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With Us This Love

From reading John 6:37-40

Of the infinite the Father has given the Son,
an equally everlasting, loving reaction
is that the Anointed will raise it all up.
He has already started, before eternity’s origin,
when the decision was made to let Jesus descend
into His own body, formed in a Virgin,
now seated at the Father’s right hand, glorified,
this completed the Son, not yet His Bride.
Still, Abba’s will is that whomever He makes to thirst,
as part of His promise, shall not be lost on earth.
All glory to God’s sovereign priority,
that losers of grace are won back by belief!
For we are the Father’s own gift to Jesus,
Giver telling the Spirit to share with us this love.

With us this love that forever shall shine,
in the City on a Hill at the end of man's time,
salt with a savour which taste finds new strength
every moment before the Savior's Face.
 

Cause and Gift

A reflection on the Grace of God vs. the Law of Sin and Death

Now that I know
effect and toll,
the cause and the gift
of grace conquers sin.

I felt in my bones
obligations and rules,
like sands seeping 'tween fingers,
where joy, not for long, lingered.

But then, I saw the Cross,
heard how much it cost
for Jesus to bear
sin's penalty there.

Such a cause and gift
offered through resurrection,
ascension to heaven,
where at the Right Hand He sits!

Jesus' scars of the hand
pressed against my scars--I'm glad
for how forgiveness
comes from a personal plan.
 

Straight Street

(after reading Acts 9:1-31)   He came to Damascus,
to Straight Street to ask us,
"Do you follow the Christ?"   Thus Paul became an apostle,
appointed to jostle
us further from a slumber of lies.   Truth is we did not
consider grace so strong
that Messiah could speak to such kind.   But as we, too, were pursued
with wills which God slew,
scales still fall, grace touches our eyes.     The Church sees harassment down to this day,
Christ still says, "Why this to me?"
We must speak to pursuers, "Do you chase the Ruler?"
Pray Jesus so speaks, they receive.   Christ daily walks through Straight Street, calls us to stand strong and confess, "We believe!"    
 

Society of the God-loved

1 John 4:7-10   "Society of the God-loved" is what the breathing-Church should be called,
because He first loved us, that is our witness, after all.
Faith, being a relation rather than position,
works intertwined, recoiling from religion.
Whether High Church or Low, the Mighty One dwarfs our presentations,
a giant relief and release from pretension.   
Believe in the Son-come as man, mesh like He
did with the worshipers and unbelieving.
Called-out-ones shall be recognized as having been called
by the attention they give to the shout making whole.
 

Where is Your Treasure?

. . . thinking about:    For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also ~ Matthew 6:21 (KJV)   And the "Parable of the Talents" - Matthew 25:14-30   Where is your treasure,
where is your hope,
the currency of faith
the Lord Jesus bestowed?
Is it tied to ultimate things?
Did you fall for the
"Heavenly-minded is hardly living"?
See, fruit of the Spirit
is the swagger of Heaven
reaching down, enriching
all that we own.
Once the momentum
is felt from forgiveness,
what have we?
How can we
treasure, our Home?
 

The Call of Mercy

(see 2 Thessalonians 3:5)

Sometimes, Lord Jesus, when it is quiet,
I ask, "When lately have You called out to me?"
But then I hear You when beholding the Cross,
and scold myself, "What was I ever musing?"

It's so easy to forget, though You shook history
by dying for sins, everyone a foe
of your good grace until grand mercy
stares us in the face and our knees begin to buckle.

If I think of your mercy without what You suffered,
what do the nail prints in your hands mean now?
How patiently You endured every affliction,
this means that You love me, within my own!

Now that You are Risen,
suffering has a sane dimension.
Beyond your agony,
my light trials seem ecstasy.
Besides, your joy smiles at us, deeply in the Spirit,
and tells us, "Peace!", so we more than bear it.
 

Old Saints, New Life

When I recently read the verse that I bold below, I immediately took stock of a primary motivation in my life, which is to find, exhort to and commune within mutual devotion to our Lord and God, Messiah Jesus.   There is nothing so freeing as living "in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24)   It gives us new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord - 1 Thessalonians 3:8 (NLT)   I thrilled at the pride of my mamma and papa,
when they said without words, "He is growing up".
How they gave me space in my heart for their boundaries,
it felt like a universe though I stayed under their wing.
Now, my dear brother, now sister, you
all, I hope you go further as you grow in truth.
For I really live when I see the Church
knitted together to form a Spirit-filled purse
emptied out, filled-up as fast as her love,
inspired by devotion to the Risen One. 
 

Moments in Christ

These are moments to remind
but for now I want to give,
be in motion with the Divine,
prove how You grace the cognitive.    
 

Soulitude

Craft a quiet song soul, one that can be sung in solitude,  so you can cull from reliance grace because without props or reinforcements you consecrate space  which Spirit and Truth fill up; let your mouth open lips, chant a psalm like the first time you sang an alma mater at school, enjoy the belonging mystery of Christ’s love in you.
 

How Do I Know?

After reading Psalms 81, Psalms 88, and Psalms 92 . . . with a focus on Psalms 81:6-7 (NKJV):   I removed his shoulder from the burden;
His hands were freed from the baskets. You called in trouble, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.   How do I know there is no God but You? You took my shoulder from the burden slavery knows. You took my hands away from impossible works, from a basket of lies about my worth and Yours. Only, You were mightier than the waves around me. Therefore, I removed other gods, 'cause they cannot hear praise. But, bare shoulders are like the man freed from strong demons, who swears to never let them re-track. so he takes up the offer of Jesus, [1] Who places His yoke on the top of our backs, blessing of obedience within liberty, Glory's weight. Be glad, my soul, for what holiness exacts! _____________________ [1] Luke 11:24-26
 

Love of His Might

This my anguish,
these are my fears,
but Lord, I remember
your right hand across years,
in many of which
people said I was gone,
but man's "Impossible"
is a done deal with God.* Lord, what is it
that You want from me?
A voice that reflects
a soul on its knees,
asking for your goodness,
recalling your ways,
saying You have not forgotten,
while riding provision's waves. God struck the rock,**
Jesus, and such
was the outpouring
at Pentecost,
the Bread of Life,
Food for all time,
fed us across the Jordan,
provokes love of His might.
__________
* Luke 18:27
** Immediately thinking of Psalms 78:17-20 -- but also pondering Isaiah 53, about the sacrifice of the Son of God on our behalf I wrote the above after reading Psalms 77 and Psalms 78.  I picked up on two things that we can learn from the Psalmist:  honesty and reverence.  While writing, I was also reminded of these exhortations from the Apostle Paul:   Romans 15:4 (KJV):  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 1 Corinthians 10:11 (KJV):  Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
 

Syllables

. . . after reading 1 Chronicles 1-3 today   I read the begats in the Bible today,
and it struck me that the reading of every name
set up a moment that put it to humanity's care
to mark what obedience to Jehovah would bear,
salvation for those whose hearts did not stray
away from the covenant shown by Abraham's faith,
or curse at the core of one's bitter fruit
from tasting forbidden things, nameless pursuits.
Some names seemed odd, some odder even,
but each syllable of a lone person given
moved me the reader to one strange conclusion,
that modern monikers are known, too, by the Lord's choosing,
and each one is precious, enough to die for.
Do the syllables of our names say, "I Love You Lord"?
 

His Hands, His Feet, His Side

They say, "Take the Christ from the Cross",
Paul embraced the beams; Moses lifted it up.                                                    [1]
Resurrection gave the willing the right                                                                 [2]  
to look at the Cross, say, "It is alright!"
Cause holes in His hands and His feet and His side
keep the message from slipping, widens our lives.
Be glad Thomas pressed the issue so far,                                                            [3]
evidence  of holes in the Risen One fills up whom we are. -------------------------------- [1] 1 Corinthians 2:2 and 1 Corinthians 1:18; Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:14-15
[2] John 3:16 and Revelation 22:17
[3] John 20:24-29      
 

Our Bad, Good News

Christ did not earn praise,
He simply has it.
In having, He reveals Himself,
our praise bursts forth, up-rachets.
We could not earn grace,
so God gladly gave it.
We could not desire grace,
Jesus worked it to us.
We did not wake up
feeling the bed of faith;
we were adopted
brought home, to Abba's way.
The world cannot purchase
the right to debate.
The Maker thus sends us
to pick up pieces, engage,
telling the world,
"It has been everyone's bad,
"but here is Good News,
"far from a new headline,
"it's a new publication,
"one that earns readership
"from how it frees,
"listen to it for now,
"then freely take up, read."
 

This Thing Called Trust

After reading Romans 4:20-21 (KJV):
20 He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Every day, some fault wagers against my mind
that I am going to stagger, for a moment be blind.
Abraham, how did you do it,
believing so many years,
to the extent that your hope
gave you an edge to assure?

This thing called "trust"
must be coddled like a baby from the first,
fed and held when the arms of thrashing flesh fusses,
waiting for the joy of childlike confidence to burst.*

I can't wrestle against angels like jostling Jacob**
nor take a fleece out like guessing Gideon.***
I need an answer, tomorrow and today,
I'm going to trust God till this walking vision
bleeds, if that's what it takes,
over into my character like religion.
_________
* Matthew 18:2-4
** Genesis 32:22-31
*** Judges 6:36-40  

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Winter Race

Barren forests act like Oz,
full of air, the curtains pulled.
Not so daunting for pilgrims now,
forced by birth to walk through, barefoot.
But, this is still a gift of life,
this winter advantage should make us pick up pace
before snows drift, suddenly waist-deep.
See, there are select times of relief!
Silhouettes of prison bars
from small, skinny trees show on our shirts
when we dart amidst bushes which mock leaves,
claiming for themselves more coverage we yet barely see.
Grace this winter sets us free,
engrossed in the race through the trees.*
________
* 2 Timothy 4:7 and 1 Corinthians 9:24

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Faith & Reason

(Isaiah 1:16-20)   The reason why is the reason You ask me to think about your ways, of my trust in You, more mental than some spiritual gaze   From point to point, Lord, You say if I have a fairness toward You and all the oppressed,* there is a rightful division, and sin will be cleansed within right living of the repentant.   Jesus, I like to think that your thinking is grace with an invite. Savior, if it pleases You that I think with You, and reason, together, day and night, red will be white by the Blood cast on our pale souls to bring us to Light, thinking with hope.** ________ * Matthew 25:24-27 and Luke 15:17-24 ** Colossians 1:27

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

The Body

How does the Spirit see skin, a covering for hearts? A curtain covering to sin, paper over virtue's art? A camouflage for hiding  from the culture of God? A thin excuse for autonomy  or group on sod?   I will tell my Father frankly that skin reveals many lives in need of Him, And I am so glad for the Body, the Head--His Face, for the one new man covered by grace. All colors converge in the anointing, tied by the Blood revealing a messianic, peculiar race, of mind one. 

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Spirit-on-soul

At the time of this offering,
Jesus, You reign,
Incarnate King Who died and rose again.
Troublemaker Jacob had tricks,
but You pulled the red wool
of undying love over us,
shown at the cross,
freeing us from satan for good.   At the moment you came
back to Heaven from earth,
You began to give Father our prayers.
Petitions uttered in your ever-right-minded will are heard by our Abba,
as welcome family appeals.   In the times when we pause,
and we stand still where we are
to consider your ways,
it is then that we most notice
that your majesty is a
Spirit-on-soul experience,
granted to all the faithful 
--but as precious as if 
it were discovered by one.
And that is why "where to or three are gathered" rings true,*
this miracle of the complementary "us" as the body
means that Christ the Head
reigns now, in the midst of
reconciled individuals.** Whether we are isolated at Patmos or "sabbathing" together  at the piedmont of Mount Zion,***
the primary vision is the same,
"Christ in you, the hope of glory"+
_________
* Matthew 18:20
** 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
*** Hebrews 12:18-24
+ Colossians 1:27

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Pen Men

. . . and women   I used to worry about my soul when I saw my country falling, and your grace couldn't come sooner, there is universal stumbling. Lord, I guess it all started when Cain took to killing before words became fatal where so many fingers are willing.   The wind has drafts from which we take shelter. Should we hide in the Lord's hut* if our writing hurts weather? When finally our scribing releases thoughts that heal, the only fighting will be with angels we wrestle.   Pen men on a ship, disembarking on the enemy's inlet, What ink we have from decks of seasoned obedience, will be taking prisoners when our words make them listen. ________ * Psalm 23:6

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Do I?

(after reading this blog post by David Ettinger: https://www.christianwriters.com/threads/“we-want-that-life-not-this-one”.63802/#post-454118)   Do I want this life more than that one, is eternal life my view? Is the Christ now my anointing, do I carry my cross, endure?   Do I nurture the temptations which try to nest on me? Do I instead insist my pillow be God’s will and not my “Please”?   Do I count my goals as rubbish if these exclude seeking the Son? Am I enlisted in the march toward rewards of New Jerusalem?   Is my heart now set on this, that He is my Recompense and Is? Is, now, my purpose to obey, to honor Christ in what I do, and think and say?

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Shadowdance

If this is not the end times, God must want it soon. Guess His heart to keep on saving holds back the wedding tune.   What kind of groom would keep on waiting years beyond the deal? Abba Father and Jesus must be One, Spirit-filled.   Just that it amazes me, though I have been there, too, to see Scriptures so ignored, twisted for one’s use.   But this often how love letters meet the public eye. Intimate conversation between communicants can’t lie.   If this is not the end times, I’ll remember that one blink can be too long for Father to tell His Son, “Marry!”, with a wink.   End time swoon, when the Lord of all creation sweeps His Bride up for good.   Virgin lamps, burning so, they make shadows dance, companions for a Bridegroom.

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Zealot

It's hard not to be a zealot, when most parties promise a kingdom, partisan preaching on altars near malls, tribal chants streaming, riding internet squalls.   What if we saw only "Likes" from our Maker, would people be so quick to join all the haters? Maybe we aren't cruel, and maybe we try to be fair. But then, why do we act like only one side cares?   No side can stand before Omnipotent God, Who says to love one another, as Jesus loved us. And after we stagger, tired from much ministry, we'll shun the crowds for a greater glory.   I'm a citizen somewhere, by the will of man, maybe "One man, one vote", whatever cards in my hand given to me, but only one game I play, 52-pickup if it's against my King.   Leave it all, answer the call.* And if you have to join any man's cause, remember, for good or bad, every deed will be judged. ________ * Luke 5:11   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua5a-3861xs

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Fake News & Faith

Our trust in Christ rests on the fact that He is genuine. He is "I Am". The real deal. We might bring subjectivity to the Faith, but that is while God, through Christ, is trying to wrap His truth around us. In the process, we are cautioned that there is a place where serving Caesar is legitimate, even God-ordained.   We must interact with Caesar in a wise way; his realm is problematic and strewn with fakery, but we are told to serve in that arena, regardless. Therefore, we should be careful that our cynicism about the political process not consume our primary passion, our God-given ability to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. Otherwise, the lack of objective fruit in our lives becomes the ultimate fake news.   Jesus warned that we must not position ourselves in a way that we effectively become flavorless salt. So, let's be careful that the volume of our dismay at the double-mindedness of this world not dim the message of hope that "has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit". Such dismay might be concerns about or even revulsion at political processes and allied social movements.   Christ in us, our hope of glory, is the primary mover and shaker. If we do not live in this reality, idols in the form of ideas become more than fake. They become an obsession, a place where faith cannot minister.

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Birthday

This birth, man's will. One higher? Where God heals, awakening a spirit by a new breath, Life, by His.   Here mother, there father. We leave them, they leave us for spouse covenant, for Heaven. New Birth says we're not forsaken.   This day like another, mortal in its humdrum, immortal in the cover of best wishes from the Son.

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

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