Christmas Gratitude

Originally composed in 2013 as a gift of gratitude to my Lifegroup at Broadmoor Baptist Church.

PDF: christmas gratitude

Once upon a time, God gave the greatest gift.
He gave His only son, to heal the awful rift.

Mankind was lost in hopelessness, mired in the dark of sin,
But at the humble manger, salvation lay within.

In courtly robes from far away, the learned Magi came,
Bringing gifts from royal courts, the baby to acclaim.

Gold had they, and frankincense; they recognized the King,
With myrrh, and its aroma rich, they knelt with golden rings.

God gives us gifts from infinite stores, according to His plan,
He waits to see how they’ll be used to help our fellow man.

Like seed sown in the parable, some will be sown in vain.
Some will be thrown in thorny ground, some on hardened plain.

But sowers wise will throw their seed in fertile, ready soil,
And reap a harvest hundredfold, worthy of the toil.

Recently, you’ve heard of needs of those within your midst,
Struggling to make ends meet, and needing an assist.

With hilarity and joyfulness, you gave with open hands,
And under anonymity, obeyed the Lord’s commands.

Your selfless act has helped meet needs in ways that can’t be known,
With every gift so freely giv’n, the seed of love is sown.

So with thankful hearts, and joyful song, we’ll serve, and love, and give,
And remember what you did for us, for all the days we live.

By Bill Moak, in thankfulness

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A Father Reflects

I looked at old pictures today of my boys.
The years have flown by, the memories faded,
Time flies like a fast-moving river,
Erasing the marks we seek to preserve.
But, like opening the pages of a book long forgotten,
The memories came back
like a warm, gentle rain on my face.

The time when I took my firstborn to the zoo,
When it was just him and me.
Butterflies paint his sweet toddler cheeks,
That blue sweater vest, his hat made of paper.
He didn’t mind holding my hand back then,
And he thought I could do no wrong.
That afternoon, we spent exploring,
Time seemed suspended that sweet spring day.

Another flashback, this time to a stream, off the road.
A place in the forest, we sought to discover.
That Saturday morning, dew still on the ground,
We found a waterfall.
Just my littlest one, the dog and me,
We walked through the wakening woods.
His heart delighted by discoveries around every bend;
Mine, just to watch him explore.

Like an explorer discovering treasures long lost,
The images all tell a tale.
Sandboxes, first steps, and Christmases past,
Little red wagons and forts made of chairs.
With the warm feelings, come other things too –
Little twinges of guilt and shame.
Words spoken more harshly than I meant them to be,
Times when I just wasn’t there.
Things I regret now, I wish I could take all of them back.
But I know in my heart that a memory — once made —
Is a brick in what makes him a man.
Little boys become teens, and then leave the nest,
To begin their own memory books.

So I pray this small prayer, as so often I have,
Since God made me the father of boys.
I don’t ask for perfection, but, humbly and low,
I ask God for wisdom and grace.
I pray for protection, and guard of their hearts,
And that they will find happiness.
Whatever I’ve done, in the years of their youth,
I hope they will know they are loved.
I hope they’ll look back, when they’re men on their own,
With fond memories outweighing the bad.
I hope they can say, with truth in their eyes,
That their father loved them through all.
And despite his shortcomings, he tried hard each day,
To model a Godly man.
And above all, he made it his work each day,
To ask for forgiveness and grace.

And when it’s their honor to father their own,
They’ll remember these crucial ideas:
To be there for their children, in their time of need,
And to make them feel safe and secure.
To love their mother, for she is a treasure;
She’s the daughter I took from her Dad.
To be men of their word, and do what they promised,
And pray every day for their kids.
And give them the freedom to dream their own dreams,
And let them know you love them each day.

A New Year, A New Me

The fireworks have ended, the ball has been dropped,
The crowds have gone home, the cheering has stopped.
I awake to a new year, so full of potential,
What seemed so important, now inconsequential.
So what will I make of this new set of days?
Will I fill them with hope, or cast downward my gaze?
Will I be a victim of circumstance, tossed by the wave,
Or will I take charge, my own trail fearlessly blaze?
I submit, my dear friends, that I already know.
My choice this day is not to wither, but grow.
God’s plan for me (I know He has one)
Is to bring help to me, not harm; it’s already begun.
So whatever happens in two thousand thirteen,
I elect to be happy, and abandon routine.
It’s a big, bold adventure that waits there before me,
But I know my Big God will never ignore me.
Written on New Year’s 2013

A Poem for Trials

When the walls are closing in, and the wolf is at the door,
When you’ve tried to give your all, but there’s just not any more,
Just look out the window, and to the great blue sky,
And remember that your greatest Friend is right there, standing by.

Whatever trial you’re facing, whether small or great,
If your life is on the line, or if it’s just too tough to wait,
No matter if you are beset by enemies everywhere,
It all pales when you consider just what He had to bear.

Good friends have all betrayed Him, left him to stand alone,
Blood pours from His mortal wounds, as pain sears through His bones.
An agonizing walk through city streets, they curse and spit and mock,
Nails pound through His gentle flesh, then the cross upon the rock.

As He dies there on that cross, He prays for those who stand around,
Yes, even those who mocked Him, and those who can’t be found.
Life leaves His precious body on that cold and dark hillside,
But we know that this is not the end, for Jesus is alive!

Whatever pain you’re bearing, He’s felt it all before.
As He bore our sins on shoulders sweet, for all men, rich or poor.
So as you deal with problems, whatever be their size,
Your Best Friend waits to melt them, in His loving, tender eyes.

Why Should I Be Surprised? (Poem)

When I look up into the night sky,
At the band of jewels there,
And marvel at the handiwork
Of the one who put them there…

Why should I be surprised?

When I gaze into the eyes
Of the one who’s meant for me,
And think about the love
Which every day I see…

Why should I be surprised?

When the lights have been turned out
My little ones say their prayers,
And I feel the hopes and dreams
Of the young hearts stirring there…

Why should I be surprised?

For one day long ago,
You paid the dreadful price,
And sacrificed perfections
For a world so full of vice…

Why should I be surprised?

The love you demonstrated
On the day the angels wept,
You showed your boundless love;
The promise had been kept.

So wherever I may go,
And what ever road I choose,
And the things we call coincidence,
The world’s quick to excuse,

I’ll smile with reassurance,
And know it’s all a plan.
I know that my God loves me,
Why, I’ll never understand.

So when the waves come crashing through,
He’ll hear my desperate cry,
And scoop me up, and rescue me…
And I’ll be once again surprised.

Copyright January 19, 2006 by William D. Moak

What Part of Your Life Do I Have? (Poem)

I was walking one day through a sun-splattered wood,
my mind full of life’s weighty things,
When, like a bolt out of the purest blue,
a mighty voice started to ring.
“I am the One who is,” said the voice,
“and the One who always will be.
We’ve met before, but il’s been so long,
since you’ve stopped to talk to me.

“We were once even closer than family can be,
and we walked through these woods hand in hand
At night, we would talk and you’d sing praise to me,
of the heavenly works of my hand.”

“But as the years passed, we drifted apart,
and though I would wait for you,
You began to neglect spending time with me,
and our moments began to become few.”

“I miss you, my child, and it grieves my heart so,
to see you charting your way
Without me to guide you and give you my peace,
to help you through all the long days. ”

“When you gave me your heart, so long ago,
you promised to make me your king.
You told me that you would be living for me,
and my praises you always would sing.”

“But the hymns that you sing now sound empty and cold,
my heart breaks as you turn me away.
Your life has become self-centered and vain,
and rare are the times that you pray”

“What part of your life have you given to me?
What can I call my own?
Where am I in the list of the things
that you think about when you’re alone?”

“Your brother is out there alone in the dark,
your sister is lonely and cold
Children are dying all over the world,
while the rich man watches his gold. ”

“I miss the joy of your company,
and sharing your life’s joy and pain.
You must have forgotten what it was like
to have blessings fall on you like rain.”

“My child, please come back, for you’re still my own;
I’ve paid for your soul with my blood.
You can make your own choice to go your own way,
but this mustn’t be misunderstood:

“On the day that we met and you gave me your life,
your soul and mine intertwined
There’s a part of your heart that will never be whole,
unless it’s joined fully with mine.”

“I’ve asked once before, and I’ll ask you again,
until you will listen no more,
I want once again to be Lord of your life –
Oh, please, won’t you open the door?”

“What part of your life have you given to me?
What can I call my own?
Where am I in the list of the things
that you think about when you’re alone?”

And as I listened, my eyes filled with tears,
and my mind went back to the day
When I knelt down beside the old easy chair,
and my sins all melted away.

I remembered the times when I made some mistakes,
and God pricked my heart once again,
Always He was there, His arms open wide,
no mistaking the nails in His hands.

So I knelt where I was, beside an old oak,
the wind whistling above,
And once again prayed, “Forgive me please, God.”
and I once again felt His great love.

(c) Bill Moak, 12/24/1996

Raised on Love (Poem)

Sam, 1978-1990

Sam, 1978-1990

To Sam, one of the best friends I ever had

From the time that you were young,
Love was all you knew.
You frolicked in the sun,
Fur wet with morning dew.
Your bark was reassuring,
Your presence strong and kind.
Your family could not take a step
Without you close behind.
Oh, you suffered quite a bit,
From the cold, wet, cats, and heat.
And the time that you got hit
Put some stiffness in your feet.
You hated water hoses,
And dusts for ticks and fleas.
And you headed for the woods
When you smelled conspiracy.
But through it all, you loved,
Returning what we gave.
Your gentle, deep, dark eyes
Our affronts on you forgave.
We knew we could always count
On your gentle, loving care,
To protect us from whatever
Danger lurked out there.
The day you left our lives
Left a hollow in our hearts.
You were a family member,
Who always played your part.
We never will forget
What you meant to each of us.
Your calm and free-given love
We could always trust.
Dear Sam, we’ll miss you, boy,
But I think God has a place
In Heaven for the dogs
Who trust their master’s face.
© Sept. 13, 1990, by William D. Moak