Three Talented Men (poem by me)

There was a man
who played the horn
every so often
and when asked if he had talent,
he said, “I’m not good at anything.”

There was a man
who played violin
on the streets of New York
and people put down their windows
to listen to him share his talent.

There was a man
who sang in the choir
every Sunday
No one could hear his talent
for his voice blended with others.

The first man received nothing,
The second earned peace from troubles,
The third gained his heart’s desire,
And justice was served to all.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”—1 Peter 4:10

 

God’s Coworker (blog by me)

In the Holman Christian Standard Bible, 1Corinthians 3:9 is rendered “For we are God’s coworkers…” I remember reading that verse for the first time with some shock and disbelief. Me? I am a coworker of God? How could little ol’ me be a coworker of God? His work is so perfect and important. How could I be a coworker? Yet the Bible does not lie so it must be true. That is my identity. I am a coworker of God along with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ. What an absolute privilege!

Let me be clear. I am not a pastor, Christian musician, or on the church staff. God has blessed me with some talent to write and the desire to serve God with it. 1Peter 4:10 reminds us to use gifts to serve one another as faithful stewards of His grace. This makes our service not only a privilege but also an act of obedience.

Matthew 5 reminds us that we are the light of the world and that men do not light a lamp with the intention of hiding it. They put it on display! Our Father has given His children the light of the Holy Spirit and ignited talent in us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Today, I encourage you to use your talent (no matter what it is) to serve God. If you are reading this and happen to have the talent to write poetry, please consider joining in Draw Near’s effort to glorify God and help others draw near to Christ by submitting a poem for the upcoming free ebook called Blessed Creation: A Christian Poetry Collection. (See the details on the Call for Submissions page.)

 

 

 

 

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!

Divine Providence

“…Freely you have received; freely give.”—Matthew 10:8

My brother and I were raised by a single mother with little or no child support. Our car was a lot older than my friends’ cars. For most of my elementary years, I qualified for and received a free lunch from my school. My classmates wore name brand clothing, but I knew better than to even ask for it. Yet, I never went to bed hungry for lack of food a day in my life. I always had warm clothes to wear, and we always owned a car. I suppose my humble background inspires a deep understanding of what it means to have very little, but it also gave fruit to a great faith in God’s provision.

Even after I graduated from college, I struggled financially for many years. It still amazes me to see the strange and funny ways the Lord provides for me at just the right time. Once I had absolutely no money, and someone in my family sent me a check without knowing my circumstance. Another time, an electronics company reimbursed the full price of my electronic because of some defect that had been found in some of the products. (Mine worked fine.) Another time, my car insurance paid for my vehicle because of a little hail damage. Those are just a few of many examples of how God blessed me with provision that had His signature—the unexpected miracles when I needed them most.  Freely I have received so freely I try to give.

I still am not swimming in cash, but what I do have— I give to God. Sometimes it is things I donate to the Salvation Army. Other times, I donate some time to volunteer to help someone out. Also, I like to share my inspiration and talent to write. That’s how this website got started. Recently I was also blessed to be able to contribute a story for an anthology that is giving 100% of the profit to a charity that assists the poor. (If interested in learning more about this book, click Birds of Passage.)

I hope you, dear reader, will freely receive grace, forgiveness, help, treasures, and talent. Then, in turn, I pray you will freely give all of those wonderful gifts in obedience to God’s Holy Word. I can personally tell you that both giving and receiving glorify God, help us draw near to Christ, and inspire a deep fulfillment in one’s being. Have a blessed weekend!

*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!

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.