green and white

gree and white

But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

O that I should look upon the past
Still salvaging  pieces of things You will outlast
Gripping struggles gone long ago
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

But what is this pain inside my core?
A reminder! Espy the Light on distant shore.
For upon Your path I surely go,
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

For You Lord know the way for me
As you bend and mold my image toward Thee.
And sometimes it hurts, this refining show.
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

Shadows hide the eyes of Peace.
Through them I fumble fears increase.
But, forward, faithful, effortless flow.
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

Greener pastures, whiter snow.
A promise that to Thou I surely go.
And sit upon a rock, or tuft of grass,
I did doubt a little though, I sigh alas.

To the depths of Your heart I seek,
Traverse graven valleys, mountain peak.
The promise when I am feeling low,
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

O that Your thoughts would be e’er for me.
I dash all fears upon the sea.
Now looking forward seeds to sow,
Greener pastures, whiter snow.

© 2013 rick stassi

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Veiled and Clouded

hedge-roses-heidi-brummer

Artist: Heidi Brummer
South Africa

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Romans 5:1 (NKJV)

Empty me Lord,
my mind betrays
filled with thoughts
for intended delays

Empty me Lord,
of the veil of night
that blocks out light
and defers my sight

Empty me Lord,
of this mind so clouded
in skies of gray
seeking is shrouded

Empty me Lord
of barricaded stream
blocking wisdom
cancel this erratic dream

For faith alone shall
bear enough reason
to fill this heart-
mind held with treason

And justly I walk
to see Your eyes
by this faith alone
discard disguise

and peace shall come
evident in certain hour
for by my faith
I rest in Your power.

© 2013 Rick Stassi

embraced

Artist: Sean Seal

Artist: Sean Seal

Embers glowing, fire bright
Warmth protrudes from what is light
From afar we view, you take my hand
Such distance to travel to this venerated land
Through freezing field I traipse a pilgrim’s journey
But I worry not because you’re with me
And tarry not, the gait is swift
A lightened load gives me a lift
Our teardrop joins, hearts both break
For broken, disheartened, souls yet to wake
How I love this walk – time with you
In this moment virtues ne’er misconstrue
My feet are cold, the hoarfrost stings
I shall endure these trifling things
I waver once and look at you
Eyes of brown, hazel and blue
All of the colors, spectrum bright
The warmth afar yet still in sight.
You and I alone in this space
Time to thank, sing, embrace
For your hand I hold on dear
Removes all doubt, removes all fear
I love you now with all my heart
You love me too right from the start
And frosted path is stinging feet
Endure it now until Maker meet
I shall endure as life meanders well
Ever with you gives so much to tell
Closer now, face dark to light
’twas not me, ’twas your might
Rapping now upon the door
Peaceful…feet they sting no more
And bright inside shines ember glow
I look outside to see the snow
Another comes, soon even more
An ever rapping to narrow door
Love is bright and frost is cold
Time to realize young to old
But only in this earthly place
For by the fire, age disgrace
And I am calm, ’tis peacefulness
All I have seen gone to rest
But surprisingly joy is at hand
My presence embraced, His demand.

© 2013 Rick Stassi

The Stinging of the Hoarfrost

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

1 Peter 4:1,2

Know that in our Christian walk, we are not alone. Know on this walk that it is promised already that we have a seat at a glorious banquet set for us in heaven (a). Understand the width of the path on which we walk. Be assured that God is with us.

I have had many seasons in my life. There is one that I particularly loathed, yet am oddly fond of now for many reasons. Winter. It was a time when life was dismal and darkness coddled my restless soul. I was in the chains of captivity and through deception, I believed I was enjoying a well deserved freedom. Yes, I was paying my dues in life and deserved this freedom. I co-existed with other freedom seekers on what was a ship of fools. At the helm of this ship, was Satan himself. There was no freedom, but there was a Watcher with a keen interest from above. There was a Father from above who watched me until the dimly lit Sun of a cold winter was eclipsed with a lesser light, the dim, dying glow of self-reliance. It grew dark, and a restless soul became fatigued.

This was a time when I finally ran out of myself. Self-reliance was a cold, rushing river-ever fleeting. It enveloped and in its confines, I could no longer be sustained and I grasped, in a panic, at  straws at the river’s edge that eluded me – trying to hold me captive. It hurt. I wept. My Watcher watched over me already knowing that His perfect plan was in play. I was not suffering in vain, but suffering because I saw deception face-to-face.

I escaped the river. It was cold and each exhale was a cloud of my old self. In the distance there was a cottage. I saw inside a warm fire, a glow of welcome, of beckoning. In these moments the purpose of destination is of less importance than fixing current pain. But in the destination was a hope previously unseen. In the glow was a face with guardian eyes and outstretched, scarred hands. The One who knew pain asked me to tell Him of mine. I went toward the glow across the snow.

My bare feet stung as I walked across the hoarfrost covered grass to the warm light a short distance away. This inviting cottage with the warm glow of a fire shining through the windows beckoned me to walk a prickly walk, numb, into the heart of God – Jesus beckoned. I was warmly welcomed. His response was not of loud fanfare, it was a quiet serenity. A nodding compassion. A lucid moment. The changing of my seasons. I hurt. I wept. A new man was brought into the world.

I needed the pain of the hoarfrost winter. To reach the refreshing springtime. There was Jesus. He said “Follow me” (b). I heeded His words not even knowing the path I had chosen or the eternal destination.

I continue to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is my choice not to be quiet about this. He has commissioned me to spread the good news of His death. Yes “good news” and “death”. A paradox of what we deem good and what we deem not good. Jesus died so that we who believe, would live. It is good news that we were in utter deception and in one instance transformed into full life through God’s grace. He gave us that which we did not deserve. Remember. But as Jesus said we are to take up our own cross – but we are crucified with Him (d). It will hurt and we will weep. But such tears are for new reasons now. The tears that fall from the ducts in my eyes fall to the ground in victory. They are joyful tears. During this season that is my walk in Christ, I now endure. Remember God watching me in my winter of frolicking discontent? How much more does He watch now that I am in His flock? I assure you. He not only watches, but holds onto me tightly. I flail no more. My trials are promised to refine me (c) 

Remember the pain Jesus suffered in His enduring of the scourge. One word of Scripture meaning so much. What can we learn? As sin is defeated through the scourging of Jesus,  we remember death is too defeated and in our remembrance of our own pain, we join in the victory over sin.

 “…for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,…”

When we follow Jesus, we accept that we too will carry our cross. We are to endure trials in the promise of the Lord’s word. We are in the flesh and trials we will have. We will endure. Even now I endure! With the promise that as I suffer, I have ceased from sin. God is telling me! I listen to Him. It is not for punishment of my hoarfrost winter, it is to remind me that He refines me and that I have victory over sin. I have ceased my sinful nature. I will be tempted back but I will resist the enemy because even as I weep in a pain that is for a correction, refining process, I walk in victory.

I was told, I may not always “see” this victory, but be assured that God is watching us and knows the glorious outcome. Prepare your heart for the banquet. Endure these trials in our flesh. Know that the stinging of bare feet on the hoarfrost will transform to the warm washing of feet of those we now minister too. Think first of God, then others. Love in that order. Then be satisfied in a joy unsurpassed. God is with you. God is with me.

Rick Stassi

May 27, 2012

faith, endurance, thanksgiving…

Artist: Laura Trevey

2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Exodus 16:2,3

Those with the courage to step out in faith are truly of the Lord. I have a journey and a purpose. I must see God through my faith, endure through my trust, and know His fruit when He pours it upon me. I trust, lest I murmur. My murmuring is a complaining pang in my side – that regardless of my love for God, life seems too hard. I must see His Light over the world’s darkness.

Would I become so distraught in my current life to wish I were back engrossed in my godless state? If so, I have forgotten all. Faith, endurance, thanksgiving. In faith His light shines into my heart. In endurance, I persevere through trials. In thanksgiving, His blessings are realized and I give Him the credit. God will not forget me. I am not a fleeting project of a whimsical nature. I am a child of He who authored Life. I can be capricious as there is still bursts of laughter, frivolity, tears, anger; but aside from that the journey with the Lord. It is my core and it is dead serious and straight. I must see that my walk is a walk with a purpose. His purpose.

In my faith I see Him daily. Through prayer I commune with Him and in meditation of His word, I become closer. My faith says it is right. God agrees. I ask Him to make me a stronger Christian, a loving husband, a nurturing father. He hears! My faith says it is right and God agrees. I ask in sincerity that a person crying in their own wilderness, bleating like a lost sheep, be found by our Shepherd. They are found and once again my faith says it is right. God agrees. But His agreement does not enable self-control. His agreement is a nod that I am in obedience. My heart is joyous.

But endurance? Yes, as I ask Him for a change in my life, I do not ask with condition. Therefore, God’s plan for how He works in my life may mean an argument, a moment of discordance. In my trials I have a choice. Murmur and fall back as faith shrinks and trust wanes, or endure. In endurance His plan is played  out according to His will not by my choice of opposition. Endurance yields learning through the process I have asked for in the first place. He molds, I endure and learn.

When we pray for a change in our life, do not be surprise at events that unfold that propel this change. Some are not always pleasant. Stay focused on God and know He is with you.

Finally, thanksgiving. Endurance is my wilderness. Lack of complaint, my faith. The result is His blessing of the impartation of knowledge. I see Him with more clarity. Marriage is restored and family is harmonious. The smile and loving gaze of my wife melts my heart. Her tears break my heart. Her joining me seeking God is a true blessing and I am thankful. Marriage is one example of the many things He works on in my journey. Each day is a new wilderness, of some sort. I choose to trust rather than murmur. I have seen the yield of the fruits of His blessing. It is good. God is good.

Children grow and seeds are planted in them. They will begin their own journey. We love them and help nurture their personal relationship with God. It is hard to watch, sometimes. We need to remember our faith. God is in control.

Faith, endurance, thanksgiving. My Promised Land is around the corner! Not seeing it is not a good reason to not have faith. Faith is in the unseen. Survey your life. There are many blessings. Embrace them and know they are from our Father Who art in heaven.

Rick Stassi
April 5, 2012

Rev1 4/14/12

…sharpening our relationship with God

rock_tree_study

6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 2 Cor 1:6,7

By example of suffering, or afflictions, there is a purpose. Through Paul’s suffering, he became an effective teacher of God’s word. This is because the agony that we endure, helps us to turn to God alone for a solution or resolution (see Blue Letter Bible).

Through the example set, endurance in trials became the path to travel to rely solely on God – to solidify our personal relationship with Him.

When in angst, depression, or discomfort, we seek desperately comforts that are within our worldly grasp.

Through Paul’s example we see now that seeking comfort though the unseen brings us the comfort, or consolation of Jesus Christ, and is a reminder of our salvation. It is the bigger picture.

As we learn to live with endurance in affliction, we learn and partake in the consolation and are reminded of our salvation. This is because God has our attention. Even as we may feel we have no way to turn, conversely, we now find our relationship deepening, sharpening, with a God who loves us. The outcome is:

  • We become effectual teachers by example
  • We grow deeper in our personal relationship with God
  • We are reminded that we have attained salvation

The example set forth is either endurance in affliction or elation in consolation. Do not be surprised that trials give way to elation and joy. It is promised that we have our salvation and we are partakers in eternal salvation. For this we praise God.

Rick

November 21, 2011