Poetry: Because My Classroom Flooded Again

Poem by April Ojeda

Photo by Zoltan Tasi (Unsplash)

 

 


Jonah rises, 

Homeless again. 

Flooded and flushed 

From out my rain-drunk, sunken roof. 

Another blind, unbridled deluge

Chases me on like some 

Holy messenger.

 

Jonah rages 

At the storm-swept sky, 

Pushes, unnatural in panic, 

Far, far away from belligerent crowds

That don’t deserve you 

And don’t adore you 

Like I do.

 

Jonah rouses, 

Safe passage granted. 

Charity of stranger friends, 

Of humble allies devoid of agenda,

Signifying that all life bends 

To your design, 

Eventually.

 

Jonah reaches 

Nineveh, born again. 

Nothing about this is easy, 

But I’ve tasted death and run from life

And choose the God who 

Rescues lost hope 

Relentlessly.

 

 


About April Ojeda

Ojeda is a teacher and writer from the Oklahoma Panhandle. Her work has appeared in Lost Pen Magazine and Heart of Flesh Literary Journal. She lives and works in a fast-spinning world, so she writes poetry as a means of prayer and of untangling the threads of daily life. She lives with her family in West Texas and finds her greatest inspiration in the outdoors.


For more inspirational content, please visit our Lost Pen Blog page. To download Lost Pen Magazine, visit our Magazine Issues page.

Poetry: Oh, Lord, Where Ya Been?

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Oh, Lord, Where Ya Been?

Poem by Doc Dalton

Been hiding out, lost, and confused for some time now,

Not knowing which way to turn, or what to even say.

Hurt by life’s bumps and bruises, struggling more every day,

Hanging on by the tips of my fingers so I won’t slip and fade away.

Sadly, I’ve been stumbling while searching for a clue,

Screaming like hell to the Heavens above in search of You,

Looking for a sign while taking life’s shots on the chin. What have I done that was so wrong? How bad was my sin?

The road has a been long one, and my journey’s been dark,

One that I felt would betray me and tear me apart.

This same journey I never dreamed I would be taking,

I beg of you, Lord, please don’t let me be forsaken.

Oh, Lord, where Ya been?

I’ve been crying out in search of You once again,

Standing here worried and scared, waiting just for You,

Lord, I beg of You one more time, please pull me through.

Sometimes God takes us on a journey to bring us where He wants us to be,

One that is long, confusing, and, at times, blinding to where we cannot see.

While the journey may be long, the travel is worth it—at least it was to this old fool,

Now I know You’ve been with me all along, even when life seemed so cruel.

Oh, Lord, now I know where Ya been.

Beside me all the while, guiding me once again.

Thank You for Your love, and thank You for pulling me through.

Please know, Jesus, this old fool always needs You.


About Doc Dalton

The Depressed Poet Doc Dalton has suffered from depression for over 30 years. Doc says poetry was a gift from the Lord because, while writing, his mind relaxes from the craziness and lets the calm walk in. Dalton is also the host of the podcast The Coffee and Prayer Series, “Where a Good Cup of Coffee, and Some Quiet Prayers Can Change the World.” Visit Dalton on his website for more information.


For more inspirational content, please visit our Lost Pen Pub Blog page. To download Lost Pen Magazine, visit our Magazine Issues page.

Poetry: Jonah’s Story

Poem by Ruth Callaghan do Valle

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

“No way!” Joe said

“I’ll put some space between us.”

But you know, the thing is

He spoke to the One who

Spoke space into being

Of course He could see 

The end from the beginning

And meet Joe in the place

He was hidden, unbidden

Joe boarded a ship and was

Well on his way but there

In the storm that overcame them

The sailors saw the spray flung high

And knowing they would surely die

Called on their gods to save them 

Joe, now aware he should never have

Dared defy his God, offered his life

That the ship might be spared

And with wonder and awe the sailors saw

The sea grow calm, disarmed

As Joe sank through the waves

Not to a watery grave as he thought

But saved, swallowed, caught 

Inside the mighty fish that caught him

Joe and his God get talking

They speak, and three nights after

The storm and disaster 

Joe’s hurled on a beach 

Grasping his second chance in both hands

He lands

And there proclaims what God has said

That He hates the iniquity of this great city 

Which is always before Him

And in just forty days

His justice displayed

He’ll wipe it clean

And the city will stand there no more

Knowing what’s in store 

They turn from their sin

The beggar to the King 

And turn to the Lord, begging for mercy

For God to look graciously

And have great pity on their poor city

God, in His compassion

Relents from His intention

To throw them to destruction 

And pardons them

But Joe, now angry, argues

Joe heard God’s heart for other nations

And from the start 

He was quick off his mark

To make a break for it

Plan his escape from it

But understand the undertaking

It’s a kingdom that He’s making 

Fast-forward to Revelation 

There’s a multitude of nations gathered there

And round the the throne

A people for His own will stand, unmanned 

And seeing our God face to face 

Will fall face down

And throw their crowns before Him

Praising, rejoicing and giving Him glory

About Ruth Callaghan do Valle

Callaghan do Valle occasionally finds time to think during her daughter’s naptimes. She writes in English with forays into Portuguese, and lives in small-town rural Brazil with her husband and toddler. You can find Ruth’s spoken word on YouTube.

Poetry: Clamoring for the Bottom Rung, by Carole L. Haines

Image by Xin on Unsplash

 

Clamoring for the Bottom Rung

by Carole L. Haines

Even if no one else ever sees down deep in the darkest parts of me

I see and God sees

or if no one else ever knows the harshest thoughts,

the hurts, the wounds . . .

I know and God knows

Others may only expect the worst, or forget the best

But God expects the best for me

He believes the best, hopes the best,

and has sacrificed His most Precious Son

to purchase that Best, that freedom for me

He Promises that the work begun in me will be completed, perfected, finished

He promises that all things work together for my good and His Glory

That He is writing in me a wonderful story

of things lost that are found

things broken, made whole again

Things dirtied and soiled made white as snow

Blind men will open their eyes to see

the deaf hear words and songs and sounds

The lame leap up and dance around

Fools are made wise in the Kingdom of God

The last shall be first and the first come down

All the houses are built on solid ground

People will be clamoring for the Bottom Rung

Instead of climbing and clawing their way to the top

The Kingdom of God is upside down

Where the smallest seed is the most precious found

and we lose all we have to gain what is best

Sitting at Jesus’ feet, where we find true rest

Where once more, all that can be shaken will be

until only what God gives is left to see.

A Kingdom inside us that never grows old

A Kingdom that cannot be bought or sold

A Kingdom unshakable, strong and free

Where we are Bought back, cleansed and redeemed.

Until then, I wait here singing songs long sung

clamoring in humility for the Bottom Rung

 

About Carole L. Haines
Haines has been writing devotions, poetry, songs, etc. for the last ten years on her blog. One of her ministries is to make crosses out of broken glass and pottery and other materials to give to people in crises, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or deep disappointments. The message behind the giving of the crosses and my blog is that God can bring great beauty out of great brokenness. He doesn’t ever waste a tear or a heartache. Our God is a Redeemer, our Great and Mighty Savior, Our friend and our hope. Visit Haines here. See her last post on the Spotlight Blog, ‘The Steps That Lead To Nowhere,’ here.

 

 

Inspirational Post: The Remedy for Discouragement

Photo by Rod Long (Unsplash)

The Remedy for Discouragement

by Nicole Byrum

It’s a Wonderful Life is a classic Christmas movie loved by many for the last seven decades. I hadn’t seen it for quite some time and enjoyed watching it with my family this past holiday season. It was the first viewing for both my kids (then 11 and 8), and I was so happy they enjoyed it. For those who may not be familiar with it (or if it’s been a while), the story begins by introducing Clarence, the angel who will intervene in George Bailey’s life. Clarence, eager to earn his wings, is told by God of a man in need of help. He responds by asking God if the man is sick. God answers, “No, worse. He’s discouraged.”   

That answer resonated with me. Nobody enjoys experiencing sickness of any kind, and being downtrodden in spirit is a particularly terrible woe.

Discouragement is defined as, “A loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.” How does this happen? What is it that leads us into this barren state of being? 

Often, the culprit comes in the form of unmet expectations or not making progress with our goals despite great effort. Discouragement can creep its way into every aspect of our lives—financial, relational, occupational, spiritual, emotional, and physical. And while people experience discouragement to varying degrees, they share one central theme: a loss of hope. 

For instance, we lose hope of mending a relationship, that our bank account will be sufficient, that our ailments will be healed, or that we will find purpose and fulfillment in life. We even lose hope in the goodness and faithfulness of God. When there is no perceivable light at the end of the tunnel and all seems lost, discouragement takes root within us. Such was the case with George Bailey. He could see no hope for the future and came to believe it would have been better if he had never been born. This demonstrates the ultimate depth of discouragement.  

The voice of discouragement yields destruction by breeding doubt, uncertainty, and fear. If you have experienced these effects, know you are in good company, for so did John the Baptist, Peter, and Thomas.

John the Baptist was the man who announced to the world, “Behold, the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). He was the man who proclaimed he was unworthy to untie Jesus’ sandal straps. And it was he who held the Son of Man in his arms as he heard the voice of God and saw the Holy Spirit. While in prison, this same man became discouraged, and he doubted. He asked the disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matthew 11:3). Those words could only have been spoken out of deep uncertainty and despair. 

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Photo by Joshua Earle (Unsplash)

In the wake of Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter, the disciple who had boldly declared he would always stay by Jesus’ side, denied him three times. Although Peter loved his Lord and was devoted to Him, he failed to grasp Jesus’ real reason for coming to the world. Peter hoped that Jesus would overturn the Romans’ power to gain freedom for the Jews. He did not comprehend that Jesus had come to offer something better—freedom from sin. When Jesus did not resist arrest by the Roman guards, Peter’s discouragement—triggered by unmet expectations—led him to fear for his life and to deny his Saviour.  

While Jesus was dead and buried, His followers were left in the throes of discouragement and angst. Despite the prophetic words Jesus had spoken about His return, nobody expected an empty grave. Upon hearing of the resurrection, Thomas stated he would only believe if he were to touch Jesus’ hands and side. Again, bitter discouragement prevented belief.  

Have you felt the same? Can you relate to George Bailey, John the Baptist, Peter, and Thomas? I think we all can. Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us:

 

“What has been will be again,

what has been done will be done again;

there is nothing new under the sun.” (NIV)

 

Nobody is immune to discouragement and its ugly effects. And while discouragement may be inevitable, there is a remedy: hope and grace. 

Lexico defines grace as “the free and unmerited favour of God.” In other words, it is freely given and completely unearned. Instead of a harsh, condemning lecture, Jesus responded to John the Baptist by saying to his disciples, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me,” (Matthew 11:4-6). 

Then there was Peter. I can’t imagine the anguish he felt the day Jesus was crucified. When he denied Jesus, he must have been consumed by unbearable guilt. How the tears must have fallen when he heard the rooster crow! What ran through his mind at the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection? What did he feel? Joy? Hope? Most likely. But I’m sure there was also a terrible sense of anxiety about facing the One he denied. Perhaps he expected Jesus to say, “Peter, how could you?” or “Didn’t I tell you that you would deny me?!” Or maybe worse: “Peter I want no part of you.” Instead, Jesus simply asked if he loved Him exactly three times. For each denial, Jesus gave Peter glorious and gracious redemption.   

What was His response to “Doubting Thomas?” Jesus could have ignored or chided him for his lack of faith. But when He appeared to Thomas a week after his resurrection, He said to him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe,” (John 20:27). Jesus honoured Thomas’ request. We aren’t told what Thomas did next, only that he said, “My Lord and my God!” Undoubtedly, Jesus’ grace strengthened Thomas’ faith for the rest of his life.    

And what about us? Amid our discouragement, Jesus invites us to lean hard into His infinite grace. When we’re swimming in the waters of fear, doubt, and uncertainty, He extends the same grace to us as He did to our brothers in Christ discussed above. His grace increases our faith and restores us from the valley of guilt and shame. His grace bids us to love Him and to trust His promises. His grace is forever sufficient.    

 

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Photo by hpuppet (Pixabay)

Finally, true and lasting hope extinguishes the flames of discouragement. Far too often, we place our hope in the things of this world: money, jobs, status, relationships, and health. We are blessed to be stewards of these things, but they are not to be our greatest treasures. When we make them so, we create misplaced hope which always leads to despair. It seems David, the Old Testament poet and king, reminded himself of this when he wrote: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God,” (Psalm 42:5). Because God never fails us, our hope in Him will never be in vain.  

To be sure, there will be days when all feels lost. In those times, we can rest soundly in the grace of God and the hope of our Saviour. And when needed, we can read the following words and take heart: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.” These are the words written by a man who would know—a man forever changed by the grace and hope of Jesus. You can find them in 1 Peter 5:10.    

 

About Nicole Byrum

Byrum is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 13 years of experience in community mental health.  She is the author of Remade: Living Free, a book written for women in recovery from substance abuse and unhealthy relationships.  NBNicole also maintains a blog at nicolebyrum.com as well as a podcast, 5 Minute Word.  Both focus on topics related to faith, relationships, and recovery.  She lives in northwest Ohio with her husband and two children.  When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, running, or cooking.  

You can also find her on social media: 

Nicole Byrum- Facebook page, nicole.j.byrum- Instagram , Nicole Byrum- YouTube Channel

 

 

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