Archive for October, 2020

Verse of the Day on Black Poetry Day 2020

October 17, 2020
October 17 is the birthday of Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in America was born October 17, 1711.

Today’s blog post spotlights a special celebration. Although not recognized as a national holiday, October 17 is designated as Black Poetry Day. During this time, we celebrate poets of African American heritage and their contribution to the literary landscape of the nation and of the world. Why was this particular day selected for the celebration? For the answer we go back to America’s literary beginning and the “Father of Black Poetry.”

Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in colonial America, was born on October 17, 1711. Publishing a literary work of any kind during this period was a remarkable accomplishment for anyone, but for a man born into slavery, writing and publishing “An Evening Thought” in 1761 was nothing short of a miracle.

Born on the estate of merchant Henry Lloyd of Oyster Bay, NY, Hammon was believed to have been a lay minister. As a devout Christian, he expressed his religious convictions in all of his poetry and prose. In addition to An Evening Thought, his works include “An Essay on the Ten Virgins,” 1779; “A Winter Piece,” 1782; “An Evening’s Improvement,” 1783; “An Address to the Negroes in the State of New York,” 1787. In 2013, a University of Texas at Arlington English professor, Cedric May, and his doctoral student, Julie McGowan, located an unpublished poem, “An Essay on Slavery,” handwritten by Hammon around 1786.

Today, October 17, 2020, is a special day of celebration for me as a Black poet strongly influenced by the Bible, and I think of Hammon as my literary forefather. Other than the Psalmist, David, no poet has influenced me more. I am revising and re-posting the Biblegate Software Verse of the Day for October 17, 2020, that comes from Psalm 25:14-15 and contains an original poem written in a similar manner as the poetry of Jupiter Hammon.

The passage is rendered this way in the Amplified Bible:

Psalm 25:14-15:

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.

The reference to “He teaches them his covenant” brings to mind an account whereby David extends a covenant of grace to the descendant of someone with whom David had previously established a covenant, his beloved friend, Jonathan. Here we find Mephibosheth, the only remaining descendent of Saul, whom David replaced as King of Israel. David’s response to the crippled son of his friend occurred in a place called LoDebar, recorded in 2 Samuel 9:6-7.

6 His name was Mephibosheth; he was Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson. When he came to David, he bowed low to the ground in deep respect. David said, “Greetings, Mephibosheth.”
Mephibosheth replied, “I am your servant.”
7 “Don’t be afraid!” David said. “I intend to show kindness to you because of my promise to your father, Jonathan. I will give you all the property that once belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will eat here with me at the king’s table!”

The following poem refers to this account and speaks of

The Power of Covenant

When covenant relationships are re-established,
you enter into a place of safety and kindness.
Apostle Eric L. Warren

To redeem, restore, and then supersede is God’s plan:
To see His faithfulness, examine this account:
God’s favor extended beyond any earthly amount
That can be measured or assessed by the mind of man:
Mephibosheth displays the power of covenant
To children’s children, to countless generations–
First to Israel, then extended to all nations,
God’s loving-kindness above and beyond abundant.
Covenants demonstrate the faithfulness of God.
Spiritual covenants supplant natural relationships,
Beyond the authority of all earthly kingships,
For we know that in truth, “Spirit is thicker than blood.”
From LoDebar–barren place of nothingness–
He takes us to abide in safety and loving-kindness.

We seal our blog entry for today with “Covenant Song” by Caedmon’s Call:

On Black Poetry Day and every day, may we never forget God’s covenant made to His people.

A golden moment that took my breath away

October 10, 2020

This morning as I awoke and began my morning meditation, I opened an email from Kary Oberbrunner, who posted some words of encouragement and a breathtakingly beautiful photo of a sunset taken by his daughter. As I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation while reflecting on Kary’s comments, the words of Maya Angelou also came to mind:

Life is not measured by the breaths we take But by the moments that take our breath away.

Lately, I have come to appreciate the splendor of each morning sunrise and evening sunset and other scenes of Nature that move me to tears. I added this photo to the keep-sake gallery of my mind, as I savored another “golden moment” that left me speechless in the presence of God.

As a junior in high school, my English teacher, Mrs. Hortense House, required her students to memorize “Barter,” an exquisite poem by Sara Teasdale. I can still recall the poem by heart, and the words came to mind, especially the last stanza, as looked at the photo and thought about the quotation from Maya Angelou:


Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sara Teasdale

Take a look at this video-clip of images related to the poem:

I also recall the lyrics to a song by Michael W. Smith with a similar title:

You Take My Breath Away

Glory so beautiful
The earth displays your majesty
How could you ever be
So mindful of someone as me
Your captive
Splendor I have never seen
Nothing else can compare
You’re infinite, you’re everywhere

You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take my breath away
You take my breath away
See me, all I am
These empty hands are all I can give
That you would die so I’d live
Your sacrifice I can’t believe
You fascinate
You stole my heart, I can’t forget
And now that I’ve felt your love
No turning back, I can’t get enough

With just one word
With just one glance
I’m lost in this divine romance
And every single day more than I can say
You take my breath away

You’re everything I can’t explain
You set my heart on fire
And here I stand amazed
You take my breath away
The morning breaks, my soul awakes
You are my one desire
And I here stand amazed
You take my breath away

Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh – Oh Oh Oh
You take my breath away
You take my breath away

Our lives are filled with breath-taking “golden moments” for us to savor and cherish each day.

Happy Birthday–My Beloved–BJ

October 8, 2020
Happy Birthday to My Beloved BJ
On your birthday and every day
This is all I have to say to you. . .
“If Only You Knew”

Look at God!

October 4, 2020

Many times, I will begin my day by examining the Verse of the Day as I meditate and share my thoughts in a blog post. From time to time, I will begin my morning meditation by examining the Phrase of the Day and what it inspires. The Phrase of the Day for October 4, 2020 is “Look at God!” This past week, I had an appointment with oncologist at the VA Hospital, and I received some good news, bringing to mind a poem that I had written with that title. I also thought of the title of a book recently published by James Edward Wilkerson, Jr.: “But God. . .Look at God!”

The poem “Look at God!” in a sense is also a response to a recent blog post: Pray: the Latter Rain is on the way:

Look at God!

Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news.
lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news.
lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!”
Isaiah 40:9 (ESV)

I am turning a new page, stepping out into the more,
Reaching far beyond anything I have ever thought of.
Beyond anything I have even dared to ask for;
Through Christ, God is able to do exceedingly above,
Way beyond anything my finite mind could ever see.
Recently, God Himself opened the windows of heaven
And poured out a blessing–a miracle crafted for me:
My PSA had skyrocketed to more than ninety,
But within a month, it plummeted to zero point seven.
Nothing is impossible–all things are possible with God.
When we pray, it is no secret what Father God can do.
What He has done for others He can do for me and you.
Behold! The outpouring of the Spirit of the Living God
As we now witness signs, wonders, and miracles: “Look at God!”

But God. . . Look at God!

Here is an excerpt from the book by James Wilkerson:

In this book But God. . . Look at God! I share my testimony of how God touched and transformed my life. I also want to introduce you to some of the people who made a great impact on my life and talk about some of the lessons I have learned. Many times, when God shows Himself strong on my behalf and intervenes in my life to turn what looks like a disaster into a powerful display of His mercy and love, all I can say is, “But God!” When He answers prayer, and it is way beyond my wildest imagination, all I can say is “Look at God!”

Here is a link to the book available on

To cap off our comments, I recently discovered the perfect music video Sovereign Grace Music together with The Shiloh Church Choir: : “Behold our God!”