The Heart That Won’t Pretend May Mend

The heart that won’t pretend may mend, but when will mourning end?

Everybody in the world needs a good friend.

If we want to heal, we must be real and learn to feel.

But when others cry or laugh, what message does it send?

The heart that won’t pretend may mend. Have you a hand to lend?

For reality bites, though it does produce insights,

And through pain we may be set free,

Even though we fear it may last an eternity.

A flood of emotions pours into the sea

Of this broken earth in all gravity.

Some chase after strife to give them life,

But such running ends in bitterness, distress.

“By Jesus’ stripes we are healed”

Is not a platitude or simple attitude.

Our griefs He bore, so let us not ignore.

Life in His blood has power to heal,

The question is: Can you feel?

Seeds of faith that fall on rocks

Bear no fruit in the end.

For the heart that does not pretend

Eventually may mend.

But woe to the one who rejects a true friend.

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My Husband Loves My Latest Post

My husband loves my latest post. I am so happy to hear that. He loves the rhymes, especially the part about “Mike”! Now that’s the kind of review I can always go for! Soon I think I will start writing more again.

To me this goes to show that, contrary to some writing advice, what friends and family say about a writer’s work DOES matter. When my husband likes my work, it means the world to me!

If you’ve ever done any writing – with the idea of being published – then you will quickly come to realize that writing can’t be done in a vacuum. Every writer needs support from someone, preferably those closest to them. Even non-writers need support. We like to feel like we are heard. So when someone shares an idea with you, even if it’s off the wall, taking the time to listen and encourage them can work wonders.

True, that doesn’t translate into automatic success. But it can encourage a person not to give up, that with excellent coaching and perseverance the battle can be won. If you want to do well as an author, then share your work with someone. Put it out there. See what works.

If you keep going, you will get somewhere. But don’t forget to pray, because God is our greatest source of encouragement. Jesus said in John chapter 15 that “Without Me, you can do nothing.” He also told his followers to love one another, and encouragement is a form of love.

Readers feel free to weigh in. When your spouse (or other family member) believes in your writing, does it or does it not inspire you to persevere?

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/healing/by-his-stripes-im-healed-what-this-means-to-me/

Act With Tact to Bring Things Back Intact, Part I

To act with tact can certainly help bring things back intact.

The prophet Daniel knew this. Therefore he did not react

When King Nebuchadnezzar sent his hatchet man to him

With news that did not bode well and in fact was very grim.

“All wise guys in this entire kingdom will be cut to pieces,”

Warned the executioner. “Because they do not please us.”

“I’ll turn their homes to rubble to atone for their abuses,

Because this king has had it with their miserable excuses.”

Now, Daniel could have gotten worried, thrown a great big fit,

Torn out his hair and hopped inside a pit party pit.

However, he refused to stew but acted with great tact,

Asking why the king had been so hasty to react.

“They said they didn’t know his dream but gladly would lay bare

Their own interpretation of it if he cared to share

A clue or two about whatever thoughts had filled his head

While he lay sleeping peacefully upon his comfy bed.”

“Well, don’t blame me,” is how I’d probably answer in that case.

“You never asked what I thought. How ‘bout giving me some grace?”

“If the king does not control his temper, he may go insane.

Sometimes that happens to a guy with vengeance on the brain.”

Despite the sudden notice, though, he didn’t get offended.

Nor did he panic like a guy who’s suddenly rear ended.

Instead of claiming ignorance, he went straight unto the king,

Not waving crazy protest signs but with an “offering.”

“If you will give me time, I soon will have an answer for you,”

He told the king of Babylon. “I surely won’t ignore you.”

Then he went home and told his friends that it was time to pray.

God answered him and he went to the palace the next day.

He had an answer for the king, but first, “Please act with tact.

Don’t shoot the men who let you down. The Lord will pay you back

For pain they caused by failing you, and He will not be slow.

So, please forgive their ignorance. Your dream I’ve come to show.”

Once Upon a Rooftop: Four Men and a Mat

Once upon a rooftop

Four men came with a mat

To lay a man at Jesus’ feet.

But what is up with that?

 

What do these rooftop men stand for,

Who lowered him on down?

Because God always has a plan,

But not for man’s renown.

 

Perhaps the first man’s like the Father,

God of light and love,

Who sent His only Son to earth

From heaven’s throne above.

 

Who knows the heartache He endured

To see Christ on the cross

Partaking of such guilt and shame?

Just think how much it cost!

 

Our burdens Jesus gladly bore,

Though He endured much pain.

For our own sins He suffered loss.

Through Him we’ve much to gain

 

Because the Father gave Him

As a sacrifice for sin.

He let His back be mocked and whipped,

Our victory to win.

 

Therefore His wounds bring us true peace.

Our burdens He did bear

Through the power of the Spirit

Who this truth does share.

 

The Father, Spirit, Son, you see,

That blessed Trinity,

Are like an awesome triangle

That brings us liberty.

 

But one more rooftop man gives you

A brand new faith dimension.

For God’s right arm did all the work,

But we are His extension,

 

The reason for the rectangle

We’re privileged to help carry,

A corner of the sinner’s mat

Which once appeared so scary.

 

But Jesus tore apart the roof

That wouldn’t let us near

To come into God’s presence,

And He says, “Be of good cheer!”

 

To Jesus’ left the Father stands.

They each hold up an end.

The Spirit, also, hovering near,

To God’s Word does attend.

 

Invisibly they wait for us

To take the final part,

Because He’s given us a choice:

“Ignore” or “take to heart.”

 

The Father, Spirit, and Son do long

To help us in our task.

They’re always there to meet our needs,

If only we will ask.

 

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When Parents Don’t Understand a Child’s Promised Land

Those who didn’t understand the Promised Land report

By Joshua and Caleb somehow managed to abort

God’s destiny for them which was an awesome property.

Big guys had done the work and now this land was theirs for free.

 

(see the book of Numbers chapters 13 and 14)

 

But most folks didn’t “get” these guys who spied out God’s good land.

All they saw were giants and they didn’t understand

What the Lord was doing and the great things He had planned,

The gifts He’d placed within their children, like flames to be fanned.

 

Instead, they saw their families as weak – “They won’t survive,

Let alone by some miraculous intervention thrive.” (Numbers 14:3)

“Those who KNOW God will do exploits” was a verse they didn’t know (Daniel 11:32),

And for their children, I believe, it was an awesome blow.

 

Imagine dreaming “milk and honey,” only to be told

It’s not within your grasp. “Don’t try it. All you’ll get is old.”

“You’ll die before you touch the grapes that WE could not obtain.

Best not to tackle it, my dear. You’ll never stand the strain.”

 

These men wanted to help their kids survive the wilderness

Instead of taking foolish risks while trying to impress

The God they THOUGHT they’d heard from, but their parents didn’t know.

For, some who tried to take the land received a heavy blow.

 

God told them not to do it when He saw their unbelief.

Instead they acted out of guilt, which caused the camp much grief. (Numbers 14:39-45)

By trusting their own wisdom to make up for wrongs they’d done,

They acted foolishly. The battle, lost, could not be won.

 

And so, their children suffered. In the wilderness they wandered,

For forty years unable to regain what doubt had squandered.

How do you talk to parents when you know they don’t believe?

They’re just too stressed to listen. Your ideas they can’t receive.

 

It helps to understand that parents don’t always feel blessed

When you share bold ideas with them. For they know that success

Does not come instantly. It has to stand the test of time.

They want you to prove faithful, adding reason to your “rhyme.”

 

Recall: The men who got frustrated missed the Promised Land,

Rebelling against knowledge that they didn’t understand.

They tried to prove themselves to God. “We’ll take the land, we will!”

But what they needed most to do was to relax and “chill.”

 

For faith cannot be conjured up, and though conveyed through speech,

It’s not just about changing things. But what did Jesus teach?

The Father desires worship both in truth and in spirit. (John 4:23)

Before trying to do His Word, you must take time to hear it.

 

To enter in your “Promised Land” requires that you rest (Hebrews 4:9-10),

So that when you bring up “those grapes” your dad does not feel stressed.

You do not want to tempt the man to go off on his own

And try to conquer FOR you what you need to do alone.

 

But yet, you’re not alone, for Jesus walks that road with you.

He’ll never will forsake you and His promises ring true.

The spiritual Rock that followed Israel in the desert knows your name (I Corinthians 10:4),

And when you choose to follow Him, you’ll never be the same.

 

 

Every child has a “Promised Land,” a dream meant just for them, a destiny only they can fulfill. A child that believes in Jesus and commits his/her life to Him may be inspired with a dream that adults don’t see. His/her parents may not understand or promote the dream – perhaps because they themselves have a Promised Land worth of dreams that remain unfulfilled. Perhaps they  tried to take that land before being properly equipped, and it resulted in disaster.

 

For whatever reason, it may be hard for them to fathom how the child’s dream could possibly succeed. If that’s the case, how can a child get the support he or she needs to fulfill that dream?

 

I. See Victory Over Rebellion as a Step Toward the Promised Land

 

Rebelling against parents and/or demanding one’s own way is like the men who tried to take the Promised Land after proving themselves unfaithful – unfaithful as in “they were not full of faith” and therefore could not receive Joshua and Caleb’s good report. Rather than promote rebellion, God’s word teaches children to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:2). Though honoring (respecting) them may be your greatest fight, through Jesus you can do it (if in Him you delight).

 

Victory over rebellion is an exploit that takes you closer to the Promised Land

 

II. Draw Near to God

 

The key to getting favor from parents and/or other adults is to draw close to God and find rest in Him. This involves prayer. You can talk to God about anything, but it really helps to praise Him and to pray for understanding while reading His Word (the Bible). Focus on His promises of who you are in Him, such as “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. All things have become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

 

Drawing near to these truths will enable you to draw near to Him. It also helps to remember that Jesus will never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). His name Emmanuel means “God with us.” Before ascending into heaven, He empowered his disciples with the knowledge that “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20). With that knowledge they were able to reach the world for Him.

 

III. Spy Out Your Own Particular Promised Land

 

The one who can best understand his/her particular “promised land” is the person to whom it belongs. Caleb, for example, spied out the mountain he wanted before asking Joshua for permission to take it. But Promised Land decisions should not be made alone. Solomon declared in Proverbs 15:22 that with many counselors there is wisdom. Godly people can help guide you to your Promised Land.

 

The best plan is to believe. It may take time, but it’s well worth the wait.

 

Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

Stinky Stuff God Has Used to Set People Free

How stinky the prison in which Joseph sat.

He ended up there because some lady rat

Accused him of doing what no man should do.

She said he attacked her, but that was not true.

 

But in that foul hole, this young man found release

From her accusations through THE prince of peace.

Her lies didn’t hurt because God set him free

So that he could follow his true destiny.

 

Jeremiah the prophet was tossed in a pit,

And sank in the muck where men left him to sit,

Because they did not want to heed what he said.

That’s why they decided he needed that bed.

 

Imagine him mourn as they lower him down,

Bemoaning the evil that stinks up his town.

“Repent of old mindsets that offer no glee

And you won’t be harmed by this captivity.”

 

The officials determined to starve him to death,

But he looked to God, who had given him breath.

Then up from above – was it manna? Not quite.

How stinky the rags that enabled his flight!

 

They didn’t smell pretty yet helped rescue him

From being shut up in that prison so dim.

For, those who love freedom must deal with the stench

Of soul-binding fetters that make their guts wrench.

 

See Lazarus leaving his now-empty tomb,

Wrapped up like a mummy, with so little room

To walk or to move or to breathe out a word.

Martha said, “It’ll smell,” and I think they all heard

 

Jesus say, “Take the stinky stuff off. Set him free.”

What stench! Hold your nose if you love liberty

That comes when you have faith to move any stone

Which stands in the way of approaching God’s throne.

 

Though confession be smelly, it helps to reveal

God’s mercy through Christ who has power to heal.

For, consider the man who lived close to some pigs,

While cutting himself among burial digs.

 

His devils did not smell good, even in pink.

When Christ cast them out, they sure did make a stink.

But Jesus still used it to set the man free.

For, He can use all things to help you and me.        .

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Surprise: When Jesus Sneaks up on You

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, with all of its lies.

When He takes the worst of your fears by surprise.

Discouragement shatters, and all compromise.

 

God’s elect have been crying out all through the night,

Longing to see dreams and visions take flight,

The things they’ve been hoping for so many years.

“Lord, save us from bondage. We’ve so many fears.”

 

Prayer warriors knocking upon heaven’s door

Cry, “God, grant us justice we’ve not seen before.

The enemy’s raging. We cannot hold back

These poisonous darts of his latest attack.

 

“We stick to your Word and your promises claim,

Yet satan’s been getting the glory and fame.

We’re weary of battling the spirit of death.

Silence rules while we fight with our last dying breath.”

 

Then, behold! Jesus enters the temple: Surprise!

He conquers all fear with one look from His eyes.

“Treason!” shouts Athaliah, the wicked old queen,

As the brightness of His sudden coming is seen.

 

The thief sent the whirlwind that shattered Job’s house,

And made the poor sufferer feel like a louse.

His heart had been broken, success stripped away,

Disease gripped his body, he cursed his birthday.

 

His friends sought for reasons. Why did this occur?

But their words held no comfort. Their words could not cure.

Then, surprise! God showed up. Through a whirlwind He spoke,

And by His appearing, fresh faith He awoke

 

Restoring the joy that those old guys had lost

(And reminding a few of the lines they had crossed,

In not speaking right of the life-giving One

Who endured greater loss but the victory has won.

 

For, many years later, upon a long road

That led to Emmaus, two sad people strode.

Then a stranger snuck up, someone they did not know.

Where did this man come from and where would he go?

 

They spoke of their sorrow and all of their strife.

“We’re so disappointed right now with this life.

We thought we had found our Messiah at last.

But now He has died and our hopes are all past.”

 

 

Then, how their hearts burned as he opened God’s Word

To understand scriptures they knew they had heard.

They begged him to stay, and with them he shared bread

Which opened their eyes to great truths they had read.

 

 

When Jesus sneaks up on you, what a surprise!

Death is upended, and all of its lies.

Watch HIM take the worst of your fears by surprise

Revealing the truth behind your greatest “why’s.”

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/faith/seeing-believing/

 

Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

Fearful spies brought God’s people a bad report of the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:32).

Most people got discouraged when they heard it.

“Oh, how we wish we’d died,” they cried,

“In the land of Egypt (where they had been gypped).”

 

To enter a land of milk and honey

With an outlook bright and sunny

seemed like an impossible task to them.

 

That’s how I used to feel: like I could never reach that promised land. Then one day recently I was looking through some bad report cards former teachers had written about me.

These were bad reports, I realized,

Telling me I was the wrong size

To tackle all those giants in the Promised Land.

 

Rip, shred, tear!

One bad report card hit the trash, then another.

With great joy I threw them all away.

 

My teachers’ wrong assessments went sailing into the can. Along with those false assessments went the insecurity that stems from trying to please other people rather than pleasing God.

Because teachers have expectations

Based on whatever evaluations

Someone else expects them to complete

In order to prove they’ve done their job

And done it well.

 

If a teacher is mostly negative, however,

It can affect a child’s self esteem

(And make it hard for them to reach their dream).

 

Rip, shred, tear!

 

For many years those bad report cards

Stared me in the face.

One of them especially lacked very little grace:

 

Tons of minuses from a teacher who must have hated me.

She couldn’t find one quality in which this shy child excelled.

 

NOT A SINGLE ONE.

 

Despite the fact that I never caused trouble in the classroom. I got zero points for being well-behaved.

 

ZERO POINTS WHATSOEVER: as in, one entire column showed straights N’s (N meaning Negative).

 

So, what do you think I did with that report card?

 

Rip, shred, tear!

Throw out the bad report card and free the child from discouraging expectations she could never meet.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

True, like everyone else I have fallen short of God’s glory, but that DOES NOT make me inferior to other human beings. Because Jesus cared enough to die for me, which is what those failing teachers failed to see.

Do I hate them for it? No, but I do give the worst grader an F minus when it comes to understanding children. Yet, at the same time I do believe that she, too, can change. In fact, perhaps she has already changed for the better. If not, I pray she comes to know God’s love in a most amazing way.

Meanwhile, do I accept her bad report?

NO WAY!!!!!

Throw out the bad report card and free the inner child,

And in the end there shall be peace and harmony for all.

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/deliverance/when-youre-born-different-identity-crisis/

Healing by Immersion in God’s Word

I. Humility, God’s Word, and the Jordan River

 

As Naaman took dip one in Jordan’s river,

Humbling himself wholly before Christ,

God’s word began to penetrate his skin cells

And struck him as a bit of good advice.

 

First taste of faith. Step out and take a break now.

Dry off. Relax. Into your chariot climb.

Then see your servants’ arms crossed, feet a-tapping.

They’re right, of course. Let’s try it one more time.

 

Dip two: Submerge the body head to toe, guy.

Come up again with goosebumps. That was wild!

Could be Elisha’s word is truly working.

And yet the change appears to be quite mild.

 

But on the third dip, how the water tried him,

A burning flame to tame his leprous skin!

“Oh, what have I gotten myself into?”

Asked Naaman with his face full of chagrin.

 

II. Let’s God’s Word Go Deep

 

Set aside your own agenda, dear commander, and obey.

Immerse yourself within it. There’s healing in this Word.

It must sink deep within you to remove the icy berg.

 

It is the berg of unbelief. We see it on the surface.

It’s floating on your skin. To shame you is its purpose.

Beneath it lies a mountain that can tumble the Titanic.

Only the Man of perfect faith can tread on that Atlantic.

 

Your berg of doubt would block the faith that God seeks to impart.

You must let Him dissolve the rock of pride that’s in your heart.

One dip is not enough to penetrate such stubborn soil.

You can’t get rid of it with fervent sweat or fearful toil.

 

No river of Damascus can remove your ingrown sin,

But bathing in the flow of God’s good news gives peace within.

Transgression may rise up, but much more does God’s grace abound,

With drastic change that places your feet back on solid ground.

 

You do not need a man to wave his hand over the spot.

Just take the word, believe it, exercise the faith you’ve got

By soaking in the scriptures. Drink His truth in, undiluted,

For which no earthly medicine can well be substituted.

 

Behold the stones that testify to Christ’s amazing power

To make God’s flood of judgment part that you might now cross over,

receiving sweet for bitter, mercy streams to end all strife,

For all who do believe in Him have passed from death to life.

 

 

A Lump For a Bump: Hezekiah’s Pain

Hezekiah had an oily bump, the kind they call a boil,

But he wouldn’t let the boil throw him in turmoil.

He heard the mean Assyrian king who kept on threatening

To take his people from the land, a woeful song to sing.

 

Sennacherib was the king’s name and he played a cruel game.

He said, “I’ll cart you to my country where the fruit’s the same

As what you eat in your land.” But Judah’s king did not a agree.

He knew that God was greater and refused to bow the knee.

 

The evil message that he heard was obviously a trick,

Though knowing that did not keep Hezekiah from getting sick.

The king, he had a boil you see, and it was quite a bump.

To nuke that horrible mean bump He had to have a lump

 

Of something greater than the poison ringing in his ear,

For the enemy’s toxic words were more than he could stand to hear.

They threw doubt on him. Then Isaiah told him he would die.

The prophet’s ominous prediction caused the king to cry.

 

He didn’t cry for medicine, but God sent it to him.

To get that medicine did not require a holy hymn.

To nuke the bump, he didn’t have to have some special oil,

Nor did he have to sweat like Adam, toiling in the soil.

 

He simply looked to God to meet his need and fry the bump,

After which came the prophetic word, the sign and then the lump

Of figs that came straight from a tree God never had to curse

But which contained a medicine whose power could reverse

 

The bitter sickness that had caused the man such loathsome pain.

Reminds me of the fruit of righteousness, which brings great gain.

Such righteousness is something we do not sweat to obtain,

 

“But freely come and buy! Without money you may eat

From the tree of life that makes the foulest water sweet.

The foulest hurts you’ve suffered it has power to defeat.

 

Scripture references: Isaiah chapters 37, 38, and 55; Exodus 15:23-26; Galatians 3:13