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From the Editor -
Bill Shurkey
Featured Poems
lifeBehold, All Things Have Become New
By Bill Shurkey

Spring is the season of new life. It's the time of year when the earth is renewed and replenished by a loving Creator. Our God is a God of order and spring is the season in which he shows it best. There is such joy and rejoicing of all creation during spring, such motion and change, that the earth could not contain it all. So the Lord in his wisdom gave the earth two hemispheres each opposite one another. In this way spring comes only to half the earth at a time while the other half prepares for winter. We in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy spring from late March to early June and the Southern Hemisphere from September through to the end of November.

New life occurs in two forms: nature and man. While new life in nature takes place in spring, new life in man occurs throughout the year. We all know that man has three parts: body, soul, and spirit and all three are capable of new life. The body experiences new life at birth. The soul experiences it when we submerse it in God's word. The spirit receives new life when we submerse it in God Himself. The most important of the three is new life in the spirit, for without that the other two mean nothing.

God's method of creating new life is the same in both nature and man and it points once again to a God of order. The first step that takes place in nature during spring is rain. God sends it to wash away the grime of winter. God also sends the latter rain, his Holy Spirit, to man for the same purpose. He washes away the grime of sin from our lives. Nature's rain also replenishes the earth by renewing its water supply. God gives man wells of living water. Earth's vegetation buds with new growth. Man also buds with new growth as our old life is replaced by our new. In the earth nature awakens, comes alive. Flowers bloom and hibernating animals leave their winter sleeping places. And isn't it the same for man?

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Spring Rain
By Joan Morrone

Rain beats softly
on the windowpanes.
Lightning flashes
across the sky
followed swiftly
by the angry thunder.

These two do not
like the gentle rain
yet they can't
drown out its softness
with flashing light
and rumbling noise.

The rain was sent
with work to do and
won't stop till
its work is through.
Plants and flowers
open wide thirsty

mouths and drink
their fill. Rivers lap
up the fresh water
and dance with the
rhythmic rain.
Impatient children wait

with noisy ducks
for the mud puddles to
come. The cool
rain finally turns its
cleansing spray on
dirty houses and winter-

caked cars. Winter's
debris is washed away
and spring has
come at last! There is nothing
quite as beautiful
as the first spring rain!

* * *

"Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God; who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth; who makes grass to grow upon the mountains?" (Psalm 147:7-8 KJV)

The spring season is Joan's favorite time of the year. She is even thrilled with the thunder and lightning as she sits on the porch watching God's spectacular show in the sky. From that very sky, she knows Jesus will come down to meet her one day to take her home with him. Her love for the Lord inspires her to write until He comes.

lifeThe Gates of Beauty
By Richard S. Barnett

"Therefore, give the exiles this message from the Sovereign LORD: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile." (Ezekiel 11:16 NIV)

Our worship last Sunday included an old hymn that was new to me, "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty." It ends with the words, "May I undisturbed draw near Thee/ while Thou dost Thy people feed./ Here of life the fountain flows,/ Here is balm for all our woes." [1]

During the pause that followed I heard a mockingbird singing outside from his perch overlooking the patch of bluebonnets in the church garden: the gates of beauty stood wide open.

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Wake, Oh Night!
2005 Petra Hefner

Walk into the waking spring and breathe
the freshest green, as it leaps from bough and limb
of rousing tree, alive and rejoicing; "Glory, Glory, Alleluia!"
This is the dawn, where darkness ends and life begins!

Wake oh night, into this new day dawning and feel
the 'yes' displace the 'no' in the birth of dazzling sunrays
bursting with fresh intensity from His ageless dream;
This is the dawn, where darkness ends and life begins!

Lay your ear upon the bosom of the earth and hear
the rising yawn of soil and seed, busy stretching
hope and stem toward creation's trumpets blasting;
This is the dawn, where darkness ends and life begins!

Arise, and behold the open garden, rapt in joy and see
the morning leap ahead of night to meet us in the midst
of budding petals as they fill the air with peace and joy;
This is the dawn, where darkness ends and life begins!

If you have died and are alive again, sing!
with angel choirs and the festive tinge of all creation
as it gleams in splendor of our resurrected King;
This is the dawn, where darkness ends and life begins!

This is the glorious dawn, where evil is dispelled!
This is the holy morn', where guilt is traded for a crown!
This is the crack of day, where chains dissolve and fall away!
This is the sacred day, where Love is reconciled with Life!
          Oh death, where is your sting? Glory - Alleluia! Sing!
Petra is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and a child of the Most High! She was born and raised in Germany, and now resides in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee. She holds a Bachelors of Arts with Honors, but her strength and love of writing come from her adoration and love for Christ.