Saturday, November 10, 2007

Abraham’s Children

Like the tax collector
we are all Abraham’s children
children of the promise
of the savior, of the creator
sheep in the flock,
shepherds for other
wayward sheep
even as we wander
we need the grace
the shepherding of the Lord
the staff guiding us
away from danger
and distance
from our neighbor,
from our God
to be a full member
in the household of God
to be Abraham’s children
and heirs to the promise

November 10, 2007 9:23pm
Luke 19:1-10

Abraham’s Son

A blessing cured him
his estrangement wiped clean
He was Abraham’s son
his breached sealed
in his service, his humility
His love for his neighbor
rekindled, mediated
reconciling him with the community
returning him to the flock, the heirs
of the promise of old

November 10, 2007 9:19pm
Luke 19:1-10
The Story of Zaccheus


Touching our lives, setting an example
a way of living out the commandments
for us to follow and to model
for those who follow us ourselves
it is the way it has been since He was here
walking the earth in mortal clothes
wearing the apron, the crown, the cross
a servant even to death
a saint among us
followers all
are we

November 10, 2007 9:15pm
Luke 6:20-26

Blessed are You

A personal, specific, individual
blessing, you are blessed
You, I, blessed by the Savior
affirming God’s favor,
directly, personally, intimately
grace given to you
anointed, bestowed upon you

November 10, 2007 9:11pm
Luke 6:20-26

Think deeply

Ponder and thought
or so we ought
rather than blurt and bluster
which can make others fluster
well, enough of the rhyme at least
to put my mind at ease
thinking on the wisdom of the Proverb
to think before we speak,
hard for one who thinks on his feet
in the words in the ether
dancing in rhythms of their own
coalescing in cogent truths
conjured in the process of speech

November 10, 2007 8:35pm
If one gives answer before hearing, it is folly and shame.- Proverbs 18:13 (NRSV)


Nothing so much as a beautiful
exposed skeleton, standing tall, all erect
so were the stately trees, going down the hill
heading for home once more
standing tall against the frozen blow
the frigid air, even in autumn
the raw March wind
that October day
tall elms,
standing still
remaining where they are
living still in the yards off the
central streets, the crowded corridors
bearing the names of stately trees, long gone
Skeletons, swaying, bending but not breaking
in the fall wind
elegant in their exposed state
vertebrates, definitely

November 10, 2007 8:30pm

The There Gene

Oh, my mistake, on correcting the paper
the “there” needs to be a “their”;
but I forgot, you have the there gene.
A block, glitch, a predilection to find
there, when they’re or their would be the better
to be unable to see the there
that should be there
Oh if only their there
were here; but they’re a long way off,
far from here
They are is they’re,
there is where they’re
is their there

11/6/07 10:45am
on Erica’s predilection
for writing there

Friday, November 09, 2007

When She Said Yes

What a change a single word
spoken with a smile
has had on my life
changing a man to a father
a father of three precious girls
each a wondrous, wonderful
a powerful gift of God
And she herself, my friend,
my confidante, my all
From that day on, we have been
we are joined, affirmed, cared for
through all the days since
all the days we are given to come
not in the wedding service,
not in the ritual, the paperwork;
it began, in the smiling eyes,
the embrace, the kiss
when she said yes

November 9, 2007
of November 9, 2004
when Ruth said yes, when I asked

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 23,800+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Each Day

Each and every day
of our lives here on earth
a gift from the creator
to learn and share, to grow
find purpose, and meaning
to see new horizons, deeper insights
moments to cherish, days to endure
each day a chance, an opportunity
to make a difference, to see possibilities
to smell the roses, to paint the colors
into our minds. See, seek each day unique
unlike every other, like a snowflake
before its melting on the still-warm ground
A wish for joy, for peace,
for wonder and appreciation
for this day, still new in the eye of God
Another moment to reflect and ponder
our place in the world, our choices, our future
our impact, especially on those we love

November 7, 2007

Leaves after a rain

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 18,700+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

Monday, November 05, 2007


All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 18,700+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sermon - "Glass Houses", given by Ruth L. Foss, Sanbornville United Methodist Church, Wakefield, NH, October 28, 2007

How many of you have heard the old expression “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones”? Boy…that was one of my mother’s favorite expressions growing up…people who live in glass houses…should…not…throw…stones! It is one of my favorite expressions to use with my daughters too…when they start pointing out all the wrongs that their sister’s do…that and Matthew 7:3-5. Paraphrased…why are you looking at the speck in you sisters eye and can’t see the log in your own…how can you tell her “let me help you get that little speck out of there for ya”…get that log out of your eye so that you can see to remove the speck in your sisters.
Glass houses…who would want to live in one? There’s nothing but windows…everyone can see what is going on…it’s like living in a fish bowl. Not to mention that when a storm comes…you live in fear of your windows being blown out. Boy…what a mess that would be for you to have to clean up…the broken shards of those windows that you just cleaned and polished. For me…I say…glass houses, who needs them? But there are so many of us that live in those glass houses and are in danger of someone coming by…with a brick…and have the whole house come tumbling down.

In the scripture from Luke…Jesus is telling a parable…a story to those around Him. It is told for not just the Pharisee…but…also for all Disciples and believers. We are all just as vulnerable to pride and self righteousness as the Pharisee. The parable ends with “ALL who exalt themselves will be humbled…and ALL who are humbled will be exalted.” The operative word here is ALL.
The Pharisee in the Luke Scripture…boy did he live in a glass house and how it came tumbling down upon him. Boy…was he just a little delusional. But in his eyes he was not. He did everything he thought he was called to do. He gave his tithe... he fasted bi-weekly…he did it all. But there was one thing he had wrong…he lived by the letter of the Law not the spirit of the Law.

Jesus came to teach about the spirit of the Law…to put on the love of God and to share that love…that understanding…with those around us. This is one thing that Pharisee failed to do. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray in Matthew…he told them to go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in heaven, not like the hypocrites that do it out in the open in the Synagogues for all to see. This man…this Pharisee…had it wrong. Jesus taught that acts of righteousness should not be done before men to be seen by them. This Pharisee was all puffed up on himself because he was so righteous…he had it wrong…again. The Father, who sees what is done in secret, will…reward…you. If it is done before man, the reward is already been given unto you…but not a reward by God’s standard but the reward by the standard of man. Which would you rather have?

Now…you may ask “what about the tax collector…he was praying in public just like the Pharisee was.”? Well…I’m glad you asked that question…it means you were listening to the scripture. The tax collector…unlike the Pharisee…came humbly before the throne of God. He knew that he was unworthy…that he was a sinner. He just humbly asked for forgiveness…not that he thought it was something that he truly deserved. The tax collector received his reward…by God’s standard…he received forgiveness…he was made righteous before the Lord…whereas the Pharisee received his reward…his pat on the back…his ata boy…by the worlds standard. Who do you think received the better “prize”?

We don’t know why the Pharisee’s prayer was not heard…not accepted…by God. Did he presume he was righteous and was not? Is the fact that he separated himself from others a signal that, although he may not realize it, he has separated himself from God as well? We are not told why it was unacceptable only that…it…was. The Pharisee had enough religion to be virtuous, but not enough to be humble. As a result his religion drove him away from the tax collector rather than toward him.

This part of the Luke scripture reminds me of a poem that was written by my husband Ray. It talks about this tax collector…this sinner but…it also talks about us today. It is called “Humbling Himself”.

His head to the floor, his heart begging
for forgiveness, fully aware of his sin,
his need for God, because
he could not make himself holy
Of that much he was sure
his prayer was in abject supplication,
falling before God
Praying for mercy,
as he was a sinner
So must we pray,
knowing we too
need His grace
as we are sinners too

A renewing of the heart…of the mind…of our will…that is what we need to change our selfishness into Godliness.

OK…so how in the world are we to put our lives in perspective? How can we turn our thoughts from linear to vertical…from the world’s standards to God’s standards? We need to see our lives through the eyes of God. Everything we have is a gift from God. Our possessions…our talents…our salvation…is given to us by God’s grace…not by our own abilities but by the abilities given to us…shared with us…from and by God.

In the Psalm that we read together this morning…we are given a glimpse…shown a pattern…of how we can renew our minds. We need to see what we have n life as a gift…undeserved, unmerited…from God. The Psalm also shows us that by remembering…by taking stock of our lives…we can refocus our lives from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

David knew who God was and what God had done…and still does…for mankind. David knew…beyond a shadow of doubt…that the Lord…answers…prayer. David talks about God’s goodness…God’s deliverance…God’s salvation. David remembered God’s mighty deeds…about how the Lord established the mountains and the seas…how God is the Creator of all things. David remembered God’s providence…how He waters the earth and blesses it with growth…with abundance…of how the earth sings with joy.

We too must bring to mind the blessings that are lavished upon us each moment of every day. Each new day is a gift given to us by God. We need to remember how God has provided in the past therefore…we have hope for the future.

Unfortunately…we are convinced that we either do have or should have everything in control. We are generally convinced that we have “earned” our prosperity. By thinking this way…we have a loss of wonder and an inability to sing songs of praise about the reliability of life. We loose our joy and forget who we are in Christ and why we are here on earth. We forget that we are here for God’s pleasure and that God bestows good things on those who call upon the name of the Lord and believe. What a sad, confused, stressed out way to live our lives.

Trusting in oneself…is obviously a posture of blindness to one’s position before God. Like the strong man who trusted in his armor in Luke 11:21-22, who lost his armor when he was over taken when someone stronger attacked, we too will lose when we rely on things of the world to keep us safe…to make us strong. The religious may trust in their righteousness but…just how righteous are they? Our willingness to admit our defeat and failure, and our willingness to call upon God to enter our struggles, are met with God’s abundant love and provision.

In life…in our walk with God…we have choices. God has given us free will. We are free to choose to be like the Pharisee…happy and content with ourselves. We can follow all the rituals that religion gives us…to follow the law…and still…miss…the …mark. Or…we can be like the tax collector. WE can come humbly before God…admit our brokenness…ask for forgiveness and come away from our encounter with our Risen Lord, renewed…revived…changed by the grace of God. We can realize we are nothing…we have nothing…unless it is by the loving grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, our Rock, our Redeemer.

In closing I would like to share with you a poem by my favorite poet of this day. It is called “Naked in a Glass House”, it reminds me of people in society today who live in their own glass houses. It reads:

His false piety, summed up in his certainty
of his own standing, earning a ticket to joy
judging others in the temple, in the courts
by the letter of the law, a righteous man
by going through the motions
stepping the steps of the saints
missing the point in the acts themselves
forgetting the distance between man
and God, forgetting the history
of the people, the lessons of Job
the teachings of the master
walking around naked in the glass house
exposed as surely as Adam and Eve
after tasting the apple
but he was unaware,
blinded by the steps
taken for show
not for God’s glory

May we always remember that if we rely too heavily on what we think are our own abilities...our world just may come tumbling down around us like to walls of Jericho.

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 30,100+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

Sermon - "Do It as Unto the Lord", given by Ruth L. Foss, Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord, NH, October 21, 2007

The Scripture reading today from Timothy reminds me of my childhood. My parents and family taught me so many things. They taught me how to walk, to talk, and to run. They taught me right from wrong and how to treat others. It was not only my family that taught me…but so many other people, on my journey in life, that have taught me so many things…even today.(yes…I am actually still learning) I think that without their teachings, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I am sure that you remember the people in your life that taught you things. They are the people who stand out in our lives…the people who made a difference. The type of teaching that Paul is talking to Timothy about was his ‘Spiritual Training”, his “wisdom” training.

A secure guideline to wisdom and wholeness as recognized by God is the holy writings…scripture…which constituted Timothy’s textbook, his way of life, from his childhood. Timothy ultimately owed much to his mother (Eunice) and his grandmother (Lois) teachings. Back then it was the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings that provided the curriculum for Jewish boys as well as Israel’s law book and prayer book. It seems to me that Timothy was a well rounded child.

Paul told Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and firmly believed.” He was to continue in his walk with God as he did as a child. He was to do as he learned from scripture. Paul knew that all scripture is useful for everything…at all times…it is timeless and endures forever. By doing this…by following the ways he learned as a child…Timothy would be able to stand in times of trial. What a blessed assurance we get when we know that God’s word will help us in our time of need…no matter what the need is. There is no need too large or too small that the Word of God cannot quench. (All I can say is a big AMEN on that!) Scripture is God-breathed and not merely the prophet who is inspired…the speaking of words given not by the conscious mind but directly by God processing or the Spirit inspiring. As God breathed the breath of life into man and said not that it was good but it was very good…God breathed Scripture and it too is very good.

Paul urged Timothy to “proclaim the message.” He was to take what he had learned and share it with others. The best way for him to do this was not by the world’s standards but by God’s standards. He was to proclaim the Gospel as if he was “doing it unto the Lord.” He was to share his story. We today are called to share our stories, to help bring others to the saving grace of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be there, ready to give an account of the saving grace we are given “whether the time is favorable or not”. We are to shod our feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. We are to standby…be ready…be on hand…for opportunities and crises as they arise, whether the time is opportune for us or not.

The Bible tells us that we are to “convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the upmost patience in teaching.” We are to put on the likeness of Christ and be as gentle and kind as He was in our rebuke on others. We are to “do it as unto the Lord.” We are to be display patience and kindness to all those around us. I know that there are times that this is a difficult thing to do. We live in a fallen world and there is so many things that are wrong around us but by acting as the world would have us act…are we really sharing God’s love…are we really showing the love of Christ? Or are we turning others away from the way, the truth and the light…the one true light that shines in the darkness? We are to “do it unto the Lord” in love. Rebuke…warn, encourage…comfort, should all be aspects of the teaching and all will require RESILIENT “PATIENCE”.

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul tells Timothy that the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine and that they will turn to teachers that suit their own desires. That people will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away after myths. Paul also challenges Timothy to always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of and evangelist, and to carry out his ministry. Timothy is to carry out his ministry with zeal in the world and to “do it as unto the Lord” not as unto the people in the world around him.

Paul contrasts two images in vs. 13-15. The first image is at wicked people and imposters, who go from bad to worse; the second image is of Timothy, who continues to grow in keeping the good start he received, becoming mature. I would like for you to imagine with me for a moment two pieces of fruit…one that has a rotten spot that is getting even worse…and the other that is wholesome, firm and just beginning to ripen. This is how Paul saw the people of that day and age…it also holds true for people of our day and age (This goes to prove the old saying “history repeats itself”).

We need to take stock in our lives. We need to ask the questions to ourselves “What is there in our spiritual life that resemble the rotten fruit and what resembles the good, wholesome fruit…if we have a rotten part, how can we keep it from spreading…what will keep us growing toward full maturity.” WE need to ask God for whatever help we to prevent…to stop… rot and encourage growth.

How can we have a heart to do whatever God calls us to do as unto the Lord? How can we make the changes we need in life to be in an effective ambassador of Christ’s love for all? David…in Psalm 119…gives us a good example on how to attain the tools we need to become all that God would have us be…David loved the Lords word. As a matter of fact he meditated on it day and night. He knew that the Lord’s commandments made him wiser than his enemies because it is always true. He was also made wiser than his teachers because the Lord’s decrees were his meditation. David would hold back his feet from evil in order to keep the Lord’s word. It was important to him to follow God’s ways and not the ways of the society around him. David did not turn away from the Lord’s ordinances because the Lord taught him. He felt that the Lord’s word was “sweeter than honey”. Through the Lord’s precepts, he got his understanding and hated every false way.

Meditation…it is a word that is used in many ways. A person may meditate in silence…meditate on a new idea…or even meditate on what to eat at a favorite restaurant. But here…the psalmist describes meditation as bringing scripture into the heart. David states that “it is always with me.” We need to learn to keep scripture always with us. We need to read and live out God’s word and plan for our lives. We need to take time for the Lord each day. This is one way we can receive the instruction we need to live our lives “as unto the Lord”…to be His ambassadors of peace, love and joy.

We have choices in life. We can either choose to live our lives as unto the world…with all its brokenness and strife…just going along to get along. We can wallow in our differences instead of seeking peace…a common ground. Or…we can live our lives as if “doing it unto the Lord”…reaching out to those around us in love and helping them either get on or stay on the right track in life. We can either be like the fruit with rot or the good wholesome fruit. The choice is ours to make. Which will you choose?


To the Laborers Told

Wake the neighbors, tell the children;
tell all the people, or so you would expect
for this special, singular news
The birth of the Messiah, that night
in the Town of Bethlehem,
told instead to the laborers
in the field, working the third shift
the overnight laborers, watching over
their flocks by night
He who would be the Good Shepherd,
the heir of David, the shepherd make King
Revealed to shepherds in the field

November 4, 2007
Luke 2:8-20

The Birth Announcement

There is was, out of the mouths of angels
the announcement, the birth
of the Savior, the Lord, born on Earth
They were the ones, to hear the news
the firsts to learn of the blessing
the gift to all, the Messiah come
Revealed, the scripture fulfilled
known to the shepherds,
working in the fields

November 4, 2007
Luke 2:8-20