1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4

If: You Feel Obligated

He was a bum, hungry for a drink, working the parking lot.
He tried to bind me with the words, “If you are a Christian…”
She was homeless, dragging some kids, obviously distraught.
She tried to trap me with the words, “If you are a man of God…”
She was a church lady looking for counsel in her soap opera plot.
She tried to guilt me with her words, “If you really love Christ…”
He was a politician, prostituting religion for the office he sought.
He tried to fool me with the words, “If you are a spiritual man…”
He is the Adversary who takes the truth and ties it in a knot.
He tried to tempt Jesus with the words, “If you are the Son of God…”
He is the Spirit who brings discernment, clarifying our ought’s.
He leads in the way of Jesus—that is, “If you are a follower of Christ…”

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1 Samuel 18; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 11; Matthew 3

The King’s Command

There once was a king named Saul
Who set himself up for a fall.
When David did well
Saul was jealous as hell
And tried to spear him to a wall.

Leaders easily forget
Their position’s prime target:
It’s not about “me;”
It’s always how we
As a team share the profit.

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1 Samuel 17; Psalm 9; Matthew 2

The Unwinnable Race

More troops
Stronger soldiers
Sharper swords
Longer javelins
Thicker armor
Bigger guns
Fiercer bombs
Faster jets
Cleverer spies

Impervious souls
Stagnant wisdom
Habitual miscommunication
Old delusions
Unchecked fears
Dull imaginations
Duplicitous diplomacy
Frail empires

And one God who will overcome them all

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1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 5; Matthew 1

David’s Most Dangerous Weapon

seven letters scribe the universal language
every line is marked with a transcendent power
insuperable weapons of virtuosos
militaries march while worshipers sing praise
chromaticism and caesura in accord
heaven’s reverberations and hell’s shuddering
evil spirits are provoked by the dissonance
and savages are conquered by the resonance
angels stir at even plainsong’s intonation
while trembling saints find refuge hiding in a clef

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1 Samuel 14; 1 Chronicles 4; 2 Corinthians 13

Jonathan’s Big Adventure

You can hide
but will you fight?
You can fight
but will you win?
You can win
but will you lead?
You can lead
but will you crawl?
You can crawl
but will you trust?
You can trust
but will you confess?
You can confess
but will you die?
You can die
but will you live?

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1 Samuel 13; 1 Chronicles 2-3; 2 Corinthians 12

My Thorny Situation

How can I look at my affliction with affection?
How can the world warm to the source of my rejection?
How can any applaud such neon imperfection?

A thorn in the flesh, the troubling of the fallen one,
Holding up the looking glass to see I am undone.
Weakness of body, mind, and soul, I am ever shunned.

Then the Lord whispers, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Can it be that I am mighty, finding strength anew?
With God’s power, nothing is impossible to do!

Is this merely the power of positive thinking—
giving God a break and keeping me from this sinking?
Should I be so accepting when life is so stinking?

I would not buy it except for God’s ultimate cost:
Jesus disfigured with a thorned crown, nailed to the cross.
In him all ugliness is gain and worldly beauty dross.

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1 Samuel 11-12; 1 Chronicles 1; 2 Corinthians 11

Patriautism

If we set our hope on the left or the right
we have no hope at all.
If we deify our ideologies
in futility we fall.
We cannot vote what is right or wrong;
ethics are not democratic.
We do not poll mass impulses,
impulsive to be pragmatic.
Crown the King we call the Way,
for no other king merits our heart.
Obey no king who contradicts our King,
never waver or depart.
We serve our Lord in love and truth,
every alternative is sin.
Our homeland is the kingdom of God,
the Promised Land’s citizens.
Go ahead and pledge your allegiance,
serve in peace and accord.
Only remember your resident alien role—
keeping your life bowed to the Lord.

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