Friday, December 29, 2023

The Greatest God By Far

 



The past week has been entirely lackluster
as far as the weather goes!
I am so glad our joy is not weather-dependent!
Do you ever find yourself laughing, 
agape with sweet joy
as you read God's ancient words and promises, 
ever new
full of grace and truth, 
written for me and you?!

He is the Greatest God by far!
(Why are we so prone to put other gods before Him?!!πŸ’”)

The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,

Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; 
When I fall, I will arise;
 When I sit in darkness, 
The LORD will be a light to me.

(click link to read the whole glorious chapter)

Rejoice in the LORD, O righteous ones;

it is fitting for the upright to praise Him.

2Praise the LORD with the harp;

make music to Him with ten strings.

3Sing to Him a new song;

play skillfully with a shout of joy.

4For the word of the LORD is upright,

and all His work is trustworthy.

5The LORD loves righteousness and justice;

the earth is full of His loving devotion.




Our God is wonderful
The Greatest God by far
He knows and loves and meets us all
Exactly where we are

No secret place exists
Beyond the gaze of He
Who drapes the earth in scarves of mist
And gathers up the sea

He does not shut His eye
As some are wont to think
But fills the scrolls of earth and sky
With inimitable ink

His poetry confounds
None able to ignore
His majesty that knows no bounds
Yet points to so much more

The Lord is good, and knows
Each one that trusts in Him
Though darkness strikes a hostile pose
His Light no depth can dim

Faith marvels at His Word
And feasts upon His grace
A gift, precious and undeserved
To salvage human race

No forgetful God, He
But wonderful and true
His delight, kindness and mercy
To likes of me and you

Oft obstinate and proud
Oft unthankful and vain
He stirs the dust of Heaven’s cloud
And kisses earth with rain

For He is wonderful
The Greatest God by far
He cares and loves to meet us all
Exactly where we are

© Janet Martin



Thursday, December 28, 2023

Don't Judge a Book By The Cover

 Everywhere we turn we see a library of humanity!


Behind the whole of human race
The smiling or the somber face
The eyes we meet in passing, oh
Behind each silence or hello
A story of a life unfolds

…behind facades our gaze beholds
Ink-drops of love, of loss and gain
Of want and need, pleasure and pain
Of holding on and letting go
Shimmers of a life story, so

…because we do not know in full
The details of love’s push and pull
The landscape of life’s ups and downs
That turns the face to smiles or frowns
Because we cannot see the part

…that cradles dreams, or breaks the heart
That fuels gladness or despair
The pressing paragraphs of care/prayer
Should we not be much kinder then
To a world full of fellowmen?

…and season each response with grace
For what we see upon the face
Does not reveal the no or yes
That authors ruin or success
Where we all share the common ground

…of hope, of Something lost or found
Of longings that have not been met
Held in the brooding bay of ‘yet
In stories of ink not yet dry
In so much more than meets the eye

Tall, short, rich, poor, plump or petite
Each bears a book that does not meet
The eye; where fingers cannot trace 
The lines that bridle human race
Into a kind of library

...penned by the likes of you and me
With no two stories quite the same
However great or small its fame
Where behind every face we meet 
Unfolds a story, bittersweet 

© Janet Martin

2 Cor.5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 
so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done 
while in the body, whether good or bad.

Rev.20:11-13
Then I saw a great white throne and the One seated on it.
Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them.
12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne.
And there were open books,
and one of them was the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books.
13The sea gave up its dead,
and Death and Hades gave up their dead,
and each one was judged according to his deeds.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Some 'Sure-ances/Assurances For Today


The Way, the Truth, and the Life

John 14:1-6
1Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
2In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; 
if it were not so, [b]I would have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you. 
3And if I go and prepare a place for you,
 *I will come again and receive you to Myself; 
that where I am, there you may be also. 
4And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going,
 and how can we know the way?”
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
***

Surely as night turns to morning and as sunshine follows rain..

Quite the deluge pouring from nature's tap today!
So many a-magical rain-drop marvel on display!









Sure as effect follows action heedless of rank or stature
Sure as truth meets confrontation with unflinching caliber
Sure as deed is like seed planted, sure as pride precedes downfall
Sure as every day is granted with a divine beck and call
Sure as summer is enchanted by enticements, autumnal

Sure as moments mete fleet measure that no miser's vault contains 
Sure as we prove what we treasure by what Thought most entertains
Sure as season follows season, sure as present turns to past
Sure as wisdom refines reason, sure as stumbles humble fast 
Sure as hello's sweet reunions, sure as farewell culls its cast  

Sure as the face in the mirror starts to wear Time’s telling strife
Sure as each breath draws us nearer to the finish-line of life
Sure as despair is a canker causing the spirit to groan
Sure as we are prone to hanker after what is not our own
Sure as hope IS a sure anchor in Messiah’s Cornerstone

Surely God’s goodness and mercy graces all that dawns and dims
Surely His kind purpose frustrates futile chase of wishful whims
Surely as night turns to morning and as sunshine follows rain
Surely as He hears hate's scorning, He hears faith's prayer, not in vain
Surely He comforts with warning; surely, *I will come again

© Janet Martin

Psalm 23:6
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
 and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.




Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Christmas That Never Ends

Day-after-Christmas contemplation...

The hustle and bustle of Christmas busyness,
the rustle of wrapping paper,
the frenzy of last minute food and gift prep,
the shrieks of excitement and delight
will soon fade like fond footfalls of farewell,
we collect in heart-vaults.


...but the Spirit of Christmas,
because of God's everlasting goodness through the gift
of his Son, Jesus, is hopefully a daily joy, all year through!

Christmas Season, with all its fuss and bustle will soon fade
And disappear into the hush of Bygone’s promenade
But, Belief in the Reason for the season, anchors peace
His everlasting goodness gladdens hope with joy’s increase

Belief transforms the lens we look through to find happiness
It mends the holes in our souls with precious promises
And grounds faith in the merit of love, unfathomable
Where Father, Son and Spirit manifests Immanuel

Where redemption endorses profound possibility
The blood of Christ that cleanses and atones, sets sinners free
From the inherent curse; the first-fruit that first sin conceived
But God so rich in mercy washed away when we believed

This keeps the joy of Christmas alive in us all year long
His everlasting goodness kindles everlasting song
Because belief in the Reason for the Season transcends
The temporal; Jesus gives us Christmas that never ends

© Janet Martin

the morning after
a lot of laughter, food and joys aka noiseπŸ˜…πŸ’–!!!



John 10;10
I have come that they may have life, 
and that they may have it more abundantly.
Jesus~








Monday, December 25, 2023

Lord, As We Linger in the Presence of Christ's Sacred Birth, (A Christmas Prayer)

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, 
who came from the Father, 
full of grace and truth.

From our House to Yours
Joyous Christmas Blessings~


Lord, as we come, like shepherds and wise men of old this morn
To gather in the stable where Christ, our Saviour was born
Waken a sweeter wonder as our gifts of worship ring
Renew a humbler hunger for the hope you came to bring

Lord, as we haste to see the Baby in a manger bed
And gaze on He who came as sin’s atonement in our stead
Impress on us anew love’s allotment of joy and grief
Then kindle purer gratitude, abolish unbelief

Lord, as we kneel before You, let the incense of prayers rise
In utter adoration, as we consider faith’s Prize
Deliver us from evil, tune our hearts to hear Your Voice
Where this dark world seeks to drown angel-anthems of 'rejoice!'

Lord, as we linger in the Presence of Christ’s sacred Birth
As You unveil Your glory in the highest to the earth
As we behold Your glory, full of grace and truth, Lord, then
Increase in us glad tidings of peace and goodwill. Amen

© Janet Martin

Luke 2:8-20

Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And [c]behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made [f]widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.





Saturday, December 23, 2023

Keep On!


Yesterday I attended the funeral of Wayne.
Friends and family received words of comfort and encouragement
as we reflected on a man, not perfect, but committed humbly
to honor God, though his lot in life was not what anyone would choose,
he desired above all to;



The service opened with the reminder that Wayne has done what still awaits all of us! 
He has met his Maker, but His Maker was/is also his Savior. 
We were challenged that the same may be true of us;
that when we meet God we will meet Him not only as our Maker 
but, as our Savior too!

The second speaker reminded family and friends 
that our God is a God of promises; 
Sweet words of comfort esp. for Wayne's wife, children, Dad, siblings, etc.

...so, reflecting on a funeral at Christmas is not morbid
but in reality, is what the joy of Christmas is; Jesus, the hope of mankind
come to earth to be our Saviour
not for this brief life only, but to all who believe,
 forever and ever! Amen!
This reality makes our Christmas reflections more precious than ever!!
And rekindles faith's fervor to keep on till we too can say,

'I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race,
 I have kept the faith. 
8Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day,
 and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Tim.4:7-8


Keep on, we, not yet victorious
Upon Jesus fix faith’s eyes
For the joy still set before us
Keep on pressing to the prize

Keep on praying to keep seeking
God’s kingdom and righteousness
Keep on trusting, wholly leaning
Of His steadfast promises

Keep on looking to the Saviour
To imbue our walk and talk
To correct rebel behaviour
Lest we leave a stumbling block

Keep on casting cares on Jesus
Praise Him with each thought and breath
Until His last mercy frees us
From these bodies doomed to death

Keep on hoping, keep on loving
Every sin, humbly confess
Until the day of faith’s proving
Wins a crown of righteousness

Keep on with fixed dedication
To fight dark forces of sin
Until faith’s last invitation
Hears these blessed words ‘enter in’

© Janet Martin



Friday, December 22, 2023

Beholding Christmas (or Joy's Supremacy)


For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given,
and the government will be upon His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7Of the increase of His government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness
from that time and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.

***

The more we try the less it seems we can comprehend
the vastness of God's everlasting love!

That's why there are SO many poems and hymns
composed, trying to put into words
what words can never fully express-
of worship enough to fill eternity!
Hallelujah!




Behold the love/Son of God
Born for sin’s sacrifice
To bear hatred’s most cruel rod
To pay salvation’s price

Behold Bethlehem’s Boy
Redemption’s humble King
Who knew good tidings of great joy
Would cost Him everything

Behold, the Prince of Peace
Behold the zeal of He
Whose grief accomplished the increase
Of His/joy's supremacy

Behold Humility
Child of Mary’s travail
I AM fulfilling prophecy
In minutest detail

Behold, hope’s Star unfurled
Kneel at the manger, then
Behold, the Saviour of the world
Behold Christmas. Amen

Behold, a child is born
Behold, a Son is giv'n
To pierce hell's darkness with a Thorn
That lights the Wick of Heav'n

© Janet Martin



Micah 5:4
And He shall stand and feed[a] His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great
To the ends of the earth;  

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Hope's Stomping Grounds

Today's post is as bittersweet as they come...
most recently mentioned in this post
is free from suffering at last!
Gathered to God on Monday, Dec.18

Ps.116:15
Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints.

Recently I received the book below,
*Reflections of Jesus,
a gift from the author, as a way of saying thank-you!
(I am delighted to have the poem Bethlehem Star included in it)



When I received the news that Wayne passed away I picked up this book
and looked and looked at the painting on the cover
weeping sad-glad tears as I pictured him like this,

His hurting is over!
Please pray for healing for the family 
as they mourn the loss of husband and father,
son, brother, etc.
as they bear both deep grief and deep relief!


'our loss is his gain' said a family member last night at the visitation.
 'a great wait/weight lifted at last' murmured his sorrow-worn wife


We mourn, but not as sorrow grieves, without hope, by God’s grace
The rending tear that death achieves and mortal eyes surmise
Does not reveal the Whole; the Unseen of faith’s resting place
As Sight, with no dark glass between beholds The Promised Prize

As God, gathers a suffering Soul into eternity
Healed from the hurts that take their toll on this side of death’s door
Freed from the weight of waiting for the Final Victory
Beyond futile debating of life’s why-when-and-wherefore

How precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints
For those who love Him; thus, no bitter barter tunes or taints
The tears that flow, because through Christ the Soul from hell is spared

The interim that Time employs until this life is through
And loss no longer vexes joys with Heaven’s sweetest gains
Is but Hope’s Stomping Grounds, a tie that Heaven will undo
When in the twinkling of an eye, death rends life’s binding chains

Then, comfort one another with the hope in Christ alone
God hears our prayers and mothers our sorrow-broken hearts
He tromps Hope's Stomping Grounds with us, (not one step on our own
Until the hope found/bound in Jesus, faith's finished fabric parts  


© Janet Martin


May we all make our calling sure while time is still on our side!
May the reason for the Christmas Season become profoundly dearer
as we believe, and receive the inheritance 
only the Saviour of the Soul will/can give;
Living Hope

Rom.15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Thess.4:13-18
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren,
concerning those who have fallen [b]asleep,
lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him those who [c]sleep in Jesus.
15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord
 will by no means precede those who are [d]asleep.
16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.
And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18Therefore comfort one another with these words.



*if you would like to order the book
Reflections of Jesus






















Wednesday, December 20, 2023

We Are All Children (at Christmas Time)




we were counting cookies, one, two, three



when someone stole the cherries!
H-m-m-m, who could it be πŸ˜‚πŸ’—





this poem is a mingling of past, present and future
part recollection, part participation
and part anticipation πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ŠπŸ’–

Arms open wide to big hugs of hello
Breath hangs on air, breathless with stars of snow
Scents from the kitchen delight young and old
(We are all children when licking out bowls)

Love looks for ways to fit into a box
Dollies and teddy bears, books, balls and blocks
New socks, odd gadgets, bubble bath, wind chime
(We are all children at gift-giving/getting time)

Tins fill with many a sugary prize
Budget and extravagance compromise
Cook-space grows crowded, taste-testers abound
(We are all children where cookies are found)

Christmas hymns kindle heart-hearths with love’s joy
We thrill as gladness spills from girl and boy
Joy to the World, Silent Night, Deck the Halls
(We are all children while singing those car’ls )

Hark! hear that glorious story again
Gaze at the angels, shepherds and wise men
Kneel at the manger, be wondrously awed
For, we are all children when gazing at God

© Janet Martin

Hark! hear that glorious story again
Gaze at the angels, shepherds and wise men
Kneel at the manger, be wondrously awed
For, we are all children when gazing at God



Tuesday, December 19, 2023

This Christmas, As I Come To Gaze (At Thy Nativity)


Recently a message I listened to contained the caution that we, as believers 
should guard against getting caught up in romanticizing the Nativity, 
easily possible when charmed by enchanting figurines... 


Sometimes, in this age of 'progressive thinkers' some so-called believers
assume the 'perks' and promises of salvation, 
God's favors and blessings 
without first entering through the Door 
of true repentance which leads to obedience. 

May we, as we search the scriptures, 
ask God to open the eyes of humbled hearts 
to seek and know the full truth of what we 'most surely believe'...
Today's poem began as I pondered parts of Luke 1.



Dear Jesus,

This Christmas as I come to gaze
At Thy nativity
May no vain thought hinder my praise
Or mar my love for Thee

With childlike faith without dispute
With stubborn will undone
With worship in spirit and truth
May I behold Thy Son

The Saviour of the World, first laid
in lowly feeding trough
Thy holiest of holy Babe
No kingly splendor sought  

That none should envy how You came
nor covet Thy renown 
The King of kings, in mortal frame 
From Heaven's throne, stepped down

Then, as I bring my gift of love
To Thy nativity
Impress on me the shadow of
the cross/Gate of Calvary

Amen~

  Janet Martin



  


Monday, December 18, 2023

To Rich and Poor Alike

More money buys more things,
but never more hope, peace, joy, Jesus, or more Heaven-status!
The way to heaven is ever the same; a gift,
 for rich and poor alike
accessible through faith, 
by God's grace alone
through Himself,
His Son, Jesus!

Who is Jesus?
Below, the link to one of six messages on who Jesus is!


The message below begins with this statement;
'There was a time when Jesus was God but not man,
But there never was a time when He was man, but not God'

  

Matt 1:21
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS,
 for He will save His people from their sins.”


To rich and poor alike He comes
to grant to each the same
The hope that transcends time’s fleet sums;
Salvation through His Name


Where nothing but faith can esteem
the gift that makes us whole
No mortal merit can redeem
the price tag of the soul


No wealth can gain a greater grace,
nor lack a lesser part
Where man regards fine form and face
God looks upon the heart


And rich and poor alike receive
what only faith can win
To all who repent and believe,
the forgiveness of sin


© Janet Martin







Faith's Perfect Provision


In a week from today, (Christmas!)
Christians will be celebrating the birth of the Object of our faith;
our Lord Jesus Christ!

Luke 2:10-11
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: 
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
 which shall be to all people.
 For unto you is born this day in the city of David
 a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Romans 5:1
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hallelujah!!!

Yesterday morning a plea in the opening prayer at our church service
caught at my heart...'that You would find us faithful, Lord'!!
What is the use of anything else, if He does not find us faithful?!!

Matt.24:13
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Does this not bid us plead for Sunday morning's fire
to kindle Monday morning's desire?!!

Doesn't it bring fresh zeal/appeal to this old, cherished Christmas hymn??




So this morning, no matter what composes our fears, regrets and sorrows
we may rejoice and be glad in this day He has made...
for He who promised is faithful!!

Heb.10:19-23
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence 
to enter the Most Holy Placed by the blood of Jesus, 
20by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of His body,e
21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
  22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
 having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience 
and our bodies washed with pure water.
23Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, 
for He who promised is faithful.

***

Enough to know, though sorrow scores the garment of the soul
And the enemy of faith roars, still, God is in control
The witness of each thought and intent of the heart, is kind
His everlasting love is not a figment of the mind

But is, in every circumstance, a Present Help indeed
To all who trust in Him, He grants exactly what we need
Then, where care’s billows ebb and flow, joy and peace still console
Because, it is enough to know that God is in control

Thus, all contenders for the faith have no cause for despair
God’s full armour will keep us safe to persevere through prayer
For He is in control no matter how the Whole may bend
The Shepherd of the Soul helps us be faithful to the end

© Janet Martin