Mirrors

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , on September 5, 2017 by Stephen Hare

Transcendent Life without end

sent to free us from our sin

that those beneath might live above

with Him who offers boundless love

 

Salvation’s Light in darkness shined

that those who “see” might be made blind

The blind thereby receive their sight

native-born now to the Light

 

Light of truth broke chains that held

by lies enslaved; in darkness dwelled

now image bearers of the Son;

now mirrors of the Risen One

 

Stephen Hare © 12-9-2012

 

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Hidden From View

Posted in Poetry on July 14, 2017 by Stephen Hare

Glimmer of the light within

Veiled by the lure of sin

Heart, the reflector of the soul;

Forged by trial and faith’s affliction

Driven by the staff of God

Rod by which the lambs are proved

Through the fire and wilderness deep

Leads the Shepherd of the sheep

Hardness by redeeming love,

Annealed by the Master’s plan

By the Spirit’s will and reaping

Affections garnered for the King

Perception of our transformation

Hindered by our earthly frame

Until by grace through faith we see

We appear the same

Nonetheless, the finished work

Through wooden cross; unearthly force

Even through our pain and sorrows

Grace within to stay the course

Entrance through the narrow gate;

The path before, strewn with light

The word that guides through deepest valleys

Illuminates the darkest night

Through the glass darkly, now we see

Only then, face to face

Then shall we know, as we are known

When at last we complete our race

Mystery of the new creation

Glory emerging from the clay

In wisdom hidden from our view

Revealed on the final day

wrought by Stephen Hare
Copyright ©6/26/17

Misty Mountains

Posted in Short Stories on August 20, 2016 by Stephen Hare

Misty mountains, subtle hues…

beautious, verdant green.

Pictures and words fall short; attempting – while failing to capture, relate,

Misty Mountains

India Mist

or convey.

Deficient depictions;

Images…only imitations of the present essence.

The glory of the visible creation points to the hidden

yet surpassing glory of the Creator;

whispering to the blind, shouting to those who see.

Desert Place

Posted in Short Stories on February 16, 2015 by Stephen Hare

wordimagery

desert place 3

Oh Lord, when will You come?

When will you answer me?

And when You come,

what will You find in my heart?

For this heart has been to me – an enemy…

Oh Lord, unite my heart to fear Your name!

Create in me a clean heart O God

And renew a steadfast spirit within;

for Your glory and Your honor

for Your glory O Lord 

O Lord, how did I come

To this desert place?

How did my eyes not see

The path that brought me here?

How I long now for your word; Your Spirit’s voice to me

Only speak and these dry bones will live again!

Create in me a clean heart O God

And renew a steadfast spirit within

For Your glory and Your honor

For Your glory O Lord

Received 2009 via Steve Hare

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Who Will Enter the Kingdom?

Posted in Articles, Devotional Corner with tags on February 7, 2015 by Stephen Hare

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”Luke 12:32

Before we begin to address this topic we can take such comfort and encouragement from Jesus’ words in Luke, that tell us not to fear, that it is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.

There are many different “brands” of Christianity these days, or so it would seem.

There are multitudes of churches throughout our country and the world at large that could be referred to or thought of as different flavors or expressions of the Christian faith.

Now, while it is nice to think that we are able to simply pick the one that best suits our preference, our spiritual persuasion or doctrinal belief system, we must never allow ourselves to think of these religious forms or expressions as a type of spiritual temperature gauge to somehow measure our proximity or relationship to God.

Then the King shall say to those on His right hand, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Mt 25:34

It should be understood that all the questions and discussion related to sound biblical doctrine and belief are secondary when it comes to knowing whether we will or will not enter the kingdom of heaven, for Jesus himself said, “Not everyone who keeps saying to me,  “Lord, Lord” will get into the kingdom from heaven, but only the person who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven.”  Mt 7:21

You will meet people all the time who claim to “know God” or to be a Christian, many whose lives don’t display any different qualities or standards morally or spiritually that would distinguish one from another.

To accurately understand our relationship to God we must look to the word that comes from God Himself.

The teaching of Paul in the book of Corinthians is consistent with that of Jesus, and he makes it clearly understood that not all people will enter the kingdom. He says in 1 Cor 6:9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? “

“Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the

name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. “

So then, while it is clear that not all will enter the kingdom, entrance is not denied based

exclusively on what we’ve done in the past since Paul says that many of those in the Corinthian

church were once defined by the disqualifying descriptors. But the amazing truth is that even

though a person might have been guilty of such crimes against God and themselves, God who is

rich in mercy forgives and cleanses us by the redemption that was purchased by the blood of

His own son, Jesus Christ, who died on our behalf.

“But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the

name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. “

We are only denied access to the kingdom if we have not been washed and cleansed by the blood of

Christ and if we have continued to practice unrighteousness as the expression of our daily living;

that it is still presently not about what we once were, but who we still are.

Again Paul teaches in Galatians 5:20-21 –

“Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are:

adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, fightings, jealousies,

angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies,  envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling, and things like

these; of which I tell you before, as I also said before, that they who do such things shall not

inherit the kingdom of God.

Here again, Paul is emphasizing defining behavioral practices that if indulged in a

habitual way will prevent one from entering the kingdom of God.

James makes it clear that our faith in God must be accompanied by works, or our faith is really dead.

The Holy Spirit affirms that we are the children of God, enabling us to live according to a different set of ideals, principles and affections that are all rooted in the instruction of the Word of God.

James said that faith without works is dead, so that the only way to identify a faith that is genuine, is to examine the life of the professing believer. There will necessarily be evidence in the conduct and way of living that supports the profession of belief in God.

If there is no substantive change in our behavior or fundamental shift of our paradigm the way we view our life and reality; then upon what basis can we lay claim to biblical salvation, that is defined by a new creation?

The term “new creation” itself suggests that the old has died, and something new has begun. That is the experience of every christian, however different it might look for the individual.

If we truly believe that God is who He says He is, then we know that we are accountable to him for what we do with our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.

The scriptures tell us that all mankind is accountable before God; “all men are without excuse” and “everyone will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for the things they have done in the flesh, whether good, or evil.”

The paradigm shift is that now we understand that we are accountable to God, whereas before we were completely blind to that reality.

For the one who knows to do right and does it not, it is sin. We may say that we have a relationship with God, but that relationship precludes the continued practice of sin.

If we understand that God is everywhere present, then that should affect the way that we relate to sin. To be comfortable sinning in God’s presence represents a denial that He is in fact present, and therefore reveals some level of non-reality exists.

“What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid, how shall those of us who have died with regard to sin live any longer in it?” Romans 6:1

The grace of God doesn’t overlook sin, the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age.

Titus 2:11

So then, whether we will or will not enter the kingdom will be determined by whether we have truly received the wonderful gift of His grace, and if we have it will be evidenced by the lives that we now live.

Every one of us has been alienated from the life of God because of who we are in our sin. That’s where we all begin, but that’s not where we need to stay. Being a Christian is more than mere words; it is who we have become.

We are no longer who or what we once were, and that necessitates actual change; not that we can produce on our own, but what God does in us and for us by the power of His Spirit who now resides in us.

It is the Father’s good pleasure to give to us the kingdom, but we must receive it, and the receiving of it requires that we begin to live lives that are worthy of it.

“Enter by the narrow is the gate, because the gate is wide and the road is spacious that leads to destruction, and many people are entering by it.  How narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and there are few that find it!  Mt 7:13-14

There is no need for anyone to be deceived on this point since God has made it so clear. We can’t recreate ourselves, that is God’s work. But when we cry out to Him for mercy and He changes us by His power, it will become self-evident by our changed hearts and the trajectory of our lives.

So then, who will enter the kingdom of God?

If you are uncertain at this point, you should cry out to God for mercy until you see a changed life when you look in the mirror. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you a court of law?

“Not everyone that keeps saying “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom from heaven, but only the one who keeps doing the will of my Father in heaven.”  Mt 7:21

Amen.

The Upward Call

Posted in Short Stories on February 7, 2015 by Stephen Hare

wordimagery

When my heart is done with sin

with purer eyes then to see

unwitting fool that I have been

not to recognize in me

the stamp of God upon my soul

by the Spirit, God’s holy seal

mystery of the ages, Christ in me revealed!

Now waiting not for greater grace,

as though He should twice die for me

same grace of old, I now lay hold,

the grace of Calvary

Oh to know Him in His risen power!

to be His friend in suffering…

conformed to Him in the likeness of death

His life for all to bring

Now my delight, the perfect law of God

answer to my thirsting soul

the Shepherds thoughts – now my own

after another I will not go

Obeying now the upward call

grain of wheat to soils embrace,

living to die, we die to live –

that we might see the Saviors…

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Heaven’s Tear

Posted in Poetry with tags , , on August 20, 2014 by Stephen Hare

The sword can never still the cry
that from the ground sought God’s ear
the blood of righteous Abel found
grace in the form of heaven’s tear

The blood of the martyrs finds its way
down into the sands that hold
the voice that time will never erase
recorded in the heart of God

Will then His judgment forever wait…
and what will heaven’s answer be?
While there is time, guilty come
with empty hands on bended knee.

Author: Stephen Hare
copyright © 8-19-2014

Author’s note: “Written with prayers for our brothers and sisters who are suffering and dying in Iraq for their faith in our Lord and their testimony written in blood.”

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