Love, Loaves, and Fishes

Loaves and fishes

Love, Loaves & Fishes

Love is a basket with five loaves of bread and two fishes

It is never enough until you start to give it away.

~source unknown

This past couple of weeks my wife has been going through old letters she saved that her parents wrote to us from many years ago. Her father always loved quotes and often put one at the top of his letters. The quote above was one she found today.

Most of you might be familiar with the Bible Story of the little boy giving his lunch to Jesus, and how it multiplied to feed thousands who were there. There is much wisdom in the act of giving and sharing what we have with other. I hope you enjoy this quote as much as I did.

Liberty’s Passion

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The sight of Lady Liberty standing in New York Harbor

stirs passion in the hearts of those seeking freedom

A new life, new opportunities, escape from oppression

A welcoming symbol

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses

yearning to breathe free…”

*

The cross a symbol of freedom to Christians for 2000 years

Stirs passion in the hearts of believers seeking freedom

A new life of Faith, Hope, and Love

Turning their backs on their dark past, now walking in Light

God’s Grace welcomes all…

Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden,

and I will give you rest…”

Stamp Art: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Merril asked us to choose a historic symbol that is stamped with passion and write a poem of our choosing about it. I did this piece of stamp art a few years ago. When I did it I thought of the meaning of Freedom. One is a passion for physical freedom from oppression and religious freedom, the second, the freedom from the oppression within our souls. To me the similarities are amazing.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Quotes from: Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty and from the New Testament (Bible).

Reflections on the Easter Perspective

Some folks have a hard time believing the Easter story. The resurrection of Jesus found in the gospels gives the account from different writer’s perspectives. You might think that creates contradictions and therefore cannot be true. Others say that since there is no historical record of these happenings, other than the Biblical account, that it is just Christian mythology.

I believe getting lost in the details causes one to lose focus and misses the real message in the Easter story. Easter is about God’s love for all of us, and the belief that he would do what ever it takes to show us that love. Jesus shows us that there is a way to move beyond our self-centered way of thinking to a renewing of the mind… a rebirth of Spirit if you will. Our connection to God is not to some far off being, but rather found in His image and Spirit that dwells within our souls. It is through Jesus’ life and teachings that we can see the Father and find that personal connection to the Living God.

Telephoto

Focusing takes out

all the background distraction

Sees subject only

drawing in a sharp clear view

finding your true perspective

Light Outshines the Darkness

In the Christian faith we celebrate Good Friday, remembering the suffering and death of Christ on the Cross at Calvary. But it is not the dark night of the soul that draws us to God’s Love and Grace. It is the joy of Easter and the Light of the Resurrection that gives us hope. The Light at the end of the dark tunnel is Jesus!

Friday night’s darkness

Seems like dark evil has won

But Sunday’s coming

*

Light overwhelms sad darkness

Drawing us all toward bright hope

*

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Christmas is Love

Some may say Christmas is just a myth

Like the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause

A fantasy created to make us feel good

But to me Christmas is Love

*

You may want to debate the details

Or argue whether the Wise Men were three

Or just three in a caravan of twenty-three

Bringing gifts to the Christ child so long ago

But to me Christmas is Love

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Some may wonder at the story of the Shepherds

Of Angels singing from on high in the night sky

Perhaps the baby was in their stable asleep in the hay

A tiny baby with a story to tell that changed the world

To me Christmas is Love

*

God coming in the flesh is a concept some might doubt

The Word,,, The Spirit of the living God embodied in a baby

A child said to be both human and divine is quite a wonder

Leaving skeptics to doubt and critics to pick it apart

But to me Christmas is Love

*

You see, God is Love, his love shown through the man Jesus

If you get lost in the details you miss the story, for the story is Love

What ever you believe about the Christmas story most will agree

That Love is the foundation of Christmas… God’s love shown to mankind

To me Christmas is God’s Love and Grace to those who need it most

*

Painting “Piercing the Darkness” – Dwight L. Roth

Christmas Grace

This week I am going to post some or my Christmas poems from past years…

Christmas Grace

What do you want for Christmas she asked?

A chemistry set would be a real blast

When Christmas came, this angel of grace

Was at our door with every gift in place

*

We were just poor preacher’s kids, our die was cast

Waiting for Christmas was always a great task

But we knew our selected gift of choice

Would make us shout from the top of our voice

*

What do you want for Christmas this year?

She would get it no need to fear

Just a hammer of my very own

Would make my day when you come to my home

*

Money was scarce and gifts were few

But, at our house we always knew

That no matter what the circumstance

We need not worry about chance

*

What do you want for Christmas this time?

A Louisville slugger would suit me just fine

Then I could be like Henry and Donn

A bat of my own yes, that’s the one

*

Ruth and Edgar were one of a kind

No children of their own they did not mind

Bringing smiles and joy to their preacher’s kids

And that helmet they brought me surely did

*

What do you want for Christmas, she asked?

She never let a Christmas pass

Every year until I left home

My gift of choice would become my own

*

I will never forget that act of grace

And the joy and smiles she brought to my face

I learned of God’s love and his saving grace

And his only son Jesus who took my place

*

And now each Christmas I hear that voice

“What do you want for Christmas, it is your choice?”

There is nothing I need that will bring me more joy

Than the gift of God’s Grace to a little boy

*

(Written as a tribute to Ruth and Edgar Honsaker,

who made our Christmases a little brighter when I was a child)

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Feeling Rejected

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On Good Friday Christians reflect on the death of Christ on the cross, and what his sacrifice means for us. The human side of Jesus suffered unspeakable physical pain. Some say that God will give you strength in your time of need. But it is my experience that when that time comes, it is very difficult to feel that presence. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, wondering why God had forsaken him in his darkest hour. Pain and rejection seem to be Siamese Twins! It is very hard to have your whole world collapse and not feel rejected. This is why it is so important to have persons who will walk with you and help you regain your perspective once more, understanding that God loves you even when you don’t feel it.

Dark night of the soul
Feelings rejection’s pain
Forsaken // alone
Stretched out on life’s cruel cross
Has God turned his face from us?
In His pain he cried
“My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me!?”
Feeling rejection’s pain
In that dark night of the soul

*****

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Expectations and Faith

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After seventy-two years of observing the way Faith and Expectation works, I have come to the conclusion that we put way more expectations on our faith than the writers of our scriptures ever intended. The following is something I have been mulling around in my mind for a couple of years. This is the best way I can express what I personally have experienced. You may see it differently and that is OK. To me faith is simple and easy to understand. Many have made it complicated and demanding, filled with unrealistic expectations.

I’ve prayed but had no answers;
Believed in miracles // still waited my turn;
Had faith to move mountains
but the mountains remained;
Read the promises of comfort in times of trouble…
Believed I would find peace in the storm;
Yet saw only blackness and overwhelming sorrow.
Believed Jesus would carry me when I could not go on;
Instead, fell flat on my face crying to God for help.
Discovered there is a time for everything under heaven;
Everything in due season // sometimes sooner // sometimes later.
So, when you pray don’t expect expected answers;
You will usually wait for things to take their course.
Don’t lay on God expectations beyond what might happen;
Leave the miracles for the unexpected occasion.
Don’t let your faith become a denial of reality;
Most illnesses take their course // healing may or may not come;
Most troubles will blow over in due time with scars to show;
And yes, you will feel scared to death through it all.
So, hang on for a wild ride on this roller coaster we call life;
And, if in the end we are blessed with a loving caring family
and friends //consider them a blessing from God.
They will sustain us and walk with us
through the valley of the shadow of death.
If not, we will endure to the end…
When our spirit rises to rejoin our creator.

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It is interesting to me how different most prayers are from this example Jesus gave his disciples!

Matthew 6:9 –
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11
Give us today our daily bread.
12
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one…

NIV – Gateway Bible.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth