Tag Archives: Priscilla Shirer

THE POET PRESIDENT

Please tell me how I got to be almost 68 years of age and did not know that President Abraham Lincoln was a poet? Why didn’t If figure this out? His speeches alone should have been a clue.

“Four score and seven years ago 
Our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, 
Conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition 
That all men are created equal.”
~ Gettysburg Address

“Fondly do we hope—
Fervently do we pray—
That this mighty scourge of war 
May speedily pass away.”~2nd Inaugural Address

How many times have I read these speeches – taught them to my class and did not see the big hint right in front of me? Errrr…  Just goes to show – we can be oblivious to things that are right in front of us and not have a clue!!

I love teaching again. I love discovering things I never knew, but now I’m kicking myself in the butt for not discovering all of this 40 years ago when I was teaching my poetry classes and speech classes. It could have added a whole new dimension to our discussions.

The power of Lincoln’s word choices and cadence became so clear as I went back through and started looking at his speeches through the eyes of the poet as well as the speech giver.

A man with a satirical sense of humor.
A man who wrote short poems in his boyhood math book.
A man longing for home.
A man chased – at times – by depression.
A man filled with compassion for the world around him. 
A man who had faults like the rest of us.
A man who always tried to rise above the problems.
A poet-man with integrity.

Since I teach younger grades these days, I’m sticking with the his famous quote that he took from the Bible, A house divided against itself cannot stand.”[“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”~Matt 12:25 ] A beginning – a start – an introduction to our complicated, messy world and history.

For me, I’m fascinated by re-reading his 2nd Inaugural Address. As I read, his words take on new depth since our country seems to be tearing apart at the seams just as it was as he was President. Our social/cultural issues as divisive as they were in the 1860’s. It is as if I can hear his voice – his pauses in my head.

“Both read the same Bible…
Pray to the same God…
Each invokes his aid against the other.
It may seem strange 
That any men should dare to ask 
A just God’s assistance in wringing 
Their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces;
But let us judge not, 
That we be not judged. 
The prayers of both
Could not be answered–
That of neither has been answered fully.”

Poetry. 
Prayer. 
Psalms. 
If only all of us and our leaders would remember. It saved our nation once before – perhaps – if we find our knees again – our long-suffering, patient Father will hear from heaven and heal our land. 

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ALL THE TIME, GOD IS GOOD

Love – LoVe – LOVE Sundays. Not only do I get to have breakfast with daughter and family, but I generally get a call from the other daughter or a friend or edit some writing – or just able to spend extra time leaning on and learning from the WORD.

This morning there were buttermilk waffles. Seafood dip from Left Bank Butchery. Really good bread (even if it wasn’t gluten free). A Grand curled around her daddy just like I used to curl around mine. Another Grand and his mother putting together a birthday present that continues to challenge everyone who looks at the instructions. A long wonderful conversation with my NYC daughter – catching up on her life – wishing we were just a little closer so I could hear her violin sing in my ears again. A call from an old friend and laughing till my throat hurt. Then time in His WORD. Who could ask for more?

GOD is good all the time – even though we live in a world that continues to turn more inside out everyday. All the time, GOD is good.

“Fear not – The LORD is committed to removing anything from your life that might promote the very thing that will hinder your progress.”~Priscilla Shirer, wk 3:D3 Gideon Bible Study

Been thinking about this quote all week. Tossing it this way. Then throwing it up in the air. Bouncing it up and down to see where it lands or if it bounces away. Turning myself in circles to see why these particular words seemed to be highlighted in the text before I pulled out my pen.

GOD is good all the time.

I started this Bible study on a whim – a nudge – a wink of an unseen eye when I saw a friend post about it right after Christmas. It has been a challenging blessing. Finding the extra time every day. Delving deep into a Bible story that I knew very little about to begin with except – There was this man named Gideon. Gideon was visited by an angel. Gideon fought a battle with only 300 and won over thousands. Three chapters.

Who knew I could learn so much from three tiny chapters of the Old Testament?

All the time, GOD is good.

Today is also Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hoshoah. As I wrote those familiar words of the last few paragraphs, Elie Wiesel’s words taunted them in my mind. “The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal …” (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)”~Elie Wiesel, Night How can both both be true? GOD is good all the time – All the time, GOD is good. People dedicated to opening their tents of faith for the world to see, marked by a yellow star, banished to prison camps (along with many other ethnic groups – or twins – or homosexuals – regime protesters, etc). It is hard for the logical mind to accept. Wiesel struggled with it throughout his life as did many of the Holocaust survivors. Books and books have been written about it. Debated – Defended – Dismissed.

And yet – even so – the wisdom of our humanity doesn’t comprehend the total love and promises of an omniscient Father. The more I read and study and pray – the more the truth of those words ring true in my heart.

GOD is good all the time – All the time, GOD is good.

Wish I had an answer. Wish I could fit all the parts together. Wish I knew if I would be as faithful as so many were when they walked through the temporary gates of the ghettos or the more permanent doors of the gas ovens. Wish I knew if I could be as brave as Gideon when GOD told him to dismiss all his other soldiers and go into battle with only 300. Wish I understood why our world seems to be turning inside out.

“If wishes were horses, beggars will ride.”

Long ago, these words hung in a small town library. I had to climb up a lot of steps with my small legs to get to the door of this library. Usually, I had a pile of books in my arms, so I couldn’t hold on to the banister. I remember dropping those books more than once and having to retrace those steps a few times over. I also remember puzzling over those words hanging on the wall over the horse section of the shelves. “If wishes were horses…” The decades have added a little more wisdom in understanding them.

So I end with what I know to be true in the deepest part of my being – – whether on Sundays when we remember horrible atrocities that happened and continue to happen in this upside down world – – or on Sundays when life is wonderful, restful and blessed. Our finite minds may not understand. Our hearts may not break with the pain… Faith says open our tents…trust… rejoice…fear not…for…….

GOD is good all the time.

All the time, GOD is good.   

THERE IS A SEASON

“To everything there is a season…”

One of the awful things about being a quasi-librarian in charge of setting up a K-3 library is being around lots of books – – – ALL DAY LONG. Books that I don’t have the time to look at – let alone read. I do manage to read, skim or read reviews for most of the books that we need this year. But there are some…..S-O-M-E ……ok…… a lot…..that I can’t resist spending more time pondering.

“A time to break down, and a time to build up…”

Some books we just can’t use in our school library so I pass them on to others. Some we will store until we add more grades. Some I am using as resources for our teachers. Some that are just plain too special to pass over quickly. Currently, my personal shelf is occupied by a Betsy Ross biography written by her great grandson (beat up, water damaged, missing pages, but full of that old book smell not-to-mention history told from family historical documents); Priscilla Shirer’s “Prince Warriors Trilogy” (who knew she wrote a young adult series?); or Under God by DC Talk members, Toby Mac and Michael Tait (again, who knew these popular singers wrote a book about American history?).

“A time to keep silence, and a time to speak…”

As the mid-term election enters the last 10 days, I can’t help but wonder about the sacrifices made by all of Our Father’s creations that led to the establishment of this country. Chaos swirled around this land as it swirls around it now. Uncertainty. Anger. Division. Hate. Violence. And yet – in that same space of time – there was a whisper. A whisper of hope that swirled around this land just as it swirls now. Direction. Gratitude. Closeness. Love. Grace.

“A time to love, and a time to hate…”~Ecc 3

Freedom. We have the choice to choose. A choice to love – a choice to hate. A choice to listen to the prince of this world or a choice to listen to a whisper. A whisper that speaks one word to those whose ears are willing to listen.

“Grace.”

And behind the whisper – His breath breathing life into the chaotic dust that He continues to mold into His likeness. A burning bush shining in the darkness for the world to see if we have eyes open wide.

So for the next 10 days, I will be circling prayers. Circling prayers that we are humble enough to be thankful. Circling prayers that we are wise enough to look up. Circling prayers that we find our knees and listen to a whisper. Circling prayers that not our will be accomplished, but “His will be done…

on earth as it is in heaven…”

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