Love One Another (poem by me)

If you drive up in an beatup hoop-d, I’m gonna love you,
If our skin colors don’t match at all, I’m gonna love you,
Even if you turn away from me, I’m gonna love you still.

If you open your mouth and tacks fall out, I’m gonna be your friend,
If you wear a potato sack dress, I’m gonna be your friend,
Even if you stay on the couch all day, I’m gonna be your friend.

If your unfaithful spouse divorces you, I’m gonna sit with you,
If you get fired from your longstanding job, I’m gonna sit with you,
Especially if you become ill, I’m gonna sit with you.

I may not be Jesus, but I have His hands and feet,
That’s why…
I’m gonna love you,
I’m gonna be your friend, and
I’m gonna sit with you.
We’ll be together even after the end.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35

Truth About Heaven (poem by me)

These secrets come from the same demon,
This time, it’s the truth about heaven,
Because he swallowed the truth serum,
Or else, there’s no way he would be tellin’.

No one is bored or boring up there,
Everyone walks around feeling
joyful like they are walking on air,
and no one dies or needs healing.

No one feels hungry or thirsty,
There’s always an enormous feast,
And a river that never gets dirty
But flows from the Lord’s throne of peace.

All the people up there love one another,
Singing and dancing down golden streets,
They treat every man like their own brother,
All are gentle, even the wild beasts.

It is never, ever dark like night,
King Jesus fills the whole place with love
and illuminates it with His glorious light,
All are clothed robes, each one white as a dove.

Keep being a good person and trust that,
Don’t rely on the Savior and God’s grace,
Before you know it, your life will have passed,
And you will never have to live in that horrible place.

*If you want to make heaven your eternal home, please give your life to Christ by saying this prayer:
Lord, I feel like I am a good person when I compare myself to other people, but deep inside I know I am not pure enough to stand in the presence of a perfect God. Please let Jesus’s blood wash me clean of all my sins so I can put on a pure white robe and stand before You. From this day forward, I make You my Lord and God. And starting today, You adopt me as Your own child that You will love and care for as Your very own. You will do this on the basis of your sinless Son who died on the cross for me and rose to eternal life and sits at Your right hand. Thank You for saving me from hell. Show me the way to live according to Your commands and be obedient to You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

On Writing Poetry (by me)

I have not written many poems lately because I am currently reviewing poetry submissions for a new project called Blessed Creation: A Christian Poetry Collection. This publication will provide writers the opportunity to spotlight an aspect of God’s creation with their poetry. If interested, please visit the Call for Submissions page. In today’s blog, I want to share my process for writing poetry.

I usually start my poetry writing process with a memory. If I am not inspired by a memory, it could be a dream, a beloved animal or flower, an art piece, a sermon, or someone I saw on the street… Really the possibilities for inspiration are endless! From this inspiring idea, I develop and jot down one or two lines for the poem.

Next, I try to decide if what form the poem should take. (See http://www.shadowpoetry.com to learn more about poetry forms.) If my primary purpose is to communicate a concrete message, I will often choose free verse. Mangling a message to fit into a rhyming or syllable form simply will not do. However, I love expressing flexible ideas through rhyming poetry forms like a sonnet or rhyme royal. Rhyming poems can be fun, beautiful, and complex. I personally prefer to use near rhymes instead of obvious rhymes to make it sound more sophisticated. (Visit http://www.rhymezone.com to access near rhyme suggestions for your own poetry.) Syllable poetry forms like haiku and sijo are useful to capture the short attention span of new readers. (Visit http://www.wordcalc.com if you don’t like counting syllables by hand.) When no poetry form seems suitable, I simply invent my own poetry form! Creative people create. We can’t help it. Once the form is selected, I can add more lines to the poem until it is complete.

Once the poem is finished, I reflect on the message of the poem. For me, there is always a balance to be struck. I review and ask myself questions like:

  • Does the poem honor God?
  • Is it original?
  • Was I transparent and “for real” about my true emotions?
  • Would it be considered offensive or judgmental?
  • Does it reveal God’s heart for His people?
  • Is it too syrupy sweet?
  • Does it glorify sinful practices in any way?
  • Does it speak truth according to the Word of God?

If I don’t like my answers, it is time to rewrite the poem to ensure the integrity of my work as a Christian writer. In obedience to what God has called me to do, one thing is certain—I keep writing. My readers here on this site really encourage me to fulfill my calling as a writer. I could not continue day in and day out with your supportive likes and comments (which I can read although they do not publicly post). (If you seek an encouraging poetry community, you can find one at http://www.poetrysoup.com.)

That’s it! I hope the review of my writing process helps you in some way. If you landed here because of your interest in writing but do not consider yourself a Christian, please visit Draw Near’s About God page. Additionally, I am happy to read and reply to emails if you simply have questions or concerns about the Christian faith. (See the Contact page.) Maybe there is a more significant reason you landed on this page. Thanks for reading and God bless!

My Child’s Faith Journey

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

As a born again Christian with almost no church background, I did not have a clue how to raise a faithful child. As I reflect on my daughter’s faith journey, there is no question that it was orchestrated by God. I praise Him every day for the ways in which He has helped my daughter to become a lovely, faithful young woman. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for the ways in which the Holy Spirit guided me to be a part of her journey.

Before my daughter was even born, it was on my heart to pray for her to know the Lord. After her birth, my friend mentioned that she was reading a novel to her infant. Inspiration hit! The Lord gave me a bright idea to read the Bible daily to my newborn. I read one chapter a day until she had grown out of those baby clothes and into toddler clothes.

She began to speak very early—so early,  in fact, that much of what she said was nonsensical. Still, I felt the Lord leading me to teach her not only the vocabulary of everyday items but also to say words having to do with Christianity like “God,” “Jesus,” “Holy Spirit,” “church,” etc. She had received a simple children’s prayer as wall art. I taught her this simple prayer to say at night before bed. Every morning, I felt inspired to say the Lord’s Prayer (found in Matthew 6:9-13) aloud on our ride to daycare. About the time I thought she should start memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, she surprised me by saying the whole prayer all by herself!

My daughter received lots of colorful children’s books with Bible stories. She read about Garden of Eden, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I felt it was important to regularly stress the idea that the Bible and these Bible stories were non-fiction unlike her Dr. Seuss books and the many other books that filled our bookshelves.

As she grew too old for the children’s books, the Lord led me to buy her devotionals with prayers and encourage her to read them every night. We could not afford to send her to a private school or for me to stay home from work to homeschool so she attended public school. Since I felt like public school was the only open door, I hoped this was for a reason. I prayed for it to be her opportunity to be a light in her public school and to share Christ with her life. The decision of where to attend school is a hard one for Christian parents, but God shows us the special place that is right for each child.

Ever since I was saved, the Lord helped me to realize how important regular church attendance is to a happy and healthy Christian’s spiritual life. Since I attended church regularly, my daughter went to church her whole life. She was dedicated to the Lord. She sang in the children’s choir and was even chosen for a lead role in a church play. Being in that environment exposed her to regular opportunities to accept salvation, which she did. She was baptized by the age of ten. In church, she was encouraged to memorize Bible verses by her teachers and rewarded with small toy rewards.

Outside of church, I felt inspired to spend a little time teaching her about the disciples, the differences between being a Protestant and being a Catholic, and some other facts like who wrote the books of the Bible and when they were written. She was always eager be involved with her youth group and to serve in the church. Now she helps me teach Sunday School! (She hopes to one day become a public schoolteacher.)

I am so proud of the faithful young woman she has become, but I cannot take credit for it. God is her guide, and I just try to be His servant. I say “try” because I have certainly made my share of parenting mistakes along the way. Even then, the Lord has been strength in my weakness. I hope this blog will inspire you with some ideas on how to enrich your own child’s faith or maybe just to keep on trusting God as He leads your child on his or her own journey of faith.

How To Answer Your Call

phil

A calling from God is different than a dream because it originates with God and not our own hearts. A calling happens when Christians feel inspired by God to serve Him in some way. Unfortunately, Christians sometimes feel unsure how to answer His call. Worse yet, some feel certain there is a call and an urgency to answer—yet they are unsure what God wants them to do! It’s okay. Relax. We’ll take it step by step.

1. Prepare yourself for service. This includes studying your Bible, attending church regularly, and letting go of sin. Regularly pray for God to prepare you for service.

2. Offer yourself. Open up your schedule to allow God to use you. This may mean giving up some entertainment or cutting back work hours. Regularly request an anointing on yourself to serve God.

3. Be flexible. You may have several callings instead of one single calling. Every time you hear the Lord asking you to do something (no matter how small), respond in obedience. Obey every small command as if it was your calling. Luke 16:10 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

4. Seek your calling. Whether you feel unsure or completely confident, seek your calling with action. Begin by taking opportunities that are offered to you. You may feel in your spirit a sense of fulfillment and exclaim, “This is it!” Alternately, you may still feel that probing feeling that you need to answer your call and this is not it!

5. Practice. If God is calling you to be a missionary overseas, practice telling your coworkers and friends about God. If God is calling you to do something that requires skill, then practice doing it over and over again to improve your skill level. Practicing may require you to reach out to other Christians for training, advice, and prayer.

In God’s timing, He will reveal what He wants you to do and open up the opportunity for you to do it. I pray you will hear God’s voice clearly, obey His voice, and fulfill your calling with the valor of a saint. Consider praying this prayer with me right now: “God, Thank You for calling me to service. I offer my body as an instrument for Your purposes. Make known to me Your desires so that I may answer my call. I praise You for all of Your wonderful ways. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

If you are not a Christian, consider praying this prayer with me right now: “God, I accept Jesus as my Savior. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I believe His death is the sacrifice that paid for my sins and His resurrection is a promise of eternal life. I choose to commit my life to You, Lord. Thank You for my salvation. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”

©2015 Kim Bond

*Kim Bond writes and edits Christian literature for Draw Near Christian ministry. Click FREE EBOOKS to read more.

How to Chase Your Dreams

matthew

It’s not a verse in the Bible, but it appears everywhere: Chase your dreams! You can see that it’s wise advice, but then there is this fear inside of you that is afraid to even admit your dream to yourself much less anyone else. You may have no idea where to start. Here are five steps to guide you as you pursue your dreams in life:

1. Make a list of dreams. Nothing is too small or too big to list. If you want something to happen in your life, list it! Your list might include things like: get married, have children, become financially stable, become a famous rock star, become a renowned novelist, or be a distinguished pastor. Remember your priorities. Do not assume anything is necessarily going to happen. We will fine-tune the list later. Just put your dreams on paper without fear. It’s just between you and God.

2. Purify your motivation. Why do you want to get married or have children? If your answer is because you want someone to love you, then rethink the motivation. A more pure motivation would be to give your love to someone. If you want to become a famous rock star because you want people to think well of you, then consider letting go emotionally of that thought. Instead, find motivation in the desire to share your musical talent with the world. Once your motivation is purified in your mind, your heart will let go of the selfish desires that you have held onto since you were a child. Reconsider your list and fine-tune it if necessary. The psalmist in Psalm 51:10 wisely prays this: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

3. Pray about your dreams. Some people only pray for other people. They think God is too busy to hear their prayer for anything more than physical health. That’s not true! God wants you to pour out your heart to Him. He wants you to ask for your dreams. In some cases, He may have put the dreams in your heart to lead you on a path to the type of life He meant for you to live. Be open to God’s guidance. As you pray, you may hear His still small voice guiding you to modify your list in some way. Matthew 7:7 states, “Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

4. Take steps toward your dreams. If you have been praying for a child because you want someone to love, then put your words into action. Offer to babysit your nieces and nephews, volunteer in the church nursery, or offer to help school children read in a program like Oasis. If you want to become a professional singer, then join the church choir or form your own band to perform in public places. These are fulfilling and rewarding ways to help others while you work toward your own dream. God sees your efforts and will open doors of opportunity for you.

5. Persevere in your dreams. You may have passionately pursued your dream, but no one accepted your demo or your manuscript. You may be tempted to give up. And the truth is you may need to give up on some element of your dream—but not the whole dream! You may need to fine-tune your list some more. You may want to change “becoming a famous rock star” to “use my singing voice to spread joy in my community.” The doctor may have given you the news that you are unable to conceive. That does not mean your spouse and you must live in a quiet childless home. There are over 300,000 children in foster homes in the US. One third of them are eligible for adoption. Become a foster parent or adopt a child. Don’t let excuses get in the way. Watch a video of a young boy’s heartfelt plea to become adopted by clicking here.

These steps offer a sensible plan to pursue your dreams. Dreams that have been fine-tuned and prayed over will lead you to a fuller life and a closer relationship with God. I pray you will not look on life with regrets. Consider praying this prayer with me: Lord, Help me to pursue the dreams that will lead me to a greater knowledge of You, Your love for me, and Your will for my life. Guide me to remember my priorities, help and encourage others on my path, and walk into doors of opportunity. Thank You, Lord, that You hear my prayer and want what is best for me. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2015 Kim Bond

*Kim Bond writes and edits literature for Draw Near Christian ministry. Click FREE EBOOKS to read more.

Burdens & Confession

 1jo

Confession of sins is a great way to let go of burdens. Jesus’ blood on the cross makes payment for all sins by mankind. We accept this payment with our belief in Christ. This payment covers our eternal salvation. However, when Christians sin repeatedly they lose a certain closeness with God. In order to draw near to God, we should confess our sins directly to God in prayer.

Take a moment now to relax and ask God to bring your unconfessed sins to remembrance. As He lovingly surfaces them in your mind, just say something like this:

I confess I __________  (lied, mistreated my friend, etc.). Please purify me.

If this is your first time, your sin confession may take awhile. After today, make confession a regular part of your prayer time so you maintain that closeness with the Lord. Confession should not make you feel guilty. It is a humble step of repentance that actively gives God in control of your purification process. You will feel light as a feather and closer to our heavenly Father when you regularly confess sin to Him.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. –James 5:16

Confession to God should only be the beginning especially if you still struggle with the same sin over and over again. God’s Word calls us to confess to “one another” and receive prayer to be healed.

Here are some ways you might decide to confess sin to another:

  • On the phone with a Christian friend
  • During a call for prayer in church
  • Worked into natural conversation in a Bible study
  • Online in a Christian community or forum

Joining a support group may be necessary especially if you are caught in an addictive lifestyle, illegal sin, or sin that is harmful to yourself or others. I pray God will open up opportunities for you to confess your sins to trustworthy Christians who will pray for you and not judge you.

God has certainly called us to confess our sins to God and man, but there is another type of confession we should do, and that is to confess the truth of what the Bible says about us. It is critical to know in your heart and soul that God values you. If you agree that this is important, confess these aloud right now:

  • Christ died for ME while I was still a sinner. (From Romans 5:8)
  • I have been freed from ALL things. (From Acts 13:39)
  • I am a CHILD of GOD. (From Eph. 1:5)
  • God has not given me a spirit of fear. (From 2 Tim. 1:7)
  • I am L O V E D by the Father. (From John 16:27)

I pray your heart and soul would hear these truths from your mouth and draw you into a closer relationship with our Lord.

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. –Isaiah 55:11

Confession of sin to God and others along with confession of our true identity in Christ to yourself will help you align your viewpoint with God’s and help you draw near to Him who loves you unconditionally.

This blog includes some tough topics. If you have questions about the Bible, click here to find reliable answers.

© 2015 Kim Bond

Draw Near exists to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by providing free resources. Click here to learn more about God and here to access free Christian ebooks. Thanks for visiting. Stay blessed!