Inspirational Poems of God’s Love and Guidance sounds familiar notes of praise.
Gary D. Quarles’s Christian poetry collection Inspirational Poems of God’s Love and Guidance makes a prayerful call for redemption.
The book’s over 160 poems cover faith, salvation, God, and forgiveness. The vast majority give praise to God, with thanks for personal salvation and belief in Jesus. A handful focus on Christian values and lessons, including topics like Santa Claus, military service, and the United States. The entries are conservative in tone.
Each poem can be read as a statement of faith, and there are elements of testimony as well. The power of Jesus to save people from the fires of hell is a recurrent theme. “My Best Friend,” begins with “Jesus is my Saviour and my best friend; he’s been / in my life since I don’t know when.” This notion is echoed throughout the collection, in which Jesus is ever-present in times of trouble. Its non-specific and generic language about faith also recurs throughout.
Poems are written in free verse form with occasional rhymed lines. Some entries are psalm-like, while others utilize lyrics and standard hymns like “The Old Rugged Cross.” Playful children’s rhymes and extended prayers are also included. References to books of the Bible are an additional feature. The book’s mix of styles is constrained by its reliance on a handful of repeated themes and words.
Stock theological concepts and focuses on sin and hell repeat, but without diving into what any notion means beyond affirmations of the need for personal salvation. The book’s images also repeat: “set my soul free,” “he’d still be my Savior,” and “old-time religion” all recur. The work is reminiscent of a catechism and delivers standard correct answers, but the result is a collection that falls flat.
The standout entries are “My Personal Testimony of Jesus Christ” and “Jesus is Knocking.” Both have a memoir quality, rich textures, and depth of feeling. On recovering from a heart attack, the first poem remarks “It was said that they shocked me back. / I say it was the finger of God that touched my heart, / and it started to beat again.” The latter entry focuses on learning faith on a grandma’s knee. Quarles’s specific experiences gesture to God’s power and love better than less personal entries are able to.
A Christian poetry collection that’s steeped in aphorisms, Inspirational Poems of God’s Love and Guidance sounds familiar notes of praise.
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