R E S P E C T

Wrinkled and weathery
Worn and leathery
Hair so white, so thin
A dismissive glance and looks askance
Will miss the dance within

Physique so frailing
Health so failing
Shoulder’s bowed and bent
Tools worn out while building
A life well lived… well spent

But withered size
And age belies
Vitality that once was
Upon a time a vigor prime
That shaped the world… and still does!

A teacher formed
A pilot stormed
Through the skies in war
An explorer-fearless-set the sail
For an unknown, distant shore

A doctor tended
A surgeon mended
Nurses fended for the ill
Soldiers who, for hearth and home
Charged gallant up the hill

A leader led
A martyr bled
A mother raised her child
A social worker helped some soul
That poverty defiled

A fireman saved
A policeman braved
the lawless, riot crowd
A farmer wiped his sweaty brow
And surveyed a field he’d plowed

A musician played
A dancer swayed
A poet penned a poem
A writer wrote a whirlwind tale
A builder built a home

Next time you meet
At church or street
A weaker, aged one
Gratefully respect them for
Their life… a job well-done.

Extend your hand
Bestow a smile
And nod a friendly nod
Not only would you warm their heart
You’d warm the heart of God!

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“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.”

— Leviticus 19:32
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B R A N C H

The love of Ruth
Kind and gracious
Eternal truth!
Relentless
The commitment of
The maiden
And the God above

Naomi’s name
Pleasant they said
Drubbed by the world
And left for dead
Ruth refused
To let her fall
Loved her heart… soul…
Mind… strength… all!

Bethlehem
The ‘house of bread’
A love-starved world
That would not be fed
There, the mother
Of David’s mothers went
What a humble, loving Gentile
Heaven sent!

A Moabite!
How can this be?
A sturdy branch
For Messiah’s tree?
Mother of David
And David’s son
From Bethlehem
Would go The One

Love of God
From days eternal
Commitment of
A love supernal
“There…
…because of grace go I!”
For sinful sons
One Son will die

To the House of Bread
The Bread of Life
Came to us
Amid the strife
Going
Where we go
Lodging where
We lodge below

“Your people…
mine!” said He
“Your God too…
Shall mine be…
Where you die
I will too
And I’ll be buried
Next to you

Entreat me not
To leave, forsake
My own, for whom
My heart does ache
Through my church
I will remain
Through hearts like Ruth
I’ll surely reign…
…and make all things new!”

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“Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.’ And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem.”

— Ruth 1:16-19

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.
Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
This One will be our peace.”

— Micah 5:2-5

“…Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king…”

— Matthew 1:5-6
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H I M S E L F

Grateful
Beyond the words!
To Him who feeds the little birds
To Him who graces simple fields
With splendor… and who finally yields
Himself

Grateful
With joyful praise!
For Him who sends the sunshine rays
And rain… where saint and sinful live
Provide for all and finally give
Himself

Grateful
For the Lord who deigned
To wash the feet of mortal men!
To teach His own the higher good
Who modeled humble servanthood
Himself

Grateful
For one who owned
The Fallen Family for his own!
Who bore their sorrow and their sin
And carried their afflictions in
Himself

Grateful
For prayerful plea!
Arising from Gethsemane
Where walked the One who came to bless
And walked within the Wilderness
Himself

Grateful
For that greater love
That only comes from up above!
That, for The Created, The Creator die
Embrace a cross, and be lifted high
Himself

Grateful
For the One who raised
His Son to be exalted, praised
Gives us of His Spirit to
Do those things His Son would do
Himself

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“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death…”

— Acts 17:24
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A D V O C A T E

We have sinned… still…

We long to know
The gracious Christ who loves us so
May our cheeks know shameful blush
Blossom with a crimson flush
and godly sorrow.

We sin… still…

We dare to do
Some things the Good Lord tells us to
And though we struggle still at length
We long for God to give us strength
and peace.

We will sin… still…

We won’t take flight
We’ll not give up without a fight
We’ll not let go until we’re blessed
We’ll gladly limp with all the rest
into glory.

“That you may not sin…” still…

If we do there is some One
Who challenged sin and death and won
And now he stands for us to speak!
On our behalf, the faithful weak
and lead us home.

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“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

— 1 John 2:1-2
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G O D F E V E R

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Gratitude to the poet John Masefield, for his piece, Sea-Fever, from where I drew the inspiration for this little piece.
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I must get back to God again, to His Spirit and His word
And all I ask is the love of Christ, my Savior and my Lord
And the changed life and the new song and the purpose-driven day
And the Bread of Life for the God-hungry I meet along the way!

I must get back to God again, for the call of His Holy Spirit
Is a wild call and a clear call, if I would only hear it
And all I ask is humility, to submit my will to His
To selfless serve with suffering love and a thirst for righteousness!

I must get back to God again, the cross o’ershadowed life
To deny the world and deny myself and conquer inward strife
And all I ask is encouragement from a Father and His Son
And forgiveness and a life with God, when life on earth is done!

A S T O N I S H E D

Fell James one day…

To the tyrant Herod’s sword
His crimes? The preaching of the word
And believing in the Lord
It pleased the king
To please the unbelieving Jew
And so imprisoned Peter as
His wretched status grew

With Peter bound
Amid the num’rous guards displayed
The little church at Mary’s house
Bowed and fervent prayed
It pleased the Lord
To hear the small but faithful crew
And answered with an angel sent
To do what angels do

Astonished! Beyond belief
A vision! Peter thought at first
Then found himself from dungeon freed
And freed from Herod’s worst
To Mary’s home
And to her outer gate he walked
Drew breath and clenched a trembling fist
Then began to knock

Astonished! Beyond belief
Rhoda heard him at the gate
This joy-filled servant’s gospel ran
(Leaving Peter there to wait)
Astonished! Why, it can’t be true
They wondrous walked to where
Those praying, doubting, skeptic few
Saw God would answer prayer!

Astonished! Herod heard
The unexpected, startling word
And in his temper things went hard
For that ill-fated Roman guard

Fell Herod one day…

To the Word, sharper than a two-edged sword
For claiming stature that belongs
Only to the Lord
Poor Herod
Must one, last lesson learn
How astonishing God can really be
When worms begin to turn!

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“But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

–Acts 12:16;
–Be sure to read Acts 12:1-23 for the whole story!

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H O M E W A R D

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The previous piece, Leaving Home, taken together with this piece, is about as big a ‘nutshell’ as I can cram The Story into from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22… The Creator comes to those He made in His image in and as the person of Jesus, the Christ, to show us the way home.
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A rising sun
A new dawn
The Good Shepherd
With shepherd’s clothing on
Truth
An obedient son
God with us…

Before creation
Heavenly plan
God ordained
That wayward man
Be adopted by
The Heavenly Clan
God purposing us…

A girded towel
Unwashed feet
A shared table
Where the sinful meet
Strangers touched
Upon the street
God for us…

Self-sacrifice
Lamb of God
Offered for
The deeply flawed
Exposes
Our proud façade
God beside us…

Eternal Word
Light Divine
Resurrected
What wondrous sign
Fruit of the Spirit
The bread, the wine
God in us…

Second Adam
Who never fell
Chose the Father
Defeated hell
His church
The risen Lord indwell
God through us…

Tree of life
What blessed scene
Prodigals return
Robes washed clean
Greater love
Has no one seen
God waiting for us…

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“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.”

–Revelation 22:13-14
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