Never Losing the Light: Redeemed For Purpose

Do not fear the changes that have come to your life as though something terrible has happened that cannot be redeemed. (1 Pet. 4:121 Pet. 4:12
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12 Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you.

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I can redeem anything! (Ex. 6:6Ex. 6:6
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6 Therefore tell the children of Israel, ‘I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:

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Have I not kept my promises to you?

Scars tell your storyWhen you were so broken, and you thought, “This will never be okay; the mess is too big!”

You looked on the ruins about you, and you believed, you were what you saw.

(Didn’t you?)

But I saw what you couldn’t. I saw your future… what you were in the process of becoming.

I wound and I make alive… for process. (Deut. 32:39Deut. 32:39
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39 See now that I, even I, am he, There is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; There is none who can deliver out of my hand.

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(We have spoken of this, remember?)

What you walk through prepares you for what you are believing I can do in your life.

(I know.)

The methods, My methods, almost always catch you unaware, yes?

But, are they not effective in accomplishing our goals? Are you not closer than you have ever been to your dreams? Are you not a better person because of the things you have suffered?

Yes, I wound… but not for sport!

(That is the enemy who plants those thoughts.)

I only wound for: purpose.

My goal is always to draw you away from your ego and self-sufficiency.

My purpose is to bring you to a place of desperation…

Desperate for Me.

Faith Is...

 

“I will give you back your health again and heal your wounds…”

Jeremiah 30:17Jeremiah 30:17
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17 For I will restore health to you, and I will heal you of your wounds, says Yahweh; because they have called you an outcast, saying, It is Zion, whom no man seeks after.

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Joy Is Where You’re Going Trust Will Get You There

“Shepherd,” asked Much-Afraid earnestly, “tell me why I nearly got into Pride’s clutches again, and why Resentment, Bitterness, and Self-Pity have been able to pester me for so long in this dreadful way. I did not call you before, because they never dared to come close to me or to make a real attack, but they have been lurking around all the time and making their horrible suggestions, and I couldn’t get away from them. Why was it?”

“I think,” said the Shepherd gently, “that lately the way seemed a little easier and the sun shone, and you came to a place where you could rest. You forgot for a while that you were my little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and were beginning to tell yourself it really was time that I led you back to the mountains and up to the High Places.

When you wear the weed of impatience in your heart instead of the flower Acceptance-with-Joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you.”

― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places

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Joy Is Where You're Going“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


 

acceptance with joy
THANKSGIVING
THaNGksˈɡiviNG/
noun
acceptance with joyHOPE
hōp/
noun
A person or thing that may help or save someone. Grounds for believing that something good may happen.
2 . ARCHAIC – a feeling of trust
 
verb

want something to happen or be the case.


acceptance with joy

 

JOY IS WHERE YOU’RE GOING.

TRUST WILL YOU GET THERE.

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:3Psalm 40:3
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3 He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in Yahweh.

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A Closer Walk: Hold On To Hope In The Dark

It’s hard to hold on to hope, when you’re waiting in the dark, doing daily combat with oppressing fears.

Sometimes, you listen to sermons, you read the Bible, you fight “the dark” for all you’re worth—clutching for truth as if your life depends upon it—because it does.

I have those days when I have a strong grip on hope. My feet are firmly planted. I’m on course.

Led to a wildernessI also have days, when it seems like the slightest breeze will send my ship off the edge of the world the way the ancient mariners once believed; days when I am weary in soul and tired of waiting for things to change.

Unrelenting trouble can be so exhausting.

What do you do when you’re just, too tired, to hold on anymore?

Nothing.

(Uh-huh, you heard right.)

You do nothing at all—because those are the days when the only thing you can do—is let His love wrap around you and hold on to you.

Listen, no matter how deep the hole you or I might find ourselves in, no matter how black our night looks—His mercy will be there.

His mercy is sometimes tough, sometimes tender, but always, always there.

New every morningNew, in the middle of the night.

New, in the morning.

New, when I feel close to Him.

New, when I don’t.

No matter how dim hope’s candle burns…

He’s quietly there fanning it back into a flame.

I’ve learned a lot about hope walking through my dark valleys, and Jesus has taught me a lot, about the kind of encouragement that brings life. But mostly, He’s taught me that His love never, ever, lets go… no matter how long the darkness in my circumstances lasts.

Because of that?

I have learned to let go of my “why’s” letting Him plant the seeds for new hope in all of my soul’s dry and barren places.

Then, I can hold on to His hope when life gets HARD…

Hold On To HopeWhile He takes me in His arms… and we dance.

It wasn’t easy learning to accept His invitation to surrender, “Why?”

(That cry of pain put up a fierce fight in me!)

But, may I share with you?

There’s so much relief in the surrendering.

It’s peaceful in my soul now that all those “Why’s?” have had their say… and gone their way…

(And this dancing in the Arms of Grace has made me strangely… hopeful.)

Perhaps I am finally at long last—learning to trust Him with everything. Not just the easy stuff, but all the gut-wrenching questions, He only answers with His own eloquent silence.

It is curious how His silence stills all my questions… while speaking VOLUMES to my soul.

It is odd and peculiar, how I am learning about this powerful love of His, by walking through dark valleys of pain and loss…

Stranger still, the way He keeps whispering, “For such a time as this…”

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VALLEY OF TROUBLES

When My hand lifts you up many will criticize and condemn.

Many will say, “Who is this?”

(Never mind.)

As I lift you up and put you firmly in your place, I want you to remember, that a prophet is never accepted in his own land.

You're becoming a door of hope!Many will say you don’t deserve My favor. Many will accuse you of things you have not done.

(Never mind.)

It is part of the cost.

To be chosen for such honor will cost you dearly.

This is why you have gone through this Valley of Troubles.

All the lies, and false accusations; all the scorn and slander; it is only a fortaste of what is yet to be endured.

You have wanted many times to ask Me, “Why?”

(You have let the question die in your throat.)

Well, My child, this is why… training, toughening, and tenderizing.

(To be given so much blessing requires very refined graces to carry.)

Your schooling will soon be complete; lessons soon over.

Preparation for all that is ahead is essential for your balance.

And we dance...

You will be grateful in days to come.

You will thank Me over and over for bringing you through this valley.

As I take your life, and transform it from an agony to an ecstasy, and others gather to exclaim, “Who is this?”

You and I will look each other full in the face, smile, and say, “…a door of hope!”

a closer walk“…He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.”

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
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10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

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Never Losing The Light: Bearing With Injustice

Sweet Heart, I know—their injustice.

(I know.)

Never mind, trust Me.

I told you I will deal with your enemies.

Don’t you believe this?

I know, you want relief.

Come to Me for that. Relief is not in the absence of conflict. It is in the presence of your Master. Come child. Come… your enemies? They will soon scatter, like cockroaches when someone turns on a light. They will scurry and scatter back to the dark corners they crawled from.

(They don’t like The Light!)

Stay focused.

It’s important.

You are doing a great work and cannot come down.

Never Losing the LightYour enemies will always try to get you to “come down” to their level. They know if they can take your focus from what you are doing, the work will stop.

Don’t you see?

That’s the goal.

Come, I want you to outgrow this childish desire to answer every bully’s remark. Many of these remarks are not worthy of attention, or answer. They rob you of precious time and gift.

Child, focus.

The battle is mine beloved.

I need you to spend your precious energy doing My will, not your enemy’s.

Ripples of hope“… those who rob you shall be robbed; and those attacking you shall be attacked.” Jeremiah 30:16Jeremiah 30:16
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16 Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, everyone of them, shall go into captivity; and those who despoil you shall be a spoil, and all who prey on you will I give for a prey.

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Giving Thanks This Yuletide

Giving Thanks This YuletideWhen contemplating what to say, of poem, or prayer on Yuletide day. I went directly to my King. I said, “What message should I bring…”

“… to carry burden—ease each heart—to lessen pain and hope restart? What words to make the weary sing?”

He said, “Give thanks in EVERYTHING!”Giving Thanks This Yuletide

“In every thing?” was shocked reply. “But pain You surely won’t deny? Give thanks,” I said. “For year like this? For aching heart? For what’s amiss?”

“Lord, surely You’ve another plan.” I said, “I can’t.”

He said, “You can!”

Giving Thanks This Yuletide

Giving Thanks This Yuletide“You see the FIRE and all that’s lost. You see the FLOOD and what it’s cost! But I see more… beauties untold! I see the gems—I see the GOLD…”

“…Of treasures you will take with you, when school is out, and you’ve come through. I am your God of loving grace. Remove that scowl from frowning face!”

Did I not promise, for each scar made, a DOUBLE portion would be paid? Click To Tweet

Giving Thanks This Yuletide“Give thanks, and let your dreams take flight. Give thanks, you’ll soar to rainbow’s height! You’ll cause your Master’s heart to sing. When you give thanks in everything!”


When contemplating what to say, of poem or prayer on Yuletide day. I went directly to my King. I said, "What message should I bring..."

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the DOUBLE: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

[Isaiah 61:1-7Isaiah 61:1-7
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61 1 The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh is on me; because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of Yahweh’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Yahweh, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers. 6 But you shall be named the priests of Yahweh; men shall call you the ministers of our God: you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory shall you boast yourselves. 7 Instead of your shame you shall have double; and instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be to them.

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A Closer Walk: Renunciation and Following Jesus

I have thought on the word “discipleship” a great deal in recent years.

If I had to describe, in one word, this journey of mine it has all come down to the word: RENUNCIATION.

The dictionary gives this simple definition of renunciation: abnegation, denial, forsaking, giving up, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-renunciation.

Tough words. Sometimes painful. Always challenging.

I smile when someone refers to a Christian as “wimpy.” (Truly, they haven’t got a clue!) Of all things required to pull-off a set of words like the above? Wimpy is certainly not one of them.

obedienceFollowing Jesus is definitely not for wimps!

Discipleship is the act of daily “laying your life down,” sometimes literally, as we have seen in our news headlines, but always, always, in absolute fidelity.

And here is where the struggle comes in—at least for me.

Perhaps there are those who joyfully follow wherever Christ points without the slightest questioning. For me—there has always been the struggle—especially when it is something that seems unfair, unjust, or illogical.

And, I suspect all the talk about the many folks going out the back doors of our churches confirms, I am not alone.

For a dedicated disciple of Jesus, life will come down to obedience—always.

American ChristianityFollowing Christ is choosing to obey Him in ALL THINGS.

We don’t pick or choose.

We don’t get a vote.

We are required to sacrifice anything and everything—if He wills it. We renounce our rights to ourselves, and renunciation, is where many walk away believing the price is just too high.

Discipleship means tough choices and giving up our right to any refusal (perhaps this is the toughest choice of all,) but that is why Jesus said to us, “Count the cost.”

Discipleship is very costly at times.

I imagine Non-Christians wonder, “Why would anyone choose this?”

For myself, I had to think hard to know how to answer that question:

I suppose, first, it is the JOY of learning that you are thoroughly LOVEDjust as you are.

All the broken, unworthy stuff, forgiven because He wants us; just as He finds us; in spite of all our mess.

Then, there is the PEACE He gives.

A peace that will overcome and rule any situation. (How could you possibly put a price on that?) He is the Prince of Peace, and when He comes to dwell in a heart He brings His peace with Him.

There is escaping hell and it’s judgement. (No explanation necessary here.)

There is His STRENGTH and the HOPE He gives.

There are all the PROMISES that He absolutely makes good on, either now or in the life to come, because He is completely TRUSTWORTHY.

He never lies. Never betrays. Never abandons.

daily renunciationHe is a King.

This world belongs to Him.

Make no mistake about it, He will never ask your permission.

He is a ruler.

He is: The Ruler.

(Something this world will soon discover!)

He will not spare for our crying, yet He will always acknowledge our suffering, for no one is more compassionate, or kind.

No one is more forgiving. But—He is laser-focused and unrelenting in His goals for our lives!

Does following Christ make you a wimp?

My answer—try it—see for yourself.

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ONLY WE TWO

We are going somewhere, you and I!

This, all of this, will be transformed into glory.

Remember? I give grace and glory.

(This we have talked about many times.)

Ah, but the cost we rarely speak of.

So today, let’s speak of it.

This chafing you feel? This constant, dragging, irritation? This is from Me. The things you think you cannot bear? The things that try your nerves, and scrape, and grate, on your soul? From Me—all from Me.

(How long?)

Just a little more.

Just until your nerves don’t grate and your heart can bear.

(Oh, that look!)

“Never.” you say?

(Oh, I don’t know about that!)

My child, I don’t smile at your discomfort. I smile because I see what you are becoming. I see the seeds of glory beginning to sprout.

(Ha, I knew it!)

Soon, you will be a luscious garden of graces, filled with the fruits of My Spirit. All this grating, chafing, misery, will dwarf in comparison.

As you begin to fulfill your destiny?

Oh, the healing that will flow from those lips; from your heart. Your life will burst into bloom and blossom and the world will marvel at what you have become.

Only we two will know what it has cost you—what you laid down and sacrificed to bear this fruit for others.

Only we two.

a closer walk“After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory.”

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
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10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

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A Closer Walk: Standing Barefoot With My Failures At The Cross

Some of us in the church are so quick to spread the sins and failures of others, aren’t we? We love to talk, especially about the latest dudes who blew it. It might be the kid who was just arrested for dealing drugs. The next door neighbor’s unmarried daughter, who we just discovered is pregnant. The abortionist down the street. (No comment necessary here.) Or, the scandalous political figure, (or pastor) who was just exposed in a headline-making sexual scandal.

If it’s juicy… and especially sinful… we’re talking.

Gossip Wounds

There are sins we positively abhor. Sins we are scandalized by. Sins we raise our eyebrows and voices against, waving our placards in self-righteous protest… oh yes. We shout ourselves hoarse to the world and whisper among ourselves, “Have you heard about…?”

(Oh, yeah, we do.)

Scandalized by other’s sins, yet so justisfied… in our own?

“Who… me?” we ask, all doe-eyed innocence.

One sad fact I have discovered in my thirty-some-years as a returned prodigal, is that we “The Redeemed,” are enormously tolerant of our own acceptable-sins.”

I refer, in this case, to the sin of slander and gossip.

In churches I have attended since my return from “the far country,” I have discovered no sin is quite so rampant, indeed, quite so ENJOYED, as the sin of spreading salacious slander or malicious gossip.

(It does seem as if we enjoy the wounding of others.)

And, it does wound.

It wounds if it’s true… it devastates if it’s NOT!

We, with our whispering, our accusing eyes, and our very cold shoulders, sadly seem to relish pummeling another’s reputation (and heart) while we find these “slight sins” of ours—entirely understandable.

Really?

My Bible says, “…the person who keeps every law of God, but makes one little slip, is JUST AS GUILTY as the person who has broken every law there is.” James 2:10James 2:10
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10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he has become guilty of all.

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Every law?

One… little… slip?

Our slips from God’s point of view make us guilty of breaking every law in His book. All of us, at one time, stood barefoot, naked, and guilty, at the foot of Jesus Christ’s cross. We all desperately needed a Savior—and still do.

Perhaps we should all remember that the next time a “juicy little tidbit” floats our way.

Instead of spreading the dirt, perhaps we should cast our eyes on the dust at our own feet.

What do you suppose Jesus might have written there… about us?

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LET ME GIVE YOU HOPE TODAY

Oh, honey. Don’t weep so. I see, I hear… truly I do. Nothing that touches or concerns you is ever out of My care… but Sweet Heart—you must believe.

(Those tears in your eyes belie the fears in your heart.)

I have not abandoned you. It is your past; the cruel deeds of others, that accuse Me.

I AM your Father. I AM your Lover. The One who loves you with tender, perfect love.

I see your faults… so what!

You think what you do could make Me forsake you; stop loving you?

Never. Never. Never!

Rise Above the GossipCome to Me… lay the heaviness of your broken heart on Me. That is what I came for… why I chose you!

I knew you needed someone who would never fail you… never abandon you.

(You think you deserve this treatment?)

No honey. No one deserves to be forsaken, but oh how many are!

Your failures are why I chose you.

Forsaken, and abandoned, so many times, and yet… look at you!

You shall be a trophy of My Grace.

Don’t despair. You won’t wear those wretched rags on your heart forever. Soon, yes soon, I will dress you in My splendid glory!

Let Me give you hope today. Cast all that ugly care on Me. (I can take it.) Trust Me just a little longer. If you could only see yourself, as I do.

Oh… what a jewel you are becoming… fit for a King! A King of kings!

(Hey, come to think of it, that’s Me!)

a closer walk“Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:71 Peter 5:7
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7 casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.

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Finding Rest In A Restless World

restHe lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. Psalm 23:2Psalm 23:2
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2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.

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“God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength. Nor did He demand that we win His favor by assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to enter His rest.”   

—Chuck Swindoll

~~~

Take it from a reforming workaholic…

Nothing is more important than your rest.

Without the proper rest?

Nothing in your work—works right!

So lay it down for now.

Let it go.

Rest.

It will still be there tomorrow.

Confident Hope

“Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!

He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.”

Psalm 23:1-3Psalm 23:1-3
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23 A Psalm by David. 1 Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

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The Day is Done

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


SEEDS FOR TRUST #5

Rest
  

© 2017 Martha (Molly) Gibbons blog text. All rights reserved.