Too Many Voices in his Brain

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Be of Good Cheer

“My son, I say, be of good cheer. Your sins have been forgiven.”

Oh, what uplifting words to the poor paralyzed man were given!

No more sack cloth or ashes, for God’s strength was found in joy.

God’s grace did not depend upon him being a good boy.

 

His clapping friends above upon the shattered roof were smiling,

The righteous man had seen their faith, though others were reviling.

Their inward thoughts heaped tons of dirt upon the Lord of glory.

What happened next put even more excitement in the story.

 

The startled crowd that stood inside the house began to mumble,

With voices too hushed to be heard, “Our teacher isn’t humble!”

“To think that he can pardon sins! His mind must not be steady.”

Before the words had left their lips, he had his answer ready.

 

“What’s easier? To forgive him or to tell him ‘rise and walk’?”

With confidence and truth, he answered their unspoken talk.

The quiet murmurers drew back in shock. How could this be?

How did he get inside their minds? It came so suddenly!

 

His unexpected “snappy answer” took them by surprise.

They fell off their proverbial chairs and rubbed wide open eyes

To find themselves thrown off their high and mighty babbling tower

As Jesus, with one bold, swift move, made His Word known with power.

 

“Arise, pick up your mat, and go back to your house today,”

He told the man, who saw he had no choice but to obey.

He stood up with a shout, all smiles, jumped up off the floor,

Picked up his mat, sidestepped the cat, and walked straight out the door.

 

To those who say God ruins fun, I beg to disagree.

See how He healed the crippled man and made the blind to see!

For, if the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.

Or must somebody wreck a roof that you might see your need?

 

 

 

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Who Cares What the Bird Thinks?

(Immersing in God’s Word, Part II)

Who cares what the bird thinks when you’re dipping in God’s Word?

Don’t let it snatch the seed of faith that you have recently heard.

Protect your head if you don’t want that bird to snatch the seed.

Stop chasing birds and meditate. On Bible you should feed.

Yes, Jesus said to look at birds, but only to discern

The fact that God provides for them. Yes, look at them and learn

How carefree those little flying creatures seem to be.

God cares for them in every way. How much more you and me?

It doesn’t take an animal rights activist to see

That there are times to leave a bird alone. Yes, let it be.

What the bird thinks doesn’t matter, nor do other people’s views

When you’re reading Jesus’ words (so much better than other news).

 

 

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Medicine for an Insane World, Part II

Rough living under Pharaoh’s whip,

Backbreaking toil in his grip.

To free the people, God sent Moses,

With whom the king would not touch noses.

 

“Allow the Jews a day of rest

Just so that they can have a fest?

You sure do have a lot of nerve!

Hard labor is what they deserve.”

 

“Deliverance I shall not grant,

No matter how you rave and rant.

The lazy bums shall have no peace.

Their burdens I shall now increase.”

 

“They are in bondage to my laws.

To make bricks, they must grasp at straws

But still produce the same amount.

My men shall not reduce the count.”

 

He was a very unfair king

Who left his subjects suffering.

The “go-fers” scattered everywhere

To glean the grain he would not share.

 

So much confusion, panic, fear,

A sad career devoid of cheer.

No matter how well they behaved,

From his wrath they could not be saved.

 

That’s what it’s like when ruled by sin.

You always lose and never win.

To live that way is scatterbrained.

You just exist but aren’t sustained

 

Upon the tread mill you will run,

A life of strife that’s never fun.

One joins the rat race to survive,

Gains worldly goods but doesn’t thrive.

 

That’s why the Father sent His Son

Into the world. His work is done.

Upon a cross, He took our place

And paid for our sins with His grace.

 

They placed his body in a cave.

Within three days He beat the grave.

Death bows to him and so should we,

Because He is our victory.

 

If we believe, then we’ll be saved

No matter how well we’ve behaved.

Do you have battles you can’t win?

Would you escape the yoke of sin?

 

The Lord in His great sovereignty

Says, “All ye weary, follow me.

I’ll keep you safe and set you free.

Let Me be your security.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Afraid to Forgive

Tormented, grieved, forsaken. Oh, what pain he felt inside,

Beset by views of ugly news, from which he could not hide!

He knew he should dismiss past hurts still screaming to avenge

The wrongs that so besieged his heart, but he desired revenge.

 

“It’s closure I must have,” he said. “That is the path to peace.

For only then can I enjoy the fruit of sweet release,

And satisfy the anger which has locked me in this cage.

To free myself from prison, I must first appease my rage.”

 

Such thoughts, like sharp two-edged swords, clashed wildly inside his mind;

Chaotic clangs, with violence tinged, set to a beat unkind.

He did not see the torturers whose pitchforks, dipped in fire,

Stirred coals of shame inside his heart to magnify his ire.

 

“It’s not your fault,” they told him, “for the way they treated you.”

“Your hatred’s justified. Those were such awful things to do!”

But still the guilt kept hounding. He could not escape the blame.

“You too have sinned horrifically, and ridiculed God’s name.”

 

Fear gripped his heart with condemnation he could not ignore.

If God was mad at him, then there was nothing to live for.

He knew he must forgive and must forget but was afraid

That he’d get stolen from again and never be repaid.

 

He didn’t trust the sovereign Lord to care for all his needs,

But bought the lie that debt forgiveness rests upon good deeds,

He said, “I’m doomed to earn my bread by my own toil and sweat,

Let him who owes me foot the bill. Let him repay the debt.”

 

But what a yoke to put upon an ordinary man!

He knew it wasn’t right, and yet he had no better plan.

His blood pressure was through the roof, he wasn’t feeling well.

Then suddenly a light shone in the darkness of his cell.

 

The Son of God was standing there. His glory filled the room.

“I paid your debt in full,” He said. “Why all this gloom and doom?”

“I thought you were a hard man, Sir,” replied the man, amazed.

“I thought I must fend for myself, for that’s how I was raised.”

 

“But now I see it isn’t so. There’s no cause for alarm.

For, though you’re greatly to be feared, you’d never do me harm.”

“That’s right,” said Jesus. “All I ask of you is to believe,

In my unfailing goodness trust, and of my grace receive.”

 

“Remember how I shed my blood to wash away your sin.

In me, there’s life. In man, there’s death. Stick with me and you’ll win.”

“Why ask a man to pay you back for all the things he stole,

When, by my stripes, you can be healed?  For I will make you whole.”

 

And the moral of this poem is that forgiveness involves trusting God to pay back what the enemy stole from you, instead of demanding that some fallible human being supply your need. Yes, God can use people to provide for you, but they’re just tools in His hands. Our trust must be in Him, for He alone is faithful to the end.

 

 

Continue reading “Afraid to Forgive”

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Killjoys

Once upon a time there was a boy named Roy. He liked to read his Bible, especially stories about Jesus and the miracles he did. He read it like a child and believed every word. One day he was sitting under a tree, reading the passage in John where Jesus said, “He who believes in me will do the same things I do, and greater things.” Roy got all excited.

“Maybe God could use me to heal people too,” he said excitedly. “I could even open blind eyes, and raise the dead.” There seemed to be no limit to the miracles God could do through him if he believed.

Unknown to Roy, two men in black suits were standing by a fence nearby, listening to him talk and plotting. They sneaked up on him with a balloon and popped it in his face.

Roy was so startled, he dropped his Bible. “What’s going on?” he said.

“You’re taking the Bible too literally,” they replied. “God doesn’t do miracles anymore, so stop acting like a fanatic before we really make you jump.”

“How? With more balloons?” asked Roy, shocked beyond belief.

“No, but as God’s thought police, we’re here to correct you,” said the first man. “God frowns on having fun, you know. To follow Christ, you must take up your cross.”

“You mean, like, ‘Nose to the grindstone’?” asked Roy.

“Yes, you have to strain your brain to do God’s will,” said the second man. “Don’t expect to be suddenly empowered by some unknown tongue or prophecy from above. God dispensed with things like that a long time ago. Today He’s given us much more mysterious ways to His will, through mind-boggling inventions such as television, telephones and the Internet.”

“Raw human intellect is His current tool for reaching the masses,” added the first man. “He doesn’t need to use signs and wonders anymore.”

Roy hung his head. He felt as if the rug had been pulled out from under him. To think that God didn’t do miracles anymore made him so depressed, he stopped reading his Bible. Soon he found himself attending the balloon poppers’ church, which had many rules for pleasing God. You had to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and if they happened to stop by your house you had to entertain them while they inspected every room. Any hint of dust or clutter earned you a sharp rebuke. Strict obedience to one’s “shepherd” was required. Any hint of rebellion was a sign that you weren’t saved. To “honor those who reign over you in the LORD” was the main law. To attend a different kind of church was to be branded a heretic, and to promote the free exercise of spiritual gifts earned you the title of “false prophet.”

That was why Roy was so afraid to leave the church. He feared that if he did, he’d go to hell, but he couldn’t stand to stay because the regulations were killing him. Then he remembered a book he’d read one time about praising God amid the worst of circumstances. Desperate to reconnect with God, he began to do just that. As he was searching for things to rejoice over, he happened to find his Bible. He opened it up and found himself staring at the passage in Matthew 7:15, which warns believers to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, “but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

The next verse said, “You will know them by their fruits” (meaning the results of their teaching). Roy cross-referenced that verse with the passage in Galatians 5:19-22, which compares the works of the flesh to the works of the Spirit.

According to verse 22, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is “love, peace, and joy.”

Roy realized he hadn’t experienced much love, joy, or peace in a very long time. All he felt in his church was fear, but Jesus promised comfort to his followers through Holy Spirit whom He said would teach them “all things.” (John 14:26).

The fruit of his church’s teaching, which was that spiritual gifts were no longer relevant, had made Roy very sad, but he knew God didn’t want him to be sad.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” Jesus told his disciples in John 15:11.

To the lukewarm church in Revelation 3:14-21, Jesus said in verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

In other words, it was all about having a personal relationship with Him, not about obeying man. Roy also read the scripture in Hebrews 13:8, which says that Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”

If so, then He hadn’t changed His mind when it came to doing miracles, Roy decided.

His original disciples took Jesus at His Word and bore good fruit. The wonders they did in His name caused many people to be saved.

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (I Corinthians 2:5)

The moral of this story is that, when in doubt about any sort of teaching or statement, you should examine it in light of God’s word and look at the results (fruit) of it. For example, if you have been taught that God doesn’t do signs and wonders anymore, then ask yourself what has been the result of that teaching in your own life. For many of us, such teaching has been extremely discouraging, but when we discovered that God still does those things our faith was built up and our confidence in Him was restored.

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Oh, Be!

When Jesus says “Obey,” I hear “Oh, be,”

As in, “Behold the lamb, Abide in Me.”

“Sit in my presence. There, my child, you’ll see

What all I have designed for you to be.”

 

“It’s not about your own ability,

But finding your identity in Me.

To walk by grace requires humility.

To do God’s will means to believe in Me,”

 

“So listen to my voice, know I am He,

And lay your will down voluntarily.

For many busy buzzing bees there be,

But rare the heart whose eyes stay fixed on Me.”

 

“Submitting your desires unto Me

Is THE best way to find security,

To break the chains of strife, I hold the key.

God’s only Son will gladly set you free.”

 

 

 

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Sickness: a Crutch, not a Cross

I don’t know about you, but it’s easier for me to serve Jesus when I’m well. When I’m sick, depressed, or down-in-the-dumps, I don’t have energy to do anything for Him. Contrary to what some may teach, sickness is not a cross. At least, it was never my cross. It was my crutch. Much as I hated being sick, I loved the sympathy. When I was sick, no one expected me to be strong or do exploits. They expected me to take my meds and rest in bed.

When I was in first grade, I was very short and very shy. The teachers were mean and school was traumatic. I hated it so much, I would use any excuse to avoid going. Sickness was a great excuse. I got sick to protect myself, not to glorify God.

That’s why, when I see people equate “suffering with Christ” to being sick, it makes me want to gag. It certainly wasn’t the case with me. Besides, it isn’t Biblical. The lame man healed in Acts chapter 3 is a case in point. The way he walked and leapt and praised God drew an awesome crowd. Then Peter gave a sermon and about five thousand men get saved. Was it “suffering for God by being sick” that persuaded them to trust in Jesus? No, it was a miracle, done in Jesus’ name. Did it involve suffering? Well, any time you tell someone they’re healed in Jesus’ name, you take the risk of being wrong. To do it, I’m sure Peter and John had to die to themselves. Peter had to “take up his cross” by yielding to the Holy Spirit, who gave him words to speak to heal the crippled man. Afterwards, they both suffered persecution for preaching through Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

There are many instances throughout the book of Acts where the apostles and those associated with them suffered persecution for the Word. After all, not everybody likes a healing, or any other type of miracle for that matter. Those sorts of things are too convicting. They get people saved.

Once I began to grasp the truth about God’s healing power, I stopped getting sick so much. When it comes to believing God, I’m making progress. Granted, I don’t always have perfect faith for healing. But I know that when the perfect comes – the “perfect” being Jesus when He comes back for his church – that what is imperfect will pass away, for He makes all things new.

Sly Guy

John woke up at 3 AM with a start. As he tossed the covers from his pounding chest, a wave of dizziness swept over him.

Scritch, scratch, scuffle, scuffle.

What was that?

John stuck a leg over the side of his bed. Instead of stepping into a bedroom slipper as he expected, he fell over a body.

“Ow!” What was that?

“Don’t hurt me!” yelled the man who had made him fall. It was too dark to see who it was. John felt his way to the door and flipped on the light switch. The unwelcome visitor was huddled in a ball by a corner of the bed, his brown eyes lit up with fear. His blond hair was a mess. The ragged shirt and pants he wore looked like they’d come from a dump.

“What are you doing here?” John asked.

“Just having a little snack,” the man replied, eyeing a plate full of crumbs that sat on a nearby nightstand. John could have sworn he’d seen the guy somewhere before. “Who are you?” he asked.

“Just your friendly neighborhood Sadducee,” replied the frightened man. “You can call me Sad Sam, because I’m always sad, you see. Nothing ever goes right for me and…”

“Hey, wait a minute! Haven’t I seen you in church?” John exclaimed.

Sad Sam sat up Indian-style. “Uh, probably not.”

“Yes! That’s exactly where I’ve seen you. You’re the guy who doesn’t believe in miracles. I’ve heard you say things like ‘Money doesn’t just drop out of the sky’ and ‘God doesn’t do signs and wonders anymore. He uses modern medicine and up-to-date technology to get things done.’”

Sam’s eyes darted every which way. “Well, you know, I am a down-to-earth sort of guy. Can I go now?”

“Not until you tell me what you’re doing here,” John said.

Sam shot him a plastic smile. “Having fun?”

John took a menacing step toward him. “Not likely, sad guy. Now tell the truth and maybe I won’t have you arrested for breaking into my house.”

Sam Sadducee cleared his throat. “Well, if you must know, I’ve been living in your closet for quite some time now, ever since my wife kicked me out for causing too many catastrophes. She claims the negative things I said are what caused our roof to spring a leak, the floor to collapse, both our cars to get smashed, and some stray dog to bite her in the leg. She says she’s had it with me. I didn’t know where else to go, so I climbed in the open window of your bedroom one day and decided to camp out here. It’s a lot safer than being at home.”

John shook his head. “So, you’re the one who jinxed me with all those nightmares!” He eyed the nightstand and the plate full of crumbs. “Now I know where all those crackers came from too. And here I thought my Aunt Martha left them there. She’s really sneaky and she wants me to gain weight, so it seemed like something she would do. But now I find out that all this time it was really you! I thought those crackers tasted strange. They made me sick to my stomach but I ate them anyway, just to make her happy. Oh, what a fool I was! Why didn’t I investigate the source of those rotten munchies? Why?”

“Well, maybe you would have found out if you’d bothered to actually hang your clothes up in the closet instead of leaving them lying around everywhere,” Sam Sadducee suggested. “And by the way, they’re not crackers. They’re stale pieces of bread I brought with me when I came here. They just look like crackers because the bread never rises the way I expect it to. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the yeast. Instead of making the dough expand, like most yeasts do, it seems to suck the life out of it.”

“Just clean up your crumbs and get out of here. I’ve had it with your poisoned bread,” John said.

The end – or was it?

Jesus warned his disciples to beware the leaven of both the Pharisees and Sadducees, but He wasn’t talking about real leaven that is kneaded into real bread. He was speaking of their teaching.

For “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

God’s words only do us good if we understand them. False teaching distorts God’s words and makes them spiritually inedible. You can get a stomach ache from bad teaching. That’s why it’s important to examine every teaching very carefully to discover whether or not it is from God.

 

 

Punished More Than Once for His Good Deeds

King Ahab worshipped idols and brought famine to the land.

Elijah prayed “No rain,” but people didn’t understand.

The prophets back then knew that it was God withholding rain,

But Jez’bel’s goons declared those true reports to be insane.

 

They said if everybody pulled together, they’d be fine,

While blaming natural causes for this circumstance divine.

The lack of food and water caused some people to get sick,

But Jez’bel said she’d fix that. “My health plan will do the trick!”

 

So, people ran to doctors and used other human means

To keep from starving for the lack of water, bread and beans.

Yet many of them perished, for there were no signs and wonders.

They needed miracles but all they got were human blunders.

 

Six months and three years later it was time to end all that.

So, Elijah held a contest and he took them to the mat.

“You trust the Lord to save you, but for other needs trust Baal.

To try to serve two masters is like being locked in jail.”

 

“Which lord is God? Whom can you trust? Which one will send the rain?”

Who holds the power in His hands, your being to sustain?

But no one answered, so a test of fire was declared.

Each side prepared a sacrifice for which no lengths were spared.

 

The Baal guys slaughtered their bull and they set no fire to it.

But no one answered. Then it was Elijah’s turn to do it.

God sent the fire in spite of all the water he poured on it.

“The Lord is God!” the people cried. “Those Baal guys stink, doggone it!”

 

Baal’s army was defeated. Yet to prove themselves they sought.

“Fear not, I’ll save you from them!” said Elijah and he fought.

Soon there was no one left, but as he felt the crowd disperse,

He saw that few stood with him. Had their mindsets gotten worse?

 

No “Thank you” to the man of God who rescued them that day

Or for the rain that came, God’s sovereign orders to obey.

Elijah stood alone as Jez’bel’s messenger drew near.

She threatened death to God’s own man. Elijah felt the fear.

 

He ran, the story says, and that is what he’s famous for.

The human weakness into which he caved, we can’t ignore.

So, punished once by Jezebel, by the reader punished twice,

His reputation ruined. Who now heeds his sage advice?

 

His one mistake we love to take and rake him ‘cross the coals,

Delighting in backbiting and in bad opinion polls.

So much for focusing on this man’s bold, persistent prayer!

It’s easier to criticize and wallow in despair.

 

But who among us has the guts to do the same as he,

Forget what people think, step out in faith deliberately,

And trust God to do miracles? We know faith is the key.

Though persecution follow, which it will with certainty.

Free the Doves

Symbols of purity, flashes of grace,

Whispers of gentleness, sweet freedom chase

The dove spells good tidings, but when it is caged

No souls are delivered. God’s Word finds no place

In men’s hardened hearts, for they can’t find their way.

False messenger pigeons have led them astray.

Free the doves,

Let them loose,

Let God’s Spirit prevail.

Do not clip a wing

And do not snip a tail,

But open the cage,

Let them fly where they may.

Don’t hinder their progress

But heed what they say.

 

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves. Matthew 21:12

The Cup of Forgiveness

This cup of forgiveness He handed to me

Is a cup that brings healing, so rich and so free.

It cost me no money, this vessel of joy.

But I must share it carefully. This is no toy.

 

It cost my Lord dearly, this wine of His love.

He said “Give this freely, this gift from above.

It isn’t for those who would cast it aside

Or scoff at its contents, awash in self pride.”

 

“It is for the humble who treasure its worth,

A drink for contrite ones who know little mirth,

The desperate ones who are too thirsty to spurn it,

And wise to know they have done nothing to earn it.”

 

So, when the man came to me, tortured in mind,

And I recalled all the ways he’d been unkind

To me and my loved ones, the things he had done,

Neglecting our needs as he sought his own fun,

 

I struggled inside, and I asked was it wise

To give drink to one so despised in my eyes?

I know it can heal him, but is he for real?

Or is this his trick? Is he cutting a deal?

 

Has he truly repented for stealing from me,

With actions that he performed so callously?

He says he does not care how it breaks my heart.

He’ll do what he wants. His has made this an art.

 

Though seven times seventy I may forgive,

It’s tearing me up inside. How can I live?

Whenever I see him, I’ll try to be kind,

To bless when he curses, with his good in mind.

 

I’ll offer this cup to him. That much I’ll do,

But, also, I pray, his misdeeds he will rue.

For I cannot trust him. I’ve lost all respect.

Lord, please, for his own sake, don’t let him reject

 

The path that will bring him back on the right track.

Until then, I pray, let him suffer attack

Until he gets desperate enough for this cup.

For you’re my avenger and I am fed up

 

With tactics that bully. I need peace inside.

Please make your Word real, because for me you died.

I cannot live feeling unloved every day.

So then, first let me drink of this cup now, I pray.

 

Let me feel forgiven and then I can give

The love that you gave me, that others might live.

 

 

What Made Him Change His Mind?

There once was a pharaoh who hired a cook, even though his most reliable spy had told him she couldn’t be trusted. He suspected she had swiped his favorite pomegranate pudding recipe and prepared the dish for her cat, but Pharaoh hired her anyway.

One day she was busy kneading dough in the royal kitchen. Her daughter Suzie sat close by, building a model pyramid. Suddenly she saw a flash of green.

“Sproing-a, sproing-a, sproing-a!”

“What’s that hoppity thing jumping around the kitchen, Suzie?” said the cook that Pharaoh never should have hired.

“Oh, nothing. It’s just my pet frog,” Suzie said.

“Since when did you have a pet frog?” asked her mother.

“It just hopped in through the window.”

“We are not allowed to keep frogs in the palace, so you just –”

“Rrrr-rrrr-ribit!”

“Ack! Somebody save me!” the cook screamed. The frog had just landed on her head.

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll catch it!” Suzie yelled.

Her mom continued to scream. “It’s tangled in my hair. Get it out, get it out!”

“Hold still, Mom. I’ll get a broom.”

“No, don’t –”

“Whack!”

“Ow!”

“Splat!” The frog jumped off the cook’s head and landed in the kneading bowl. The cook continued to scream as two more amphibians joined the party. They hopped from the kneading bowl to the cupboard, back into the kneading bowl, off the table, and then to the box from which the cook had stolen Pharaoh’s favorite recipe. Suzie was having fun chasing frogs with her broom.

“Smash!” There went Pharaoh’s famous hand-painted pitcher.

“Crack!” His delicate mosaic lamp crashed to the floor.

“Shatter!” His favorite dessert recipe, inscribed on hand-crafted stained glass, broke into a thousand pieces.

At that moment, Pharaoh poked his head through the door. “Just checking on lunch,” he started to say, just as a frog jumped in his face.

“Whack!” Suzie swung her broom right at it. “Oops, sorry. It was an accident.”

Two days later Pharaoh, his nose swollen like a balloon, was tired of having frogs hop all over him. As soon as he rid himself of one, two more would hop in his face. He hadn’t had a decent meal to eat in three days, due to all the frogs hopping into his food, jumping onto his ear, and messing up his newly shampooed hair. So he called up Moses, yelled at him about the frogs, and asked him to pray for him. Moses said he’d pray, and the frogs died immediately.

The fact that they croaked so swiftly convinced Pharaoh that his cook had poisoned them with the intent of putting them into his food and making him sick. She was trying to kill him, he told himself. So much for Moses telling him God had sent the plague of frogs! In Pharaoh’s mind, it wasn’t God. It was this cook.

Pharaoh fired her, then told Moses he refused to let his people go. After all, he was no fool. If he couldn’t find good help from this sneaky Egyptian lady, then he must stock up on foreign slaves. It was the only way he knew to save his skin.

 

 

 

Curing General Nice Ice

Old General Nice Ice had an awful case of freezer burn.

The happy look he once bore on his face had grown quite stern.

His spiked gray hair was frosted over like a polar bear.

His cheeks, once rosy, now had no more cheerfulness to share.

 

His arms and legs had stiffened and his once soft heart was hard.

His lips were purple when they found him standing in his yard.

His friends took him to Hero Hospital to be defrosted.

But could it be too late for him? Had he already “lost it”?

 

Good doctor Cool Breeze wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole.

It had to be eleven feet. The tip was very cold.

He took the stiff man’s temperature and wouldn’t give it back,

For it was minus zero, colder than a frozen snack.

 

When asked to stick his tongue out, the poor guy could not say “Blah,”

All he could spit through gritted teeth was “I am NOT in awe.”

“At least it’s better than lukewarm.” The doctor’s voice was grim.

“Your illness didn’t come from exercising at the gym.”

 

“I see vice in your ice, which cannot cover up your flaws.

It seems you have Pride flu. Could you illuminate the cause?

What is the last heroic deed you did before this hit?

Did someone spray hot sauce on you or throw a nasty fit?”

 

Snowflakes popped up in different places on the golden floor.

The patient’s eyes shot icicles too glaring to ignore.

“How do you dare imply such petty things could get my goat?”

The anger on his face was like the berg that sunk the boat.

 

The doctor tried again. “Please sir, I beg. Don’t be offended.

Those are the questions that my fellow doctors recommended.

It’s nothing personal, but you are in stage three denial.

Your friends don’t want to see you die.  They miss your happy smile.”

 

The general relaxed a bit. “Volcano Man. It’s he.

He spewed a stream of lava, but I froze it expertly.

It wasn’t easy. No one helped me. No one even cared.

The villain was so evil and the victims were so scared.”

 

“The helicopter I was flying, no one else could man.

No co-pilot is qualified to lend this guy a hand.

I shall not relegate such work to some unworthy slob.

I am the multi-tasker, and I did a bang-up job.

 

Through blasts of hot disgust and wild opinion smoke I steered,

While blowing freeze breath out the window, from his rants I veered.

I used my supersonic voice to tell the crowd to freeze

While I made ice of lava, but their fear it did not ease.

 

“The people were too stubborn and they would not heed my voice.

And that is why, you see, I have no reason to rejoice.

I stuck my neck out for them, but received no gratitude.

All I got from them was one big stinking attitude.”

 

“They said they didn’t like the way that I looked down on them.

‘We are not little kids,’ they said. ‘We want to be your friend.’

But who would not act better than those folks if they were me?

The fire I put out was growing exponentially.”

 

“I saved those lazy victims, but my role is now reversed.

Now I’m the one in need of rescuing and I feel cursed.

I’m sick because I just asked them to listen and obey.

But they refused. It makes me mad. This cold won’t go away.”

 

“If you’ll take my prescription, then it will,” the doctor said.

“First off, to cure this flu requires a chill pill for your head.

Let go your disappointment. Everybody makes mistakes.

To know you’re not their Savior is the way to cure your aches. ”

 

“Rest in His finished work. That’s the best way to heal your heart.

You do not need a podium to demonstrate your art.

The warmth that you require does not depend on recognition.

What you need is a merry heart to make a smooth transition.”

 

“To think on good things, not on bad, will bring more joy to you.

To welcome co-pilots can melt the ice in which you stew.

A slice of humble pie will help dissolve your isolation

And turn your freezer burn into a wondrous ‘ice elation.'”

 

 

 

 

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