Sunday, October 1, 2023

Joy Unspeakable

Today's Sunday School lesson
 for my Gr.4-6 class was the parable of the talents from Matt.25:14-30

My prayer is that these little weekly gettogethers will help to
grow their love for God into a joyful, living faith,
wakening their hearts to many opportunities to serve Him every day,
with what He has given,
no matter who or where we are...
that our daily prayer may be at every age
to be good and faithful stewards

Below are a few questions and verses from the lesson...
(good questions and verses to meditate on at any age!)

What are some ways you can use 
what you’ve been given to love God and serve Him?

Why is it worth it, to use what we’ve been given to serve God?

Why was the evil servant wrong to hide the talent?

“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”[a]
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever!

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, 
but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 
18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God 
and receives human approval.

1 Pet. 4:10-11
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, 
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 
11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. 
If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides,
 so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
 To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.

To the true follower of Jesus
there is nothing sweeter on earth
than gathering with fellow-believers 
to worship our Saviour!
Here we renew reverence and encouragement
to be faithful stewards!

What joy to gather together
To be drawn in one embrace
With love’s invisible tether
Of communal hope and grace
Of humble, glad expectation
To be overcome once more
By devotion’s celebration
To the Savior we adore

To be filled with wordless wonder
As our hearts and souls are wed
In reverence as we ponder
He who died in our stead
What a friend we have in Jesus
Oh, what joy His love bestows
The power of the cross frees us
From the debt each sinner owes

What a beautiful reminder
As we join to praise the Lord
To determine to be kinder
To love and obey His word
To find in worship’s communion
Inexpressible delight
At the glimpse of a Reunion
When at last faith turns to sight

© Janet Martin

1 Pet.1:3-9

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 
By His great mercy He has given us new birthb into a living hope
 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 
4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, 
undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you,
  5who through faith are shielded by God’s power for the salvation
 that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

6In this you greatly rejoice, 
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials
7so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, 
perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, 
glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

8Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; 
and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him 
and rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 
9now that you are receiving the goal of your faith, 
the salvation of your souls.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

So Long, September

This is always a sentimental day of the year...So long, September!
Swept away in a flurry of preparation and preserving!

September- the thick of
Earth's heaven 
of harvest!

So long, September’s misty morn...

Like a postlude, to tune the dark
With ballads slipping like a tear
No lips can kiss away...

Tonight's dessert awaiting a mound of freshly-whipped cream,
before heading to Jim's mom and sister, who are cooking the rest of supper!

So long, sweet sweep of summer spent
Of green-leaf secrets whispered ere
The air grew heavy with the scent
Of farewell’s pungent atmosphere
Ere daylight’s dusky hours fell
Faster beneath gavels deep blue
Where younger hunger tolled a bell
Of inevitable adieu

So long, September’s misty morn
Futile to stoke Past’s embers, oh
Or don a countenance forlorn
Where seasons always come and go
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to greet, a time to part
A time to laugh, a time to weep
And gather harvests for the heart

…fragments of color, peach and plum
Of hummingbird and butterfly
A petal-and-echo-spectrum
From summer full of days gone by
Of dahlia-pom-poms, vermillion
Of fields trembling with cricket lays
Of harvest moon medallion
Dangling above our raptured gaze

Where compositions of so-long
Rouse rhapsodies no pen can spell
Like the teal essence of sea-song
Rolling within, swell after swell
Like a postlude, to tune the dark
With ballads slipping like a tear
No lips can kiss away. Ah, hark!
Is that a falling leaf I hear?

So long, well-trampled garden path
By expeditions to and fro
To heap baskets with aftermath
That always awes and thrills us so
With toil and mercy’s dividends
Praise God from whom all blessing flows
For every break of day that wends
To so-long’s certain curtain-close

So long, purple wild aster art
And amber ambience that gleams
Like fresh-pressed cider, sweet and tart
To tease eager taste-buds with dreams
That, in spite of what time may take
It kindly, generously grants
Un-stoppered wonderment to wake
A time to sing, a time to dance

So long, so long, September-love
Of fading flower-serenade
Of clinging to a thinning glove
We wear on earth, but heaven-made
Of places we never quite found
And some we did, and never sought
So long, so long, September, crowned
With apple-red and golden rod

© Janet Martin

Friday, September 29, 2023

Loving Masterpiece...

Each day unfurls its lease of life
Glad laughter swirls with sorrow’s tears
To follow footsteps that run rife
Across a world of yesteryears...

'Maybe I'm living in the past', I commented to my daughter
as I scanned grocery-flyers, searching for what seem to be 
sale-prices of a bygone era.

We all know we cannot live in the past;
each day is its own Present Newness
never to return!

Each day is charged with what yet waits
To tune replies with grin-and-groan
To fulfill that which orchestrates
Both stumbling-block and stepping-stone

Each day unfurls its lease of life
Glad laughter swirls with sorrow’s tears
Then follows footsteps that run rife
Across a world of yesteryears

Each day is primed with Time’s decrease
Four-season circuits ebb and flow
Hello-farewell, embrace-release
Heart-pieces scatter as we go

No matter how common or grand
Each day is never commonplace
For it is a gift from God’s hand
A loving masterpiece of grace

© Janet Martin

Psalm 106:1
Hallelujah ! 
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; 
His loving devotion endures forever.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Awe See-saw

The color of today's task?
Beet red!

...among other colours🍂

I saw the day that was 
slip softly from my sight
A glint, like dandelion gauze 
wafting into the night

I see the day that is 
unfold the darkened lea
A counterpane of promises 
and unpenned poetry

Ah, soon the day I see 
will be the day I saw
A flicker of flowers and tea 
and task-to-do, and awe-

...filled-gratitude for He 
who tends the gates of air
And watches over you and me 
with kind and faithful care

© Janet Martin

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, 
and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. 
This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Intangible Tango

You press half-pictures to a place
Where fact and fancy interlace
Like woodland shadows as they spill
In dusky fringes, dark and still
To mellow, painted meadows where
You press your hello to the air
And draw me almost close enough
To feel the essence of your love
Slip through seasons without a name
Like poetry no pen can tame
As lost and lonely as the flight
Of a kiss blown into the night
Or fragments of a melody
Wild as a riled, wave-ragged sea
You press half-pictures to a place 
No touch can ever quite retrace

© Janet Martin

Of Highs and Lows (that life bestows) or Faith's Footpath

So much to rejoice in 
and so much to mourn
This is the battle to
which we are born
But He who made us 
fits us for the fight
Because faith's footpath
Is not walked by sight!

Wishing you a precious sense of His Presence
in the highs and lows that life bestows

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, 
so the LORD surrounds His people, 
both now and forevermore.

Someday the highs and lows that life bestows will turn to mist
The all-consuming here and now will no longer exist
Someday all will reply to a call, none knows when will be
When, in the twinkling of an eye man meets eternity
As final breath eclipses mortal groaning and applause
As moment-let ellipses 
meld into 
A Life That Was

Meanwhile, this day the Lord has made beckons us to rejoice
In mercy’s evidence portrayed where morning lifts its voice
And lays beneath faith’s stumbling steps and agonies of dust
Sufficient grace to help mortal ineptness to entrust
Today’s unknowns to He who knows, who attends and sustains
Through highs and lows 
that life bestows 
as long as time remains

The beauty of the earth is scarred by consequence of sin
The best of man is marred by Adamic natures within
The heart, des’prately wicked, (yet not without hope!!), through He
Who left his throne to pay the debt that sets doomed sinners free
As true repentance and belief receive salvation’s gift
Life's highs and lows 
of joy and grief, 
faith’s footpath through Time’s rift

Someday yon hills will spill with rose gardens that never fade
No ill will mar the thrill of endless day the Lord has made
Someday ‘the way things are’ will cease, in pastures ever-green
We will behold love’s masterpiece with no dark glass between
As we pass through a curtain-close thought cannot comprehend
Someday, when highs and lows 
that life bestows 
come to an end

© Janet Martin

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

The Sacred 'Real Deal'

1 Sam.16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel,
 “Do not look at his appearance 
or at the height of his stature,
 because I have rejected him; 
for God does not see as man sees, 
since man looks at the outward appearance, 
but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Decorated facades
Like pretty cakes, appeal...
(but the truth of the matter is, this pretty frosting
 could be covering something delectable 
or extremely vile! 
The outside doesn't tell...)

Below is a photo my daughter sent me today,
 of a cake she made for a school fundraiser
(used with permission)

It looks great!
And I have tasted enough of her baking to be sure it will taste great!
However 'it looks great' alone is not enough!
It's what is under the countenance that counts🙏

Thought soon gives way to voice
The invisible genesis
Of love turns into choice

Thought's word and deed unfolds
Like leaves on many trees
Yet, countenance that gaze beholds
Is not what God’s eye sees

Eden’s forbidden fruit
Was pleasing to the eye
 Thought entertained That Cunning Brute
Then partook of his lie

Pride mocks God, true and good
The evidence of thought
Is always clearly understood
Through fear of Him, or not

Decorated facades
Like pretty cakes, appeal
But beneath what visage applauds
Is the crucial 'real deal'  

Therefore, we ought to heed
 Thought's hotbed of design
Ere aftermath of scattered seed
Hangs heavy on the vine 

For as we think we are
Then, pray this is our plea
That meditations of the heart
Are pleasing, Lord, to Thee

© Janet Martin

I call upon You, O LORD; come quickly to me.
Hear my voice when I call to You.
2May my prayer be set before You like incense,
my uplifted hands like the evening offering.
3Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips.
4Do not let my heart be drawn to any evil thing
or take part in works of wickedness
with men who do iniquity;
let me not feast on their delicacies.
5Let the righteous man strike me;
let his rebuke be an act of loving devotion.
It is oil for my head; let me not refuse it.
For my prayer is ever against the deeds of the wicked.
6When their rulers are thrown down from the cliffs,
the people will listen to my words,
for they are pleasant.
7As when one plows and breaks up the soil,
so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
8But my eyes are fixed on You,
O GOD the Lord.
In You I seek refuge;
do not leave my soul defenseless. 
9Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
and from the lures of evildoers.
10Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Of Unbroken Marriage Vows

Today is my parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary...

On Saturday Mom and Dad, along with all children and spouses
enjoyed a day of celebration of God's goodness,
in the blessing of the milestone of 60 years of marriage!

And no, the waters have not always been calm and sun-sparkled!
They have weathered many a self-sacrificing storm.

Happy 60th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!
So thankful for you!

No beauty in the world compares to love that stands the test of time
A yoke weathered by creature cares through vows uttered in youth’s green prime
Where none, as God joins heart to heart, with love’s solemn ‘from this day forth’
Can know how far ‘till death doth part’ will undo Heaven’s best on earth

For, when love is patient and kind, and when it does not seek its own
There is nothing that we can find worth more (save faith’s sound Cornerstone)
To ground love’s house built on the Rock, an anchor for the storms we face
To help us in our walk and talk to be examples of God’s grace

For it is by His grace love bears and believes and endures all things
A Threefold Cord; nothing compares to the strength this awareness brings
Where, by the mystery of God two become one, till death doth part
Let not man put asunder what marriage vows have joined, heart to heart

For nothing in the world compares to love that withstands living’s test
A recompense of humble prayers, of lessons learned through forgiveness
To bring honor and glory to He who is a most faithful Friend
And helps Husband and Wife to be loving and faithful to the end

Dear Mom and Dad…

God, bless and keep, protect and guide you on this special day, and then
From this day forth may He provide love and faith’s sacred need, amen
Where, though much in this world is broken, may what time weathers and bows
By God’s grace be love’s faithful token of Unbroken Marriage Vows

© Janet Martin


“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;
 The Lord [a]lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’