Into the Garden

I come into the garden
Where many beauties grow
Where saplings sprout and harden
Where flowers bloom and glow

The fresh and fragrant flowers
Are sending scents sublime
As from the verdant bowers
The vines and ivy climb

I come, my heart desires
To find some precious thing
Some beauty that inspires
I come to meet my King

I look at His creation
The leaves, both far and near
What beauty past summation!
I know my King is here

I feel His presence with me
Though He cannot be seen
I feel His gladness fill me
Amidst this world so green

Bright rays of light are spilling
Through canopies of leaves
My heart my King is filling
With hope that never leaves

For just as spring’s bright beauty
Breaks forth from winters bleak
He plants new life within me
Whenever Him I seek

The lovely flowers show me
That He who made me whole
Shall plant bright hope and beauty
Within my ransomed soul

The Artist of creation
Shall clear my eyes to see
His infinite provision
His lovely gifts for me

And as, amidst such glory
I pause against a tree
I hear a wondrous story
Of Him who set me free

For lo! a sight of wonder
The greatest gift He gave
Amidst the garden splendor
I see an empty grave

He lives; my King has risen!
He gives new life to me
I’m treasured and forgiven
From death He set me free

With joy and hope so ceaseless
My heart is filled by Him
With love and peace so priceless
He overflows my brim

I come into the garden
To see His works of art
I think upon His pardon
He overwhelms my heart

“The Garden Tomb”~Jerusalem, Israel

Breath of Life

The winter’s chilling wind is past
The world’s awakening at last
And from the mounts, where there was snow
Come rushing streams that overflow

The streams make all the fields turn green
Bright blossoms everywhere are seen
And in the grass and in the trees
Are graceful birds and busy bees

This lustrous beauty makes me sing
I thank my King for each new spring
As spring’s light breezes swiftly roll
The breath of life now fills my soul

Me at 10 years old (the photo above the poem is from Mount Lemmon by Tucson, Arizona)

Intervene

My life was full of grief and pain
So scared was I, and so unclean
My efforts for relief were vain
With tears, I begged You, “Intervene!”

I waited as the weeks went past
For You to come and heal my soul
Then to my room You came at last
Your Spirit touched me, made me whole

And thus, Your comfort, love, and peace
Have filled my heart–have made me sing
You caused my griefs and fears to cease
That day You came to intervene

With daily strength, and daily care
You lift me up when I am low
And when I need You most, You’re there
You’ve touched my heart–that fact I know

Yes, You are kind and You are good
Those truths I’ve tasted and I’ve seen
You do the things I never could
Whene’er You come to intervene

Oh, how I love to see Your hand
To see Your grace and love revealed
In any harsh or arid land
When You will touch me, I am healed

Now doubts have no more place in me
Your miracles my eyes have seen
For when my trust and hope is Thee
You always, someway, intervene

His presence makes my heart so free
What satisfies me more than this?
For when my Savior comes to me
And touches me–what peace! What bliss!

And now, when wars or sorrows rise
Remind me, Yah, of what I’ve seen
To You I’ll lift my weary eyes
And wait for You to intervene

Book of Wonders

On my lap a book is laid
It’s black, its title gold
The binding’s worn, the edges frayed
It’s obviously old

And yet, to me this book is worth
Much more than treasures rare
And if I searched across the earth
There isn’t anywhere

A single thing that’s worth as much
As this unseemly book
I open it with reverent touch
And gladly take a look

Within the well-worn covers are
True tales of long ago
Of kings and slaves in lands so far
Who stood against the foe

I read about the King of all–
His immortality
I read of Adam’s sinful fall
And immorality

I learn His judgments and His ways
His justice, truth, and grace
I learn His glory and His praise
And how to seek His face

What great and wondrous mystery
Is wrapped within each word
Both what has been, and what shall be
Is written or inferred

I read the age-old wisdom and
The way to live my life
I read that He will hold my hand
Through any pain or strife

What miracles my King has done!
I know He’ll always win
I read that He sent down His Son
To rescue us from sin

I read about my Savior’s deeds
How He was wise and brave
I read of how He’ll fill my needs
What precious words He gave!

I hear of how He died for me
Then triumphed o’er the grave
Because of Him, from death I’m free
He came to seek and save

I read of love so passionate
Of hope and peace so free
Encouragement so infinite
My King has given me

I shall not trust in fleeting bliss
In hope or joy that dies
His timeless book of wonders is
My trust, my priceless prize

Chosen

This is a style of poetry called “Rondeau”

The King of all has chosen me
In priceless love, He set me free
He looked from heaven, saw my woe
He washed my sin, and helped me know
He gave His only Son for me

And when I look around, I see
So many, trapped in misery
I look for ways to let them know
The King of all

The King of all has chosen me
His faithful servant I shall be
He chose me so that I would show
His grace to others, so they know
The King of all

Fortitude

Oh, enemy
Who’s fighting me
Whoever you might be
Know now that all your schemes shall fail
You’ll never conquer me

My Savior’s near
And I won’t fear
No matter what I see
Although you try to chain me down
My Savior’s set me free

In any night
In any fight
‘Fore any foe or dart
You have no power over me
My King shall guard my heart

And though you say
There is no way
That I shall e’er succeed
My God works wondrous miracles
He’ll give me all I need

My hope is real
And you can’t steal
My peace, my hopeful spark
They’re blessings straight from God; how bright
They are when days are dark

Although you fight
To quench my light
My light shall yet remain
My joy and light are from my King
Eternal is His reign

For all your schemes
To slay my dreams
Shall make my faith more strong
They make me love my Savior more
Add power to my song

And if you try
To make me die
“My King arose!” I’ll sing
“Oh grave, where is your victory?
Oh death, where is your sting?”

And if in life
There must be strife
There must be grief and pain
The One in Whom I have believed
Will turn it for my gain

And I will fight
For what is right
I’ll pay whatever price
The chance to love and serve my King
Is worth the sacrifice

A Future and a Hope

Scene 1

SETTING: IVRIT’s house

AT RISE: The low light is on. IVRIT stumbles from stage left into the light, crying.

IVRIT
(kneeling, crying)
I thought things–I thought things were going to get better! I thought Moses was going to make Pharaoh free us! I thought Yehovah had heard our cry! But when Moses went to speak with Pharaoh, what do we get?–more work! How shall we gather our own straw–how? I thought Yehovah said He was going to free us! I thought He had promised! I thought He remembered us! But evidentially, it was all just fantasy.

(IVRIT continues crying. The bright light comes on as DOUBT enters from stage left and marches proudly around the room.)

DOUBT
That’s right. It was all fantasy. It was all a joke, an awful joke. Yehovah is not going to free you. What could you do to merit Yehovah’s favor? Who would ever want to help a miserable slave like you? Yehovah isn’t–

(HOPE enters the room from stage left and yells, interrupting DOUBT. IVRIT continues looking at the floor, crying, as the others talk.)

HOPE
Stop it, you bully! Don’t say any more!

DOUBT
You think you can stop me? You’re so small and weak!

HOPE
I, Hope, am stronger than you think, because I have a special power–the power of promise.

DOUBT
Promises aren’t powerful! Promises are broken all the time! And it is obvious that Yehovah has broken His promise to this people. He isn’t freeing them.

IVRIT
There are so many thoughts in my head; I don’t even know what to believe.

DOUBT
Believe me; after all, you’ve believed me all your life. It would be foolish to put your trust in Moses’ fancy words. You yourself know that words don’t profit.

HOPE
No, my King Yehovah is righteous and He would never break His promise to Abraham! He will set these oppressed slaves free in His perfect timing.
(turns to IVRIT, speaking kindly)
Listen, Ivrit, you will be free one day, you only must wait.

IVRIT
I must cling to hope. Maybe, just maybe, Yehovah is still going to do something for us.

(Blackout)

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 2

Setting: IVRIT’s house

AT RISE: The low light is on. Ivrit is rocking her baby.

IVRIT
It’s amazing to think that after the bloody water, the frogs, and the lice, Yehovah spared us the swarm of flies. Our land is not destroyed. Oh, how special it is that Yehovah has chosen us to be His people! Never has any god cared about slaves. And when we’re free, Yehovah will be a much kinder king than Pharaoh.

(The big light turns on. DOUBT enters from stage left.)

DOUBT
Now, don’t start your foolish dreams again. Maybe you will have to suffer the next plague. You aren’t all that special. What slave is ever special? And don’t start talking about freedom. You don’t even know what freedom is!

HOPE
(entering by stage left with her Bible.)
Silence! Stop your talking.

DOUBT
(rolling her eyes)
Not you again! Can’t you just leave?

HOPE
I’m back again with a sword–
(She lifts up her Bible.)
The two-edged sword of Yehovah.

DOUBT
(mockingly)
That’s no sword! It’s only a book!

HOPE
(She opens her Bible. DOUBT acts nervous.)
“I will bring to memory the compassions of Yehovah, the praise of Yehovah. And He said, ‘Surely they are My people, children who will not deal falsely.’ In all their affliction, He had affliction, and the Angel of His Presence saved them. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them.”

DOUBT
(plugging her ears)
Stop talking!

HOPE
“’For I know the thoughts I am thinking for you,’ says Yehovah. ‘Thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. And you will seek me, and you will find when you seek me with all of your heart. And I shall be found by you,’ says Yehovah. ‘And I will turn back your captivity.’”
(DOUBT flees the room by stage left.)

HOPE
Cling to your faith in Yehovah, Ivrit. Do not be deceived by the lies of Doubt. Continue to cling to your new-found joy as you rest in the promise that you will be free.

(HOPE leaves by stage left, happily. IVRIT sets her baby down on a mat. The big light turns off.)

IVRIT
I will be free. My baby will be free. I wonder what freedom will be like.

MUSIC CUE: “What Could Freedom Be?”

Tell me; what could freedom be?
Soon I’ll know, for soon I’ll see
Tell me; what could freedom mean?
It’s a thing I’ve never seen

Once my fathers were free
Long ago, as for me
I remember the word
That the ancestors heard
We’d be lost, be enslaved
Then Yah said we’d be saved
We’d return to that land
And that promise will stand

Tell me; what does freedom mean?
Does it mean I serve a King
Who is gracious and just–
Who’s a King I can trust?

Would the whips and the wrong
That I’ve known all along
Somehow leave, somehow cease
Would I somehow know peace?
Does it mean I have food?
Does it mean I have drink?
Does it mean no more work
In the mud where I sink?

Tell me; what could freedom be?
Does it mean You answer me?
That Yehovah, King of all
Came to save us–heard our call?

Does it mean Yah would take
Us and battle to make
Us His people to bless
And to rule and possess?
Does it mean He would give
Us a land where we’ll live?
In that land shall we see
What it means to be free?

Does it mean that You know
What we do, where we go?
And if so, is it true
That You notice me too?
Can I dare to suppose
That if us, Yah, you chose
And we’re precious to You
Maybe I’m precious too?

Tell me; what could freedom be?
Does it mean You care for me?

MUSIC DOWN

(Blackout)

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 3

SETTING: IVRIT’s house

AT RISE: The low light is on. IVRIT is kneading some bread with her baby wrapped on her.

IVRIT
I keep marveling at the wonders I have seen in the last year. Eight plagues! Eight terrible plagues have come upon the Egyptians but still they will not obey Yehovah and let us go. I wonder how much longer we will have to wait.

(The big light turns on. DOUBT enters by stage left.)

DOUBT
How can you be certain that your waiting will ever end? Eight miserable plagues haven’t convinced Pharaoh. Yehovah obviously isn’t strong enough to change Pharaoh’s mind.

HOPE
(entering by stage left)
I thought that after eight plagues you would finally figure out that you are going to lose this battle, Doubt.

DOUBT
(mockingly)
I? I am going to lose? I am much stronger than you!

HOPE
(lifting the Bible)
But I still have my sword.

DOUBT
(rolling her eyes and shaking her head)
Not that again. Silence!

MUSIC CUE: “Someday I’ll be Free”

HOPE
(opening her Bible)
“But I have trusted in Your loving-kindness. My heart will rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to Yehovah, for He has dealt bountifully with me.”

(DOUBT sulks and frowns as she sings.)

You can say that I’m weak
You can say that you’re strong
You can mock or oppose me
But you can not stop my song
You can not stop my song

You can say that I’m wrong
It won’t matter to me
Though you choose to deny it
Soon sweet freedom shall be
Soon sweet freedom shall be

HOPE and IVRIT
And right now the hardship surrounds me
And yes, I’m a slave now I see
But though I can not see the future
I know someday I’ll be free!

IVRIT
I’ll hold onto my hope
I won’t listen to you
Though you say hope is foolish
I know hopes can come true
I know hopes will come true

HOPE and IVRIT
And right now the hardship surrounds me
And yes, I’m a slave now, I see
But though I can not see the future
I know someday I’ll be free!

DOUBT
But what foundation does your hope have? So many hopes, so many dreams, never come true! What makes you think that this dream of freedom will come true?

HOPE
Because Pharaoh will have to submit to the Creator of the Universe. Just wait and see.

IVRIT
I’ll remember Yehovah who loved me
And for Him I will patiently wait
I will run and not grow weary
I will walk and not grow faint

HOPE and IVRIT
I’ll remember the promise He made us
I will patiently wait for the day
When at last He will lift us from bondage
And until then I’ll say

And right now the hardship surrounds me
And yes, I’m a slave now, I see
But though I can not see the future
I know someday I’ll be free!

IVRIT
Yes, I know

HOPE
Yes, I know

IVRIT
Someday I’ll be

HOPE
I’ll be

IVRIT and HOPE
Free!

MUSIC DOWN

(Blackout)

(END OF SCENE)

Scene 4

SETTING: Outside Ivrit’s house

AT RISE: The low light is on. IVRIT stands at stage left, with her baby in her arms, looking solemnly at the blood on her door.

IVRIT
Thank you, Yehovah, that on this night, you are going to deliver my son.

MUSIC CUE: “Our Hope is Found in the Blood”

(DOUBT enters from stage right and walks to stage left.)

DOUBT
After all those years
After all those tears
Do you really think you’ll be free?
After all those woes
All of Pharaoh’s no’s
Do you really think he’ll agree?

You are just a slave
Would Yehovah save
You and lift you up from the mud?
Does He care for you?
No it isn’t true!
It’s all lies
Don’t trust in the blood

IVRIT
After all these years
Full of pain and fears
I at last have peace in my heart
Yes, the hope is real
Yes, the wounds will heal
Yes, my life will finally start

I am not the same
Since Yehovah came
He has lifted me from the mud
After all He’s done
He will save my son
Yes, my hope
Is found in the blood

DOUBT
But why would you put your hope in the blood?

(The big light comes on. HOPE enters from stage right and walks over to stage left.)

HOPE
Since the ancient days
Yehovah’s just ways
Have been rays of hope in the night
And His word stands true
Both for me and you
And His promise stands on this night!

From the ash of death
Feel the springtime’s breath
See the flower break from the bud
For the Righteous one
Shall redeem your son
For our hope
Is found in the blood

DOUBT
But how does the blood have the power to save your son?

IVRIT and HOPE
For our King is strong
He’s our strength, our song
And His Name has spread through the earth
For our King tore down
Egypt’s pride and crown
And He gives us freedom and worth

In the blood is life
Peace amidst the strife
Yah is strong in tempest or flood
For we trust our King
And His praise we sing
So our hope
Is found in the blood

DOUBT
I still don’t understand why you would trust in superstitions.

HOPE
We are not trusting in superstitions–we trust the word of Yehovah!

IVRIT
How wonderful it is to be able to put hope and faith in Yehovah!

HOPE
See? She has rejected you. You have no place here anymore, Doubt. Leave now!

DOUBT
(angrily)
I will go find someone who is willing to listen to me.

(DOUBT leaves by stage right. IVRIT, with her baby, and HOPE enter the house. The big light turns off, and the stage is still, until HOPE and IVRIT, with her baby, exit the home and walk to center stage.)

IVRIT and HOPE
HalleluYah, He
Won the victory
We’re a newborn nation today!
And the endless years
Of distress and fears
Now have ended, thus we shall say

Though the waves may break
Or the oceans shake
Or the mountains crash with a thud
Still our strength He’ll be
For eternity
Yes, our hope
Is found in the blood

Yes, our hope
Is found in the blood
Yes, our hope
Is found in the blood!

MUSIC DOWN

(Blackout)

(END OF SCENE)

(END OF MUSICAL)

Don’t Forget~”On Eagles’ Wings” Anniversary

One year ago, “On Eagles’ Wings” came to the stage. I have such great joy in my heart when thinking of all that Yehovah did to give us that opportunity. He truly gives great delights to His children.

But I think of more than just fun and warm feelings when thinking of that day. I think of all that Yehovah taught me. The experience was full of learning opportunities, and He is the best teacher ever.

He taught me that rewarding and wonderful things in life come with more work than I’d ever imagine. I knew that making a musical wouldn’t be easy, but I had no idea of all that it would entail. Preparations for the musical became a full-time job. I couldn’t have done it without Yehovah.

He taught me that when He gives someone a mission, he will give that person all that they need for it. When it appeared that producing a musical was nothing but a silly dream, He wouldn’t let me give up. Yehovah surrounded me with wonderful people, some of whom I’d never met before, who shared their time, items, expertise, and encouragement. My family and the cast members were incredible, spending hours on the music, set, and practices. It was awesome to see. As Psalm 34 says, we lacked not any thing. Every prop and costume we needed, Yehovah gave us.

He taught me that there is nothing comparable to being His vessel. I hope that every one of Yehovah’s children could know what it feels like to be commissioned by the King of the universe to complete a certain project. It gives you a sense of dignity that is priceless. It is an honor to be His servant. If you’ve never felt that, just talk to Him about it. I’m sure He has a project for you to tackle.

He taught me how to follow His call. When I began writing the script in June 2020, I had no idea that it would actually come to the stage, or that we could find eleven actors. But I knew that He was calling me to write, and His call was a burning fire inside that wouldn’t let me rest until the play was on the stage. I’d wanted to do theater for a long time, but all other efforts had fallen flat. Yet when He told my heart that it was time, I followed His call and He poured His blessings on the work. One of the most important things a person can do is to learn how to follow when Yehovah calls.

He taught me not to forget. Think about the Exodus story. The children of Israel saw the wonders and plagues, crossed the Red Sea on dry land, saw their enemies vanquished, and saw Yehovah’s cloud go before them. Exodus 15 records the song that they sang after the Red Sea crossing, and that’s how our musical ended. We all stood there, singing the victory: “Yehovah reigns forever and ever!”

But what happened after that victory? Just verses after their triumphant Red Sea song, the Israelites went to Marah and found bitter water. They complained and lost faith in Yehovah. Not long after, they needed food and complained about that. And this is a cycle that they continued throughout the wilderness. Yehovah gave them the food and water they needed, but still they didn’t keep their faith in Him and kept trying Him. They kept forgetting how good and powerful He is, as it says in Psalm 106:7. “Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders. They did not remember your great mercies and rebelled by the sea, the Sea of Reeds.”

Whenever we read that story, we like to think that we wouldn’t be like them–that we would remember all that Yehovah has done. But I know that in my life, when something is painful, overwhelming, or concerning to me, I’m quick to get discouraged. I sometimes forget the things Yehovah’s done in the past to help, heal, and save.

But with Yehovah’s help, I shall stop forgetting, and instead remember. I shall remember standing barefooted on that stage in my white dress, raising my hands in praise, and singing the Red-Sea-crossing song about the power of His excellence. I shall remember all the wonders He did to make that musical happen and remember that He will continue to do wonders. In the midst of trials, I shall learn to sing songs of His glory, so that I shan’t forget all His works. And I will tell the coming generation of what He’s done so that they may remember His grace and strength.

Friends, don’t forget what He’s done for you. He truly is omnipotent, and hopefully soon, we will all be better at remembering that. But here in this home, we won’t forget. The joy, the songs, and the lessons from last year are still ringing in our hearts.

“Child at War” by Mark Bles

What would you do if your life was completely shaken? What if your country was taken over by foreign enemies who have no respect for life or freedom? What would, or what could, you do? What if you were only thirteen?

These are the questions that Hortense Daman had to face when the Nazis charged like lightning into her little country of Belgium. Bringing cruelty and death alongside them, they threatened to destroy all that Hortense knew and loved. She longed to take action against them, and she was soon a message girl for her brother Francois, a wise leader in the Belgian resistance movement. By age fifteen, she was an official courier for the Belgian Army of Partisans. She quickly learned the German language, and all the best ways to convince the Nazis that she was a little girl who would have nothing to do with escape lines, sabotage, etc. Her brother tried to warn her of the horrors that would happen if she was caught. She did understand the consequences of her decision, as much as a teenager could, but it didn’t change much. She had to do what was right.

She barely evaded capture many times, but on February 14, 1944, there was no escape. Seventeen-year-old Hortense, her father, and her mother were sent into the torturous world of German prison life. She and her mother were sent to Ravensbruck, where they endured great horrors–surrounded constantly by torment and death. Only by a series of inexplicable miracles did they survive. In May, upon the end of the war, the entire family was able to return home.

This is a story of fortitude stronger than torture, of courage stronger than pain, and of hope stronger than doubt. It shows the power of family and the power of duty. Hortense, though so young, knew the calling God had given her. He gave her strength and wisdom beyond her years so that she could fight for freedom. I am certain that Hortense’s story will continue to be an inspiration to many.

When Nighttime Falls

When nighttime falls, and skies dark gray
Replace the sunset’s lustrous spray
I’ll seek a place where I can hide
In You, my El, shall I confide

When nighttime falls, I know the best
Of rocks, where I can find my rest
Our Rock of Ages, full of grace
Will tuck me into His embrace

When nighttime falls, and weak am I
In Your strong arms I’ll gladly lie
I know Your rest will make me whole
Your hope will satisfy my soul

When nighttime falls, I’ll wait to hear
Your soothing voice, forever near
You speak to me, and give me peace
And make my doubts and worries cease

When nighttime falls, and all I see
Is night and fog surrounding me
I’ll lean on Him–His love and grace
His shelter is my resting place

When nighttime falls, I’ll sing a song
Of joy and hope, of morning’s dawn
Night’s plague or arrow shan’t I fear
I know that He’s forever near

When nighttime falls, then I shall sing
The faithfulness of Yah my King
He’s never failed; He never will
In hours dark, He cheers me still

When nighttime falls, I know that He
Shall never take His eyes off me
When I’m asleep, He’s still awake
And watching every breath I take

When nighttime falls, I know He’ll be
As faithful as the dawn for me
Though sorrow lasts throughout the night
Great joy will come at morning light

When nighttime falls, You are my light
Your brightness breaks the darkest night
When I lie down, I pray my eyes
Shall see Your face when I arise

Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
-John 8:12