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Cusp of the Cross

When praying for the healing of our broken bodies and forgiveness of our sins, we usually cite Isaiah 53:5 (ESV):

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

One phrase struck me this year of our turmoil – for no one is untouched: upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.

No one knows what the truth is. We write posts, articles, and podcasts to publish our opinions, trolling, news, encouragements, or propaganda. Confusion reigns even for those who try to do their best to find out the truth.

Our peace does not lie in the facts. God does not give any person the whole truth. He gives us His truth in what soldiers know as “on a need-to-know basis.”

Our peace lies in the hands of God — the peace that passes all understanding. He’s got this. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands.

And He sent His son on a cross to give it to us.

Cusp of the Cross Audio

Faith

Oregon’s Bio Light

Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7 NIV
The desert and the parched land will be glad;the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.


Sailors call the bioluminescence on the surface of the waters “sea fire.” Astronaut Jim Lovell, while a Navy pilot, landed safely on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La. He used bioluminescence as a navigation system when the mechanical one failed.

Noctiluca scintillans is a Latin term. Noctiluca means shine by night and scintillans means sparkling.

On the Oregon coast (and other places around the world but primarily on coastal areas), Noctiluca scintillans are the organisms that illuminate the waters. Since they can’t swim, they move through wave action.

Between prolific reproduction and water movement, a bloom may form. They reproduce through either binary or multiple fission. In multiple fission, the cells divide from the parent cells as buds.

Their molecules die at sunrise and rebirth at sunset. Their light is inherent; it comes from within them and does not rely on an outside source. But it is a cold light, meaning that less than 20% of it generates heat. The bioluminescence in healthy cells appears as a flash, and it appears in the dying cells over minutes.

We have the light of the Holy Spirit within us, and it can spread into a blooming light to spread His love and righteousness in our state. Sometimes He speaks in a flash, sometimes over time. As we accept the calling on our lives, sometimes it takes some dying to ourselves to answer the call, but the light flashes even during this process.

Bloom, as a verb defined, means to mature or glow with a healthy color. Though the light of Oregon maybe a cold one now, it is still a light that can mature into a God-given heat of health.


MP3 version

Oregon's Beacons

The Burns of Oregon

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Photo by Brian Hackworth from Pexels

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 ESV


Benjamin and Nancy Simpson added to their family a son, Samuel, born on November 10, 1845, in Missouri. While still an infant, they moved to Oregon. Benjamin was a builder of roads and a politician of Oregon, shaping the state of Oregon. He also, by moving, made a lasting impact on Samuel, who grew to love the beautiful geography of the state.

Samuel primarily wrote poems but also wrote stories rich with character descriptions based on officers and Native Americans at Fort Yamhill. He published stories and poems in magazines and newspapers.

The poem he is known for, “Beautiful Willamette”, is a tribute to the beauty of the Willamette Valley. You can envision it just by listening to the first stanza.

From the Cascades’ frozen gorges,
Leaping like a child at play,
Winding, widening through the valley,
Bright Willamette glides away;
Onward ever,
Lovely river,
Softly calling to the sea,
Time, that scars us,
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench of thee.

He left a poetic void in Oregon after his death. Harvey Scott, an editor of The Oregonian, said his death “leaves Oregon with no poet of merit or reputation.”

Posthumously published in 1910, The Gold-Gated West contained a collection of his poems and songs.

The people and geography inspired his prolific writing. All writing has a setting, whether stated overtly or not. Oregon inspired him to write and his writing well never ran dry, it constantly replenished.

The Holy Spirit will replenish our sea of ideas if we call on Him.


On a side note, as I was researching ideas for this last Poets’ Pavilion, I noticed a few items of interest:

  • Samuel Simpson’s family moved from Missouri to Oregon.
  • He was born on the Marine Corps birthday and spent time on a military base.
  • His love of the Oregon landscape brought words to the page.

I am retiring Poets’ Pavilion and will segue into Oregon’s Beacons, same devotional format with a new subject.


The MP3 version

Poets' Pavilion

Celebrating Our Events

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Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

During the dedication of the new Jerusalem wall, all the Levites throughout the land came to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies and to take part in the joyous occasion with their thanksgiving, cymbals, psaltries, and harps.
Nehemiah 12:27 TLB


Occasional poetry is, as the name suggests, poetry written for an occasion. The emotional range is wide: it can be celebratory or a time of grief. German writer Goethe (18th through the 19th century) wrote that occasional poetry was “the first and most genuine of all kinds of poetry.”

United States poet laureates are assigned the task of writing occasional poetry.

Though Robert Frost wrote The Gift Outright in 1942, he read it at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. And although most Americans don’t think of The Battle Hymn of the Republic as an occasional poem, it is.

Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. And when it was finished, they celebrated.

Poets' Pavilion

The Exposure of War

Photo Credit: Photo by Stijn Swinnen on Unsplash

So Hanun seized David’s servants and shaved off half of each one’s beard. He cut the lower part of their robes off so that their buttocks were exposed, and then sent them away.
2 Samuel 10:4 NET


Wilfred Owen is best known for his WWI poem “Dulce et Decorum Est.” (Latin for “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”) However, he also wrote the poem “Exposure,” which details exposure to the elements during a time of war.

When we write poems about war, we bear witness to what we feel and experience. War is not just kinetic. Our wounds can be inflicted by words or actions that are meant to shame and humiliate us.

King David’s army lost the battle, but they won the war. We win our battles by acknowledging the God who fights our war.

Poets' Pavilion

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