Guardian of Peace

Fear is the thief
Outside the heart’s door
Waiting patiently for a chance
To force his way in

A thought of worry
Flickers through your mind
You let it settle
Allow its whisper to linger
The smallest crack appears in the door
Fear smashes his way in

He ransacks the place
Taking your confidence, your dare, your initiative
He packs your hopes and dreams into his bag
He strips everything he can
Doing whatever he can to halt your progress

Your path becomes clouded
As plumes of worry sweep over
So much uncertainty
So much that could go wrong
You turn back from the opportunity


Fear is the thief
Outside the heart’s door
Waiting patiently for a chance
To force his way in

A thought of worry
Flickers through your mind
You stand firm
You focus on the promises of God
Drawing strength like water from a well
You won’t let Fear have his way

Peace stands guard
At the door of your heart
Filling you with calmness
Keeping Fear at a distance
Enabling you to step forward
And seize the moment

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

Gideon

Arise warrior of God
Do not hide any more
Though now your enemies triumph over you
You shall have victory over them
You will overturn their oppression

Get out of the cistern
Thresh the wheat no more
I have called you to the heights
I have called you to separate
Not the grain from the straw
But the fearful from the faith filled
Call out those who trust in Me

Your background doesn’t matter
Your social or economic status doesn’t matter
Your physical power or mental capabilities don’t matter
I see beyond that
I see the seed of greatness I have put in You
I see it coming forth

Bitter Root

Plant a seed of anger
Bury it deep inside
Protect it, let no one know
Every night nurture it
Tend gently to its leaves

Resent
That’s the way to feed it
Remember
Never, ever forget
Let its poison flow through you

The plant begins to grow
Coiling out from the heart
Its tendrils reach out and grasp your arms
And weaves gently round your torso

For a while you indulge in its fragrance
Breathing in its scented fumes
But then you begin to realise
It’s poisoning the atmosphere
Slowly choking out all joy

It is taking root

The plant turns ashen grey
And constricts on itself
The sickly grey begins to morph
Into cold, cruel metal
Into cold, cruel chains

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)

Urban Paradise

Here is an excerpt from one of my pages on my website called Urban Paradise:


Paradise. This is what the city has brought. A perfect amalgamation that fulfils all our needs. Our homes to protect us; our jobs to give us purpose; our family to share life with. So many things to entertain us – Cinemas, theatres, restaurants. It is designed so wonderfully; everything fits together in harmony. It is a logistical wonder – that so many people can live together in one place and all can find true happiness and peace. At no other time in history has man had everything it needed within an arm’s reach. This is the pinnacle of civilisation, surely?

Night falls. Blackness descends. Gangs hang round every corner. Like deathly shadows they stand motionless in the cold night; waiting for the vulnerable. A drunk stumbles down the street; thrown out by his missus. Beer bottle still in hand, he crashes to the floor and curls up for the night. The dazzling street lights mean that, though the sky is clear, the stars are invisible; their soothing light erased from the black, murky skies. Cold and Frost roam in the impenetrable darkness. Without remorse they extract the warmth from the tortured souls that are trapped outside. They shiver but all they feel are Frost’s cold fingertips running down their backs…


 

Read more at https://joshuamrode.wordpress.com/urban-paradise/

The Side of the Road

Cycling in Mauritania

I lay by the side of the road
My clothes torn, my pale flesh exposed
Filth was smeared all over me; the stench unbearable
Blood dribbled from the corner of my mouth
Pain wrecked through my feeble body
I was completely helpless

Some people hurled insults when they saw me
They told me that I had brought this on myself
Most simply ignored me; pretended they hadn’t seen me
A few dared to approach me to try and help
My heart rose with hope
But when they saw the dirt and filth that covered me, they stepped back
They knew if they touched me, my dirt would rub onto them
With remorse filling their eyes, they walked away
But then He came

His robe was the purest white; not even a speck of dirt could be seen on Him
There was a glow about Him; a soothing light emanating from His being
The dust on the road rolled away from Him such was His purity
A sweet fragrance was carried on the breeze
It was so sweet and potent that it replenished the flowers and grass around me
He exuded a power, an authority that would make even the tallest mountain cower
A crown sat upon His head
This was the King

As He drew near, I hoped desperately that He would not see me
I was deplorable and pathetic
Not even worthy to look at Him
If He saw me surely He would condemn like the rest
After all the mistakes I had done I could expect nothing less
In the presence of His perfection judgement was what I deserved
He crouched down beside me and I trembled with fear
With the gentlest of touches he moved my head
So I was looking deep into His eyes
And a reassuring smile spread across His face
I felt peace well up within me
For a second I forgot my pains
I was captivated

He wrapped His strong arms around me
Gently cradling my head as he did
He put me on my feet and suddenly I felt them strengthen
The muscles spontaneously began to grow
Blood flushed into my face
My lungs expanded with fresh air
I had never felt like this before
For the first time I felt loved and accepted
I was not the outcast anymore
The One whom the earth trembles at His very words
Who draws the line between black and white
Had declared me a friend

But I was ripped from this state of pure joy
By a sight that chilled me to the bones
My grime and dirt had rubbed onto Him
The perfect white stained; marred
I stared in complete horror as He transformed before me
All my ailments were transferred onto Him
The great King was shouldering my weight
He was taking my suffering

A crowd swarmed around me and He was lost from view
I stood at the back; frozen in disbelief
Barely believing the unfairness that had been before my eyes
I looked down on myself and my clothes were now pure white
Shining like His had
I felt tears gather in my eyes

He hung by the side of the road
The people stood round and laughed at Him
They goaded and mocked Him
Blood gushed forth from His multiple wounds
Pain wrecked through His body
The weight of what He was carrying was suffocating
But this was His choice
For the people He so dearly loved

I walked by the side of the road
My clothes pure and white
Sweet fragrance not stench surrounding me
Joy burst through every sinew of my body
I was completely restored
And He was with me

Crucifix

 


Image 1 – Cycling in Mauritania by jbdodane, CC BY-NC 2.0

Image 2 – Zonsondergang, centraal crucifix op de begraafplaats Pasbrug By Sint -Katelijne-Waver, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Release

Release onto the page
The imaginings, the ideas
As black ink
Spilled onto the paper
Open a window into my mind
And break down the separating wall
Unleash the dam of feelings
Let them run rich down the page

Let the tangled threads be slowly unwound
Release the tension, make sense of them
Open blind eyes
Your own first
Look at the world, look at His Word
Then share the light with anyone you can
But remember who the source of the oil is
Or your lamp will quickly fade

Writing is like breathing
You take in truth
The world as you perceive it
Advice and inspiration from others
And then you breath it out
Sometimes what comes out first
Is nothing more than hot air
But as you keep going you get to the gold
The stuff worth bottling and keeping

Every word I write is bursting with a thousand things
My vision, my dreams, my motivation
Simmering like a flame with passion
I hope that it will set you alight

Blind

You found us wandering in the alleyways
Stumbling through the rubbish
Our eyes wide open but unseeing
Our needle stick arms groping the walls

But you cannot lead a blind man
Who doesn’t think he is blind
Offended he will just spurn your invitation
Beating away any guiding hand
Stubbornly going on his way
Deeper and deeper into the twisting alleys

But for those who know their desperate situation
How wonderful is the sound of Your voice
It is an island in an ocean of confusion
An oasis of hope in the desert
It converges the ever shifting path before us
Into a wide highway to freedom

You take hold of our hand
Filling our hearts with peace
You gently turn us round
And we know our days of being lost are over

Condemnation

Like a bludgeon
Condemnation aims low
Trying to cripple us
Trying to keep us on the ground

It tells us that we are not worthy
That our guilt is still on us
It urges us to wallow in our failure
That we don’t deserve to finish our race

With every blow we allow
We lose hope
Our self-esteem becomes distorted
The resolute faith on which we stood
Doesn’t seem as sure

But just because you fell
It doesn’t mean it is the end of the race
You only lose
If you choose not to get up

Don’t stay on the ground
You can and will finish your race
Block the savage blows with the shield of faith
Jesus has taken our guilt
He has paid the price

“For there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

Scars

She traced the scar across her face
The skin felt rough and harsh
It was so ragged, so cruel
Refusing to follow any contours of her skin
It snarled at her, its growl in her ear
“I will never leave”

She wasn’t sure what was more painful
The original wound or the scar
The disfigurement went deeper than her face
It felt like her personality, her being had been slashed as well
How could she face the world like this?

She traced the scar with her finger
Imitating the passage of the knife
And she felt a wound open in her heart

The choice was before her
Let the isolation drive her insane
Or cry out to the God who could help her
To the One who knows what it is to bear scars

She turned back to look at the mirror
Suddenly the image in the mirror changed
There she was ten years later
The scar had not changed but she had


The shame in her eyes had melted away
A sure confidence replaced it
And a warm smile covered her face

God had used her wound to heal others
Her scar was a magnet, drawing the suffering and the hurt to her
She saw herself picking up the broken
Comforting the grieving
She could understand their pain

Her identity was not based on what others had done to her
But on what He had done for her
Now the scar was not the defining feature of her face
That was her smile


The image melted away
Yes, she would never forget what happened
But she would not hide her face from the world
She had put her life in a picture frame
Stuck on one snapshot
But it was a movie with the climax yet to come

She again traced the scar with her finger
Imitating the passage of the knife
The wound on her heart now nothing more than a scar

The Dunce Hat

A throw away remark said without thought
Clings to you like glue
Slowly becoming a part of you
And somewhere along the line
We let the dunce hat be put on our head

Every time we walk into a room
We think everyone is looking at us
We hear our name in every murmur and whisper
Every quiet chuckle echoes in our head

After every mistake those words come back
With horror we start thinking they’re true
We sit in the corner
Pull back from the world, afraid of risk
Then we cry as we become alone

But come to Him
And instead of carrying painful memories
Of hateful words and careless remarks
He will give you a Book full of promises
That tells you how much He loves you

Instead of being driven to isolation
By your fear of how people think of you
He will give you a family who will accept you
Who have had the same battles
And got through the other side

He will take your shame
Your disgrace
Your damaged self esteem
Your dunce hat
And He will give you a crown

“Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance.” Isaiah 61:7