MIND SPEAKS

Its all about the MIND! See all, Speak all, No secrets! {Tuning the world with new words of poetry!}

It? — October 28, 2016

It?

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I waited in my nausea,
Surrounded by stone-faced bourgeois
With rolls of twenty-dollar bills
In jacket pockets with their pills,
Funds from the ATM outside
The clinic door, because the guide,
Imbedded in the website said
“Cash only in advance.” The dread
Concealed — as if I really read
The Mademoiselle — my eyes instead
Were staring at the vinyl floor,
So clean and cold, a wise decor
In case a mother’s vomit soiled
The luster underfoot, and spoiled
This sterile place.

And then, all through
The brief and mindless interview
And prep, they called my baby “it.”
I tried to think that what God knit
In me was only “it.” I gripped
For dear life every word — a script
To somehow make this life an “it.”

But then, with legs still split
In clamps, I lifted up my head,
And saw there on the table, dead,
A tiny torso, not an “it,” but “she,”
Destroyed, and with her, me.

God Filled Your Bible with Poems —

God Filled Your Bible with Poems

I define poetry as an effort to share a moving experience by using language that is chosen and structured differently from ordinary prose.

Sometimes it rhymes. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it has a regular cadence. Sometimes it doesn’t. But almost always the poet has experiencedsomething — something horrible or wonderful or ordinary — and he feels that he must share it.

Using words differently from ordinary prose is the poet’s way of trying to awaken something of his experience (and perhaps even more) in the reader.

God Speaks in Poems

It has always boggled my mind that so much of the Bible is poetry. God inspired this, and he did not have to do it this way. How much of God’s inspired word is poetry? Leland Ryken answers,

One-third of the Bible is not too high an estimate. Whole books of the Bible are poetic: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon. A majority of Old Testament prophecy is poetic in form. Jesus is one of the most famous poets of the world. Beyond these predominantly poetic parts of the Bible, figurative language appears throughout the Bible, and whenever it does, it requires the same type of analysis given to poetry.

That is a lot of poetry — language that is chosen and structured differently from ordinary prose. God can raise the dead by any means he pleases. He can waken dull hearts to the reality of his beauty any way he desires. And one of the ways he pleases to do it is by inspiring his spokesmen to write poetry.

Resist the Inexpressible

Paradoxically, poetry is an expression of the fact that there are great things that are inexpressible. There is no one-to-one correspondence between the depths of human experience and the capacities of language to capture that experience. There are experiences that go beyond the ability of language to express them.

For the poet, this limitation of language does not produce silence; it produces poetry. Poetry is a kind of verbal resistance to the impenetrability of human experience. The poet will at least try.

Say It with a Poem

For example, can we even begin to imagine what it felt like for the fathers and mothers of the children in Bethlehem to lose their little ones when Herod’s murder squad arrived and slaughtered all of them under two years old? Perhaps not.

But there was one year (inspired by the loss of a son in our church) when I said: I will try. And I will try with a poem. It has come to be called The Innkeeper. I imagine a father who not only lost two sons that horrible night, but also his wife and his arm. He made room for Joseph and Mary. But he had no idea what it would cost him to embrace the Son of God. Jesus comes back to visit him just before going to the cross. The poem describes the meeting.

Slow Communication Is Not Popular

We do not live in a day when poetry is in vogue. Perhaps it has never been in vogue. Shaped by smartphones and soundbites, we are impatient with communication that forces us to slow down.

Poetry, by definition, is a kind of communication that cannot be fully appreciated on the first reading. Suppose a poem has a structure of cadence and rhyme and form. Two or three attempts are needed to make the path familiar enough to allow the eyes to be lifted. Then, when the reader is comfortably in the flow, he begins to see so much more than when he was too distracted by the form.

So poetry books will seldom be best-sellers. And God has mercifully put all kinds of writing in the Bible besides poetry. He knows better than I do that some people prefer stories (like our Gospels) and others prefer arguments (like the epistle to the Romans). So I will understand if you are not a poetry-lover. But don’t limit yourself too quickly. People change. Times change.

This may be the season for you to slow down and reconsider.large_god-filled-your-bible-with-poems-5njw6ccx

WHY? — October 22, 2016

WHY?

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“What is mankind that you make so much of them,
and that you pay attention to them?

 And that you visit them every morning,
and try them every moment?

 Will you never look away from me,
will you not let me alone
long enough to swallow my spittle?

 If I have sinned – what have I done to you,
O watcher of men?
Why have you set me as your target?
Have I become a burden to you?

 And why do you not pardon my transgression,
and take away my iniquity?
For now I will lie down in the dust,
and you will seek me diligently,
but I will be gone.”

WHO AM I? — October 21, 2016

WHO AM I?

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1 Who has believed what we have heard?
And who has the arm of the LORD been revealed to?
2 He grew up before Him like a young plant
and like a root out of dry ground.
He didn’t have an impressive form
or majesty that we should look at Him,
no appearance that we should desire Him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.
4 Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.
6 We all went astray like sheep;
we all have turned to our own way;
and the LORD has punished Him
for3 the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
He did not open His mouth.
8 He was taken away because of oppression and judgment;
and who considered His fate?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
He was struck because of my people’s rebellion.
9 They5 made His grave with the wicked
and with a rich man at His death,
although He had done no violence
and had not spoken deceitfully.
10 Yet the LORD was pleased to crush Him severely.
When You make Him a * restitution offering,
He will see His * seed, He will prolong His days,
and by His hand, the LORD’s pleasure will be accomplished.
11 He will see it out of His anguish,
and He will be satisfied with His knowledge.
My righteous Servant will justify many,
and He will carry their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give Him the many as a portion,
and He will receive the mighty as spoil,
because He submitted Himself to death,
and was counted among the rebels;
yet He bore the sin of many
and interceded for the rebels.

Rejoice Even Though — October 17, 2016

Rejoice Even Though

Facing the Challenges to Joydead-trees

Joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” It’s the emotion we feel when life is good — when the sun is shining, when our team is winning, when we are healthy, happy, and heartened. Most people do not typically speak of the happiness of heartbreak, the pleasure of migraines, or the bliss of losing.

Philippians is the most joyful book in the Bible — the apostle Paul uses the Greek words for joy and rejoicing sixteen times in only 104 verses. And yet he writes from a dingy Roman prison, a place we would typically associate with misery and trial, which most people assume are the opposites of joy. He’s surrounded by every conceivable obstacle to joy, so why does he seem so happy?

Consider the objects of real joy, the reasons for joy, and the challenges to joy — joy in . . . joy because . . . and joy even though.

Joy in Jesus

In Philippians 3:1 and 4:4, Paul commands us to rejoice in the Lord. What does this familiar command mean? For the apostle, “the Lord” regularly means the Lord Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1:2; 3:20; 4:23).

Jesus humbled himself even unto death on a cross, the Father highly exalted him, and all will one day pay homage to his universal reign (Philippians 2:6–11). Rejoicing in the Lord means that these truths about Jesus — who he is, what he has done, and what he will do — personally and profoundly affect us.

Rejoicing in the Lord means knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Treasure. It means he gives us deeper, purer, sweeter, more lasting pleasure and gladness than anything this world has to offer. As Paul says inPhilippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Rejoicing in the Lord means that there is a new song in our hearts — the song of the redeemed — that the din and distresses of life cannot drown out. He is the chief object of our joy.

Joy in One Another

Paul rejoices in the Lord and he rejoices in his people. He thanks God and prays with joy because of their gospel partnership, and he urges them to complete his joy (Philippians 1:3–5; 2:2). In Philippians 4:1, Paul calls these believers “my joy and crown . . . whom I love and long for.”

Rejoicing in other people may seem like a shift from God-centered joy to idolatrous human-centered joy, but it’s not. We rejoice in God’s people for Christ’s sake, celebrating the work that he has done, is doing, and will bring to completion in and through them at the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6).

We rejoice when we see God open people’s eyes to behold the supreme beauty of Jesus when the gospel is preached. We rejoice when we see God answer our prayers for victory over sin, help in trials, and healing from sickness. We rejoice when we see people maturing in their love, holiness, and knowledge of God.

Do you rejoice in God’s people? Are you on the lookout for answers to prayer and evidences of God’s grace in those around you? Do you long for your fellow Christians’ holiness, progress, and joy in the faith more than you crave their approval and applause? We are tempted to compare and compete, and it’s easy to become proud of our accomplishments and relative success. We need humility to look to the interests of others and seek their spiritual maturity and fullness of joy in Christ (Philippians 2:3).

Joy Because

We rejoice because Jesus has decisively delivered us from sin’s penalty and one day will completely deliver us from its reality.

We rejoice because of the good news of what Christ has done already for us. But Philippians stresses the future, not-yet reality of salvation on the day of Christ (Philippians 1:10, 19). We take heart that God will one day vanquish all opponents of the gospel and save his people (Philippians 1:28). We eagerly await a Savior who will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20).

Joy and salvation come together in Philippians 1:18–19: “I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance.” Why? “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Here Paul draws upon the language of Job 13:15–16: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him. . . . This will by my salvation.”

Paul rejoices amid uncertain, unsavory circumstances because his Redeemer lives and he belongs to the risen Christ. Therefore, he cannot be put to shame on the last day. The apostle’s unshakeable confidence in his future salvation completely reframes his perspective on his present struggles and produces deep, abiding joy.

Joy Even Though

Paul calls us to rejoice in the Lord always, which includes painful trials. The New Testament teaches that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before him and that believers’ weeping will one day turn into joy (Hebrews 12:2;John 16:20). Jesus’s pattern of suffering-then-glory is in some sense the script for our lives as well.

For Christians, our Savior already died and rose again victorious, but we havenot yet experienced the fullness of our resurrection hope. We are new creations in Christ, but we live in a world still marred by sin, groaning for full redemption (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:20, 23).

Philippians draws attention to various challenges to joy, such as prison (Philippians 1:13), opponents (Philippians 1:17; 3:2, 18–19), grumbling (Philippians 2:14), and disunity (Philippians 4:2). Paul rejoices in the Lordalways, even though he sits in prison, maligned by his enemies, hearing reports of sin and strife among his friends. His joy is not anchored in circumstances but in his Savior, who will never disappoint him and who will surely deliver him.

Therefore, Christian joy is the great pleasure and happiness that we feel — whether or not the sun is shining, whether or not our team is winning, whether or not we are healthy or hurting — because our redeemer lives, because we belong to him, and because he is making all things new.

When we encounter “even though” challenges, we tend to complain and lose sight of our all-sufficient Savior. We respond like the Israelites who grumbled about food only days after their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 16:1–3). Philippians calls us to rejoice in the Lord always by reframing our present challenges in light of the awesome day of Christ, and to rejoice in God’s people — to take our eyes off of ourselves and pray for and pursue other people’s spiritual maturity and fullness of joy in Christ.

For the depressed… — September 30, 2016

For the depressed…

Shaymâ

  • When you are supposed to be way ahead and you’re way behind and you’re dissed by the secondaries. Just watch. Time would tell.
  • You, my dear, only you can make yourself the best with His help. Don’t let them get to you. You’re the best, yes you are.
  • To those with cholera-infested mouths, beware! Not everything is a person’s handiwork. There’s divine decree in play here.
  • Success in itself is a test which people fail the most. When your success is at hand, my dear, remember you’ve once been at the other end of the table. Don’t allow it intoxicate you. It was never by your power, it was His mercy.
  • Some people have it worse. Patience, Perseverance, Gratitude always.
  • My dear, overlook the disrespect, disappointment, let down looks, insults, assumptions, comparisons. They’d shape you into that “formidable high” you’re going to be.
  • Life isn’t always smooth. It’s a roller…

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IF YOU FORGET ME — June 16, 2016

IF YOU FORGET ME

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I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

 

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