7-26-15 Diligence

cornerstone

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

2 Peter 1:5-10 KJV

            ~~~~~~~~~~~

If you would come to know of Christ our King,

Then work with diligence these attributes:

Keep faith so strong it stands through anything,

And build your virtue as an absolute.

 

Increase in knowledge of the scriptured word,

Conduct with temperence your words and ways,

Be patient to endure all trials incurred,

And strive toward godliness without delays.

 

With kindness treat your brother as yourself,

And move with charity in all you do.

Without these things you’re blind upon a shelf,

Forgetting what Christ’s death has done for you.

 

            Give diligence to make your calling sure

            And you will never fall as immature.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~

 

sonnet #417

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6-5-15 Age With Grace

cute couple

2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate,

sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

3 The aged women likewise,

that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness,

not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things

Titus 2:2-3 KJV

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As much as you despise it you must age,

Until one day you feel the weight of years,

But with the wrinkles brings the knowing sage,

Experienced in laughter, calm and tears.

If you should ever act your age it’s now,

For younger eyes are looking up to you.

Let sober living shine upon your brow,

And all the words you say be sound and true.

You have a grave responsibility

To be the light of Christ in faith and love.

Endure the world each day more patiently,

And show us how to pray to God above.

To all the aged men and women saints,

Spend all your time in praise and not complaints.

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

sonnet #380

Temper, Temper

temper

If you can’t curb your temper or your tongue

How can you be entrusted with the Word?

The devil will provoke you with his dung

Until you lose control with anger stirred.

You can’t control what others say and do,

And none can make you feel a certain way.

With prayer and discipline you can get to

Restraint in what you do and what you say.

Increase your love for God until it glows,

Til humbleness replaces selfish ways.

The spirit of the Lord both thrives and grows

Within an attitude of faith and praise.

Compassion cools the fire before it burns,

And patience settles in when temper turns.

~~~~~~~~~~~

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;

and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Proverbs 16:32 KJV

11-23-14 On Patience

patience in trials

As Christ begins to change your heart and mind,

The light of Spirit shines for all to see,

And this attracts more than those of your kind:

It draws the wolves who love to disagree.

They may be souls within themselves at war,

Or those who want to snuff the Christ-light out,

But they will want to drag you down and more

To prove you wrong or fill you full of doubt.

Rejoice, for these temptations help you grow!

The mind of Christ brings patience and restraint,

And born by much compassion you will know

Another soul the gospel can acquaint.

            The acid of adversity makes strong

            Dependence on the Savior all along.

            ~~~~~~~~~~~

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:2-3 KJV

6-27-14 On Assumptions (a Sonnet)

assumptions

If someone who you think has got it wrong

Begins to speak about a subject dear,

Your mind is thinking of an answer long

Before the words that come from his lips clear.

Would you want someone judging what you say

Before you have a chance to speak your mind?

Yet often you assume you know the way

And those who think so diff’rent must be blind.

You are a fool if you refuse to hear

What others say because you know you’re right;

The Lord may plant the Truth in those you sneer

And you will miss a chance to see the Light.

So listen carefully, you might just learn,

And let the Spirit lead when it’s your turn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,

it is folly and shame unto him.”

Proverbs 18:13 KJV

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Patience, Patience

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I’ve always been told I was a pretty laid back guy. Some of my friends in school used to even call me ‘Smooth.’ Now, I couldn’t tell you then exactly why I had such a calm demeanor without holding hands with my ego and skipping all around the truth. I thought it was just the way I was wired.  This one thing is true, though: it wasn’t because I processed stress any better than anyone else. In fact, a therapist once told me that I ‘stuffed’ my emotions. Even though I projected the very essence of peace, inside I was a bottle of shook up Coke.  That counselor helped me be in the moment with my emotions, to express myself healthily and thus reduce much of the anxiety and depression I had suffered with most of my life.

In 2005 when I came to the Lord, I wish I could tell you I put away that old struggling self. It didn’t happen all at once because I still had (and still do have) a sinful nature.  But between prayer, studying the Bible and fellowship with other Christians, God has slowly helped me understand and deal with the internal conflicts I bear. Last night in prayer, as I asked for help in surrendering my will to Him, the Holy Spirit whispered to me “He helps those who help themselves.” How many times have I heard that catch phrase and brushed it off without contemplating the incredible truth found in those words! Another layer of ignorance (believe me, there are too many layers to count) was peeled off my mind, and I understood that in order to know and do God’s will, I must seek His will in the Word, in the scriptures, in the countless ways He speaks to me through others, the powerful beauty of nature, and in quiet contemplation.  As this simple understanding finally imprinted itself upon my heart I felt a peacefulness come over me like a blanket, and I dwelled on it the rest of the night, even taking it with me into sleep.

Get this: last night I dreamed I was in college again and had only one more class to finish my schooling and move on. It was lunch time so a couple of friends and I went to the cafeteria to grab a bite and hang out until class time. When we arrived we were the only ones at the counter. The only thing on the menu was hamburgers and French fries, which was fine with me, but when it came my turn to get food, the server said I would have to wait awhile because they were out of fries and were making more. No biggie. I stood there munching the delicious hamburger and watching the food workers bustling around on the other side of the counter. In just a moment, though, the cafeteria began filling up with other students, and they all crowded around me calling out their orders.  The growing horde began pressing in on me from every side like worker bees in a hive trying to jostle for position. I began to grow alarmed thinking that when the French fries finally came I wouldn’t be the first to get them, so I climbed on top of the counter and began shouting over the clamor of the crowd while the food workers ignored us all. I became more and more angry; my half-eaten hamburger was now lost in the crowd and it was taking forever to get my fries. To make matters worse, when the fries finally did come up a group of professors appeared on the other side of the counter and scooped them all up. The crowd howled in anger and I was the tip of that spear.  A bored server then came from the back with a mountain of fries, and even though I wasn’t the very first to get some I certainly made sure I was one of the first. I elbowed my way out of the mass of shouting students, found an empty table and wolfed down my fries in complete anger, then tossed the plate onto the floor and ran out of the cafeteria to catch my last class.

I woke up with this dream still ensconced in my memory and it troubled me. I had worked so hard to manage my negative emotions over the recent years, and now was committed to learning and implementing God’s Divine will. How could I have been so impatient and full of rage? Well, I looked at my clock and saw I had overslept by three hours. I said my morning prayer a little quicker than I normally do, got up and began to carry on with my day, telling myself that being late was ok because I could just adjust to my new schedule. No problem. I fixed my morning coffee and turned on the computer to take care of a couple of things before getting dressed and doing the things I had to do for the day. Wouldn’t you know it, the computer was in a rare funk, acting unusually sluggish and taxing my patience. I sat where I am now feeling echoes of that dream creeping in on me as the morning quickly sped away. Yes, the Lord wants me to know that in order to learn His will I should practice patience. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12: 12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” I certainly have a lot to learn still, especially if I think I’ve only got one more class to attend before graduating into God’s will!  Philippians 4:6 tells me “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Finally, the Lord reminds me in Titus 2:2 “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” I think I’m getting the picture. What I seek will come to me, but while I’m waiting I need to practice patience, steadfastness and self-control while I study and apply God’s plan for me.