Monday, June 26, 2017

Fooling Ourselves


I tire of watered down scripture,
preached from pulpits reducing the word of God,
lessening the impact
of disobedience.

Yesterday what was sinful
is now blessed,
what was detesting in God's sight
is now celebrated.

God's word,
the road-map for my life
is twisted by the faithful
and unbelievers.

Jesus never said that following Him would be easy.
There is much we need to leave behind
before entering
the Kingdom.

If we claim we want to follow the Lord
and place our sins in our pockets,
disguising them as acceptable,
are we only fooling ourselves?



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Matthew 5:21


Leave your trinkets,
your gold,
your silver.
Leave the copper coins
without offering them
in the houses of worship.

First go to the one
who rightfully holds
an action against you
and then,
with the aura of forgiveness,
return to the altar.

Do not murder,
do not strike out with your fists,
do not hate,
or spread gossip.

The one true judge
will record the etchings on your heart,
your loves
and your hatreds,
not as the world adjudicates,
but as He commands.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Monday, June 19, 2017

Psalm 11


I place my trust in You Lord
despite the insistence of other voices
that I should flee.
I am instructed to take wing,
like a bird,
and fly off into the mountains
where I shall find safety.

For my enemy has aimed his bow
in my direction.
His arrows fill the sky
and a new assault is prepared.

Lord,
if my weakness overcomes
and I cry out
from destruction,
be my security.

I place my trust in You Lord,
not mountains
or fortresses.
I will glorify You
when darkness fills the valley.
I will sing praise to You
when my enemy
calls for my surrender.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Unity


Unity
as God's people,
a melody
delightful
to the ear
of He who listens.

But there are those,
who by choice,
have no knowledge
of Him.
They claim a fable
speaks His name
and not history.

And there are those
who claim intimacy,
knowing only violence
and intolerance.
They say
God is on their side
while seething
with hatred.

Unity
as God's people.
We gather
and we pray
for those who cause division
among us.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Water and Spirit (John 3:1-21)



Christ Instructing Nicodemus Crijn Hendricksz, 1604


I came to you in the shadows of night.
I wore the darkness like a cloak,
shielding and protecting me,
from those with whom I associate.

You speak to my heart
and I am drawn to your voice.
But there are those on the council
who wish you did not speak with authority.

You are not of the Sanhedrin,
nor are you a scribe.
But your words,
with deeper roots than the prophets,
are from God.
Not from man.

And that frightens the core of my being.

You tell me that if I am
born again,
I will envision the kingdom of God.
You explain that I must be birthed
of water
and spirit.

I am deeply troubled by your words
and the timing of your presence.
Few of the wise will listen to you.
They will wish to keep you silent
When your voice is what we most need to hear.

I leave you,
wondering where I will stand,
when next I hear your voice speak
as the Son of God,
having come to us with salvation,
without desire to judge our weaknesses,
but to save.



from the collection: Pictures of the Messiah
copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Days of Gray


Days of gray
have been somber.
My prayer has struggled
for a voice.
The storms rage
trying to weaken my foundation.

My tears
have become a dry river bed.
My thoughts are held 
in the grip of the world,
twisted by the complacency
of a sinful nature.

Days of darkness,
days of bitter wine
and dense shadows
are not without value
when the eastern sky glows
and the Lord calls me into the light.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Monday, June 5, 2017

Salt of the Earth

I was at a funeral service this weekend
 for an individual who believed that death was nothing more than death.  
The lack of God in life, the lack of God in the afterlife.  
It's impossible for me to relate to that way of existence, 
to believe we are nothing more than the foundations we have built on this soil.




Salt without flavor,
the spiritually lost,
standing only
on the ground where you toil,
without faith,
without the embrace of eternal love.

Can salt regain its taste
after being trampled underfoot
in littered streets?
Is death simply death
without being preserved
by salt?

You are the salt on the earth.
Your desire to believe makes you vibrant,
a great joy in the eye of the Lord.
Go out and enhance the faith of other,
but do not lose your knowledge of God,
setting your foundations
on things of the soil
and not Heaven.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr


Friday, June 2, 2017

Peace



He stands in the room
where we have hidden ourselves,
fearing for our lives.
He is risen.
His hands and side
declare the wounds of His suffering.

Peace,
He offers to us.
And a fresh breath of life
fills my lungs.
His peace washes over my guilt.
His peace calms my fear.

How blessed we are
to stand here in His presence.
How blessed those will be
who do not stand in this room
and still come to believe.



from the collection: Pictures of the Messiah
copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Creator

I dug back in some very ancient archives for this short poem.
This is from a collection of poems written in '75 & '76
This unpublished collection of work was titled "Eighteen and Nineteen".
Sometimes I like looking back at these writings,
seeing not only how I've grown as an individual, but how my writing has developed.



I come to You
when I have nowhere else
to turn,
when everyone has left me
alone.

When all my friends
have wandered new courses
and I struggle
with old loves.

Do You ever grow tired
of these moments,
when I arrive at Your doorstep
with a sack full of sins.



copyright 1976 - Donald P James Jr

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Religion (James 1:27)

What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: 
to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering 
and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

James 1:27


Pure religion,
without ritual,
without tradition,
without the glorification
of human ideals.

Simple religion,
without worldly corruption,
without laws to burden,
without doctrines
to recite.

True religion,
without status,
without earthly reward,
without acknowledgement
of man.

Take care of those
who suffer,
the widows,
the orphans,
those who struggle
with weights
they cannot support
on their own
and keep your hearts
free
of the world's influence.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Monday, May 29, 2017

Flaunting Our Pardons (Matthew 5:3)



Am I spiritually poor,
humble,
aware that I am less than the lowest
without the blood
shed violently
on wooden beams?

Do I place myself in seats of honor
as the adulterated righteous do?
Have I been proud of scriptural knowledge,
or the menial works
I’ve been given skills
to perform?

The kingdom belongs to those
who live in humility,
those who know grace
in its purest state.
The cross embraces the lowly
and elevates the sinner
to forgiveness.

Help me Lord,
to be poor in spirit,
to be humble,
to be washed clean by Your blood
without flaunting my pardon
in the face of others.



copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr