Springs of Hope – A global Forum creating a new narrative for the Voice of Victims of Terrorism being held in Jerusalem March 1-4. 

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A grandfather stood before the ISIS group and was given the option of denying his faith or watching his grandchildren be slaughtered in front of him.  He denied his faith and called his minister, Andrew White, to confess. “Will God forgive me?” This was his question. When the terrorist approached the children for them to deny their faith in Jesus or else die, they joined hands and said, “We cannot deny our Jesus. We love him.” Then, they each were killed.

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This is the third day of the conference on Terror I am attending in Jerusalem. The sad reality is that we are sitting within the beginning of a movement that is coming to fruition. A group of people are intentionally killing men, women and children who do not agree with them. It is happening here before our very eyes.; just as the Holocaust happened. These are real people in real time. And, it demands a response from me, from us.

I was born during the Holocaust in 1942.  Here, I am meeting with the children of people who were born during this horrendous time or immediately thereafter. Their parents survived and lived with the trauma of PTSD.  And the impact afflicted on them as the children of Holocaust victims is and was horrendous. I met Peter (not his name) whose parents met in Auschwitz and married afterward. They all suffered and continue to suffer.  I do not know what I am going to do, but I am going to do something. 

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What I am witnessing is that there are refugee camps with children who have had no food for a month. We can begin by getting them food. My new friend, Andrew White, who is the Anglican Vicar of Bagdad told the story of a little boy who heard him speak to his school. After school the boy brought him a dollar to help the children. He shared this with many people who want the children to be fed and asked them to began sending their dollars. If you are interested in joining me, in giving this Anglican Vicar a dollar for the children, the address of where to send your donation is: 

Address: Go to website www.frrme.org: To make a donation

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You may also go online to discover information regarding Andrew, his remarkable life and the books he has written. He can no longer be in Bagdad or they will kill him. Although he remains in contact with those who are caring for one another and those in the refuge camps. He is truly on the front-line of this tragedy. His bodyguard was standing beside him as I talked with him. Andrew is the real deal, a man that can be trusted, and any and all monies donated will make it to the children. This I can assure you.

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 We cannot sit by and do nothing. Please join me in praying for these people and  what you can do.  I can give a dollar and so can you. This, at least, will be an immediate start.

If you will, join me in sending dollars for food and care for those driven out of their homes and land and will likely never return.  I will not stand by and do nothing. It is something we can do now.  This is just the beginning.  

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My Desire

February 25, 2015

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As I prepare to enter the soul country of the lives broken by terror the Psalmist led me to write my response to these Psalms. 25, 55, 85, 115 and 145. Slow down and listen to the unseen voice of the Maker of the Heavens and the earth and get in touch with “Your Desire.”

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My desire is to bring you
My life, my soul, my passion
Show me and teach me your ways
Guide me in your truth

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You’re the healer of my soul
Lifted me out of the pit
Quenched my thirsty soul
In quiet I come

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When I am silent
I remember my failures
My weaknesses I ponder
I hunger for you
You receive me with kindness
Your mercies draw me to you

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When I draw near you
You always come with your joy
Incomprehensible love
Rooted in history
Promises that never fail

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I choose to believe
This revelation of love
Confronts us humans
Who wander in wilderness
Looking for the face of God

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I found the freedom
To live spontaneously
Meditate and consider
Accept my failures
And the failure of others
See through eyes of compassion

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it’s fun to be free
To know I have the freedom
To choose what makes sense
Many voices are calling
I found one I can trust

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The past affirms this
The present brings me His peace
The future I celebrate
Eyes opened by the Spirit
To see the unseen as the Real

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The Gentle Way of Love

February 18, 2015

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Light in the darkness
Peace in the midst of the storm
Joy larger than circumstance
Hope impossible
For those who believe in love
Death will have no hold on us

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Love demonstrated
A life well lived speaks loudest
I have decided
Today I will choose to trust
My heart, soul and mind in HIm

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I will name the enemy
The lie handed down to me
The empty dark way
My mother and father lived
And lost what really mattered

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You are who they lost
Without love at the center
Everything breaks down
Religion; psycho-babble
Are built on the empty way

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Love’s the foundation
Peace is the gift that’s given
Work of the Spirit
Modeled in one man who loved
Courageous, gentle and kind

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You’re loved by God
The master truth of God comes
To those seeking truth
Who have the courage to stand
Who believe they are worth it

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After winter spring will come
After death you will be raised
One came to overcome death
And give life to all

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Darkness called me to seek light
Pain called me to seek healing
Through failure came forgiveness
Love came through a man

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David, King of Israel stated: “Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” Psalm 108:12
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“Delta Blues From Darkness to LIght” is available at Amazon/Kindle for $0.99 cents.
http://www.coachinglifematters.com/delta-blues.html

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.

 

Can I Believe Your Delight

February 2, 2015

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Can I believe you
That you take delight in me
It is so foreign
To the way I think of you
The God of the Universe

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The tragedies of this world
Overwhelming suffering
Injustice screaming so loud
Where can I find you

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The greatest surprise
When I focused on one man
One who claimed to be with you
Says he looks like you
Maker of the Universe
Calls himself the Son of Man

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Filled with compassion
Touched the woman at the well
Offered her living water
Surprised with kindness
He knew her story so well
It changed the way she saw God

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A song of hope comes
The pinhole of light comes through
I feel the tension
I choose to take the long view
His promises restore me

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You light up my mind
When I focus on your love
Your presence comforts my soul
Your word restores me
Though circumstances fail
My feelings deny your care

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You delight in me
I choose to trust in your words
You delight in me

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Meditation on the Psalms each morning opens me up to a way to process the reality of life. The ups and downs of human behavior, my own and others is exposed. God enters in the noise of my soul and gives me a focus. In desperation I cry out and God comes in the stillness to comfort the human heart and gives a certain hope. I am surprised by His delight. Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92 and 122 give the long view.

Gift of Forgiveness

January 31, 2015

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Looking back I see
The blind spots in my own life
Born of ignorance
Then the intentional wrongs
They can be overwhelming

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The blind spots are important
Learning points to remember
Because they are there I see
The damage I’ve done

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I’m responsible
For the suffering of those
Given to my care
Children, family and friends
I found forgiveness with God

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To face the truth about myself
Is a surprising gift to all
When love becomes the focus
And forgiveness reigns

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I forgive myself
God chose to forgive my sins
My heart was broken
When I saw the price he paid
Incomprehensible love

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I’ve sought forgiveness
From those I know I have hurt
From those I don’t know
I pray God covers us both
With gentleness and mercy

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In stillness I come
I am focused on His love
With no one but God
I draw near seeking His mind
And I discover His heart

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He has favored me
Claimed me as “His Beloved”
This promise given to all
Is sealed with His blood
Established by resurrection
Embraced by trust in His words

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I practiced feeding this truth by reflecting on the words given in the Psalms this morning. Psalm 31, 91 and 121. The judgment of my own heart is so great that if I don’t establish who I trust in the morning I am manipulated by my worldview and the worldview of others who also hide behind the noise in the heart.

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.

One Definition of God

January 22, 2015

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He’s gentle and kind
Like a Mother and Father
All wrapped up in One

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My mother left me
Abandoned her four children
She was very sick

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God knows the trouble
Each of his children will face
He comes seeking you
My challenge is consider
He called himself “Son of “Man”

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Don’t let religion block you
The hypocrisy and lies
The real God loves you dearly
Remember this truth
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This definition of God is out of fifty-four years of seeking to know the mind of God through meditation and reflection on His Story. I have chosen to live in response to the mercy and love revealed through the window of His story in the Bible. God’s gentle hand is on you and is close to hear and respond to your deepest needs.

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The following poem is an excerpt from the book “A Transplanted Soul” by Charlotte B. Smith

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“…..when the Son of Man comes, will he find
faith on the earth.” Luke 18:8

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Let that be me, Lord

one who continues to pray
and doesn’t give up
one who keeps my heart
turned toward you
Help that be me, Lord

 

Let that be my children
and my grandchildren,
my descendants as long
as my line shall last

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Let them be found faithful
to the end,
Oh, Lord, that you will find faith on the earth!

 

This is my prayer, Lord,
that I send up ahead
on their behalf….

1-10-2010

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Secret Treasure

January 17, 2015

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The exciting truth
It’s a treasure to be found
If you will but ask
With a heart longing to know
With your soul and mind engaged

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We do not know what to ask
Until we get real quiet
That’s when I asked the question
What matters the most

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When I look around
Watch the multitude looking
Bringing their passion
It is all about the “doing”
What is it I want “to do”

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I am blinded by the doing
Confronted by the results
I discovered this secret
“Who am I” is first

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Establish identity
Who are you; why are you here
Answer these questions
Look In the spiritual realm
Consider the unseen first

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I’ll live from the inside out
I don’t have to prove my worth
A human being will do
When they know they count

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Death is not bigger
Circumstances can’t destroy
Forgiveness will rule
Love overflows for yourself
And power to love others

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I know this is true
“Who I am” I hold sacred
A friendship with God
It’s a secret gift of love
It took my best mind to see

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I am Beloved.

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You know, after fifty-four years of seeking, please consider, “YOU ARE BELOVED.” I write these haiku’s each morning reflecting on the past and looking to the future.   Looking both directions I find joy today.  I believe with honest reflection; seeking a knowledge of what is true; being willing to go outside the box of religion; overcome the arrogance of human pride that a person can find their way to real life and meaning. The Hebrew Scriptures particularly Psalms and Proverbs have mothered and fathered me. The real story of Jesus in the Gospels awakened me to a compassionate and gentle love. I make sure I have time to think each day and refuse to be driven by the “ought to” self doing and just take time “to be.” The treasured secret is this: God’s love is seeking you! I could be right!

 

Good Conversation

January 13, 2015

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Good conversation
Is available to all
Who will receive love

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One person I will talk to
Is the one who initiates
Who reaches out with kindness
In the little things

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This person I discovered
Is willing to listen well
And is full of surprises
Begins in silence

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It’s hard to be still
The noise of the “to do” list
Imprisons my soul
And stops me from seeing me
And the one who loves me so

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I get sick of me
I’m the root of the problem
The one who loves me says “Stop!”
“Be still and listen”
The God who made you loves you
His only Son gave His life

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I decided to trust Him
Take His word rather than mine
Enter this love covenant
Respond to His gift

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He gave me His Spirit of Peace
The forgiveness I longed for
Conversation I needed
Based on a promise

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This resurrection promise
Has the power to change things
And restore my wounded soul
He knocks at the door

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It’s a daily thing
I practice with discipline
A choice I can make

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“Behold, I stand at the door”
Is the voice I’ll listen to
I will enter His Presence
And rest in His Love

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True words are powerful. They set a person free to be fully alive inside. I train to live from the inside out as a way of life. God, Creator of the Universe made us in His image. He made it clear by the love demonstrated through His Son that we are His priority. Every person counts with God. He always listens and responds uniquely to each person who calls out in response to His Love. I believe with all my heart that you are favored and Beloved. I could be right!

Awake Expecting

January 8, 2015

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Awake expecting
To hear things you need to hear
From your Creator
Speak to my heart, soul and mind
Let love dominate my life

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Human beings live
As reflections of your heart
We look just like you
No wonder you love us so much
Even though we have failed you

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You bestow honor
And glory on all of us
Made in your image
At conception it’s given
Love never stops pursuing

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My guilt is heavy
A burden too much to bear
Failure consumes me
Wounds fester and bring sickness
To my soul, body and mind

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I sit in mourning
Feeble and utterly crushed
This searing pain comes
I groan with anguish of heart
My longings lay before you

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My sighing is not hidden
“My heart pounds, my strength fails me”
The light has gone from my eyes
No friends are in sight

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Neighbors stay away
Traps are set to destroy me
Deception is all around
I’m blind to your light

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I’m like a deaf man
Whose mouth offers no reply
With no voice to speak

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The reason I love
God found me in this condition
Lifted me out of the hell
Came looking for me
He found me in the darkness
Gently led me to the light

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God is pursuing you now
Be still, focus and listen
Choose the voice you trust
One tested in history
Gave his life that we might live

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I confess my wrongs
My iniquity is great
I am troubled by my sin
Hated without cause
Slandered when I seek the good
O Lord, do not forsake me

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Lord, you are not far
In my darkest hour you came
Opened my eyes to see love
Touched my very soul
Gave me a language to hear
Your Spirit to know the joy

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These promises were fulfilled
Stated in Psalm sixty-eight
We would all do well to look
And believe His word

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Our God is a God who saves
Who daily bears our burdens
From him we escape from death
My heart fills with praise

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I will never forget where I came from and the darkness I lived and grew up in this world. Hope against hope was the surprise that is not only for me but is for everyone. These reflections came in response to Psalm 8, 38, 68, 98 and 128.

You Are His Delight

January 7, 2015

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God searches the minds and hearts
Brings an end to violence
He makes the righteous secure
With forgiving love

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Trust in the Lord and do good
Delight yourself in the Lord
The desires of your heart come
As surely as breath

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Commit your way to the Lord
Trust in him and he will do this
His life will shine like the dawn
Break forth in your soul

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Be still before God
Wait patiently for guidance
Stop all the fretting
It leads only to evil
History tells us this truth

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Anger will kill you
The toxic part can destroy
Learn to channel it
By loving your enemy
The first place to start is you

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The meek inherit the land
Flourish in relationship
Look to the best interest
Of those closest to you

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The result will be peace
That passes understanding
So it is time to grow up
Be responsible
Stop blaming self and others
You hold the key to find life

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God will hold you up
I know this is true for sure
I have tasted this
By practicing His Presence
Walking in the light of love

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God delights in you
When you believe, wisdom comes
There is a future for you
His kindness and peace
Comes when you trust His love
Surrender all of the lies

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These reflections from Psalm 37 come from choosing how I will process this life. There are many views of life one can take. I chose to trust the God David spoke of in the Psalms. As a result I discovered an unshakable life filled with hope in the midst of the worst possible circumstances. Psalms has been like a mother to me over the last fifty years. The promises in this book I have found to be true, practical and life giving beyond words.

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My journey is told in the book “Delta Blues From Darkness to Light.” http://www.coachinglifematters.com/delta-blues.html

Best Friend Conversations

January 2, 2015

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Good conversation
Is a gift I want to have
With those I love most
I will include the stranger
And, also, my enemy

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Who will be my friend
I will be looking today
Ready to respond
Open to this adventure
Love with no expectations

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This I know is the hardest
For we wrong one another
Get offended easily
I know where to start

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I will start with me
The one I sleep with each night
This is the hardest
The one I offend a lot
I’m the one I hurt the most

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I found the secret
A way to forgive myself
To have a conversation
That’s gentle and kind
A way to love even me
In the darkness of my soul

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Ready for the ride
Mutual conversation
Is what I’m committed to
It’s the missing part
So I will not medicate
Keep doing the counterfeit

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I will like sleeping with myself
I have no choice about that
I will befriend my own soul
I’ll live in that joy

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I’ll take away the judgment
With real authenticity
I’ll train to forgive myself
And the one near me

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It is possible to live this. It is possible to overcome the darkness of the wounded soul and discover the joy. The impossible is possible when the deep soul decision is made to live and not die. Deciding to fight for my life is the most important decision I have made. I had to begin by caring about me. At that point I began to pay attention to my questions. Taking that responsibility has led me to discovering how to live in joy over the past fifty-three years. The pain, the reality of my own failure toward others and their failure to me is the most difficult road to navigate.

The best book I recommend to kick start this conversation was written by Jim Woodroof “Sayings that Saved My Sanity.” Write me and I will tell you how to get it. May all the best conversations take place for you in 2015. Your Story Matters http://www.yourstorymatters2him.com

A Lifetime

December 30, 2014

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What lasts a lifetime
Something that will never end
It is God’s favor
He brought me up from the grave
And spared my life from the pit

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Anger is short lived
Weeping may last for a night
Rejoicing comes in the morning
Because God is near
Lifted me out of the depths
And he made my life secure

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When I feel secure
I realize this one thing
A love much larger than me
Establishes life
Gives me the impossible
Anchors my soul in the truth

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My wailing turned to dancing
My cry for mercy came true
I’m lifted out of the pit
Favored and Beloved

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I give you thanks forever
One day at a time I come
My eyes and heart are open
My mind is captured

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Healing always comes
It is God’s precious gifting
To those who believe
Accept His gentle favor
Sit quietly and be loved

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Dark times drive me to the light
A surprising thing takes place
When I’m honestly looking
My soul is refreshed

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These are my reflections from Psalm 30 looking back over these short seventy-two years. The dark times have driven me to light. Oswald Chambers is full of insights into this secret in his book “My Utmost for His Highest.” All the best to us all as we begin this new year. We are all favored.

Awake with Hunger

January 27, 2014

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I recognize Him

His presence in other ones

His presence in me

His power works in weakness

That is why I qualify

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I awake with a hunger

To be near the one who loves

Who will give me a fresh look

And teach me new things

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Remember where you came from

Touched by His loving kindness

No one can fathom this love

Another worldview

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Taught me how to look at you

Taught me how to look at me

Teaches me how to live in joy

Controlled by His love

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How you view yourself

With your head, heart and your gut

Is a transforming process

A life time journey

 Living one day at a time

A disciplined focus

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The beauty of this

Found in the relationship

You are taught by God

God himself is your teacher

Question: “Do you believe this?”

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It’s  been my experience

When I come with a hunger

To know what is reallly true

God surprises me

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I meditate on His thoughts

I decide what I believe

His story captures my soul

New energy comes

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Faith comes in my weaknesses

This love surpasses knowledge

His thoughts rekindle the fire

In my inner soul

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I’m introduced to friendship

I’m being chosen and loved

A friend who will never leave

Says, “Don’t be afraid!”

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I’m introduced to friends

I never knew I needed

Friends who share the same deep love

My community

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“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”   Moses – Deutoronomy 31:6

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“Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfailing beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”   Peter – I Peter 3:4

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“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us.”     Paul – 2 Corinthians 4: 6-7

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“But he said to me, My grace(My favor and loving kindness and mercy) is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully), for my strength and power are made perfect in (your) weakness.  Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weakness and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”   Paul – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amp)

Dedicated to our family friend, Michelle