my bare feet stung as
i walked across the grass
blanketed with hoarfrost
to the warm light
a short distance away
from an inviting cottage
an embracing glow upon a flame streaming
through the window
that beckoned me
to walk a prickly path
into the heart of God
where I was welcomed
with response of quiet serenity
changing of my seasons
and I hurt
and I wept
a new man emerged into the world.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:4 (KJV)
Divinely led from valley low
Once, fitful of this way to go.
All moments claimed by more than me
Try to wrest them back, I plea!
Elements of ashes and dry bones
fervently deny life.
Why do most walk as these element?
I did. Blindness mired in strife.
Why did I let air be breathed?
Into a soul parched received?
I wonder at times what I did
To be counted even as I hid.
And I pray now for your dry bones
You who believe you know the path.
The Lord, without prejudice, sees your heart.
Where flesh is absent love atones
So, I stand in gaps of gray and dry
Watching bones and ashes pass by
Light come forth and rid these souls
Selfish hearts, stubborn, hidden holes.
For there is Light around to see
Certainly it is blinding now
But Love and heart is set free!
Life from death. sinew to bone.
All can be one glorious day
If those would see the truth, the Way
And I can rest in waning pale
Seeking breath for those who fail.
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
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Colossians 3:14 (KJV)
The fifth season is the return of summer from where I began a year ago. In life. I was born in the summer when leaves were full, green, unfurled to a beautiful suppleness. The sweetness of the spring blossom had all but faded. The dawn of my awakening has progressed to midday. I have arrived and the sun is high and hot.
My life is seasons lined up. The next awaiting, the former to serve purpose. And purpose is served. I needn’t yearn for a god, when I now am safe and secure in God.
The seasons I walked through to be here! Across stinging hoarfrost walking to the welcoming Christ – warm glow in the snowy window. That season hurt. The walk in frail nakedness, unprotected, is perilous without hope in sight. I nearly lost all things but saw a glow from far away. I was encouraged and tired enough to bear the sting on my bare feet.
All that we have is all that we have to lose. It is our ‘self’ – sordid and haggard after being beat down enough by a merciless world. The enemy’s stronghold. He tells us the stinging and bare vulnerability will pass. He has something that will cause sorrow sway. If I would have listened, I surely would be lost eternally. But, I saw a faint glow that roused curiosity. It was far off across the snow and even in my state of nothingness I knew it was right to trudge toward the light. I rapped at the door and I was met with welcoming smile. We talked by a fire so warm, He and I. Vulnerability failed transcending to security. His guardian eyes were of instant protection and warmth. I asked if there was anything beyond the coldness of where I had been. The endless attempts of filling, filling: the endless thirst of a dying soul. He gave assurance with a condition. “Be still and know I am Your God”. I trusted Him. From the warmth of the fire, the sheltering haven, I was empty no longer. I stepped onto the snow again, dragging a tree. A burden with assured purpose. The snow ended and the earth dried. A perfect place to plant this tree and there I shed my final bit of resistance. It screamed at me screeching and writhing as I nailed it to this tree. “No! I am you” he cried. Not really. I had a sense of peace. Ego was dead with no remorse. The narcissus bloomed within all the places I looked as a sure sign of a new season coming. Ironic narcissus….
The blossom atop a stem, piercing upward from a bulb quickly spent was fragrant and there was snow no more. I felt the breeze of life surround me. No looking back – pine not for what once tried to kill you. Forge ahead to fields of green grass and waters of deep, cool water.
The sun shone high and warmed throughout. It is odd as my heart was still vulnerable, only this vulnerability was certain about its purpose. Open your heart to others. An open heart, protected by God, invites others to hope. This heart: It sees other hearts crying and I cry too. It is compassion. It is agape love I am reassured by He whose eyes still smiled. Whose heart engulfed me. O mercy. How I hear the crying. I seek each day, with sun high in the summer sky, the crying heart. Even with an exposed heart I fear no evil shall try to steal joy or stem the outpouring love. The Source of this love is God Himself.
Tears pour down my cheek as I love. I see one crying in their wilderness. It is funny how I can stand in a valley and there is a shadow of death all around – a winter of hoarfrost. Many naked feet stinging. Crying hearts seeking. There is a gap between the crying and the Father. I stand there and I take the hand of a lost soul and kneel and pray with them. The Father is kind and He again invites a new one to His fire behind the window. This window is the plane infinite in all directions. One side is stinging frost and ever-yearning hopelessness. The other is a the warm fire and the quiet communal sanctuary with He who first died. Seasons don’t always blend slowly into the next. They sometimes change as simple as rapping on a door, looking through a window, infinite in four directions. There is flesh on one side and God on the other of this infinite window. The door is narrow and we must squeeze through, but when we do, we are transformed to all love. And as much as we do for the Kingdom of God, it is his love that holds all souls together. Charity is Agape love. With open hearts we seek with keen ears the crying of those in the barren and cold and draw them to the warmth of the binding fire.
© 2013 Rick Stassi
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
I am inspired always by the Lord’s word. The cause mentioned above is love unto the Spirit. But me? I spend my days in haste. I spend time in motions of survival. I am tired. I weep and I laugh. I am curious and I am wary. I love and I dislike. O how I hate to dislike. It is abrasive. At times I just need to shout, no, let me scream! Spiraling, I digress as I am really joyful on most days. Today is a day of thoughts.
Ever-watching is God and ever-listening is me. Ever-responding to the Lord’s voice is….well, me most of the time. We have a relationship. He has laid before me all wealth and love. He has provided for me. He has poured wisdom upon me and I soak it in like laying in a cool pool of water on a hot day. Immersed and in the His arms.
There is a path in my mind that runs from the tip of my toes (not even an inch behind), to the setting sun. It is my future, my destiny, my life laid before me. God gives me many visions and glimpses into places upon this path – even to my time of glory. There are many smiles, many surprises, and change awaiting. I see growth and I see my wife and I together for all time here and there on this earth. I seem to wait and bide time. How I wish I would participate in every moment. I may regret that someday…
For all that I see, the beauty and light, there are wrinkles in the road I walk upon. The enemy places crumbs of bread in a tidy trail – one after another. They spin off from the road’s center to the right and left like the arcs of subatomic particles at post-collision. Spin off right and fade, spin off left, fade. How do I see a clear future even as far as heaven, and still stop to follow a row of bread crumbs, nose to the ground? A paradox?
I almost feel it is under-appreciation for God’s grace sometimes. Each day after another is beautiful! I long to be upright and walking straight bathed in the adjectives and attributes that flow so eloquently from Paul’s heart:
I am made to focus on this moment. Yet I get so wound up in angst. It is in my genes. What once drinking medicated, I must let God fill.
Yet I forget.
I am sorry for this and that
My reasons for shortcomings are usually not that great
I shall remember: Such is our nature, I must go easy on myself.
The ramblings of a man in mid-life. I see mortality and I see immortality. I see death and birth. I trust God yet I walk aimlessly after crumbs of deception. It is life and I like life. I thank God I can see all this. If not, I spiral and careen to paths of emptiness. In His grace, I can love. O how I love the Lord and what He tells me through countless conversations and through His words for all ages in Scripture.
The pool of immersion. Bathing in cool water – head partway under water to drown out noise. Weightless and cradled in His arms. I know His love. I try and love others. This love breathes in and breathes out: ever-sustaining our lives. Smiles and laughing, tears and crying. All incite such a compassion. I can see the heart of those around me and it is the eyes of souls that meet. It is immersion in each moment, each conversation, each action. Under the water I hear nothing but the voice of God. He says it is good. That is good enough for me.
April 17, 2013
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child;
1 Corinthians 13:11
In the Fall of my life, leaves peeled away from my branches and fell to the ground. In my understanding, I was like a tree. Once flourishing in a glow of parental care, the green leaves of innocence of my very young times. The sureness and comfort of youth. The seriousness of my cares lie in my next meal or when I should see my Father’s face when he arrived home from work. When I was a child I did not fear. I did not have a care for anything outside of a very small sphere of influence. Lies are awaiting, seeking.
Jesus was a name in a book and as my green leaves began to wither and turn to a fiery orange-red, I felt a change…
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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.
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.
April 5, 2012
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Partaking in the flesh and blood is the experience of living in the flesh. We all have that experience. It is God in His perfection who is not subjection to that of the flesh. However, God revealed Himself in the flesh, or, became flesh (John 1:14). He shared in the same flesh as us. He walked in the material as us who knew only the material until the Savior brought our newborn, awakened, souls to life. There is an equality between the Master and His servants. Jesus came so, as He established Himself among the people, they would see the true revelation of the perfect image of God. They would see that in His death would be a new life for all. They would see, and we now see, God’s Grace covering all man but affecting the souls of the believing man. Giving life eternal, is power over death. Satan’s temptation leads us away from God and creates a gap in our relationship with our Father. Satan can make us believe that we can be wise in our empty thoughts – we can live through worship of creation leaving out the Creator. He can make us believe that we should live life fully today for we have but one chance here. On this aspect, he is right. We have but one chance; however, the consequence of what we choose affects our eternal soul versus our temporal soul. Jesus conquered death in the way that gives us life in spite of Satan’s temptation. In our death in the material is our birth in the ethereal. It is our birth in the permanent and freedom from the impermanent.
We who feared death could now love God, love life, love each other, and love His creation. Losing our life as our choice through our following Jesus does not cheat us of our lives, but gives us lives with the characteristic, or image of God. We are all works on a path of progress. To think giving our lives to Christ is missing a fulfilled life, we have Satan’s distorted views of living permeating within us. This very thing is conquered in Christ. We have not lost but we have victory.
Our subjection to a life in the flesh in disintegrated. Our aid is in the Father through His Son and His Holy Spirit. Angels do not receive what we are freely offered. This verse (v16) offers further differentiation between Jesus and angels and our affected lives through Jesus rather that through God’s messengers.
Jesus walked in the flesh so we could begin to know the mystery of God. He was fully God and fully man. We want to believe but we need the evidence to substantiate our faith. The Bible prepares us for Jesus, God gives us Jesus and we now give back to Jesus because of faith blended with physical historical evidence. He is the High Priest of His church that spreads without boundaries or walls. We are the church of believers.
Jesus reconciles our sin with the Father and gives us victory over the one who only wants to cheat us out of eternal life.
Jesus suffered being tempted in that He resisted Satan in the wilderness. He went to the cross willingly and silently. He is the Lamb of the Sacrifice and we are permanently the benefactors. In believing in Jesus – in giving fully our lives to Him – we begin to see what others will miss as they suppress God’s pull upon their hearts. What the Spirit makes clear to us, is cloudy and mysterious to the unbeliever and gives the believer the distinction of weakness. Nevertheless, we submit that we are weak and God promises strength through Jesus Christ.
Jesus became flesh to live and die before man’s eyes. He came to teach the way to truth and to be that truth. He overcame death and rose to walk again to conquer Satan. He came to give us life as we are free to choose.
“Seek first the kingdom of God…” (Matt 6:33)
Jesus is the key to the kingdom. He is the King of the kingdom. He is the conqueror of all we are fooled into thinking is real. He is permanent and redeems us from our sin – He is God’s Grace. Take what He offers. Believe our Redeemer and give your life to Him.