The Things

The Things
Wes Provine
Nov 26, 2016


The things inside
The things that we hide
The things that make us cry
The things about which we lie.

The things that we carry
The things that make us weary
The things that we bury
The things that are scary.

The things we do not share
The things that seem unfair
The things that load us with care
The things we can hardly bear.

The things only God knows
The things that bring us low
The things that steal our hope
The things at the end of our rope.

But is this list complete?
The things people perceive
The things people see
What things are these?

These are the things that we wear
These are the things of which we don’t care
These are the things that we dare
These are the things others help us bear.

These are the things outside
These are the things of our pride
These are the things in sight
These are the things in the light.

All these things are yours and mine
All these things are part of life.
Some of these things we divide
But the heaviest things are the ones we hide.

Memories and Dreams

Thinking back to those times
When feelings ruled the day
Everything seemed wide open
And dreams were easy to come by

Ignorance is bliss they say
That may be true for the moment
But the painful realities
Always catch up to you. 

Oh to go back to earlier times
That seemed so carefree
It was the possibilities
That made it exciting 

You knew too little
Not to expect amazing things
You didn’t listen to those
Who told you it was impossible

But youth is an illusion
You think it will always be like this
People tell you differently
But you don’t believe them

A night on the town
City lights and big sights
Romancing your love 
Just chasing your dreams

But you can’t go back
You know too much
It wouldn’t be the same
Responsibility creeps in.

–Wes Provine

Purpose and Passion

Sometimes in life
Our ideals fade to blue
So we bury love deep inside
Just to get through.



Then life becomes stale
Days become drudgery
We feel discouraged
And wonder if it’s meant to be.



We can’t make a living
On passion and dreams
So we sell romance
For responsible stability



We were created
For battle and beauty
Yet we settle for
Mediocrity and money



Will we have the courage
To be who He meant us to be?
Will we follow our dreams
Or settle for security?




Acorns

I walked through the woods

On a cloudy November day.

I stopped to pick up an acorn

And put it in my pocket to take home.

Such great potential in a tiny vessel.

I carried a large oak home that day;

But I did not struggle with the weight of it.

I hardly thought any more of it.

The next day I planted that seed.

In a secluded corner of the backyard.

I waited patiently over the years

And was rewarded with much shade.

But one day many years later

I walked through those same woods as before

It was then I realized the absence of an oak tree,

And guilt lay heavy on me for my theft.

Music, Mirth, and Merry Memories

I find myself

Longing for

A time before

When all was well.

In former days

Wannabe rock star

Now watching from afar

I’d rather play.

Feeling past prime

Dreams fading

Energy spent wading

Running out of time.

On the edge

A country divided

Wrongs not righted

Out on the ledge.

Thrills expired

Duty binds

Smiles to sighs

Problems mired.

A time machine

Back to the nineties

Sweet memories

But already seen.

Searching in the Night

By Wesley Provine

March 2005

Awake in the night,

And countin’ the sheep

Ain’t bringin’ the sleep;

So he goes for a drive.

He wonders if he’ll find—

What he’s been looking for,

Or is more pain in store?

He’s seeking the answer tonight.

He’s been left behind;

He’s shut outside.

He’s losing his mind—

It’s another hopeless night.

He’s driving in the night,

Down that old empty road.

Thoughts and feelings overflow,

He’s searching in the night.

He knows futility well;

Will tomorrow be the same?

Will he still bear his shame?

No one can tell.

He’s tryin’ to escape—

This frustration he feels;

It’s all too real,

And he hates the wait.

If You Love America, Vote Trump

This election could be a watershed moment in American history. Stark choices are set before us: freedom versus socialism, the rule of law versus mob-fueled chaos, a Christian worldview versus godless ideologies, and a strong America versus a vastly diminished one. If you love America, you must vote for Trump on November 3.

The Biden-Harris agenda is one of the most radical we’ve seen in this country’s history. Remember the riots, looting, and violence earlier this year in places like Portland, New York City, Seattle, and Minneapolis? All of those cities had Democratic mayors. That is a microcosm of what all of America will look like if Biden is elected.

The Trump-Pence ticket, on the other hand, supports law and order, religious freedom, economic prosperity, and a strong stance against China. While Biden and the Democrats want to shut the country down, Trump and the Republicans want our country to get back to the America we once knew before radical leftists took over.

Trump and the Republicans represent common sense in the midst of the Democrats’ ocean of chaos and insanity. The Democrats want to rewrite our history. They see America as fundamentally flawed and racist. In contrast, Trump and the Republicans foster pride in our heritage and country. They see America for what it is—the land of opportunity.

Biden and the Democrats want to push godless ideologies on you and punish you if you refuse to comply. Trump and the Republicans believe in the Constitution, freedom, and personal responsibility. They recognize that our freedoms are a gift from God, and that our nation was founded on Christian principles and made for a virtuous people.

So if you love America and what it stands for, then you must vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence on Election Day. It’s the only rational choice to prevent the end of America as we know it.

Kings and Pawns

By Wesley Provine, 2005

Emperors and fools,

Kings and Pawns.

You show no mercy,

And break all the rules.

You love to be,

The Master of Manipulation.

You’re not content,

Unless you rule the nation.

You treat life as a game,

And oppress the weak .

You mock the ignorant,

And crush them beneath.

What would you do,

If you couldn’t control?

Power and wealth

Kill your soul.

In the end,

You’ll be hated,

The manipulator

Becomes the manipulated.

The Resolution on Black Lives Matter that Might Have Been

The Oklahoma Baptists (formerly known as the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma), the state convention for Oklahoma within the Southern Baptist Convention, solicited resolutions from its members back in August of this year. I submitted a resolution on the organization, Black Lives Matter. Now the leadership of the Oklahoma Baptists have decided that there will be no resolutions this year. The state meeting has been reduced to one day. Below I have included the resolution that I submitted back in August. Please note that since I submitted the resolution, Black Lives Matter has subsequently changed the What We Believe portion of their website. It no longer contains the part about disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure. Here is the resolution:

WHEREAS, the organization, Black Lives Matter, according to its own website, wants to disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure; and


WHEREAS, Black Lives Matter, according to its own website, is queer-affirming and supports transgenderism; and 


WHEREAS, these ideologies are contrary to the Word of God (Gen. 2:21-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Rom 1:24-27); now, therefore, be it


RESOLVED, That we, as Oklahoma Baptists, denounce and reject the organization, Black Lives Matter; and be it further


RESOLVED, That we, as Oklahoma Baptists discourage membership in the organization, Black Lives Matter, by any of our fellow Oklahoma Baptists, since supporting such an organization would mean violating Biblical principles involving the family and human sexuality.

Ten Prerequisites for Effective Prayer

I get the sense that some Christians feel defeated in their prayer lives. Perhaps the problem is that it seems as though their prayers are going unanswered. Few things will discourage one more than the sense that their prayers are not getting beyond the ceiling. Conversely, nothing will revitalize your prayer life like receiving definite answers to your petitions. What Christians need to realize is that there are principles laid out in the Bible for effective prayer. The Word of God shows us the right way to pray, and it also alerts us of pitfalls that we should avoid. If your prayers seem hindered, it might be due to a failure to follow these ten Scriptural guidelines in prayer:

1. Humility

The starting place for prayer should be humility. When we get on our knees to pray, we are humbling ourselves before the Almighty God to acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him. The world tells us to rely upon our own wisdom and strength; the Bible tells us that without Christ, we can do nothing.

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or Tax Collector) to people who trusted in themselves. Two men went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee prayed a proud, self-righteous prayer in which he looked down upon the tax collector. The humble tax collector couldn’t even raise his eyes to heaven. He prayed sincerely and humbly, “God, be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus concluded the parable by saying that the tax collector “went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

2. Faith

In Matthew 9:28, Jesus asks two blind men if they believe that He is able to restore their sight, and they reply in the affirmative. Then in verse 29, Jesus touches their eyes, and says, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Then their eyes were opened.

Faith moves mountains, and it also moves the heart and hand of God. It opens our eyes and allows us to see Jesus. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). In Mark 11:24, Jesus says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” He clearly links faith and prayer in this verse.

It follows then that unbelief can limit the effectiveness of our prayers. In Matthew 13:58, we learn that Jesus did not do many mighty works in his hometown of Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people there. How sad that the people who should have known Jesus the best, seemed to believe in Him the least!

3. Confession of sins

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” The NIV translates the word for regard as cherished. So if we cherish sin in our hearts, instead of confessing and forsaking it, the Lord will not hear our prayers.

The encouraging news is that 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In the mnemonic prayer acronym ACTS, C stands for Confession (A for Adoration; T for Thanksgiving; and S for Supplication). Confession should be an essential part of our prayer life. It restores power to our prayers.

4. Forgiveness

If we want God to hear and answer our prayers, we must forgive others. Few things will sap the vitality out of your prayer life like bitterness. Immediately after the verse mentioned above when Jesus was talking about faith and prayer, He says the following in Mark 11:25-26 (NKJV):

““And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.””

Jesus says something very similar to this in Matthew 6:14-15 after the Lord’s Prayer (or Model Prayer). In fact, in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus seems to link the forgiveness we receive from God with the forgiveness we give to others: “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.” (Matt 6:12 NKJV) We should be as ready to forgive others as God is to forgive us.

5. Correct Motives

If you pray for a Ferrari, don’t be surprised if God does not answer. We need to examine our motives in our prayers. God supplies our needs, but He is not obligated to give us our selfish desires, especially when it might be harmful to ourselves or others. It’s been said that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. God knows far better than we do what is best for us. James reminds us, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3 NKJV) Jesus set the example for us with his selfless prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not as I will, but as You will.”

6. Persistence

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells us the Parable of the Unjust Judge or the Persistent Widow that “men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” A judge who did not fear God granted a widow’s persistent request for justice against her adversary because he wearied of her requests. How much more will God answer his children they cry out to Him day and night, since He loves and cares for them! So don’t give up after praying for something one time. Be persistent in your prayers, especially if you know that what you are asking for is something within God’s will. Your persistence is a sign of faith. Remember that Jacob wrestled with the angel all night long before he was blessed.

7. In Jesus’ Name

In John 14:13-14, Jesus says, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” This is not so much a formula as an acknowledgement of faith in the mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. We have access to God because of what Christ has done (Hebrews 4:14-16). We are also ambassadors for Christ and we do his work here on Earth. When we ask for something in his name, we are asking for it on his authority. The power rests in his name. And as Jesus said in the above verses, the Father is glorified in the Son when we pray in Jesus’ name.

8. Proper Treatment of Spouse

In 1 Peter 3:7, we learn that mistreatment of our spouse can negatively affect our prayers: “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” We can’t worship God and then treat people, especially our family, in a bad manner. Our relationship with God affects our relationship with others, and vice versa.

9. Consideration for the Poor

Proverbs 21:13 warns us that, “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” How we treat the indigent and destitute can affect our prayers. One of the Beatitudes says, “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) If we want God to hear our cries, then we need to listen to the cries of others. Lord, give us a heart of mercy.
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10. Gratitude

In Luke 17:11-19, ten lepers were healed by Jesus on the way to see the priest, but only one, a Samaritan, returned to thank him. How many times does God answer our prayers and we forget to thank him? We need to come to God with a thankful heart so that we appreciate all that he has done for us in the past. Gratitude will also give us a better perspective so that we know what to pray for.

Conclusion

My intention in writing this article is not to make a checklist that you have to go through before you can pray, but rather I intend it as a guide that can help you identify problem areas in your prayer life. As you look over these ten principles, you can get an overall picture of the proper heart attitude that is necessary for an effective prayer life. It’s important that we base these principles of prayer upon the Bible. This list is not exhaustive. You may find other principles in the Bible that help you in your prayer life, but these are basic principles that should help get you started. I pray that this list is a blessing to you.