Poem of praise

August 5, 2012

God of the heavens,
I praise you for the clouds.
Clouds that rain on grass and crops,
Clouds that cool our days and warm our nights,
Dark clouds with silver outlining,
Reminding us that there is always hope,
Odd-shaped clouds that spur imagination
To see dragons, dogs, or dinosaurs.
For radiant sunsets, sparkling stars,
And awe-inspiring lightning shows.

God of the earth,
I praise you for the trees.
Majestic redwoods and melancholy willows,
Trees to climb and trees to give us shade,
Trees that herald spring with budding green
And thrill our falls with changing colors,
Trees that are ever-green, that play a part
In yearly joyful Christmas celebrations.
For mountains, rivers, forests, plains, and seas,
For flowering meadows, orchards ripe with fruit,
For birds and fish, for whales and ants,
For snails and cheetahs, dogs and cats.

God of wonders,
I praise you for your goodness,
Friendly smiles and family’s embrace,
Helpful words and heroes’ great examples,
Sins forgiven and soul and body healed,
Truth revealed and mysteries explained,
Enmities extinguished,
Dark desires dissolved,
Fear replaced by faith,
And death destroyed.

A different kind of testing

October 28, 2008

I don’t read from the book of Proverbs often, but occasionally I will read whatever chapter corresponds to the day of the month (there being 31 chapters in the book). So last night I read Proverbs 27. One verse in particular surprised me. And it surprised me that I would find a verse that surprised me, since I’ve certainly read through Proverbs more than once and I’m not accustomed to finding verses I don’t remember seeing before.

Of course, when I was younger I read only in the King James Version, which was the only version used in some churches I attended, and the recommended version at others. Looking at it now in the KJV, I can see why it hadn’t registered with me previously – I can’t honestly figure out what it means with the phrasing used there.

All the versions pretty much say the same thing in the first half of the verse – The refining pot (or crucible) is for silver, and the furnace for gold … and my mind jumps ahead and I expect it to say something along the lines of “so trials refine the character of a man.” It’s a familiar enough idea in Scripture. Isaiah 48:10 says “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 1:25, Jeremiah 9:7, Zechariah 13:9, and Malachi 3:2-3 use a similar image.

But that’s not the testing Proverbs 27:21 talks about. In the NIV, the verse concludes “but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Hmm, that sounds like a much more pleasant test than affliction. I like praise, God can test me that way all He wants! But of course, this kind of test might show that I failed, instead of being purified by it…

Read the rest of this entry »