God’s Promises – A Christian Poem

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Stained Glass depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove

 

God’s Promises

It is said faith can move mountains,
So why are you still looking for a way around?
In the desert the Lord will raise fountains,
So why are you still worried water won’t be found?

It is said “a faintly burning wick he will not quench”*
A weak heart he will not break.
So why are you shielding your flame from the wind
And afraid when you feel your heart begin to ache?

He promises to uphold you
And keep you in his arms,
So why do you let trouble shake you
And believe you’ll come to harm?

He makes a new path for you,
But in terror you walk the other way.
Tries to give you clothes fresh and new,
But time and time again, you strip them away.

He promises to walk you through the trials.
Promises that you won’t be consumed by flames.
But still you live your life in denial,
Denying the power of his name.

Refining in the heat of his glory,
You believe he’s let go of you.
But turn towards the cross’s story
And remember the pain he bore for you.

 

(*Quoted text taken Bible verse from Isaiah 42:3)

If you enjoyed the post, you may be interested in my other Christian poems dealing with faith verses https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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The Neglected Lover – A Love Poem About Self Love and Loving Yourself

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Sometimes it is easy to love your neighbor, but much more difficult to have self love. Self loathing and self-hatred are real problems for some people. You would never treat others or hold them to the same standards as you do yourself, so why do you keep doing it? You’re just as deserving of love as they are! Here’s a love poem that you can read to yourself. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The Neglected Lover – A Poem About Self Love and Loving Yourself

When will you ever let yourself be enough?
When will you stop second guessing yourself,
Examining your entire life under a microscope
And highlighting every flaw?

When will you accept that you’re worthy
This very moment – not after the future accomplishment,
Not after this mess is cleaned up,
But right now?

When will you stop scrubbing your skin until it bleeds,
Trying to remove a stain that’s been there
Since you were born?
When will you stop loathing your weaknesses
And start accepting them as opportunities
For God to work directly through you?

When will you stop dragging your head along the floor
And be confident enough to look the world in the face?
When will you stop wishing you were someone else,
Living someone else’s story, and write your own?

When will you let your past failures rest
And no longer haunt you?
When will you finally take off the chains
Your mind has bound you in
And walk as a free child of God?

Don’t do it for wives and husbands,
Sons and daughters.
Don’t do it for bosses and co-workers,
Fathers and mothers.
Don’t do it for friends or foes,
Even for success or for the sake of happiness.
Do it for the person that walks around
With you everyday, goes to bed with you every night,
And stares back at you in the mirror every morning.
Do it for you.
The time for feeling useless and unlovable is over.
It’s time for you to love yourself.


 

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Prayer For Guidance – How To Make Hard Decisions and Choices

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There are no guarantees in life. And in a sense, I guess that’s what makes it so beautiful. What satisfaction and joy would come out of living if we already knew exactly how our lives would go?

But on the other side of the coin, hard decisions and choices can be downright scary and stressful because they have a direct impact on the outcome of our lives. A difficult choice you make today is one that you may still be living with 20 years from now.

Choices are not difficult when they are minor tasks such as what to have for lunch or what movie to see. But what about the real tough questions? They don’t ever seem to have any clear answers do they? There are no obvious answers or signs that point you to the road to success and happiness. We worry about choosing a college, picking a career, deciding for a job change, or who I should marry. The tough part is knowing that the choice has the power to impact the rest of your life.

I believe in today’s society, we are too quick to jump on the easy road or the one we perceive will bring us the most pleasure. Often times, these roads lead to self-destruction. The best way to make a tough decision is to talk it over with a counselor, and the best place to start is speaking to the Wonderful Counselor – Jesus Christ.

By using prayer for guidance, many times we are able to discover the right road without our will interjecting. After so much worrying, one night of prayer can give us a guidance as to what decision we should make.

But sometimes even prayer doesn’t provide all the answers. We’re stuck in between two paths and feel as if God is calling us to each one. It is in these moments that God often works through other people. Be mindful of other people’s comments and suggestions. Ask those closest to you to pray for the knowledge of what choice you are supposed to make. It’s important for the people you confide in to be believers and have your best interests at heart. You don’t want someone to pull you in the wrong direction for worldly reasons.

I’m also convinced that sometimes God has two plans picked out for us and puts us in the driver’s seat to determine the path we think we could serve best on. Sometimes nothing seems to give you the insight on which choice to make even after after hours of prayer and confiding in friends. Maybe it’s God allowing you to choose your own course. That is not a license to choose the path that will most serve your needs and desires, but the one where you can best serve others and best use the gifts God has blessed you with.

These major life decisions are tough. I’m going through one of them now and am struggling to find the right path. It is easy to get overwhelmed by confusion and fear, but rest assured God stands ready to advise us on our decisions. Regardless of whether we pick the right road or the wrong road, we can be confident that God will be there to help us if we call out to him. The first step is humbling ourselves and coming to God as lost sheep, unable to find our own way. Only then can he carry and lead us back home.


 

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Whom Shall I Send?

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'” (Isaiah 6:8)

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Many times my selfishness wishes my ears were mute to the Lord’s whisper of “whom shall I send”. I have been searching for God my entire life and yet have never completely found him. I feel his presence, but he is not intimate. For many years I’ve wondered why he’s kept me in a middle ground with him. It almost feels better to be without God, than to have him near, but not intimate. It is like trying to be just “friends” with someone you are in love with. It causes more pain than anything.

When you live without God you can get away with turning your eyes from him and doing your own will. When you live in the middle ground, you get no comfort from sin and you’re convicted of it; at the same time, you have no one to run to in times of need. I’ve prayed for him to draw near, but found no relief. Why would God hide himself from me when I was reaching out to him? But over the past year I’ve realized that he wasn’t hiding from me, I was hiding from him. I wanted to go to God and have an intimate relationship with him without losing myself. I wanted all the benefits of his love, but I didn’t want to give him my love.

So I changed. I desperately sought out God and was willing to turn my life over to him. In the past year, I have seen drastic spiritual growth, but there is still something that is missing. I feel like I am now inside the city gates, maybe even inside his palace, but not yet intimate with him. I couldn’t understand it. I do the right things, have turned over the areas of my life I know needed changing, and spend time in the Word and prayer everyday.

But the other day I was thinking a lot about service and all the people in the world who are in desperate need. Out of the blue those dreaded words from Isaiah hit me like a ton of bricks: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Except my answer wasn’t nearly as noble as Isaiah’s. It was more like trying to hide, pretend that I didn’t hear them, or even answer “anyone but me”. I realized in that moment that I hadn’t turned everything over. There was still one area of my heart that I was guarding, and it was the reason I was still left wandering around the city and not in the throne room.

I’ve always wanted God, but I admittedly have a narcissistic personality. Not necessarily selfish, just an obsession with self. If someone asks for help I have no problem sacrificing to do so. But sometimes dwelling on myself blinds me from areas where I could be helping people who are not directly asking for it. From an early age, I knew my connection/desire to seek God was not normal. I remember really enjoying seeking God as a child and wanting to please him until I started reading stories about the lives of saints. God was always doing drastic things in their lives and having them do things they didn’t necessarily want to do. And that scared me to death.

I didn’t want someone to have complete control over me. I didn’t mind serving as long as it was on my terms, but what if God came to me and asked me to do the things that he had of the saints I’d read about? Well, from there on out I was determined to keep my distance from God. I didn’t want to turn completely away from him, but I didn’t want to be close enough to hear him either. If I stayed just outside his radar, maybe then I could get away with pleading ignorance. My greatest fear was that I was going to have a conviction to enter into Christian ministry (missionary, pastor, priest, monk, etc.) because that would mean my whole life would be centered around God. For selfish reasons, I never wanted my job to be focused on talking about God, primarily because I’m deathly afraid of public speaking.

But the other night when I heard the call, it dawned on me that I was still keeping that secret from God. It wasn’t as if I was now unwilling, but I had a grip so strong on that piece of me, that only by God appearing before me and demanding that I answer him would I say, “Here I am! Send me.” And it definitely would not have included the exclamation mark.

For all I know, God has no plans to use me in ministry. But then again, maybe he does. It doesn’t matter his plan, the point is my fear was trying to dictate the direction of my life. I thought that turning over 99% of my life over to God was good enough, but it isn’t. It takes surrendering 100% of your life to have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Jesus does not tell us to pretty much die to self, but to die all the way. Anything that you keep hidden or off-limits to God puts a wall in your relationship. No secret is too dirty or wicked for God to deal with, but you have to present it to him. I think we have the tendency to pretend things will just go away if we don’t deal with them. In order to experience the intimacy of God, he has to experience your intimacy; it is not a one way street.

What question are you dreading God asking you or are covering your ears in response to? What desires and wants are you clutching onto while still seeking an intimate relationship with God? May we all have the courage to stop running around with our fingers stuck in our ears and boldly answer, “Here I am! Send me.”


 

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Surrendering and Serving God

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

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God really worked on my heart last night thinking about this topic. I have been in a season of spiritual drought lately. I’ve been doing all the right things, but have been feeling frustrated because I’m not as far along as I feel I should be. There are still wounds in my life that I thought would be healed by now. Doubt and anger have started creeping back into my relationship with God. Many of my prayers have been filled with “why”, “how come”, “when”. Last night, the smoke cleared, and I realized that I’m not waiting on God, but God is waiting on me.

Savior vs Lord

Few Christians have any trouble viewing Jesus as Savior. We all think it’s a pretty good deal for him to save us from our messes and to pay for our sins. But what about Jesus as Lord? We use the term all the time, but do we actually acknowledge and understand what it means? Lord actually means “master” or “someone who has control of you”, essentially an owner over your life. God is not just your savior, but also your owner and when you get down to the heart of the meaning – you’re his slave.

The idea of God being your ruler is much less appealing. You can still maintain the life you’ve always lived, continue engaging in the behaviors you know are wrong, and fail to die to self when you view Jesus as only your savior. You can’t when he becomes Lord.

“But I read my Bible. I go to church. I pray…isn’t that enough?” No. As long as you are not willing to give God complete control over your life, you will never grow. Also, as Jesus tells us in Matthew, you will actually end up hating or despising God. Seem like an exaggeration? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Serving Two Masters

It’s not just a warning; it’s a promise. If I look back on all the times when I’ve questioned God, when I’ve been upset with him, or doubted his judgement, it is always because it is opposing my self-will. When we think about controversial topics in Christianity today, such as premarital sex, our will tells us, “that’s unrealistic”, “no one could ever do that”, “God puts way too many demands on me”. As those thoughts creep into our mind, suddenly we find ourselves angry at God or even doubting his existence. Is it because the statements are true? No. It is because my will is getting in the way of God’s.

The hardest part of becoming a servant of God is unchaining yourself to your current master – yourself. We don’t have any problem doing God’s will as long as it’s on our time and fits into our schedules, but arranging our lives around God is a whole different story. We put things off, pretend we’ll serve later, and make excuses why right now isn’t a good time.

Does a servant talk back to a master? Does a servant dictate how much or how little work they will do that day? Does a servant leave the master’s house for days, weeks, months, or even years at a time and expect things to pick up right where they left off?  Absolutely not. They know their lives are completely under the master’s control.

The first misconception that we need to destroy is the idea that there is such a thing as complete freedom. Everyone is a slave to something. Whether that be a lover, a child, a desire, an addiction, self, etc. No one is without chains to someone or something. As Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

That’s the Jesus as Savior that we love…that is until you realize the word “yoke” basically means the same thing as being shackled, except on an animal. So even in this famous passage, Jesus’ “rest” only comes after we attach ourselves to him. You can either “yoke” yourself to Jesus or desires of the flesh, but you can’t be attached to both at once.

Sacrifice and Death to Self

Throughout the Bible, God demands that we make sacrifices to follow him. Sometimes these sacrifices seem even extreme, such as when Jesus tells the rich man that he must give away all his money or the man that he can’t wait to bury his father. But sometimes we look too much into what God is asking and not why he is asking it. God has no desire to make you suffer for no good reason. He goes to extreme measures because for many of us it takes extreme circumstances to die to ourselves. Just as a parent disciplines their child or doesn’t give their child what the they want when the parent knows it’s not good for them, God cares more about what will give you long-term joy over temporary happiness.

One of the most frustrating parts of living a spiritual-centered life is putting so much time and energy into growth and not seeing any changes. You see other people reaping the benefits, but you’re doing the same things they are and are unchanged. It is enough to make you angry at God and want to walk out. I think there are times in our lives when God puts us through hard times to strengthen and grow our faith, but for the most part I think when we’re not seeing any fruit, it’s because we’re holding onto our will.

It’s like having an affair. It doesn’t matter if there’s one lover on the side or 20; it is still going to destroy your relationship. No spouse is going to just accept your reasoning of “it’s just one person” or “it doesn’t happen very often”; it is either let go and change or the relationship is over. In the same way, our will is our lover we keep from God. As long as we are cheating on God with ourselves, we can’t move forward. It doesn’t matter if we’re doing all the right things. God stops our growth until we take our hands off the wheel and let him drive. Is Christ just a savior to you? Or is he both Savior and Lord?


 

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Loving God in the Midst of Doubt

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From a very early age, I’ve felt a strong connection to God in my heart beyond anything that was learned or indoctrinated into me. It is a intimacy that calls to me, whispers my name, and demands that I pay attention and find meaning in what is unfolding around me. But stubbornness and pride are also my two worst character traits. I have a mind that demands truth, needs to be in control, and values my intelligence. So it’s safe to say that my heart and mind don’t always get along. They fight and bicker, leaving me in the middle to mediate.

My thinking and feelings are also generally very black and white. I am no stranger to doubt. When I doubt, it’s as if God is non-existent or very far, far away. My mind takes over and demands answers to every single problem life has, and if God can’t give them to me…well then he must not exist. But when I feel God’s presence in my heart, all that doubt goes away. I KNOW the truth, and I wonder how I could have ever doubted to begin with. I am rarely ever in the middle. It’s either full on faith or full on doubt.

I’ve prayed and prayed for the doubt to cease, but every once in awhile it will creep back up. It is not from lack of evidence. My life is filled with things that happened to me that can’t be explained away. I’m convinced that I’d have to be like Thomas and actually place my fingers in Jesus’ side in order to believe 100%. Actually, it is that the Gospel seems too good. It sounds like a perfect fairy tale, and it’s hard to fathom a God that loves us that much. So it’s easy for me in hard times to doubt its truth.

Intelligence has always been one of my greatest gifts, but it is my intellectual pride that sometimes keeps me from God. My fear is that one day I will discover that God doesn’t really exist and all the time I spent in prayer and worship will be for nothing. But it won’t be the wasted time that I would care about. It would be the fact that I was stupid enough to believe in something that wasn’t real, that I was duped, tricked, etc. My intellectual pride would be hurt that I wasn’t smart enough to know better.

I have gone through a time of heavy spiritual growth over the past few weeks, and my faith has been stronger than ever. But the past few days something has changed and doubt is back. I have accepted that this is not something I cause or can fix. It just is what it is – a feeling that will change. During prayer this morning I was asking God to remove that doubt and help transform my doubt into love. And immediately was filled with the thought “love me in the midst of doubt”. I realized in that moment I was loving God the way the world loves – through feeling. Love is not a feeling; it is an action.

Married couples can’t keep the “feeling” of love when they are in each others presence every day. How can I expect that my love “feelings” for God are going to remain constant, when I can’t see, touch, hear, or talk to him? Faith is a feeling just like anything else  It is going to fluctuate through different seasons of my life. Of course there are things I can do to grow or kill my faith, but ultimately it is still a feeling that I can’t control. I can choose to love God through my actions regardless of how “in love” I am with him at the current moment.

Jesus understands our doubts. He knows what it’s like to be human. I don’t believe there will be a scale that measures how much faith we had, but one that measures what we did with the faith we had. Jesus asks us to follow him. My job is not to constantly monitor my faith level and see if I’ve got enough to follow him on a day by day basis. It is to love, serve, and follow him regardless of how I am feeling in the present moment – to act out love and not merely “feel” it.


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Follow Me – A Christian Poem About Following Jesus

small__13500195574The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him,“Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him,“Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  (John 1:43-51)

FOLLOW ME

You say follow me,
but I’m not sure where you’re going.
You say follow me,
as if you’re leading me out
of the chaos and confusion,
but the closer I follow,
the thicker the clouds of darkness seem to be
and the less comfortable my life gets.
You say follow me,
but insist I leave “me” behind.
You say follow me,
but wait just a minute.
Let me look you over,
examine you and ask, “just who are you?”
You say follow me,
and my heart knows it’s what I was born to do.
You say follow me,
but my head has different plans.
It sees the storm clouds you’re brewing
and the confrontation that arises
wherever you go.
My mind makes up excuses,
finds ways to dismiss you and remain in the lead.
But you say follow me,
and I see the goodness and living water that flows
from the river you’re providing.
I see the beauty of your face
and if what you say is true –
it’s the greatest story the world will ever know.
But you say follow me
and it scares me because there’s still some doubt.
But does that doubt have anything to do with you
or because I know accepting you comes at a cost,
knowing that I’ll have to die to myself
and admit I’m lost?
You say follow me.
Grant that I may be willing to take up my cross.

 

If you enjoyed the post, you may be interested in my other Christian poems or inspirational poems https://alongthebarrenroad.com/category/poetry/


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Remain Humble

“Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Issac, and to Jacob.

“Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.” (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)

The more we follow Christ and work on our sanctification, the greater the temptation there is to look down on those around us or be prideful. When we are blessed, it can be easy to accept the gifts God gives us without gratitude, but feeling as if we deserve it for our work. How many times do I look down on other people, judging them, and thinking that they are getting the life they deserve?

As the above passage shows, we do not inherit the kingdom by our own works, but because of the works of Jesus. The warning to the Israelites is a warning we still need today. I’m sure many of them felt above the rest of the nations and took pride in thinking that they were better than everyone else. They were God’s chosen people and many probably felt that they earned that right. But the narrator of Deuteronomy quickly reminds them of their grumbling and stubbornness during the exodus – how they didn’t trust God, and he led them anyways.  It was God’s mercy, love, and covenant promises that saved them, not their own works.

When God leads me out of slavery in my own life, out of the trials and problems I face, am I praising him for the work he did or pridefully accepting a trophy for my great work in rescuing myself? I have to be willing to let God do the work, but it is still HIS work, not mine.

As we grow in Christ, many of the old sins fade away, but new temptations arise. And worse, pride and arrogance are usually much harder for us to recognize. Just because something was easy for us to overcome doesn’t mean it is easy for our neighbor. God challenges each of us in different areas of our life, and we shouldn’t judge or put others down because they are struggling. The greatest temptation in overcoming a challenge is thinking that you did it by your work. Sure, we act and even believe that we are blessed for what God has done for us, but if we’re putting down others what does that say about who we really believe is responsible?

I think this is one of the justifiable arguments that the world has against Christianity. Many have followed Christ, only to tarnish his name by putting down others and being judgmental. This doesn’t mean that we accept sin and accommodate it, but we loving help others overcome sin and to follow Christ as equals, not as superiors.

As we walk into the Promised Land, may we not pat ourselves on the back, but look to the One who led us here. Let us recognize that even if we are a changed person, we are still sinners and have not earned the right of salvation any more than the prostitute or drug dealer, but by the blood of Jesus Christ. Let us walk with gratitude and humility.

Resolutions

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Another year.
Another day.
Another chance to seize destiny.

To stand in front of the mirror,
dreaming how much prettier I’ll be this year,
glorifying and gloating in myself.

But resolutions quickly falter
and that glass altar I worshiped at
shatters before I even make it to spring.

This year, I don’t want a temporary fix
for a wound that reopens time and time again
and has to be restitched.

I don’t want a band-aid
for my cuts and bruises
or a momentary muzzle for my excuses.

I want a whole new man,
stripped of my ragged clothes
and adorned in the sparkling, white robes

of your righteousness and majesty.
This year, I am resolved to become
more of you and less of me.


 

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My Heart Needed You

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My heart knew it needed you
the minute it took its first beat.
Your name was on the tip of my tongue
the minute it first learned to speak.
Yet, I crawled and slithered
through the tall, green reeds
ducked and darted my head beneath the water’s surface,
hoping you wouldn’t notice me
or the deeds I’d spent so long trying to bury
in my backyard, but that kept coming
back up to the surface of my mind –
my secrets unraveling like a ball of yarn,
stretched out across the years of my life.
I never believed that I could deceive you for long,
just trick you long enough
so that I could hide and have my way,
always planning on coming back to you
Sometime, somewhere along the way.
But what I thought was freedom
turned out to be a ball and chain –
a slave to my own misery,
a slave to my own pain.
But still my heart needed you
and still my tongue longed and desired
to confess your name.
Even when I didn’t think I needed you,
you never quit calling,
you never left me on my own,
but left your voice to pitter-patter upon my heart,
whispering and leading me home.


 

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