Pause for Poetry-Be Not Anxious

mountain lake

Be Not Anxious

Annie Johnson Flint

I cannot change the yesterday when I distrusted Thee,

Though all my fears unfounded proved, and shame me now as then;

I cannot promise that my faith will last throughout the night,

Or that, when Thy tomorrow comes, I will not doubt again.

But grant, O faithful Lord and true, that I may trust Thee now,

Just now, each moment of each hour of this Thy present day;

That, looking backward, I may read the record of the past,

And, forward, see Thy steadfast word light all the future way.

With Memory to guard the rear and Faith to lead the van,

And all Thy tested promises like beacon lights to shine,

How can I dread that demon shape of anxious, faithless fear?

For he shall lose his power when I fully trust in Thine.

Annie Johnson Flint

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You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Count It Done

Count It Done

Annie Johnson Flint

A father wrote to his son, who was faraway from home;
“I have sent you a beautiful gift, it may be delayed, but ‘twill come;

It is what you have wanted most, and have asked for many days;”
And before the child received the gift he voiced his thanks and praise.

Our Father saith unto us: “Your need shall be supplied;
Ask and receive that your joy be filled, and My joy in you abide.”

Shall we wait to thank till we see the answer to every prayer?
Forbear to praise till we feel the lifted pressure of care?

Nay, let us trust His word and know that the thing is done,
For His promise is just as sure as a father’s to his son.

Annie Johnson Flint

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You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-In Bethlehem

In Bethlehem

Annie Johnson Flint

‘Twas night in little Bethlehem,
All calm and clear and mild,
And tenderly, with voice and touch,
A mother soothed her child;
“Sleep, little one, the day is done,
Why do you wake so long?”
“Oh, mother dear, I seem to hear
A wondrous angel song.”
“Not so, my son, my precious one,
‘Twas but the wind you heard,
Or drowsy call of dreaming bird,
Or osiers by the streamlet stirred
Beneath the hillside trees;
Some bleating lamb that’s gone astray,
Or traveler singing on his way
His weariness to ease.
Rest, little son, till night is done,
And gloomy darkness flees.”
Yet while she spoke the shepherds ran
In haste the road along,
To find the Mother and the Babe,
For they had heard the song.

“Rest, little son, the night’s begun,
Why do you toss and sigh?”
“A brighter star than others are,
O’er yon low roof hangs nigh.”
“Not so, my son, my darling one,
I see no gleaming star
That shines more bright than others are;
‘Tis but a lamp that burns afar,
Or glow-worm’s wandering spark;
Some shepherd’s watch-fire in the night,
Or traveler’s torch that blazes bright
To cheer him through the dark.
Sleep, little son, till night is done,
And upward springs the lark.”
Yet, while she spoke, three kings had come,
Three kings who rode from afar,
To lay their gifts at Jesus’ feet,
For they had seen the star.

And so today, beside our way,
The heavenly portents throng,
Yet some there be who never see
The Star, nor hear the Song.

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You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Mary and Martha

Mary and Martha

Annie Johnson Flint

Martha was busy and hurried,
Serving the Friend divine,
Cleansing the cups and the platters,
Bringing the bread and the wine;
But Martha was careful and anxious
Fretted in thought and in word,
She had no time to be learning
While she was serving the Lord,
For Martha was “cumbered” with serving,
Martha was “troubled” with “things” –
Those that would pass with the using –
She was forgetting her wings.

But Mary was quiet and peaceful,
Learning to love and to live.
Mary was hearing His precepts,
Mary was letting Him give –
Give of the riches eternal,
Treasures of mind and of heart;
Learning the mind of the Master,
Choosing the better part.

Do we ever labor at serving
Till voices grow fretful and shrill,
Forgetting how to be loving,
Forgetting how to be still?
Do we strive for “things” in possession,
And toil for the perishing meat,
Neglecting the one thing needful –
Sitting at Jesus’ feet?

Service is good when He asks it,
Labor is right in its place,
But there is one thing better –
Looking up into His face;
There is so much He would tell us,
Truths that are precious and deep;
This is the place where He wants us,
These are the things we can keep.

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You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-But God

But God

Annie Johnson Flint

I know not, but God knows;
Oh, blessed rest from fear!
All my unfolding days
To Him are plain and clear.

Each anxious, puzzled “Why?”
From doubt or dread that grows,
Finds answer in this thought;
I know not, but He knows.

I cannot, but God can;
Oh, balm for all my care!
The burden that I drop
His hand will lift and bear,

Though eagle pinions tire —
I walk where once I ran —
This is my strength, to know
I cannot, but God can.

I see not, but God sees;
Oh, all-sufficient light!
My dark and hidden way
To Him is always bright.

My strained and peering eyes
May close in restful ease,
And I in peace may sleep;
I see not, but He sees.

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You can find my August Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-He Giveth More Grace

He Giveth More Grace

Annie Johnson Flint

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labours increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

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Sandy

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You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Answers to Our Prayers

A devotion in Streams in the Desert is the basis for today’s post. The first line says, “Often it is simply the answers to our prayers that cause many of the difficulties in the Christian life.”

Think about that statement for a moment, won’t you?

After considering the thought, do you agree? On the surface, it might make us question praying at all if praying leads to difficulties.

However, looking at the statement closer, it really makes sense.

If our goal is to become more and more like Christ, then the things in us which aren’t Christ-like need to be removed. I don’t know about you, but it has been my experience that this removal process often causes discomfort.

We pray for patience…God sends situations into our lives that push us to our limit.

We pray to be unselfish…God presents opportunities to sacrifice for others.

We pray for humility…and as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12, God sends a “messenger from Satan” to beat us up and keep us from becoming too proud.

We pray for increased faith…God tests our faith and dependence on him to the point of breaking.

We pray for gentleness…God sends situations which make us want to respond harshly.

We pray for a loving spirit…God sends the most annoying people ever into our lives.

We pray for peace…God sends storms which threaten to pull us under.

When we pray, we can be assured nothing reaches us our Loving Father didn’t plan or permit. And in the planning and permitting, God desires our best in his answers to our prayers.

Even when he answers in ways which are difficult.

I believe this poem by Annie Johnson Flint sums it all up.

Better Than My Best

Annie Johnson Flint

I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile
All sense of nearness, human and divine;
The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart,
The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;
But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,
The everlasting arms upheld my own.

I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds,
The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,
The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,
And all my little candle flames burned out;
But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night,
The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.

I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,
A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose;
Above my head the skies were black with storm,
And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;
But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew,
I heard His voice and perfect peace I knew.

I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,
Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;
Giver of good, so answer each request
With Thine own giving, better than my best.

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But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:25-28 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Pause for Poetry-The Way of the Cross

The Way of the Cross

Annie Johnson Flint

Some of us stay at the Cross,
Some of us wait at the tomb,
Quickened and raised with Christ
Yet lingering still in the gloom.

Some of us bide at the Passover Feast
With Pentecost all unknown:
The triumphs of grace in the heavenly place
That our Lord has made our own.

If Christ who had died had stopped at the Cross,
His work had been incomplete.
If Christ who was buried had stayed in the tomb,
He had only known defeat.

But the Way of the Cross never stops at the Cross,
And the way of the tomb leads on
To victorious Grace in the heavenly place,
Where the Risen Lord has gone.

 

Our Sacrificial Lamb

©Frances Gregory Pasch

The cross lay bare and bloodstained…

The nails ripped from Christ’s hands.

They came and took His body.

Most did not understand.

The crowd wept tears of sorrow

For they did not realize

His mission was accomplished…

In three days He would arise.

What seemed like such a tragedy

Was all part of God’s plan.

When Jesus died, He paid the price…

Our sacrificial lamb.

He conquered death by rising

And opened heaven’s door.

If we will just believe in Him,

Our destiny’s secure.

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Sandy

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You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.