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Seasons of a Tree

A tree in splendid majesty,
reaches up its arms to Thee.
A million leaves unfurl and raise
to glorify and give You praise.

In wintertime, all bathed in white,
like diamonds, they reflect the light.
While barren, still inside the trunk
live the squirrel and the skunk.

As winter passes into spring,
awakening every living thing,
buds turn to flower, leaves abound,
then, whirling seeds spin to the ground.

As summer wakes, the shady trees
shelter honey-making bees.
Their branches stretch out far and wide
to welcome singing birds inside.

Squirrels hide their food stores deep
in autumn when the trees near sleep.
Leaves change to golden, red and brown,
then casting off, drift to the ground.

Through summer, winter, fall or spring,
You show Your care in everything.
The wonder of Your grand creation
inspires our imagination!

A masterpiece for all to see,
we’ll join the trees in praising Thee!

by Jane E Clark

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Give me a dream to hold on to,
a reason to rise each morning.
How often feelings of desolation
come upon me without warning.

Help me know the difference
between what’s false and true.
Help me discern which voice is man’s
and which voice is from You.

Alone I cannot make it.
I need you every day.
There is no hope when I fake it.
I want a peace that will stay.

Give me a hope to cling to
and help me understand
the things I find so hard to take
are working in Your plan

to take me ever deeper
into the knowledge of
Your unsearchable mercy
and Your precious gift of love.

Help me know You, Jesus.
Hear me when I cry!
Incline Your ear unto me
and answer my heart’s “Why?”

Why have I been all alone,
while searching so for You?
There’s nothing more that I can find,
nothing more that I can do.

Alone, I cannot make it.
I don’t think You want me to –
so help me Lord to see You.
Help me Lord, to see.

by Jane E. Clark  (c) 1982

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Little Blonde Heads

Our little blonde heads,
now tucked into bed
with a kiss and a prayer
and good nights all said.
 
Each day has its wiggles,
its tantrums and giggles,
that still to a sigh
as they snuggle in bed.
We tiptoe from their room.
Has the day passed so soon?
Did we play enough games?
Were enough stories read?
 
But as morning grows light,
sunny faces in sight,
assure us again
of a full day ahead.
A new chance to grow,
to listen and know,
to love and to treasure,
our little blonde heads!
 
Jane E Clark

~ 1989

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To Your Glory 

by Jane E. Clark

Could mere words express Your glory?
– Songs do justice to Your grace?
Or an artist’s paintbrush bring to life
the wonder of Your face?

Could my hands give anything of worth
to hands that bore the nails for me?
Could my feet carry out the will
of Him, Who climbed up Calvary?

No, I can’t, on my own,
do anything of worth.
It is You who give first life.
It is You who give new birth.

Your Word will teach me how to speak.
Your Spirit give the song.
Your power, Lord, will work in me
to make the feeble, strong.

Exchanging Your grace for my shame
You took my cross, gave me Your Name.

You pour Your glory out today
into vessels made of clay
and make me worthy through Your grace
to gaze on the glory of Your face!

And because You love me so much –

My words do give You glory.
My hands can serve a King.
My feet can follow in Your steps
to minister and sing!

Your Words open my mouth to speak.
Your Spirit gives the song.
Your power, Jesus, works in me
and makes the feeble, strong!

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Saying Goodbye

The news of your death didn’t really surprise me. You played tag with the reaper for years… half hoping you would lose.

I suppose I should have been sad. That would be the right way to feel. But I only felt relived. The face that haunted my dreams and alarmed my waking thoughts would appear no more. The condemning voices in my head could be stilled. My accuser was silent, at last. You couldn’t hurt me again.

Your life was a tragedy. I am sorry for the part I contributed to your undoing, but not sorry enough to try to fix it one more time. I had offered myself at that altar for too long.

I introduced you to love. You were so unsure of yourself then. Dangerous and beautiful. In the beginning I was free, and you sought me out. But when I traded in all trust and bargained away all other friendship for your treasure, I wandered the streets hoping to see some sign of you. What began for me as pity, became passion… then, possession.

I began as your dream. You worshiped me once. But when I became a habit, you found fault with me everywhere. I wanted to please you. When had the balance changed? When I tried to walk away, so many times, you wouldn’t let me. I was yours and nobody else’s… but no longer loved. I was your slave.

I cried with you when your parents divorced. When they told you they’d only married because of you. Their bastard son.

Angry words, angry blows, desperate cries turned on me. You ran from the law, and from me. When I found you, you crushed me with words. When I ran from you, you beat me, or tried to kill yourself. When I wouldn’t let you, you tried to kill me. Oh, why wouldn’t you let me go? When I found the strength, if you hated me so much, why wouldn’t you let me just… go. But perhaps, you were possessed, too. For a long time, your demons were stronger than mine.

It took a little girl, to release me. Her tiny hand held mine and reached out to you. When you walked away… I flew.

You turned to my best friend, in your so-called grief. She poured out years of anger on you, for what you had done to me. You seemed so sorry.

Were you sorry?

She became your comforter. And I warned her not to believe you. But you were subtle. And who could not love you? So dangerous, and beautiful.

When she told me she was engaged to you, I cried for her loss. I wanted to believe you could love her. That you’d be good to her.

On the day you struck her, you knew it was over. All your tears could not make a difference then, though she never stopped loving you. You were her dream. But she wouldn’t let you abuse her. She was much stronger than I.

As years passed you tried to get us back. Even after we had found new loves and married, you would call. Sometimes I thought I saw your face on the street or at my door, and was filled with terror. Fearful dreams and waking visions continued for years.

When I heard the news that you were dead, I was relieved. I knew it was the alcohol that finally drove you to pull the trigger. The reaper came when another said no to you. You faced a world without love and couldn’t go on. I should be sad for you. Maybe I am, a little.

My best friend and I laid a rose on your unmarked grave and said goodbye for the last time. She wept, and I comforted her. Now that you are really gone, and cannot find me or hurt me anymore… maybe I will be sorry for you. After those four years of love and pain, you will always be a memory, locked away.

My great comfort and hope is that somewhere, your little girl grew up safe, and loved.

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When I cannot find my way teach me Lord, how to pray
When my sin is all I see, set me free, Lord, from me.
When I’m lost and all alone guide my footsteps safely home,
with hope and strength to find peace to ease this troubled mind,
light to leave the dark behind.

Through the fires, Lord, I’ll trust You.
You have promised, I can rest.
And whatever happens, Your Word lets me know
You’re with me wherever I go.

Don’t hide Your face from me. Lord, I need you, desperately!
As I struggle through the grief, Jesus help my unbelief!
All your promises are true. This I know, but help me through
this wilderness of fear. Come to me, Lord, meet me here.
How I need Your spirit near!

Through the fires, Lord, I’ll trust You.
You have promised, I can rest.
And whatever happens, Your Word lets me know
You’re with me wherever I go.

In faith I seek Your face looking for amazing grace
rejoicing as I wait, till I stand at Heaven’s gate.
You are faithful, pure and true. All my hope can rest in You!
Sealed in love and kept in You, here I stand to worship You!
You have made all things new!

Through the fires, Lord, I’ll trust You.
You have promised, I can rest.
And whatever happens, Your Word lets me know
You’re with me wherever I go.

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July, 1982

Don’t let me listen to him, Lord,
he’s trying to tell me lies.
He said You do not love me.
He said, there is no hope.
He said that I am worthless in Your eyes.

But Lord, that isn’t true
when I bring it back to You
and you show me in Your Word
that these are lies I’ve heard.

Help me discern the words I hear
without being deceived,
take each thought captive to the Truth
and prove what I believe.

I *will not* listen to him, Lord!
I will not listen to his lies.
I know You love me,
Your word is true,
and I am precious in Your eyes.

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Before Time Began…

Genesis1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
1Cor. 2:7 “ We talk about God’s wisdom, which has been hidden as a secret. God determined this wisdom in advance, before time began, for our glory.” (Common English Bible)

2Timothy 1:9

God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began. (Common English Bible)

Titus1:2

Their faith and this knowledge are based on the hope of eternal life that God, who doesn’t lie, promised before time began.  (Common English Bible)
All these Scriptures would seem to indicate that there was a point when time itself had an actual beginning. But not all versions of the Bible use this phrase. In fact, most do not.

In most versions “before time” is translated: “before the world began” or “before the foundations of the earth.”

This is a pretty big difference. While it may seem insignificant – our understanding of the nature of the God of eternity hangs on the meaning of this phrase. Confusion about “time” has introduced some pretty silly and strange philosophies about how God can exist in eternity – while we exist in “time.”

So, how do we define time? Is it sequence? Duration? Or the measurement of it?

Before there was a sun and a moon, humans would not have been able to mark days or months. The time it takes the earth to orbit the sun is one year. The time to rotate once on its axis is one day. But what is a day on Jupiter? What is a year? They are not the same as earth, are they? So the measurement of time is relative to where we are and how quickly we are moving, in the solar system.

When was the first day, according to Scripture (Genesis 1)? It was at the beginning of creation. Days and nights were defined at that point. But does this mean there were no events prior to the creation of our universe? Were there no events prior to God speaking –  “Let there be light”?  If we believe the eternal God is the ever-living one, and has always existed, then He would have necessarily had to exist BEFORE the beginning of creation, in order to create it. Not only did the Father exist, but according to Scripture, so did the Son (John chapter 1).

So we do know that at least the Godhead existed prior to “in the beginning” that we refer to as our Genesis. Within that Godhead, was there thought? Creativity? Relationship? If so, there must have been sequence. There must have been duration. If this were not so, then God (who is unchanging in His nature – according to His word), changed from doing nothing, to doing everything.

Where there is action, there is a sequence of events. But God is alive – not like the stone idols of the nations. Time as we measure it came at a certain point for Him, and for us, but not duration. It would be impossible for God to have a beginning, Himself, and still be the Creator of all things.

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God is not the author of lies or of evil (wickedness). (John 8:44, Heb. 6:18)
He does not come to steal, kill, or destroy. Jesus was clear that the father of lies is Satan. “The thief” comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). But The LORD has come to give us life, and that, abundantly.
God does not “break your toys” to make you stronger. But as your toys are broken (as will happen in this world), He is with you to strengthen you and help you grow in character and sanctification. There is enough trouble that we bring upon ourselves or find from our fellow man, to test and try us. (James 1:12, John 16:33, Jer. 29:11, Romans 8:31-39, 1 Peter 1:3.) We have three enemies in this age. The world, the flesh (our own fallen nature) and the devil – who is called the “god of this world”. http://dawnbible.com/1958/5812cl-1….
Yes, there can be and is discipline for believers who sin, but it is for their good to bring them back. But discipline is not evil, or unjust. (Heb. 12:10) His desire is that all mankind be saved, but He does not force them to be. (1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9)
In this fallen world, even creation groans and travails until the Lord returns to restore it. (Rom. 8:22) Sin brought death (Rom 3:23, Rom. 5:12). Yet we say that disasters are “acts of God.” While there were a few instances of this during the theocracy of Israel, this is not how God commonly works among the nations. We must be careful not to credit God for what He has not done, nor to say He has said it, when He has not (Ezekiel 13:7). That is blasphemy.
Also, if extreme weather was an “act of God” – why do we take measures to protect people from them, or rush to help those harmed by them??? Are we fixing what God has ruined? No. Every perfect gift comes from God. He is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. (James 1:17, John 1:5)
God does not bring all things to pass, but He can use all things (Rom. 8:28). God also cannot tempt someone to sin, so cannot be blamed for that. (James 1:13-14)
Jesus said, “Offenses must come, but woe to him through whom they come.” (Matt. 18:7, Luke 17:1)
So, please, stop giving God credit for harms and evil. In trouble, seek His help, because He is there to walk with you through it. You can trust God and run to Him instead of from Him.

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People keep comparing the Koran to the Old Testament theocracy of Israel as it conquered Canaan, and later in history, The Crusades, saying there isn’t much difference between Christians and Muslims.
Admittedly, the wars of OT conquest in Canaan were genocidal, as was the flood. Their design was to eradicate the wicked peoples who had been genetically corrupted by angels, (See Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6).
For salvation to come to mankind (as was promised), the “seed of the woman” mentioned in Genesis 3, had to be purely human, without demonic DNA. As for the flood, Noah was found perfect in his generations, thus his family was spared.
The Crusades came about because Christians in various cities (including Jerusalem) in the middle east were being killed en masse due to Islamic invasion. The Europeans who went to fight that war did some awful things (such as killing Jews indiscriminately) – but the initial cause of the war was defense. They are not blameless for their faults – and whenever men decide to do something in the name of God, it reflects on His character. But this does not mean God has done it. We often do it wrong. Jesus is the standard for right and truth. Not mankind.
But looking through history, it’s been almost 1,000 years since Christians were engaging in this kind of battle, in the name of Christ.
Islamic wars of conquest and destruction have been going on since Mohammad (from around 700 AD until now). I don’t think Christians are posing a current threat.
As for the sacrificial system – those who are unfamiliar with Scripture will bring that up to oppose God as a violent, bloodthirsty tyrant. This shows an ignorance of the nature and purpose of God, of the nature of sin and of the nature of mankind.
The symbolism of Abram’s near-sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah is a shadow of what was to come, and very poignant. Jesus (the Son of God) would one day ascend that same mountain, carrying his own cross (as Isaac carried the wood he would be laid on). And as promised, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.” A ram’s horns were stuck in a thorn bush, becoming the “substitutionary offering” for Isaac. This shows how Jesus, who wore the crown of thorns became a substitute for me, taking my place in death so I may live.
All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. The wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23, 6:23) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus went to the cross willingly. He was not murdered by a cruel Father. He didn’t have to go. But it was love that held Him there.
This life is not the end. There is a judgment waiting. Every person will be judged before the LORD, concerning their deeds, and will be rewarded accordingly. As Creator, He has the right to bring His creation to account for what they have done with what they’ve been given. Those whose names are written in Book of Life of the Lamb Slain – since the beginning of the world’s creation, will enter into eternal life. Others will be judged only by deeds. Those who have done much wrong knowingly will suffer greater punishment than those who did not sin in the same way Adam did (deliberately). But the one who created us has the authority and the right to judge us. He will judge with righteous judgment. In that day, no person will be able to justify their own sin, in His sight. He has made provision for anyone who is willing to come to Him. If they will not come, there is no other way. And He who gave all for us is not obligated to make another way.

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