My Biggest Challenge

February 20, 2015

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I’ll live with the scars
Of all my past failures
I won’t forget them
They have been my hard teachers
My joy is that mercy reigns

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I found the biggest challenge
Is to learn to forgive me
When others cannot forgive
The wrong I have done

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I cannot please men
Measure up to my own rules
I found a friend in Jesus
Looks at me with compassion
Gives what I do not deserve

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This relationship
I can’t explain to others
It’s a mysterious love
From another world
Love broke through a story
Real man in real time – real love

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I have fallen many times
Failed to trust, done it my way
Suffered consequences
Felt the despair

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He is the one I trust
No other one can bear it
My soul’s deepest pain
When I am alone I know
My Father’s hand is on me

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I arise with His power
Renewed by Eternal love
Accept forgiveness given
Live today in peace

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Reflections of the morning as the birds sing behind me in the bitter cold.

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When I read this “Haiku” to Charlotte she said “You make yourself sound like you were pretty bad.” I said, “I know that I have hurt people. I don’t remember ever intentionally hurting anyone. But looking back I see I have. I just take responsibility for my part in that hurt and I am very greatful for the kind forgiveness I have received from God and those I have offended.”

How Do You Set Your Mind?

February 9, 2015

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The focus of the children
How beautiful and loving
Need direction from your word
Because you give life

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Love awakens us to joy
Arising each morning to pray
I will listen first then speak
Respond to the truth

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Truth always comes through kindness
Although at first it’s painful
To see the lies I live by
Keeps me in the darkness

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What are the lies that destroy
Do I really want to know
It’s painful to discover
My own false beliefs

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It takes courage to seek God
Not knowing what you will find
Can I believe He is real
Loves me as a son

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Such beauty among the young
Fresh, alive and full of love
Put your hand on the children
Trouble lies ahead

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We will focus on the joy
The promises and the friendship
Because there is certain hope
For those who believe

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I won’t live in fear
God promised, “I’ll be with you
Never leave or forsake you”
Courage will follow
When your love is much larger
Than all the trouble around

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I will set my mind
My heart and soul long for
The gift to live free
Focused on His greatest gift
His inexpressible love

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I was asked to speak this week by Lael Caldwell who leads a “Round Table of Business Men and Women” on the topic of “How Do You Set Your MInd?” I chose to share this message with the Woodmont Hills family yesterday. If you would like a copy you can email me at terrysmith5@comcast.net and I will give you the address where you can order it.

Last night I sat with Charlotte at a “Sweetheart Banquet” and was served and entertained by a group of amazing young people. The above reflections come out of listening and responding to yesterday’s experience and the reading of the Psalms this morning. Psalm 9 and 39 along with meditating on John 15:1-17 was the focus this morning.

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Setting my mind each day is absolutely the most important thing I do to take care of myself.

 

A Gentle Touch

February 7, 2015

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I take refuge in the Lord
As a child I came to him
In the night I sought his help
Alone and crying

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His gentle love came
In the silence tenderly
Her nurturing hands
Touched and held me with kindness
My grandmother knew how to care

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Lost her at seven
And other dear ones who cared
Hatred won the day
Trauma entered my pathway
Loss of love ones became real

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What can a child say
No words can explain the pain
There’s no one who hears me cry
Alone with my tears
I was held in the darkness
Looking back I can see it

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When I became big
I read this story of love
A gentle man came
His life attracted my soul
Compassion drew me to him

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The little boy remembers
In the night I found comfort
This mysterious love came
Gently held my soul

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I fell in love with Jesus
His kindness and compassion
Has healed my soul with wonder
Touched my soul with joy

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Fear and fretting blind
They will hide his compassion
Rob the soul of life
My God says, “Don’t be afraid!
I’ll not leave you desolate.”

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This friendship calls me
To not believe “in” Jesus
But believe Jesus
Present and counting my tears
With His promise to help me

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Every one has a story. I found that good reflection creates space to remember the past and look ahead to the future. I cannot define the future when my anxiety and fears keep me from seeing past the present. Whose words I trust when the trouble comes becomes my decision. I believe God is my friend and your friend. I will not allow my perception of him to be defined by the people who claim to be his followers or those who react to others perception. Religion fails and people fail. Looking back on the abandoned child the mystery of love showed up for me that is undeniable. I certainly can’t prove it nor can anyone disprove it. What the “trouble” did was caused me to get into a quest to know what is really true. Was the one who claimed “to give life and give it abundantly” a liar, crazy or telling the truth? I decided to be a seeker of what is real in this world and I found his teaching and the way he lived resonate with my deepest soul wound. I made it my aim fifty-four years ago to find out what makes sense in life because what happened to me as a child. I did not want the same thing to happen to my children. Psalms became my mother and Proverbs became my father. I found their words trustworthy and enlightening then and now!

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Psalm 37 prompted these thoughts this morning. All the best on your journey.

He Counts Your Tears

January 26, 2015

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When I am afraid
I will trust in you, O God
It’s your words I trust
How can mortal man hurt me
In God I trust; I will not fear

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Record my lament
You keep record of my tears
You even count them

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You always get the blame God
For the suffering and the pain
It is man’s abuse of man
Where are you, “O man?”

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In God I will trust
He’s the one with compassion
I see the heart of man hurt
Abuse and deceive
Give God the blame for lying
And not look in the mirror

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You have delivered my soul
Met me in desperation
Given your presence of love
In stillness I find

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I know the story
How God’s love became a man
He offered “abundant life”
I was skeptical
I looked closely at the man
A man of sorrows and grief

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He met the lonely
The broken and abandoned
Was gentle and kind
Gave hope to the hopeless ones
I know I was one of them

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I wept when I saw
The way he lived and he died
His personal touch
Reaches the most broken ones
He counts each person “Beloved”

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I once was desperate. Now I meet with desperate people. I’m desperate again. This time I bring hope to desperate people. Every human being is precious and needs to know they count. I discovered a God who not only counts the tears but sees the person and is pursuing each one. They don’t need my answers but need someone who is present listening and giving what I can. Can God really be that close? Psalms 26, 56, 86, 116 and 146 opened a window to an awareness of someone who is there with love and understanding.

Christmas Wonder

December 25, 2014

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I sit in wonder
Looking back I see it
Generational darkness
And pinholes of light
The tragedy and the pain
The sorrow that led to joy

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The relational chaos
Can be seen on the I-Phone
Looking for a connection
Missing the person

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With eyes on the hand
Holding the person captive
Not seeing my eyes
Longing for a connection
To be seen as a person

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I’ll lay the phone down
Turn it off and look around
Not miss the moment
The eyes and the warm embrace
Surprising moments of joy

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More information
Life lived vicariously
Technology is worshiped
Junk food of the mind
Robbing us connection
With the real and life giving

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I will text you now
And give an invitation
To come share a joy
Know the beauty of looking
In the eyes of the One who loves

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I have learned in the morning before I look at my I-Phone, turn on the computer and check my email to be still and look in the face of the Father who sees. The unseen is the real just like love. You know when it is not there and you know it when it is. Turn your mind, heart and soul to the One who can stop the noise and chaos and give you peace. Today people around the world are looking for gifts. One has been given you and you have only to be still, listen and believe. Readings this morning that has been helpful to me in stopping the “junk food” noise from generations are the following: “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. Psalm 25:14 speaks of a God who will “confide in you” and Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Looking back I see the generational darkness and I now see the generational light revealed that day God was born in the world as a baby. May the real wonder of Christmas be yours today! Merry Christmas!

Why Christmas?

December 23, 2014

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I will meet with you alone
There is no greater moment
Than being in your presence
The secret treasure

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You delivered me
From the bonds of slavery
A prison inside

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My heart demands perfection
I can never measure up
To be able to please all
It’s impossible

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So I stand guilty
Behind the bars of performing
Looking for affirmation
So someone will see
I am a person of worth
My grief and losses scream out

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I have hidden faults
Secret ones that condemn me
I can’t measure up
Beliefs about me are a lie
I keep looking for relief

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I found in silence
Behind the condemnation
The noise of judgment stopped cold
When I looked in eyes
Of the Creator of life
Who showed me that He loved me

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Stillness is so hard
Because my own heart condemns me
I need to be held
Comforted like a small child
Held in the arms of my friend

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I found this unseen love
In stillness God came to me
I focused on His dear son’s
Compassionate love

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He knows each of us
With understanding He comes
He has chosen you
Knows your name and your pain
Says, “Your are my Beloved”

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I could be right about this
“You are Special and Beloved”
I’m not talking religion
But relationship

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Friendship that’s deep and lasting
A friend who will never leave
A joy that’s unspeakable
Love that cherishes

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This secret treasure
Is for all those who seek truth
Who decide to fight
Begin by caring for self
Take responsibility

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I have found the light
My soul searched with compassion
And the message, “I love you”
Comes with knowledge
Understanding the story
That God became a human

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I sing “Silent Night”
The reason for the Season
In stillness He comes

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Early morning reflections from Psalm 19

Miracle Presence

November 14, 2012

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I will listen to one voice
The one that can be trusted
He has been tested and tried
He heals all my wounds

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This daily practice
Of choosing not to worry
Just because he said
“Don’t worry about your life”
“What does worry add to you?”

I have found a key
For healing and freeing men
Helping people move forward
Through obstacles
Understanding your own story
The richness of your own life

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If you look within
The wounded places stand out
You survived the pain
Do you know the reason why
And where to find the healing

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He knows your story
Understands right where you are
And offers healing
Who is this one who is present
Who makes a promise of life

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Know his story well
Listen only to his voice
What he says is relevant
Connected and true
I know how much he loves me

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I’ll be strong and courageous
I will not give in to lies
I’ll be kind and merciful
And love without end

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Because Jesus loves
I’ll love you with the same love
Forgiveness at the center
Miracle Presence
I believe with all my heart
His resurrection power

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Energy given
When I decide to believe
And act in obedience
Against my feelings
Then his healing touch will come
I drink the living water

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“Faith needs to meet people where they live otherwise it is irrelevant.”  Glenn Hinson

 

For fifty-one years, I have asked the real hard questions about human relationships.  No one has made more sense to me about life than Jesus of Nazareth.  His teachings and the way he treated a person were contrary to the religion of his day.  They killed him for it.  They are contrary to the religion of my day.  What mattered to him was the person.  It will take your best mind to look carefully at your own story, and his story to make the connection.  The distractions of your own pain, and the distractions of others vying for your time and energy are formidable obstacles.  When Jesus said, “I came to give life and give it abundantly” I said he is either a liar, crazy or telling the truth.  I was in such a desperate state I was compelled to search out the facts of his story.  I wanted to know how he put his pants on, who he ran around with, what was important to him, because he gave a promise that was outlandish, but one I so desperately wanted to be true. 

 

Reflections this morning are from Jesus Calling , by Sarah Young as well as Luke 12:22-26, II Corinthians 10:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, John 4.

 

What I Believe

October 5, 2012

I will see His face
He is observing my life
It’s a look of love
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I choose what I will look at
I know what the face of love is
I accept the peace He gives
My faith is in Him
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I am not righteous
I grew up in darkness
A light came cloaked in kindness
Gentleness and love
I looked in the face of God
In the face of mother love
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My mother could not give
My father emotionally-handicapped
The God of all love
Sent grandmothers and neighbors
And His angels to attend
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Unfailing love -what I know for sure
I love to tell His story
Light comes in darkness
The fire of joy can be lit
The human soul is restored
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I trust in unfailing love
I rejoice in His friendship
This friend gave His life for me
There’s no one like Him
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I choose what I seek
And who I will listen to
The loud voice of fear
Hidden behind guilt and shame
Must be brought into the light
I will speak the truth
I’ll watch when the door opens
Be ready to give
Make the mysterious love
Plain to those who are seeking
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You have blessed my home
With patience and loving care
Crowned with forgiveness
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Psalms 11-15; Proverbs 3;
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Unexplainable Gift

April 18, 2012

I have learned to hide
In the shadow of your wings
You’ve lifted my heart to joy
I cannot explain
I’m an ordinary man
A broken human being

When I look back my heart’s sick
I see my failure and pride
Lust for affirmations
Longing for power
I repent again today
I am new every morning

Each morning I rise
Praise God for his massive love
One who lives by his Spirit
In those who repent
Those who accept forgiveness
Who accept undying love

A gift I cannot explain
It defies logic of men
But I know one thing
I was shattered in pieces
And now I am whole again

I will seek the truth
That is a choice I can make
It is the one thing
That I have done and will do
It has brought light to my eyes

I’ve lived close to death
I have watched my love ones die
I’m angry at death
I hate it with all my heart
Only truth has brought me hope

Men’s religion has failed
A cloud, a veil hides the truth
You must look deeper
Search for yourself the answers
You will find if you will seek

Reflections written after meditating on Psalm 31; Proverbs 7; Jesus Calling; My Utmost for His Highest – 4-7-12.

When I rise in the morning, I can now visualize the places I have read about for over 50 years.  I am in Jerusalem.  I have been to the Sea of Galilee.  I have stood on Mount Carmel.  I have been to the synagogue Jesus taught in Capernaum.  I have stood on the mountain where he explained who the really happy people are (Sermon on the Mount).  I have looked up at the stars over the Sea of Galilee where he knelt before dawn broke.  I have seen these places and marveled.  What is happening inside me is a feeling of having brought the one in me (Jesus) to a most familiar place.  It has made my heart glad. 

As I have been seeking the truth about life, I have found nothing to compare with the teachings and life of the man from Nazareth.  His friendship defies human logic.  His life and resurrection have been made real as I have sought what is true.   I wanted to know who speaks to the real human struggle around the universal issues of life (death, despair, guilt and fear).  I have been led to the One relationship that brings me hope, peace, forgiveness and joy.  A daily practice continues to surprise me with new things. 
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It is Resurrection morning, we just walked back from one of the gardens outside of Jerusalem where some say Jesus rose from the dead.  There was a sunrise service with about 1500 people from every nation.  We arrived early, so we had time to read and remember.
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Dawn Breaks with Life
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The dawn is breaking
In the garden where he rose
Many gather to worship
Taking their pictures
Did you know it would be like this
Each one coming to worship
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After reading all the accounts of the Resurrection
I wrote:
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At the beginning
There were only a few there
The women were first
But the men did not believe them
The women say – ran to tell
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They ran to the tomb
To see for themselves what was true
There the empty tomb
Angels spoke resurrection
He’s not here, He’s risen
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We worship God who’s alive
Each person invited to come
One with the Father of all
His son died and rose
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Let me join you, Lord
In giving life to this planet
Help me point them to your love
God becoming man
In the person of Jesus
A joy much larger than death
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It was impossible for death to hold Jesus.  It is impossible to death to hold us.  Jesus lives in you.  We are invited to a life of joy because of the living Christ in us.  Do not be afraid or anxious.  God is with you.  Peter said in Acts 2:24 “… it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”  That same promise belongs so us. 
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You are everything to God.  Be still and invite Him to come and hold you.  He always comes and sends his angels to join Him.  Psalm 91
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A Love Without End

February 18, 2012

A love without end
A deep abiding friendship
With the one who gives life
A daily rhythm given
To the dance of joy
 
Just because you don’t feel it
Doesn’t make it not true
Don’t let unfamiliarity rob you
Of knowing Jesus’ story
 
God hates hypocritical religion
With all its self-righteousness
Bringing judgement on others
 
Jesus came to love
He said, “I came to give life
And give it abundantly.”
I decided to test it
Fifty years ago
 
Love in action speaks
Much louder than empty words
I focus on his actions
Love demonstrated
 
Taking time for quiet stillness
Today as I contemplate
A deep rhythm of the soul
Helps me live in peace
 
One moment in time
He gave it all to set us free
A love without end
 
Terry S. Smith
February 14, 2012
 
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A fresh spring of joy
Rivers of living water
Come pouring down on our lives
His living presence
Coming in the little things
Making us aware of love

I rise seeking God
Out my window it is dark
The breaking of dawn
Calls me to remember this
God is waiting to be praised

I will wait on God
I seek Him with all my heart
I ask His gracious Spirit
Make your words my joy
With my mind engaged I come
Help me be ready to act

The following comes from the reading of Luke 24:13-25 and Henri Nouwen’s reflections on Jesus meeting the two on the road to Emmaus.  Henri Nouwen structures the five movements in this conversation: loss, presence, invitation, communion and mission.  He identifies these as the five main aspects of the Eucharist celebration.

This is a movement 
“Resentment to gratitude”
“Hardened heart to grateful heart”
Invited to come
Experience and affirm
His living presence with us

I will celebrate 
This movement in my body
The temple of God
The miracle of God’s choice
To live and dwell in my soul

Jesus is walking by you
Just as he did on the road
They did not recognize Him
Open our eyes, Lord

Their eyes were downcast
He asked “What are you thinking?”
They spoke the truth they could see
Despair ruled their hearts
Their dream was shattered
When Jesus spoke their hearts burned
But still they could not see Him

They listened to history
He explained from the prophets
This story that they were in
And about Himself
He prayed and he broke the bread
God comes to us in prayer

I know I’m like them
Circumstances will dictate
Unless I learn this lesson
When I pray He comes
My eyes are opened with faith
I choose who I will believe

I come this morning
The dawn is breaking today
You know my story
And thankfully I know yours
Let the light of life shine through

I will go forth with a message
A friendship available
Given to all who believe
Help me make you known

I pray you all are aware today that God is near you, and that you receive the gift of His presence, just as the two on the road to Emmaus had their eyes opened.  When you pray, God will open your eyes.  You will remember how your hearts burned when He walked beside you, when you were unaware of the reality of His kind presence.

Merry Christmas, blessings and peace.
With love,
Terry and Charlotte
December 24, 2011
Dedicated to the Servants of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee
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For “A Christmas Eve Story” from my past
 click here
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Healing

November 22, 2010

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Who is this God, my Father
He is mighty in power
No limit to His insight
His understanding
 
He heals the brokenhearted
And He binds up the wounded
He knows the number of stars
Each of them by name
 
Listening and gentleness
Understanding your story
Then focusing on God’s story
You’ll find peace and hope
 
Come out of the pit
Open my eyes to what’s true
The unfailing love of God
Will be my delight
It’s where I place my hope
Lead me to those who are seeking
 
Each person is free to decide
But He will sustain the humble
I have chosen to listen
Focus on true love
 
I need wisdom & insight
I seek it with all my heart
I’ll define myself
By the one who gives me life
Who demonstrated His love
 
© Terry S. Smith
October 30, 2010
 
Reflections written after mediating on Psalm 145-147.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3
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Focus

June 17, 2010

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If you will focus on God
Learning about His story
His powerful love will come
His promise renews
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Your focus can be yourself
Or it can be on your god
Only God can deliver
And heal massive hurt
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When I rise I will focus
On listening to God’s love
I am made in His image
His love never fails
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Terry S. Smith
June 17, 2010
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Meditations written after reflecting on Proverbs 17.
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examined soul

June 9, 2010

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Love beyond measure
Revealed in the life of a man
Needs to be examined
 
His words are flawless
They are filled with compassion
Bringing peace to the broken
Lonely and oppressed
A love that’s demonstrated
 
No one can compare
With the brilliance of his life
He knew how to think and love
The scholars marveled
The religious were tied in knots
The children ran to meet him
 
An examined soul
One that’s both loved and hated
One that seeks justice
One that seeks mercy for those
Made in the image of God
 
© Terry S. Smith
June 3, 2010
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