Category: Poetry


IS IT TO LATE TO SAY THAT I LOVE YOU

By: Gary L. Rodgers

James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

I have often wondered how many of us had wished that we had the opportunity to tell someone once again that we loved them. Several years ago my dear mother passed away and so often when I look at a picture of her I so wish that I could tell her just one more time that I loved her. My mother was a very tender-hearted woman, and this character trait in her was an open invitation for some to take advantage of her good-nature. Mother would always help in any way that she could. I came from a poor family and it was not an easy life, all of us pretty much had the bulk of our clothes given to us. I only remember my mother ever having bought but one new dress and that was after she baked and sold bread and other baked goods that she was able to do that. The Sears catalog was a big deal in our house. We would so often page through it and wish that we had the means to buy some of the many beautiful things that we saw. We were so poor that the dog purposely stayed skinny so that he would not be looked upon as a possible meal. Ha!

Meat was not something that my dad would buy from the grocery store to often. He did all of the shopping for us; and if you wanted a pair of shoes you got whatever the small general store in town had to offer or you got nothing. For years I got the same style work shoes that I wore every day for every occasion. Every summer we planted a huge garden and that is what kept us going throughout the year. We packed three freezers full of every vegetable that you could imagine plus we canned a great deal as well. We would go out and pick black berries by the buckets full. We had a large construction wheelbarrow that we would fill to overflowing with peas or beans and it seemed like it took all day either shelling peas or snapping string beans. Summer for us was not exactly free time to do whatever we wanted. Meat was a rare treat for us. Once a month and sometimes every two months my dad would buy a roast that we would have. Going out to a restaurant was totally out of the question.

JUST A NAÏVE COUNTRY BOY

I’ll never forget when I went into the Army at seventeen I went to Fort Jackson, SC for basic training. One weekend I had the opportunity to go into town. I remembered that I had a pocket full of money probably about eighty dollars or more and I walked around town about half-starved not knowing if I had enough money to buy something to eat. I never was in a restaurant before and didn’t have the slightest idea how to place an order or what it cost. I was to shy and embarrassed to go in on my own. Sometime later one of the guys took me into a restaurant and showed me how to order and what it cost. I was just a pure country hick with very little knowledge about how the world operated and what things cost. Sometimes I wish that I remained that naive. But of course the world has its way of educating us in things that would have been better for us to have let alone.

THE PULL OF THE FLESH

The pull of the flesh is a powerful force and Satan knows how to dangle those trinkets and desires in front of our eyes at just the right time. In the Garden of Eden he knew exactly when to approach Eve with temptation. She had no idea what the serpent was talking about, she never experienced anything that he mentioned. With her child-like innocence she answered the serpent and said that if she touched the fruit or did eat it that she would surely die. What did this strange word die actually mean? She knew who God was and the temptation to be like Him was what it took to cause her to disobey. Satan took the sin that he committed and tempted Eve with it to bring death to the human race. That sin of pride to be like the most high God. (Isaiah 14:14)

The pull of the flesh is ever-present in our lives and it will always be a battle that we all go through. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are the things that we all seem to be drug down by over and over again. 1 John 2:15-17

WE HAVE GIVEN UP SO MUCH

Have you ever wondered what all we forfeited when we fell to temptation in the Garden of Eden? The Garden of Eden was beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations. Everything was perfect in every detail. The temperatures were perfect in heat and humidity, and the animals would all come to get their daily petting and back scratching. There was a joy and harmony between man and nature that has not been equaled since. The grasses swayed in the warm air and the birds sang their songs of joy and happiness in harmony with their surroundings. And the greatest of all that we had in The Garden was that personal relationship with the Lord where we spoke to Him face to face. What sweet fellowship that we shared with Him. Yet we have given it all up because of the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The shame of it all is that we still forfeit that sweet fellowship that we can have with the Lord for the same reasons. And today we think that this world is at its worse than ever before, yet the bible tells us that when Jesus comes this old world will be just like it was in the days of Noah and Lot.

Luke 17:26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.7They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

THE TRUMPET SOUND

Someday soon there will be the sound of the Trumpet of the Lord announcing that the Bridegroom has come for his Bride and we shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. 1 Corinthians 15:52 What a blessed time for those that have placed their faith in the Lord and have trusted and accepted Him to save them from an eternity in an awful place called Hell. But what about those that have not received the free gift of eternal life through their acceptance of the only begotten Son of God. What happens to them? As it was in the days of Noah and Lot – There were only eight souls that entered into the Ark when God’s judgment fell upon all mankind and there were only four that fled from the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. What fear those lost souls must have faced when for the first time rain began to fall from the Heavens and fire began to fall from the skies above. The painful cries of anguish and pain must have been some of the most bone chilling and heart wrenching sounds that Noah, or Lot, and their families have ever heard.

What horrible sounds will come from the throats of those that we have loved over the years. A lost son or daughter, a mom or dad, perhaps a brother or sister or maybe a sweetheart or a grandchild. Will their cries be like those that banged on the door of the Ark wanting to be rescued? What hopeless eerie sounds will fill the hallways of eternity. Will any of us hear those cries; a sobering thought isn’t it?

IS IT TOO LATE TO SAY THAT I LOVE YOU

I thought of you today as I studied in God’s Word.

And I prayed for you again as usual just before I went to bed.

In the early morning hours with restless dreams I thought of you again,

From you there came a sound of fear and anguish the likes of none I’ve ever heard.

I prayed for you in that moment that your soul would be redeemed.

But all I could hear was your voice as you began to scream.

Tears ran from my eyes in great floods, then I awakened with a quick.

Drenched from the horror of my night as I thought about you,

 I have but one question to ask.

Is it too late to say that I love you?

By: Gary L. Rodgers

THE CLOSE

My dear friend, If I could, I wish that I were able to make you see that there is a day coming where we will all give an account for our lives. Today we all have a choice to either accept the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) that Jesus offers each of us or to reject it. If you decide to put it off until tomorrow then you have already made a decision. The big question is do you have another tomorrow? We all like to think that we have plenty of tomorrows but what guarantee do we have of that. I have family and friends that are now gone who thought that they had lots of tomorrows. Some were infants and teens, some were in their twenties and some older. Ignoring all of this doesn’t erase the fact that God loves you so much that He sent His only Son to die and pay your penalty for you. Sin carries with it a heavy price, eternal death in the Lake of Fire. But if you were to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to save you and wash away all of your sin with His shed blood then you will spend an eternity in Heaven with Him.

THE INVITATION

If you are ready to trust in the Lord, then I ask that you follow along in prayer and repeat after me. Dear Jesus, I know what sin is, and I know that I am a sinner. I ask that you would please forgive me and wash away all of my sin with the blood that you shed for me. Please send the Holy Spirit to come too live in my heart to teach me and guide me in righteousness. I know that you personally died for me, and that you were buried in a tomb and rose from the dead for me. I believe that you are now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. I put my complete trust in you alone as my Lord and Savior and I am trusting in you only to get me to Heaven and I accept your free gift of eternal life. In your Holy and Precious Name I pray. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to save you, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

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IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND

IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS.

YESTERDAY’S ROSES

YESTERDAY’S ROSES

By: Gary L. Rodgers

My how time seems to fly the older that we get. It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was living at my parents home in the countryside where I grew up. I can still picture the house and barn and other storage/utility sheds that we had. And I will never forget the massive Oak tree that was hollowed out at its base where a spring flowed out of it and we got our drinking water from. The tree itself was at least a good five feet or more in diameter. The branches were huge and I often wished that we had a ladder high enough for me to get up on one of its lowest branches. I can still picture the Blue Bells and violets that grew wild in the fields nearby, and the fox grapes that overran one of our fences. The four seasons seemed to bring its special gift of color, heat, and cold to our home. But the best part of it all was that we had each other to love and care for. We were a poor family but we felt rich in the comfort of our home and each other’s company.

My brothers and I would crawl around and hide from each other in the wheat fields and we traveled all over the endless forestry around our home. We had just as much imagination as the next guy and probably even more because of our surroundings. Life was so beautiful when we were kids. And I still miss the old place. I drive by there every so often and have witnessed many changes. Most of what I remember as a child has disappeared but thankfully I still can see them in my mind. My brothers and sisters and I have grown in years and some have even passed on in death. But I still hold to what I call Yesterday’s roses, those fond memories of the past.

The most hurtful part of the past is the times that my brothers and I would argue and say some of the most hate filled words to each other. My how I wish that I could go back and change all of that! Anger plagues us with some pain that never seems to go away.

THE BROTHERS

I am reminded of two brothers in scripture that probably had their share of fun and imagination as well. And I can only imagine that to some degree like us they probably looked out for each other. It was one thing for us as kids to fight with one another, but let an outsider get involved in it and our focus of attention changed direction in a hurry. If I hit my brother that was my business! But if you jumped in and hit him then you became our business. No matter how often we got angry and fought with each other deep inside we had a love that stopped us from going out of control and yet inside we offered our protection to each other as the need came up. Cain and Able I’m sure were two brothers that loved each other and I believe that they had their share of quarrels as well. The unfortunate nasty side of anger is when jealousy and bitterness mixes in with it. It can become deadly. And in their case it did. Jealousy and bitterness bares an ugly face that shows in the countenance of a person. And in Cain’s case it showed on his face.

Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Why was one offering acceptable and the other one not? I believe that we may have an answer in Genesis 3:21. Here we find that God slew two animals and took the coats of skin and covered the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve. This whole act is a picture of the innocent victim (Christ the Lamb of God) dying (being offered up in sacrifice) for the guilty sinner so that they or we could be clothed in (Salvation) His righteousness.[1]

Sin has a price (death)[2] and the payment for that sin is blood.[3] In the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament you will find the laws concerning these offerings.

GIVE IT YOUR BEST

In the Old Testament the sacrifice was offered to cover (symbolized through the coats of skin) man’s sin. In The New Testament Christ the perfect sacrifice washed away man’s sin with His shed blood. I believe that Able’s offering was the best of what he had and it certainly had God’s approval for being an animal sacrifice.

With regard to Cain’s offering the bible says “But unto Cain and to his offering he (God) had not respect.” Why didn’t God acknowledge Cain’s sacrifice? I believe that there are several reasons for that. But the primary reason was because his sacrifice was not a blood sacrifice to make atonement for his sins, and what he had brought was wrong and he offered it in a way that God would not approve of.  Leviticus 23:9-15 tells us what the laws were regarding an offering of first fruits. Had this been an offering of first fruits then there were specific steps that had to be taken and on certain days. So what would Cain and Able have known about making offerings to God when the laws regarding sacrifices had not been given yet? I believe that they knew and I believe that their father Adam passed that information on to them. Otherwise why would Able have met the requirements and offered up the first of his flock and the fat of his offering had he not known something about making sacrifices unto God?

So what was wrong with Cain’s sacrifice?[4] Was it the first fruits of harvest that he was offering? Was it the best of what he had to offer? Did he wave a sheave of grain before the Lord? I can only speculate at this point. But one thing for certain it caused jealousy and bitterness in the heart of Cain and he took the life of his brother because of it.

Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Once a life is taken it’s too late to say that you’re sorry. God passed judgment upon Cain and Cain became a vagabond and a wonderer in the earth. How sad that Able died at the hands of his brother because of jealousy and bitterness.

PAINFUL MEMORIES

There are other brothers that had some painful memories as well. But in the end they were reunited with their brothers and the slate of all past wrongs were wiped clean.  There was Jacob and Esau. There was Joseph and his brothers. You only get one chance in life to love your brothers and sisters. So why delay any longer in making amends if there are things between you? I have painful memories of my one brother dying of cancer. What a sad time that was. I remember in his last week’s I would go over every night to spend time with him and cook for him while my sister in law was at work. I can still see his poor shaky hands trying to feed himself. And everything that he ate only stayed with him for a short while. I loved my brother and it tore at my heart to see him withering away and dying like that. Fortunately I had some time to show him that I loved him and I wrote a poem for him and I was able to read it to him at one of our church Jubilees before he got to where he couldn’t leave the house any more.

THE INVITATION

You never know what tomorrow may bring. But one thing for certain is that it doesn’t make sense to harbor bad feelings of jealousy and bitterness while you have a chance to change all of that. Life is far too short and eternity is way to long to miss out on the opportunity to forgive and love one another and to be reconciled to each other.  And if you need help with that then I invite you to come to Christ and He will give you what you need to make things right. Do something special for yourself and your loved ones. Bow your head and say this simple prayer by faith.

Dear Lord I know that I am a sinner needing a Savior. I come before you in prayer seeking your forgiveness for all of my sin. Please cleanse me with your blood and send the Holy Spirit into my heart to direct me in the ways of righteousness. I put my complete trust in you as my Lord and Savior. Please give me the words and the courage to talk to my loved ones so that they might get saved. I pray and ask this in your name. Amen!

If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

You should write down the:

Date: _______________________

Time: __________________________

Place: _______________________________________________________

of your decision.  Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.

Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.

Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!

YESTERDAY’S ROSES

 

               Yesterday’s roses seem to be all that we have at times.

               And that’s what I hold so dear to me, those memories of my mind.

               I would trade the wealth of the world, to live them once again.

               Just to say how much you mean to me my brother, my lifelong

friend.

               I remember how we played and fought, but deep inside we cared.

               And even though our tempers rose, a bond of love we shared.

               And how we would protect each other from harm that came our

way;

               But then you fought a tougher foe, one I could not slay.

               I thank the Lord that He’s always with you; and now He holds your

hand;

               And someday He’ll give that gentle tug toward the Promised Land.

               And when I stand beside your robe of flesh that’s left behind,

               I’ll remember yesterday’s roses those treasures of my mind.

               I’ll not sorrow at your parting, but rather what I threw away,

               those times that we could have loved each other instead of the

harsh words we’d say.

               Thank God He has provided a Lamb so pure and clean.

               That we could bathe in His precious blood for our souls to be

redeemed.

               And then I’ll stop and thank Him for your graduation day.

               And praise Him for taking your precious soul, to our home so far

away.

               His promises of tomorrow will dry my tear stained face,

               as I look forward to seeing you once again, in that grand and

glorious place.

               I’ll look for you at the feet of Jesus, and I’ll praise Him even more,

               for saving the souls of my dear loved ones and for the burden of

sin He bore.

               I thank you Lord for the roses, those treasures of yesterday,

for the Rose of Sharon at Calvary, who washed our sins away.

Now as I close my eyes to rest, might dreams of Heaven be,

To find my brother’s smiling face waiting there for me.

 

 

                                                                                          By:

                                                                                          Gary L. Rodgers


[1] When we get saved God the Father will then be able to look upon us and see that we are in Christ (clothed in Christ’s righteousness/salvation) and he (The Holy Spirit) in us. See Isaiah 61:10   God cannot behold sin that was why He turned His back to Christ when he hung on the cross and Jesus cried with a loud voice and said “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Because at that point Christ had taken upon Himself all of mans sin so that He (Christ) would make payment (Shed His Blood) for those sins.

WHEN I LOOK AT THE CROSS

By: Gary L. Rodgers

 When I look at the cross, I begin to muse over this instrument of execution and a deep sense of admiration and respect seems to overwhelm my very soul. For when I look at the cross I begin to realize that this was indeed the sacrificial altar of God for His Son.

When I look at the cross, I immediately notice the stains of blood and holes left behind from the heavy iron spikes and am awakened to the fact that a sacrifice was brutally offered up. An innocent victim in which I share the guilt that I too aided in this awful execution because of my sin.

Yes we all had our part in the crucifixion of Christ! For even as they of old had laid their hands upon the head of the innocent animal that was about to be offered up by the priests in our stead; even so it became important for us to also lay our hands upon the head of the Lamb of God with a crown of thorns.

Yes, even Christ would labor under such a heavy burden by carrying man’s sin up Golgotha’s hill where He would pay our penalty and become our spiritual bread of life. It is true that our hands were upon the head of one so innocent without spot, that we should transfer sin from our wicked guilty soul to one so pure and clean so that we could have peace with God.[1] And yet of its most precious value, the world tried to purchase it with mere silver.[2]

When I look at the cross, I am reminded again of the intense pain and suffering of our Lord and Savior, who in those few hours suffered an eternal wage for our sin.[3] Oh the battle for the souls of men that took place upon the cross that day! But praise be to God that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords should be the victor!

When I look at the cross, I see a message to the world written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin[4] telling the religious, the cultured, and the political bodies that Jesus was indeed the King and Messiah whom Israel sought and is now come to all men.

When I look at the cross, I am reminded of Christ’s love for us. It was that love that calmed my trembling heart and extinguished deaths fear[5] the moment I knelt at the cross and acknowledged Christ as my Lord and Savior

When I look at the cross, I see the world’s only hope of forgiveness, granted to those of a repentant heart.

When I look at the cross, I see Christ interceding[6] for me before Heaven’s Court with open arms and beckoning “whosoever will may come,” never to be found guilty again.

When I look at the cross, I am reminded of the beauty of the dogwood flower[7] bearing out its message to all the world, that a King was crucified upon a cruel cross as it whispers its message to all upon spring’s gentle breeze while echoing out the hissing sound of the cross through eternity’s hallways.

When I look at the cross, I see multitudes that have passed by its shadow without so much as daring to look upon it, ever to be separated from God’s love with so few stopping to kneel in prayer seeking God’s forgiveness for their unworthy souls,[8] neither accepting, nor thanking Him for His cleansing power.[9]

When I look at the cross, I see that it is barren, praising God that there also lies an empty tomb, for “He is not here: for He is risen”.[10]

When I look at the cross, I see the beginning of eternal life.[11]

MY FRIEND, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE CROSS, WHAT DO YOU SEE?


[1]Leviticus 3:7-8

[2] Matthew 26:14-16

[3] Romans 6:23

[4] Luke 23:38

[5] Hebrews 2:14-15

[6] 1 John 2:1-2

[7] Legend of the Dogwood

[8] Luke 18:9-14

[9] Luke 17:12-19

[10] Matthew 28:6

[11] John 3:16

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