Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love came down

Love came down

Lost in myself
Adrift in me
Loveless and unloved
Though many claimed so.
And some did
In their own way.
Some more than others
Others not at all.
Lost in the flow
Of me and myself.
Unable to steer
A useless rudder,
This stone heart in me.
It cannot change my course.
These oars move nothing
My strength but a breath in the wind,
I was dragged by the torrent
Down towards the falls.
But love came down.
Love melted this rock
That used to be my heart
For the first time
It began to beat
And love flooded this body.
I took my hands off the oars
I knew I could do no more.
His was my strength.
His was my love.
And I began to turn
Into the current.
Others called out
I was crazy, insane,
Unrealistic, wasting my strength.
But I replied it wasn't mine,
I was leant more by another
And I would pull against the current.
I would dig my oars
And cut a new course.
I would follow the wake of another
Who'd ploughed these waters before.
He had made it,
Back to the source
And I would follow.
I would pull against the flow
Knowing I was too weak
To overcome the pull myself
But He,
Oh He,
His strength would be enough.
His love would be enough
Even for me
For this unloved,
For this despised by me,
His love would be enough.
For He was love.
And I looked upstream
And saw His boat,
Ploughing a furrow
Through the choppy waters
And his wake beckoned to me
It reached to me
And it reached right to the falls.
All could turn
and lay down their oars
Before picking them up again,
Not out of necessity
But out of thankfulness
And pure, unadulterated joy.
The journey would take a lifetime,
Yet that rest at the end
Oh hat rest would be sweet!
For there He stood
At journey's end,
Smiling and beckoning to me,
To me!
He waits for me,
His love always enough.
Even for me.
And so I dug my oars
In such sweet joy
And pulled upstream and onwards,
Eyes fixed on my sweet, sweet Jesus.
He was waiting for me,
And I'd see Him soon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Encourage the good

You know that child, don't you? The one in your class that sometimes gives you a headache just thinking about them. The one the other adults talk down when they're not around. Every classroom has one, right? Some of you may be thinking 'only ONE?!'

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

Easy words to palm off or throw away.

This struck me freshly last week and does every day with my class.  With my friends.  With my colleagues.  With my wife.

Sometimes I feel like I'm tuned to the negative things around me.  They're easy to see, because I am a fallen creation.  I have fallen short of perfect standards and I like to point out other people are down at my level.

I can see the imperfect in everyone.  Just ask me and I can think of something.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

But my children need to be shown they have potential.  They need to be reminded when they slip up that I love them.  That I care for them.  That they belong.  For 8 hours from Monday to Friday they are mine.  My children.  Mine to care for.  Mine to nurture.  Mine to encourage.  Mine to lift up when they call themselves rubbish.  Mine to wipe the tears from when a child hits them out of frustration.  Mine to stand with as they rage against things and feelings they don't understand.  Mine to listen to and learn.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And these people around me, my friends, colleagues, family, wife.  These are people precious to me.  And far more to my loving Father.  Yet I knock them down with my eyes.  With my words.  With my actions.  With my inaction in coming to their aid.

These people are precious to me.  Entrusted to me.  Brought alongside me to encourage and bolster, lift up and enable to soar.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

This is a choice I must make.  Yet when I look at myself I know I have no encouragement.  I am selfish.  I serve myself.  Without love, my words tear down.  Yet He is love.  Here is love, vast as the ocean.  Here is my Father, waiting to give me love enough for them.  For the child I find a challenge to teach.  For the colleague I don't know how to speak to.  For the family member who makes me roll my eyes.  Here is love enough for them.  And love enough for myself.  Especially myself.

'Encourage the good wherever you find it.'

And I see the effect of choosing to see the good.  Their eyes are brightened, their attitude changed, their mind opened to see their great potential, lifted from the miasma of self-pity and mental degradation.  Here in a culture of encouragement the enemy has no hold on them.

They know their worth.  They know they are loved.  They know they belong.

And in that they will know His love.  And they will be changed.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Poem: A simple meal

Just a piece of bread,
Or is it something more?
A sip of red wine,
Or a more significant picture?
I tell you I've eaten good foods
A lover of tastes and flavours
That's me.
I love to cook and taste
And nibble and savour
Every morsel and every flavour.
But each was only a bite
A small offering to my rumbling belly.
But each bite of bread,
Thr smallest crust with my family
Reminds me of what you did, Jesus.
How you gave your body for me.
To be scourged and beaten
And nailed to a tree.
And that wine, tangy and sometimes sweet,
Maybe ribena for some tastes.
Each is good and perfect
In the picture it shares.
As Jesus hung up there for me,
His life dripping from him,
He turned to God and simply said
'Forgive them, they don't understand
What they've done.'
And then to a thief,
'Today you'll be with me.'
And not in the grave, but paradise.
In one mind it's a simple snack,
A bite of bread and a sip of the red stuff.
But to me and my family it reminds,
It moves and encourages.
It says I'm not alone, that I'm loved,
That my efforts aren't enough,
But Jesus' were and always will be.
That I am those people watching,
Yet also the thief, who joined Jesus that day.
It reminds me I am His,
a child cherished by an extravagent father.
It reminds me that my troubles are worth it,
That he knows them,
understands them,
Stands with me through them,
Cries with me when I cry,
Smiles when I laugh.
This is my God, my sweet Jesus.
He knew me as I really am
Yet still chose to die for me
So I could rejoin the family
And know his love, purpose and joy.
This simple meal, just a bite and a drink
Reminds me I'm His,
And forever.