Alone with My Thoughts

When I am alone with thoughts,
I am not lonely.
I do not feel abandoned;
I am not bored,
For God is my companion,
And in the company
Of infinite memories,
My Lord comforts me.

When I am alone with my thoughts,
I do not feel ignored,
For solitude refreshes
And satiates my spirit.
The still small voice is audible
And I hear it speaking softly.
As I climb down from lofty
Expectations, I know
That in God’s eyes,
I don’t need a disguise
To be accepted.

When I am alone with my thoughts,
I delve beneath the dermis of the stream.
I descend beyond shallow excursions
And risk the unthinkable and stretch my dream
To adventures and exotic diversions
That require me to bend my mind,
To think hard and transcend my mind;
To seek, to contemplate, to find
My way to inner peace.

When I am alone with my thoughts,
God is there with me,
And if I sought His counsel,
I would be taught marvelous things.

Copyright © 2002 Orlando Ceaser
Reprinted from Look for the Blessing

OrlandoCeaser.com

“Take Me to Your Leader” – Who Is Your Leader?

A common refrain from extra-terrestrial beings in science fiction movies was “Take me to your leader.” The visitors from another planet would land on planet Earth and their first comments, through translator software, was “Take me to your leader.” There was an assumption that we were governed by, ruled by or were followers of a single individual. The visitors had important information to present to this one sovereign person. They did not want to go through individuals in the middle or on the lower rungs of the hierarchy. They wanted Number one, the Boss, the person in charge.

“Take me to your leader” was an important question. The question I have for us today is who is your leader or to be more precise, who are the leaders in your life? In my poetic interpretation of the 23rd Psalm, I answer the question by saying the Lord is my Leader.

Please read the Lord is my Leader and answer the discussion or reflection questions to stimulate additional thought and conversation. They may be used individually or as part of a group discussion.

The Lord is My Leader

The Lord is my Leader I shall not lack
Direction for He is standing at my back;
While in front of me He makes decisions
To meet my needs with ample provisions.

I shall not want for his abundance fills
My cup with affluence and as it spills,
As water flowing from a mountain top,
His goodness and mercy will never stop.

He mends my brokenness
And I find rest,
As He restores my soul,
He refreshes my spirit,
Changes my countenance
And makes me whole.

He leads me where the waters are still;
He tutors me as I study His will;
He comforts me in righteousness;
Though I walk through the valley
Of difficult times;
Disease, disasters and immoral crimes
I fear no evil for He
Protects me from my enemies
And loves me though there is sin in me,
And promises me an eternity
Of matchless splendor and serenity.

(Adapted from Psalms 23)

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Discussion Questions

1. Have someone read the poem allow or each person should silently read to themselves.
2. What role does God play in your decision-making process?
3. Do you believe in the second stanza to be true? How powerful is your faith?
4. God is making you whole as you read this. Discuss the importance of these words. The Lord is your leader. How are you following?
5. How are you resting on his promises and finding comfort in His words?
6. God as a leader has a vision for your life. Discuss your thoughts about his vision for you.
7. Ask for final comments from the members of the group.
8. Pray and conclude the session

The Lord is My Leader is reprinted from my book Daily Resurrections, published by Watchwell Communications, Inc. The questions are added separately to stimulate conversation.

A Greater Story to Tell

Challenges are part of our development and survival curriculum. With a change in perspective we can see them as exercises making us stronger and providing opportunities and data that will be useful to us and those we influence. These challenges, struggles and tribulations can also make us more interesting and therefore, give us a greater story to tell. I have used the poem and process in a workshop with cancer survivors and their care givers as they shared their cancer journey and other challenges faced in their lives.

A Greater Story to Tell

When you reflect on hurdles in the race;
The many times you stood after you fell.
When you think of dreams you’ve chased
And replaced;
They give you a greater story to tell.

With struggles intense and continuous
Life buckled your knees, but your back was straight.
The footing was unsure and strenuous,
But you managed through faith to challenge fate.

You wonder why circumstances are hard,
But remember the woman at the well;
His living water made her disregard
Her plight with a greater story to tell.

The magnitude of His majesty smiles
On those who ask for wisdom in the storm.
To pray for optimism in your trials
For mercy, grace and the strength to perform.

If you will seek you first the kingdom of God
Within you the Holy Spirit will dwell.
His joy will guide your footsteps as you trod
Through life with a greater story to tell.

As subjects of the omnipotent King
With blessings unmatched without parallel;
Amazed we find, in our suffering,
There’s often a greater story to tell.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

Discussion Questions

1. Please discuss hurdles you are facing that are challenging you and
keeping you up at nights.
2. Discuss how you have shown strength in your current circumstances.
3. What are your practices, routines, disciplines to stay connected with
God?
4. How has your story become greater?
5. How are you using it to influence, role model and help others?

OrlandoCeaser.com

One More Day

Each day we are reminded of the terminal nature of life, its beauty brevity, the challenges and charity, the time we can recall, but not recapture. It is during these times we wish that we can have one more day with a loved one, a dearly departed friend or relative. Therefore, we should embrace the moments and be thankful for what is currently one more day, one day at a time. 

One More Day

They see their health is failing;
And laboring as they breathe;
Powerless and frightened,
Need to be enlightened,
Their struggling to believe.

Their whole world is condensing,
And silently as they pray.
Sad thoughts enter their heads,
They fear what lies ahead.
They want at least one more day.

One more day to stop sailing
Quickly through life to explore
The joys and devotion
Of fun-filled emotions
And strive to love others more.

To confront each circumstance,
To cherish time and to dance,
To laugh more and to care,
To live and be aware,
And relish a second chance.

While sick, lying in their bed
There’s so much, they want to say;
They want to open eyes,
Surprise the next sunrise;
And grateful for one more day.

At least one more day for peace
To build their relationships;
And options to repair
The damage that is there
From words, spoken from their lips.

At least a day to address
Shortcomings and some regrets
And build up convictions,
Work on their addictions;
And help some, they have not met.

Someone is at a bedside.
Someone is drifting away.
Man’s born, a brief sojourn;
The people are forlorn
Knowing they will mourn someday.

One more day for more healing;
Postpone fate as they delay
The inevitable,
Is unforgettable,
They need at least one more day.

Copyright © 2018 Orlando Ceaser

What matters most

What matters most,
Competes for time on our schedules
Like a client who makes an appointment.
They jockey for position
And request private audiences,
Primacy and priority status.

What matters most,
Believes in the seniority of faith,
The value of the home
And intermittently,
Issues demands to be moved
To the front of the line.

What matters most,
Is discontent with quality time,
For it serves to rationalize
The crumbs of attention
Thrown in their direction.
The left over morsels of time
Are insufficient,
For they do not meet the minimum
Daily requirements
Of our obligations.

What matters most,
Views a pedestal
And questions what occupies
The place which was reserved
For the critical elements
In our lives.

What matters most,
Tugs at our conscience,
Looks at us with solemn eyes,
Begs us to come home early,
To love God,
And treat our neighbors
As we wish to be treated.

What matters most,
Addresses our hearts,
Awakens feelings of responsibility,
For they know,
It is character over credentials,
And fulfillment of potential,
That grows our spirit.

What matters most,
Knows it is not power or possessions,
But the heartfelt confessions
To a Holy God that secures our eternity;
That relationships give us strength
And add seasoning and significance
To the caliber of our lives.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from “Leadership above the rim – The poetry of possibility”

 

I Do Not Live In The Past

I don’t live in the past,
But I visit it often,
Through the music of my youth;
Through memories
That have no copyright protection:
Through phrases that have been passed down
To the current generation;
Through images on television
And the trains of thought
That are an invitation to time travel.

I do not live in the past,
But I visit it often,
In conversations on how things were;
Through the revisionist musings
Of nostalgic mental promenades
Through the archives of my life.
I search for answers to present
Day scenarios.
I search for patterns and trends
That will enable me to support or defend
A stance I am contemplating.
I stand with a hand full of puzzle pieces,
Wondering where to place them.
I search for my ancestors
With the nerve to face them,
To explain what I’ve done with my life.

I do not live in the past,
But I visit it often,
To hear kind words spoken to me
When I accomplished little things;
For encouragement and nourishment,
For compliments and smiles
That levitated my spirit
Before my consecutive string
Of happy times was broken.

I sit in the old familiar chairs;
Pose again for the photographs
That are now in the picture albums;
Create déjà vu moments
From the basic ingredients.
I hold the ones I love.
I tell them I love them.
I speak the promises
Which I will remember,
While sampling friendships,
As fine chocolates
Or homemade bread.

I live in the present.
I travel in the current day,
The current moment
And the current year of our Lord;
But, occasionally, I take long walks
As I visit my old stomping grounds,
The familiar surroundings.
I sort through issues
That are rooted in my past.
I experience the joy, peace, forgiveness
And pain from previous encounters.
I sift enthusiastically through the chest
Of childhood and adult memorabilia,
But, I always face the reality
That I could never stay there,
For I am a resident of the present.

I do not live in the past,
But, I will visit it often.
It brings me pleasure and perspective;
To see the environments and remind myself
That I am blessed and should be thankful,
To be a recipient of God’s loving and saving grace.

Copyright © 2001 Orlando Ceaser

I came before you for many reasons;

To blaze the trail,

To cut a path through the thicket,

So that you would not fail,

To let you see second hand

So that you did not have to experience

All things first hand,

So that you did not have to taste

The bitterness of some of life’s fruit,

And did not have to waste time

On the roads of needless distractions.

 

I came before you for many reasons;

To teach you to be thrifty

So that you did not waste

The precious emeralds of time

That fell as droplets of eternity.

 

I came before you, marched single file

Into this world

To experience the seasons of life,

To report to you and deliver my findings,

To deliver comments on the other side;

To tell you about the Spring

Of my career,

So that you may learn

From me as I approach winter.

 

Let me tell about the Spring,

When prospects were luscious

And bountiful,

When I was desired for my youth

And my potential;

When employers lusted after me,

Stunned by my beauty,

Enraptured by

My possibilities,

Yet wary of my judgment

And lack of experience.

These were glorious moments

And times of true excitement

And adventure.

 

Let me show you me in summer;

When employers, as suitors

Would line up in the heat

Of the midday sun

And dance for me,

And promise me

Treasures from their opened coffers.

The offers flowed competitively

As they sang to me and danced

As peacocks in mating season.

They unabashedly wooed my affections

And dangled the supple fruits of profit sharing

And a caring environment.

They swore to take care of me

For all of my working days

Into a wonderful retirement.

 

But summer transitioned into autumn,

When the leaves blazed beautifully

Upon the corridors of my career.

They stood proudly as trophies,

Collected through a long and vivacious career,

Filled with wise and foolish choices.

The autumn stood magnificently,

But Winter loomed mentally on every thought,

As I face the mortality of my career.

I stand prominently as a wise oak

In the forest close to the trunks of

Others who prematurely fell to the earth

Struck by lightning of tumultuous

Vocational storms.

I stand as a model for seedlings

In the jungle of enterprise.

I give back to the soil in autumn

To replenish the earth for the trees

That are seasons behind me.

 

As winter comes,

I am prepared for the change.

I have stored wisely during other seasons

The time doesn’t threaten me.

I am not afraid,

But I am cognizant of my status

Within my profession.

 

I am my memories.

I have knowledge and wisdom

That must be shared with you.

I have instructions that I must pass on.

The rings of my life were earned

So that you might travel vicariously

Through my journey.

 

I came before you for many reasons;

To speak to you in summer,

When you are in spring;

To share with you autumn

As you bask in the summer

Of your career;

To show you a glimpse of winter,

As autumn touches your leaves.

 

I came before you for many reasons;

Enjoy life and share the seasons

Of your mind,

Plan and look forward

As you help those

Who stand behind you

Waiting for their turn

On the cycle of their careers.

 

Copyright © 2003 Orlando Ceaser

Reprinted from Leadership above the rim

OrlandoCeaser.com