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“Who are you, that you fear mortal man?”

This poem comes from Isaiah 51:12-16.

Who are you, that you fear mortal man?
That you lose sight of the Lord’s mighty hand,
That you get lost in the bland finances and advances
Disenchanted
Seeking canned, secondhand romances
With the things of the land.
You swim with the school, having forgot how to stand.
Though your days are as sand,
You ignore every chance,
Fearing to be looked at askance.
So focused on man
That you forget the Lord your Maker,
Creator,
Invader of the hearts of the clay-born,
Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth,
Who quenches every thirst
And deserves to be first
He’s a sunburst
You serve a God who reversed
Places, took the curse on himself,
Defeated the worst hell had to offer
And yet you live in constant fear because of the wrath of the oppressor,
Aggressor,
Assessor,
Fearing displeasure,
Impossible to measure up,
Despite your endeavors.
Feel compressed,
Under pressure
But where is the wrath of the oppressor?
I feel a tremor–
The cowering prisoners will soon be set free
Indeed.
No more fatigue or defeat;
His promise complete
Taste and see,
The sweet freedom for which he bleeds.
Triumphant,
They will not die in their dungeon,
Nor will they lack bread.
No fear or dread,
No longer dead or beset by impossible debt
But instead a seedbed, a witness of what he has said.
For I AM is the LORD your God,
Who churns up the sea so that the waves roar,
Who transforms and adorns,
Raises you to soar–
The LORD ALMIGHTY is his name!
Who covers us in grace and sets our souls aflame,
Who reigns awesome over an endless domain,
Whose faithfulness always remains,
Who lights the way,
Who’s never swayed,
Who rules the day
Yet knows my pain–
The LORD ALMIGHTY is his name!
For, says the LORD,
“I have put my words in your mouth,”
To shout,
Arouse the silent houses,
Impossible to douse or to doubt,
Louder than thunderclouds,
The water in the drought.
He vows,
“I have covered you in the shadow of my hand,”
Able to withstand any demand or attempt to disband
For all the earth is under his command,
Establishing the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth.
I no longer thirst
But headfirst am submersed
In the unreserved light of your glory that burst
From the sky, raining down on the earth.
He says unto Zion, “You are my people,”
My cathedrals,
I will lift you up on wings as eagles.
I will guard you from evil,
And my grace will sustain.
Through the joy and the pain,
Through the loss and the gain,
I will show you the way
If you only have faith.
My truth will remain;
It cannot be restrained.
I’ll give you a new name
In my arms you are safe.

He is King, and he reigns;
To the world I proclaim–
The LORD ALMIGHTY is his name!

mt

When the morning dawns

Wrote this poem last week during National Poetry Writing Month. The last line of every stanza is taken from Psalm 46:1-5.

When my heart is faint and my courage weak,
And I know not for what I seek,
When the weight of the world drives me to my knees,
God is our refuge and strength.

When what I see is not what’s real,
And I’ve lost trust in what I feel,
You are my solid rock, my shield,
A very present help in trouble.

Though I may wander, your truth will remain;
Regardless of storm clouds, forever you reign.
Nowhere could I go to escape your domain!
Therefore we will not fear.

You are my constant, my compass, my chart;
You’re the North Star to my wandering heart:
Faithful and steadfast in light and in dark,
Though the earth give way.

He hems me in, before and behind;
Oh, where can I go that I may hide?
He’s in the depths and in the heights,
Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

He’s counted every grain of sand;
He quiets the wind with his strong hand.
The sea is no match for his command,
Though its waters roar and foam.

Pick a star, he knows its name.
I long to look upon your face,
Content in your sufficient grace,
Though the mountains tremble.

Unto you I cast my cares,
Pile my stones into a cairn.
My lungs are full of mountain air;
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.

In your true Word do I delight,
A light that does not fear the night.
I’ve fought the fight, at last to find
The holy habitation of the Most High.

I hear the voices of the saints;
One day he will call my name.
I long that those who know me say,
God is in the midst of her.

Because he is faithful, because he is true,
Because so far he went his passion to prove,
Because his command even death can’t undo,
She shall not be moved.

By the world unseduced, she is seeking the truth,
Hangs on to the faith that his promise will prove,
Clings to the Rock that she knows will not move;
God will help her when the morning dawns.

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From the Ground Up: The Lessons of the Trees

Their roots are tangled, twisted,
knotty with age–
and with strength!
carving through soil and stone with power.
Inside the dappled land,
they loop together,
as if the trees were holding hands.

Their trunks a senseless-seeming maze
No wrong turns,
no blockades, except the ones
the earth has made.
Broad and defiant,
they stand,
proud, unmoving and
united in diversity.
Under the stars
they are as they are–

until they break.
Their branches sway,
supple and alive.
They are expression
barren to the sky,
Caretakers of the screech owl
and the robin
alike.

Their leaves are fragile,
victims of the wind,
but lovely.
Spinning, life-filled art of earth,
diffusing sunlight to the world:
They will bear the seeds–
The lessons of the trees.

trees 1

The strength of my heart – Psalm 73:26

Yep, it’s another Psalm this week! Ack, I love the Psalms. I love the Psalms because they’re honest. They’re honest to God, and a lot of times, honesty isn’t pretty. The Psalms don’t hide that. The Psalms show the journey from every place on the spectrum, the web of human emotion, out of the confinement and confusion of my heart and into the light of truth, no room for shadows. They give these feelings shape with words, and bring them before the Father, the Rock, the Refuge, the Lover, the Savior, the Deliverer, the Healer, the Friend, the Comforter, the Holy One, the Creator, the Most High, the All Powerful, the All Knowing, the One who Protects, who Provides, who Understands, who Listens, who is Stronger, who is Greater, the Great I Am. And I…I am not–but I know I AM.

psalm 73-26

This verse comes from a Psalm of struggle. Of disillusionment. Of doubt. Of questioning. Of despair. Of loss of hope. But then, the Psalmist returns to the Rock. He was searching, and finally, he found. He found what he’d been looking for, all this time. He found something that would satisfy what the world never quite could.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And the earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My heart and flesh may fail,
but God is my strength, and my portion forever.

Bre

She shall not be moved – Psalm 46:5

psalm 46-5

One of my favorite Psalms. If you’re looking for Scripture to memorize, this is a great place to start. The entire thing goes:

.  God is our refuge and strength,
.          a very present help in trouble.
,  Therefore we will not fear,
.          though the earth give way,
.          though the mountains be moved
.          into the heart of the sea
.  Though its waters roar and foam,
.          though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
.  There is a river
.          whose streams make glad the city of God,
.          the holy habitation of the Most High.
.  God is in the midst of her;
.          she shall not be moved.
.          God will help her when the morning dawns.
.  The nations rage, the kingdoms waver–
.          He utters his voice, and the earth melts.
.  The Lord of Hosts is with us;
.          the God of Jacob is our fortress.
.  Come, behold the works of the Lord,
.          how he has brought desolations on the earth.
.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
.          He breaks the bow and shatters the spear.
.          He burns the chariots with fire.
.   Be still and know that I Am God;
.          I will be exalted in the nations,
.          I will be exalted in the earth!
.  The Lord of Hosts is with us;
.          The God of Jacob is our fortress!

Opposites – 1 John 4:18

Hate is not the opposite of love, and neither bravery nor courage is the opposite of fear. For courage is doing something in spite of fear; love is brave. Hate acknowledges a relationship with someone; fear refuses to give them a chance. That’s why fear and love are such perfect opposites: they prevent each other. They can’t both be in the same place.

But I know which is stronger.