A Rising Tide

Do you feel it in the air,
A sense of something coming?
The likes of which you can’t compare,
An insatiable longing?
A growing wave forms steadily,
Just breaking the horizon.
The tide comes in readily
Beyond the bounds of reason.
Oh beckoning breeze, you welcome me
Preemptive of fruition.
Anticipation builds frantically,
A mix of hope and tension.
Some may dread and fear unknown
Recourse of such submission.
They hide away all alone,
Afraid of vain delusion.
But no, not I, my purpose forms.
I’ll hope for nothing less
Than providence amidst the storms.
My life, my King shall bless.

Kingdom Fellowship

There are times that friendship,
Is unbarred and flows freely,
No oddities or hindrances,
No confinement of propriety.
This, the goal of fellowship,
Though torrid life confines,
By the loyalties we make,
To priorities ill-defined.
In these precious moments,
Let us with great excitement,
Embrace our brother and sister,
With joy and fulfillment,
For this is a shadow,
Of our coming home,
Where love everlasting,
Is continually sown.
Can we, beyond what is natural,
Today seek to be,
Instruments of Christ’s love,
Instigators of unity?

The Constant Shadow

Ascending from the cave,
I spy a shadow of former self.
A marionette without a sound,
Of hope and peace bereft.
And thus begins the shadow’s rise,
Engulfing my firm-footed base.
“Do not look back”, my sullen heart cries,
“And be doomed a pillar of waste.”
And so I shut my eyes,
Letting memory thus replace,
And dare not to dwell upon the past,
That these encounters be met with haste.
But I did see one thing I cannot put away,
A chip upon my shoulder,
That I noticed still remains.
It seems beyond position,
Or stature socially,
I have always felt subject,
And hindered by frailty.
In youth, I feared authority
As authority, I was intense,
As employee, I feared the manager
As manager, I feared impotence.
And thus the cycle continues,
I am constantly afraid.
Over, under, forward, behind,
Unsettled and dismayed.
I must attempt to break,
And shatter this illusion,
That my circumstances decide,
My attitude, is a delusion.

Socially Awkward

Persistent, annoying,
An incessant bother,
Condemned by appropriateness,
And socially awkward.
This is the cost,
Devoid of glamour.
No popular sayings,
Nor fans enamored.
And yet, would I trade in,
This lonely pursuit?
Would I dare acquiesce,
To their subjective truth?
No, I will not.
I am callous and sure,
I will not relent.
I must endure.
There is but one,
Check in this scheme,
To avoid madness,
And deter misanthrope.
I am not better,
I am not worthy,
I have not subjects,
I have not glory.
Keeping Christ in the front
Expectation to the rear
Hope-filled eyes on the horizon,
Thus abandoning fear.
This is the only way,
To retain perspective,
Giving glory to God,
And humbly remain objective.

3 Temptations Christians Will Face In 2013

1) Post-Political Fiasco Cynicism

Few will deny the impact the last couple of months have had on American confidence in our political leaders. With a great voice of cynicism resounding from the media, it is tempting to simply join in and start railing against the President and/or Congress, slamming anyone who has put us or others in financial jeopardy. There is no doubt that a great host of people are not only angry but also hurt and deeply affected by the choices (and lack of choices) of political figures in 2012. And yet, we must pause in the drama of it all and recognize that though this is where we live, it is not our home. While this maxim does not condone abandoning our civic responsibility as a united people of these 50 states, it does encourage us to remember the priority of our dependence on the Lord and our trust in His plan. We must rise, we must stand for Biblical values, and we must do so with passion rather than cynicism. The great divide between cynicism and passion lies in the motivation. Passion aspires with hope while cynicism, devoid of hope, bitterly dwells on unfairness. Let us go forward as passionate followers of Jesus Christ. (Verse for Thought: Eph. 4:29)

2) Further Entertainment Desensitization

With each passing year, the level of exposure we all have to violence, language, and sexuality increases. As Christians, it can be difficult to determine what standards we put in place for ourselves and our family to ensure that we are living lives worthy of our calling. This determination can only be accomplished with a reliance on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and good exposure to Godly men and women that have been around the block a time or two. We must, as Christians, aspire for one thing especially when it comes to this issue and that is the consistent acknowledgement of the seriousness of entertainment desensitization. Desensitization occurs when we let by and ignore the danger and drastic effect of violence, language, and sexuality. Acknowledgement is a must. Let us be inspired to change the channel, turn off the movie, and even talk a bit more with our families about what is going into our eyes and ears. (Verse for Thought: Mark 9:47)

3) Tax Return Salvation

There are many Christians facing a financial crunch as we enter into this New Year. While the hope of a better economy was whispered in 2012, by the end of it, facing a fiscal cliff, most of us lost that little bit of hope. We have to be careful coming towards April. Some will receive a tax return, others won’t. But regardless, it is important that our faith remains strong.  We must secure in the front of our minds the belief that the Lord supplies all of our needs. So, if you are getting a tax return then it is a blessing from the Lord in which you have a responsibility to apply it in a way that will glorify Him. If you are facing a debt as the tax season approaches, remember that the Lord knows what you face and while hurdles may require jumping, nothing is more important than your trust and dependence on Him. Nothing ever surprises the God of the universe and this truth can make a big difference in how we approach our victories and defeats. (Verses for Thought: Matt. 6)

Christ in Christmas (Poem)

Christmas makes us feel emotional,
It may inspire thoughts devotional,
But only if it’s viewed with love.
It’s not just for Santa, presents, brothers,
Eggnog, dads, or even mothers,
The focus needs to be above.
 
Ho Ho Ho, how I love the snow!
But the joy it brings,
Comes from the King of Kings.
We’ve gotta look past,
Those earthly things.
It’s time for all of us,
To put Christ back in Christmas
 
You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen.
Who’s that One that I’ve been missing?
I guarantee He’s not a reindeer.
I’ve looked to Bing and Danny Kaye,
To brighten up my holiday,
But White Christmases don’t bring the most cheer.
 
Ho Ho Ho, how I love the snow!
But the joy it brings,
Comes from the King of Kings.
We’ve gotta look past,
Those earthly things.
It’s time for all of us,
To put Christ back in Christmas.

The Practicality of Being Genuine

Simplicity can be therapeutic, especially when we are hurt or angry. In our dramatic human natures it can be very tempting to build things up and then blow up. And yet, in the end, we are the ones more hurt than the one who afflicts us and worse, we will likely bring our loved ones down with us. I wonder if sometimes, in our dramatic responses, we detach ourselves from the fundamental vulnerability of what we actually feel. When someone hurts our feeling, we need to be able to simply say, “My feelings are hurt.” When we are angry, we need to simply say, “I am angry.” And most importantly, since this is at the root of it all, when we are scared, we need to be able to say, “Jesus, I am scared.” For, when we attempt to resolve these emotions without this simple acknowledgement, it is so easy to slip into an “I Must Resolve” mentality where we believe that it is up to us to fix it. And this is such a slippery slope. When we are not genuine about what we feel, we are simply working our way towards self-dependency, building up agendas and masks of behavior. This is not the way the Bible outlines Christ-centered dependency. If we are going to, in anyway, live on this earth as tools for the Kingdom of God, then we have to put ourselves out there and be genuine. We have to risk being vulnerable and risk being burned. So let me encourage you with four buzzwords to remember when you face the temptation to spin or to back-peddle:

1)      RELAX! There is nothing wrong with taking a moment to step back or away from a circumstance to “Be still and know that [HE is] God.” (Ps 46:10)

2)      EXAMINE your most basic emotions in the circumstance. Look within and ask yourself, “What am I really feeling?

3)      ACKNOWLEDGE verbally these emotions you are feeling. This doesn’t have to be an announcement to everyone in the room. Make the declaration in prayerful openness to the Lord.

4)      LAY your burden before the Lord with an honest and vulnerable prayer for His peace that transcends all understanding. (Luke 12)

Be Real! Be Genuine! If life is complicated, it may be because we are spending too much time on the issues and not enough time on our hearts. Remember, the Holy Spirit is within us. He is our Counselor. What does that mean? Who is the Holy Spirit to you? What role does the Counselor play in your life? How honest and open are you with the Lord about how you are feeling? Don’t think that His Omnipotence means that your acknowledgement is unnecessary. The Bible so clearly asserts that we confess our sins (1 Jn 1:9) and also that we cast our cares on Jesus (1 Pet 5:7). It is vitally important that we be genuine Christians