Likeness

Luke 20.19-26 | The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answers they became silent. 

Grayscale Photo of Woman Peeking on Planks

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

 

I want gain!
To simply try and maintain
Some semblance of membrane
Fighting through lack and pain –
Life of torturous mundane –
Food, clothing and status; plain!
No longer living with this strain,
Existence bane – I REFRAIN!

 

Man Touching His Black Fedora Hat

Photo by Marcelo Chagas from Pexels

 

That’s why I’m with the rulers – the elite!
As I march to their beat,
Carried by feet past the hordes in the street,
As they follow these fools! I’m sly and discreet
Determined to carry out my feat,
Tonight I’ll dine on wine and meat, when I get folly to repeat.
I will greet, take a seat and sift his words like wheat!
Yeshua, PREPARE FOR YOUR GREATEST FOE TO MEET!

 

Coins on Brown Wood

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

 

Uncanny plan, I will trip him up with tax!
… … He flipped it so easily with the power he packs,
He defeats all attacks. I feel burned like wax,
And beaten as with a stalks of flax!
Falling off the tracks, friends forget pacts and turn backs,
And what bears God’s likeness? Truth like an ax!
I do! These are the facts. I was embarrassed to the max.
WORDS ARE BARE! A REBUTTAL MY TONGUE LACKS!

 

Man's Face in Grayscale Photography

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

 


What side do we find ourselves on? Holy Week 2019.

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

 

Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 17 Apr 2019 23:25:08 -040025Wednesday 2016 at 11:25 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: ,

Kyrie

Sorry, I’m a day late. I couldn’t stay awake last night to post…

desert during nighttime

Photo by Walid Ahmad on Pexels.com

Abba,
The night lingers on as your stars
Kiss the loneliness of the dark sky.
Their light cascading softly down
The hills and crevasses around.
The breeze makes sand and leaves dance;
Your beauty; my spirit desires to fly.

mountain rock and moon

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

Abba,
As I take in all of this beauty –
Breathing the glow of Passover moon –
I must confess my heart is heavy,
Is this your presence, a broken levee?
This can’t be the Messiah,
Or can it be…is it too soon?

milky way galaxy during nighttime

Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

rock formation during night time

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Abba,
Looking upon the beauty in the sky,
Tears well up; Abraham gazed these stars!
I was so hard on my son, but then I heard!
He loves this man! But I hung on every word!
He cleared out the Temple’s foolery;
His power and passion! Can he mend our scars?

people having bonfire at desert at night

Photo by Tomáš Malčo Malík on Pexels.com

Abba,
Over yonder, is that him around the fire,
Investing in his uncouth band of brothers?
How does he speak to you? Is he the one Father?
I’m riddled with doubts; my soul continues to bother!
I want to side with the rules who oppose;
Aha – his words my doubts smother!

silhouette image of person praying

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Abba,
Is this the answer?! The sun rising,
I can see my faults – kyrie eleison!
The golden rays envelope my frame,
Is this how history will say you came?
I don’t know … … … much anything today,
But I believe, this Yeshua is your son!


Continued blessings on this Holy Week. See Luke 19.45-48 for context.

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 17 Apr 2019 15:14:50 -040014Wednesday 2016 at 3:14 pm  Comments (11)  
Tags: ,

Jovial, Juvenile, Justify

To Whom this May Find

I just had to write this down.

Yesterday was … (how do I find the right words; Father, please help me) … historical and amazing. My family just arrived in Jerusalem. We got here early this year, by G-d’s good grace, early for the Passover.

The scene was unbelievable. A group quickly amassed with palm branches. I was intrigued, but nervous as the city has been in such turmoil. They crowed the city’s Golden Gate in a throng. Then their voices raised to the skies – Hosanna, Hosanna; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. My spirit moved and leap within in.

I wasn’t sure what was going on, but an immense and royal joy came over me. I pressed closer to the scene as palm branches waved and were thrown down. A group of men come marching into the city riding on the accolades and praise of the crowd.

Then I saw the face of the colt. He was excited but tired as his face almost looked as if he was amazed to be chosen for this job. He seemed to be soaking up the moment – incomprehensible; yet somehow maybe true…

Then I saw him – the Rabbi all the fuss was about. I had heard of his fame and great works before I ever saw him, but to see him … There was something so regal and powerful. It was like being by him made you breathless and yet you realized he was the giver of breath. His name, Yeshua.

I’m still fairly young and I have a long way to go in my studies, but I know what the significance of him riding into the city on a colt meant. His declaration of being the triumphant King. Is the time now?! The leaders of the Pharisees do not think so. You should see them scowling around! They argue with everyone about him being the Messiah. I want to yell, “Haven’t you seen his works!”, but I must respect my elders and do not wish to embarrass by parents.

This has to be it! He has to be the Messiah! This must be the end of the Romans!! Redemption must be nigh!

As I look forward to Passover, I am not sure what this week may bring!

Hopefully I will write something else at the end of it all.

Blessings to you,
Yehosuah (Joshua for you that will be reading this thousands of years from now in weird languages!)


As we continue the march through Holy Week, may we put ourselves back in that time and walk with our Lord in his love and passion.

To my brothers and sisters in France (and any who were affected) – prayers with you!
© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Low-angle Photography of Notre Dame

Photo by Ashley Elena from Pexels

Low Angle Photography of Religious Catherdral

Photo by Kris Schulze from Pexels

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 15 Apr 2019 23:26:15 -040026Monday 2016 at 11:26 pm  Comments (6)  
Tags: , ,

Incomprehensible

Palm Fronds

Photo by Liz RoMo from Pexels

I am blessed above most
Yet forged in hardships
My story’s genesis
Wrought in confusion

One bright morning
In the flower of my youth
As the sun rays painted
My field in golden hues

Strangers came wandering
Down the road
Loosing my bonds
Taking me from my land

My master intervenes
Yet my calm quickly fades
Language is foreign to me
Panic grips me as I am led away

Walking over unfamiliar gravel
Confusion hazing my heart
Taken to more men
Their master is strange

Fear grips me sternly
As he emits power
Knees quiver like winter storms
Yet soul is at unspeakable peace

These unfamiliar faces
Lay burdenous sacks upon me
As they beckon me to walk
Transporting their master about

Young and strong
Inexperienced
Growing weary
Doubting my abilities

Miles later, I see life
The city lies ahead
What a commotion stirs
Dust like English clouds

Blessing or destruction
What lies ahead
Shouts and tears
Cacophony twists my ears

These strange faces around
Seem to be twisting joyously
I ease for the moment
While nerves genuflect within

Trod soft leaves and jackets
Laid before us by the swell
Strength arises within
As the moment’s weight unfolds

My deed told thousands of years before
My task confusing, hard
My spirit like tall grass swayed
Dancing like rhythm and blews

All the servants to be picked
I was chosen – incomprehensible –
Blessed as I carried
The Triumphant King!

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Welcome to Holy Week – 2019!

Published in: on 7 PMpSun, 14 Apr 2019 23:23:08 -040023Sunday 2016 at 11:23 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: ,

Hammering Harmonies of Hamilton

It’s been 10 years already… That’s when I started this blog. TEN YEARS AGO! I have wanted to pursue writing for so long. I remember writing poems in high school and in college – before I became a Christian – when I would walk around a campus of 20,000 people and feel utterly alone and dejected. My notebook was there as I would spill my heart out on it’s pages. In my writing I would search so hard for God and for understanding. And then, he showed himself to me… This dream of writing has continued to come back and haunt me, so I started the blog. 10 years later and I am just now – this year – starting to really try and build this page. God, please forgive me for sitting on this dream for so long. My weaknesses and fear have held me back. I’m finally at the point where I’m okay with not being the best writer. I just have to do this because it burns in my bones and if I can only reach one person … no, even if I never reach anyone, I want to obey him as this desire he has placed in me. I’m finally taking a stand – at 35 years old…15 years too late and yet right on time as he has grown me along the way.

I continue to be amazed at how God puts things in my life right when I need it. For example, when I was living in Idaho, my guy Tim put me on Eric Thomas, who was someone that really helped me in a much needed attitude/outlook adjustment. After I moved back to Indiana, I spent some good time reconnecting with one of my brothers, Kyle, who was all hyped up about this Broadway Play by the name of Hamilton – only 4 years too late for me. (Praise God for my many brothers who have been such a blessing at critical points in my life!) I had never heard of it. I was not familiar with Mr. Miranda’s work before this, but looking into the play and learning its soundtrack, amazing work. This play and it’s threads throughout are so well done!

It’s hard for me to explain just how much this soundtrack is sweeping up my spirit! I am trying to forge my character to be more Hamilton-like and that has been on me for years. Finding this play helped put words, music and movements to how I have been feeling! Unfortunately, I have always been a fairly broken and insecure person. I have tended to live in the shadows of other men. I walk around with a burden of failures. Instead of being Hamilton, I am really Burr. Yes, Burr, but I’m at the point I am finding these shadows to be too…chilly. It’s time to step out into the light and not waste my shot! I mean, the world’s in such turmoil and we have the opportunity to speak life and stand on the right side of historic moments – how lucky we are to be alive right now. It’s time to grow and fight and start writing like I’m running out of time...yes, that would be enough. I’m hoping I can actually go and see the show sometime when I have the funds and time to do so! And although there have been several things that led up to this moment, this play has been the most recent piece in the puzzle for me.

In terms of building this page, this has been a wonderful 4 1/2 months. I appreciate all the encouragement, support and pointers that many of you have given. Several of you have reached out to me personally through comments and emails as well. It’s been such a blessing coming across so many great writers and amazing stories;  authors that have inspired, moved, encouraged, challenged, and humored me. I wanted to tag a few people in here, but I realized that it would quickly be over about 20 people and that would be a little crazy to fit in. Just know, especially for those of you that I have gone back and forth with over email or comments, I appreciate your work and the encouragement shown.

I do want to make at least one shout out though. My goal this year was to at least put up one post a week. And then, I ran across this very intriguing and engaging site that was informative and humorous. While engaging with some of these posts, I was drawn into a challenge all of the sudden to write a post a day from A-Z. Well, not to be shown up too easily, I took the challenge on, of course! This has been a huge blessing for me and has challenged me to work harder on my writing and staying faithful to the task. It’s been great exercise over this past week. Little Rants, thank you for the challenge and for the likes, comments and encouragement along the way. I appreciate it!

I am looking forward to growing as I continue to grind and hopefully produce some stuff you all can enjoy and glean from!

Before we go on this post, one quick funny story on this topic. As I’ve said I have been listening to this soundtrack quite a bit lately and every once in a while I listen to it while the kids are riding with me. Well, this week our youngest, who is three, was walking around the house while the other two were at school. She had a hair band and a little barrette. She was pretending it was her sling shot and she was shooting it while making sound effects (pew, pew, pew). Then, all of the sudden, she started singing, “I’m not throwing away my shot!” That’s right baby girl! I’m praying your daddy will do the same.

“The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.”
― Leonard Ravenhill

Let’s continue to grow! Blessings.

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSun, 14 Apr 2019 00:38:41 -040038Sunday 2016 at 12:38 am  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

Garissa

 

Silhouette of Tree Near Body of Water during Golden Hour

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

12 April 2019

“Garissa”

gasp What was that noise?! Why so much commotion?!
It’s exam day! Why is the hall rampant with motion?!
       What time is is anyway? sigh It’s 5:30.
My roommate lifts her head. “Hey girl. What’s all that noise?”
“I don’t know!” I’m becoming concerned and losing poise.
       “Was that a distant scream?!” Frame becoming unsturdy.

Our friend bursts through the door – face twisted in horror.
“They’re killing us!” We hear the thunder of AK claps from door.
       Looking in each other’s youthful eyes; panic!
We leap from beds and slip on shoes,
Ripping the curtain down, room fills with red hues.
       Desperation! Opening the window; frantic!

Our friend goes first, leaping to the ground,
Tears filling eyes with rising deathly sounds,
       My roommate held my hand then leapt,
As a masked man burst into the room,
Grabbing me in a flash, dragged by hair, before I could zoom;
       I wish this was a nightmare dreamt.

My friends scream, cry; with no recourse, sprint to gate,
With others, drug outside, laid face down. Our fate?!
       Is this a joke or a ransom? Could it be a heist?
“We are god’s men from the group of Striving Youth!
We are looking for Christians. No harm if you tell truth!” tears, whimpers
       My family..friends…life…My spirit leaps within; I yell “Jesus Ch… … …

© Joshua Curtis, 2019



This is a historical fiction poem from the massacre that took place at Garissa University College in Kenya in April 2015. I hope – and pray – that I honor those killed. I am detached from that culture, so it is written more so from the emotion that may have been happening at that moment. Why this situation in particular? Just felt drawn to do so.

My desire is to honor the many martyrs of the Christian faith that are being killed daily around the world. They are giving their lives for the truth of Christ, while many of us in the the West sit back and argue about his character and if his Word is reality. This isn’t good enough!

My hope is that this isn’t offensive, particularly to any Kenyan’s or their culture. If so, just know it is from ignorance and not intention. Please forgive me. My intention is of honor.

Below is a song by J. Monty in his honor to many martyrs as well (from 2015). The witnesses of martyrs are compelling and convicting. This is not saying Christianity is the only religion to be persecuted. However, as a Christian, I wanted to do my part to honor my fellow Christians that are under pressure, or that have paid the ultimate price for their (our) belief. Blessings to all!

Video:
https://youtu.be/tX72GjEj350

 

In addition:

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 12 Apr 2019 20:46:38 -040046Friday 2016 at 8:46 pm  Comments (4)  
Tags: , , ,

Ferocious

Freaky fast does Friday frolic this way! Sliding into home plate is today’s challenge letter as it is still Thursday. Hope you enjoy.

 

Shallow Focus Photography of Sheep

Photo by Dan Hamill from Pexels

“Ferocious!”

Lo! A great king – no, the greatest of all –
In glory, love and kindness arrayed!
On his heart heavily weighed his servants lost;
Not permissible!, arising from thrown; to the side his glory laid.

On the rescue to save his own,
Forsaking his status and brought down low.

Justice, mercy, forgiveness and meekness
Uttering from him, powerful yet tender;
Disrespected and trod upon,
And to rescue his loved ones – the lamb … sacrifice rendered.
However, he arose from that death and returns as a different character…

© Joshua Curtis, 2019


When you find the other character hidden there,
Please feel free to comment and share!

Published in: on 7 PMpThu, 11 Apr 2019 22:59:06 -040059Thursday 2016 at 10:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Expectations

man wearing polo shirt holding left chest

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Expectations! This is a broad topic for sure. I want to focus, briefly, on some societal expectations – or lack thereof – in light of one of my all time favorite quotes.

I have spent many years working with youth in various capacities. It’s no surprise for me to say that they are hurting! Our world is hurting and in need of some major repair. One area we really must improve is our language. This is where the war is being waged today! I wrote a post recently about the fight over definitions. It’s more that just that however. It’s also in our expectations of the language we are using. We often speak death to our situations before life has even had the chance to come forth (I am really preaching to myself now!). We are doing the same with our youth. How often are our youth taught – and taught to speak – as if they have no virtues, as if they have no purpose, as if they are … subhuman.

Thus, what do they do? What most humans in that situation do. They intentionally take on the broken language to try in make it positive amongst themselves. And so, we hear the language reverberating throughout our culture, e.g., “What’s up killa?” Now, same sentence, but substitute “killa” with, “play-boy”, “fool”, “pimp”, “savage”. Or, how about this phrase? “Beast mode!”

We are more concerned with becoming a savage or going beast mode than we are becoming men and women. Let us stop lowering our expectations. Instead, let us raise our expectations and demand something better. I feel, although probably initially met with the usual push-back, in time our youth with respond. They need to know, they must be told, they are not beasts or savages. They are humans, created to receive and give love and to live life to their highest capacity.

The problem with humanity is…we are not human enough!

C.S. Lewis spoke of the educational setting in 1940s England and how they were the worse off because they had, to a large degree, stopped teaching morals in their schools. My how we left this rebuke unheeded! We are exceptionally worse off then they were at that time. So, here finally is the quote!

And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. – C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, “Men Without Chests”, pg. 12 [you can read an online pdf of this book as well]

Let us rethink and reevaluate our expectations as a society and let us be careful how we perceive – and what we say – about ourselves. I know I need to do this on a personal level! What are your thoughts? 

Published in: on 7 PMpWed, 10 Apr 2019 21:03:17 -040003Wednesday 2016 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Despondent

brown mountain splashed with water from sea

Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com

I apologize today. I was hoping to create something engaging or clever. It seems I am unable to muster that energy today. I often feel like a rocky edge lying against the immensity of the ocean. Life is amazing and awe-inspiring, yet the waves continue to smash into me, eroding me over time. Then it calms and the sun dries me out and warms me up; things finally are looking bright. All of the sudden another wave, worse than the last, takes even more out of me. Maybe this is the growth process I must endure. Maybe I am pushing through my roof and I should take my own advice from my previous post. God, I know you are with me, but are you with me?! Despondent; this is my word of the day. It was a wavy day. Yet, I rest in the fact that hope will return; the sun will shine again!

frozen wave against sunlight

Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

Psalm 42.5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 09 Apr 2019 21:13:17 -040013Tuesday 2016 at 9:13 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: ,

Child Arise

Good morning from the Midwest of the USA! … I don’t even think this qualifies as morning yet… Anyway, after a good night sleep (ahem; cat nap) we are back on the grind. Here is day three of this A-Z Challenge for you.

There is another challenge inherent to this post along with the A-Z Challenge. A challenge I got from Baffled Mum where you write a piece of work about the picture below. Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • 150 word limit
  • Write a piece of historical fiction or poetry about the photo
  • Try not to use the words tree & green
  • Tag 3 people to do the same with the photo


Enjoy!

img_6296

“Child Arise”

“My child, arise!”
But Father, I am weak, unwise;
I am pushing through concrete, to my surprise,
And there’s a roof overhead, do you realize?!

“My child, stand tall!”
Father, I am pushing through ceiling and wall,
I can barely see your light at all,
What if my roots fail and I fall?

“My child, be still, I will make you grow!”
I’m full of fears and tears; this roof hurts, it’s so slow!
Wait! Did I feel the breeze – a soft blow?
And what is that warmth? The sun’s glow?!

“My child, in whom I love and given my Dove, arise!”
In soil and concrete, rooted are my feet; spreading out – see my size;
Growing remains hard, but my heart I guard, as I’m your prize,
Faithful through each stumble, you make me humble and wise!

“My child, you are mine! Be still, stand tall; arise!”


I wrote this with several Scriptures (ESV*) in mind:

Psalm 1.3

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 92.12-15

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

2 Corinthians 4.7-9

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

John 16.33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Hope you enjoyed. If you like the challenge, do it! Blessings.

P.S. – Little Rants, since you tagged me in the A-Z Challenge, I tag you to add this challenge.

~

“Child Arise” © Joshua Curtis, 2019

* “Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

Published in: on 7 AMpMon, 08 Apr 2019 03:28:27 -040028Monday 2016 at 3:28 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: