August 19, 2021

  • Knowing the Poetry Forms

    "Know the form but be formless." - Kung Fu proverb

    In practicing forms in martial arts one builds the muscle memory to effectively block, kick, and punch. When it is deep serious, the form is useless, as each movement is used in a situation ideal for improvisation.

    In poetry the same is true. Know the forms. One who writes poetry is expressing thought or emotion or self with an economy of words. The forms help tighten one's writing without restricting it. It helps the poet increase their knowledge of vocabulary and builds the mind and heart's ability to express itself.

    Like the advice given to musicians and songwriters regarding three chords and the truth, we have forms like haiku, shadorma, tanka, sijo, and others that give us few lines and few syllables in which to speak our peace. These exercises force us to push our creativity and our brevity. And in so little space we can expand the hearts and minds of others. It also pushes us, encourages us, to think more deeply about our own thought and feelings. In the beauty of the form, we can bring ourselves to tears of sorrow or tears of joy. We can change and we can grow. Others who read the work might be changed and might grow, as well, as we travel the same path. I believe that the stronger we are in the forms the stronger we will be in the improvisational expressions of our writing.

July 18, 2021

  • The Long Haul

    woke up this morning
    staring at the sky
    I was California dreamin'
    and wondering why
    two tons of cargo
    two tons of heartache
    five hundred miles to go
    man I can't catch a break
    but I'm in it for the long haul
    I'm going to rise up
    I'm going to answer your call

    woke up this morning
    wond'ring what to say
    got a twelve-pack of soda
    to get me through the day
    I've made up my mind
    and I've spoken my peace
    listen to the engine whine
    the brakes sweetly release
    I'm in it for the long haul
    I'm going to take my stand
    I'm going to answer your call

    woke up this morning
    with you needing me
    to come home one more time
    you know I can't say no
    I know you can't say yes
    after the afterglow
    there's nothing to confess
    I'm in it for the long haul
    I'm in it for the ride
    I'm in it for the long haul
    and the truth we can't hide

April 18, 2021

April 2, 2021

  • National Poetry Month & National Poetry Writing Month


    A whole lotta years ago I read Mexico City Blues and Pomes All Sizes by Jack Kerouac. For a while, I was into reading his works like Desolation Peak, On the Road, and a few other books that gave insight into the Beat period. I wasn't totally sold on what I read, but I found his poetry accessible. When I wrote The Chiang Mai Sessions and The Bangkok Sessions I had him in mind. When National Poetry Month comes along my first poem is always addressed to him. And every poem is a shadorma, a six-line form that originated in Spain. (Yes, I know he was of French ancestry.) This year was no different.

    So far I have written four poems this month. Three of them use the shadorma pattern while one is a fourteen-line poem, a variation of the sonnet. Shadorma can rhyme if you want to write it that way. It uses a syllable count of 3-5-3-3-7-5.

    I've been using Verse Perfect for Songwriters and Poets by Bryant McGill for several years to write poems and have found it to be a very pleasant piece of software.

    Day Two is about over, leaving 28 days left to reach my goals. I'm going to try to write 60 poems this month. I will experiment with new forms while applying lessons learned using more popular forms, and we will see if I can get another ebook written.

    Let's see what happens next...

March 28, 2021

  • NaPoWriMo 2021

    cover for a yet unreleased collection of poetry from a few years ago

    cover for a yet unreleased collection of poetry from a few years ago

    National Poetry Month is coming in April 2021 and I'm ready for it. This past February I started my next collection of poetry and I think what I've written to date is pretty good. I'm going to shoot for two poems a day in April. I will also try to post at least two times a week here on Xanga. I'll have a schedule for that in the next two days. My next post will be on April 1. In the meantime, here are a couple of poems from NaPoWriMo 2013.

    Let Us Sing New Songs

    Let us sing new songs
    Songs about this joyful life
    And our journey home
    The days are full of evil
    But the dark skies renew my hope


    Watch It Come for You

    watch if come for you
    the knockout blow from a friend
    who cares about you
    ego must be deflated
    who better than from one you trust?

June 12, 2020

  • Watercolor World

    Let me give her a spin and give her a twirl
    Let me under her skin and give us a whirl
    Roller skating through her watercolor world
    Strawberry ice cream and dandelion honey
    walking through the park on days that are sunny

    There are pink clouds in June that come what may
    And songs out of tune that have something to say
    The fountain spray mists her watercolor world
    We eat our lunch bought from a street vendor's cart
    Sit and watch the world before it breaks our heart

    Listen to the world singing its song anew
    Rivers gurgle and fountains splash under sky blue
    Reds and greens blend in her watercolor world
    Where her strawberry dreams end in joyful tears
    As Heaven brightens the hope that ends her fears

October 13, 2019

  • The Honor of the Law

    Psalm 119: 1-8

    Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! 3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. 4 You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed when I look into all Your commandments. 7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!

    This past week I reread ch. 27 of Patriarchs and Prophets, which focuses on the events of Exodus 19 through 24.
    Moses was called to the top of the mountain to meet with God who had a message for the people.
    "You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you unto Myself. Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you will be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine, and you will be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."
    Moses delivered this message to the elders. They said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do."
    Ellen White wrote, "Thus they entered into a solemn covenant with God, pledging themselves to accept Him as their ruler, by which they became in special sense, the subjects of His authority.
    "God purposed to make the occasion of speaking His law a scene of awful grandeur, in keeping with its exalted character. The people were to be impressed that everything connected with the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence."
    Two days were given for the people to prepare themselves to meet God. They were to bathe, wash their clothes, and examine themselves for any other impurities, as they were to devote themselves to humiliation, fasting, and prayer so that their hearts would be prepared for the Lord's visitation upon them on the third day.
    On that day on Mt. Sinai, there were dark clouds, flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, and the sounds of approaching trumpets. It appeared as if the whole of the mountain was on fire, and all of Israel fell on their faces.
    We have seen photos and videos of volcanos waking up, spewing forth dark clouds of ash and the lava flow that soon follows, leaving a trail of destruction when the fires eventually burn out. I am sure that the people of Israel thought that death was imminent because of what they saw on the burning mountaintop.
    And then suddenly... all the earth grew silent. No more dreadful thunder. No more sound of blasting trumpets. No bird song, no insect hum or chirp. Total silence.
    And then a voice speaks. It had to be the most beautiful sound the universe had ever heard. It was the voice of a loving Father opening His heart to His children as He made His will known to them.
    "I am the Lord thy God..."
    It was at this moment that God entrusted His will with the children of Israel, making them the guardians and keepers of His law. And it was to be through this kingdom of priests that the world was to learn about God's love, mercy, grace, and so much more. Ellen White stated that God honored Israel with this trust. It was to be an honor to take His words found in Exodus 20 to heart and mind and to bring them to life, not on hearts of stone, but on hearts of flesh.
    This is part of our legacy. Today, living in this world of trouble, we have been given the honor of being called the children of God and as such have been entrusted with the knowledge of His will. We have been called upon to live according to His precepts, statutes, laws, and commandments.
    And it is His love that is the foundation for all these things. "You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as you love yourself." (Luke 10:27)
    As I look at how things are going on in our country, the way people, particularly Christians, have allowed themselves to be split along political lines, I see the need to remind us of Leviticus 19: 17 and 18: You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord."
    Our Father has laid down the law and expects us to play by His rules. Jesus prayed for our unity, and we must be united under His banner that proclaims His love for us. We need to stand united on His love. And we need to be taking this very seriously. If we need to stop and wonder about how serious this matter is, then we need to stop and wonder at the cross where Jesus died.
    There are too many standing in the pulpit today who claim that we do not need to be keeping the law and then quote a passage of scripture to back up the claim. This past week I finally got a grasp on the Dispensationalist teachings and understand why they believe it. Growing up I heard the terms on rare occasions, but their meaning never sank in. It took a video featuring Walter Veith discussing the Third Temple to help me understand it. "The age of law" was for the Jews, but we are now in "the age of grace" and the law no longer has any meaning to us as Christians. Because of this, there is a lot in both the Old and New Testaments that never get brought up in a sermon. The issues are not studied because the issues are not important. But God said it, and that settles it, and what He said is not to be ignored. It was important enough for Him to bring up the matter. It should be important enough for all of us to take notice and listen.
    Daniel wrote about the Little Horn that thought to changes times and laws, and it succeeded in doing so. And those Dispensationalists who teach that we are no longer "under the law" in their context have successfully avoided other teachings by Paul and John that suggest otherwise. It is probably why no one ever preaches from Psalm 119. The Dispensationalists don't even know they are teaching doctrines that originated with the Little Horn power. And it takes a love committed to God that comes from our heart and soul and strength and mind to rebuke them. God's love seeks to restore them, not drive them away.
    To hear some teach on the subjects of law and grace, one could draw the conclusion that the kingdom of heaven is total anarchy. There are no laws governing the behavior of its subjects. People are free to do that which they will with no thought about the consequences. Sure, they believe in heaven and hell, but believe that all sins are forgiven in the past, present, and future, so anything goes. Not under law, but under grace. It shows belief in God but denies His power to change lives, and sin continues in the hopes that grace will abound. We know what Romans 8 has to say about that. "Do we sin so that grace may abound? God forbid!" David studied God's laws, precepts, statutes, and commandments so that he would not sin against God. Paul understood the freedom we have regarding the law, but knowing his character he chose to continue focusing on God's law so that he would not sin.
    In the OT, God encouraged His children to study the law and to pass it on to the next generation. When a parent is asked by a child why the law is studied and practiced so diligently, the parent was to remind the child of how God delivered their people from bondage and slavery in Egypt. They were also taught that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and that "the just shall live by faith" is found in the OT. (Habbakuk 2:4)
    Today we, too, should be diligent in teaching the next generation to regard God's law and be diligent in obedience. We share the heritage of our spiritual forefathers who were delivered from Pharaoh, but we also have been delivered from the power of sin in our lives. We no longer have to continue sinning. Sin need not dwell in our lives. Jesus died to save us from the penalty of our past sins, and His imputed righteousness covers us when we confess the sins of today. It is trusting God's word and obeying His laws that ensure that there are no future sins. And again it is God's grace that makes all of this possible. God's grace has always been there from the beginning. There is no dispensation of law or a dispensation of grace. They have worked together from the beginning. It is because of His grace that we are motivated to obedience to His law. I have heard it said by some people that we cannot know the will of God. This is not true. The ten commandments are the very will of God written by His own finger into tablets of stone. It is His will for them to be engraved into our hearts and minds so that we do His will with no second thoughts and our motivation being grounded in love.
    How many times in the New Testament are we told to be "holy," "blameless," "spotless," or "perfect"? John, Paul, Peter, even Jesus gave the encouragement to be perfect as the Father is perfect, that is to love others as the Father has loved us. The implication of Paul's words in Romans 12 is that our living sacrifice is to be as holy as that Jesus made on the cross.
    We are encouraged to study the Bible, to pray without ceasing, to focus on meeting the needs of those around us. Love is the motivation in doing all these things. If we do these things but there is no love, then where is the profit? Where is the gain?
    Jesus asked, "What does a man profit if he should gain the whole world but lose his soul?" (Matt. 16:26) What good are the treasures of this world, knowing that one day those treasures will all be consumed in a world-cleansing fire? If we love the people around us, then witnessing their conversion to Christ is adding to the treasures of heaven above us that will be a blessing we share for eternity.
    In 1 Corinthians 10, 23 and 24, the New King James version says that "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being. The NIV says, "I have the right to do anything," you say - but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything" - but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good but the good of others.
    We can easily put into this passage the word "profit". Not all things are profitable, helpful, constructive, or edifying. However, when love is on the line, there are ten things we can do that guarantee a good profit because they are helpful, constructive, and edifying. It is profitable to honor God's law. As Christ fulfilled the law, so too we should allow the law to be fulfilled through us so that we, too, will be helpful, constructive, edifying to our neighbors. The profit for us is in finding them beside us before God on that day when we meet Him face to face and our knees bow and our tongues confess that Jesus is Lord.
    There are many who dishonor God's law by breaking it, ignoring it, spreading misinformation about its role in contemporary life. We who know differently have been given a special place in our world, honored to be among those who are "repairers of the breach" and seek to restore honor to the law, for that law is a true reflection of the character of our God. It is a revelation of His honor that results in His promises being kept. And that character is what God seeks to build in our lives, and in the lives of those who do not as yet understand the implications of their false teachings.
    The law that we keep is the perfect law of liberty that is holy, just, and good. The law cannot save us, as that is not its intention. However, when those who hunger and thirst after righteousness allow God to write His law into their hearts and minds, they will be filled. And they will be poured out. And they will come back for more. Of them, it will be said, "Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways." Ps. 119:1-3
    Salvation is offered universally. All who come will find redemption, forgiveness, and a whole lot of love. But it comes with a calling to take up the cross and to follow wherever Jesus leads and to do whatever the Holy Spirit commands. As it was for the children of Israel to be given the honor of serving the human race through obedience to the law given to them at Sinai, so it is with us today, honored with the privilege to serve in this area, our mission field. It is an honor to be numbered among the saints who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. (Rev. 14:12) It is an honor to prepare the way of the Lord. Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.

August 15, 2019

  • Our Reputation

    Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great wealth. Respect is better than silver or gold.

    Two commandments came to mind as I began writing this. The first one is "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." The other is "Thou shalt not bear false witness."

    Two weeks ago the subject focused on God's reputation and how His name and reputation are on the line regarding salvation. This time I'm looking at our reputation, for we, claiming to be Christian, are the living proof that God can and will save us if we want Him to.

    It was at Antioch where the term "Christian" was first coined to describe the believers that Jesus was the Messiah, the fulfillment of God's promise that a redeemer would come to save us from sin. However, the term "Christian" was not meant to be a term of endearment. It was an insult. It was used to deride the believers in what others believed was just another false Messiah.

    Consider the meaning of the name "Barabbas". Jesus was brought to Pilate and this time Pilate gave the crowd a choice. He would release one man and offered them Jesus King of the Jews or this other man Barabbas. "Bar" is a Hebrew word meaning "son of." "Abba" we know means "father." So the offering Pilate made to the crowd was made up of two men, both believed by some to be the true Messiah. Only one of them was the true Son of God.

    And like their fathers before them, the crowd made the wrong choice. "Give us Barabbas" was shouted over and over again, signifying that they were willing to accept a false religious leader over the One God would eventually appoint as the Judge over the world. God was rejected again and Jesus Christ was crucified. Because of this, we can find salvation in the name of the Lord.

    And because we have found salvation in the name of the Lord, we have attached ourselves to Him, knowing He has kept His promises in the past, knowing that He is keeping His promises now and that He will continue keeping His promises long into the future. He has put His reputation on the line, and we who believe have aligned ourselves with Him. And that means that we have put our reputation on the line, as well. We have taken His name as our own, and hence we can call ourselves Christians.

    In light of what we read in Romans chapter 9 through 11, it is safe to say that we are of the seed of Abraham, for our faith in the Father is the same faith Abraham had as he looked forward to the promise being fulfilled. He looked forward to the coming Messiah, while we can look back at the Messiah's first appearing and look forward to His reappearing in clouds of glory. So yes, we can claim to be Israel.

    We are Israel. What does that mean when we break it down, translating it to English? Prince of God. A couple of songs come to mind as I think about the implication of this. Maybe the same songs come to your mind as you reflect on this truth. "God our Father Christ our brother." - a lyric from the Ode to Joy by Beethoven found in #12 in our hymnal. It's been a while since I heard this song but it was popular at the Granbury SDA church that I attended while living in Texas. Every week we sang, "Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod... I'm a part of the family, the family of God." We are His children. We are royalty.

    We are family. We now wear the sir name of the Father who has adopted us. We are related to the Father of Salvation. We are related to the Son who made Salvation possible. We are related to the Holy Spirit who testifies to what the Son of Salvation has done.

    And the Father, looking at us with love in His eye, hopes that we will grow up to be just like Him.

    We know the story well. The woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus for judgment and execution. As she weeps at Jesus' feet, the accusers leave. "Where are your accusers?" She looks around but finds them gone. She replies that there is no one around. Jesus says, "Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more."

    These words are for us. "Go and sin no more."

    Do you remember your parents dressing you up in clean clothes as everyone got ready for church? Mom or dad tell you not to get dirty, but you went outside and found a really cool mud puddle to jump into? Or maybe you as a parent have gone through this experience. Your child is now a mess, has to be hauled back inside, and time is lost as you have to remove the dirty clothes and redress them again and then make sure they don't go back outside while you finish getting ready. I think I did that once as a child.

    The Father's words to us the day we accept by faith Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Go and sin no more. Don't get dirty. Silly humans that we are. How many times do we have to wash the robes of His righteousness that He has given us to cover our shame? The imputed righteousness of Christ covers a multitude of sin. We are to hunger and thirst for His righteousness. We are to practice His righteousness. We are to learn to be patient as God is patient. We are to learn to love as He loves. Same goes with kindness, mercy, and grace. As it has been given us, so we must give to others. To be Christlike, honoring the name that the Father has given us, and restoring honor to the Law that defines His character.

    We all know John 3:16. It is the gospel, but it is not complete, for John 3:17 has a part to play in it. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it. And so it should be with us. We are to be careful in how we judge, for that is part of the decision-making process. Jesus as our advocate before the Father makes intercession for us. Those with problems are already judged. They don't need our judgment adding to their problems. If anything, they need to find a way to deal with the situation. There is going to be punishment enough. That can't be avoided. The best that can be done is to make sure it is as merciful as possible. If you watch crime drama on television then you know what I'm talking about. The perpetrator wants to cut a deal, confess to the crime in the hope of getting leniency and is willing to cooperate for a reduction in the charges and time to be served. Jesus our advocate wants our confession, wants to forgive us for our sins and wants us to go free. He's already paid the penalty and so those words "Go and sin no more" should have a deeper meaning to us. There should be a motivating factor to those words that encourages us to stand firm in the gospel and resist temptation.

    David made God's Law the focus of study, desiring for the Law to be written in heart and mind so that he would obey God out of love in his heart and with no hesitation. Paul understood free will, knowing that he didn't have to keep the Law, but choosing to keep it in his thoughts so that he would not revert back to his old self. He understood the love that the Law was based upon, knowing that mercy and grace were made possible by the love reflected in the Law. We understand that God's Law is the revelation of His character, and we want His character developed in our lives. As He is, so we want to become. That is God's desire for us. That is what we hunger and thirst after. His righteousness.

    So our reputation is now intertwined with God's reputation. This means that God's desire becomes our desire. God's will becomes our will. The more we behold Him, the more like Him we become.

    As Christ came into the world to save it, so too must we seek to save it, and that means there is no room in our mission for condemning it. The world is watching us. John 3:18 says that the world is already condemned because of its failure to believe in the name of Jesus, the Son who is Salvation. And if the world does not believe, then the fault is on those of us claiming to be Christian but in reality who are taking the name of Jesus in vain and bearing false witness to our relationship with Him.

    When we take on the name of Christ, we are to no longer be conformed to this world, as Paul writes in Romans. We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. We are to renew our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. We are to be doers of the word, not just reading our Bibles or listening to the message He shares through public speakers, but putting those words into action. We are to be more than conquerors who share in the victory Christ has won. We are to prove that faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

    In the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, God lets them know what their reputation is where He is concerned. He knows their works, what they have done right and areas where they need improvement. I look at our church here and wonder what our reputation is from God's perspective. And I compare us to what other churches in our community are doing. Some give food out every week, while others are able to do so once or twice a month. This past winter some churches opened the doors to the homeless, providing a place to shower, change socks, and get some sleep in a warm place. Breakfast was provided. Some are helping addicts adjust to a drug-free or alcohol-free life.

    Where do we fit into all of this? What are we doing to help the communities in which we live? What is our reputation in our community? What can we do to get more involved in helping meet the needs of those who need Jesus? It is through us that they will learn of Him. What evidence can we provide to others through activities that will convince them that God loves them and that we do, too?

    The subject is our reputation. It is not a reputation based on vanity or ego. The world can see through that charade. Our reputation is based on God's love and His will in saving souls. That is our purpose. Losing sight of our purpose is possible, so we must keep our eye on the mission God has given us. In South Korea that was one thing that we were told to do: keep your eye on the mission. From this will come the good name and the respect that comes with it.

    We have a lot of work to do as we prepare the way of the Lord for His coming. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

July 28, 2019

  • What's in a Name?

    Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

    The Name

    Every so often we see these lists come out revealing the top names for boys and girls during the year. Some of the names we have heard in the past that were given to our grandparents and great-grandparents have gone into decline.

    Ethel was once a name that listed number six as a popular name in 1896. For a while, it was doing well on the top 1000 names for girls, but in 1975 it dropped out of the top 1000, and in 2017 only 28 girls born that year were named Ethel. Bertha, Diane, Gertrude, and Ida have gone into decline as well.

    For boys, the same is true. Not many boys are given the name Gary, Keith, Cody, Andrew, or Christopher.

    Even the name Joshua is off the list. Between 1860 and 2016, there were 1,198,955 babies named Joshua. Not many are being given that name nowadays. However, once it was a very popular name, including during the Second Temple era in Israel. During the time of Jesus, it was a very common name. And the name is found many times throughout the Bible in various forms.

    Yeshua. Yehoshua. Hoshea. There are times when a different spelling refers to the same person. There are also differences in pronunciation for these names based on regional dialect. What you might have heard pronounced in Jerusalem might be different from the pronunciation used in Galilee or Samaria. And it must also be remembered that in Israel during this time we have the Greek and Latin languages being spoken and written, and that, too, would affect pronunciation. Foreigners did the best they could depending on their language skills. But Greek was the international language of that time, and much of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek. Politically the area was administered by the Romans, but culturally it was Hellenistic Greek going back to the conquest of the area by Alexander the Great. So now we have the Greek language added to the mix and with it is the Greek equivalent to Yeshua. That name is Iesous.

    We know the song, Yesu Joy of Man's Desiring. Yesu is from the Syriac language, with a different spelling, Isho. The spelling for this name applies for both Hebrew and Greek names, Yeshua and Iesous.

    During the Italian Renaissance a poet named Gian Giorgio Trissino made his contribution to language: the letter "jay". Though the character of the letter was used in Latin numbers, Trissino was the first to distinguish the difference between the sounds of the /I/ and the /J/. This happened in the early 16th century. And it changed pronunciation forever and had a major impact on the translation of the Bible into English in 1611. Yeshua became Joshua. Iesous became Jesus. The name Iesous was found throughout the Koine Greek writings in the New Testament, and Jesus is the name we use when addressing our Lord and Savior.

    What is the meaning of the Name?

    Biblical names have meanings or definitions assigned to them. When Sarai was given the news that she was going to have a son in her advanced age, she laughed. Her son, Isaac, was given the name "Laughter". The name James means "Truthful". The name Yeshua and its variations mean "he saves" or "he rescues".

    Joseph was told by the angel to name his son Yeshua i.e. Iesous i.e. Jesus, which means "He Saves". Salvation. There is no other name under heaven by which you can be saved (Acts 4:12), because His name is Salvation.

    There are Christians who have a problem with how water baptism is to be conducted. One group follows Matt. 28:19, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Another group baptizes in the name of the Son only based on Act 2:38. Then come the arguments over the Trinity.

    Look at the Trinity, the Godhead. In essence, we are looking at Salvation as a whole. The God who Saves. We have the Father of Salvation. We have the Son who is Salvation, who died on our behalf, making it possible for us to be rescued from sin. We have the Holy Spirit who testifies of what the Son who is Salvation has done and who leads us to our rescue, our salvation. Without the Holy Spirit there would be no one to convict us of our sin or to lead us to repentence and the saving faith in the One who made salvation possible.

    The Reputation of the Name

    The definitions given by a name are the qualities that parents hope a child will grow into during as it matures. Not every James grows up to be truthful, however. Not every Angela is an angel. You get the picture. But those who do live up to their name earn a reputation. When the Father told Joseph what the Child's name was to be, the Father was putting His reputation on the line. Can He really save us? Does He want to save us?

    Those who have tasted and seen that the Father is worthy will say that YES, the Father can save us. Yes, He does want to save us. He has given us his WORD, and the WORD became flesh. Salvation is freely offered to all. No one is to be denied. God has staked His reputation on this.

    There is that wonderful image of Jesus in Revelation. He's standing at the door, knocking, wondering if anyone will invite Him in. Looking through His eyes, we see the ghetto in which we live. The trash. Pollution. Rubbish. Everything on the verge of falling apart and falling down. A place in need of urban renewal. And He is knocking on the door with only one thing on His mind. He's got the speech memorized. "Hi. I'm Jesus, the Son who is Salvation. I'm here to help you. I am here to rescue you. I am here to save you. May I come in?"

    Sin has damaged everything good that God has given us. We have damaged the environment that supports life on this planet. We have damaged the relationships we are to share with each other. We have damaged the relationship with God who has done all that He can to repair it. And Jesus is knocking on the door of our hearts hoping that we will open it so that He can come in. It is His desire to help us prepare the way of the Lord. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

June 10, 2019

  • When the Bull Throws Us to the Ground

    there are always strings attached
    when two people are mismatched
    straight out of the gate
    the bull is bucking hard
    teeth are loosened and jarred
    trampled sod is our fate
    when that bull throws us to the ground

    we got to cut those strings
    we got to cut those ties
    the happiness it brings
    cuts the grey out of blue skies

    love blooms when it's ready
    helps the heart beat steady
    the world spins around
    that's the way it should be
    breathing deep, breathing free
    as we land face down
    when that bull throws us to the ground

    we got to cut those strings
    we got to cut those ties
    oh the joy that it brings
    cuts the grey out of blue skies

    we're gonna get hurt
    we're gonna lose our shirt
    we're gonna get busted up
    zoom in for our close-up
    we're gonna get smeared
    and then we're gonna get jeered
    we're gonna grin and bear it
    that's just what love does
    it's just what we do
    in a less than perfect world

    we'll keep cutting those strings
    we'll keep cutting those ties
    how long till others realize
    all the joy that it brings
    in cutting the grey out of our skies