Confusion on the Threshold of Victory

Doubt and fear assail the soul,
‘There is no God,’ the battle cry;
You shake in terror, nearly fall,
Forlorn, nearly swallow the lie,
And face down begin to crawl,
Wanting more than ever away to fly

‘Where is this Lord,’ the scream,
These voices inside your head;
‘It’s all a lie, a weak man’s dream;
Why trust what a stranger said?
What rubbish and just a crutch,
Be done with it and finally free!’

Comes now the whisper touch,
Gentle hands no eye can see;
‘Will love be lost, hope be gone,
And your faith without a fight;
With the victory already won,
And light has swallowed night?’



Note: Except for the last two lines of first stanza, this poem was originally written in 2012 and published in the booklet, ‘Stumbling Along the Road of Redemption.’

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And Now Do the Shades Rise Up To Praise You

Note: I wrote the following in April 2012 and have decided to share it here, more than four years later, because it is still so very appropriate. . . More importantly, perhaps, it is very much part of my life testimony. Please read, enjoy and (hopefully) be blessed.

Knowing and not knowing. Knowledge without understanding. Wisdom trampled beneath the arrogant feet of folly, led by the blind man I was born, groping along the wall, waiting for the next fall. No not a man, not half a man, but only a shade of what I was meant to be, the image-bearer of God, lovingly created in his likeness.

Feeling my way along in the darkness, surrounded by multitudes of blinded men, I was alone existing in my unlife, haunted by numinous dreams of otherworldly communion, struggling to forge hearts out of stone, draw water from desert sands, and cover the night in unseen light born of imagination desperately searching for some façade behind reality.

And I flew in a thousand directions to escape the anguish of my own haunted soul, dreaming worlds and wars, making love and peace in perfectly controlled imagination, writing my own laws and standing high priest in my own holy temple, all as vacuous as the furthest reaches of coldest outer space.

Man by birth … Shade by slow death.

So much less ~ so terribly other ~ than what I was meant to be, and why? And I have fought and scrambled for so many shallow honors and recognitions, for power, prestige and popularity. Vainly do I scurry to fill my life with toys and trinkets, grasping at suave success and material gain, gasping for the breathe of life in the dark shadows of a dying world.

And my heart cry is lifted in the awful realization that apart from the Author of Life there is no life ~ authentic life ~ but that I am and ever shall be wholly destitute. No matter how much I shift and change, no difference how many different parts I play or people I become, I am nothing. I am the Shade.

But now stripped bare, blindfold removed, and all fantasy blown away like thin wisps of lingering smoke. Now awakening to the awakened world, and released from the confines of the medical ward back into the streets of asphalt and concreted buildings, flashing lights and delivery trucks, schools and churches and middle class homes…

Now what? More alive and awake than ever I have been before, I am frightened. What now? Fantasy feels safer, dreams more secure. No matter how agonizingly unrealistic, and no matter how disappointing … how shattered. But I hear the whisper in ancient tone, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’ And so, ‘awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ And he who has now begun this good work in you is faithful and he himself will bring it to completion, for he came not only to give you life, but life abundantly!”

What else but to bow down in humble adoration and thanksgiving? After all, did the Light not shine to rescue me from Darkness? Did the Voice not speak for me to hear? Was the Story not told to fill my emptiness with Meaning? Did the Arms not open wide to embrace and hold one so alone and forlorn? Did Life not die and rise again that I might die no more, but live? Live?

The great psalmist, David, once asked, “Will you show your wonders to the dead? Will the shades rise up and praise you?” And the answer is given…

Yes, the shades do now rise to praise you! Lord, make me whole.

Cosmic Story: True Tragi-Comedy

Cosmic Story: True Tragi-Comedy

milkyway

void
devoid even of emptiness
heaviness of nothingness
one complete
mystically replete with life
the Voice sounds
choice made

BEGINNINGS

watery depths
first breath
fiery earth
everything in motion
no emotion
commotion
promotion of life

CREATION

hesitant band
from water to land
then stand
stalk the flock
hawk flies the sky
figures walk
eventually talk

MATURATION

humans grown
humans groan
creation moans
tone of the Voice changes
people speak
act
choices made bleak

REVOLUTION

break in wake of revolt
all is at stake
forsaken
creation shaken
one is taken
live to die
die to live

SALVATION



Note: Thank you, again, to Tanya Cliff for inspiring me to try my hand at this type of poetry, which I (we?) are tentatively calling “vers l’avant,” which means “forward verse,” and is so named because it is a progressive-sectional kind of free verse. Hope you enjoy!

Election 2016: Wink Not at Evil

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
– Isaiah 5. 20 (NLT)

Winking at sin leads to sorrow; bold reproof leads to peace.
– Proverbs 10. 10 (TLB)

Daring to be somewhat political, I must say that I find it astounding that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, having made their choice for President, essentially wink at sin, excuse and even defend outright wickedness. My outcry is simple: Right is right, wrong is wrong; good is good, bad is bad; righteousness is righteousness, evil is evil. Period.

Some of us have either chosen to vote third party or not to vote in this presidential election at all; however, many Christians have chosen whom they believe to be the “lesser of two evils” between the two major party candidates. I can sympathize with how difficult that decision must be, and I fully respect your right to make that choice, but please do not fall into the trap of defending your choice by overtly defending, or even excusing, evil at any level, in any way, shape or form.

Remember, you have (allegedly) chosen the “lesser of two evils.” Evil is still evil, though, and you have no right in Christ Jesus to call it otherwise. And as we are warned in the Proverbs, even “winking at sin leads to sorrow;” rather “bold reproof leads to peace.” Do not be afraid to openly recognize the faults, failings and shortcomings – sin – of your candidate of choice.

Really, even better for Christians would be to stay out of the mud-slinging, political fray altogether and engage ourselves in another, altogether different campaign, to wit: An apolitical campaign for Jesus the Christ, our Lord and only Savior, whose Gospel is ultimately the only answer to the multitude of problems we face in our society. Instead of actively campaigning for one candidate for the office of President, let us join together in one voice and actively campaign for the King of kings and Lord of lords, who does not (nor ever will) stand for election!

Thank you for “listening” to my ramblings. God bless all of you!

Love & Serve: The Gift of You

No, not your gifts to lift me high,
Keep them all, great and small;
No not prophecy for me to see,
Only eyes to see you in sky so blue;
No, not flames of fiery tongues,
Only take away blame and shame;
No, not to be great in teaching,
Only searching ‘n reaching for you;
No, not great strength like Samson,
But an arm to keep me from harm;
No, not blessings from heaven
Only leaven me with the Giver
. . .
When I think of you, I quiver
And shiver inside to think
That you abide within me,
And so let it be ever and only you
That you give and thus shall I live,
And with you I will have all I need
And more: seed of every other gift
You have to give as I live this life;
Ah! Come to me so affectionately,
Personally, intimately, so closely
And ne’er depart from my heart,
And I will then have more than
Anyone could deserve, and I will
Love and Serve
Love and Serve
Love and Serve