in passages

“Valery-sur-Somme” Artist: Degas

there are passages we traipse through
where lessons are learned
even in impossible darkness
interrupted by a lucid glimmer of hope.

a page is turned in a book of life
with trials passing by lying on my back
on green leas with you
and cloudless days with endless azure.

looking through a glass darkly
here i know change leads to clarity and
in clarity is the face of God where
I shall see myself as He has always seen me.
How romantic are words of Life
akin with warm spring sun
on my skin.

O love how you bind when
compassion holds sway
and harmonic measures with
melody flawless in times precious
Our hands are clasped in this.

The sound of a stream pouring
busily overs smooth rocks
emitting cool mist and a lullaby
of gentle sounds from which within
many voices can be deciphered
declaring all of cherished
voices and remembered songs.

I miss times of old
I hope to replay some of them
in reflective memory
and to dream of things to come.

tears of joy are the elixir
from tepid days in apathy
forgotten now in passages
to a new life now and forever.

(c) rick stassi

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forlorn

Maid Sitting in the Garden at Eragny Artist: Camille Pissarro

Maid Sitting in the Garden at Eragny
Artist: Camille Pissarro

Your oversight of precious worth
Sustaining life apart from mirth
Blind to glances of loving care
Leaving lost senses unaware

Despair’s song the mourning dove sings
You were meant to hear such things
Shadows hide the sunlit glare
In hidden darkness a lifeless lair

But O, the mist of early rain
A calming tear is cry’s refrain
And I look into inviting eyes wide
Into your soul readiness implied

When will you see a clear reflection
From glassy pool receive affection
It is not your emptiness that looks at me
‘Tis abiding Spirit who rests in thee.

(c) 2015 rick stassi

Life is beautiful, and too, the music

7 And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is harsh toward us and Dagon our god.”
8 Therefore they sent and gathered to themselves all the lords of the Philistines, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?”
1 Samuel 5:7,8 (NKJV)

In our lives we seek comfort. We seek ease in our day, lightness in our footstep.  There is pleasure awaiting us at every turn in our day and we follow the alluring fragrance of a gratifying moment. We look from within a life filled with trials and turmoil, decisions, responsibility and we deserve respite from the heavy hand upon us. Don’t we? We are here on earth for but a moment and why should it be spent in heaviness?

There are ways of this world that hold solution to our need to nourish a gratified-starved soul.

There are many temptations in this world. They appear in our path at various stages in our walk to be opportune in timing to our exact situation. It is the false scent of lilac in a putrid day. It is the color of false riches in a gray and dreary season of want. It is the lust of flesh in a time when curiosity and boredom are upon us. An empty soul exists with mouth agape. It needs-no it wants! See if you were once there. I was. See if you were happy and filled. I was not. How is this state of want  remedied?

In my life I found that the ability to find a morsel to throw at a salivating soul was always available. The avarice of my want was on constant prowl. It was availed because there are gods of temptation who are always around us. They aren’t really gods at first. They are but a solution to a moment’s problem. They do, however, become our gods. I examine my life and see these gods on the shelves, counters, bed-stands, and cabinets. They were all once a convenient answer to a gripping desire to fill. To fill.

These times of wants for emptiness, were in my life before I saw a light shining through a small crack under my door. The gods I knew held me tight, but now I was curious. That light! Upon closer investigation, the light drew me closer and there was music. Beautiful music. There was a sweet fragrance-real fragrance. All behind the door. I talked with my gods and they all agreed that the door held nothing for me. They were sure and as I tended to my gods, the light would catch my attention. A glimpse, the wondering. Wondering….yes, wondering why my gods held me back so strongly. Each one existed for a particular moment of time and were always ready. I was always hungry and greedy for satisfaction! I deserved it. But this reasoning of being deserving always kept me seeking. Something was not right because the gratification I received was for a moment and one-by-one each god fed me then soon left me hungry. I want to be sustained.

Up and toward the door I curiously wandered in the dark room where I lived. I found that not only did my gods scoff at any long-term care for my empty heart, they also inflicted pain as my dependence on them became my master. We were all there. You and I. Somewhere, some god. Examine life. What holds our attention but then departs. The door beckoned as pain and emptiness grew. I struggled at the handle but it was locked. Only a key-hole through which I could peer through. Light the size of a key shone through. It was interesting in there behind the door. I saw smiles and hugs. I saw a place of warmth and contentment. I saw a Man whose eye saw me peering through the hole. He had a  warm smile and inviting eyes. He beckoned and I could see in His eyes that there was a fullness about Him that would close my soul, agape for want, and fill me. I could not get in as the door was locked and my gods all held tightly to my ankles as I shuffled them across the room. No! They cried. We give you solace for a moment then we will do it again the next.

I grew to hate this moment-by-moment way of life. My want turned to need as I now sought a type of completeness. The Man in the keyhole smiled warmly. “Knock”, He said.

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Luke 11:10 (KJV)

So I knocked. There was more than a man inside. He was a King whose majesty caused my gods to shirk away. His light penetrated my soul. He had a love that exuded to all areas of my heart and soul. My eyes welled with tears as my heart grew warm and a smile appeared. I have awaited this moment all of my life and did not even know it. I am still here in my house but have walked through a door that had been closed for many years until then.

The Man is Jesus and He told me many stories. He told me of times  when He had to grab my hand when I started to fall. When He wiped my brow glistening with sweat from toil and burden. He told me that He had always loved me and I listened intently. He told me about His Father and how He and I were co-heirs to our Father. My Lord, my Father. Smiling I sat like a child in wanderlust. My eyes were filled with tears. This was a time of contentment. It was a time when my life intersected with God and all my other gods were destroyed.  He knew the time and the place and He just waited.

Here I still smile with Him. What a glorious life in Jesus Christ. My soul is filled with comfort and my step is light. My burdens are cast aside. When my old gods come over to visit, I resist, most of the time. But I always know where to return because there is the outstretched hand of God ready to bring me home.

So, false gods are destroyed and the world wonders what to do with a King of such majesty. They will see someday. For me? My room is filled with a warm Light. It is fragrant and it is comforting. Jesus waited and I found Him. Life is beautiful, and too, the music.

Rick Stassi

May 10, 2012

Instructions for Life: Psalm 112

1 Praise the LORD!
  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
 Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.
4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 112 (NKJV)

So I ask myself: what kind of man am I? How am I to live my life? In my walk in the Lord, He will show me the model for a man in His image. It is all I desire. God tells me now how to live my life. His instruction is crystal clear.

Birth of Understanding

v1. I fear the Lord, I have reverence in He who is so much larger than life. His promise is I will be blessed in my reverence and delighting in His commandments: Love God, Love everyone in all aspects of who they may be. Jesus did not say love with a discretionary love, He said love. I shall and I receive a smile on my face because this is God’s will and I live it and feel it.

Understanding our Legacy

v2. I raise my children to love Him, to be exposed to Him, to begin to learn how to seek Him. Pray with your children as one body seeking Him together. Your authority is paramount in rearing them, but God’s authority is all-encompassing. Love and pray with your children for they are a new generation to praise God. They will do the same to their children. Our legacy of the upright! Upright, or “strong moral rectitude”, is our path forward, generational. We can be the foundation for our children and their children by example in how we demonstrate our relationship with God. With respect. With praise. Bearing acknowledgment to He who blesses.

Understanding Eternal Treasure

v3. Wealth and riches come in the form of wisdom and anointing in the oil of the Spirit. Material wealth fades, but His love and righteousness endure forever. Forever believe this of God. We are rich and wealthy in the things we store eternally. Hold Him in your heart. Make this your prayer now. God is eternal yet He is personal. He knows our name. Look at the greater picture. See through the eyes of eternity. We are encouraged in our pilgrimage on earth, we understand our true wealth is strictly in the Lord.

Shining without Obstruction

v4. We emanate light: His light. As we walk in His Light, we stumble less because as know Him more. As He reveals Himself, our light within emits to brighten our path and show others the Spirit that will overcome their worldly spirit. Take refuge in the light for there can be no darkness in the light. We absorb God. We walk in His way and talk in His spirit. Our countenance is in His image. We have no dark place for the Lord sees us always. We have the indwelling Spirit and the Spirit is Light, we are the character of He who abides in us. Shine without obstruction.

Godly Integrity

v5. The instruction in verse 5 lends itself to our integrity. We have the integrity of a godly person as we have walked in His way and learned a graceful spirit and merciful demeanor. Integrity is self-awareness of personal speech and action. We carry ourselves in His way. We are on His stage and act in His will. It is good because godly character and integrity are great desires. We cannot be exact. We can be aware of the completing process.

A Steadfast Heart

v6. I cannot be shaken. The person of divine integrity will leave their mark in this world. Our personal legacy is through our generations. Our generations base their godly spirit on the Lord through the character we have set. John established this in His letters. He uses experience in the Lord to project character onto the future hearers of the Lord from those who have trod close to Him. We have unshaken godly integrity. We are treading close with God – we are remembered for this above all else.

Understand the World

v7. News of evil, or news of the world does not shake us. We know the integrity of the world and our reaction in compassion to a fading flower. Once beautiful but at season’s end, fades and withers. That too is the character of man. We should not be surprise of what the spirit of man is incapable of from the perspective of our godly spirit. Remember that thought. Man is fallen and separated until he reconciles with Jesus.

Our hearts are steadfast in God. We have a heart dependent on the Lord and not man. Therefore, the nature of our heart is of God not of man. Steadfast in His way means we do not waver, weaving right and left on a path God lays out for us. It is our desire to walk a straight line and face our obstacles with our steadfast foothold in God.

Seeing Eternity

v8. We cannot ever truly understand our adversarial relationship with the spirit of the world until we sit in our place in heaven. Then the wretched are truly seen, writhing and pursuing all temporary. The sand he grasps falls through his ungodly fingers. The Hebrew concordance defines the phrase He will not be afraid as “We will not truly know the awesomeness of our reverence” until we are in heaven. Just as we will not truly understand perfection except through what God tells us. In heaven we are glorified, perfected, and will know.

Our Influence in our Pilgrimage

v9. Our countenance is dispersed. Our character is widely known. Our influence is felt among many. Our foundation is in all that is precious in the sight and word of God. Our integrity is bounded in Him. We have ministered and our “horn” or our “strength” is exalted in honor. God will reward the just and upright (Psalm 58:11)

The Dilemma of Man

v10. The darkness cannot hide in the light, the atheist cannot deny love, man will recognize a godly spirit but will not understand. He is confounded and gnashes teeth, because eventually there is nothing left to strive for. The heart of man will be forever unsettle and empty. The heart he attempts to fill will keep draining like fine sand through his fingers. It is futile and hopeless. His desire perishes because the sun sets on his hope.

Conclusion 

I truly believe that I can be the image of a perfect God, completing me daily. I give myself grace as He has indeed done. I love, as He has indeed showed. I have compassion, as Jesus truly demonstrated. Let the Word of the Lord adhere to your heart. You will be fortified and strong in His will. It is truly a life of joy. We have it at hand. We must respond to His calling and see beauty in His footprint as we place our step in each of His impressions. We are like children with our Father. Succumb to this child-like persona. We can be wise too but always remember all God’s people need to be held in the loving arms of our Father. So smile and seek Him.

Rick Stassi

December 18, 2011