Tuesday, June 22, 2010



I've often read in novels that the air
smelled of honeysuckle (or lilac, or--- ).
But I walked by the honeysuckle
a foot and a half away,
and didn't even catch a whiff.
In fact, when I put my nose up to the blooms,
the scent was so faint as to be almost imagination.
Maybe there are different kinds of honeysuckle;
Or it’s the weather or season.

Sometimes when I bring a boquet inside,
such as daphne, it really does perfume the room.
But I’m not usually aware of the scent out in the yard.
(I wonder -- if the temp was 100 degrees,
would more fragrance be released?
But then I wouldn’t catch the scent: for
I'd be holed up indoors with the air conditioner on!)

One natural scent really does "carry"
pungently on the air, and that is new-mown grass.
Distinctive aroma like no other.
(But another odor that reaches me is, alas,
burning garbage in some neighbor’s
fireplace or yard-debris bonfire!)

I would love it if my life gave off the scent
that sweet honeysuckle is reputed to waft.
How might I let God mold me such
That I might carry to others the enriching
scent of kind and gentle spirit
in every sort of weather and season?

Photos and text (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

NOSTALGIA -- but you can't go back!

NOSTALGIA – but you can’t go back!

A friend returned recently from a trip to Canada –
Where she tried to visit old friends,
And reconnect with once-familiar places.
She lived up there long enough to pine,
Sometimes, to move back and be Canadian again.
But her ties and obligations are here, now.

And she found it true –“you can’t go back!”
So many changes to once-favored places.
So many dreams, now only empty spaces.
Few people that she used to know are still around.
One friend she especially favored,
Was dead. I guess she hadn’t heard. Oh, my!
So much for nostalgia –
What seemed the most winsome memories,
Are graces that no longer exist.

Life does move on -- sometimes with a laugh,
More often with a dreary sigh.
Our ties and obligations are right where we are.
We make fresh opportunities now, or kick the traces.
We entrust ourselves to God each day.
Only he remains changeless, true:
Cheering, comforting, and caring,
Planting smiles and washing tears from our faces.

Photo and poem (c) 2010 by Marilee Miller

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Don't Waste Your Sorrows"

David, at Red Letter Believers blog -- redletterbelievers.blogspot.com --, has a post on the ways he and other Christians doubt God at times, by giving in to selfishness or ignoring the call to obedience. He laments that he “cannot escape this shadow that dogs my every step.”

However, he concludes with a familiar plea, “I believe, but help my unbelief.”

I wonder if David had just read David Wilkerson’s most recent post, which speaks of how deeply Christ is wounded when we don’t believe he has the power to act, when we don’t believe his word? Wilkerson’s post made me feel “small”, I admit.

Paul E. Bilheimer, in “Don’t Waste Your Sorrows,” concludes that suffering is a natural part of our human life – a preparation for our union with Christ for all eternity. “[W]hen sorrow and suffering come… it is easy to fall into a spirit of resentment and self-pity which produces frustration and depression. When this occurs one is defeated in his spiritual life… He has wasted his sorrow. What God permitted in order to wean him from self-love and self-worship, and therefore for his spiritual growth, has resulted in loss. …
Character (agape love) is the coin, the legal tender of heaven.”

These statements would seem to side with Wilkerson’s thoughts. (However, be it known that Wilkerson also has a tender heart before God and frequently offers great comfort to those who are afraid they’re letting God down).

Bilheimer goes on to add, “In order to grow in character it is necessary to understand that nothing that God permits can come to his child, whether ‘good’ or ‘ill’ is accidental or without design. Everything is designed to drive him out of himself into God… All is for the purpose of character training…
“God cannot train one without mystifying him, baffling him. Evidently God has objectives in us which cannot be achieved apart from frustration and bewildering pain… “

God’s purpose is to deliver us from “self” into agape love.

Perhaps it would be better to praise God for allowing us the privilege of doubt him sufficiently enough to make us aware of our own weakness, until we can only rest in his strength, not in anything our minds can conjure up. Some people advocate “positive thinking”, as if we can successfully overcome all doubts and fears by making strong affirmations about God’s strength and power. I have personally found this to be a wrestling match I can’t hope to win. The more aware I become of my own sin of unbelief, the more I dislike myself for not being able to “overmaster” it. But I’m not supposed to be in charge of mastery. The very thing God wants to teach me, is that he alone is sufficient.

T. Austin-Sparks wrote that Christ will always be “other” than we are. The sooner we allow the Holy Spirit to show us that, the better. And that we might as well have one last despair and get it over with, instead of despairing every few weeks (over our sinful selves). I haven’t been able to grasp that business of having one despair and getting it over with. But his words do comfort me when I remember, at last, that I’m not supposed to be strong and able, but rather to submit and let God have his perfect way.

Corrie Ten Boom says, “Nestle, don’t wrestle!”

How grateful I am that “We have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ…” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins.” (And so my doubting, that I despair of changing into secure trust in him, is blotted out.) Oh, halleluliah!

Thank God, oh thank God, when Christians are aware of our tendency toward unbelief. That we cry out for deliverance from our selfish selves, that we cry for God’s mercy! Such is surely the working of the Holy Spirit to “conform us” to Christ. There are those who don’t seem to fear they are weak. Who don’t bewail their tendency toward unbelief or other sins. Unfortunately, smugness and heedlessness can be great traps to stifle our spiritual growth!

So I say with David of Red Letter Believers, and with those in the Bible who cried for the Lord’s help, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!”

Monday, June 7, 2010


To Camas:

This summer will you have a merry go 'round,
As you ride on some "chic" merry-go-round?
You'll mount a sleek horse and sit astride,
And that will be some slick carousel ride!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


“May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell
(settle down, abide, make his permanent home) in
your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and
founded securely on love.

“That you may have the power to apprehend
and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people,
the experience of that love] what is the breadth
and length and height and depth [of it]

“[That you may really come] to know
[practically, through experience for your-
selves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses
mere knowledge [without experience]; that
you may be filled [through all your being] unto
all the fullness of God [may have the richest
measure of the divine Presence, and become a
body wholly filled and flooded with God himself.]”
(Eph. 4:17-19 Amplified Bible)