Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘God’

Confession

Whether you confess to a priest, a minister, a trusted friend, and/or privately to God, repentance and confession are powerful things. The Bible references confession, including “When you realize your guilt in any of these, you shall confess the sin that you have committed.” (Leviticus 5:5), “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a), and ‘”[Jesus] … breathed on [his disciples] and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”’ (John 20:22-23). Stating our sins explicitly brings them out in the open, into the light. I believe Jesus knew that unconfessed sin was like an untreated wound; if not exposed and cleansed, it would fester.

Once, when I confessed resentment at being hurt or misunderstood, the priest advised, “Think of the hurt like a knife in your heart. You pull out the knife. Now you have a choice. You can keep dwelling on the hurt and/or stab the other person, or you can say to Jesus, “Jesus, I give you this knife and my hurt. You take it. I ask You to handle this because I cannot.”

I don’t always get such helpful advice when I confess, nor do I always have a dramatic experience as some do (for example, a radical experience of cleansing), but I trust that Jesus IS cleansing me and granting me the grace to grow in love for Him and for others.

[Perhaps I should add that wounds from others, or from our own sins, should not be ignored, but neither should we wallow in self-pity. Sometimes the wounds are so deep that we might need counseling from others, or serious therapy. But learning to let Jesus heal our wounds is a big step.]

Don’t be afraid to confess! Unlike with people at times, God will take you back, and all you confess and repent of will be forgotten in the ocean of His mercy.

There Is a God

There is a God, unfath’mable,
Whom many do not know.
Dark forces work continually 
So that our faith won’t grow.


They work on unsuspecting minds
And turn our thoughts away
From heavenly things, from angel’s wings;
Mankind’s their greatest prey.


There is a God Whose love is deep,
Who knows our ev’ry care.
He woos us with a perfect love;
His love is everywhere.


He never lies; nor does he cheat,
Nor practice any foul deceit.
He will not force His ways on us,
But waits in patience so discreet.


A love that’s forced can never be;
A real love must be free choice.
For freely chosen love’s the way
We’ll enter heaven and rejoice.

The Confiteor

Some of you may be familiar with the prayer called “The Confiteor” (“I confess”). The form of this prayer that I’m most familiar with is:

“I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (And, striking their breast, they say) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Some time ago, I realized something new about the Confiteor. When we say the words, “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault,” it’s not about me beating myself up and blaming myself for everything, it’s more about the fact that, compared to God, I am an extremely faulty creature, and in His great mercy, He has made a way for me to be saved.

When I compare myself to others (or focus on myself), it creates misery, but when I compare myself to God, who is all Perfection, it creates humility and gratitude.

I Saw a Rainbow

I saw a rainbow,
And it held the promise
Of better things to come

My spirits lifted;
I sensed a message
From God, the Holy One …

He had not left me

The storm was passing,
The billowing waves —
Were calming, calming

Down

And rather than destroying,
They lifted me
To better things to come

In the Melting Pot

It’s a land of many strangers,
In crowds — and some lone rangers.
You might be in some danger,
But making friends — a game changer.

You look for what’s in common:
“Do you like pasta, or ramen?”
“Do you say ‘ae-men’ or ‘ah-men’?”
“Or how about ‘crawl-ING’ or ‘crawl-IN’?

You want to be understood,
But you don’t know if you should
Speak up or keep your peace — 
“Just pass the paprika, please.”

It can be so confusing —
The culture clash I’m losing.
But having no fear, must dry my tears —
Here’s wisdom for the years:

You look for the best in people,
Look up to the heights, like a steeple.
It’s others’ problem if they mistreat you,
God, who is love, won’t reject you.

There’ll always be those who mistrust you,
Or just tend to misunderstand you.
It’s just human nature; they don’t have the big picture.
Let it go, and you’ll be the victor.

Pleading

Pleading with you, Lord — 
The world at times seems cold,
My courage less than bold.

Emptiness does threaten,
The world my spirit dampens;
Please let a new thing happen.

I cling to You in trust,
My faith in You a must,
Till I go down to dust.

Deep down, there’s something solid
Since childhood I have followed —
Your Name, may it be hallowed.

Though many times I’ve wandered;
My talents I have squandered,
But then, forgiveness pondered.

Your love; I don’t deserve it,
So let me be Your servant,
And sing Your praises fervent.

The Storm

The air —
Laden with care —
With guilts, not graces,
With long-gone places,
With regrets, what-ifs,
With laundry lists.

And then —
A gust of wind —
The Spirit comes
And speaks in tongues,
Slamming doors,
Awakening snores.

The lightning strikes —
And thunder rumbles —
The tension crumbles.
Then sweet release
Of pent-up rain —
God comes again.

His tender care
Dispels all fear.
All will be well,
All will be well.

God Is Near

Cottony clouds and lullabies,
Seagulls wings and loud crow cries,
Blustery winds and rustling leaves —
Wondrous — and a joy are these.

Birds a-flockin’, squirrels a mockin’,
Kitten cries and puppy sighs,
People, ‘spite their sins and lies —
Glory, though appearance belies.

Storm and calm, a laugh and tear,
Worry, confidence, faith and fear.
Things aren’t always as they appear.
Through it all, God must be near.

Prayer for Racial Reconciliation

Lord, you made every human being in Your image.
Each person, no matter their color, economic status, or anything else,
Is precious in Your eyes.
Each person contains within them a spark of the divine.
Yet, we fail to see this.  We fail miserably.
Many of those in power do not share their power,
Sometimes the rich do not share their wealth.
Or, even “good people” are unaware of the suffering of others.
The poor and the weak often despise themselves,
Not realizing their great value and worth.

Our nation is deeply wounded.
The wound is hundreds of years old.
Anger and frustration boil beneath the surface.
And yet, and yet,
When You change hearts, something new can happen.

Give us new eyes, new hearts.
If we have material wealth, let us share it with others.
If we have gifts of encouragement, of education,
Let us use them to lift others up.
If we are poor, weak, or feel powerless,
Let us not succumb to fear, discouragement, or despair.

Let us see others with Your eyes,
Not the eyes of corrupted man,
Who looks only at ways to bolster his weak ego.
Not the eyes that look only at the surface,
At outward appearance, possessions, or achievements,
But eyes that see Your beauty and goodness in each person.

Give us the courage to reach out to those who seem different from us,
And to accept their friendly overtures.
Heal our fears, worries, anxieties.
Challenge our prejudices, faulty beliefs, and hatreds.

Let those who stir up hatred of people be thwarted.
Let those who have been injured find the grace to eventually forgive,
For an unforgiving heart injures only itself.
Let justice be done for them.

We thank you for Your mercy to fallen mankind.
For without Your mercy, there is no hope.

Amen.

To Dwell in a Garden

In wounded places, I sometimes dwell;
But yet, in a garden, I find all is well.

A man and a woman, a long time ago,
With God there beside them, in a garden did stroll.

Much later, our Savior, in deep agony,
Prayed — sweating blood — under a garden’s tree.

But, wonder of wonders, from death, did He not
Appear to a maiden? — “A gardener!” she thought.

Is heaven a garden?  My heart seems to tell,
Such sweet heaven for me, in a garden to dwell.

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