where ever the Spirit led Him,
perhaps even to the foot of the cross.
Oh that I could walk the way of His sandals.

This week’s blog started in the strangest of places – a book called “How to Write Poetry.” As you may have noticed, the poet has been reawakened in me recently. The book gives the suggestion to write a poem about a pair of sneakers. Since Jesus didn’t own a pair of Nike’s, I wrote about his sandals instead. As I was writing the poem, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between my life as a disciple and the position his sandals held.

The sandals Jesus wore were nothing special. You couldn’t pick them out of a display of first century sandals if your life depended on it. What made them noteworthy enough to merit a poem was that they belonged to Jesus. Where he walked, they went. Often, I make a joke about being just a secretary or just a high school graduate and therefore nothing special. However, in my service to Jesus, I am uniquely special. He chose me and walks with me daily, guiding me along the path he wishes me to travel through life. It’s his presence alone in my life that makes me acceptable in the presence of a Holy God. And of course, it is always good to remember, that like everything else on earth, the Father has put me under Jesus’ feet.

As you know, my life has been torn apart many times and each time God has mended and renewed my life. He made me new in his power, by his will, sometimes through the actions of those he put in my life. As I journey through life with Jesus, he is molding me every day to be more like him – through the situations I encounter, the people I interact with, in the study of his Word and in prayer. As his disciple, I am called to emulate him and as his child, I am growing to resemble him more and more each day. I’ve given to him my heart and my life and he accepts my service in the offering. My desire is to serve him as he wills me to, even to the cross.

Here’s the catch – it’s so much easier to express and even intend the kind of commitment we as children of God are to have than it is to actually live it. His sandals didn’t wake up some mornings and say, “Today, I just don’t feel like doing it” and then force themselves to go with Jesus. I, however, do and because Jesus continues to give me the ability to say “no” so that my “yes” means that much more, I struggle in my desire to always follow Jesus. Perhaps the struggle itself is what makes my “yes” such a cause for rejoicing in heaven.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

About the pictures:
Deer Lake Park, PA (August 2009)


Monday, July 4, 2011

Blessings I Almost Overlooked

At the beginning of last week, I was feeling just a little sorry for myself. There are some times in my life when I really miss having that “someone special” to share my life with. Someone I can share the day’s events with at dinner. Someone I can sit next to on the couch as we watch our favorite TV show or just someone I can share a thought with. I rarely go on vacation or to the museum or even to see a movie because really, it just isn’t fun if you don’t have someone to share it with. Okay, maybe I was feeling a little more than just a little sorry for myself. I was being downright pathetic.


Then I heard something truly heart-wrenching on KLOVE and I felt like God was reminding me how very blessed and un-alone I really am. A young girl had called into the radio station to ask the DJ to pray for her and her family. Her parents had recently separated, her father and brother no longer lived in the home, and her brother was getting into some serious trouble. She was in tears as she explained how much she missed them and how worried she was about her older brother and just wanted us to pray for them. Her sadness and loneliness reached right out through the radio as she told her story and tugged at my heart. I was ashamed at how I’d been feeling all week.


I began to look at my week through God’s eyes and saw just how populated my world is. My best friend calls me often and drives the hour and a half it takes to spend many weekends with me. My parents and I eat together at least twice a week. I have friends whom I share laughter and conversation with everyday at work. Why this past week, a friend even took the time to read two poems I’d just written just because I wanted to share them with someone. How could I have ever thought I was alone?

I guess it’s true that we really do find what we are looking for. If I’m looking for what I don’t have, I’m going to find it. But if I look for the blessings God has generously placed in my life – I will find those instead!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
About the pictures:
Pittsburgh, PA (June 2011)