Guardians of Life

Some beautiful thoughts from a friend of mine regarding current events.

Joyness the Brave

Madonna and Child by Raphael Madonna and Child by
Raphael

Sometimes the mind-boggling fact springs upon me: I can grow human beings in my body. It seems like fairy tale magic or a science fiction movie. A human being that will have eye lashes and finger nails, desires and talents, buttons to be pushed and flaws. My very body is made to be a guardian of life. Heartbreaks, pride, anger, first kisses, a love of raspberries, bad eyesight, bad tempers, good heart, a good singing voice, best friends… All of that lies in waiting inside of me.

Sometimes, when my family is home, I look around the table and marvel that my three siblings and I once were housed safely in the refuge of my mother. We, the towering Clarksons, we were once small. We stretched and pained her, and she bore us. Each of us scratched lines in her belly so she wouldn’t…

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Strangers and Strange Poetry

So I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day just doing some reading and observing the other people there. My interest was captured by a young lady with really pretty black hair and a young man with an exceptional sense of style who seemed to really want to talk to her. He would glance over sheepishly every once in awhile, and then look back at his book, she didn’t seem to notice. She seemed like she was sad about something but pretending not to be, and he looked genuinely concerned. I was just so amused by the whole thing, so I wrote some poetry about them. Let’s pretend for a minute that it isn’t weird that I write poetry about people I don’t know. 😉

The girl with the raven hair,
Sits there across from me,
Calmly, sweetly, in her chair.
Joy of youth is in her,
Yet there is a hidden care
Which hides behind her eyes.

The man in tan suspenders
Sits across from her.
He longs to look behind her eyes,
And let her cares surrender.
If he just knew her,
Would she learn to let him see?
And there, in the quiet,
Allow his love to mend her?

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15 Reflections of Psalm 15

Hullo there!
I figured I’d get back to actually using this funny little blog thing. Well, today I had coffee with my mentor at one of my favourite coffee shops and afterwards proceeded to do my morning reading in the Psalms. I actually was on Psalm 16 today, but I couldn’t get 15 out of my head from yesterday, so I decided to reflect on it and write about it a bit. A few hours and a slightly cramped writing hand later, here’s the result. I might expand upon these thoughts later.

15 Reflections on Psalm 15

1) v. 1: “LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” 
Under the former covenant, the presence of the Lord was only found in the Tabernacle. Moral cleanness was a requirement to enter. Experiencing the presence of God was dependent upon actions and sacrifice. Under the Covenant of Grace, we are given the abiding presence of the Lord as a gift, because of Christ’s sacrifice; not based on our own merit, but on His character. What once were requirements have now become natural byproducts.

2) v. 2a: “He who walks uprightly. . .”
This calls to mind for me a picture of a man who is sure-footed. He is not stumbling along like a drunkard, but confidently moves himself forward on solid ground. He is steadily going in the right direction, with his head up and his eyes fixed on his destination. He is not sprinting, so as to wear himself out; nor is he standing still, so as to stop making progress; but he consistently moves onwards. The decisions of his life display a pattern of integrity because he is walking alongside the Lord and following His guidance.

3) v. 2b: “And works righteousness. . .” 
In addition to walking alongside the Lord in relationship, there must also be the strenuous, though still restful, work for the cause of righteousness. Work takes intentional, focused, and sustained effort. Righteousness is to be our daily vocation. We are to spend ourselves– our time, our energy, our bodies, our resources– to bring about righteousness, both in ourselves and in our world.

4) v. 2c: “And speaks the truth in his heart. . .”
One of the works of righteousness must be speaking the truth. In order to speak the truth from the heart, the truth must first be in the heart, and therefore must be spoken to the heart. We must first have the Word of truth inside of us before we can ever speak it to another person. The truth cannot be fully lived if it is not shared; and the truth cannot be truly shared if it is not lived.

5) v. 3a: “He who does not backbite with his tongue. . .”
If the truth is not spoken, something else will be spoken in its place. Backbiting results when the tongue is not aptly employed by the encouragement and edification which comes from sharing the truth. If a man does not build up, he will tear down. If the tongue is not pressed into the service of the King, it will lash out in rebellion.

6). v. 3b: “Nor does evil to his neighbour. . .”
Likewise, if a man’s hands are not employed by working righteousness, they will soon fill the time by doing evil. If we are not actively doing good, we will begin to harm other people. Our actions are never limited to only affecting ourselves. Righteousness will inevitably and irrevocably benefit our neighbour; and sin will inevitably and irrevocably cause him harm. Evil is not isolated; it is always enacted against someone. Even the evil done in secret damages ourselves, and changes our character in ways that will one day wound other people. Either we build, or we destroy.

7). v. 3c: “Nor does he take up a reproach to his friend. . .”
Say someone does harm to us, we then may respond with active good, or we may respond with evil. Either we will rebuild, or we will resent; we cannot do both. We can choose to destroy and be destroyed ourselves; or we can forgive and break our own chains. When we harm another in return for the harm they have done to us, we not only deal our a fresh wound, but we reopen the one we have received. We are forever tied to those around us; what harms them, harms us, and what heals them, heals us. The only way to repair is to release; and that itself is what rebuilds, and even redeems.

8). v. 4a: “In whose eyes a vile person is despised. . .”
And yet, as vital as forgiveness is, sometimes in order for a man to take part in the building of the Heavenly Kingdom, he must take part in tearing down the works of darkness. Demolition is an integral part of the construction process. A man who loves what is good cannot tolerate what is evil. In order for a man to fight for goodness, he must fight against wickedness. In order for a man to love justice, he must hate injustice. In order for a man to protect the innocent, he must oppose the oppressor. The Kingdom of Light cannot be built while we let the kingdom of darkness stand.

9). v. 4b: “But he honours those who fear the LORD. . .”
Even more vital than opposing those who work evil is supporting those work good. Those who fear the LORD are those with whom we share a common allegiance. We honour them by gratefully acknowledging their service, by working alongside them, by defending them from harm, by raising them up when they fall, and by exulting with them in their victories. We all serve on Lord– in Him, their honour is our honour, their harm is our harm, their good, is our good– in Him, we are one.

10). v. 4c: “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change. . .”
The man who abides in God’s presence is a man so dedicated to walking rightly before his Lord that he is willing to incur personal disaster to protect his integrity. Sincerity and duplicity cannot abide together. The man of God does not change, for he is of God, and God does not change. If the Word of God lives in a man, he will be a man of his word. And if he speaks the truth, he will swear by it, for in him there is no deceit. He will suffer harm for it and sacrifice for it because he is convinced of its truthfulness. He will suffer danger for the sake of integrity because He is convinced of the character of the One who asks him to do so.

11). v. 5a: “He who does not put out his money at usury. . .”
Money has no hold over the one who abides with God, because he is an heir of the Kind, and knows that the King who owns all things will not let his prince lack that which is good for him. He is willing to give without worry because has been given all that he has. What use has he for ill-gotten gain when he has the One from whom all good things flow? He has no need to worry about falling behind or fret about getting ahead in life, because he knows that it is his Father’s hand which has placed him where he is and it is the same hand which provides all that he needs. He is with the Father always, and all that He has is his. As a good son becomes like his father, so he gives freely, just as his Father freely gave to him.

12). v. 5b: “Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. . .”
The child of the King has no need for gain from any hand that is not His Father’s. All ill-gotten wealth is not from His Father’s hand. The heart of the Father is to defend the innocent, and therefore will never give a gift which would bring them harm. And the heart of the son is to please his Father, and therefore would never accept a gift which would harm those his Father loves. For such a gain would be not gain at all. Monetary wealth which brings spiritual poverty is a tragic loss. Right standing before the Father is far too precious to risk for any so-called ‘gain’.

13) v. 5c: “He who does these things shall never be moved.”
All of these things are the outflow of abiding with the LORD. The one who abides with the LORD has his feet shod with the readiness of obedience to the Gospel and therefore will not slip. He will not be moved because he stands upon the solid Rock of Ages. The same Lord who saves him is the Lord who sustains him. The One who pulls him out of the pit is the One who keeps him on the Rock. From the same Christ come salvation and sanctification. He who purchased us with His blood will not surrender what rightfully belongs to Him.

14) v. 1: “Who may dwell in Your holy hill?”
The hill of the LORD is holy. It is set apart, high above all else. To dwell there with Him is to dwell above all of the ways of the world. To live with God is to be holy, just as He is holy. And when we dwell with Him, we become holy, for He dwells in us and gives us His holiness.

15) v. 1: “Who. . . ?”
Who is it who may live with God and live like God? Not the one who tries to do so by his own merit, but only the one who receives God to live inside of him by faith in Jesus Christ. As the prodigal received an undeserved welcome, we too must receive the welcome from the Father. Who is it that may dwell with God? Only he who received God to dwell with him. We could never come to God, but He has come to us.

Well, that’s all for now. Raw and real. Writing about the Word is one of my favourite ways of experiencing God. How do you all connect with the Lord? What are some of your own reflections from the Psalms?

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A Peculiar Faery Tale

Here is a faery tale I wrote recently. It has been in the works for quite some time now, and I am quite fond of it. It deals with some complex thoughts on love, turns a few faery tale cliches on their heads, and expresses a lot of what has been brewing in my mind the last few months. Hope you enjoy it!

— —

The Folly of Benjamin Bell: 
A Tale of Loss and Love

 

J.D.H. Thigpen

 

    Once upon a time, for so many good fairy tales have begun, there lived a fellow named Benjamin Bell. Young Mr. Bell was a horse-master who lived on a little ranch near the shining coastal town called Harper’s Haven. His tale is from a time when faeries and their kin were a good deal less outlandish than they are today.

 

   Mr. Bell had a loving heart, but as is often the case with loving hearts, he also had a broken heart. Benjamin Bell was madly in love with a lovely young maiden named Ariel McFallon. And Ariel, in turn, was also madly in love. The only problem was that the man she was in love with was not named Benjamin Bell. To be fair to poor Benjamin, he had cared for her a good many years longer and more deeply than the other fellow had. Any person who had known the two would have readily testified that Benjamin Bell was the far better man. Yet, such is the mystery of love that Ariel chose the lesser man.

 

    Although young Mr. Bell was a decent man, no man is immune to folly, not even the decent ones. The folly of Benjamin Bell was that he refused to give up. This characteristic held true in every aspect of his life, but none so predominantly as in the matters of the heart. Day after day he gave her his love, and when she refused that, his friendship, all in the hope that one day she would see him as he desired to be seen. Yet each day broke his heart more than the day before it. The brokenness of his heart caused him to become something he never intended to be and to act out of his injury in ways he never thought he would act.

 

    After many days had passed and he at last began to understand that all of his efforts were fruitless, Mr. Bell sought audience with the Faery Queen, for faeries are really quite keen on matters of the heart. Yet speaking with the Faery Queen is no easy matter, for she can only be seen by those she wishes to see. Long did the horse-master search for her, and long she stayed unseen. Many nights and many days rode Benjamin Bell on his sturdy horse, through many woods and many glades.

 

    Long did he haunt the places where faeries can be found. He ambushed them in their enchanted forests, and riverbanks, and chased them deep into the valleys and high onto the mountain summits. He hoped to catch one that he could convince her to bring him to her queen. Yet each time he came close, they would scatter and vanish, for agile though he was, they were much quicker than he and could be yards away before his second foot fell. This went on until at last came she, the Faery Queen, half out of pity and half wishing to be left alone, to the weary faery-hunter. 

    “Welcome, Benjamin Bell, horse-rider from Harper’s Haven. You have searched long and traveled far, and many times have you disturbed my subjects in their merriment. Yet your search has not been fruitless, for I know of the love which drives you to seek me. If you agree to leave my people in peace, I will help you obtain the love you seek. If you shall obtain the ingredients, I will craft a potion which, if applied a few times, will render you irresistible to the one you love.”

 

    Now that he heard his desire voiced out loud, Benjamin Bell caught a quick glance at the true state of his heart. He hesitated for a moment, feeling some misgivings, but then agreed when he remembered Ariel’s lovely face and the pain of living without her. The next moment, though he was never quite sure how he got there, Bell found himself alone in a field of flowers with a scroll in his hand.

 

    Upon the scroll he found words which were written in a language he could not speak. The more he looked at them, however, the more familiar they appeared, even though he knew he had never seen their like before. Although he could not decipher the meaning of the letters, he discovered that he was somehow able to understand what it was that the first line was commanding him to do. It told him to search the field for the silver Blossom of the Crucible.

 

    Although the command was simple enough, it certainly did not prove helpful enough. What the scroll neglected to tell him was what the blossom looked like or where in the expansive field it could be found. Still undaunted, Mr. Bell began his search. He began by identifying and ruling out all of the flowers he already knew. By nightfall he had exhausted his supply of botanical knowledge and found dozens of plants which he did not know. He chronicled each of them into his pocketbook by description and ordered them by likelihood of being the Blossom of the Crucible.

 

    After sorting through them all, none seemed to be a good fit for his flower. He had found magnificent flowers of colours from all over the spectrum, and flora of brilliant designs and shapes, yet none seemed likely. Among all the greens, golds, magentas, crimsons, and indigos, he found no silver. He was beginning to become frustrated, but told himself that love is worth the pursuit. He searched the field a second time, and a third. He searched until he came to the Western-most point of the field, where he found a tangle of thistles he had previously overlooked.

 

    There, amidst the chaos of the thorns, he found one solitary blossom. It had a shape akin to that of the bluebell, but had leaves and petals which shone like silver. It seemed almost to be made of living metal. He knew beyond a second thought that this was the flower for which he had searched for so long. Kneeling down to take it in his hand, he felt sad to have to pluck such a masterpiece. When he lifted the blossom from its stem, its withered leaves grew suddenly strong and the stem immediately put forth another flower.

 

    Having placed the flower into a glass jar and stowing it in his goat-skin satchel, Mr. Bell returned his focus to the scroll. The second line then became clear to him, just as the first had done so earlier. It told him to travel to the East to seek the Mount of the Blacksmith, and there to claim a scale of living gold from the dragon’s breast. At least this time it told him where to find it, though he almost wished that it had not. The young hunter’s heart sank into his boots. The only thing Bell had ever been afraid of was fire. Though he knew the fire within him burned stronger than the fire outside of him. And the inner fire drove him on to face the outer fire.

 

   So Benjamin Bell journeyed far across barren fields and unknown sands. Traversing canyons, and labouring over mountain passes, he traveled far. After passing through dangers of wild beasts, and unsavory foes, he crossed the last ridge and saw the site of his next challenge. At last he found himself in sight of the Mount of the Blacksmith.

 

    There it stood, a towering monolith, dominating the landscape around it. Unlike the other mountains in the range, its peak was not snow-capped, but instead was scorched black. Benjamin Bell felt deeply uneasy about approaching such a menacing summit, but took a deep breath and began on the path towards the dragon-fire. The trail leading to the mountain was eerily easy and well-trodden, which only made him all the more uncomfortable. It appeared to him almost like a friend uttering deceitful words of comfort in a hopeless situation.

 

    The climb was long and tiresome, and the heat grew nearly unbearable. The temperature made Bell all the more nervous considering he was used to it being cold on mountain tops, not scalding hot. Towards the summit of the mountain he saw the mouth of a cave, which seemed to be the source of the heat. Taking this to be the lair of the dragon, he approached it cautiously. His heart pounded within him like a church bell at noonday. The anxiety nearly choked him as he came to the rim of the charred entrance of the cave.

 

    When Bell passed through the threshold he found that what he had taken to be a cave was in fact a tunnel which took him deep into the heart of the mountain. The path grew darker and more perilous as he descended, and several times he slipped and earned himself many bruises. He also found that the temperature continued to rise as he went on, until it made him feel like he was being roasted alive in a furnace. Several times along the path his will nearly broke and he almost turned aside, but love drove him on.

 

    At last the tunnel bellowed outwards into a great cavern, the floor of which was blanketed with layer upon layer of the finest gold and the brightest gems. In the center of the room lay the dragon, coiled up on his expensive bedding, with smoke coming from his nostrils with each breath. Mr. Bell had hoped to catch him asleep as he had read happened with many storybook heroes and their dragons, but he was not so lucky. The massive golden beast stared at him with open eyes, both as orange as flames, which seemed to burn their way into the depths of his mind.


    “Well, Mr. Bell,” began the dragon, ”I see that you want one of my scales. How exactly were you thinking of going about collecting it?” No sounds came from the creature’s mouth, yet Bell knew that the words which he heard in his mind had no other origin. 

    It was then that Bell realized he had entirely left the dragon out of his calculations and had not the faintest idea of how he was going to retrieve one of its golden scales. He was not a gallant knight of shimmering steel, or a hardened champion of warfare. He had no armour or shield with which to ward off the flames. He had nothing but his hunting knife with which to even remove the scale, let alone to fight the beast with. He offered no answer to the dragon.

 

    It was then that a very peculiar thing happened. The dragon plucked a scale from his own breast and held it out in his great paw, offering it to Benjamin Bell. It was of the brightest gold, and seemed to be more than mere metal, but to be alive, just as the silver blossom had been, but with a different sort of life in it. “It is yours, if love is worth the pain. Otherwise, there is no risk in retreat.” said the dragon, with a gleam of mischief in his cunning eyes.

 

    Bell hesitated for a moment, taking into account all that he had heard about dragons being wily and cruel creatures. It did not seem beyond the realm of possibility that the beast would taunt him before making a quick meal of him. He was unsure whether the dragon would really freely give him a scale, yet he was equally unsure he would let him retreat in safety. Long he deliberated, searching the dragon’s face for any hint of its intentions, and the fear grew more intense with each passing moment. Breathing deeply, he decided that love was worth the risk. He took up the bell-shaped scale in his right hand.

    The scale was still hot and scorched his hand deeply. He grunted and quickly dropped it into the jar which he kept in his satchel. He waited for a moment for what trap would follow, but found that there was no trap to be sprung. The dragon which he saw before him was not a wicked creature, but a lonesome one. As it turns out, the great beast was too pleased by his courage and too amused by his terror to make a dinner out of him.

 

    Bell wrapped his burnt hand in a makeshift bandage which he tore off from the bottom of his tunic, bowed gratefully to the dragon, and made a swift exit. In spite of the deep pain he felt from his wound, he was overwhelmed by a sense of elation and surprise. Although he was met with just as many stumbles and the way out was steeper than the way in, he found his journey out of the mountain went by much quicker than his descent into it.

 

    As he approached the end of the tunnel and was enveloped in the cool light of day, Bell found that the final words on his scroll became clear to him. This time they told him to journey to a place which was all too familiar to him. It told him to return to Harper’s Haven and journey deep into the valley there until he came to the vast Mirror Lake, which was where he had first met Ariel when they were children so many years ago. The return journey was surprisingly easy and he encountered few enemies and dangers upon the way, which was a welcome change.

 

    The Benjamin Bell who returned to Harper’s Haven was different from the Benjamin Bell who had left it. A new strength and resolve which had lain dormant had blossomed in his soul, and a courage which had previously been altogether foreign to him was now quite familiar. His encounter with the dragon in particular had awoken something inside of him. For although the danger might not have been as real as it seemed, the bravery which it stirred in his heart certainly was.

 

    The church bells were ringing with the sound of highnoon as he passed through the village and all the people who lived there were bustling about with their lives, paying no heed to him. Bell could not help but find it strange how he could be so fundamentally and suddenly different, yet appear exactly the same to everyone else. As he saw all the familiar men of the village chattering with their wives he wondered how many of them had been on a journey similar to his own to win the love which they now had.

 

    By nightfall he had come out of the village and to the edge of Harper’s Valley. The path before him could be seen well enough due to the moonlight and so he began his descent. When he reached the lake, he found a very strange thing. Although it was springtime, the entire lake as far as his eye could see was frozen solid. Bell stepped out onto the lake. He was nervous that it would break at any moment, yet something drove him on until he reached the centre of the lake.

 

    To his surprise, Bell discovered a stairwell made of solid ice which led him into a chamber deep underneath the surface of the lake. The walls of the chamber were of ice which was thicker and clearer than glass so that he could see the bottom of the lake quite lucidly all around him. At the far end of the chamber was the Faery Queen standing beside a mirror, which hung from the ceiling and was in the shape of a large bell. “Welcome, horse-master from Harper’s Haven. You have traveled far and braved many dangers. Come, look into the mirror to see your heart’s desire.”

 

    Although Bell did not realize it, this was the greatest test which he had encountered thus far. When he drew up close to the mirror, he found that it was not solid glass, but living water, and when he looked into it he saw himself for who he really was, not just how he appeared. “All you must do now is to fill your jar with some of the water from the mirror, and the potion will be complete.” Bell reached out with his burnt hand and touched the mirror. Immediately the festering wound healed up, leaving only a scar. He took out the jar which held the scale and the blossom and brought it close to the water, but found that he could not bring himself to fill it.

 

    For now that Benjamin Bell looked into the mirror without a mask, and saw himself for who he really was, he understood that his love for Ariel had not really been love at all, but only self-love. He understood that he had been acting really quite selfishly and that to force her to love him would only bring harm to both of them. He found that his broken heart was not a result of loving her too much, but of loving her too little. It was then that Benjamin Bell did the most loving action he had ever done. He loved her enough to let her love someone else.

 

    Handing the jar to the Faery Queen, Bell bid her a respectful farewell and turned to leave the Chamber of the Mirror. The water of the mirror had healed more than his damaged hand, it had also healed his damaged heart. The Faery Queen had made good on her promise, for in the heart of Benjamin Bell, he had found the love he had sought, if not the object of it. I would like to say that Bell won the fair maiden’s heart in the end, but such was not the case. But the love which he did win, was far greater than the love he had lost.

 

The End.

 

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River of God

6831_137771788239_7322807_nThe other day I was sitting in a coffee shop before work and was reading through a few Psalms. Got really caught up in Psalm 65. So I jotted down a few thoughts on it. I find I always connect best with God through writing. How do you all best connect with God?

Psalm 65:9
“You visit the earth and water it;
You greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
You provide their grain, for so You have prepared it.”

Here in this often overlooked verse we see much of the character of God displayed in His generosity towards His creatures. He visits the Earth. He condescends to come down from the highest Heaven to come among us and fellowship with us unworthy beings. Yet more than visit, in the person of Christ Jesus, He even dwelt among us! God became man and walked among us.

Not only does He visit the Earth, but He also waters it. He lavishes the world with the common grace of earthly water, without which life would be impossible. He sends rain, in His kindness, on the righteous and the wicked alike. He grants all the gift of life, not based on their own merit, but on His character. The visitations of the Lord bring life.

Not only does He water the Earth in the physical sense with earthly water, but He also waters it with the Living Water in the person of Jesus. Just as earthly rain brings earthly life, the Living Water brings Heavenly Life. Just as rain falls on all regardless of merit, the Living Water comes to all who would receive it, not based on their merits, but on His and on the grace and kindness of the Lord.

Not only does God visit the Earth and water it, but He greatly enriches it. He enriches the physical soil to receive the rain and produce fruit in order to sustain life. So too does He enrich the spiritual soil of the hearts of men to receive and comprehend the Living Water and to produce spiritual fruit. Without the enriching which comes from the Spirit of God, the soil of our hearts would be dead and barren, unable even to receive the free gift of Living Water. Indeed it is by grace that we are saved, through faith, which itself is a gift and the result of the Spirit enriching the soil of our hearts. Even beyond that, the grace of God greatly enriches the Earth in every aspect of life. Through the grace of God extended to those who drink of the Living Water, He enriches the Earth by reforming culture, restraining evil, protecting the innocent, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and so much more. He not only enriches, but enriches greatly. Those who have been blessed by God in turn become the blessing of God. Those who have been enriched by God in turn become the enrichment of God to the world.

The river of God is full of water. The life which God gives comes not in a trickle, or a drip, or a stream, but a river. It is strong, robust, alive, and deep. It is full, not lacking in anything, never in danger of running out or becoming dry, never weakening, but ever increasing and abounding, even to overflowing. It is not a pond, or a lake, which remain still and run the risk of growing stale and stagnant. No, the the Living Water, is the River of God, a roaring river, ever moving, new every morning yet never changing, thoroughly alive, wild and unpredictable. A strong river which cannot be tamed or controlled by men, and which removes impurities and cleanses pollution, which flows pure and brings refreshment to the soul. Quenching thirst, restoring weary feet for the journey ahead, and bringing newness of life.

Just as in ancient times when cities were built around the banks of rivers, and cultures and civilizations thrived from the life which the waters enabled, so too must we be totally dependent on the River of God. The Living Water must be the only Source of our thriving in every area of life. The River of God, when made the center and source of our life, enables us to thrive, create, and live an abundant, earth-enriching life.

God provides their grain. The result of the water God sends and the enrichment He gives is the bringing forth of good produce. He provides earthly food for all of His creation as yet another expression of His grace. He also provides food for the soul of the believer. Beloved, fret not in thinking that you must provide for yourself physically or spiritually. The Lord Himself provides the grain. The One Who gives the life will surely sustain it also. He will surely meet your needs from His abundant riches. He not only gives us gifts from Himself, but He gives us the Gift of Himself. Not only is He the Living Water, but He is also the Bread of Life. Not only does He give us life in the first place, but He also sustains that life, for He Himself is our Life. Now being made full of this Life, the result is that we produce good wheat in our lives. This wheat is the fruit of the Spirit. If we are of Him and in Him, we shall not bring forth tares, or chaff only, but we shall bring forth good wheat, suitable for the growth of those around us. Those for whom the Lord provides in turn become the provision of the Lord to others.

For so God has prepared it. This is the Great Plan of God: that He should have called us by name, and chosen each of us from before time began, to give life to the lifeless sinners, we who had made ourselves His enemies, to redeem us, to provide for us, and to send us out as His children and His representatives to take part in the great Rescue Mission of bringing Life to the lifeless. O what a God we serve! O that we would ever thirst for the Living Water with a thirst unquenchable!

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The Unbreakables.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything, mainly since I’ve been scrambling to pick up the pieces of my broken life and I just haven’t been sure how to put it into words. Well, here’s a poem that I wrote about what it means to be a Christian in the hard times of life. 

The Unbreakables.
Though dying, our bodies are — we rise. 
Though stretched thin and far — we rise. 
Though cast down and forgotten — we rise. 
Though weak and down-trodden — we rise. 
Though beaten and bleeding — we rise. 
Though hated and fire-feeding — we rise. 
Though now lost and alone — we rise. 
Though overlooked and unknown — we rise. 
Though ever tried and tested — we rise. 
Though tired and unrested — we rise. 
Though our scars fade not away — we rise. 
Though weary we still say — we rise.
Though shaken and shattered — we rise. 
Though banners torn and tattered — we rise. 
Though wounded and depressed — we rise. 
Though imprisoned and oppressed — we rise. 
Though all we know fades to grey — we rise.
Though death we face each day — we rise. 
Through the Risen Christ, the King — we rise. 
My soul will learn to sing — we rise.

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A Bit of Prayerful Poetry

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Today I was just wrecked by my own inadequacies and feeling the weight of my bad circumstances and my spiritual failures. Honestly, I was just feeling like a waste of God’s grace and a horrible Christian. But this morning, while waiting for a bud of mine in a coffee shop, God spoke and got ahold of my heart. Here are two poems of a conversation with God that took place in my heart today. Normally I am reluctant to put words in God’s mouth, but the dialogue from God’s end of it all comes from Scripture, so I am not too worried about this time. The first is the cry of my heart to God, feeling the pangs of my own hopelessness and sinfulness. The second is the response I felt from the Spirit. I hope they bless you in some way. 

O Lord, 
This wayward heart,
To you I commit. 
I give you every part,
No secrets shall I omit. 
O change my inner man! 
My smolder, Lord, do fan, 
A fire awake! 
My heart, please take,
O Lord. 
Amen. 

My son, 
Though you do not believe it, 
A champion I have made you! 
Be calm, peaceful now and sit. 
Me alone shall you rely on. 
Now, forget your old history, 
I’ve given you the victory!
Trials you shall rise above! 
Be strong, my son, receive my love. 
Now rest, and let the sunshine
Remind you that you are Mine. 

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