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I'm grateful for this winter walk, When side by side, we stroll and talk, When all the world is gripped with fear, And bad report is everywhere, To see that earth and sky still meet, And feel the ground beneath my feet. I'm grateful for this memory, Of city-scape, and take-out tea, I'm grateful for this outdoor space, The cheery smile upon your face, I'm grateful that you're here with me, For momentary normalcy. I'm grateful for this chance to be Outside, with you, alive and free! When all the world must lock away, I'm grateful for this winter day, For every blade of grass that's planted For things I often take for granted. I'm grateful for each leafless tree, So stark and lifeless though they be, Reminding me that seasons wane, That winter shall not long remain, That underneath this hard, hard ground, A thousand buds of spring abound.
How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! – Psalm 32:1
The streets of the city were crowded that day,
The Teacher was coming – He was heading this way.
My heart leapt within at the sound of His Name,
This man who healed lepers, the blind and the lame.
But the crowds all around me were blocking my view,
And try as I might, I just couldn’t push through.
There’s not much to be said for my stature – it’s true,
So I ended up right at the back of the queue!
Then ahead of the crowds in the distance, I see,
Down the long dusty road
There’s a Sycamore Tree,
I was desperate to see Him,
It had to be done,
So I kicked up the dust and I started to run!
My robes snagged on twigs as I scrambled up high,
And I hoped, against hope, that He’d not pass me by,
Still my heart skipped a beat when He stopped by that tree,
And He peered through the leaves,
Looking right up at me!
What would He say to a man such as me?
What was I doing here?
How could it be?
That this wonderful stranger should call me by name?
In that moment, I knew, I would not be the same.
The people were outraged- He was going to eat,
At the home of Zacchaeus, the swindler, the cheat!
But whenever He spoke, all my pride fell apart,
Until something was changed in the depths of my heart.
The tears started falling, my heart overflowed,
I would pay it all back, every penny I owed.
I would give it all gladly,
I would do anything,
For this wonderful Man,
For this beautiful King!
The love that He showed me,
The grace that He gave,
Swept over my being, like wave upon wave,
What joy filled my soul, and what gladness within,
When the Son of God cleansed me,
From all of my sin.
Blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise –Proverbs 8:33
Once there were two builder guys,
One was foolish, one was wise.
Built their houses by the shore,
Bang, Tap, Hammer, Saw!
Both their houses looked so grand,
One on rock, the other sand,
Who’s been foolish, can you tell?
Who’s built badly, who’s built well?
Trees are swaying, skies are grey,
Who knew it would rain today?!
Run inside, shut the door,
Looks like it’s about to pour
Thunder cracks – what a din!
A sudden storm is rolling in,
Rain is falling, waters rise,
Now we’ll see which man was wise.
The storm keeps raging all day long,
And the house on the rock keeps standing strong,
But creak, wobble, crash, bang, SPLAT!
The house on the sand has fallen flat!
A Story Jesus Told…
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house, and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell – and great was its fall!Matthew 7:24-27
Which kind of man did Jesus say was wise?
Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them…
Which kind of man did Jesus say was foolish?
Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act upon them…
Both of these guys HEARD. Both of these men built houses – that’s pretty clever, right?
But only one of them built on the right foundation. Only one of these houses was founded on the rock.
Hearing God’s word is not enough to make us wise. We need to obey, if we want our lives to be founded upon the rock.
When the storms came…
It wasn’t until the storms came, that we found out which man had built wisely.
When the storms of life come – our foundations will be tested. Is your life founded on the rock of Jesus Christ, on His death and resurrection, and on His free gift of righteousness? Or are you trying to build on your own foundation?
What kind of builder will you be?
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies, Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, Your judgements are like a great deepPsalm 36: 5-6
I waded through the water,
Ever deeper out to sea,
Using all my strength to push against
The waves surrounding me,
I laughed and caught my breath,
The bracing temperature surprising,
Then plunged my shoulders under,
And felt my spirits rising,
The waves they did not heed me,
As they drew me out and in,
They swirled and crashed about me,
With their great resounding din!
How small and insignificant,
I felt amid the weight,
Of those foamy, rolling billows,
The Atlantic vast and great.
Then I thought about Your power, as strong as any breaker,
And I thought about Your glory,
Oh Lord, Almighty Maker!
And I sensed Your gentle whisper, with the ocean’s crashing roar,
“My love for you is deeper
Than these waves you stand before!
My grace is more relentless than the never-ceasing wave.
And my love is so much stronger than the power of the grave!”
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit…Romans 8:3-4
The law is a tyrant,
A ball and a chain,
That reads out my failures
Again and again,
Relentlessly tells me I should have done better,
Hounds me with guilt,
Til regret is my fetter,
Watches me stumble,
Beneath its great load,
Adding heavier rocks
As I trudge down the road.
And if I progress
And begin to take heart,
The arm of the law,
Drags me back to the start!
Your grace finds me there,
By the side of the road,
Breaks off my shackles, and carries my load,
Cancels my debts,
And calls me by name,
Gives me beauty for ashes,
A crown, for my shame.
Wraps me in robes,
And anoints me with gladness,
Washes away all the strife and the sadness.
Run girl, run!
The law demands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands,
Far better news the gospel brings,
It bids me fly and gives me wings.
(Inspired by one of my favourite John Bunyan quotes)
Ring out the old and ring in the new,
Another year passes – yet one thing is true,
A thousand small blessings have slipped through my hands,
Moments uncountable, vast as the sands,
Ordinary days, that have come and then gone,
A sunrise, a sunset, a whisper, a song.
Times spent with family, long summer days,
Here for a moment, then gone in a haze,
I wish I could hold all these moments forever,
Time marches onward, but love ceases never.
So I’m thankful, so thankful, for all that has been,
For the highs and the lows and the bits in between,
This journey of life with it’s ups and its downs,
The trials the triumphs, the smiles and the frowns,
This life I’ve been given, I long to embrace,
To cherish each moment, each dear, precious face,
Yet to live in surrender, not grasping too tight,
To live for eternity, to walk in the light,
Knowing this life is a gift from above,
That it all comes from You, Oh great Father of Love.
It’s Autumn once more,
What a sight to behold,
Streets lined with crimson
And laden with gold.
Moon like a saucer,
Days getting shorter,
As Summer lays down
To make way for the cold.
Warm woolen knits, crackling fires,
Wild geese fly over,
Through pink, sunset skies,
Off with a flap of migratory wings,
The earth gives birth, Creation sings!
Season of beauty, nature’s last fling,
Before winter makes bare,
And the earth sleeps till Spring,
Emblazoned in Scarlet,
You take your last breath,
Your most glorious hour,
Was found at your death.
An hour of toil in the garden,
Is always time well-spent,
Tugging out those stubborn old weeds,
Which year upon year won’t relent.
An hour spent tending the garden,
Is never wasted time,
Lungs full of wonderful, fresh Spring air,
Hands caked in dirt and grime.
It’s hard to feel glum in the garden,
Birds chirping high in the trees,
Potting up Pansies so cheery and bright,
Hair tugged about on the breeze.
Cutting the deadwood, and turning the earth,
Allowing the sun to get through,
Seems to clear my cluttered mind,
And lifts my spirits too.
Thank you Lord for my garden,
Humble and small though it be,
It’s a place where so often I’ve felt You are near,
And Your joy surrounding me.
Once You knelt down in a garden,
And in terrible anguish You cried,
“Thy will, not mine be done, Oh Lord!”
Abandoned. Betrayed. Denied.
One Sunday morn in a garden,
The Son of God rose from the grave,
Bringing redemption and mercy and grace,
To the ones He came to save!
Story-Teller, (Matt 13:34)
World-Holder, (Heb 1:3, Col 1:17)
Sky-Painter, (Psalm 19:1)
Man-Moulder! (Gen 2:7)
Storm-Stopper, (Matt 8:27)
Star-Breather, (Psalm 33:6)
He’s The Alpha and Omega! (Rev 1:8)
Wave-Walker, (Matt 14:25)
Debt-Payer, (Rom 6:23)
Rock, Redeemer, (Psalm 78:35)
What a Saviour! (Luke 2:11)
Cross-Bearer, (John 19:17)
Grave-Breaker, (Luke 24:2-3)
Key-Holder, (Rev 1:18)
Earth-Shaker! (Heb 12:26)
Life-Changer, (2 Cor 5:17)
Truth that frees us, (John 8:32, John 14:6)
Coming King, (Rev 22:7, Rev 22:12, Rev 22:20)
THIS IS JESUS!
My kids and I had a go at writing a ‘Kenning’ style poem about Jesus a few years ago. This is what we came up with! Hope it blesses you today.