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Month: July 2020

Imprecatory Prayers and Poetry

King David, from the Old Testament, wrote many imprecatory prayers, or I would say imprecatory poems, otherwise known as psalms. From my NASB Study Bible, the footnote from Psalms 5:10 states “they are appeals to God to redress wrongs perpetrated against the psalmists by imposing penalties commensurate with the violence done – in accordance also with also with normal judicial procedure in human courts.”

According to Crosswalk, “Imprecations … are found in high poetry and are the product of reasoned meditation (not to mention divine inspiration!).”

Along with being “high poetry,” imprecatory prayers can mean the difference between living or dying. They are reserved for life threatening situations that have no relief available, and must be within God’s will. People praying these prayers have no human recourse for justice – and the evil never stops.

It is an attack not only on the person crying out to God, but an attack on God Himself. Most attacks of this kind are to destroy a person’s God given purpose, a way to shut him up permanently. Today this is extremely pertinent.

It has to be prayed with great humility, relying on the Lord Himself to bring justice and relief from the evil. Rom. 12:19 says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,’ says the Lord.” Humility includes no gloating during and after justice is served, or the Lord could stop his judgment on the evildoers. And if you are in such a state as to need answers to this prayer, relief means no gloating. Joy that the evil is over is very biblical, a way of thanking God for answering prayers.

Many years ago, I spent two weeks in a women’s shelter to get relief from a shaming relationship. The last several years, I am currently surrounded in a situation that requires these type of prayers daily. At the beginning of this current situation, the Lord gave me Psalms 35 to read, verses 26-27 catching my attention. It has been extraordinarily difficult, but God has been good, taking care of the big things and the small details. And I attribute a large portion of my protection to these prayers. As far as poetry, most of my posts tagged under “Empowered Individuals” describe my life in very metaphorical terms.

I feel the Church has, by design, been neutered in spiritual warfare. I believe we are where we are today because the Church is uncomfortable with spiritual warfare. Actually, with any form of power from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). The power is there if we use it according to biblical standards.


I have been hard-hitting this week. I normally like to encourage, but felt led to post the way I have. Tomorrow I will end the week with something light-hearted. Joyful.

FaithPoetry

Proverbial Wisdom

What are worthless and wicked people like?
They are constant liars,
signaling their deceit with a wink of the eye,
a nudge of the foot, or the wiggle of fingers.
Their perverted hearts plot evil,
and they constantly stir up trouble.
But they will be destroyed suddenly,
broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.

Proverbs 6:12-15 TLB

Faith

Walden: An Unknown Prophetic Clip

“I was witness to events of a less peaceful character. One day when I went out to my wood-pile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another. Having once got hold they never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a beellum, a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying, both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely. I watched a couple that were fast locked in each other’s embraces, in a little sunny valley amid the chips, now at noonday prepared to fight till the sun went down, or life went out. The smaller red champion had fastened himself like a vice to his adversary’s front, and through all the tumblings on that field for an instant ceased to gnaw at one of his feelers near the root, having already caused the other to go by the board; while the stronger black one dashed him from side to side, and, as I saw on looking nearer, had already divested him of several of his members. They fought with more pertinacity than bulldogs. Neither manifested the least disposition to retreat. It was evident that their battle-cry was ‘Conquer or die.’ “

Reading

Shame: Not the Final Say

Shaming is just as violent a crime as rioting, and a no touch aspect of it. Just because our bodies are not touched or our possessions are not touched does not mean it isn’t harmful. It is also not limited by the truth – lies can be manufactured to further shame the victim. If phrased graphically, it is a form of mental and emotional rape. However, there are chastity belts available.

I use the term victim here from a dictionary point of view. For if the victim refuses to internalize the shaming and the victim moniker, and has a solid inner core, all shaming attempts will fall on deaf ears.

Looking up to our Creator, Who sees all, keeps us from looking around about us and listening to its poison darts. We are children of God. Psalms 69:17 says, “You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor; All my adversaries are before You.”

I spent two weeks many years ago in a women’s shelter, seeking relief from a shaming relationship. Today, I face shaming attempts on many fronts, but my God keeps my eyes on His prize. And I know I am not alone in this, not by a long shot.

Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.

Isaiah 61:7

Verses are from the NASB.

Faith

Spiritual Journaling Hearth Style

One of the most, if not the most important, aspect to the Christian life is hearing the Lord’s voice. And He communicates in various ways and through various means. Dreams, signs, the Bible (the most important way!), impressions through our soul and mind. He is not a cookie-cutter God; He talks to us in our own individual ways. Since I am a poet, He sometimes sends me to a poem.

But if I don’t record what He says, then I might miss what He is trying to say to me. For sometimes it is a series of things – as the Bible says in part, or confirmations of what He said the first time. Confirmations come as repeated themes in a short time-frame; for me about one to two days. If I don’t record them then I have lost an opportunity to search out what He is trying to say.

Journaling is also not a cookie-cutter activity. I prefer pencil and paper. And scraps until I can permanently record. Dated, sometimes out of order because perfection is not the main goal.

Always it is important to hear Him, but in days like these it is extremely crucial. Stay in the peace that passes understanding.

FaithWriting

First Amendment and the Danbury Baptists

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

1st Amendment of the US Constitution

The Danbury Baptists wrote to Thomas Jefferson, concerned that the state was giving them the right to practice their religion: that it was not a natural – or inalienable right. The first amendment states emphatically that government can not regulate religion but does not state that religion is to be kept out of the public.


U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Dr. Michael Arnheim is a good source for understanding the Constitution. Explains it step-by-step. I am not crazy for the “for Dummies” part of the title, but it is very clearly written. (An aside: Don’t give as a present. I once thought I was helping my mother by giving her one of these books and didn’t realize until later the look on her face when she opened her present.)

Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

What Is Your Reputation?

The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.

But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.

When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.

After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.

I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always known this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.

The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.

And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.

For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Faith

Inspiration Come My Way, Part 2

Part one can be found here.


Trying a new form gives me ideas. Squeezing an idea into a form brings out creativity in problem solving. I am going to try a sonnet for the first time soon. I was overthinking how to work with this form, when it hit me that the iambic pentameter is very close to regular speech so I should just right a line in regular speech and tweak it to fit the form. Stress gone! I find writing poetry is somewhat mathematical.

A few times, inspiration doesn’t look like the classical definition. One poem I was prompted by the Lord to just finish it. I know it was to finish it, but I also feel like the Lord wanted me to speak in a certain area that was best addressed in poetry.

Sometimes poets give me ideas. My favorite book in the bible is the Psalms, so King David inspired me to write a few of my own.

Big issues of the day give me ideas. This is part of the creative process, deciding how to organize a big idea, or condense it down to its bare essence.

The Bible has a plethora of ideas. Themes are timeless and the themes of the Bible can be molded to fit modern day times. I wrote one poem mixing in items from the past into a modern day setting.

And sometimes I just write journal entries to release the thoughts twirling in my head. Most of the time it morphs into a prayer or other ideas.

FaithWriting

Inspiration Comes My Way, Part 1

My inspiration for writing projects usually doesn’t stem from butt-in-chair, or in my case a prop to make my chair more ergonomically fitting. And they almost always don’t come from writing exercises – I have an aversion to these prompts.

Sitting down and writing the types of activities that inspire me deep dives into how I roll. I do get most of my blog posts by butt-in-chair. Which begs the question what is the real difference here? Is it writing small essays vs. fiction? Maybe.

After I got settled here in Oregon, I got most of my inspiration by walking. My haikus usually came to me this way. The beauty of the coastline is great material for these, as well as further inland.

I have reorganized my project starts and finished most of the smaller ones and a few medium sized ones. Finishing them clears room for more inspiration to flow through my head. Too many can overwhelm and freeze my writing. Just a few in my project folders is the right fit.

Part 2 tomorrow…

FaithWriting

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