You Are My Light

This is a repost from my poetry blog psalmistpetegardner.com

You are my Light
You shine into the darkness of my soul
Showing me the error of my ways
Shedding your brilliance on my plight
Revealing to me my hidden desires
The desires of my deceitful heart
I have trusted in my heart
It tells me all is well
My heart tells me I am a good man
The blood pumping organ that brings life to my body
Providing nourishment to my cells
Keeping everything going
Everything running
Is true and faithful to my physical body
My heart will always do everything it can
To make the provisions needed for my well being
Physically
But not spiritually
Spiritually my heart does not reveal my sin
It hides it in darkness
Until the light of Jesus shines in
Revealing my sin
This light only comes when I ask
When the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin
Then the Light comes in
The Light that is Jesus
The Light that opens up the dark places
The Light that allows me to see myself as I am
A sinner in need of Salvation
Shine you’re light into my heart Lord
Shine it every day
Reveal every dark place
Every hidden sin
Every wicked way
So that I might truly repent
Not from my intellect and what I know
But by what you reveal to me
I do not want to be intellectually saved
I want to be cleansed completely
Washed with the blood of the Lamb
Free from all sin
All iniquity
Only your Light can do that
So shine your Light into my soul
For you are my Light

Take Control (Music Video)

Here are the words and a video to a chorus the Lord gave me yesterday.  I hope you enjoy it!

What else can I do but to worship you
What else can I say but give you praise
What else can I offer you but this life you’ve given me
All I have is yours Oh Lord

All of my heart
All of my soul
All of my spirit take control
All of my heart
All of my soul
All of my spirit take control

Lessons From the Pond

Garside’s pond was a magnet for us as kids. It was a small pond nestled in a grove of trees at the top of the hill above Peter Dees house. It sat on the side of the road right where the road took a bend. There was nothing fancy about it. Definitely no swimming – it was dark and murky. Not much for fishing either – there was a tremendous amount of algae and the growing things that would grab your line. So, what was the big attraction?

First was that it was secluded for the most part. We could hang out there and not be seen. We would play around the shoreline. One of our favorite things to do was to skip stones and see if we could skip a stone all the way across the pond. Not that the pond was that big – maybe 30 feet across. But skipping a stone that far took talent, and we became pretty good skippers! The second test was how many skips you could do with one stone. I can remember several over 10. Another stone related thing we enjoyed was throwing a rock into the middle of the pond and watching the ripples come out. We used to try and make patterns by throwing rocks into different areas. Not as exciting as today’s video games, but it kept us occupied.

Second was the tadpoles. We loved to seek out tadpoles and watch them with fascination. It wasn’t unusual for us to find a nest of eggs and take some home, and watch as they hatched and became tadpoles. I can’t remember if we were ever able to keep one all the way to the frog stage, but I’m sure we tried several times over. It’s a fascinating thing to do, especially for a 10-year-old. The little eggs would first sprout a tail, then some front legs, and then the rear legs. We could watch them for hours.

But the biggest reason we hung out there was the bullfrogs. These beasts were gigantic and we were hunters. Catching a bullfrog was a talent we developed over time. Ordinary frogs were hard enough. You would see them on a lily pad, or along the shore, and you were sure you could sneak up on them, only to have them jump before you got there. It took stealth to capture even an average frog. And we caught plenty of them.

But the bullfrog, now that was a catch that made you special. These bullfrogs would trumpet their presence with a loud Ribbit that could be heard miles away – I’m sure! And you could kind of tell where it came from. Slowly you would creep that direction listening to him bellow out his presence. Then, as you got closer, no matter how quiet you were, he’d go silent. If you were really good, you might get close enough to see him sitting there. But you had to be fast to catch him. And catch some we did. Catching a bullfrog was a badge of honor to us. I will not tell you what we did with these beasts when we caught them, but it was not very humane – not humane at all.

What great memories!

I was back in Massachusetts a couple years ago, and we went by that old pond. It was much smaller than I remembered, almost more like a marsh than a pond anymore. The trees and brush had overgrown much of what was the pond many decades ago. There was no place for kids to play around the shore anymore – there wasn’t even much of a shore. It made me sad to see one of my favorite places become so un-useful.

Jesus told a parable about a sower who went out to sow his seed. Some seed fell on hard ground and the birds just ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground and never took root. Some fell on ground that then sprouted weeds that choked out the seed. And some fell on good ground and brought a good harvest. Then Jesus explained that this was really about sharing the gospel. Some will just not receive it – like the seed that fell on hard ground. Some will quickly accept the word, but the word will never take root in them and they will fall away., like the seed that fell on rocky ground. And some will accept the word, and start to live for Christ, but will turn away because of the cares of this world, much like the seed suffered at the hand of he weeds. And of course, some accept the word and go on to live for Christ and bring forth a harvest.

The pond reminds me how easily the world can encroach on the beauty of our salvation. It happens slowly, as little things start to distract us from serving the Lord. Maybe something comes up on a Sunday morning that causes us to miss church. Maybe our devotional time is disappearing beneath work or family pressures. Whatever it is, our time with God gets the short end of the stick. The world creeps in, just like the plant life crept into the pond. If we are not careful, our spiritual life can become overgrown with those other things, and we will find ourselves mediocre at best.

Examine your life, as I have been mine, and see where the world is creeping in. Then start to take steps to clear back the weeds, pull the muck out of the water, and restore the pond, restore your life, to a life-giving force once again. It can be done!

Does God Count You Faithful?

This is a reblog from my God’s Maintenance Man Blog.  This blog is found under the Teachings tab at the top of this page.  If you would like to read others in the series on Timothy and Titus, please click on that tab.

 1 Timothy 1:12-14

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I like to take credit. I like to think I did something myself. It was me who read the Bible and gained the knowledge I have. It was me who began to understand how the Old and New Testament worked together., It was me who figured out how the scripture applies to everyday life. I wrote all these poems and songs through the years. The moving of the Holy Spirit is due to my ability and expertise in putting a worship service together. All these years, I have been slaving away for God and coming up with these thoughts and ideas on how God works in our lives. I did it. Me!

That paragraph is the definition of pride. I did it. I accomplished it. I figured it out. This is where I lived for years, and truly believed the sayings in that paragraph. It caused me to start top think I could disregard all that I had learned and do what I wanted to do. After all, I had done it all for God!

But I soon fell hard, lost my job and almost my family and had to take inventory on my spiritual life. What I found out was what Paul says here. God has enabled me. I do not have the ability within myself to do the things above. It is God in me and through me. That is the only way these things can minister the way they do. That is the only way the right words can get on paper that will touch hearts and heal up wounds of the soul.

You see, I was once very much like Paul. I certainly was a blasphemer, a breaker of all the commandments, a drunkard and drug addict and a person who could care less about God. My own way was the way I would go and no one could tell me I was in the wrong. I had walked away from God in high school and had no plans on coming back to Him. I was a persecutor, maybe not of the saint, but of everyone around me. I would put down, speak badly of, and try to hurt with words anyone that wronged me. I was a smaller guy and not a physical specimen, so I relied on a quick wit. This also made me injurious, like Paul. My words could injure peoples spirits and hearts quicker than a dart being thrown at them. The bigger problem is that they could dodge a dart, but could not avoid my stinging words.

Then grace came in. Love came in. Faith came in. Somehow I found myself driving to Iowa to see my best friend. Clear out of the blue I had decided to make the 1300 mile drive from Massachusetts to Iowa. When I arrived at his house, we had a great reunion, having not seen each other for over a year. He was a Christian, and had tried to sway me a year earlier at our high school reunion. It didn’t work, but it also did not hurt our friendship. Here I was on His doorstep in Iowa. Through the last year we had sent letters back and forth and each one of his letters had a scripture address on it. I had to look it up to see what he was saying. He was a sly old fox (well, not that old. He was a week older than me).

Then he said come to church with us tonight, and I said OK. I had no problem going with him, just don’t give me any of that salvation stuff. Don’t tell me I need saving. I was doing just fine. And I was so wrong. That minister, who was a missionary home on leave, told me I was headed for a burning hell. I did not want to go there! Then he told me there was only one way to avoid it, and that was Jesus Christ, I wanted Jesus. Jesus took me into His arms later that week and saved my soul. His grace covered me completely.

Now He enables me. I do everything I can to keep my thoughts out of this blog, out of the poetry, out of the songs that fill the pages of my web sites. I seek God’s wisdom and His words for these pages, not mine. I have nothing of value to give except my life. These are His words, His thoughts, His songs. I claim no ownership.

Since He has enabled me, it is now up to me to be an open conduit. He has put me into this ministry and now I need to allow His message to flow through me out to you. Paul tells us that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet (1 Corinthians 14:32). This means God gives us the ability to shut it down or make it flow. We can muzzle the message God gives us to share. We can say “God gave this to me and I’m not going to share it!” We absolutely can. But I do no want to be that person.

My heart’s desire is to be counted faithful. Jesus said that to whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). The words, songs, melodies and so on come from God. He has given them, for some reason I will never understand, to me. He entrusted me with the ability to hear His voice, and I for one want to make sure He will say I did it well. I could care less if anyone on this earth says the same. I am aware that very few hear God the way I hear Him. Very few have learned to listen as He has taught me to. He holds me accountable for those things He has entrusted to me.

What about you? What gift, or gifts, has God given to you? What talents do you possess? What are you doing with them? I suggest you make a list of all the gifts and talents God has bestowed on you. Some will have just a few items they can think of, others might have many dozen. Pray about it and be thorough. Once you have compiled your list, take each item one by one and ask God if you are doing a good job with that talent. If you’re like me, there are some you are doing well with and others you need to do better.

After this is done, ask God to help you do a better job of ministering in the areas where He has gifted you. Ask Him to enable you to reach more, teach more, love more and touch more. Ask Him to make your light shine so that you might bring Him glory. Give yourself as a living sacrifice for Him so that you might prove the will of God is alive in your life. Be vigilant in your ministry and never back down. This world needs you!

I Am A Blessed Man

The night hair is crisp and clean as I walk my dog this evening. The air feels almost warm at six below zero since there is no wind to chill the soul. The light blanket of snow that covers the ground sounds like Rice Krispies as I walk across the shoveled sidewalk. I look up at the twinkling stars and see the Cheshire cat shaped moon smiling back at me. This is such a beautiful evening to behold. I ponder the day and the week behind me and I realize how much God has blessed me.

I have a wife who loves me. She is hard working and loves to sit beside me and in our Laz-Y-Boy chairs and watch a good Hallmark movie or an episode of a favorite show like Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. She has been a wonderful caretaker to me as I battled through cancer the last three years, always keeping a smile on her face and doing what is best for me. To this day she gets my meds ready every night. Even though she works over 60 hours a week between two jobs, she is still alert and conversational when she gets home. She is well respected in town and is well loved by her children and her husband. She is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 wife and I am a blessed man.

Our little dog, a mix of little dogs, playfully goes between her chair and mine. He picks up a toy occasionally and has us throw it so he can bring it back, tail wagging and a look of anticipation on his face. My wife laughs and watches him playing, citing how much she loves him. He brings the toy up to my leg and squeezes it in his mouth letting out a squeak as he pushes it into my leg, wanting me to take it and throw it again. He always shows his affection to me and I realize I am a blessed man.

My three children are all healthy and moving forward in life. They have different goals and different jobs. They all have a hunger for God in varying degrees and acknowledge Him as the one they turn to in difficult times. They love us and we love them so much. I talk to my daughters regularly and enjoy getting caught up with them on a weekly basis. We see them as often as we can and they always tells us how much they love us. They are a great joy in my life and I am a blessed man.

My five grandchildren are a joy to talk to. They will send stickers on Facebook messenger to let us know they want to talk. Sometimes they will just call and hope to get us. We love talking to them on the phone and they always let us know how much they love us. We have one granddaughter living with us. She is such joy to have around the house. She brings laughter and a sense of the unknown. We have been through these waters before, with a teenage girl in the house. She will do anything for us and is a great help to me. I see her smile after all the difficulties she has had and I realize I am a blessed man.

My writing is ongoing as God continues to inspire me to put together Bible studies, poems, and pieces like this one. He has helped me with the knowledge to manipulate a web site and has given me a good friend who will help me with things I don’t know in that arena. More and more, I see visitors stopping by and taking note of what God is doing with my life and all the various projects he has me working on. I realize I am but putty in His hand, and He is molding me. This humbles me and makes me a blessed man.

There is so much more I could say about my life in it’s sixty-seventh year. There are so many things that I can’t explain, except to say God is moving in my life. He is my rock and fortress, my strong and mighty tower. He is my Savior and redeemer. He is my soon coming King. I lift my voice and praise Him at every chance I get, because He has been so merciful to me. I will never comprehend how much He loves ma and cares for me, yet I will always give thanks for those very things. In all of my ways, He is watching over me and guiding my life. I am a blessed man.