A Convicted Christian

A somewhat well-known quote, attributed to Jimmy Carter, is “If you were charged today with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I was thinking about this the other week and wanted to put it into a poem.

A Convicted Christian

Brought in before a judge and jury,
Accused of faith in God.
The lawyers introduce the case,
And witnesses are called.

Friends and family, boss and more
Bear honest testimony,
And the jury deliberates
To decide if I am guilty.

Would witnesses all testify
That I spoke like a Christian?
Speaking with kindness, joy, and love,
And when others speak, I listen?

Or would people recall the epithets
And mean things that I’ve said?
Instead of Christlike language and care,
Did harsh words come out, instead?

And would the evidence show clearly
That I often read of Christ?
Would my scriptures, worn and well-marked,
Show who I turn to for advice?

Or would a dusty, unmarked book
Show how much those words matter?
No well-worn knees of pants to tell
To whom I turned in my disasters?

Could I testify, under an oath
Of times I lived by faith in God?
Of covenants kept under pressure
And faith maintained despite the odds?

Or would my life show a fair-weather Christian,
Believing when things go well,
And almost-lived moments of faith and trust,
When storms begin to swell?

Would the judge throw out the case,
For no evidence to convict me?
Would the jury reasonably doubt
That I was truly guilty?

Or would the evidence stand firm,
In a swift and clear conviction,
That I believe in God and live His word —
In short, that I’m a Christian.

Stay in the Boat

Our lesson in church today was about the talk Stay in the Boat and Hold On! by Elder M. Russell Ballard.

  1. Stay in the boat

Drifting down the river,
I see the calm stretches, but
Warned of the rapids ahead
I stay in the boat.

  1. Always wear a life jacket

Rowing in sync over white water,
Gratitude hits me at the lack of fear,
From having the safety of a team, and
The reassurance of a life jacket.

  1. Hold on with both hands.

When others take a turn at the oars
And the river bounces the boat,
It’s holding on with both hands
That turns the fear to joy.

Dont forget to stay in the boat!

When the rapids end and the boat pulls in,
I will be glad, with my crewmates and guide,
To have sailed through life’s rough river
And to end in joy and peace.

The Blessings of Life

How often, when I see a rose
Do I remember the Creator who made it?
How often do I pause in gratitude at the beauty
And ponder how blessed I am to see such a rose?

How often, when I see a person
Do I remember the Father of all mankind?
How often do I pause in gratitude of the people I know
And ponder how blessed I am to be together?

How often, when I’m in a trial
Do I remember the Ultimate Trial on the cross?
How often do I pause in gratitude of my Savior
And ponder how blessed I am in my Brother?

How often, in my busy life
Do I remember the things of deep importance?
How often do I pause in gratitude to God
And ponder the blessings of life?

The more you know

The more you know

The more you know
        Of the rough journey,
        Of the struggles few see,
        Of the refiner’s bright heat,
        Of the scars from rough times,
        Of the sadness that smiles conceal,
        Of the traumas and unjust treatments,
        Of the disappointments and discouragements,
        Of the hopes and dreams and secret wishes,
        Of the love in hearts not often shared,
        Of the good deeds and promises,
        Of the true joy of sweet smiles,
        Of the planted seeds of faith,
        Of the sacrifices of love,
        Of the hearts touched,
The more you forgive.

With Tears of Joy

With Tears of Joy

I look up at the narrow road to heaven,
And look at my feet, wand’ring from the way.
I look back at the gospel path, where true joy can be found,
And wish that I could make it back to stay.

CHORUS: I stray from him, I fall away, I wander,
This covenant path seems too hard to complete.
But if He lets me try again to reach Him,
With tears of joy, I’ll wet His blessed feet.

I thought this gospel road would be so easy,
And trials would be small bumps on the way
But seeing all the mountains and the cliffs I’ve yet to climb,
I want to turn around and walk away.

CHORUS

I stumbled on the road again, exhausted
Unable to move on through my despair.
A hand reached down and wiped away a desperate, pleading tear.
Then I looked up and saw my Savior there.

CHORUS

The Man Who Climbed the Mountain

The Man Who Climbed the Mountain.

I went to climb a mountain
To see the lofty view,
But the journey turned out to be more difficult
Than I expected it to.

I started up the path
And soon I saw a field of flowers.
I plucked a few, I smelled the scents,
And lost a couple of hours.

I began along the path again
But soon the path grew very steep.
I slowed, I wandered back and forth,
Night fell, and I had to leave.

The next day I started up again,
Committed to reaching the top.
Past the flowers, up the climb,
Determined not to stop.

The path turned thin, along a cliff
And I almost turned back to the base.
It took me hours, step by step,
To conquer my fear in that steep place.

I passed flowers in the final stretch,
Walked along cliffs, climbed paths quite steep.
It wasn’t as hard as it was at first.
Then, finally, I reached the peak.

I saw the view a different man
Than the one who started out the climb.
I conquered my distraction, laziness, and fear,
And in the end, that is what made the view so sublime.

His Lifting Power

Originally written Nov 27, 2017

His Lifting Power

Christ died to let me try again,
To heal the broken law.
But I think it’s also more than that,
And I ponder what God saw

In me to give me His sacrifice,
Infinite in power
His eldest son to die and suffer
Alone for me in his final hours.

And I can’t help but think of how
The Atonement has two sides
Not just to lift me up —
Though from sinner’s depths I’ll rise —

But to push me up, enable me
To reach celestial heights.
To become all that God wants of me
Takes more than just my might.

And so I thank my God
For the potential of us all
And the Infinite Atonement
Lifting me each time I fall

And lifting me yet higher —
For that is God’s great plan
The “why” of His Atonement —
“the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)

Taking you for Granite

This week’s poem isn’t a spiritual one, but a fun poem inspired by a pun I heard about taking things for granite, instead of for granted.

Taking you for Granite

I think you’re really gneiss,
You’re a pretty coal person,
I’ll always sand(stone) by you,
You shale always be my friend.

CHORUS:
You are marbleous,
I’ll always lava you,
You are my rock,
And I won’t take you for granite,

It’s sedimentary, my dear Watson:
You set my heart on (sa)phire,
Of quartz, I like you a lot,
And I think I always shale.

I chalk it up to fate
That life pressed us together,
Though it didn’t take much heat or pressure
For my heart to metamorphosize into loving you.

You’re really quite o-clay,
I can’t express how cool you ore.
I hope you’re not ruby awakened
When I say that ge(ode), you’re so fine.

Dehydration

Most people who know me know I really don’t like to be dehydrated, and so I carry a water bottle around all the time. When I realized the spiritual parallels, I decided to write this poem.

Dehydration

I notice quickly when I get dehydrated.
My mouth gets dry, I feel a headache grow,
My mind pushes me to go and drink,
And my body yearns to just be filled.

Because of this, I carry a water bottle
Just about everywhere I go.
I drink from it often, I refill it a lot,
Staying hydrated is important to me.

I notice, too, when I get spiritually dehydrated.
I feel sad, I lose perspective,
My life feels empty, blank, and unfulfilling,
And my spirit yearns to just be filled.

And yet, I don’t carry a spiritual water bottle,
A prayer or a scripture in my heart.
But Christ is more important than dead water,
And He will fill my cup to overflowing.

Charity is

Charity is
Smiling as a child reads slowly,
Slower than you could yourself,
Charity suffereth long.

Charity is
Not snapping back when someone snaps at you,
Being patient when people have had a hard day,
Charity is kind.

Charity is
Being happy when someone does better than you,
Because you see how happy they are,
Charity envieth not.

Charity is
Shoveling driveways early, before anyone would see,
Letting the service be an anonymous surprise.
Charity vaunteth not itself.

Charity is
Admitting you are wrong,
When your pride wants to put up a fight.
Charity is not puffed up.

Charity is
Mowing a neighbor’s lawn when they can’t pay,
Serving then when that service can’t help you,
Charity seeketh not her own.

Charity is
Seeing the child of God inside the addict,
The saint inside the sinner,
Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.

Charity is
Mary’s Son in the garden,
Bleeding and praying to do his Father’s will.
Charity beareth all things, believeth all things.

Charity is
The Man dying on the cross
Forgiving those who tortured and killed,
Charity beareth all things, hopeth all things.

Charity is
The Christ, living to bring you and I
Back home to live with Him.
Charity never faileth.