Christ Versus Cain: The Fruit of Their Own Sweat

(Cain Versus Christ: a stark contrast)


I. Cain Felt the Strain of His Own Pain


Though jealous Cain knew how to sweat, what sort of fruit did he beget?

For, God liked Abel’s offering, but Cain brought fruit that didn’t sing.

The soil in which Cain strived to toil somehow resulted in turmoil.

Alas, to have one’s fruit inspected and then totally rejected

Doesn’t make one feel accepted, but can that be overcome?


Some cave into rage to blot out their own pain, because cutting it off at the root is easier than facing it. But a slice of bad advice will lead to ruin in the end.

In other words, Cain clearly felt the strain of his own pain.

The fruit Cain did beget by his own sweat led to regret.

II. Abel Got it Right, But Not to Cain’s Delight


Because Abel got it right, but not to Cain’s delight.

Cain couldn’t be happy for him, therefore his countenance grew dim.

He coveted his brother’s favor, yet the feast he couldn’t savor

For his injured pride refused in any way to be amused.


In anger this man chose to stew. That’s what comparison will do.

Like worthless riches it will rust and leave you lying in the dust.

Had Cain repented of the sin which he’d allowed to enter in,

God might have sent refreshing rain and a blessing on his grain.

But there can be no true prosperity without heart charity.


Behold God’s message to him: “Do like Abel. Offer up a spotless lamb!”


Oh, if only Cain had believed! If only he had received the gift of grace offered freely from God’s hand! But Cain refused and wallowed in the strain of his own pain. And when he murdered Abel, the first prophet to be martyred, the very ground turned against him. He became a restless wanderer, having squandered the marvelous riches of God’s mercy toward him.


The fruit Cain did beget by his own sweat caused him to fret.


III. Jesus Came to Bless, Not Stress, Those Under Duress

After all, you can’t be blessed when you feel the stress that comes from being pressed beneath your father’s curse. A ground yielding thorns and thistles was Adam’s punishment for eating from the forbidden tree. The knowledge of good and evil, in effect, killed his joy for growing food. (see Genesis 3:17).

Cain knew evil and it really killed him. He felt the post-traumatic stress caused by his own duress. But God still chose to bless, even though Cain refused it.

“My punishment is more than I can bear,” Cain told the Lord (Genesis 4:13).

Fast forward many years later when Jesus the “second Adam” would take upon Himself the punishment no man can bear. He laid down his life as a completely pleasing offering to God. By the sweat of His own brow He redeemed us from Adam’s curse.

Much good fruit did He beget from His own sweat.

Jesus’ blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:24). Let’s not waste the grace He has for us.



When People Pull Your Strings, Abide in the Vine

I. Controlling People Know What Strings to Pull

Controllers like to pull people’s strings to make them move. Instead of dangling like strings from a branch, Jesus invites us to live as branches as we draw upon Him, the vine. In so doing, we’ll bear good fruit. Do you see the difference? Strings are flimsy but a vine is strong. But people tend to come with strings attached. The question is, who pulls those strings?

When someone knows what strings to pull to get their way with you, then maybe they have too much control over your life. If they know that pushing certain buttons makes you jump, they’ll just keep pushing them until they drive you mad.

There’s a word for that. It’s called “emotional manipulation,” which is a form of abuse.  Abusers take advantage of needy people who are desperate for affirmation. With a smile for a lure and a hug to reassure, they draw their little “fish” into a cozy little nest.

The “s” inside the nest stands for “security.” If your security is in man, then the “s” will fall out of the nest, leaving you with nothing but a net.

It doesn’t feel like a net, though, until you realizing that you’re gagging. Then you see that the relationship is not as nearly as strong as it first appeared to be. The flimsy threads have become a trap for you, because to please the person you must follow their rules. Like a robot, when they pull your strings you must obey.


II. Pulled Strings are Tied to Fear

When people strings get pulled, they often have knee jerk reactions. Such reactions may come in the form of an automatic “I’m sorry” which pops out of one’s mouth before the other can explode. Knee jerk reactions usually cause more harm than good, however. It’s like throwing grease on a fire, because such reactions spring from fear:

Fear of what the person thinks;

Fear of what they’ll do;

Fear of any and all repercussions resulting from their anger (repercussions the Grim Reaper cannot cushion).

Fear attracts more fear and makes anger escalate. People try to placate anger, thinking  they can make it stop. But it simply doesn’t work that way.


III. The Fear of Man says “Man Will Save Me,” Breeding Insecurity

The fear of man lays a snare (Proverbs 29:25).  When we look to people to make us feel secure, we put way too much pressure on them to provide for us.

There’s an old country song where a man pleads with a woman, “I’ve got to know if your sweet love is going to save me.”

Is he kidding? God’s word is clear: no mere human love can save us. Salvation comes from God alone, in the form of His only Son Jesus Christ whose blood shed on a cross paid for our sins to be forgiven. He didn’t come to pull our strings or push our buttons. His goal was not to manipulate us into obeying God’s laws in order that we might somehow earn our way into heaven. On the contrary, He became THE bridge that draws us near to God. He didn’t come to take from us but to give us abundant life (John  10:10)

Instead of commanding us to, “Do God’s will or else,” he invites us to abide in Him so we might bear much fruit: the fruit of His grace.  (John 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-9;  Galatians 5:22-23).

Isn’t it time we as believers found our identity in Him instead of looking to man to tell us who we are?

Cast out Thieves to Heal the Blind and Lame

“And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.” Matthew 21:14

How many of us have glossed over this scripture when we read about Jesus casting the merchandisers and money-changers from the temple? Before he healed the blind and lame, he had to cast out the thieves.

“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy,” Jesus stated in John 10:10. But, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

In Jesus’ day, thieves ruled in God’s house, the temple. That’s because they had allowed the biggest thief of to influence them – the thief that steals, kills and destroys. That thief is the devil.

Sometimes before Jesus could heal people, he had to cast out the devil behind the disease.

The passage in Luke 13:11-16 gives an account of a woman who had a spirit of infirmity. She walked hunched over, which meant she was looking down and couldn’t see straight. In a sense, it was like being blind. It also kept her from walking straight, so in a way she was lame too.

But when Jesus spoke the word and laid his hands on her, she straightened up. No stumbling block kept her from seeing the path that lay before her and walking in it. She had come into the synagogue (the equivalent of church for a Christian) and received not only healing, but deliverance too. Once Jesus cast the thief out, what was blind and lame in her got healed.

It wasn’t just a spiritual healing, it was physical too! But to heal her, Jesus had to cast out the spirit that kept her bound.

Peter told the Cornelius crowd in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went about doing good and healing everyone the devil had oppressed,

He first cast out the thieves, then healed the blind and lame.

What, if anything, immobilizes you and/or blinds you to whatever opportunities are knocking on your door? Do you need some sort of healing, whether spiritual or emotional?

The thief may try to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus gives abundant life to all who will believe.











Roots and Shoots: Learning to Write With Grace

I. The Seed of an Idea Develops Roots

First come the roots an then the shoots: The author plants his seed,

Germs of magnificent ideas longing to be freed.

They seem so witty and inspired, aglow with revelation!

And so he plants them in the soil without hesitation,

Assured they’ll have no trouble passing the “examination.”


The soil is the heart in which the faith-filled seed can grow,

But what’s inside the heart, and is it possible to know

The environment that surrounds the seed the writer seeks to sow?

 Weeds of rash words come quickly, but editing great works is slow

   As authors send out roots of truth that penetrate down low


With grace to push past bitter roots of unforgiving doubt

As well as stones of stubbornness that need to be plucked out.

We thought they could protect us but they led to writer’s block

Because we trusted them instead of leaning on the Rock,

But they could not protect us from the unexpected shock


II. The Seed Develops Shoots and a Plant is Born


That comes when we expose our sprouts unto the open air

                                               Of feedback and don’t bury them beneath rags of despair

Or weeds of greed that seek our spiritual vision to impair

Because we’re frightened of the lion roaring in his lair.

It takes courage from above for writers to decide to share

       The plots that mean so much to them, the characters they love.

      But plants are born as shoots connect with wisdom from above.

    The story’s taking shape now, in a gracious atmosphere

     Where God’s Word reigns and to His throne the branches may draw near,

        As they rely on those who help them overcome their fear.


“Blessed is the man (or writer) that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”  Psalm 1:1-3

“Whosoever comes to me and hears my sayings and does them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock…” Luke 6:48







Miracle Killers and the Invisible Carpet

The miracle killers snuck up on their victim as she stumbled toward the crowded road, her face carefully veiled. They knew that she hoped nobody would recognize her, but they had a brilliant plan. Even as she strove to remain unseen, they determined with all their might both to unmask and to embarrass her.

The invisible miracle killers couldn’t wait to trip her up, and so they sprinted carefully along. The first one trembled with excitement. “Ooh, here’s our perfect chance. We’ve got her now. You know what to do.”

“Yeah, baby,” said the second one. Then, “Whoops!”

Somehow, unexpectedly, the first one had fallen flat on his face. “Hey, careful with that magic carpet. You were supposed to set it down!” he yelled.

“But I thought you wanted to jam it into her,” said the second.

The first miracle killer rolled squinting eyes at the other. “Don’t you know anything about the magic in the carpet? It’s part of our disappearing act, which has to do with being surreptitious.” He figured his fellow fiend would know what he meant, but he didn’t have a clue.

“Hey, I’m not superstitious,” he replied. Then, without warning, he grabbed his friend’s shoulder and pulled him back.  “Whoa! Look out! I see a black cat. It’s about to cross our path… Phew, it just turned. It’s headed the other way. I’m so relieved. We just avoided seven years of bad luck. I can’t believe you called me superstitious.”

His friend clapped his hand over his head. “You idiot! I didn’t say ‘superstitious. I said, surreptitious.”

The second miracle killer nodded. “Oh, I get it. Surreptitious as in syrup. You want to use syrup to trip her up. But I’m afraid I’m out syrup. Unfortunately, I used the last drop on -”

Rather than commending him, his buddy growled ferociously. “Quick, she’s escaping. Set down the carpet and run.” Though frazzled beyond measure, the two picked up their pace. Soon they had caught up with the lady, but couldn’t get ahead of her because of all the traffic on the road.  Nevertheless, the first miracle killer had a devised a plan. “You grab one leg, I’ll grab the other,” he said. “Ready, set –”

Just then the woman wheeled around, a frown etched on her brow. “That’s funny. I thought I felt something brush up against me.” She turned carefully, picking up her skirts, and continued walking at a brisk but careful pace.

“Ahem! You missed!” the first miracle killer chastised his co-laborer in crime.

“Aw, who cares about a hem when you’re being so loud and obnoxious?” snapped Miracle Killer Number two.

“I’m not obnoxious,” huffed the first miracle killer. “You take that back!”

Instead of executing their brilliant plan, the miracle killers started to fight. Then they turned and looked around. Where had the woman gone? “She’s lost in the crowd,” they grumbled to themselves simultaneously. “How could you lose sight of her?”

Regardless of the fact that no one else could see them, the miracle killers found themselves at an unexpected disadvantage. The fact was, their eyes had gotten clouded. They didn’t understand the mysterious mist that had worked its way between themselves and the very one they sought to trick. Nevertheless, they wouldn’t let it stop them.

“A temporary blindness,” said one miracle killer. “It’s just a minor setback. But wait! I see her!” He pointed a clawed finger at the intended victim. “Look, there she is!”

A scruffy man with a fuzzy beard yelled “Ow!” at the invisible claw that had just scratched his head.

“Stop whining!” griped his wife who walked beside him. “Chasing after the famous guy ten heads ahead of us was your idea!”

“Well, I didn’t know there would be so many people on the road,” the jabbed man complained, far more loudly than necessary. “I can barely hear myself over the noise, people are talking so loud.”

“No doubt in an attempt to drown out your squeaky sandals,” she replied.

“Don’t you just love to see people argue with each other?” the first miracle killer told his fellow partner in crime. “Everybody’s elbow is in everyone else’s face. Hustle, hustle. Jostle, jostle. Nitpick, nag and shove. Makes me feel right at home.”

“Aw, stop sounding so smug and act like a bug under a rug,” said his fiendish friend. “I love an ornery mob as much as anyone. But if we don’t stop that lady, she’ll ruin everything!”

“She won’t get far. She’s in too much pain,” said the first.

“But she’s determined!” the second one argued. They had lost track of her once. They dared not lose her again.

“Then, you be more determined! And help me retrieve our magic carpet. It’s the only way to make our mission fly!”

“But it’s too heavy and it weighs me down.”

“Stop questioning my wisdom and just do it!”

And so, they picked up the heavy rug, placed it under their stinky underarms, and moved forward, even though the second miracle killer questioned why a magical carpet had to be so heavy.

Rather than answer him, the first miracle killer gritted his teeth and moved forward. As he did, an unexpected wind from nowhere knocked him back. The second fiend also fell. Nevertheless, they refused to give up. The unhappy pair tripped all over each other as they struggled to their feet, complaining about wind resistance and the mist that kept getting in their faces. The slippery rug nearly flew from their grasp as they walked along, maneuvering their way carefully through the crowd.

Finally, they saw the woman just in front of them, mere inches from their startled faces. She was bending down.

“Quick, throw down the carpet!” the first miracle killer told the other, although he didn’t sound too confident.

As they struggled to maneuver it, they felt a whoosh.

“Who touched me?” said a voice they recognized all too well.

“Oh no! He’s seen us!” said the second rug puller. “What are we going to do?”

“Who touched me?” asked the Master, the one they called Jesus.

As the woman confessed what she had done and got set free, the rug pullers gave up on their plan A and put their plan B into motion.

“Default assignment: Pull the rug out from under Jairus and kill his miracle before this Jesus gets a chance to heal his daughter.”

They planned their strategy well, but as usual, they planned in vain. That’s because their plans were no match against His. In fact, no matter how well they plotted, He would always be one step ahead of them. Though they might win a battle here or there, Jesus would surely win the war. Nevertheless, they tried their best. But no matter how hard they might labor, it would always be in vain.




How Will God Do It?: a Faith Lesson

“How will God do it?” That was his question. Perhaps it was everyone’s question.

The city’s survivors had become discouraged.

They needed a miracle but couldn’t imagine how it would happen.

II Kings chapter 7 tells the story.

“Hear the word of the LORD,” the man of God said. The message, directed at those with ears to hear, rang with power. But who had ears to mix the words with faith?

“Tomorrow about this time food is going to sell for pennies,” he basically told them.

But the lord on whose hand the king leaned would not believe his ears.

“Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” he asked.

In other words, “How will God do it?”

He couldn’t see how God would do it, for the famine was too great. Even if He was to rain manna down from heaven, would it be enough?

The famine in Samaria had lasted a long time. The city was besieged. They had very little food. Only when cannibalism set in and the king heard of it did anyone seem to think of asking Elisha for help. He could have asked for his help when the siege hit. Instead, he waited until things were really bad. Then, instead of asking Elisha for help, he blamed him.

Why did he blame Elisha? Perhaps it’s because these were the same people who had attacked his land before, only this time there were more of them. It started when the king of Syria began sending small groups of troops into Israel in hopes of capturing the king. But God always told Elisha where they set up their camp. Elisha in turn warned the king, enabling him to avoid capture.  Once the Syrian king got wind of what was happening, he sent his men to capture Elisha. But this man of God who had ears to hear and eyes to see into the spirit realm struck them with blindness. When they opened their eyes, they found themselves in Samaria, the capital of Israel.

When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I smite them?”

But Elisha told him to feed them and let them go, which is what he did.

Afterwards, “the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” (II Kings 6:23)

Sometimes after this, however, Ben-hadad  the king of Syria gathered his entire army and besieged Samaria. That’s what caused the famine.

Was the king of Israel angry that Elisha had let the first group of Syrians go? Probably.

“We could have gotten them, taught the a lesson, and sent the Syrian king a message!” I can imagine him saying.

But of course, he didn’t bother to ask Elisha’s opinion until the situation became desperate, and now all he wanted to do was kill him.

Not surprisingly, Elisha knew what he was thinking before he even said it, and he had an answer ready in the form of the above-mentioned prophetic word.

When the lord on whom the king leaned asked “How will God do it?”, Elisha replied, “You’ll see it with your own eyes but will not eat of it.”

Sure enough, God did a miracle. He supplied the food, all right. But the man who didn’t believe got trampled at the gate. He saw the miracle but never got to enjoy the fruit of it.

By asking, “How will God do it?” in a way that implied it was impossible, because it was something his natural mind couldn’t wrap itself around, he robbed himself of faith and missed his miracle.

You and I don’t have to miss our miracle, however, because Jesus Christ has come – not to condemn us but to give us grace. If we ask Him, He will help us overcome our unbelief.

“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:21)



When Seeing is Believing

Seeing Jesus is believing. Why do I say this? After all, not everyone who saw Jesus believed in Him. Obviously, I’m not talking about natural eyesight. I’m talking about something deeper, the vision of faith: faith that comes from hearing God’s Word and receiving it into our hearts in a way that shows us Jesus.


“He who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus told Philip in John 14:9. He wasn’t speaking here of God’s physical form, but of God’s character. Through Jesus we see God’s personality: what He is like, what His will is, how He acts, what He does, how He wants to relate to us, and what He desires to do in, for, and through us.


“And this is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us: And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (I John 5:14-15)


Have you ever had a friend you knew so well, you could almost predict his answer to any question you might ask him? If you know someone well enough, you may be able to predict their will in any given situation. Most likely, you don’t ask that person for anything you don’t believe they’re willing to give you. It works the same way with God. If you don’t believe He’ll answer your request, then why would you bother asking?


But if you know Him, then you know His will. And if you look at Jesus – through scripture study and though prayer – then you will get to know Him and understand His will. Knowing His will gives you faith to believe.


“Lord, if you will, you can make me clean,” the leper told Jesus (Matthew 8:2).


Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” (verse 3)


By healing the man, Jesus showed him God’s will for him. By seeing Jesus do the miracle, he was able to see God’s will for himself. And the way he saw God’s will in this case was by asking.


“Lord, if you will, you can.”


Asking is a good way to see God’s will, because even when God’s will is clearly seen in scripture, it may be difficult to see exactly what it means for us in any particular situation. Seeing God’s will from afar is quite different from seeing it up close and personal. To see God’s will up close, we need to  do what it says in Hebrews 12:1. That involves:


SEEING (picturing in our minds)


the cloud of witnesses seeing and surrounding us,


lay aside every blinding weight (of doubt) that keeps us from seeing where we’re going,


running with patience the race set before us (which is only possible as we…)


KEEP OUR EYES on the goal,


LOOKING to Jesus (see verse 2), for He Himself IS


The author and finisher of our faith.


Nowhere in scripture are we encouraged to drum up faith in and of ourselves, but as the above scriptures instruct us, faith comes from God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


To see Him is to believe!

God’s Miracles are Never Boring


God’s miracles, as depicted in the Bible, are never boring. They carry a level of excitement that far surpasses any sort of “man-made” invention. Such miracles make fun of unbelief, which is basically man’s way of saying “I’m smarter than God.”  Take, for example,  the Tower of Babel story in Genesis chapter 11.


This tale is about a group of people who decided to build a tower that would reach all the way to heaven. They did it in order to make a name for themselves, even though it made no sense. After all, they were the only ones on earth. Who were they doing it for? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But oh, what blood and sweat and tears must have gone into those bricks!

“We’re the men who won’t be moved! Ist das nicht wunderbar?”  Suddenly one man’s English became another man’s German.

“Nin hao. What did you say? Nin jiao shenme mingze?”

“No comprendo. No te olvides lo que hacemos aqui.”

One person spoke Chinese. Another chattered in Spanish. Can you picture the confused men running around like chipmunks, trying to communicate in sign language?

How ridiculous it is to go against God and think that you can win! The truth is, no one stands a chance against God’s miracles, which are like wrecking balls, thwarting evil plans. That’s what happened at Babel. Mankind’s “unification” scheme was demolished. As funny as it may have appeared, however, it can’t compare to the miracles Jesus did. For the group at Babel scattered, Jesus’ miracles brought wholeness. The healing of a crippled man is one example.

Through the Roof

People heard sawing.  Pieces of wood fell from above as the ceiling began to cave in. Then someone cried, “Look out below!”

“How a I going to pay for this?” the house owner wondered as the crippled man came into view. The poor guy lay immobile on the mat, inside that crowded house. He said nothing, but his friends expected Jesus to do a miracle.

How they must have smiled to hear Jesus tell the paralyzed man, “Be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven”!

The religious guys wondered how he could say such a thing. To their surprise, Jesus healed the man and sent him on his way.

What if, as he picked up his mat to leave, one end accidentally smacked a  grumbler in the face?

When God does miracles, people’s rotten attitudes turn to toast. That’s what makes them fun.

God’s Sense of Humor

The idea that God’s miracles can evoke humor in the mind of those who read them is supported by scripture. Besides verses such as Nehemiah 8:10, which says that “The joy of the LORD is your strength,” and Proverbs 17:22, which states that “A merry heart does good like a medicine,” consider this passage in Psalms chapter 2, beginning with verse 1:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

“Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.”

God’s miracles are what humble and shock His enemies. Like the nannies lined up with their black umbrellas in the movie “Mary Poppins,” they find themselves blown away – not by some strange magic but by the wind of the Holy Spirit, through whom all things are possible, if you believe.

To Cure Infertility, Abide in the Vine

The cure for infertility is staying in the vine,

Partaking of the holy bread and sharing in the wine.

No infertility is found inside the divine vine

For your life to be productive, then with Christ it must align.


For there is health in the vine,

True wealth in the vine,

We are fruitful and we multiply

When we stay in the vine


We are connected, resurrected

When we stay in the vine,

Well-nourished, we do flourish

As we abide in the divine


Without me, Jesus said,

You can do nothing, there’s no fruit

For everyone who trusts in me

Is like a tender shoot.


They get their life from me,

Not from worn-out religious rules

You cannot multiply if you

Imbibe the wine of fools.


How do you then abide in me?

By faith you must partake

And faith comes from my Word,

Which power nobody can shake


Drink in my Word with all your heart,

Its truth will set you free,

My Word has power to heal your lack

Of productivity.


But listening to worldly wisdom

Clogs the pipes of grace

That help you to digest my Word.

Would you behold my face?


You can’t be friends with Jezebel

And see my kingdom come.

And listening to Ahab

Will not help my will be done.



For Jezebel speaks of control,

Rebellion is her game.

And if you listen to her words,

Then you’ll be brought to shame.


She’ll tell you where to go,

And what to do and where to sit

Before me she won’t bow

And to My Word she won’t submit


Her husband Ahab’s fleshly cravings

Spoil the precious grapes.

He chokes the vibrant branches

With constrictive masking tapes.


It leads to infertility,

An absence of good fruit.

No spiritual authority

Is found within the shoot.


They’ll turn you into eunuchs

If you do not throw them down.

Resist the urge to please those guys.

Don’t cower when they frown.


The fear of man will lay a snare

And cause you to get burned.

If that’s the case, consider it

A lesson you have learned.


Without Me you will shrivel,

Wither up and slowly die.

It hurts to go your own way,

On your own flesh to rely.


It’s time to reconnect with God,

Who helps you to believe,

For I will never cast you out

If you will but receive.

Bruised, Blind-folded, Buffeted

Confused, bewildered, and condemned

Was how the man did feel,

Tossed, torn, badgered and buffeted

A fish hooked on a reel


Pulled here and there with various

Demands upon his time

Just like a puppet on a string,

Chastised for no mean crime.


Each string pulls on an unhealed hurt

Lodged deep inside his past.

To shake the shame off, he lets loose

A violent verbal blast.


“I wasn’t wrong!” he argues.

“I was right to act that way!”

“Stop telling me what I must do.

You can’t make me obey!”


And yet he can’t escape the fear

Still tugging on his mind.

It keeps him bound as he seeks out

A safe place to unwind.


Then shouts a higher voice,

“Oh, you who know not what you do,

Behold my thorn-stained brow.

I came from heaven to die for you.


“I let myself be blindfolded and

Treated shamefully.

The blood flowed as they plucked my beard

Men hit and spat at me.”


“Confusion mocked my pain

As men who changed truth for a lie

Heaped insults on my head

And ordered me to prophecy.


“And as I hung upon that cross,

Engulfed in misery,

I felt abandoned and alone.

God had forsaken me.


“But though it didn’t make much sense,

That’s how it had to be.

Your heartache I took on myself,

That you might be set free.


“It isn’t yours to carry,

For I’ve risen from the dead.

Recall that you’re my body

And that I, Christ, am your head.


“So, cast your sorrows onto me,

Along with every strife,

And I’ll give you the joy

That springs up to eternal life.”