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Acting Up
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Parents'
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'Tis the Season
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The Rhythm of Life
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The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever
By Bill Shurkey

The aging process is part of life and with it comes change. Things like cheese and wine are enhanced by it. Other things deteriorate. Look at our bodies for example. As we age, energy decreases and breathing increases. Our sight and hearing begin to go but our legs can't. We start to forget things, and the things we don't forget we misplace.

Our attitudes also change with age. As we grow older, we stop trying to impress others, and decide simply to be ourselves. Life is viewed through a unique lens called 'hindsight' and our priorities begin to shift. The things that once consumed so much of our time no longer seem important. I've noticed this in my own life. When I was younger, for example, I spent a lot of time trying to develop those six-pack abs everyone talks about. Now I'm quite satisfied with the 2-liter abs I ended up with.

With all the changes that go on as we age, it's comforting to know that God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our faithful Father is ageless and His Word is eternal. Scripture is as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. And it will be a source of strength and guidance for as long as humanity walks the earth. God's Word is the one sure thing we can rely on in a world that is rushing headlong into oblivion.

Psalm 119:105 declares, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Nowhere is this truer than in the Psalms, because nowhere but in the Psalms are the needs of so many people met. Though our bodies are changing, along with our attitudes and priorities, our spirits are unchangeable in their longing for a loving God. Psalms records the rhythm of life, the highs and lows of human existence. Joy and sorrow. Hope and despair. Love and hate. In it too are songs of praise, prayers, prophecies and cries of deliverance for Israel. They point the lost to the Messiah and they reveal the heart of Jehovah. With such a wellspring to draw from, the book of Psalms is perhaps the most widely read book in the Old Testament.

The Psalms are additionally a source of inspiration, for both poets and songwriters alike. It is one of the Bible's five poetical books and the oldest hymnbook still in use today.

Down through history poets have attempted to express themselves by rewriting psalms. This month we've added our efforts to those who have come before us. This month we present a small collection from poets who have taken His word, digested it, and returned it to Him a love offering for our King.

"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

* * *

The Lord is My Shepherd
By Bill Shurkey

I've wallowed in the mire
And lapped the putrid water,
Vinegar and gall were my food,
Till one day I heard the shepherd
Call my name, from the path
That paralleled the road above.

He called my name, insistent, urgent.
Heart pounding and ears ringing
I willed myself to turn and follow.
Bloody and bleating, from thorns and
Brambles, I limped towards his voice.
At last I saw him.

He was silhouetted against the afternoon
Sky. I limped closer and my heart
Leaped within me. Only two rugged,
Wooden crossbeams separated us.
The fence wire laid stripes along
The bare backside of the final rise.

The shepherd urged me to his side.
His gentle touch comforted me even as
His hardened hands probed my tender flesh.
The pain, like sharp nails, drove me
To my knees. He poured in the soothing
Oil and my tender flesh began to heal.

The narrow path I must follow stretched
Before me, the valley below veiled
In dark shadows. The setting sun
Reflected off the high ridges on the
Opposite side. Scattered alongside
The path in the brush were bleached bones,

Dried and forgotten monuments to those
Who did not follow. Piercing, plaintive
Cries of wolves echoed across the darkened
Hills, yet I feared no evil with my shepherd
Near. Like a cup of wine filled to overflowing,
His words of love, "It is finished,"

Spilled out to drench my aching soul.
Through darkest nights my shepherd leads
Me and I follow, as his staff of goodness and
Rod of mercy nudge me from behind.
At last I'm going home with my master,

Where pastures are forever green,
And waters still my soul.

Bill Shurkey 2004
Bill Shurkey is the editor of The Rhythm of Life. He has published over 100 poems in various publications, as well as short fiction, short nonfiction and a nonfiction book. His two passions are poetry and teaching children through fantasy and humor.

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