This may be just what you need as the pressure of Christmas grows: the cutesy little poem, “The lists grow long.” Cutesy, but dead serious. On Christian-Poets.com.
Over on Forthright Mag, a prayer in poetic form: “We know not when nor how.” Four lines, a single stanza, but with plenty of meaning, I trust.
Resurrecting the Portuguese-language magazine, trying to figure out prices for subscriptions, without much information on printing and mailing. We started charging so people would value the material, but it
does did help some to pay for expenses. We may need that now more than ever. Pray my guesses may not be far off and that they may not scare off subscribers.
I’m sending an email to a number of friends and supporters about a veteran missionary in Europe who is losing support. You may be assured that this email is from me.
Considering the recent scam sent in my name, I’m taking care by this post to assure friends that this is a legitimate appeal.
If you’ve not received the request and would be interested in considering it, please contact me through the Ask page.
Ever since Cain, there has been talk of doors. Jacob had a vision of a door to heaven. Doors were a part of Passover. And doors appear in the Bible’s final book, as a figure of God opening to John a vision of his sovereignty and control of the spiritual powers.
After these things I looked, and there was a door standing open in heaven!
Revelation 4:1 NET
Paul wrote of open doors of opportunity, but here the open door is to understanding God’s action in the world. It indicates, again, that the book of Revelation, like the entire Bible, is just that: a revelation of God’s project.
That voice that John heard is for us as well, “Come up here.” Enter the open door. Understand what God is doing. See the strong arm of the Lord.
And be comforted in your sufferings for him and strengthened for faithfulness to the end.
I’d mentioned Monday that I had a Cloudburst poem up my sleeve. It was inspired by Jorge’s reading of Luke 9:62 in his sermon Sunday at Taubaté. At that moment, the first stanza appeared, then early Monday morning, the other three got written out in my agenda.
It goes out now to the Cloudburst Syndicated Poetry list, so no one sees it outside of that medium. I think I know to what publication I will submit it. Let’s see if they bite.
I mentioned it’s one of my favorites, both from the subject matter—discipleship—and the tight four-foot meter. The five-line stanzas are a variation on my usual. I’m thinking it might make good lyrics for a hymn.
If you’d like to read the poem, let me know, and I’ll email you a copy.
Just now I received an email from Mike Hughes, elder at our overseeing congregation, Somers Ave. in N. Little Rock, Ark.
Mike was sharing what he thought was an email from me requesting help for Trevor Williams in Bristol UK. But the email is a scam, written in my name, with an email set up especially at Yahoo in my name, and using the name of my wife and children.
Trevor Williams is a retired Christian worker who did work with the Bristol church, but his wife does not have the medical condition described in the email, nor do they need funds sent through Western Union. I do not know Trevor personally, but a missionary brother there provided me with information.
I have made appeals in behalf of others before, so Mike did not find it strange. Especially since this email was sent to the eldership and others at Somers Ave.
May our generosity not dry up because of fear. Let us use caution, but let us continue to give freely as we have been given.
We use the phrase “body and soul” to refer to a complete dedication to some activity or cause. Similarly, Paul uses the terms flesh and mind to indicate the life totally consumed by the devil’s will.
We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and by nature we were children under wrath, as the others were also.
Ephesians 2:3 HCSB
“Flesh” (some translations say “body”) is the human decision to give oneself over to the desires and carnal passions. The term “thoughts” or mind, indicates perception, here in the participation in evil, or a “mental orientation” (Richards 605).
Here’s how one version translates it. “All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted” (CEB).
Em contrast to the total domination by the devil, Paul celebrates God’s intervention, beginning in verse 4.
Thanks to him and his salvation, the “walk” in sin (verse 2) becomes the “walk” in good works (verse 10).
To people whose religion had become an exercise in perfectionism and, therefore, a competition with others (which always generates conflicts and fights), Paul shows the exercise of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NET
The law prohibits, but it cannot produce.
The works of the flesh are obvious, but the fruit of the Spirit does not protest in the public square.
The works of the flesh are various, but the fruit of the Spirit is one.
The fruit of the Spirit is produced in the midst of the works of the flesh, not in a vacuum or far from the world. Because of this, there is always a “but.”
The fruit of the Spirit is received from God (love, joy, peace), transforms our treatment of our neighbor (patience, kindness, goodness), and reaches the self (faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
The fruit of the Spirit serves everyone, all the time.
People of the world think the truth is too hard to tell others. So they don’t tell a dying person, for example, that he has little time left to live. They deprive the person of taking advantage of his last days on earth and preparing himself for eternity.
So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Galatians 4:16 NET
Telling the truth to one needing to hear it is to be a friend. Paul saw the Galatians abandoning the gospel and losing their salvation. He had to tell them the true situation, so that something worse would not happen to them, the loss of God’s grace.
Ignoring the truth never contributes to a solution.
He who loves, tells the truth.