Archive for January, 2010

Like most anyone else I have experienced ambitions to succeed at this or try that or do the other.  As the years have passed my thoughts of ambition have continued to some small degree though experience has quelled the impulse to apply action to those desires.  The desires to do something noteworthy that have most bewildered me are those I thought to be directed at glorifying God.  Evidently all too many of them were colored by personal ambition I did not understand.  As I reflected on God’s goodness, my failure to take ahold of Him to the degree I desired or serve Him in the way I thought desirable, I saw in my mind’s eye what my ambition should be.  I possess because of His gift a most precious resource.  I don’t want misunderstanding of my poem so consider that holding the jug means to possess the gospel while raising it refers to witness, that is, offering the gospel, and pouring would equate with praying with someone to receive Christ:
Only a lowly servant holding a water jar
But oh, refreshing contents rescued the very same
Now to offer water to travelers near and far
Brings joy to him and to his Master fame
Standing by the seated Master pouring on command
As one by one thirsty souls file past the servant there
Water offered unto all, received by those pre-planned
Await the Master’s nod, then pour with flare
Why so rarely raised the jug Master offers to all?
Servant holding back more for self that supply not fail?
The joy is more when raised or poured, not one drop will fall
Every single draught will for sin avail

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My family and I have watched a 12 part BBC series on the Charles Dickens comedy Pickwick Papers.  Many scenes are funny and others sobering.  And since it is evidently true to the book, I could recommend either.  Without giving away the story, there is a despicable character named Mr. Jingle whose oddity is speaking in one to three word phrases with dramatic intonations and short pauses.  There is a complete economy of words and yet a rich and clearly understood meaning to all that he says.  I do not encourage his actions but his speech compels me to want to learn this mode.  While reflecting on this speech the other day I attempted to write a poem in that form.  I will know if I have succeeded if you understand the poem.  If you know the subject about which the poem speaks, comment your knowledge below:
Temptations rife
Hazard all
Indiscretions, fall
Shame, strife
Blame wife
Cover all
Oh the gall
Death not life
Pay the fife
Lost all
Darkness fall
Sorrows rife
Took the knife
Once for all
Order tall
Gave us life

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One of the ways that God has given us to communicate with people is through words.  Body language and acts of kindness, hatred, or neglect are other ways.  Not only kind, encouraging words, but constructive criticism words and instructive and insightful words that build someone up and demonstrate concern are helpful.  As the Proverbs say, “Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad,” (12:25) and “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word,” (15:23) and “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” (27:6) and “Heed instruction and be wise,” (8:33) and “the tongue of the wise brings healing,” (12:18), and “he who forsakes reproof goes astray,” (10:17) and many more good words. 

But I have observed that though the eargate be open and the volume be sufficient and distractions be few, many good words are not heard.  In fact, the emotional baggage and relationship histories can shut a mind down to where it not only refuses to accept good words, rejecting them or twisting them to have some nefarious meaning or intentions, but such a mind can deny before witnesses that the words were ever spoken.  Though this is an amazement to me, I have both observed it and commited this crime of unkindness to the speaker.  So, I am resolved to hear better and attribute intentions as purer to words that are of benefit to me while understanding that discouraging or untrue words may well come from a speaker who does not fully understand the source of their own intentions.  To this end I have composed a poem:

What is the need for a stern word
From loved ones, colleagues, or stranger
A cautionary note not absurd
When it rescues one from danger


What is the use of a taught word
Is it something you need to know
Keep you from running with the herd
Help your mind continually grow


What is the goal of a wise word
Of discernment that penetrates
So that on your life you may gird
Tools for living, such worthy traits


What is the help of a kind word
With regular sincerity
Just like a beautiful song bird
A seasonal sound rarity

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Overflows from the Heart

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…" Matthew 15:18


Pointing to the One who made, saved, and sustains