Tuesday, April 21, 2009


"man. . .but a particle of Thy creation"

"Thou awakest us
to delight in Thy praise;
for Thou madest us for Thy self,
and our heart is restless,
until it repose in Thee."

"For who is the Lord
but the Lord?
or who is God
save our God?
Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent;
most merciful, yet most just;
most hidden, yet most present;
most beautiful, yet most strong;
stable, yet incomprehensible;
unchangeable, yet all-changing;
never new, never old;
all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud,
yet they know it not.
ever working, ever at rest;
still gathering, yet nothing lacking;
supporting, filling, and overspreading;
creating, nourishing, and maturing;
seeking, yet having all things.
Thou lovest, without passion;
art jealous, without anxiety;
repentest, but grievest not;
art angry, yet serene;
changest Thy words, Thy purpose unchanged;
receivest again what Thou findest,
yet didst never lose;
never in need, yet rejoicing in gains;
never covetous, yet exacting usury.
Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe,
and who hath aught that is not Thine?
Thou payest debts, owing nothing;
remittest debts, losing nothing.

"Behold, Lord, my heart is before Thee;
open Thou the ears thereof,
and say to my soul,
I am thy salvation.

recent reading

i have recently read two books which were a great encouragement to me. one was roots of endurance by john piper. the other was not by chance by layton talbert.

both are sober yet joyful reading, substantial encouragement for anyone facing any difficulty.

to leave or not to leave

yesterday my husband read me a quote from an article in "today's christian preacher". the section of the article from which he quoted dealt with the need for a minister to be careful not to leave a ministry too hastily.

i read the article for myself, and here is the gist of the quote, "many times the advice of a small representative group of spiritual leaders can accurately reflect the church's sense of God's will in the matter." however, the author cautions, "care should be taken to make sure the input is not just from a small 'anti-pastor' group of men vocal enough to make it seem that they represent the majority. i feel sure that many a pastor has left his church feeling that most of the people wanted him to leave even though the great majority of the congregation was deeply disappointed by his departure."

the author was john dodd. the creative capitalization is my own.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


electric power
horse power
fire power
atomic power

the power of the tongue,
the spoken word,
or the written word

some say that gossip is powerful

but infinitely more
is the power of the resurrection

Monday, April 13, 2009


i found this quote at this site:

"William Stafford (I think, maybe) wrote that in a fundamental way, all words rhyme because any two words are more like each other than they are like silence."

Saturday, April 11, 2009


consider this:

the Pharisee of the Pharisees
was also
the chief of sinners.

part 3: leprosy and me

so there was a spot,
red and inflamed,
that burned within my soul.
it was more than skin deep.
it penetrated to the very core of my being.

envy raged
as i compared my lot
with others'.
why do they prosper
and succeed,
i wondered in frustration,
when i am silenced
and ignored?

why does he get more prominence?
why is she recognized?

as i identified my problem
and saw the probable diagnosis
--bitter jealousy,
selfish ambition,

i went to the priest
for counsel,
hoping against hope.
but in the quiet moments of solitude
i recognized the infection that raged in my soul.
i knew the rebellion against God.
i saw the uncleanness,
the defilement.
i despaired.
how could i be cured?

the priest looked on me.
"you are unclean," he gravely said.
something within me tore in grief,
and i covered my mouth
and the word tore from my heart:
and i went through the streets
aware of my isolation
even when in the midst of the crowd.

but i knew of a Man,
they said He had power
to cure and to cleanse.

so i went to Him,
begging for mercy.
and He looked on me
with unfathomable compassion.

He healed me
with His word,
making me pure,
full of mercy,
full of goodness,

He is the bird slain in the running water,
the cedar is His cross,
the hyssop is the bitterness of His sufferings for me,
the scarlet thread is the spilling of His blood--
but i am the bird set free in the field.

He is the offering for my sin, my guilt, my peace.

to Him i dedicate my entire being--
heart, soul, mind, and strength!

part 2: leprosy, a history

so generation followed generation.

most people went on with their daily lives,

some contracted leprosy,
and lived and died
in their personal tragedy.
families grieved
while carrying on with life.

a few contracted leprosy
as a sobering lesson,
afflicted by God
as the consequence of their own stubborn rebellion.

moses' own sister miriam was a leader in Israel
during the exodus
and during the wanderings.
then she criticized her brother
because she thought
he was taking too much authority and power from her.
and she didn't like his wife.
God summoned miriam and aaron and moses
and visited with them.
as His holy presence withdrew,
aaron and moses looked with horror at miriam.
she was leprous.
and though moses interceded,
miriam bore her punishment
for three days,
ostracized and outcast.

centuries later
king uzziah was making sweeping reforms in israel,
re-establishing the worship of Yahweh
and leading the people in a nation-wide revival.
he rejoiced in all that was being accomplished.
then the thought entered his mind
that he would like to lead the people in worship
by burning the incense
in God's holy temple.
but God had designated the priests alone
to burn the incense.
uzziah took the censor
and entered the temple.
he was met by a group of priests
who forbade him to transgress
the boundaries God had given him.
uzziah became visibly furious,
but before he could respond,
God intervened.
uzziah became a leper
and lived in isolation
for the remaining years of his life.

naaman, an assyrian general,
was plagued with leprosy.
through an israeli captive whom he had enslaved,
he learned of a man who served the living God, elisha,
who might be able to help him.
so he made the trip,
and was told to immerse in the jordan,
and was miraculously healed.
though he desired to give the prophet a generous gift,
elisha declined,
and naaman went on his way,
returning home.
but gehazi, elisha's servant,
disapproved of elisha's refusal,
and following naaman,
told him that elisha had some unexpected guests
and he needed some of that clothing
and some of that money
after all.
naaman gladly gave him all he desired,
and gehazi returned
and hid the goods.
but God knew,
and cursed him and his descendants
with leprosy.

centuries more passed.
the Son of God came
and with His unlimited power
cleansed lepers of their disease.
all who came to Him,
He restored to health
and life.
oh, the joy they felt
as their physical and emotional suffering
was alleviated.
they went to the priest
so he could go through the rituals
that would establish their new status
in society.
they were whole and restored.

and the sacrifices were offered.
a bird slain,
some cedar,
some hyssop,
some scarlet string,
and bird set free over the field.

offerings for sin,
for guilt,
for peace.

a dedication
of the leper
to Yahweh.

part 1: leprosy diagnosed

so God spoke to Moses
and told him about leprosy.

if someone had a spot,
an infection
that went beneath the surface of the skin,
he was went to the priest.

the priest examined him
and quarantined him.

for a week he sat in isolation
with thoughts vacillating between hope and despair
as he observed the spot
and contemplated his future.
would he be an outcast?
could he go back to normal life?
oh, the everyday burdens and irritations
seemed beautiful
and welcome!
he wondered about God--
did God care?
would God heal?

the priest returned.
"it is leprosy".

the leper torn his clothes in grief.
he covered his mouth and went through the streets.
the word tore from his lips
expressing fathomless anguish
as he left the village,
the city that had been his home.

as he sat in isolation
his despair turned to acceptance
and he wondered about the ritual
for the cleansing of a cured leper.
the bird slain and the bird set free,
the cedar, the hyssop, the scarlet thread.
the offerings for sin and guilt and peace.
the final rejoicing.