Thursday, April 14, 2011

Encouraging Words for Giving God the Glory by Jaye Lewis

Hello friends,

It’ early-thirty on a Thursday morning, and I’m the only one awake.  I have my hot cup of coffee to chase the cobwebs from my brain, and my weenie dog snoozes on the bed beside me.  My world is pretty sweet right now.  I have only this blog to be responsible for – my lifeline to the world – and I am relearning skills that I haven’t done in twenty years.

God has given me these amazing gifts. He has brought about inventions that have made my life more comfortable and safe.  I have medications which keep me alive and full of gratitude for those who have allowed their minds to conceive of such wonders.  We all have wonderful minds, but do we use them in a way that glorifies the One who gave us this gift?  

Do we keep our minds free of evil thoughts?  Do we hate people we know nothing about?  Do we shame God with our thoughts about who should live or die?  Only God can decide such a thing, and to harbor thoughts of harm to another?  Well, from such things we should run away, and fill our minds with our love of Him.

That is why a continuous relationship with God is so necessary —  not just prayers repeated again and again.  A relationship is based upon love, affection, sharing one’s intimate thoughts, laughing at oneself, and looking out upon the beautiful world that He has given to us, and being grateful to Him.

Oh, how I love my time with God. Just God and me.  I love gazing at the mountains surrounding my home, and the beautiful smoky blue haze which surround them.  I love the sound and sight of the birds which I care for, even and especially in the wildest weather.  I love serving Him through them; and I love serving Him, through my sharing with you.

There is a sadness within me, however, especially as we approach the days of Christ's passion.  I am mindful that I am unworthy of His sacrifice, especially because of the many gifts and blessings that He has given to me.  Thursday of next week is Maundy Thursday, the day that commemorates the Last Supper of Christ, the night that He was betrayed.  Strangely enough, it is also my birthday.

In a garden that night, Christ took my sins upon Himself, along with the weight of the sins of the world, both yours and mine.  From the time that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit to the end of the world, Christ carried our sins to the Cross, and we are all forgiven if we place our trust in Him.  Wow!

When Jesus cried out with His last breath, "It's finished!" His agony burst through time and eternity, and He bought back what the Devil had stolen in the Garden.  I have limited understanding, but I know that Heaven's gate is open wide, and one day I will live with Him.  Yet still I sin, as though I do not know any better.  I can assure you that I do.  So, every day I repent, with every prayer I say.  Father forgive me for I know too clearly what I do.

Oh Father Dear  by Jaye Lewis

Did You know, Oh Father dear, how painful it would be,
To see Your Son just hanging there, in all His agony?

Did You see ungrateful me running from that sound;
When Jesus groaned his final breath, with silence all around?

Did You know that it would take so long, for my knees to bend
In full surrender to Your love, and so transform my end?

Did You see me long ago, when I was but a child,
Longing for those tender arms from someone meek and mild?

Oh Father, did You see me, when first I knelt in prayer;
When first I felt Your presence and just knew You must be there?

Did You hide Your face in anguish, as I pounded in the nail?
Did You despise my presence when Your Son began to wail?

When I grabbed the whip and beat Him,
Did You hate my presence then?
Was it then that you forgave me, so I could begin again?

I was stubborn, Lord, I surely was, and often I resented!
Why did You seek this stubborn child, and make her so contented?

Oh Father, I can hear Your voice, sweetly calling me.
I long to run into Your arms and feel serenity.

Oh Father, I can feel His pain and every drop of blood,
Washing all my sins away in mercy’s cleansing flood.

To think that You allowed this, embracing every stroke
Of stone, and whip, and curse and lash, before I ever spoke!

It breaks my heart to know that I could cause his blessed face,
To break in utter agony, to save this human race.

So even though my sorrow seems too heavy now to bear,
It helps to know You’re with me here, and You’ll be with me there,

When last I breathe my final breath and see Your glorious smile,
I’ll thrill to hear Your loving words, “Come child and rest awhile.”

© Jaye Lewis, April 10, 2006

With love, and a blessed Passion week,
Jaye Lewis

Monday, April 11, 2011

Encouraging Words for the Lonely

Hello friends,
Sometimes it feels like the darkness is closing in.  I know, I've been there.  Alone and friendless.  I've been there, too.  But the darkness can be beautiful, too, much as the picture above, where the bare loveliness of the tree branch breaks up the darkness with hope.

In the darkness of loneliness, I learned that God was very near.  I could reach out with my heart and know Him better, not in some superficial way, but in intimate fellowship, where warmth and hope abide.
Sometimes when depression weighs upon me, I often cry out.

"When?  When, oh Lord, will it end?  How long will I be kept in the dark?"

Then, sometimes as water seeps into the sand, slowly and fully, I will hear a voice in the darkness, telling me I'm not alone.  It is an intimate moment that would be eclipsed in a bright and busy world, where the cares of ones heart are often lost in the din.

Eventually, even for the very depressed or the very lonely, without warning, the mist of the dawn will break into the darkest night, and rosy sunshine will begin to burst upon the heart.  Wait for it and do something, read, sew, pray, and believe.  The dawn will break and the sky will once more be blue again.

Journey to Healing  by Jaye Lewis

Each night, I'd lay upon my bed...
The pillow cradling my head...
Then, wearily, I'd 'play my mind'
With all regrets, I'd left behind.

The day before, had left me pale...
The future, where I'd, surely, fail...
The times I could have done so much...
To reach a heart, with just a touch.

I saw each one, the great and small...
The loved ones I'd not loved at all...
The hopes and dreams of all the years...
I'd concentrate upon my fears...

I'd missed each moment that I could
Begin again, and done much good.
I'd see, each picture of my grief,
And 'time' would 'steal me' like a thief.

All the joy, within my soul...
The worship that could make me whole...
And, yet, a 'voice', so deep within...
The Light that shines, to heal my sin...

Calls me forward from the dark...
A small caress...a chance remark...
Remembered kindness from a friend...
Belief that this is not the end...

All, come at once, and I can feel,
That, surely, I've begun to heal!
I find a strength, I've never known,
Beyond myself, like 'coming home.'

I looked into my loved ones' eyes,
And I began to realize...
That through the dark and tortured climb,
God had been there, all the time!

© Jaye Lewis, 2003

The journey into depression is a dark and lonely place.  Devoid of feeling, even those of deep faith have felt hopeless, far from family and friends, and isolated from God.  The journey into healing is one that requires of family and friends, compassion, patience, and unconditional love.  I was one who had all the blessings.  To those who have not, I promise you that, even so, you are not alone!

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Little Black Dog by Jaye Lewis

The Little Black Dog
A Child's Easter Story

The little black dog
By the side of the road,
Watched Him carry
His terrible load.

His tail hung sadly
Where it once was proud.
Who could have guessed
That he'd follow the crowd?

But, then, he'd followed
His Master so long,
Patient and loyal,
His love burning strong.

Just a little black dog,
With no home of his own,
Could not be persuaded
To leave Him alone.

Thirsty and hungry,
He waited to feed
As his Master fulfilled
Every follower's need.

Then the Master would pat
The dog on the head,
And together He'd share
His food and His bed.

Tomorrow the crowds
Would again gather near,
And the dog would raise
An inquisitive ear...

"Happy are those
Who bring peace to others."
"Happy are they
Who treat all men as brothers."

As the Master preached,
He taught them to love;
Then He told them this mystery:
He'd come from above!

This brought accusations;
Some accused Him of fraud;
But the little black dog
Knew He was God.

With love in his eyes
And a faithful heart,
The little black dog
Would never depart.

So, he followed his Master
From place to place,
Always intent on
His wonderful face.

The little black dog,
In a garden one night.
Witnessed in awe,
A terrible sight.

Great drops of blood
Rolled down the kind face.
Never sleeping nor moving
The dog watched in place.

How he wanted to lick
The sweat from His brow,
And give Him some comfort
But didn't know how.

So, he watched and he waited
Patient and still;
And now he was following
Up a great hill.

Not a whine, nor a whimper,
Just a sad pair of eyes,
As he witnessed the pain,
That could not be disguised.

Beneath the Cross On Calvary’s hill,
The little dog watched, submitting his will.
His ears perked up
As he heard a voice.

'Twas the Master,
But, oh, he couldn't rejoice!
"It's finished! Into Thy Hands, My Father!" He cried.
Then the little black dog
Laid down and died.

It was over for him.
His journey was through.
But, he left a message
For me and you.

Follow the Master.
Be faithful and true;
For the Master will always
Be faithful to you.

© Jaye Lewis, 1985

Hello friends: This little poem was written during one of the lowest points in my life. The particulars, now, really don't matter, but I do remember it well. I sat on the floor, sobbing, and I poured my heart out to a God, whom I doubted. My faith had been stripped from me, and I couldn't believe that God really loved me.

Out of my sobs, and my fears, and from a child's heart, this poem was born. I wrote it on a scrap of paper with a dull pencil. In spite of my doubts, and my fear that my doubts just might be truth, a little girl's faith, from long ago, burst forth.

This poem is incomplete, much as my faith was at the time of my writing. I hoped, but I didn't know if I believed. I no longer had the faith of a child. So, to you parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, or just to the child, still alive within you....

You finish the story. Tell your children about what happens next. Christ died. He was placed in a tomb, and in three days, He arose from the dead, by His own power. Tell them. Tell yourself. Even if you doubt. Christ is alive. He's alive! HE'S ALIVE!!!

I know this is true, not by my own knowledge, but by the grace of God. I asked that day for my child's faith to be restored. My journey was long, and the road often crooked, but God made my path straight before me. He followed me, until I had the strength to follow Him.

The dog in the picture is my own Happy Dog. He has been by my side for thirteen years. His muzzle is gray, and his eyes are dim, but his faithfulness never wavers. He has taught me more about God, than a thousand sermons, and he has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. Happy Dog is the perfect illustration of the little black dog. In spite of my doubts on the day that I sat on the floor sobbing; in spite of my faint and wobbly walk; God placed in my heart that child's faith that I had lost.

I believe.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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