Old Man Trouble

From the words of British pastor and theologian, Charles Spurgeon:  “The closer we are to the Shepherd, the safer we are from the wolves.”

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Encountering another of life’s setbacks

Visitor from the darkness shouts, “I am back”

 

Old Man Trouble comes knocking at my front door

Relentless, he desires to even the score

 

How will I choose to deal with adversity?

His darkness masks the sky over this city

 

Tackle straight forward what Old Man Trouble brings

Or . . . wait timidly for his continued sting

 

God’s Word teaches us and brings us hope:

 

We all live preciously in God’s perfect sight

He gathers us in His loving, Holy might

 

Past—present—future . . . from the Great I Am

Making it through turbulent seas for each lamb

 

Through desolate wilderness, God shares a way

Bringing rivers of hope to this life’s gateway

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Looking Old Man Trouble in his doom-filled eyes

With faithful courage, my hope begins to rise

 

Life waits to see . . . who will finally blink first?

With God’s living water, quenching my parched thirst

 

Listening, following God’s steadfast handbook

His love will save me with a whole new outlook

 

Bringing Godly fortitude, when needed most

Old Man Trouble defeated, nothing to boast

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From Isaiah 43:2-3:  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Peyton Manning Quotes

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I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since.

I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight.

Walking in Confidence

From Romans 15:13:  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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Life’s journey suddenly growing cold

Living under clouds of uncertainty

No longer feeling confident and bold

 

Even confident people possess fears

Overcome by unplanned dilemmas

Feeling much like the rest of our peers

 

Our faithful prayers will be heard

God’s will scatters those stormy clouds

Never lose hope, listen to His Word

 

As neighbors, our love supports each other

Through our steadfast encouragement

Children of God, true sisters and brothers

 

Tackling problems on life’s clipboard

Filled with determination and courage

Walking in confidence with our Lord

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From the words of German-Dutch Christian author, Thomas a Kempis:  “Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God.”

Faith Sees Us Through

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Throughout much of my teaching career in Montana, I personally witnessed the labors and hard work of farmers and ranchers on the eastern plains.  Their faithful perseverance will always be a testament of their faith in a God who will see us through.

The labors of a family wait for another harvest.  Fields of spring wheat are maturing rapidly under the blistering hot, August sun.  The heads of grain are filling out and turning harvest gold.

A year’s worth of income rests in these fields.  Three generations view God’s bounty with praise and thanksgiving.

An aging grandfather has witnessed the good times and bad.  While he has slowed down a bit, he still looks forward to operating the combine at harvest time.  He becomes as excited as a young boy while watching the header cut the ripened grain.

His son, now a mature and tested father, has followed in his footsteps.  He returned to the farm ten years ago when his father suffered a heart attack.  He manages the day-to-day operations as skillfully as his father ever did.

A teenage boy, both grandson and son, has observed his father’s long hours and hard work.  He values his grandfather’s wisdom and experience.  He plans to attend the state’s land grant university during the upcoming fall semester, but first he needs to help out with harvest.

One evening, with harvest set to begin soon, these three generations of men view a field closest to their homes.  The grain is heavy, filled with high protein content, and will fetch an honest price at market.

Dark clouds loom to the northwest as a storm appears heading away from their farm.  The three men turn in for the night, feeling confident and safe.

The next morning, the sun comes up right on schedule, but this season’s harvest has been cruelly cancelled.

Overnight the storm changed its route.  Heavy rain, strong winds, and large hail shredded every bit of grain far and wide.  Not even a cow would be able to find any nourishment.

The grandson has never seen such devastation, and he is emotionally numb and filled with shock.

His father knows the coming year will be filled with hardship and uncertainty.  With God’s guidance, somehow he will carefully balance the books. 

The grandfather prays to God, asking the Lord to provide for the family as He always has—in the best of times, and now the darkest.  He opens his Bible and reads the following verse from Isaiah 40:10: 

“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

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Oswald Chambers Quote

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You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until, so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.

From Hebrews 11:8-9:  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

Calming Our Fears

From the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:  “Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.  Cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it.”

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Worry arrives with concerns never to come

Building upon past fears, stoking future ones

Life’s landscape fills with looming mountains

Instead of gentle molehills, fear gathers and stuns

 

Concerns about future challenges come forth

Transforming into worries, fueling more fear

Darkest clouds come together and gather

Who will grab the wheel and start to steer?

 

Waiting for our Lord, He renews our strength

Living by faith, His Word restores our soul

Rejoicing in hope, patient in suffering

Renewed by the Spirit, we feel more whole

 

God always walks with us, seek Him in prayer

Darkest valleys ahead, His love casts out fears

With compassion for our sufferings, hear His Word

Comforted by His rod and staff, God never veers

 

Asking of our Father, seeking His counsel

Bringing clearer witness, through His precise scope

His guidance renews our hearts, calming fears

His wisdom touches minds, filled with Gospel hope

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From Mark 5:35-36:  “While He was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’  But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.'”

Monday Memories: Stormy Seas

This poem was originally published in July, 2019, and it was inspired from artwork in a hotel room while traveling out west.  

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Most days, life experiences calming seas

Witnessing each moment, steady to see

 

God provides for us, through it all

Picking us up, even when we fall

 

Life moves along at its normal pace

Taking for granted, God’s free grace

 

Then, stormy seas appear in the west

Bringing worried looks, never the best

 

Life’s ship now encounters the storm

Feeling the sea’s fury, totally reborn

 

The storm smothers this helpless ship

Causing sure footing to slide and slip

 

Panic and worry fill helpless hearts

Asking God, may we try a restart?

 

Our boat takes on water, brisk and cold

Overwhelming our spirit, no longer bold

 

Has our Lord forsaken us at this time?

Sinking ship, as faith no longer climbs

 

Across the tempest sea, comes a voice

Calming the storm and sea, His choice

 

Our Lord and Savior walks over to thee

Releasing the terror caused by the sea

 

In an instant, the dark storm is gone

Restoring faith and hope, now strong

 

God prompts us to maintain our hope

Remaining faithful, steadies our boat

 

Calm or stormy seas, look straight ahead

Accepting God’s grace, always best said

 

Thank you Lord for being with us each day

Reminding us, Your Word points the way 

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Hand in Hand

From Matthew 14:25:27:  “And early in the morning He [Jesus] came walking toward them on the sea.  But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’  And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.'”

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Dreaded Covid arrives, knocking at her door

Daughter takes refuge on a hospital floor

 

Fear challenges faith during this trying hour

Daughter and mother seek God’s love and power

 

Through their journey of faith, walking together

God steps forward, quieting stormy weather

 

Hand in hand with God, crossing scary tightrope

His love sustains their faith, resurrecting hope

 

Mother and daughter’s prayers, never alone

This hellish scourge flees at last, sending her home

 

Singing praises of thanksgiving, with glad hearts

Walking hand in hand, their life journey restarts

 

Kneeling before a Holy, mighty Father

Feeling the Lord’s love, like a great grandfather

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From Psalm 92:1-2:  “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night.”

Choices Through Faith

From the words of American pastor and Christian evangelist, Vance Havner:  “Life is a series of choices between the bad, the good, and the best.  Everything depends on how we choose.”

action adventure challenge climb

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Our daily walk encounters many tests

Life’s decisions shall never be easy

Facing a series of heartfelt choices

Sometimes feeling so alone and uneasy

 

Quality decisions lead life forward

God’s Word and righteousness always shining

Making choices, pleasing to our Father

Our Lord’s love, His sacred silver lining

 

God chooses our Savior—His Holy Son

Jesus becomes our faithful source of life

Bringing lasting redemption to ourselves

Hope-filled Cross saving the foolish from strife

 

Our Father calls many, few are chosen

His chosen, precious cornerstone—Jesus

Believing in Him, never put to shame

Living by faith through our Lord, who frees us

 

Jesus chooses us in His Father’s name

Days ahead offer bounties of treasures

Following His love and wealth of teachings

Therefore, bear lasting fruit through His measures

person sitting on mountain cliff

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From 2 Corinthians 5:6-7:  “So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Never Alone

I keep a daily journal of “take-aways” from my devotional readings.  This poem was crafted from some of my February entries.

sea beach footprint steps

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Sitting alone and hopeless

Our Lord never deserts us

He awakens mind and soul

In His Spirit, words bring trust

 

Turning to God, always there

His footprints walking ahead

Through life’s hefty challenges

Our Lord brings our daily bread

 

Reading from His Holy Word

Always giving thanks and praise

Marvelous things, God has done

Our hope alive and ablaze

 

Growing in faith, from our woes

Therefore, pray . . . listen . . . follow

Righteous life following Christ

Savior’s hope, never hollow

 

Facing temptation each day

Alignment with Son of God

Blood and body shed for us

Boldly fleeing evil’s fraud

brown and silver cross table decor

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From Galatians 6:1-2:  “My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.  Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”