1 Samuel 28-29; Psalm 109; Matthew 11

Grave Advice

You can give Saul an applaud for obeying God
By disconnecting the Psychic Fiends Network.
Sadly the king still was not hearing a thing—
The Lord was giving him the silent treatment.
His soul twisted and bent, Saul could not take the hint
As he sent his men seeking mediums at large.
A witch at Endor became yet another surrender
Of Saul’s integrity as Israel’s chosen leader.
He begged and he pled for her to raise the dead,
“As God lives I need to unearth Samuel’s wisdom.”
The witch was surprised when the prophet did rise.
(That is what happens when deceptions come true.)
Samuel was fuming about his exhuming.
You never consult cadavers resting in peace.
King Saul just whined that his life was de-divined.
He was lost in a God-forsaken muddle.
Samuel, though a spirit, simply would not hear it,
Explaining that Saul had not a ghost of a chance.
“You rule as a fraud, never inconvenienced by God,
Even using profane means—kind of like now!
You are going to lose every battle you choose,
Chasing tactics and spoils all your own.
So if you refuse to accord with the one Living Lord
Every path you pursue is a dead end.”

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1 Samuel 27; 1 Chronicles 9; Psalm 141; Matthew 10

The Lord Is My Shepherd: Remix

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
But don’t try to carry loads of gold or silver with you—
it will only slow you down.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
But don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy.
My peace will cut like a knife.
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
But only for a rest,
until I send you out to search for other lost sheep
and let them have a drink of the water of life.
I will tell you the truth: you will feel like sheep among wolves.
So be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
But those paths are for my name’s sake, not yours.
If your primary concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself.
Forget yourself and focus on me—
then you’ll find both yourself and me.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
But don’t be naïve.
If you represent me, if you live like me, you will be treated like me.
Rejoice when they make a public spectacle of you—
it will give you a platform for proclaiming the gospel.
Just look what I did with the cross.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
But let’s not pretend: this is going to be hard.
Your enemies will try to bully you into silence.
Be strong though—they can’t touch your soul.
Because you fear God, they ought to be very afraid.
You don’t even need to worry about what you’ll say.
The Spirit will supply the words.
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
But remember that Messiah means “anointed.”
I give you my authority.
Preach, “The kingdom of heaven is near.”
Heal the sick.
Raise the dead.
Reach out to the untouchables.
Drive you demons.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
But dwelling in the Father’s house means you have to leave home.
Your commitment to the Father trumps all your other relationships.
I promise you this, however,
if your love for me makes the world hate you,
I will still be loving you.
If you stand up for me in this world,
I’ll be standing up for you before my Father in heaven
so we will live as brothers and sisters forever.

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1 Samuel 25-26; Psalm 63; Matthew 9

Altarnative Medicine

It is not the healthy people who need the Doctor, but the sick.
When a patient suffered paralysis,
the Doctor prescribed forgiveness.
When the experts came in confused,
the Doctor gave a consult.
When a woman suffered hemorrhages,
she only touched the Doctor’s clothes.
When a little girl suffered death,
the Doctor helped her get over it.
When blind men made a house call,
the Doctor used a strong dose of faith.
When a demon-possessed mute was brought,
the Doctor made him whole.
Are you listening church?
We are healers not quacks.
We are medics not bystanders.
We are an emergency room not a waiting room.
We are a hospital not a spa.
We are a gym not a club.
We are a baptismal font not a hot tub.
There is a world in pain out there.
Nurse!
Mend!
Restore!
Heal!
Save!
Live!
Have faith: the cross of Jesus trumps even a staff of Asclepius.

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1 Samuel 24; Psalms 57-58; 1 Chronicles 8; Matthew 8

Life Out of Control

My Father, because you really like me better than most people,
you know there are a lot of bullies surrounding me.
You know what animals they are:
dumb asses,
venomous snakes,
scavenging vultures,
maniacal jackals
They are downright evil.
How can you stand it?
It is time for you to bring them down, loving Father.
Smash their teeth down their throats.
Kick them hard so their lives spill out like a bucket of water.
Cause their bows to go limp and make their arrows impotent.
Melt them down to slug slime.
Make them like a stillborn child who never sees the sun.
Blow them away and be done with them.
Give them what they deserve.
Oh, I can hardly wait to dance in their blood
as I receive the kingdom’s Citizen of the Year Award.
Hey, wait a minute…
if you do all that, Father, then I don’t get to exact any revenge.
I already had to set down my weapons so I could fold my hands in prayer.
I don’t get to pick them back up?
It’s all in your hands?
Now I’m all crossed up.

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1 Samuel 23; Psalms 31, 54; Matthew 7

The HighWay

When I started on the King’s Highway it was smooth and broad
The sun was shining as much as me
I sang with the birds in chorus
A breeze was nudging at my back
Those ditches were forbiddingly sheer
The horizon looked like my forever
I was ready to go
It was an easy stroll
I was distracted while the road began to climb and narrow
An orchard offered a bounteous feast
Green pastures bid me come and sleep
Old friends called me to go and play
Other paths appeared full of promise
A village named Paradice said, “Settle here”
I wanted to explore
It would be easy to stray
Somehow I found myself on a footpath perilous and steep
Here a rarely traveled trail of jagged rocks
Surprises twisted and turned me
Thorny limbs hung to make me crawl
My muscles groaned in the toilsome strain
And at last a lion stood in the path
I was willing to die
It was easy to stop
Then in my defeat I heard a voice confident and calm
It was the Sherpa bidding me to follow
He spoke of adventures off the map
Danger was assured and wounds expected
Yet to-be-discovered beauty would heal me
One day I woul surely find my way home
I long to make the trek
It will never be easy to stay

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1 Samuel 22; Psalm 17, 35; Matthew 6

Dollars and Sense

One day I sat and worried about all I was not getting
And then I did not have the hours I spent fretting.
One day I sat and wondered at all my Father has given
And then I could rejoice that I was inheriting heaven.
One day I sat and worked trying to make profits for tomorrow
And then I lost today with no time that I could borrow.
One day I sat and worshiped, giving all credit to the Lord
And then I knew I was worth what only the King can afford.
Most days I sit and wobble between anxiety and trust
And then I choose between the kingdom or junk that surely rusts.

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1 Samuel 20-21; Psalm 34; Matthew 5

Demanding Grace

I used to think grace was easy—
a sinner’s prayer and all is forgiven.
But as I receive, so now I must offer
the life that reflects the kingdom of heaven.
Relationships are the everlasting treasure;
together we will be eternally living.
So never again can I denigrate another,
no nursing anger or shouting, “Fool!” even.
No looking at someone as a mere thing.
No covenant broken or vengeance driven.
The measure of my born again life
is the fidelity and love that I am giving.
Like Father, like Son is the perfect image.
Like Son, like me is the work of salvation.

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