Monthly Archives: May 2013

Friday Feature ~ A Poet for God’s Glory

Feature Friday

Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth
Proverbs27:2

Although I have no clue as to what I am doing, and have never taken classes, I love poetry.  It is often the way God speaks to me, and frequently an avenue He uses to lift me up in times of despair.  I never search for poetic words; God gently plants a starting stanza or phrase within my heart, and then guides me to the finish.  By the time He is done with the poem, whatever had been bothering me is usually resolved, and then I can share it with others so that it might be a blessing to them, too.

Since I started blogging, I have encountered many poets.  Some I find very talented, while others (for lack of a better description) are bizarre.  Many profess a Christian stance, but some of those same ones leave me wondering where Christ fits in the maze of their rhymes and cleverly coined words.

My featured author today is a poet whose words, and even the title of her website, leave no doubt as to her stand for the Lord.  Her poetic messages are crystal clear, Scripture-based and powerful.  My Friday Feature today is:

 CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah ann

Deborah Ann is a very prolific Christian poet.  Always amazed by both the volume and variety of her poems, I would categorize her as a powerhouse of a poet!   Posting daily, with each poem unique and anointed, there is never any doubt as to the true Source of her inspiration.  Her words, like a wellspring of blessings, flow outward from someone whose heart, you can just tell, is truly devoted to God.

Since I have so many favorites of her poems, it was hard to pick which ones to feature.  The ones I like the best are most often because of a stanza that spoke to my heart about a particular issue or struggle.  Here are the ones I felt led to share.

This poem met me right where I am, in battling against hopelessness in a situation ~

Hope On

This one got a song going in my head (in a good way) and kept me going all day ~

Count All Your Blessings…

This one warrants a quote. It reminds of how we get in such a hurry in life that we often forget about Christ, and then our faith ends up like,

Road Kill!

 So often we travel too fast,
with God we aren’t still
and our faith and trust in Jesus. . .
ends up being ~ just road kill!

I love it. Road Kill!

Never an easy topic, but in this poem Deborah Ann nails the issue of our unruly tongues ~

What is This Unruly Thing?

I could go on and on with my favorites, but I will end with one, a beautiful picture of God’s grace ~

He Lifts Me Up…

 Once I was broken,
beaten and down
then came my Savior
to bring me around.

Who would believe it,
who would have known?
That Jesus thought of me,
as one of His own!

I hope that you will venture over to CHRISTian poetry, if you haven’t already, and wander around in her poetic field of blessings.  By joining her site, you will receive a daily dose of inspiration through her uplifting, insightful words.

I appreciate your faithfulness to stay true to God’s Word, Deborah Ann.  Keep letting God pour into you, so that you can bring us more of your lovely poetry!

Written with permission from Deborah Ann.

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God’s Heart is Always Wide Open ~ Only His Love Can Satisfy a Longing Within

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year.  They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God's love.

A photo I took of one of my Amaryllis blooms this year. They are wide open with beauty ~ reminded me of God’s love.

Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31

A disclaimer before reading: this is not a Jane Seymour bashing post!  I admire her work and the efforts of the Open Hearts foundation.  I am not critical of those wearing her jewelry or joining her cause.  What follows is simply the challenge of a higher calling ~ a more excellent way.

A few years ago, Jane Seymour introduced a signature jewelry line called, Open Hearts. The premise behind her unique design is, “Keep your heart open, and love will always find its way in.”

Picture of Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry. Photo used for purposes of this blog only and not with any intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

Picture of a Jane Seymour Open Hearts collection jewelry piece. Photo used for purposes of this blog only, with no intentions to sell or distribute this product line.

The design is unique and highly successful.  More important than business success, though, is how she is using her concept to inspire others to join the Open Hearts community of followers, those who demonstrate they have embraced the philosophy of selfless giving even in the face of adversity.  Ms. Seymour best summarizes the idea:

“When you’re going through a challenge, instead of taking it all inside, if you open your heart, accept what’s happened, open up and in some way help someone else – you have a unique opportunity to have a purpose in life and to make a difference.” (Living With an Open Heart)

I applaud Ms. Seymour for her noble efforts.  The Open Hearts foundation is a very worthy endeavor.

I started thinking about their concept, though, of whether by opening up and helping others, love will always find its way in, and the foundation’s message that, when your heart is open it can never stay broken.  A lovely design and wonderful idea, but is it always true?

Helping others does tend to empower one to push beyond the pain of their circumstances, and many people have derived a sense of purpose by doing so, using the adversity they suffered as the impetus for moving forward in life.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am not proposing that this idea is of no value; it is, and a whole lot better than the hateful acts daily displayed around the world.  However, an open heart does not equate with love always finding its way back in. 

Selfless endeavors, while worthwhile, do not in and of themselves guarantee a return of love.  It does feel good to do good deeds for others; it does give one purpose to show sacrificial love.  However, efforts to demonstrate love, in hopes of it filling the longing within every heart for love, fall short.  Sadly, loving deeds do not always translate into love.

Plenty of loving people are lonely and empty, because the bestowing of unconditional love does not necessarily fill one with love.  If the opening of the heart were all required, then the only lonely people should be the Ebenezer Scrooges.  Those out there trying to make a difference in the world should have crowds of followers and friends, and lives satiated with contentment.  But this is not always the case.

Just as merely keeping one’s heart open is no guarantee that love will enter, there is also no assurance that by doing so a broken one will never recur.  Selfless giving does help one look beyond their own hurts, and instead reach out.  However, it also renders one vulnerable to hurt, rejection and more pain.  As humans, none of us are so loving that we are completely resilient to assaults against the heart, and there are always going to be individuals who do unloving deeds to us.  Opening up one’s heart, though courageous, does not guarantee against a broken one; it can be an invitation for just that.

Simply having an open heart, as demonstrated by reaching out to others, offers no assurance that love will always find its way in or no longer stay broken.  Only a heart open to God can find such love.  His agape love is the only type that is truly unconditional.  Unlike human love, His can heal any brokenness. Only His love will never fail. 

My goal in writing this is not to criticize Jane Seymour.  I admire her valiant efforts to encourage acts of selfless giving.  I wish that there were more in this world with her kind heart for others.

Without the love of the Christ being the center of such efforts, though, they will fall short of providing the doers of such, and those to whom they are bestowed, the promise of real love finding its way in.  Since God is love (1 John 4:8), only His heart is always open, only He can satisfy our longing for love within.  When we invite Him into our hearts, we find the kind of love that stays, and can then offer others the only hope of love this world has.

From His Heart for blogSue Nash/2013

For similar posts, go to From His Heart

Beauty Amid Ruin ~ Satan’s Attempts to Destroy

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
Isaiah 61:3

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about God’s gradual work of perfecting us into His beautiful image, a process which will not be completely finished until we reach heaven.  In my photos from Progression to Beauty, I illustrated this sanctification process by showing the gradual opening of a Magnolia flower to its marvelous beauty.  What I intentionally withheld was a picture of what happens to that same flower a few days later.

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

As God is working this sanctification in us, Satan is right along side trying to destroy anything beautiful in our lives.  His mission is one of opposition to God; hence, he is always on the lookout for anything good that he can attempt to ruin.  He cleverly deceives many into thinking that their is no hope of recovering any beauty amid the ruined circumstances life often brings.  Creation itself groans under the curse of sin’s ruin.

Some of you may feel that way.  You may think that because of past sins, or failed attempts to serve God that your life is beyond repair.  Convinced that you have gone too far, you think that your life can never again be restored to beauty. 

Yet, amid the very ruin itself are the seeds of new life.

Next years seed pod

Next years seed pod

God knew in advance that Satan would attempt to thwart His creation.  As a result, He provided the way back to beauty by sending Jesus to die in place of our sin.  You might ask, though, how is the cross a thing of beauty?

When Christ died on the cross, the enemy thought that he had won, but buried inside the tomb was the Seed of resurrection, simply awaiting His designated time to come forth.  With victorious glory, Jesus arose, giving hope to all that God’s intended beauty can indeed be restored.  Nobody has strayed too far that His love cannot reach.  No attempts by Satan can destroy God’s promised work of beauty in our lives.  God can bring back to life to any ruined one.  It is our choice whether or not we will accept what He has already done on our behalf to restore that beautiful new life. 

Are you tempted, like I sometimes am, to lose hope that God will restore to beauty someone or something that seems ruined beyond repair?

Let us together remember that God can and will bring forth beauty from ashes.  He is in the beauty business!

From His Heart for blogFor other similar posts, see From His Heart

Progression to Beauty ~ God’s Perfecting Work in Us

The budding phase

The budding phase

When we get saved, God starts the process of perfecting us into His image.  It is a gradual, lifelong progression until we get to heaven, where our lives will then shine with the light of His glory.

I thought of this perfecting process when I took these photos of a magnolia flower, gradually opening over a period of days.  Our tendency is to try to rush God’s perfecting of our character; we want instant results and get disappointed in ourselves when we mess up.  He sees the finished product already.  He knows that what He starts in us will one day result in a work of splendid beauty.  Because of Christ in us, He will perfect that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8)  May you rest in comprehending this truth as you view the photos. 

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4: 18

Just starting to open

Just starting to open

Sprouting forth

Sprouting forth

Opening up

Opening up

Fully opened

Nearly opened ~ this one is my favorite!

Glorious opening

Glorious beauty

God is the finisher of our faith.  Like me, do you struggle with fully accepting that your life has beauty?  I pray that we each remember His perfecting work in us.  Even though we mess up, and don’t see how anything good can come from our lives, God already sees us as His prized work of perfection. 

Blessings, always

I’d appreciate the feedback about the photos!  Thanks.

Sue Nash/ 2013

The Forgotten Unknown Soldier

Memorial Day flags at the cemetery where my dad is buried

Memorial Day flags ~ I am in a patriotic mood!

No one was there
To watch where he lay.
No comrade in arms
His death could abate.

His struggle unspoken
To others nearby.
His battle had ended
Without a reply.

No name on his tomb
On some lonely hillside.
No mention of bravery
Across the worldwide.

Deserving of highest honor
In the annals of time.
Yet heroes forgotten
Rest unnoticed to those passing by.

Let us never forget the price paid for our freedom.
Sue Nash/2013

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus ~ Focus on Him

Focus on Jesus

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith
Hebrews 12:1, 2

Life has a way of getting hard.  We make matters worse by allowing the cares of this life to weigh us down, and by forgetting to focus on Jesus.  One day, for those of us in Christ, all these things that trouble us will be gone, and we will spend an eternity in heaven with Him.

I love how the old hymns still teach us volumes of truth.  Rather than let our problems cause us to look down, let us turn our eyes upon Jesus, looking full into His wondrous face.   When we do, our problems and the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
by Helen H. Lemmel

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion-
For more than conqu’rors we are!

His word shall not fail you – He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell.

Do you know that you know the Savior?  Turn your eyes upon Jesus today, and your burdens will grow strangely dim by comparison to the glory of His presence and promises!

Friday Feature ~ Our Soldiers

Feature FridayMy dad used to say, of soldiers in battle, that the real heroes are the ones who never came home.  My husband would always remind him that if none had ever come home, we would have lost in war.

I agree with both.  Those who gave their lives protecting our freedom, and those who came home from service are heroes.

Today’s Friday feature is one of simply honoring our soldiers who served or are serving to keep us free: 

Our Soldiers
Honor those fallen ~ thank those who serve ~ they are all heroes

Below are some photos of my dad, from when he bravely served as a tank commander on the front lines in the Korean War.  He was a Purple Heart candidate after being shot twice, but refused because of his sentiments about those real heroes described above.  Growing up, I was always so proud of his service.  However, war did have an impact on him, especially since he saw so many of his Army comrades killed during the heat of battle.

Robert Stephens, served in the Korean War

Robert Stephens, served in the Korean War

My dad

My dad in the Army

Two other soldiers I am proud of:

Kevin Nash, my step-son, Kosovo

Kevin Nash, my step-son, formerly in the Army, served in Kosovo ~ Thanks for your service, Kevin!

Zach Leis, my grandson, recently enlisted in Army National Guard ~very proud of you, Zach!

Zach Leis, my grandson, recently enlisted in Army National Guard ~very proud of you, Zach!

Do you have a hero you want to brag on?  Are you proud of someone who served or is currently serving?  I would love to hear your stories as we together honor our soldiers!