Monthly Archives: February 2015

Gracious, Bitter Cold

gracious-bitter-cold-1 .

Father, I come with an urgent plea,

For I see a slow, dull death

Creeping up inside of me.

A death, like mold, that spreads

And thrives in warm, stale climes.

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This death is such a subtle one,

Not easily discerned.

And I thank You for the grace to see

What many eyes – including mine –

Often miss, or simply just ignore,

Trading truth for dreamlands

Of sparkling, ignorant bliss.

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Like soldiers on a battleground,

‘Mid bullets, blood, and blasts,

Found seated, nice and cozy,

Warm and chatting by a fire,

Boiling water, though the canons rage,

To sip a spot of tea.

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This is the danger that I see,

The threat of warmth building up within me.

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That I might pursue, or worse, might find,

The American dream, which skillfully Invades the unprotected heart and mind.

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Life abundant, freedom wide,

And happiness warming the heart inside –

Things not wrong within themselves,

But all too often they distract me,

From the savage battle raging ’round me.

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Satisfaction kills my need for progress.

Feeling I’ve gone far enough,

Will only keep my feet from pressing on.

Feeling I’ve climbed high enough,

Will rob me of the views and vistas

Climbing on would bring.

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Father, guard my heart from feeling warm.

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Guard my eyes from blindness

To the need to press for more.

Guard me from contentment found In anything but what You have in store.

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Guard me from the kind of heart

That’s satisfied – while others die –

To sit and sip on tea,

To waste away the hours lost in fiction on T.V.,

To limit all my time to just one close, small group of friends,

Or chase the lie that money is the end to end all ends.

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We wrestle not with flesh and blood,

And yet, alas, we wrestle!

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Like standing in the ring, when

Our enemy is drawing back his final, knockout blow,

And we are texting, taking selfies,

Writing out our wish lists,

Or chatting on the phone,

Oblivious to just how much

The hurt is going to hurt,

When his well-timed blow comes down.

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God, I beg You, wake me up inside.

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Use the ice-cold truth of an awareness of what’s real.

Make the raw and icy cold discomfort

Drive me on to find what’s warm,

Yet, guard me from the fleeting heat

Of all besides Your arms.

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Make warmth my greatest goal,

But only warmth that’s found in You,

Found in working hard for You,

And found in loving others at great cost,

Found in furthering Your goals

For Your great kingdom here on earth.

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And, until my warmth is found in You, and You alone,

Fill me with a gracious, bitter chill down to the bones.

A chill that will protect me from a lesser warmth that kills.

A chill that will remind me

Not to stop and settle down,

But to move, to climb, to run and grow,

Until Your work in me, Your will for me,

And Your purposes for all this age of time,

Are fully done.

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Growing and Yielding

By times, the journey seems to slow down

to an aching crawl.

Fog descends upon the path,

and I can’t tell how far –

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How far I’ve come,

or how far I’ve yet to go.

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My tendency in times like this

is to work without Your joy.

To push on, just to push on,

Duty holds me on the line.

But, Lord, I know by waiting

You intend a great design.

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Knowing what my growth in Christ

will make me in the end –

a righteous saint in sinless white

who lives to serve Your name,

free from sin,

free from fear,

and free from guilt and shame –

knowing this has two effects:

first, boldness in my fate.

But, secondly, impatience

t’ward my present, sinful state.

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I want it now.

And this desire that burns within my soul

is not all bad.

To be like You, my goal.

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This seed has been planted.

You have promised it will grow.

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corn-field

Many look across the fields

of Your redeemed – the church,

they mourn the lack of lush, green growth,

the dry and dusty earth,

the loss of blessings raining down,

which prayer is said to bring.

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But, farmers are not growers;

they cannot make seeds grow.

To farm is to plant, then wait.

But this is not to try and say

there’s little work to do.

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Greatest care is taken

to adjust what can be changed

to give each seed conditions

which will fuel the growth within.

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But growth is not an action farmers

do for all their seeds.

Nor can the seed self-will itself

into a plant or tree.

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Growth has been intended,

Programed by Your hand on high.

It’s rate, it’s height, it’s pace and depth,

all come by Your design.

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You call each farmer to his work,

yet You control the fields.

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You call each Christian to his growth

yet You will bring the yield.

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The project and the outcome

Are Your work from start to end.

But You include me,

So that I can share, along with You,

the joy that comes from harvesting

what, on my own, I could never do.

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Grace alone can teach me how to work and wait in one,

Grace alone can promise me that harvests soon will come.

harvesting