The Cure for Infertility

Poetry based on the new Testament book of John, chapter 15

 

There is health in the vine,

True wealth in the vine,

We are fruitful and we multiply

When we stay in the vine

 

We are connected, resurrected

When we stay in the vine,

Well-nourished, we do flourish

As we abide in the divine

 

Without me, Jesus said,

You can do nothing, there’s no fruit

For everyone who trusts in me

Is like a tender shoot.

 

They get their life from me,

Not from worn-out religious rules

You cannot multiply if you

Imbibe the wine of fools.

 

How do you then abide in me?

By faith you must partake

And faith comes from my Word,

Which power nobody can shake

 

Drink in my Word with all your heart,

Its truth will set you free,

My Word has power to heal your lack

Of productivity.

 

But listening to worldly wisdom

Clogs the pipes of grace

That help you to digest my Word.

Would you behold my face?

 

You can’t be friends with Jezebel

And see my kingdom come.

And listening to Ahab

Will not help my will be done.

 

 

For Jezebel speaks of control,

Rebellion is her game.

And if you listen to her words,

Then you’ll be brought to shame.

 

She’ll tell you where to go,

And what to do and where to sit

Before me she won’t bow

And to My Word she won’t submit

 

Her husband Ahab’s fleshly cravings

Spoil the precious grapes.

He chokes the vibrant branches

With constrictive masking tapes.

 

It leads to infertility,

An absence of good fruit.

No spiritual authority

Is found within the shoot.

 

They’ll turn you into eunuchs

If you do not throw them down.

Resist the urge to please those guys.

Don’t cower when they frown.

 

The fear of man will lay a snare

And cause you to get burned.

If that’s the case, consider it

A lesson you have learned.

 

Without Me you will shrivel,

Wither up and slowly die.

It hurts to go your own way,

On your own flesh to rely.

 

It’s time to reconnect with God,

Who helps you to believe,

For I will never cast you out

If you will but receive.

 

 

Attempted Pay-off

“Forgive the intrusion,” said Ahab,

“But you have a plot that I love.

Your vineyard is fragrant and fertile,

With grapes that drip dew from above.

 

“Yet your workers are poor. They lack money

To pay taxes and cover their rent.

Your wife can’t afford bright apparel,

Because all your money’s been spent.

 

“Allow me to pose a solution

To rectify your many ills:

The finest of healthcare a la Jezebel,

Who cooks up the strongest of pills.

 

“Her potions can kill any virus.

I should know. I have sampled a few.

She stirs up a mighty rank cauldron.

Have you ever stewed in her brew?

 

“Why look you so hesitant, Naboth?

Why do your eyes shine with alarm?

Your people are ripe for a transplant.

Let me hire them to work on my farm.

 

“The silver and gold are in my hands,

I own cattle on hundreds of hills –

The ones that survived that long famine we had.

To think of that dearth gives me chills.

 

“I hope you don’t blame it on me, though.

I just did what I must to survive.

My wife’s a great queen. She deserves it.

Her heart is to see us all thrive.

 

“Bitter herbs are the answer, she tells me,

All her doctors agree. It’s the rage!

Bread and wine aren’t enough. We need healthier stuff.

Our menu requires a new page.

 

“To that end I beg you, dear Naboth,

In lieu of such spiritual fruit

As love, peace and joy (which may tend to annoy),

More practical produce to toot.

 

“Allow me to purchase your vineyard

And replace it with down-to-earth food,

Like envy and anger that grows like a weed

And puts you in one rotten mood.

 

“I’m just looking out for your welfare.

Your vineyard I’ll gladly replace

With a substitute crop based on following law.

Forget all this teaching on grace.”

 

But the man told him no, he would not compromise.

So, Jezebel continued the chase…

 

Can you relate to Naboth? Does some bully want your good stuff? Have you ever caved in and let them have what they wanted? If they got it, was it ever be enough?

 

 

 

Faith That Works Through Love

The Bible tells us God is love,

And love believes all things.

It’s Jesus’ faith that saves us

With the righteousness it brings.

He never fails to show us

All the great things He can do.

If we will keep our eyes on Him,

Then He will see us through.

He promises to give us hope,

A glorious future too.

He healed the lame, made blind men see,

And cured the lepers too.

He never once made people sick,

And when they were in doubt,

He used his quiet authority

To cast the demons out.

One day a man who had no hope

Said “Jesus, if you can

Do anything, then help my son,

Because there is no man

Among your followers who knows

The way to calm his rage.

Please free this boy tossed to-and-fro

Inside that unseen cage.”

Amazed to see such unbelief

Displayed before His eyes,

Yet brimming with compassion,

Not a lick of compromise,

He drove out the evil spirit,

Overruling every doubt.

Though, as the boy lay on the ground

(it looked as if he’d died),

As Jesus helped him to his feet,

It could not be denied

That something great had taken place,

A miracle of faith.

God’s own belief brought wholeness

And rebuked the wrathful wraith.

No unbelief can stand against

A love so pure and true,

Through which all things are possible.

I know that love. Do you?

To be Spiritually Minded, Part II

Remember the story of Balaam, whose donkey

Made of that sourpuss a regular monkey?

‘Me first!’ was his motto in everything.

He longed for the riches that money could bring.

 

He saddled the creature one bright sunny day,

And climbed on her back (he fell off right away).

He got on again and was starting to curse

When instead of “fast forward,” she went in reverse!

 

With everyone else moving forward in time,

He found himself literally stuck on “rewind.”

You cannot imagine a funnier sight.

If you could have seen it, you’d roll with delight.

 

But, Lord, that does not sound too spiritual,

Protest I as a serious individual.

To tell jokes goes against everything I’ve been taught,

That by mourning with all those who mourn ‘fish’ are caught.

 

Your intentions are good, He replies, but you see,

You have been confusing your own sympathy

With my fierce compassion that I give for free.

I call you this day to regain clarity.

 

For I laugh at the wicked, it says in the psalms,

Not because I enjoy bringing them down

But because they imagine their plans will succeed

Even when their motivation is greed.

 

But to think that their plans could win out against me

Is perfectly silly, as silly can be.

And so, as you see, it is all right to chuckle,

To giggle, to chortle, let loose your belt buckle

 

And in every way make a humorous rhyme

As long as it honors my name every time.

For when joy like an ocean comes over your soul,

Up springs a faith that will make all things whole.

 

The words that he says go straight into my heart,

Exploding in bubbles that blessings impart.

A fountain of joy welling up from inside

Makes me start to feel giddy. This joy I can’t hide!

 

So, I take His advice and I tell a few jokes.

The man is in stitches. He ‘bad knee’ he pokes.

Then suddenly he rises up from his chair.

It seems to me he is not even aware

 

That no longer does he have any more pain,

Or that, amazingly, he walks again.

He is just as joyful as joyful can be,

His mind on the Spirit. God’s Word set him free.

 

“For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

 

“If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.” Romans 8:11

 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

 

To Be Spiritually Minded

Behold the lone man sitting in his wheelchair.

I’ve come to pour oil all over his hair

And pray for him, hoping that he will be healed.

But as I pray, intense pain is revealed.

 

I try to encourage him, but the pain shouts

“I won’t go away!” and I hear lots of doubts.

The more that I pray and then with the man reason,

The more it keeps shouting to me “Treason, Treason!”

 

I see Athaliah beholding the king.

“His praises,” she cries, “I do not want to sing!”

I see the poor crippled man choosing to flirt

With all of his suffering and all of his hurt.

 

How can I get this poor man’s mind back on God?

I have to confess that I feel like a clod!

Sadly, I fear that this simple prayer session

Has turned into one big “Can’t do it!” confession.

 

“What ever shall I do?” I cry to the Lord.

“Get his mind off the flesh and it will be restored,”

I hear Him reply. “Turn his mind to the scripture.

By rightly dividing it, show him I’m bigger

 

Than all of his problems and all of his issues,

Including the pain that resides in his tissues.

Remind him of Noah ‘sea legs’ in his ark,

Trying in vain to track down his aardvark.

 

You’d think that his underwear had a few ants

The way the anteaters keep sniffing his pants.

Or speak to him of Babel’s unfinished tower,

The project on which I rained down a cold shower,

 

How impudent men with their stubborn old plans

Discovered they simply could not understand

The ridiculous sounds that arose from their mouths,

How, like squeaky chipmunks they scurried about!

 

Their project in ruins, their plans all for naught,

The building abandoned, their space program shot.

They thought they were sneaky in hiding from me

The plans that they made in all obscurity.

 

But at the last moment I pulled out the rug

Upon which they’d rested so safe and so snug.

I ripped off the blanket beneath which they’d curled

And scattered them all abroad throughout the world.

 

And can I not do the same thing for this man

For whom Christ has died? It’s all part of my plan.

They buried His body and thought they had won,

But He rose from the dead. Then we had some great fun.

 

The devil was snoozing on top of that stone.

Then down swooped the angel. “Surprise! Not alone!”

Satan dropped his pitchfork and got crunched by that rock.

His head has been crushed, and it came as a shock.

 

Yes, trials may hurt. As for death, it still stings,

But the power of His resurrection still sings.

It’s greater than any attack we may face.

Such is the freedom we find in God’s grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Humble to Believe in Miracles?

“‘Miracles aren’t for today,’” complained the Sadducee.

“To say they are is to deny God’s holy sovereignty.

If it’s God’s will that we be ill, then miserable we’ll be.

And don’t you dare compare me to some hard-nosed Pharisee!”

 

“They are too wise in their own eyes, and far too proud for me.

They think they can turn stone to bread, which I have yet to see.

I’m sick and tired of their ‘name, claim, blame’ philosophy.

How they can be so haughty is a total mystery.”

 

“To claim it’s still God’s will to heal decries humility.

I’d rather die a cripple than to live self-righteously.

Don’t call me rich. I’d rather glory in my poverty

And waken others to the stench of harsh reality.”

 

“Though I do not possess a Master’s in divinity,

I know what I do not believe. To me that is the key

To living free from guilt and rampant authenticity

And staying safe from what is rumored to be heresy.”

 

“I have a nose for news and can discern false prophecy.

I don’t need to see signs. God’s Word is good enough for me.

Although I do not read it much, I have sincerity.

So, enough of all this ‘health, wealth talk’ and ‘positivity’!”

 

“Though some may call me critical, I think it’s plain to see

We must throw out the baby, from that bath water to be free…”

 

Why Haven’t I Been Healed Yet?

“Why haven’t I been healed yet?”

I believe Job asked that same question, and for good reason. He’d lost his business, his employees, his children, and his health. Was there ever anyone as miserable as he? He was wounded in every way.

Sometimes when people are in mourning, there’s nothing you can say to make them feel better. So, you do as the scripture says. Like Jesus did at Lazarus’s tomb, you weep with those who weep. That’s what Job’s three friends did. They came to comfort him and offer their condolences. But after hearing what they had to say, Job called them “miserable comforters.”

Why was that? Job was in pain. He hurt so bad inside, he wished he never had been born. He hoped his friends would sympathize. Instead, they threw solutions at him, loaded with false accusation. To summarize and paraphrase:

Eliphaz basically said, “Practice what you preach, bro. You saved others. Save yourself. If you’re good then God will bless you, but if you’re bad He’ll stress you. This tragedy and sickness is God’s discipline in your life, for failing to keep your promises, stealing clothes from the naked, doing nothing to help the hungry or the thirsty, or the naked, and for breaking the arms of the fatherless” (see chapter 22, verses 6-9). “Because of these secret sins I know you did, God has punished you.” Eliphaz seemed to think that God was very hard to please. He falsely accused Job of committing sins he wasn’t guilty of.

Doing Eliphaz one better, Zophar called Job a liar. “You say you’re so great. God’s out to get you. He is swift to take revenge. Feel His wrath! Stop sinning. Do what’s right and you’ll be blessed.”

Bildad basically said the same thing as Eliphaz: “Bad guys will get punished, but if you’re perfect, you’ll be fine.” In other words, “Snap out of it, Bub. You’ll get no sympathy from us.”

Have you ever felt blamed for not getting healed quickly enough, suffering financial loss without immediate compensation, or for failing to hear from God for something you’d been praying about for an excruciatingly long time?

Job’s friends seemed to think he should be able to heal himself. “If you say and do all the right things, God will reward you. Instant compensation!” They were quick to point fingers at Job for his failure to prosper and be in health. Unlike the Apostle John in the second verse of his third epistle, they didn’t seem to want Job to prosper, and were doing all they could to keep his soul from prospering – by condemning him for his sin and encouraging him to rely on a works-based righteousness that never could save (or heal) anyone.

Job didn’t understand why they were persecuting him (according to chapter 19, verse 22) and tried to defend himself against their false accusations. But at the same time, what he really needed and cried out for was an audience with God. He didn’t want solutions. He wanted answers only God could give him. Thankfully, Elihu, the last person to speak to Job, encouraged him to look past his pain and consider the greatness of God. “I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker” (chapter 36, verse 3).

It was after God revealed Himself to Job that he was healed (at least, we’re certainly led to believe he was). First he had to pray for his three friends, who hadn’t spoken what was right about God. After this, God began the process of restoration in his life and gave him twice as much as he had before. He was prospering in every way!

So, what can we learn from Job? Well, sometimes healing seems to take a while, especially when you have friends like he had, but one encounter with God can change all that.

“Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any (especially guys who persecute you – i.e, give you a hard time, like Job’s three friends persecuted him): that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)