The Exhaling Poet

THE EXHALING POET 2020

“A short poem just before you go

You are not going anywhere I know

But just the same if you have the time

And buddy if you could spare a dime?”

                           ….

He sold his poems in limited editions

For an extra dollar he gave renditions

But people ran and hid their head

From the unmasked man

Who created the dread

                           ….

It takes breath in the form of words

To exhale my sonatas in poetic muse

But people said: No! No!”

His lyrical poems they did refuse

                           ….

Until one day he no longer stood

On that street corner unfurling his hood

Gone to ground – isolated off

The man with no mask

Had been taken to task

By a local priest

Who told him to cease

Pontificating his poems and rhyme

With the unappreciative public – it didn’t chime

                           ….

So he stayed away and wrote some more

Pasting them to his chimney breast

A grand wallpaper they made

                           ….

Until one day hundreds dispensing accolades

Stormed his house

Banging on window and door

Crying through masks: “More more more!”

“We will pay any price more than before”

“Too late” he cried back “they are all stuck down”

“My genius is gone to the wall” he said with a frown

                            ….

The moral of this tale is:

When wearing your mask

Don’t take breathing poets to task

Rather, If you want another poem

Just simply ask

Shut Down

SHUT DOWN

Shut down separation

– contemplation

Easing into your chair

You’ve been there 

 – before

Social distance – misprint

Everyone tries to connect

You’ve been making do

– this time

Are you sure or unsure of

What is expected of you?

Venturing forth

Scurrying back

A fine imposed

Your space hi-jacked

Elbow to elbow

Dust to dust

In awful contemplation

Duty and necessity must.

Making sense of it all

Many struggle to find

A shred of hope 

Emotion and reason entwine

Unless the eternal is your home

You make your way back

To the pleasure dome

Getting away

Stunned paralysis of the vocal

You stand aghast and don’t know what to say

The audacity of the swaying mob

Trying to steal kill destroy or take away

Get away from it all 

and we

Transport you – 

To a far-off shore

Now things are different there

But you freeze in loneliness

You quench all intrusion

Turn-off phones and even throw away…

You live to isolate another day

Who wants this?

All wanting where imaginary other’s are at

Anyway…

Where do we pick up the story of your stay?

Yes you slept a little longer this morning

It would appear…

And a little longer and a little longer…

Until you disappear

Lost in the blankets of oblivion

Until the inner call of your heart

Causes you to climb aboard that ship

Sailing back to your everyday – yesterday

But you learnt a few lessons from the silence

The silence from which you turned away

Back to the pseudo rat-race and

out the other door

clambering down the fire escape

Onto another familiar shore

Into routine daily grind

You try to unwind

But you are on your way

To becoming

One of those stowaways

who stay away

Forever and a day

You save up your cash

Get rid of your trash

Get the next flight out

Back to the land of your birth

Repetition of habits of travel

As you unravel your complexity

And try to reach simplicity

Finding at last that it doesn’t matter

Where you dwell

It’s truth you’re after – forever and a day

Life

I’m not what I would call an ‘out and out internet kind of person’. I spend a fair amount of time thereon – but not near as much as many.

Call it a generational thing if you like. I much prefer the face to face fellowship of normal life.

Of course we are somewhat robbed of this at the moment, with Covid-19.

I’m also a contradiction, at least I would be – in some folks estimation if they equate a writer with a reader.

In other words I am not what I consider a ‘well read’ kinda guy, and yet I love to write.

The spiritual – from the age of twenty took over my life. Both experientially, having encountered the Living God – and spiritually/mentally in the study of the Bible.

I have not read a novel in years. I have read quite a bit on art, yet even on this subject I consider my education limited.

I do watch television dramas, and my claim to fame was acting in three school productions – a million years ago. But I’ve been told a million times not to exaggerate.

So (if you like), the bible and art have preoccupied my mental faculties.

I consider my walk with God to be an absolute priority, and of paramount importance.

I have done the maths and the – (although not fully realised yet)  – sphere of eternity, I reckon, will last a lot longer than time. 😇

So preparation for the journey into it, cannot possibly be less important than anything else, and indeed therefore, more important than anything else.

The only down side of this approach is that at times I don’t follow completely through on things that effect time, considering them less important.

Many find fame and fortune, position in society, followers, travelling the world, fitness, food – things to do with this time journey we are all on, to be all that life is about.

The held idea that it all ends at the grave, to me totally negates the purpose of being here in the first place.

If this is ‘it’ as they say – then what a waste of time.

God’s plan is to fellowship.

God’s plan was fellowship and companionship with His created beings, created in His image. Sin has blighted the image. Rather like the painter who decides to ‘scribble’ out the image he has created, only to afterwards decide how foolish he has been. And that the image was fine the way it was.

Sin scribbled over us ruining our pure image, changing it to one of ugliness – internally of course.

We were fine until the first man and woman decided to distort the image we reflected by disobeying the superior command of God.

People usually deal with the eternity question, probably in one of the following ways – trying to sum them up – helps us focus.

There is no God – so I can do as I like – eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

There might be a God – so I will try to be as good as I can but no one is perfect. I won’t think of eternity, or death that takes you there permanently – that’s being morbid.

There is is no eternal – you die – that’s it, game over, so forget about it.

If I don’t do God any harm – I’m hoping He won’t do me any harm. But no I do not have a relationship with Him.

All approaches lack the certainty that Salvation in Christ brings.

So all kinds of things can occupy us in this life. God will occupy us in eternity. So overwhelmingly wonderful will be the full revelation of the creator of all things – that we will fall in adoration before Him, if first we know Him in this life.

I must admit to my unanswered query as to why many spiritual things I experienced in earlier years seem to have diminished in the church.

This is not only an eschatological observation confirmed by scripture, but also an experiential one. Namely the change in the spiritual atmosphere that not only I, but others experience in this season.

All the more reason to hold fast to God’s Word like never before.

We think we understand things, but our faith is being challenged.

Here is our experience and our response: I Peter 1/

that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 

Tested by fire. Found to the praise honour and glory of God.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus help us please.

Posting

POSTING

Something by no means unique to a particular blog’s subject matter – is the question of what to put in and what to leave out in a post?

I imagine – Too long a post and we lose readers.(?)

Especially in this instant coffee day and age in which we live.

Attention spans have changed.

When it comes to posts with Christian subject matter in pursuit of readers – here’s how it looks to me:

Many are posting. Many send out the Word of God, hoping and trusting that God will use it in ways we know not of. Based on the scripture that tells us: 

Isaiah 55/

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,

And do not return there,

But water the earth,

And make it bring forth and bud,

That it may give seed to the sower

And bread to the eater,

11 

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void,

But it shall accomplish what I please,

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Now of course, for it not to return void (in the sharing of Christian teaching sense) – it must be accepted in the first place by the readers to whom it is sent. Or at least listened to.

For most of my fifty years as a Christian I have sent forth God’s Word – not as prolifically as I would have liked. 

But needing something to describe what I do – I became seedsinmotion. (Preaching, teaching, evangelising, writing)

Most Christians agree that the times we are entering into are times of hardship and a ‘falling away’ is taking place, rather like in the days of Noah.

II Timothy 3/

unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

We are also told that there will come a time when: 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

So some will not even get past the title of a Christian post, before they decide it’s not for them.

The preacher gets his listeners on a Sunday morning. Usually an expected ‘ready made’ audience.

But sending out blog posts is potentially hit and miss for bloggers.

Usually having many genuine readers and not just followers, in my opinion, depends on the interest factor or lack of it.

It is not based (again – in my opinion) solely on writing ability.

It is true for myself also – if I am not interested in a particular post – I trash some of my email notifications without even reading the posts in situ.

So I shouldn’t be surprised if others do the same with me.

However there are those I return to again and again for the opposite reason i.e. I’m interested enough to do so.

Also – perhaps to the chagrin of the ‘poster’ – I sometimes read their post in my emails and don’t sign in to click the like button (naughty I know).

There is no doubt Christian or non-Christian when you read a Christian post – you are ‘exposing’ your mind to content that can be used by God to do something inside you. That is the most important thing when it comes to Christian posts.

Not just primarily that you have been educated or informed intellectually but rather: is God saying something personal to you, that you can take into your being, and because of which you allow Him to bring change?

That’s the question you must ask. There is no way of knowing how many ask this question.

And that is something we (i.e. more specifically I) must leave to Our Heavenly Father.

It’s no surprise to me that often my poetry gets more ‘likes’ than posts with Christian subject-matter (though not always). The following scripture explains why non-Christians do not respond to Christian teaching.

However if they respond to the powerful Word of God – they might stop long enough, to examine the claims of Jesus the Christ, and pursue these claims to find salvation and/or the truth making them free!

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Real Deal

THE REAL DEAL

There is either such a thing as sin – or there isn’t.

And quite clearly there is such a thing.

It’s as plain as the nose on your face. We can see the results of sin all around us. Often in epidemic proportions.

Sin is one of the most obvious phenomenons on the planet. And yet it is explained away under many guises.

The problem for preachers is – they too are subject to and can be guilty of – sinning.

So how can they stand in pulpits and preach against what they themselves are engaged in? Or so the commonly held view is expressed, by some.

“Is this not hypocrisy?” reasons the person who tries to say – no one should ‘judge’ others.

One perception held, is that preachers are hypocritical Pharisees who love to castigate everyone but themselves. Bringing people under their rule and control, as ‘holier than thou’ – potentates.

However have you noticed that those who say: “we shouldn’t judge”, are e.g. also those who can lose their temper and hit out with swear words, at the unknown person who stole their car? They wouldn’t be trying to ‘judge’ them would they?

Quite clearly proper judgement is necessary in life. Else why not close down all the courtrooms throughout the land, and allow anarchy to ‘rule ok!’

The fact that unjust judgements are made, and hypocrites can be found in places of moral responsibility, does not negate the need for proper, sound, just, judgement.

Problem is, at a time of increasing moral decay – the hypocrites seem to ‘rule ok’ in responsible positions, rather than the sincere just-persons, who should take up these roles.

Preachers, who have moral integrity, are automatically lambasted by those who don’t want their sins found out. Preachers that are tarred with the same brush as the hypocrites. Condemned usually without trial or examined evidence.

The result is confusion (and often every evil work).

So in societies – corrupt officials take bribes, and the unjust sinner goes free for the right price.

The almost automatic way to portray anyone of ‘the cloth’, in drama productions on television or cinema – is to create a character who has a snivelling, hypocritical, judgemental, narrow minded, self-centred, cowardly personality.

Such types find their way onto the playwright’s script  when a character is needed to ‘represent’ the church.

And the non-believing but ‘good’ villain who spares a dime for the beggar in the street – is the real deal. Even though he has killed and robbed.

So society relieves itself from any responsibility to take notice of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. ‘Cause after all ‘they are not hypocrites’, like those religious types.(?!)

They don’t ‘pretend’ to be good or religious, or better than others. And so in all of this they spend their lives missing completely the ‘real deal’ of the Gospel.

So who is going to tell us we are sinners when all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?

Well the answer is – God Himself.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to make me aware that I who write this post – am a sinner.

And to be always talking about sin, without the rest of the message that makes the messenger’s feet beautiful is to get out of balance in presenting the whole gospel.

The whole gospel summed up is – we can have our mess (sins) removed.

We can know God the Father through Jesus the Son, and we can know the ‘real deal’ of fellowship with God.

To be liberated inside – in a way you have never experienced before is the result of receiving and obeying the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I’ve just summed it up briefly, (to accommodate the need for a short post).

REAL DEAL GOOD NEWS:

…Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

….Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Marvellous

Galatians 1/

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Paul the apostle, former rejector of Christ, now ardent follower – is speaking here, under God’s inspiration, in this passage of scripture.

And guess what?

He is marvelling.

Have you or I ever marvelled – ?

All kinds of things can cause us to marvel. Some good, some bad. Sometimes the things little children say can have that effect.

Like the time my middle daughter at the age of three or so – asked a friend of ours who was visiting with us, why his skin was so dark? 

Fortunately as a gracious Christian – his answer was gracious – and he (with a twinkle in his eye) informed her that God had just left him in the oven that bit longer than her 😇.

Being present to witness the miracles of Christ or to hear His words – caused many to marvel.

I can truly say I marvel that God in Christ can accept me and bestow love upon me.

3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! 

A child of God – who me?

I don’t have to look far – to realise that in myself there is nothing that warrants acceptance by God, in light of the fact that His nature is so completely different than the one I was born with.

His divine nature described as follows:

…He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

His unapproachable light – in whom there is no darkness at all – speaks of His absolute uncontaminated purity, and holiness.

 Enter yours truly – along with the rest of the human race and you have the complete opposite.

All boasting of any righteousness of our own is excluded – and the thing we need to marvel at is THE GRACE OF GOD!

His marvellous unmerited favour – He is willing to bestow on every sinner – Paul marvels here (Gal. 1/6) at the foolishness of not receiving and remaining in that grace – as was the case with the Galatian believers.

God imparts Himself to those who are willing to give their lives up to Christ. He favours us for this reason alone. We seek Him, call upon Him in prayer and ask for that unmerited favour, turning from sinful behaviour.

On sincerely doing so, He comes to us and The Holy Spirit imparts something wonderful and supernatural to us. That is why He is described in the following way as-

…the Spirit of grace…

Strangely enough this tail end of a verse of scripture is in a negative context, which doesn’t serve my purpose here. I simply want to make the point that The Holy Spirit of the Living God comes to us to impart this marvellous Grace that brings forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God. He is the Spirit of Grace’.

But it doesn’t end there. He as The Holy Spirit of Grace is present 24/7 to continuously remind us that we are accepted by God and loved by Him.

This is motivational and we enter more and more into fellowship as we keep coming on the basis of the bestowal of His unmerited favour. So that we can be continuously forgiven and accepted on the merits of Christ and not our own faltering failing nature.

In so doing 24/7 the faltering failing sinful nature is subdued and kept ‘under’ as we enjoy life and life more abundantly in Christ.

This is MARVELLOUS – or in the words of the hymn this is – AMAZING Grace!

Disappear

DISAPPEAR

(Extract from the novel never written)

………………….

Overcoat collar raised – hunched

Abrasive wind in-tow

Stepping out – toes cold – but responding

to periodic stomping

………….

Off now to the ‘Netherworld’

Of inner feelings

Submerged in inner heat

That’ll do

…………….

No need to examine the weather –

just get through it

Choose it – that’s right

Someone left a scarf over a branch

………………

Extra layer – run now – as you would

A player on the field of a stadium

Quickly now – through the park

The gates at the other end beckon

………………..

The car is parked waiting for me

So begins a different kind of adventure

The pseudo-chauffeur nods

Leans over and opens the door

…………………

A cold chill of a different kind

Suddenly wafts against the soul

No – I won’t do this

This is madness of the first order

……………….

I tell him to stop for a moment

And forcing the door open

I climb out and disappear

PROTEST

PROTEST

The galloping obstinates heading for the fray

Make a placard – to display what they say

Roughly written words hoisted on high

Conglomeration of puns most of them cliche

Cliche or not they reason

This is the season to make our voice heard

A deeply embedded cause

Wrapped in philosophical thought

They hope will hold sway

Marching – marching on – to the square

See you there – is it Tiananmen or Trafalgar?

With one voice all agree

Until the opposition arrive gleefully

Someone shouts ‘I predict a riot’

Somebody shouts ‘let’s all clash together’

One old man is back to mods and rockers

One young woman can’t see the connection

But they stay on the outskirts of the crowd

They talk together as he reminisces

Their strongly held views suddenly

Disappear as they don’t like violence anyway

So they go for a coffee and she marvels

At his stories

While he is glad of the company

“Can I be your Granpa?”

“Yes” she says –

So they live to fight another day

Some other time maybe?

Rich or Poor

RICH OR POOR

Mankind is struggling – to say the least or to put it mildly.

Those who are set on a course of money-making find solace if each deal is going well, or many are purchasing their product.

They are happy with the success that brings a monetary reward.

The Bible says (amongst many) – two things worth mentioning:

Psalm 62

If riches increase,

Do not set your heart on them.

I Timothy 6/

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share…

Notice the heart is set on riches, and therefore they are trusting in riches – this gives solace and a sense of ‘all is well’ drawn from their success, measured by monetary increase.

Struck down by a virus might shake their confidence.

A strange virus comes along – and things are not working out as lucratively for many reasons. Now that person or persons is suddenly programmed to be not doing so well.

We all live for various things that seem to make life and living worthwhile.

A lot of these things are good and wholesome and many are not.

I pulled riches out of the hat as only one example of what brings satisfaction to many.

We learn from scripture that it is not riches that can cause problems – it is the love of them.

I Timothy 6/

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Riches are uncertain in an uncertain world, and cannot provide ultimate contentment all the way to the grave, where they end.

However –

1 Timothy 6:6

…godliness with contentment is great gain.

So putting these points together we have – those who trust in money, set their hearts and minds on it above other things, and all their affection (love) is reserved for all things monetary.

Now it’s all very well to point out these ‘financial trespasses’ but if you do not know where your next meal is coming from, or you are about to be  evicted from your home because of financial difficulties – suddenly money becomes a preoccupation.

It does not pre-occupy your heart and mind because you have plenty of it – but rather because you have next to none. Survival therefore becomes your priority, and no doubt that of your family.

So for entirely different reasons the heart is set on finance.

Don’t set your heart on riches or finance is justifiably an exhortation to those who are greedy and who will not lift a finger to help the less fortunate.

But what of those who have very little money?

Well, difficult, in such circumstances, as it may seem – setting our minds and hearts on The Living God in the Person of The Lord Jesus Christ – is an anchor for the soul. 

So that regardless of what befalls us – we open the door to God’s deliverance as we trust in Him.

For the rich or poor – the call of God is the same –

Proverbs 3/

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 37

2I have been young, and now am old;

Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,

Nor his descendants begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lends;

And his descendants are blessed.

God will not forsake those who trust in Him – even though it takes a lot to stay focussed during lean times. 

But we are told that keeping our soul healthy before God through faith in Jesus the Saviour, will give God the opportunity to work in His own mysterious way, to prosper us according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.

3 John 1-3

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.3 For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth.

Phil. 4/

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Frustration

FRUSTRATION

Frustration – a common experience to all – in all walks of life.

Frustration occurs in different contexts.

Waiting on a shop to open – twenty minutes past it’s official opening time. A feeling of frustration.

The repeated bad habit of someone else, that effects you adversely – but which they seem to constantly repeat when in your presence. A feeling of frustration.

People telling you they will do something – which they repeatedly fail to do. A feeling of frustration.

A person you have hired to do a job and they keep postponing to another day. When the day comes – they postpone again. A feeling of frustration.

Someone in a car in front of you – who dilly-dally’s – at 20 miles an hour in a forty mile zone. A feeling of frustration.

When a flea – yes a flea – you know those things you rarely get but expose their presence when that itch starts and the lump appears – you want to get that flea out into the open to end it’s life. (Do they still exist? 😊)

So we need to get those thoughts of frustration out into the open and…

Regardless of the problem that causes frustration – often it has a devil on it’s back.

So trace and destroy. Really know what it is that is causing the frustration and take God’s remedy for it.

For the Christian it is turning to the Word of God and

letting… 

Colossians 2/

5 …this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…

We are called to constantly give way to God The Holy Spirit as we appropriate His mind found in His Word. His thoughts kill frustration. Back in the day when people dropped ‘acid’. It was a common exhortation from Christian to Christian – ‘hey man drop some Matthew, Mark Luke or John’.

That takes care of your woes!

Job tells us…

Job 23/

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Frustration is an emotion, but commonly besets us all. It is having the presence of mind to draw upon The One who supplies all our need through His life-giving, frustration-destroying Word.

Philippians 4/

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Attributes

SPIRITUAL ATTRIBUTES

I Corinthians 16/

13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done with love.

To the unbeliever the words of this verse from the Bible may as well be in a foreign language.

They probably could make something of it. But within the confines of their own natural experience of life.

Firstly – all words in scripture are given by God – in that He is inspiring and influencing and empowering the person who is penning the Word(s) – and they are not describing natural experience(s) but spiritual.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

And if you have not had the spiritual experience of encountering The Living God – then the words can only be interpreted with the natural mind and in reference to common-to-man experiences.

For instance: ‘stand fast in…faith’ (leaving God out of the equation) could be wrongly interpreted as simply ‘don’t give up’.

Everyone knows they shouldn’t ‘give up – but rather – see-the-thing-through’. Whatever the ‘thing’, or exercise is, in which they are engaged.

That is natural ‘faith’, faith in yourself, stickability, natural empowerment and so on. Same with the other words, – brave, strong, love.

But it isn’t the faith spoken of here. It isn’t the strength spoken of here. It isn’t the courage spoken of here. And it isn’t the love spoken of here.

In simple terms it refers to faith in Christ Jesus. Kind of obvious right? When the whole bible is an exhortation to believe in God.

He, if we truly know Him, supplies the enablement necessary to maintain these attributes in our lives.

Of course we can all, (with self-effort), be strong, brave, have self-belief, and have loving feelings, Christian or non-Christian.

But the difference is – the existence of a relationship with God.

So the question is – What or who is the source of our strength? Is it natural or spiritual?

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Paul clearly knew the source of his strength, clearly stated in the above verse. And perhaps like no one else in the New Testament apart from The Saviour Himself, Paul needed that strength to see him through the hardships he suffered as an apostle.

Christ is the source and supply of all the Godly attributes we need in our lives, appropriated by faith and supplied by the supernatural enhancement of The Holy Spirit.

Some know of this. Many don’t. Comprehending or accepting what I speak of – is not the result of philosophical argument-winning or convincing, but rather is the result of encountering God.

I Corinthians 2/

…5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.