Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. - II Timothy 2:15

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

He Says

Here is the poem I promised to share. It's far from perfect (believe me!), because I've never really dabbled in poetry much, but this is sort of how it came out, with or without meter or rhyme.

He Says

In heaven, they say, there is a God,
whom the Bible declares is loving;
that He sees me fall and yet forgives all,
but, oh, are His hands held out to me?

He says I’m His dove, I’m His princess royal,
He says that He thinks I’m flawless,
but I’m soiled and stained and ragged and torn, so tell me,
are His hands held out to me?

He says that He cares, He says that He’s good,
He says that His blood is atoning,
but how can He see all that I do, and still hold out His hands to me?

He says that He knows that I’ll stumble and fall,
He says that it’s all forgiven.
But still I don’t see what He finds in me,
that makes my redemption worth the price.

For He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross,
thinking not of Himself, but me.
And the blood that He lost, covered the cost
of the sins that made me a debtor.

And when I believed, He gave full reprieve
and welcomed me then as His child
And now I see that what He says is true,
and His hands are really held out to me.

Still I don’t understand how I can act
as if all of this never happened.
How I can turn my back and forget He’s there –
holding out His hands to me.

He says to be still and know He is God,
and though I really do try;
so quickly my mind fills with other thoughts
and He is pushed out and forgotten.

Then I struggle and fight and try to do right
but sin is an impulse so tempting
that more often than not, I give in and ignore
the God that is holding His hands out for me.

I get so exhausted trying to do what is right,
because my resistance seems so futile
but one thing I know,
that no matter the sin,
no matter the wrong,
no matter the awful thing I’ve done,
He’ll look in my eyes and say without pause:
“My darling, My hands are held out to you.”

'Till next time,

© JocelynRose 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Way To Pray

This is a poem that was written by a friend of mine. I asked to share it here because I think it's absolutely beautiful and nails down exactly how I feel about prayer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Way to Pray

I prayed at first, a little girl
Because they told me to.
They said that God wanted to hear me.
God wanted to hear my lisped prayers and petitions.

And so I prayed.
“Our Faffer, who art in heafin,”
Not understanding the words I prayed
But I knew that God liked it
Because they told me so.

And then they told me
That God wanted more than memorization.
He wanted to hear my requests.

And so I prayed.
And my prayers became long
Because there was so much suffering and need.
So I laid it in God’s hands
And checked it off my prayer list
Because they said I should.

And then they told me
That my prayers were too monotonous.
God wanted some praise and thanks as well.

And so I prayed.
I thanked God for making the world
And praised Him for being God and taking care of the world’s needs.
My prayers became so long I had to be selective.
But they liked my lengthy prayers
And said it brought me closer to God

And then they told me
That I should pray the Scripture
Because it increased my effectiveness.

And so I prayed.
I searched through the Bible for appropriate phrases
To express the praise, thanks, and needs.
Prayer time became so long I had to cut out some praying
To look through Scripture to find adequate verses.
But they liked it
And said I was a prayer warrior.

And then as I was praying
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“He who belongs to God hears what God says.”

So I sat.
And I listened.
And truly prayed.

Thanks, Ashley!

'Till next time,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Branching Out

Jamie and I have decided that after years of putting it off and saying we can't do it, we will try our hands at writing forms other than our sole venue, the full-length novel.

*cue deep breath and heroic gesture*

I am going to attempt a poem and Jamie is going to write a short story.

Currently the poem -- entitled He Says -- is a pile of scribbled post-it notes on top of the armoire in my room. The short story (hopefully she can keep it from turning into novel-length...), which Jamie says is still in the thought stage with an outline in the works, will be called Holly and Ivy. 

We'll share them both when they're finished, unless we absolutely hate them.

'Till next time,


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bucket Lists

I've recently been introduced to the matter of bucket lists. You know, the lists of things you want to do before you die. (It just occurred to me that the term "bucket list" probably refers to the saying "kick the bucket"... My, I'm feeling smart today!) To me they seem rather pointless since no one knows when they're going to die and most of the goals seem unrealistic anyway. I guess they're mostly there to dream about, plan for and wonder if you're ever going to have enough money, time, talent, ect. to actually cross them off.

My flute teacher recently informed me that everyone should have a bucket list. She has one. One of her other students, an older adult, also has one. Her student's sounds like torture. A 30 mile bike trip through Canada and Alaska, half an Iron Man, and a marathon. My flute teacher just accomplished one of her goals: She wanted to be a Master Gardener. 

I'm not a fan of the genre of either of their lists, so here are some of the ideas I've been thinking up for mine:

- Get at least one novel published (hopefully more!)
- Win a RITA or an ECPA award (or both...)
- Read all the books on my to-read lists
- Get married
- Memorize all the Bible passages/books on my to-memorize list
- Write at least one poem I'm proud of (and not one of those acrostic ones that doesn't take any skill; this has got to be a real, meaningful, rhyme-y poem)

It's short, but I have my whole life to add to it, I suppose. 

'Til next time, 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

I must admit, I shy away from the idea of writing a 4th of July post. The idea scares me because there's so much I want to say and I'm afraid of bungling it up. But I'll give it a try and see where it goes...

It's so hard sometimes to see past all the politics and the debate and the problems and find the America that you read about in history books. The America where mothers and fathers stayed together, where homosexuality was illegal, where children could go to the movies and see things that weren't filled up with garbage, where dating was limited to drugstore dates and walks home from school and pregnancy wasn't the result of most relationships. Where girls wore dresses and boys wore button-up shirts. Where parents were treated with respect and children were brought up in solid, moral homes. Sometimes, I wonder if a time like that even existed, because we've spiraled so out-of-control. I want that America back. The America where an age of innocence lasted at least until highschool. Where girls were innocent enough to blush and boys treated them with respect. Where going to church was something everyone did and schooling was important. Where the radio was the main source of entertainment and tv shows and movies like we have now would have shocked the nation. Is it possible to get that America back?
I believe, with the exception of a few things like radios and dresses (I assume most people wouldn't go for that), a journey back to our morals is possible. And I find that assurance in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land."
The promise is there and we can do it if we get out of our safe corners and live the example of Christ in everything we do, wherever we go.

It's also encouraging to me to go to one of those parades on the 4th and to see the people, solid, decent people who love their country and are proud to be called an American, cheer for the veterans, salute the flag and sing along to the national anthem. Seeing that helps me put my concern in perspective. The people who are destroying the moral, Christian base of our country, little by little, are not in the majority. As Clarissa Saunders says in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: That kind just throw big shadows. And it's true. The real backbone of America is still made up of these solid families. We just need to get out and let the minority know who we are and what we stand for.

I'll get off my soapbox now (feels a bit wobbly) and finish off with some quotes from the movie we watched last night -- one of my favorites -- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. That movie captures what I'm trying to say dead on. This is what every one of us should remember every day of our lives:

"You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty's too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I'm free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn't, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that." 

"Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, if that's what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we'd better get those boys' camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it's not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!" 

"Your friend, Mr. Lincoln had his Taylors and Paines. So did every other man who ever tried to lift his thought up off the ground. Odds against them didn't stop those men. They were fools that way. All the good that ever came into this world came from fools with faith like that. You know that, Jeff. You can't quit now. Not you. They aren't all Taylors and Paines in Washington. That kind just throw big shadows, that's all. You didn't just have faith in Paine or any other living man. You had faith in something bigger than that. You had plain, decent, everyday, common rightness, and this country could use some of that. Yeah, so could the whole cockeyed world, a lot of it. Remember the first day you got here? Remember what you said about Mr. Lincoln? You said he was sitting up there, waiting for someone to come along. You were right. He was waiting for a man who could see his job and sail into it, that's what he was waiting for. A man who could tear into the Taylors and root them out into the open. I think he was waiting for you, Jeff. He knows you can do it, so do I."

And, here are some pictures to commemorate the day:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the Unites States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (Thank you, President Eisenhower, for pressing Congress to add "under God" -- it means so much more.)

'Till next time,
-- Jamie