Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘Christ’

The Snare of Riches

‘And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”‘ (Luke 19:23)

We are sorely mistaken if we think that riches will bring us happiness. Material goods, to a point, are certainly a blessing. It is good to have nutritious food, clothes to keep you comfortable in any weather, and shelter from that same weather. Beyond that, I’m proposing here that unearned and/or unshared wealth can be a real hindrance to happiness, if it takes the place of our relationship to God.

Certainly a high position in society does not guarantee healthy or moral behavior, not to mention that all your foibles and flaws will be mercilessly criticized by the public. There are some crazy stories, going back some generations, from my own family background, that cause one to ponder.

Here are a few, half heard, half remembered (and thus probably half accurate), from my background: One relative with a high position in the (non-U.S.) government, contracted syphilis and went mad. He was in the military and presumably, while married, contracted the illness from someone other than his wife. Another VERY wealthy relative gambled away 26 houses. Still another, to impress a woman he was wooing, bought out an entire theater performance so that the two could be the only people in the theater. They did get married, but later divorced, partly due to his infidelity. The same man ran for government and promised the voters that he would provide a copious feast if he won. He won.

We have all seen unhappy rich people in the news, with broken marriages and families, and disordered lives.

If you happen to be blessed with wealth, however you obtained it, remember that all your riches, and anything you possess, ultimately comes from God. (Of course, dishonest wealth is not in God’s plan.)

There were several rich men in the Bible who were righteous. Being rich doesn’t have to be evil in itself. For example, Abraham was quite wealthy and a person of great faith. Again, recall the story of Job, who lost all his riches and most of his relatives, but did not curse God. Ultimately, God restored everything to him, and more. There were rich Christians in the New Testament who shared their wealth. The point being, that their wealth was not where they derived their value, but they derived it from Christ.

It Hurts to Love

The cross of Christ is a paradox.  How can something so painful be good, and even holy?  Perhaps the more you love others, the more you will suffer.  Yes, there will be times of joy, but let’s face it:  often, it hurts to love.

Because you cared about others, but often they misunderstood you, or they felt threatened by your love, you suffered.  Or, you suffered when you saw your loved one suffering.  Or, you see their bad choices, but cannot make them change.  Then you must wait and pray and trust that God may change their hearts.

Surrounded by Saints

Imperfect people,
Conflicts abound,
Striving for light –
In Christ, heaven bound.

Difference of viewpoint,
Don’t always agree,
But somewhere in heaven,
We’ll all be free.

And I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

They don’t shout the good things
That they have done,
Humbly continuing
God’s work, ‘til it’s done.

And I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

Yes, I get angry,
I get in a funk –
Don’t like what they’re saying
‘Cause I’m selfishly stuck.

But I’m
Surrounded by saints.
In God’s eyes, so great –
I’m surrounded by saints.

So, Lord, make me humble,
Please melt my hard heart.
And teach me to trust You
To do my own part.

‘Cause I’m
Surrounded by saints
Made whole by Your grace –
I’m surrounded by saints.

When All Seems Dark

When all seems dark,
When evil seems to reign,
Take up your cross,
And look at Christ again.

When clouds oppress,
And gather in a storm,
Yield all to Christ,
And let His Spirit form.

Forget the strife,
And let Him calm the storm.
Let Him give life;
To Him your thoughts conform.

Christ is My Hope

I love cemeteries. They are quiet and peaceful. I think of the people resting there and hopefully they are completely at peace.

So Christmas day, my kids and I took a walk to Maple Leaf Cemetery in Oak Harbor, Washington. The walk itself was brisk, both in speed and in the weather. After a few meanderings we found the cemetery. One grave I saw was of a three-and-a-half month old child, which brought me to tears. Then, a young man of 28, obviously well loved. More tears. As I walked, a group of people across the cemetery seemed to be having a party. They had their car door open, and Christmas music came from its radio. Perhaps celebrating Christmas as they remembered a life well lived.

The final grave I looked at is pictured here. “Christ is My Hope” was the epitaph. I can honestly say that is true for me.

I just now noticed that there is no date of death, and that the birth date was in 1915, which means the person is now 98 years of age. I am glad the person has faced the reality of death and has the hope of resurrection.

Just a few days later, we visited my uncle by marriage, who is now 100 years old. He still walks an hour a day using his walker. His mind is still pretty sharp. What an amazing man.

Still, we never know when we might go.

131225 Maple Leaf Cemetery 002x

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