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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Victorious Response to Hardship

May this Scripture reading and haiku poem influence your response to the difficulties you face in life. These principles sustain and encourage me when I face trial and hardship.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him...Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-5, 12"

"Satan...said,'...Stretch out your hand and touch all that (Job) has, and he will curse you to your face.' And the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.' Job 1:9-12"

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13"

God controls timing
And intensity of pain;
He will not allow

Pain to go beyond
The boundaries He has set.
God has a purpose

For our suffering;
Submit to Him and trust Him --
God plans good for us.

Trying challenges
Provide opportunities
To grow strong in faith.

The Lord demonstrates
His great sustaining power
When we endure pain.

Our difficulties
Are used by God to produce
Christ-like character.

We'll not be alone
When we face difficulty;
God will be with us.

The Holy Spirit
Enables us to survive
And conquer trials.

View ev'ry hardship
As a trial God allows
To achieve vict'ry.

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the Midst of Trial

The recent fires in our community,which consumed 18,964 acres and demolished 76 structures, including 60 homes, and the extended drought in our state have prompted my further reflection upon James 1:2-4,12, which I am sharing with you in a haiku poem.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing...Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4,12"

God is in control --
Even in difficulty,
We trust His wisdom.

God does not ordain
Pain, hardship, and challenges;
He will permit them

To draw us closer
To Him and grow us in faith;
He plans for our good.

In ev'ry trial
God plans a character gem
To be grown in us.

Focus on His love
And provisions when we walk
The path of trial.

Trust and hope in Him;
Live each day in God's presence.
The Holy Spirit

Will comfort in pain,
Encourage when challenged,
Strengthen in weakness.

Strength is not always
Dramatically displayed
With power or force;

Sometimes strength is shown
By determined endurance
In times of trial.

Rejoice in blessings
That accompany suff'ring,
Knowing good will come.

As we are transformed
Into the image of Christ,
We'll reflect His joy.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Wildfires

With wildfires raging all around us, our community is in the grip of uncertainty. Watching the news, gazing at the clouds of smoke billowing on the horizon, smelling the burning timber, and being rained upon with ashes cause us to realize that our earthly possessions--yes, even our life itself--can be snuffed out in seconds. Everything we possess can be destroyed in a moment.

This past week my writing students composed haiku poetry. The classical structure of the Japanese 17th century style consists of three lines per verse, the first and third lines consisting of five syllables, and the second line containing seven syllables. Jett Shipper, a seventh grade student at Salem Lutheran School, poignantly captured the emotions of the week in a three-line haiku poem entitled "Fire!" Jett also utilized the figurative language of onomatopoeia, which is the use of words that imitate sounds. Jett has given permission to have his poem published here.

(Jett had a picture of a house fire inserted here that I am unable to copy onto the blog, unfortunately.)


By: Jett Shipper
September 6, 2011

Ouch! The fire’s hot.
Wow! The house goes up in flames.
Dang! The house is gone.

Even in these anxious days, we have the certainty of God's loving relationship with us, His children. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress...or danger...?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life...nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39"

Therefore, in the midst of our perilous days, we have the assurance that our lives are in the grip of a faithful God who loves and cares for us. Even when the foundation of our home crumbles in flames, we can respond with strength knowing that the foundation of our life is built on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ. In the midst of disaster, we can find security in the arms of the Almighty God.

"I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' Psalm 91:2"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Art Association Poetry

Today my writing students wrote art association poetry where they chose a famous painting and listed different sensory associations encouraged from the artwork. I chose this activity for them, because one of the major ways writers gain their ideas is through the association process. Writers think of one thing that leads them to think of something else which, in turn, leads them to think of something else and, at last, they think of just the right idea that grabs their interest and fosters creative energy.

With her permission, I am posting an art association poem written by sixth grade student, Nicole Grant.

Painting by Norman Rockwell
Poem by Nicole Grant

Longing to Be Who I’m Not

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see me,
But I want to look like Bailey;
Bailey is so pretty –
She lives in the city;
I wish I was her,
But I look like a blur
As I gaze in the mirror
Longing to be who I’m not.

I pause to realize
How special I really am:
God made me the way that I am
So I look into the mirror again
And I am content.

Psalms 139:14
I praise you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Home

Our dream home that was built by Dean Gaertner
Has blessed many in its twenty-three years,
Offering selfless service and fellowship
To dignitaries, family, and precious peers.

It's been a place of peace and a fountain of joy
Providing a stable, dependable harbor
For our children and grandchildren through the years:
An oasis of unconditional love and nurture,

A spiritual haven and inspiring respite,
Center of healing for body, spirit, and soul...
A sanctified home where God's love and grace dwell,
And a place of visioning toward a heavenly goal.

Soon our children will leave this tranquil setting
To establish their own Christian home,
Demonstrating responsible independence
And making the world a better place. Shalom!

No longer will we need a home to house a large family.
Is it time to let this home we love bless another family
While we move into a smaller domicile,
Creating a new location of serenity?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Father Knows Best

Today, I am introducing a new style of poetry to this writing blog. The poetry that I have posted on this writer's blog in the past has been Haiku Poetry, which expresses a single thought in verses with three nonrhyming lines: the first and third lines have five syllables each; the second line has seven syllables.

Today, I am posting another style of writing called Clerihew Poetry, which tells a brief story about a person, with the person's name appearing in the first line. Traditionally the rhyming pattern is AABB. However, a different rhyming pattern can be selected. I have chosen the rhyming pattern of ABCB with the first and third lines of each verse having eight syllables and the second and fourth lines of each verse having seven syllables.

The Bible verses that are my inspiration for today's poem are Isaiah 30:21 and Romans 8:28.

"And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21"

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28"

My heavenly Father knows best --
He knows what is best for me.
He knows my talents, weaknesses,
And all that captivates me.

He knows my inner thoughts and deeds
And listens to ev'ry prayer;
He knows the details of my life
And has planned for me with care.

He formed me in my mother's womb,
He's walked beside me each day;
He knows my life experiences
And watches me work and play.

His plans for me are formed with love.
He gives me free will to choose
To follow His plans faithfully
Or to step away and lose.

God teaches me to trust His way
And surrender before Him,
Humbly trusting Him and yielding
My will and timing to Him.

God always keeps His holy Word;
In ev'ry difficulty
I can anticipate the good,
Obey, and wait patiently.

My Father knows what's best for me;
Plans He's made are beautiful.
I'll listen and walk in His will
And reap blessings bountiful.