Think Again

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That five-year-old who likes to talk is oddly very quiet this week

She sits alone, and you might think, Good, I can watch the other kids.

Think again.

Her brother came home from Juvie this week; I don’t even know why he went.

He misspelled her name on a gift that he made; she’s confused, her tears are spent.

An active young boy runs away from you, climbs the stairs; he just being rebellious, a brat.

Make him sit by himself, maybe talk to his folks; you’re so tired of all of his outbursts and pranks.

Think again.

He is starved for attention, sits in daycare all day; where no one says no, being bad is OK.

He’s smart, wants attention that he only gets when he does stuff to annoys all us grown-ups.

That teen came again, wearing very short shorts; she’s loud, doesn’t know when to stop.

Oh what a flirt, you think. She’s thirteen, going on twenty-one; surely she knows better than this.

Think again.

Her mom bought her these things to wear, her step-dad now sure doesn’t care.

She wants to do right; all she gets are dirty looks; she doesn’t even know what to change.

That boy always stinks when he gets on the bus; by now, he should know how to bathe.

He never speaks, or answers a question; is he even learning anything?

Think again.

The water’s cut off this week; his parents won’t buy them soap. He tries, but still it’s never enough.

He’s working part-time to care of his sister; just trying to keep them in food.

All of these stories are really real people- and there are so many more I could tell.

This doesn’t quite rhyme, but I hope you take time to

THINK AGAIN

Before you give up on someone.

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Again

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Based on the thoughts in Psalm 55

Note: If you ever think you have it hard, read about the life of David. The Psalms are filled with his response to life’s difficulties.

 

Thought that I had gotten pass; thought that this was in the past;

Thought I had told you goodbye.

Thought that I’d forgotten it; no longer was I caught in it;

Thought all those tears were dry.

But today again it all came back;

Today, those memories all attacked,

And I feel the same pain as before.

Time, I thought, had healed the wound;

But now it’s opened yet anew.

And, again, my mind must war.

Forgive and forget; I know this, and yet,

Bitter feelings have come back again.

My heart sighs with fear as the memories so clear

Leave the place that they so long had been.

Oh, with wings of a dove, I would fly up above;

Like King David, to find a sweet rest.

My heart wants revenge, wants pain them to singe

That they might, like me, be oppressed!

But instead, I will call to my God above all,

Who will hear and will answer my voice.

In peace, He delivers; my path He considers.

Through Him, I can truly rejoice.

I’m casting my burden, though fearful, uncertain.

I’m trusting the Lord will sustain.

Oh, Lord, bring your peace; cause these memories to cease.

Let Your love in my heart have full reign.

 

 

 

Mercies in Disguise

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“Blessings”

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace;
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep;
We pray for healing, for prosperity;
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear;
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near;
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love;
As if every promise from Your word is not enough.
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe.

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win,
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home.
It’s not our home!

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if trials of this life-
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights-
Are your mercies in disguise?

-Laura Mixon Story (2011)

Mary and Martha

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 A knock on the door- in response, Martha came.

The woman said, ‘Jesus is coming this way!’

Behind her comes Mary: ‘Oh, I am so glad!’

And Martha was, too…but all the friends Jesus had!

At least thirteen men she must supper and bed;

But at least then her Lord could lay down His head.

So she opened her door and received to her house

Twelve hungry men, and Jesus Himself.

She flew to the kitchen, brought out all her food;

Just barely enough! ‘Oh, Mary…’- how rude!

‘She left me alone to prepare all these things,

And there she is sitting before Jesus’ feet.’

Annoyed, she continued to serve all the men.

Flustered and cumbered, she came up to Him.

‘Mary left me alone; O Lord, don’t you care?

Bid her, therefore, help me my burden bear.’

But Jesus said, ‘Martha, so careful and troubled;

By so many things, you’ve your own labor doubled.

But one thing is needful; won’t be taken away;

And Mary has chosen that good part today.’

Now I like to think Martha set down her things;

Saying, ‘Supper can wait. I will learn at His feet.’

And I like to think that is when Jesus smiled,

And taught many things to His own trusting child;

That what Martha learned on that so busy day

Was what things for Him can be truly delayed.

 

 

Cast Your Burdens

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Inspired by the children’s song with the same title

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

Because He cares for you.

If laden, weary, you can’t go on;

He’ll safely bring you through.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And He will give you rest.

He knows the struggle, He knows the weight;

But also, what is best.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

There’s none to hard for Him.

He walks beside, and gives His light,

Although the road was dim.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And do not take them back.

For human strength is not enough;

You’ll find how much you lack.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord,

And bid your worries cease.

If He will hear a sinner’s prayer,

He’ll hear His child’s pleas.

Cast your burdens upon the Lord;

His easy yoke take up.

Labor till the work is through,

Then at His table sup.

Return unto Thy Rest

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Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 116:7-9

Careworn, and weary, oh, i cannot sleep;

I’m tossing, and turning; still counting those sheep.

Worried ’bout tomorrow, worried ’bout today,

Still worried ’bout some things that happened yesterday.

So many hurts and tensions; concerns and duties, too-

So much that is occurring, and I don’t know what to do.

I flip open my Bible (that will help me fall asleep!);

At first I read with casual eye, and then I start to weep.

“‘Return unto thy rest, my soul,return to thy sweet rest,

for the LORD’s so bountiful to thee;you are so very blessed!’

He’s kept my soul from dreaded death; my eyes from bitter tears.

He’s not allowed my feet to fall- I’ll serve Him all my years.”

Oh, how those words did touch my heart, my soul, my mind!

How fretful, worried, troubled, I’d forgotten God is kind.

In counting up my worries, my blessings I left out.

In counting up my problems, His provision I did doubt.

The Holy One Who saved me, can take my worries too.

The Loving One Who wipes my tears can make my heart anew.

The Blessed One Who guards my steps can catch me if I fall;

The Mighty One Who conquers foes can help me when I call.

I wipe my eyes, set Bible down, and breathe a silent sigh:

Return unto your rest, my soul; Your God is ever nigh.

 

 

 

 

 

WWJD?

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What Would Jesus Do? This phrase subtitled the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon in 1886 and later became a popular catchphrase for teens in the 1990’s. Originally meant to show the stark contrast between what so-called Christians do and what Jesus said and taught, its meaning has become muddled by misuse and hypocrisy. I challenge you to read the book: you won’t regret a minute of it.

Think about how this thought-provoking phrase changes every part of our lives. But how it is even possible that we can move away from the Jesus of the Bible? While we don’t know every detail of His life, we have many of His words and actions recorded in explicit detail- not to mention the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! We have no excuse here in this age of freedom and access not to study to become more like Christ, but still we try to give reasons why we can’t live like Jesus did. If we think about Jesus, though, our words must fall away.

Why do we neglect to pray for days in a row? The third Person of the Trinity spent time in prayer.

Why do we lash out in anger at the smallest inconveniences? Jesus didn’t have any food either at the feeding of the 5,000, but He thanked God for what He did have, and see what happened!

Why do we spend money and time on ungodly entertainment? Jesus spent His time teaching, healing, and being a friend.

Why do we use social media to humiliate and downgrade others? Jesus had the power to tell the secrets of everyone He met, but He didn’t.

Why do we spend so much of our time trying to make our church building “the best”? Jesus’ church did not even have a building; they met in people’s houses.

Why are there entire countries without missionaries? Jesus went to the dangerous and hated country of Samaria and commanded His disciples to reach the world.

Why don’t we want to be involved in the children’s ministries? Jesus loved children and always had them near by.

Why do we harbor grudges against others? If anyone has ever had a reason to hate, Jesus did- but He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Why do we think it is a hardship to go on visitation for one or two hours a week? Jesus spent all day in the open air and heat to reach people who would or would not accept Him.

Why do we try to make it easy to serve the Lord? Jesus had no home, His brothers didn’t believe Him, many of His disciples deserted Him, His closest friends turned their backs on Him, He was killed by those He came to save. The servant is no better than the master.

Look at your life right now. How many areas of it would Jesus approve of?

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Can anyone see Jesus in you?