A Blessing and Bane (A poem)

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this slurping, soupy arrangement 
stays my amused satisfaction.
cars skidding and skirting
orbiting each other
a cacophony of incompetent
unorganized Ice Skaters.
It spills out, splashes down
drowning sashes of sorrow
in the middle of my selfish parade…
after all this circus act
cut from blistering fingers
ripe with sweat and hardened calloused hands
this stampede of interruptance
has caused ME to suppress my de-testment  of 
these frosted inconvenient deposits underfoot.
I will trample them
trump their self worth into the soles of my 
black leather shoes…
Howling madly at their existence 
here on the eve of smiling spring
on the prowl
like a careful cat at the door

I store my response,
predator ready,
fist clenched and half raised
yet frozen in traction
taking aim to wandering eyes
peering back at me. 
my son, snow suited and 
prepared
joyfully standing at the ready
for me to take him out into it
and catch a glimpse of
my childhood again.

 

New Things, New Year’s Brings!

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Many people want a clean slate.  Some are hoping to just get through this year and with breaths of relief cruise into a new year, hopefully less bruised and battered.  It is almost 2014, can you believe it?  For some this year flew by (I would be in that crowd), while for others it slowly, geriatrically creeped by.  

Perhaps some look forward to that big New Year’s day bash, while others will happily avoid the festivities and regale themselves with a cup of tea and a good book before falling asleep well before the clock strikes midnight.  3-2-1…Happy New Year!!  

I, for one, have a tough time when getting to the new year and writing that “2014” on the checks from my check book…I’m sure I’m not the only one…anyway I digress.  

What will 2014 have in store for you?  Do you have dreams and hopes to plunge into?  Have you already filled your calendar with them?  I’m not much of a long range planner, but I do have some aspirations for the new year.  

ASPIRATIONS: 

as·pi·ra·tion

 noun \ˌas-pə-ˈrā-shən\

 
Definition of ASPIRATION
1
:  audible breath that accompanies or comprises a speech sound

 

:  the pronunciation or addition of an aspiration; also :  the symbol of an aspiration

2
:  a drawing of something in, out, up, or through by or as if by suction: as

 

:  the act of breathing and especially of breathing in

 

:  the withdrawal of fluid or tissue from the body

 

:  the taking of foreign matter into the lungs with the respiratory current

3
a :  a strong desire to achieve something high or great
 
There we go, #3 in the dictionary…something to achieve…this is the kind of aspiration I’m talking about.  
 
Here is my bucket list for 2014…(AKA my bucket of aspiration) 
 
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1) I want to write better and increase this audience: 
I know, perhaps it sounds ambitious, but we need things to aspire to and I want to become a better writer as well as help others along the way within the content of what I write…so here goes!  
 
2) I want to improve my preaching and my application of the Word!  
It goes without saying that ministry is tough and there will be times when I won’t have all the time I would like to write my sermons but my desire is to dedicate more time the application of method of my sermon writing. 
 
3) To stop and take in God’s beauty more. 
I love the outdoors, I enjoy photography as well as poetry and this year I would like to stop and just relish the beauty of God’s creation around me.  In the process of taking time for 1 & 2 I want to be able to look up from my computer or my books and spend time in the nature around me, to truly appreciate it more and say “thank you” more often to the Lord of these provisions.  
 
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4) Be all I can be as a good parent. 
I have four kids who need good parental role models and I can (and should) strive to be that to them as their father.  God blessed me with these four wonderful humans and it is both my responsibility as well as my Wife’s responsibility to bring them up properly.  I aspire to be a better parent in 2014.  
 
 
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5) Be all I can be as a Husband.
My Wife deserves it, and I can and should show the love of my life how a husband can cherish and love his wife!  She deserves my best effort and love as well as attention to her every needs.  I aspire in 2014 to win “Husband of the year”…okay maybe that’s pushing it, but hey the sky’s the limit!  🙂  
 
Anyway, new things, new year’s brings…it’s simple…take time, appreciate life, and contribute positively to it in ways that God has blessed you through gifts, insight, and abilities.  Remember life isn’t only about what you’ll get out of it, life is far more rewarding if we all include others first into the grand scheme of our perspectives.  
 
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God Bless you, and Happy (Pre)  New Years!  Now get aspiring!  

“What do I stand for?” Pt. 2 (God’s Justice)

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Have you ever heard the expression from a parent just before they discipline a child, “this will hurt me more than it will hurt you?”  Perhaps in your home you heard it differently, perhaps not.  I used to think to myself when I heard this said, “oh sure it will, if it hurt you more than me then why am I getting the spanking?”  Humorously I’d try to find ways to protect my rear end from harm.  Sometimes I would have enough warning because the phrase my mother used was “go to your room and wait for your father to come home!”  And so I would sit up in my room and contemplate what I had done as I was considering how many pairs of underwear I could put on without my father noticing so that I could lessen the blow of the spanking.  Truth be told, I didn’t get spanked all that often but I will never forget the phrase, “This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”

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I am convinced that our Father in Heaven feels that way too!  He does not want to inflict pain and suffering on those He has created, yet because of humanity’s poor choices, at times, He has to.  We were not created by a vindictive God who loves to punish.  That wasn’t His purpose for creating us.  God’s justice wasn’t initially a part of creation until the fall took place.  Before the fall of Adam and Eve, God walked with us.  God communed with His loved ones.   The very fact that He had to drive out Adam and Eve from the garden must have been very difficult for Him!  The pain in which He must have gone through because of their deceit and consequential sin.  I can almost imagine God saying to Adam and Eve; “This is going to hurt me, more than it’s going to hurt you!”

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After all, wasn’t it God who created for Adam and Eve their first line of clothing? (Gen 3:21)  Even in the midst of their disobedience God was there to provide for them.  God’s justice is something that He withholds until it is the absolute last resort.  He doesn’t want to impose punishment on His creation, yet the consequences of willful and utter disobedience is punishment within the realms of God’s justice.

I know many have a very hard time comprehending the God of the Old Testament where it seems that all God does is wipe out whole cultures…yet we fail to comprehend how it must have cost God to do something so drastic.  Mankind had ascended into the deepest darkest places of morality and sin.  They had turned their backs on the One who created them, and because of this His justice had to take place.

Throughout all of history, God has made the attempt to reconnect with His creation.  He has made covenants with them…and it should be noted that none of His covenants were ever broken by Him…they were broken by us, humanity.  God knew that humanity could never find salvation by themselves, and so Christ, God’s one and only Son, enters the world to redeem us all.  Once and for all, a perfect example of humanity’s blood can now cover all transgressions should they call upon the name of Jesus.

God’s justice should never be taken lightly.  We must realize that how we live makes a difference.  How we live dictates how God imposes love and justice towards us.  If we claim to be Christians and yet our lifestyles say other wise we are knowingly sinning against God. To do so, places us in the path of His judgement.  We know of God’s forgiveness and yet many use this as a ‘get outta jail card’ like in the game monopoly.  Many think that because God will forgive they can carry on in sin and at some point ask for forgiveness and all will be right again…but to do this is willful disobedience and God will have His justice.

Yes God is a God of love and mercy, but He is also one of justice and judgement to those He loves.  “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:12 NIV)  

What do I stand for?  I stand for a love relationship with God.  I stand for obedience to God…am I always obedient?  No!  But, I do know better when I sin and when I fall.  His Holy Spirit is given to all who call upon His name and He can and will provide prompting, discernment and even conviction when we go astray.

I stand for a God of Justice even when I feel sometimes His justice is harsh.  Though I may feel this way, I am not all knowing and unlike God, I do not have all of the evidence.  God does, and in faith, I have to trust that He knows what He is doing.  I am NOT God, nor am I even close to His level…so why feel as if I know better than He does?  Sometimes, this can be temptation, after all wasn’t it Satan in the garden in the form of a snake who told Eve to eat of the fruit because then she would have the knowledge of God?

God’s justice is difficult to understand from our point of view at times.  Sometimes we feel it’s too harsh, sometimes we feel it comes to slowly.  Yet one thing is absolute within this line of conversation, God will have His justice and everyone one day, will account for what we have done on this Earth both good and bad.

Evidence of this truth: 

Matthew 12:35-37 (NIV)
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 25:31-43 (NIV)
 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

What I Do Not Stand For:

Mankind taking God’s justice into their own hands; (Governments excluded they provide our base of law and keep us safe).  Those who would Lord over people and inflict their marred understanding of justice are not speaking for God!

God’s justice is like the parent that says  “It will hurt me more than it will hurt you”.  He never wanted to punish His creation, yet without that correction His justice would be the consequence of disobedience.

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***Tune in tomorrow as I explore “Social Justice”…an extension of this conversation today!***  “Same bat time, same bat channel”  😉

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