Ferocious

Freaky fast does Friday frolic this way! Sliding into home plate is today’s challenge letter as it is still Thursday. Hope you enjoy.

 

Shallow Focus Photography of Sheep

Photo by Dan Hamill from Pexels

“Ferocious!”

Lo! A great king – no, the greatest of all –
In glory, love and kindness arrayed!
On his heart heavily weighed his servants lost;
Not permissible!, arising from thrown; to the side his glory laid.

On the rescue to save his own,
Forsaking his status and brought down low.

Justice, mercy, forgiveness and meekness
Uttering from him, powerful yet tender;
Disrespected and trod upon,
And to rescue his loved ones – the lamb … sacrifice rendered.
However, he arose from that death and returns as a different character…

© Joshua Curtis, 2019


When you find the other character hidden there,
Please feel free to comment and share!

Published in: on 7 PMpThu, 11 Apr 2019 22:59:06 -040059Thursday 2016 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Expectations

man wearing polo shirt holding left chest

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Expectations! This is a broad topic for sure. I want to focus, briefly, on some societal expectations – or lack thereof – in light of one of my all time favorite quotes.

I have spent many years working with youth in various capacities. It’s no surprise for me to say that they are hurting! Our world is hurting and in need of some major repair. One area we really must improve is our language. This is where the war is being waged today! I wrote a post recently about the fight over definitions. It’s more that just that however. It’s also in our expectations of the language we are using. We often speak death to our situations before life has even had the chance to come forth (I am really preaching to myself now!). We are doing the same with our youth. How often are our youth taught – and taught to speak – as if they have no virtues, as if they have no purpose, as if they are … subhuman.

Thus, what do they do? What most humans in that situation do. They intentionally take on the broken language to try in make it positive amongst themselves. And so, we hear the language reverberating throughout our culture, e.g., “What’s up killa?” Now, same sentence, but substitute “killa” with, “play-boy”, “fool”, “pimp”, “savage”. Or, how about this phrase? “Beast mode!”

We are more concerned with becoming a savage or going beast mode than we are becoming men and women. Let us stop lowering our expectations. Instead, let us raise our expectations and demand something better. I feel, although probably initially met with the usual push-back, in time our youth with respond. They need to know, they must be told, they are not beasts or savages. They are humans, created to receive and give love and to live life to their highest capacity.

The problem with humanity is…we are not human enough!

C.S. Lewis spoke of the educational setting in 1940s England and how they were the worse off because they had, to a large degree, stopped teaching morals in their schools. My how we left this rebuke unheeded! We are exceptionally worse off then they were at that time. So, here finally is the quote!

And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, “Men Without Chests”, pg. 12 [you can read an online pdf of this book as well]

Let us rethink and reevaluate our expectations as a society and let us be careful how we perceive – and what we say – about ourselves. I know I need to do this on a personal level! What are your thoughts? 

Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 10 Apr 2019 21:03:17 -040003Wednesday 2016 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Despondent

brown mountain splashed with water from sea

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I apologize today. I was hoping to create something engaging or clever. It seems I am unable to muster that energy today. I often feel like a rocky edge lying against the immensity of the ocean. Life is amazing and awe-inspiring, yet the waves continue to smash into me, eroding me over time. Then it calms and the sun dries me out and warms me up; things finally are looking bright. All of the sudden another wave, worse than the last, takes even more out of me. Maybe this is the growth process I must endure. Maybe I am pushing through my roof and I should take my own advice from my previous post. God, I know you are with me, but are you with me?! Despondent; this is my word of the day. It was a wavy day. Yet, I rest in the fact that hope will return; the sun will shine again!

frozen wave against sunlight

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Psalm 42.5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 09 Apr 2019 21:13:17 -040013Tuesday 2016 at 9:13 pm  Comments (3)  
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Child Arise

Good morning from the Midwest of the USA! … I don’t even think this qualifies as morning yet… Anyway, after a good night sleep (ahem; cat nap) we are back on the grind. Here is day three of this A-Z Challenge for you.

There is another challenge inherent to this post along with the A-Z Challenge. A challenge I got from Baffled Mum where you write a piece of work about the picture below. Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • 150 word limit
  • Write a piece of historical fiction or poetry about the photo
  • Try not to use the words tree & green
  • Tag 3 people to do the same with the photo


Enjoy!

img_6296

“Child Arise”

“My child, arise!”
But Father, I am weak, unwise;
I am pushing through concrete, to my surprise,
And there’s a roof overhead, do you realize?!

“My child, stand tall!”
Father, I am pushing through ceiling and wall,
I can barely see your light at all,
What if my roots fail and I fall?

“My child, be still, I will make you grow!”
I’m full of fears and tears; this roof hurts, it’s so slow!
Wait! Did I feel the breeze – a soft blow?
And what is that warmth? The sun’s glow?!

“My child, in whom I love and given my Dove, arise!”
In soil and concrete, rooted are my feet; spreading out – see my size;
Growing remains hard, but my heart I guard, as I’m your prize,
Faithful through each stumble, you make me humble and wise!

“My child, you are mine! Be still, stand tall; arise!”


I wrote this with several Scriptures (ESV*) in mind:

Psalm 1.3

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 92.12-15

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

2 Corinthians 4.7-9

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

John 16.33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Hope you enjoyed. If you like the challenge, do it! Blessings.

P.S. – Little Rants, since you tagged me in the A-Z Challenge, I tag you to add this challenge.

~

“Child Arise” © Joshua Curtis, 2019

* “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

Published in: on 7 AMpMon, 08 Apr 2019 03:28:27 -040028Monday 2016 at 3:28 am  Comments (3)  
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Bawling Blood & Beneficent Beauty; Part II

Part II | Beneficent Beauty

Beating rhythmically beyond the boundaries of our very beings, beacons of hope break down barbed wire barriers, bringing the brightness of life through bereavement, betrayal and brokenness; beauty beckons!

Sorry for the delay. It’s been a long day…

I am not sure how familiar any of you are with The Green Mile by Stephen King. I do not read Mr. King much these days, but this was one of the first books that really captured me. I remember sitting down and reading 50-70 pages at a time which was amazing for me at that time. Anyway, in some ways I relate with the character of John Coffey, in that, much of the time I am burdened. I am burdened by the state of my country and if we will still be a nation by the time my kids are grown, I am burdened by the state of the Church and the rampant foolishness going on within, I am burdened by my living situation and wanting more for my family, and the list goes on. Yet, it’s more than burdened. It’s a deep sorrow that I cannot fully articulate, like shards of glass in my head – there’s the connection to Mr. Coffey.

Yet, even when I am in that space heavily, I can be arrested from that place by beauty. When it’s 7:00 am and I am going outside on my forklift at work wishing I was somewhere writing or at home, I see the sunrise and hear the morning birds singing their hymns and my souls quiets as my spirit rises! Beauty is so captivating in an inarticulate way. How we are moved along by a string a words put together on a page, or how Handel’s Hallelujah chorus demands we rise to our feet, or being in the awesome and humbling shadow of a formidable mountain, or the deep pride and awe of a waterfall, or in the eyes of a spouse or child, or the beauty of animals, trees, flowers – nature – or the parkour opening of that one The Office episode…okay, that wasn’t a piece of beauty, but hilarious and brings me joy! Although it may vary for each of us, it is still powerfully moving in the way it captivates us.  

This morning I was struck hard. I was working and thinking about Part I of this post I just put up and thinking about a post I want to do soon about martyrs – avoiding details at the moment. I was stirred along thinking about how I could possibly communicate what I was feeling within me and I prayed for God to help me through that moment and process it well. I went outside and was literally speechless. I don’t even remember the last time something made me speechless. And, I mean my mouth hanging open and the whole nine. Here in central Indiana today it was overcast and misty, but for a brief moment, as soon as I opened the garage door, I saw the most beautiful bright pink – almost red – sunrise illuminating through the clouds. Here I was just thinking about martyrs and all of the sudden before me is the most striking pink/red sunrise. Yet, that’s the point of it all!

God, in his wonderful mercy, has an uncanny ability of turning beauty from our mess. And even though this world seems to be suffocating in a cacophony of negativity, backbiting and good-ol-fashion, nobody’s to blame, brokenness, God blesses us with beauty all around. It’s like Trinity in the last Matrix movie while heading into the most dangerous of situations, she has a brief moment of riding above the storm and seeing the beauty and peace of the sun. It is a gracious gift. It is beneficent beauty!

In the Bible, we see God remaking the heavens and the earth after his return.

Revelation 21.1-4

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Imagine the most beautiful things you have experienced. Now, imagine them perfected with no negativity! With this kind of beauty, only one word remains: Maranatha!

~

Here are just a few things I find beautiful:

scenic view of mountains during dawn

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

 

alley autumn autumn colours autumn leaves

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

cascade creek environment falls

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

 

bible blur christ christianity

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

ancient antique architectural design architecture

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

 

fb_img_1545509199078~

What about you? What’s beautiful in your world today?

 


 

Text and last picture, © Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpSun, 07 Apr 2019 21:57:39 -040057Sunday 2016 at 9:57 pm  Comments (3)  
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Bawling Blood & Beneficent Beauty; Part I

Preamble

Day two, still the beginning, and yet I am already beating back the boundaries of this challenge. I was betwixt two beckoning beliefs that burdened by brain. Instead of breaking the bonds of one or the other, both was the only reasonable and balanced choice. Thus, I bisected it! Part I, Bawling Blood and Part II, Beneficent Beauty. Brace yourself; begin!


Part I | Bawling Blood

Man Kneeling in Front of Cross
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Although I bequeathed you with a bounty of b’s, I will now bench the “b” barrage bombarding this blog. Let’s move onto something a bit more serious. Sometimes I come up with ideas or conclusions that I take from Scripture – which may or may not actually be there, but I find intriguing nonetheless. This is one of those posts and it’s going to be a tying together the overall ideas of two previous posts: Foul Smells and Lamentations (which has to do with innocent blood) and The Thread of Christ’s Divine Nature (the eternal nature of Christ).

First, we see in Genesis 4.10, “And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” We can draw a conclusion here that innocent blood calls out to God from the ground, as Abel’s blood did after Cain killed him. Now, what we don’t know is if innocent blood always cries out to God, or if it just did in this instance. We are going to assume that it does; I believe this to be the case.

If this is the case, then it would also be true of Jesus when his blood was spilled on the cross. His blood was innocent, and if it cried out, what would it’s plea be? Now, we must also remember that Jesus is God in the flesh. He is eternal and divine. He also longs to make intercessions for us. Hebrews 7.24-25 tells us both of these realities, “but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (emphasis mine)

Now, Jesus was killed on our behalf that we may have the opportunity to be redeemed. He loved us to the extent to die for our sins that if we submit to him we may have his life. Powerful message of love and I believe that’s what his blood was crying out – for our forgiveness and redemption! However, since he is divine and eternal, I come to the conclusion that his blood is still indeed crying out. His blood is still making intercession for this broken and sinful world. It’s still weeping from the broken clay under Golgotha!

Jesus’s bawling blood – crying out today on our behalf. Again, this is just a thought that intrigues me. What are your thoughts?

I really enjoy “thinking outside of the box” or “reading between the lines” when it comes to the Bible. However, the caution is that we must not become dogmatic about things that are not clearly there. What we do know for certain from Scripture is that Jesus loved us enough to die for us and still loves us enough to intercede on our behalf. He never quits on us! That truly is a bounty of beauty; we are called to become his beloved!

Well, I’m off to work. I will see you around the corner for Part II (in about 14 hours or so!). Have a wonderful day/night.

Published in: on 7 AMpSun, 07 Apr 2019 03:43:29 -040043Sunday 2016 at 3:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Alabaster

Okay, I was tagged to do this challenge by lilrant. (By the way, you should check out her work; it’s very creative and fun to read!) It’s a daily challenge to write 26 posts, A-Z. Here is the kick off. I hope you enjoy! It’s going to be a good challenge for me as I really need to write more frequently. Thank you Little Rants for the challenge! Blessings to you all!

beige wooden chest trunk on white surface

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


“Alabaster”

Longing soul thirsts for you; dehydrated,
Sickly, mildewed, wilting; peeling plaster;
Needing to draw nigh into your presence –
Fear of your holiness, heart beats faster –
I’m dirty! Feebly entering temple,
Rapidly cleanse me like oil of castor!
Reminded I’m new, redeemed by the King,
Gracious Savior! High Priest; my soul’s pastor,
Helping me see clearly; reality!
As you make my vision clear and vaster.
I worship you for your goodness and grace!
I bring you a boxed gift – alabaster –
Joyously collapsing down to the floor,
Worshiping at the feet of my Master!
~

Luke 7.36-38 (ESV)

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

“Alabaster”, © Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 06 Apr 2019 03:39:39 -040039Saturday 2016 at 3:39 am  Comments (7)  
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