Vine of the Divine

To bear fruit, branches must be fed

Without nourishment, they’ll be dead

Such sustenance supplied by the vine

Supplemented by nutrients, rain and sunshine

To separate one from the other

Leads to a certain demise

Solitary existence seems attainable

To some, self-sufficiency is a prize

Take a moment for relflection

Glancing back throughout your life

Were your branches filled with fruit?

Or sparsely adorned, the bounty light?

From where do you receive your sustenance?

What source ensures survival of your vine?

Is it based on something earthly?

Or is it centered around the divine?

God the Father, is the gardener

Jesus, the Son, the true vine

We are the branches that bear the fruit

Given to us to share with mankind

We must remain in Him and His word

Share our fruits with others, share His story

Requests in Jesus through His name will be heard

Answered prayers and fruits shared, together reveal His glory

Jesus called us friend, teachings from above, He shared all

Our friend’s ultimate love revealed, for us He took the fall

By choosing us, He appointed us, our fruits to share

Fruitless branches burned, others pruned, to increase the fruits we bear

Our call you see, is  clear as can be

It involves humanity, our sisters and our brothers

Our borne fruits, through Him, aren’t for you or me

Our bounty shared, fulfills His command:  Love each other

Copyright  2007  Brian Dean Stoddard

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Sixteen Ounce Sized Hole

I wrote this and gave it to my brother, in regards to his struggle with alcoholism.

We’ve all seen them before, through our eyes or someone else’s

We know what they look like, we know how to find them

A twist of the wrist, and there we see it again once more

For before us sits, in our hand, a sixteen ounce sized hole

The hole is small, not very wide, not much can pass on through

It’s size is not representative thought of what the hole can do

A question arises, and we must ask ourselves

Are we pouring the contents out?  Or trying to crawl in?

When we get to the bottom, life seems clearer

Or maybe it’s because reality’s not quite as near

The contents make their way out

Then it begins again

Next thing we know, the night has slipped away

We sit there in a haze, yet to face another day

The bottles have multiplied

But as the night ends, we find ourselves still trying to get inside

We have filled that empty space inside, or so it seems

Our path seems more clear after we finished that last beer

The void seemed closed, the space felt filled

Was it reality, or just a a few more brain cells killed?

Sound familiar?  I’m sure it does

Is this you in this story, or someone you love?

In one form or another we’ve all been touched by this disease

Some have made it through, while others were driven to their knees

The struggle lasts forever even when the hole is filled

The fight is day to day because there is no other way

Temptation rears its ugly head, saying “I’ll have just one, I’ll be OK.”

But the reality is, that one could lead you to your grave

So where do we go, what do we do?

How can the hole be filled?  Where on earth do we go?

When we need to fill that empty space deep within our soul?

Or maybe it’s a loved one, or someone close to your heart

How do we help them through?  Where should we start?

The healing must be gradual, just as the wound was made

It won’t happen overnight, or even in a day

Patience must be your partner, compassion your companion

Time factors into the equation, with the words listed above

But the only thing that will fill that hole is simply love, love, love

Where do we find this love, if we are all alone?

We bow our heads, drop to our knees and raise our hands up high

Lift up our words, our wounded hearts to our Father in the sky

Your load he’ll take, His yoke will bear the burden of your pain

Your pain got worse and the wound got deeper still

Yet God seemed not a part of your life, as you carried on uphill

But maybe you got mad at God, for not being at your side

You tried to make it work yourself, instead of letting Him be your guide

Maybe you have only heard of this God, who loves you unconditionally

You wonder where you can find Him, to help you with your pain

There’s only one way to the Father, my friend, and I I’ll tell you his name

Through Jesus we come to the Father, Jesus shows us the way

He lived His life to show us how it’s done

He gave his life for us so with His Father we may live as one

His flesh was torn, his blood was spilled, to cleanse us of our sins

He bore the pain to so that we may be knows as “His”

God loves us all, great and small, no matter who we are

He wants to be our friend, though his distance may seem far

He longs for a relationship with each one of us, to be our best friend

If you make His son, Jesus, you savior, you will live with Him till the end

So are you sitting there again, bottle in hand, staring at that hole?

But this time you know there is something different, something in your soul?

You want to change but don’t know how, you’re not sure where to start?

Push the bottle away, clasp your hands and pray, and ask Jesus into your heart

The Bridge

I’m only one, a single soul

Amongst billions that this earth holds

A difference make, how can I alone?

How can I matter outside of my home?

Causes a plenty, pains too many

Hurts abound, scars all around

Some may be seen, but most are hidden

Yearning for healing, but society’s fobidden

Work though it we’re told, time heals all wounds

With whom to share, we are not told, knowledge of direction is just assumed

Though reaching out, frustration builds, relief sought, but the hurt won’t yield

The breaking point becomes painfully clearer, the end approaches nearer

Anxiety builds, cries for relief internally seem painfully loud

Why can’t they hear?  Doesn’t anyone hear me crying out?

Apparently not, I give up, this need will never be met

The plans I’ll make, I’ll end the pain, at least it won’t hurt when I’m dead

Who’s story is this, you may ask?  Who could it be?

I don’t know anyone like that, how does this affect me?

Who could hurt so bad, that their pain would drive them mad?

Around I gaze trying to see.  Is there such desperation anywhere near me?

If I knew where to look, the focus of my eyes in I would zoom

The signs are there, virtually inside any room

The proximity may surprise you, the reality of such doom

Lurks in the hearts of many a young person’s classroom or bedroom

External pressures rise, approaching from every side

Internal strife tears up the inside

Parents pushing one way, friends pulling another

Do I listen to one and spurn the other?

Sex, grades, sports; Drugs, divorce, work; Identity, belonging, moralty

Each play a part, weighs on the heart

Demanding attention, many more could be mentioned

Emotional overload, potentially life altering decisions to be made

Which influence to lead credence, with which to engage

Direction needed, no compass could lend

Such guidance not capable of merely mortal men

The answer is clear, so surprisingly near

From where you ask?  If not from man, where is this helping hand?

Christ is our crutch, He loves us so much

Our hurt He’ll soothe, our burdens He’ll take

He took these away with him that day

The day he gave His life away

Our sins, you see, He bore that day.

Each nail strike took the sin away

No such pain another man has taken

Pain so severe, He feared He’d been fosaken

The pain He bore, evened the score

God’s new covenant signed with the sacrificial lamb
The gap was bridged, the chasm closed

The Trinity secured; Fahter, Son and Holy Ghost

A place inside your aching heart is all He asks to play His part

You ask Him in He begins, but this is just the start

A bridge between can now be seen, from us through Him, to the Father

He is The Way, The Truth, The Life, and The Living Water

How do we show those who do not know

The grace of the Father, given through the Son

To bring them to Him, to show the way

What do we do, what shall we say?

The answer lies within our eyes, our hands, our arms, our hearts

All of these which comprise the body of Christ, of which we are a part

We try to mirror Jesus in our lives, so our intentions they’ll know are true

With this we lead the way, aim them at him, and the rest He will do

I’m only one, a single soul

Amongst billions that this earth holds

A difference make, how can I alone?

How can I matter outside of my home?

Lend a friend a helping hand, reach out to those in need

Take time to dry an ee that cries, or sit and listen as time goes by

We offer ourselves as single souls, to comfort those around us

Each time we do, with hearts true, we are loving them like Jesus

Copyright 2007   Brian Dean Stoddard

Inside Out

My life before was lived in a haze

Looking at life through a blurry gaze

Living for myself is how I spent my days

Not seeing the error of my ways

On occasion I’d lend a helping hand

Careful not to compromise my place where I’d stand

But living this way didn’t let me expand

Keeping me prisoner within my own barren land

Then came that day I figured it out

My life, though mine, me it’s not about

God placed his spirit within me, and without a doubt

Changing who I was, turning me inside out

With Him at my core

I yearn to do more

I’m not sure what He has in store

But I want to become what He created me for

You may ask what’s different in me from before

Well, God changed my heart when I opened the door

Giving my life to His son, whose sinless flesh was torn

He gave his life, erasing my sins, in Him I’m now reborn

My focus now is not on me, but others

He’s using me to help my sisters and brothers

Placing in my heart the plight of those without fathers or mothers

And those with nowhere to turn, forsaken by all others

God’s taken me to a place I’d never thought I’d be

Because of His spirit dwelling now within me

Using me as an example so others can see

How serving others instead of ourselves brings Him glory

How I remember that day I figured it out

My life, though mine, me it is not about

God place His spirit in me, and without a doubt

Changed who I was, turning me inside out

Copyright 2007  Brian Dean Stoddard

The Dream Maker

We all have dreams

Within our hearts

Driven from deep within our souls

A piece of our being that never departs

These dreams push some to seek great heights

While others pursue theirs out of plain sight

Accomplished by some through a lifelong fight

While some seem to happen overnight

Some know their dream from childhood on

Some found after many years had gone

Some dreams come true, finally realized

Some lead to frustration, never reaching their prize

Why do some reach their summit?

While others stumble, only to plummet?

Did the dream become life’s focal point?

Creating imbalance, lives thrown out of joint?

Our dreams seem led by an internal compass

Directing the paths of each of us

Did you find your dream the same place as mine?

Assigned by the creator, His plan divine

God is the maker of the dream, orchestrating every scene

Each gift he gave me plays a part of the dream He placed upon my heart

To reach my goal, this I must remember as simple as it may seem

To keep the dream maker first as I walk the path leading to my dream

Copyright 2007  Brian Dean Stoddard

Letting Go and Letting God

This poem is pretty self explanatory.  I wrote it in 2007.

Does your life feel like a complete mess?

Are you in a constant state of distress?

Is your life filled with pain?

Do all your efforts seem to be in vain?

Does the path you travel seem to be a dead end road?

Are lifes pressures crushing you under their heavy load?

Are you at the poing you need hep t make it through?

But not sure where to turn or what to do?

I know how you feel, I’ve been there before

Every direction seems to be blocked by an unopened door

I can share with you my friend how I learned to make it through

Your rewards will be endless if you heed my advice to you.

Learning to let God carry your load, letting Him have control

Displacing obstacles, allowing His love to permeate your soul

Granting God access inside, He reciprocates and starts to provide

Unlimited love and strength to sustain you during life’s unpredictable ride

Ephesians tells us Christ’s love surpasses all knowledge

Filling us with the fullness of God

What He can do is exceedingly and abundantly above

All we ask or think, according to the power that works in us

We were created for His pleasure to share His love we cannot measure

But afforded us free will, a single requirement to fulfill

To reap the bounty of His grace and one day gaze upon His face

We must ask Christ to abide in our heart, taking His rightful place

Once you’ve taken this step, you’ll see how God takes hold

Changing you into his child saved by grace, from the sinner of old

He carries your burdens while down life’s path you trod

Once you relinquish control by letting go and by letting God

Copyright 2007  Brian Dean Stoddard