Monday, April 27, 2015

Gaining Clarity

Move ahead?
No, that I dread.

So remain the same?
Then I reach no gain. 

You want to change?
To say that is strange. 

Change is not to fear?
I said not that, but it is near.

Fear has been banished?
It has not vanished.

Do you trust?
I know I must.

Have you peace?
It shall increase.

Are you prepared?
I’m still scared. 

Have you no worry?
The future is blurry.

Do you have to understand?
No, all things You have planned. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Husband

Dear Husband I do not know you yet,
Or maybe we have met,
But I do not know you now as mine,
That gift from the Lord in His time. 

He will bring us together when He sees
That each of us follow Him not with ease,
But with faithful hearts sold out on Him.
Run the race and let not your light grow dim. 

My heart must be lost in the love of Christ.
My life purchased by Him was highly priced. 
My soul shall sing praises to the Lord.
My hope is in heaven’s reward. 

Your heart must seek Him daily.
Your life must point to Him in the valley. 
Your soul shall brightly for His glory shine.
Your hope the same as mine. 

Our hearts He shall bind together.
Our lives shall be one no matter the weather. 
Our souls shall magnify our King.

Our hope in Him the song we sing. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Buy Your Truth

“Carl, you are obviously going through a midlife crisis right now.”  The counselor gave the 52 year old man sitting slumped in the leather chair across from him on the other side of his solid oak desk a half smile and rose to lead him to the door, asking one more question. 
 “When was the last time you purchased a new set of truths?” 
He had spent the last two hours listening to the man spill out all his troubles and even as an experienced counselor, the constant drip drip of problem after problem was beginning to wear on his patience. This idea was the last spark he could calmly muster before practically kicking Carl out of his office.
Carl stood outside the counsellor’s office dejectedly, absently patting the set of truths slung around his waist. It had been several months since his last exchange, and his were definitely outdated. But the idea of ditching yet another set and upgrading to one of the many ‘new and improved’ truths out there was depressing. He’d just gotten accustomed to his Deistic Modernism (With a Dash of Optimistic Outlook)®. Of course, his wife had been urging him to move to the Atheistic Postmodernism - Cynical® product line. Carl blamed her truths for not wanting kids, since she couldn’t see the point of life anymore. 
Right then, Carl’s Dash of Optimistic Outlook® kicked in, and he decided that he would switch with the next person that offered. Things would work out in the end.

“Thank you for your time sir, I’m sure things will turn out alright in the end.” Carl managed to tell the counselor before the door was decidedly shut almost in his face. 
I really don’t want to change my belief system again. Why does truth have to always be changing? Why can’t we find the truth, truth that is constant and never changing? What a different world we would live in if everyone knew, that they knew, that something was so?” These questions and others swirled around in Carl’s troubled mind as he walked to his car. 

The next day, Carl rose bright and early. It was the weekend, and not having to work, he  decided he would swing by the Bizarre Truth Bazaar and - maybe - pick up a new set of truths. His wife was enthusiastic about the idea, in her own cynical postmodernist way, but she was going shopping leaving Carl to go by himself. 
By the time he’d arrived at the Bazaar, he’d practically talked himself out of buying anything. What was wrong with his current truths? He liked his Dash of Optimistic Outlook®, and even if his truths weren’t perfect, well, neither was anyone else’s. In fact, Carl mused gloomily, who could say that a truth he’d buy here would be better? Of course it couldn’t be. The Bazaar didn’t even advertise any of their products as ‘better’, because no truth was good, there certainly couldn’t be any better ones. Beliefs were advertised as different, unique, special - but since every truth was different, unique, and special, really none of them were.
Carl wanted . . . he didn’t know what he wanted. His Deistic Modernism (With a Dash of Optimistic Outlook)® didn’t allow him to know what he wanted. But he didn’t feel right. So, with a sigh, Carl got out of his car, without much idea of what he wanted to buy or whether he wanted to buy anything, but simply . . . searching. With such variety at the Bizarre Truth Bazaar, he had to find something
As Carl walked around the open air Bazaar, he saw mirrors of himself on every passing face. At first it was only one or two people. They had that look, that air about them, that unspoken plead in their downcast eyes, they too, were searching, just like him. They knew, deep down inside, there had to be something else, something more, some measure of meaning. But where? 
The further into the crowd Carl wandered, the more he recognized the searching spirit etched on each insecure individual’s countenance. Even those calling out the different, unique, and special truths, hoping to lure in a customer, bore it. Of course there were some who hid the air better than others. But the longer Carl secretly scrutinized each human being, the better he got at detecting that look of longing. 

“I’m not alone.” He realized. “Even if they don’t see it in themselves now, all of us are searching for something. We all need truth. And not truth that we purchase, or trade, or use until it falls off our belts, but truth that is constant, never changing, eternal. We all need an anchor, something we can cling to when life gets tough.” 

Carl stopped walking, stunned by his discovery. Now he walked the other way. The answer would not be at the Bazaar. That was only a substitute. 

“If we all instinctively search for truth, surly that must mean there is real truth to be found. But where? How? When?” 

Unfortunately, Carl realized a few blocks later that he had no idea where he could find anything like ‘real truth’. Where would you even buy it? A store wouldn’t sell it. 
Passing a park, Carl pulled over and getting out of his car, meandered over to a nearby bench. He slumped down in it, head in his hands. Maybe he was going crazy. Permanent truth? That was nuts. And besides, who could make permanent truth? Maybe he was just searching for a nonexistent product line. 
“Hey, you all right there, buddy?” A kind voice asked. 
Carl looked up and saw a middle-aged man standing in front of him. He looked average in every way - average length hair, average face, average clothes. The only thing different about him at all was that he wasn’t wearing any truths. Not on his belt, not around his neck, not even around his back like some of the older models. Carl gaped at him. No truth? How awful! 
The man was looking more concerned. “You should probably talk right now, or I’m going to call am ambulance or something. You okay?” 
“Yes,” Carl replied, then frowned. “No, I’m not okay. I think my entire life has been a lie.” 
“Wow!” The stranger, took a step back and ran his average left hand through his average hair. “How did you begin to figure that?”
“It’s like this--” Carl began to explain, then stopped. It hit him, the guy not only didn’t have any truths, but he was also missing that subtile searching expression. 
“Yes?” The guy prompted. Dropping down on the bench beside Carl he patted him encouragingly on the back. 
“How come you aren’t looking for real truth, like everyone else?” Carl finally blurted the weighing question, then apologized. “That was not for me to ask, you’re just trying to help. Sorry, I guess I’ll head home...” 
To Carl’s surprise and relief, the average joe only laughed. 
“No, stay my friend. Maybe I can help.” 
Carl cautiously met the man’s eyes, but he looked dead serious. “Help? What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’ve gone through exactly what I think you’re going through right now.” The man dropped his gaze to his hands. “I was living alone, got pretty depressed. I can’t even remember what truths I had at the time. I thought . . . that there had to be something else, that there had to be something more to life.”
Carl felt excitement growing in his chest. Yes! Yes this was exactly what he was feeling. “So, what did you do?” He asked impatiently. 
The man smiled. “I didn’t do anything. Someone gave me one of these.” Reaching into his backpack, the man pulled out a small black book. “The reason I don’t have to look for real truth anymore is because I found it. And it’s not something you wear, and it never changes. Truth, the real truth, comes from God, who is Truth, and He wrote it in His word for everyone to see. Everyone has always sought truth - from the very beginning. We were made to serve God, we were made knowing, but then the first man sinned. As a result, we’re all born lost - sinners, alienated from God, who is Truth. But God sent His Son into the world, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God anymore. So we could know the Truth, and the Truth could set us free. ” The man looked up, meeting Carl’s eyes. “You don’t need to search for truth anymore. It’s right here.” And with that, the man handed him the book.
Carl swallowed heavily, looking down at the Real Truth in his hands. It didn’t look like anything special. With a questioning glance, he asked, “How does it work?”
The man laughed. “Here.” Reaching over, the man opened the book a little more than midway through, where the chapter proudly declared ‘The Gospel According To John.’ “This is where I started. Read it. Learn the Truth. And if God opens your eyes, then these chains” - the man patted the Truths around Carl’s waist - “will be sundered.”
It was starting to make sense to Carl. At least a little. If this man really, truly had real Truth, then naturally the “truths” hanging around Carl’s waist were chains. They represented the unfilled longing buried deep in his innermost being to have real, lasting truth. But they were the substitute, the nasty, hungry, even life-sucking counterfeit product of the world. Not real Truth from God. 
Carl had heard enough to know that he needed to do more research. Certainly he would start reading where the stranger had shown him. Everything looked and sounded well and good so far, but if what he just connected about the whole counterfeit-truth-of-the-world thing was accurate then this whole thing about God could be just another substitute. In which case Carl had no idea what he would do, or where he would turn. 

“Thank you for your time, sir. I will carefully read and consider what you have shared with me.” Carl said, rising for the first time in a long time, purposefully to his feet. The average joe also stood with a spring in his step and the two shook hands. 

“I will be praying for you, my friend.” He said with sincerity in his voice. “There is a verse in Proverbs which says, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” This does not mean literally ‘buy truth’ as the Truth of God is a free gift. That is a twisted lie of the world taken even from the holy word of God. It is from this deception fake truth was born, the truth that has to be purchased and sold again, replaced, upgraded, and exchanged. But once you figuratively ‘purchase’ God’s Truth, by accept His Son as your Lord and Savior, it can not be taken from you. You cannot sell it, only share it, as it is mean’t to be imparted to every person in the world. The second part of this verse tells us that when we receive this Truth we will also gain wisdom, instruction, and understanding. These come in the form of the Holy Spirit, who will live in the heart of every believer. May God truly reveal to you His Truth, the truth that is real and lasting, the truth of Himself, His Son, and His great love for you.” 

With that he turned and strode away leaving Carl to sit once more, this time reverently holding the guide to Truth in his shaking hands. It was up to him now. Was he ready to buy his Truth? 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sunrise’s Praise

Praise be to God for each dawn’s sunrise,
Pastel rainbows dancing, darkness dies. 

Transforming night to morning.
With Heaven’s light adorning. 

Bursting, brilliant rays,

Silently sing God’s praise.

No More Cheez-its

There is was, the awful posting reminding everyone of the great tragedy. Elise sighed mournfully and rubbed her arms with both hands as if to ward off a chill. A single tear slipped down her cheek as she read it again:

Due to the incident
on November 14,

Cheez-its are no 
longer allowed in the 

Thank you for your 

High school lunch period was hard enough without that notice triggering every students’ memory. She shook herself and moved into the line, her mind traveling back to that horrid day three weeks before...


It had been no different than any other Thursday lunch period. Elise, Ben, Alex, and Chelsea finished their morning classes and met in the hall to go into lunch together. The four were a tight group and enjoyed ever opportunity to be together. 
“Elise, did you end up getting that job at the clothing store you interviewed for?” Ben inquired as the friends entered the line in the cafeteria. 
“Yeah! They loved me, I have no idea why, but they did and I landed the job! I’m super excited about this opportunity.” 
“That’s awesome!” Alex cheered. 
Elise smiled as she grabbed a tray and moved past the Cheez-its and on down the line, the rest of the group following her.
Chelsea clapped her hands happily before asking, “How come you never get any of the crackers or anything they serve here, Elise?” 
“Remember, I’m allergic to orange dyes that are in goldfish and Cheez-its and stuff.” 
“Oh right, I forgot about that.” Her friend smiled and ducked her head in embarrassment.
“That’s okay, Chels, everyone forgets stuff once in awhile, even me!” Alex comforted in a teasing voice. Ben punched him playfully on the shoulder and the three non-allergic-to-orange-dye-friends all placed a little bag of Cheez-its on their trays before moving on to get the rest of their lunch. 

“Thank you.” Elise sniffed and smiled weakly at the server behind the counter who’d just placed a bowl of fruit on her tray. 
The woman nodded and Elise moved, on feeling very lonely.


As they did nearly every day, the foursome continued through the lunch line together, laughing and joking and teasing each other the way close friends do. Then they settled over in the corner of the cafeteria to eat before heading back to their high school classes. 
“Elise, what should I tell Emi about friday night?” Chelsea leaned toward her friend and asked her question in a hushed voice. 
“What about it? Are we doing something?” Elise glanced over at her, a confused expression on her face.
“Uh, yeah! We’re going to go see that new movie.” Chelsea shook her head.
“What are you two whispering about?” Alex asked, leaning forward and winking at Ben, with whom he’d been discussing the car he hoped to buy in 30 years when he would finally be able to afford it, if he was lucky. 
“Nothing....” Elise said innocently. 
This answer was one of many running inside jokes among the group. Alex smiled and gave a fake laugh before saying, “But seriously, what’s up?”
“Elise, Emi, and I are going to go check out that new chic flick coming out friday. Were you wanting to join us?” Chelsea tilted her head awaiting Alex’s sure refusal. 
“Uh, no. You have fun-- Ben! What are you doing?!” Alex jumped to his feet awkwardly, knocking over his chair and causing the girls to look over at their other guy friend. 
Ben was gasping for air and shaking like a leaf, his face turning blue. 

Elise jumped. 
“You okay?” The voice next to her asked again.
“Oh, sorry Nina, I didn’t hear you. Yeah, I’m fine. Just thinking....” 
“Yeah, I guess we all are. Wanna talk about it?” The younger girl asked Elise softly. 
“No. But thanks.” Elise shook her head and headed to the corner table to eat alone. 


Elise screamed for help and the entire student body present in the cafeteria looked over to their table, a few jumping to their feet like Alex. A teacher came running.
“What’s wrong? Is he chocking?” He asked, searching the faces of Ben’s friends. 
“No! He was just sitting here eating. We don’t know what’s wrong.” Chelsea managed to squeak out in a frighten, trembling voice. 
Suddenly someone else across the room screamed. “She can’t breath, someone help!!” 
The teacher bending over Ben shook Alex’s arm and sent him running to call for 911. 
Elise slipped into her normal chair. She didn’t know how she had let so much food end up on her tray, she had hardly any appetite. 


As Alex was turning away, he crumpled to the ground. Chelsea grabbed Elise’s arm and pointed in speechless horror. Elise shook her terrified friend off and ran on shaking legs to bend beside him. He also was turning blue. At that point, she passed out. 


Pulling out a tissue from her wristlet, Elise dabbed at her wet cheeks in a weak attempt to salvage her face. They were all three gone. Alex, Ben, Chelsea, and 11 other students had died that day. 
Two weeks later the deaths were linked back to the Cheez-it crackers which had been on all their trays. They were poisoned. Obviously with extremely strong stuff to have had such a fast effect on the students. 
Now that posting was up as a reminder. Maybe the school thought it would be a comfort to the friends of those gone to know that Cheez-its would never be offered to them again there, but at least to Elise, the notice was an awful thing to have to see everyday. 

“No more Cheez-its,” Elise mumbled. “I don’t think any of us would have taken them anyway.”

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lonely Cross

Lonely cross.
Empty grave.
Perceived loss,
Actually gain.
Hanging there He died for me, 
And laying there He paid my fee.
Sting removed.
Death beaten.
Victory proved.
Fear banished.
Jesus lives.
Life he gives.