Chosen Friends

by Mary Beth on March 20, 2018

“{Pain} removes the veil, it plants the flag of truth within the

fortress of a rebel soul.”   ~C.S.Lewis

Holy Week or Passion week

we remember our Lord Jesus,

our suffering Servant.

Jesus suffered as a thing to be despised; 

rejected by man, a man of sorrows,

 and familiar with suffering.

The Prince of Peace was viewed as someone punished,

struck by God and brought low.

Son to the mercy of sinners, writes Luther.

                     ~Is. 53:2-5 & Lam. 1: 12, 16, 21

*

-Jesus endured suffering.

 

Even His own disciples failed to understand His mission and kingdom rule,

of sacrificial love for God’s glory. By their actions, they added to His pain.

All the disciples left him and ran away. ~Matt. 26:56

Jesus loved enough to patiently endure this pain of betrayal.

Likewise as followers of Christ, we’ll encounter painful trials of rejection,

betrayal, misunderstandings and “bruising” from those closest to us;

even chosen friends.

*

-We’ll endure suffering, by His grace.

 

As a writer and poet,

  writing Chosen Friends provided

a healing process for me,

 after a painful betrayal

experienced from a friend.

Through the obedient life of our great Shepherd;

His gentle and creative guidance,

specifically while observing Lent-

provided a balm that gently blew a

new perspective into my soul like none other.

From Genesis to Revelation,

we understand the painful depravity experienced within our humanity.

Christ offers His example and strength to love patiently;

to endure trials through prayer, forgiveness, and seek

godly counsel to discern if any response is wise or beneficial.

Often we need to pray with David,

that our words and meditation would be pleasing to the Lord,

especially to navigate through challenging relationships

and in our society that encourages an individualistic and bravado attitude.

Help me to understand such love and courage.

*

Chosen Friends

 

Chosen friends are but trouble,

Unless walking side by side.

The soul exposing an imposter; a double.

Truth that sharpens, cuts and divides.

Many claim boldly to love.

Offering a shadow of service,

What is the kiss?

Betrayal or an honest answer?

Conditional, upon the well they sip.

God of all comfort & compassion oversee,

A boldness must breathe, rest and plea,

Content in our deeper soul, I pray.

Mighty Warrior of the soul,

Tear the veil;

chip away, and awaken our hearts.

Reign through your beauty and art.

                                                                     ~mba

bleeding heart logo

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
                     ~2 Corinthians 3: 17
*

-Perseverance of the Saints

 

“Therefore, my brothers, therefore, sisters dear,
However I, troubled or selfish,  fail in tenderness, or grace, or service clear,
I every moment draw to you more near; God in us from our hearts veil after veil
Keeps lifting, till we see with his own sight, And all together run in unity’s delight.”
~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

 

The gospel message of Christ,

the sacrifice of His life and death on the cross,

speaks volumes about God and His gracious offer both of

forgiving love, and His serious wrath to all sin.

Both love and wrath meet at the cross.

Both mercy and grace join together at the cross of Christ.

God’s tenacious love, truth and merciful call

for our obedience to be holy, will show forth as fruit on a tree.

Job personally and painfully experienced this costly truth,

which sharpened his soul among friends.

*

As Rabbi Abraham Heschel states: 

“Faith like Jobs cannot be shaken

because it is the result of having been shaken.”

 

Our experiences of betrayal or trials

are significant and painful struggles.

Suffering presents a theater of questions

that perhaps encircle our beliefs;

often to potentially shake the foundation of our faith.

How might we be hopeful when the winds blow,

or when we feel like we’re drowning, or the skies darken?

We will stumble. We will err. We will fall. We will grieve.

As Job, how might we learn from the wrestle,

to grow our trust in God’s providential love and watchful care?

To trust within the deep waters,

the hard to understand questions of the soul.

Questions flood into our minds and hearts with a force like an

ocean wave, regarding suffering and His sovereignty;

questions about our eternal God who sees,

knows, and hears all things.

We must encourage one another in His multitude of mercies,

to be among the perseverance of the saints.

Then we’ll proclaim as Job,

“I know that my Redeemer lives.”

*

 “How painful are honest words! 

Does he not see my ways and count my every step?

       If I have walked in falsehood or my foot

has hurried after deceit

—let God weigh me in honest scales and

He will know that I am blameless

                     –if my steps have turned from the path,

if my heart has been led by my eyes,

or if my hands have been defiled,

                      then may others eat what I have sown.”

                                                                       ~Job 6:25, 31: 4-8

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A Cross To Carry

by Mary Beth on March 6, 2018

 Spirit of God influence a tear,

Seize our dedication; restore our soil.

Facilitate our hearts to remain alive, no fear!

A strained response to life’s spoil.

 

Holy guidance yields wisdom in this suffering romance.

Teach us to understand, discipline to discern;

Light before, behind, beneath every portion of experience.

Your power begets purpose,

though we sojourn as interns.

 

We will be seized on our way

In from the peaceful country.

A cross to shoulder day after day,

Apprehended as our high Priest; who sets us free.

 

Sluggard, wise in his own eyes

Prefers the peaceful, country breeze.

Too lazy to follow or his mouth to feed;

City life requires sincerity on her knees.

 

Disciples, pharisees, and weepers alike,

Jesus lives to intercede.

Father forgive them, they do not know,

In paradise we’re remembered as He bled.

 

Servant of all, ransom for many.

Sluggard buries his hand in a dish of anguish.

Suffering will of God to serve any,

Savior buries his life in the Father’s wish, it is finished.

 

Poor in Spirit we struggle to obey,

Carrying our cross to the grave.

We will be seized on our way;

Spirit of God fashion this clay.

                                                ~mba

When enduring a season of trials or suffering,

it’s a great comfort and sustaining strength to know that

Christ not only is with us,

but He invites us to the place where He bears it with us and for us.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,

but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…1 Cor. 18

 

“Beloved, the cross is not made of feathers,

or lined with velvet;

it is heavy and galling to disobedient shoulders;

but it is not an iron cross,

though your fears have painted it with iron colors,

it is a wooden cross, and a man can carry it,

for the Man of Sorrows tried the load. 

Take up your cross,

and by the power of the Spirit of God

you will soon be so in love with it, that, like Moses,  

you would not exchange the reproach of Christ

for all the treasures of Egypt.”       

~Spurgeon, Morning & Evening

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Reflections for Lent

by Mary Beth on February 21, 2018

Heavenly Father,

thank you for new mercies this day.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

Let our souls rise to meet You, as the day will rise to meet the sun.

During the spiritual retreat of Lent,

Thy will be done that I be made like Christ.

Teach and equip us in Your ways;

humbly to follow the path You lead us on.

May our steps of how, when, and where

lead to a greater trust in Christ.

Lord Jesus, we remember

the temptations and testing you encountered and overcame.

Likewise, give us grace to do Your work, Your way.

Have mercy on us towards obedience,

to bear with one another;

to persevere in trials and sufferings;

despite the taunts and doubts from the enemy.

Thank you for the love and support of biblical community.

As we open our arms and hearts to one another,

strengthen us through a bond of peace.

We echo with John Emest Bode:

“O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my guide.
O let me feel Thee near me: the world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear;
My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.”

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