I wonder what went through John’s mind as he sat in prison. He’d answered the call of the Lord in the wilderness, proclaiming the kingdom of God and baptizing the repentant (Luke 3:1-22). He’d prepared the way for the Messiah, introducing the Christ at the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry (John 1:29-36). He’d faithfully stood for righteousness in the face of Herod’s immorality (Matthew 14:4). And yet he found himself imprisoned. The crowds he once taught left him to follow Jesus (John 3:26). While John found joy in humbly playing his role in the bridegroom’s story (John 3:27-30), he seems to have struggled with doubt while in prison, for he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask an important question.
Love displayed in life laid down for others.
Joy surpassing all this earth can offer.
Peace before both enemies and brothers.
Patience with the doubter and the scoffer.
Kindness to all creatures in creation.
Goodness shining brightly through corruption.
Faithfulness becomes our firm foundation.
Gentleness endures despite disruption.
Self-control o’er all the flesh’s passion.
Self-deni’l, a daily crucifixion.
Faith e’er growing more in holy fashion.
Truth proclaimed with notes of heaven’s diction.
Spirit, lead our walking, guide our living.
Let the world see you in our thanksgiving.
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The Lord’s unfailing faithfulness to men,
Steadfast in spite of their consistent sin,
Goes far beyond the guilt and shame within.
Grace reaches past the point of no return.
Hope speaks from lips we thought were taciturn.
We hear the Word, and souls begin to burn.
We know what we deserve; we feel our death.
We sense our separation from his life.
Yet though we fail with ev’ry fallen breath,
In Christ, we find salvation from the strife.
Take heart: this world of fear and death will fade.
Rest in the cross’ sanctifying shade.
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Soul, be silent. Listen well.
Hope in God, and pray.
He who saved your soul from hell
Will bring you through this day.
Worry never. Doubt him less.
Know that he is God.
Learn to live in humbleness,
And trust your Shepherd’s rod.
Fix your focus. Do not shirk.
Stand as he has stood.
He will cause all things to work
Together for your good.
If this day should end in death,
Sing the last refrain.
Faithful to the final breath,
At last, to die is gain.
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It’s easy to sound authoritative online. Scroll down your social media feed, and you’ll likely find posts that sound less like opinions and more like statements of fact. When you don’t actually have to face opposition in person, when there’s a screen shielding you from seemingly any repercussions, boldness comes a bit more easily. Sadly, many people seem to make these bold, matter of fact statements about issues that aren’t so clearly black and white, leading to bitterness rather than to resolution. Continue reading
The mini-fridge in the hotel room made a sound like a Geiger-counter in Chernobyl. That strange detail stood out to me as I tried to fall asleep in Pocahontas, Arkansas; that, and insecurity. I was preparing to represent my school at a college seminary day, and I kept wondering if I’d be able to answer student questions, if I’d be overdressed (or underdressed), if I’d do a good job. The event went well, and I had some great conversations with prospective students. Still, in the back of my mind, insecurity loomed, evaluating everything I did. Continue reading
Can e’er a joy surpass the joy that comes
Upon the answer of a prayer once prayed?
Can earthly pleasures ever match the sums
Of treasures sent from heav’n once prayers are laid
Before the throne of grace? For thereupon
Sits one who rules with matchless love for men.
His mercies – fresh and new with ev’ry dawn.
His grace outruns the furthest reach of sin.
Why do we then so often turn aside
Instead of turning to our Lord of love?
Are we not beckoned to our Father’s side?
Are not all perfect gifts from him above?
The greatest gift of all he did not spare;
The cross is perfect proof that God does care.
Among tv sitcoms, The Office is a gem.
The Israelites were a hardheaded bunch of characters. I’ve been reading through the early books of the Bible (I just recently started on Deuteronomy), and I’ve noticed that the Israelites seem to rarely be content. No matter their situation, they always want something more. When they are miraculously delivered from captivity, they complain that their food situation isn’t adequate. When God miraculously provides bread, they complain that they don’t have meat. When God miraculously provides meat, they soon begin to complain that they’re tired of the meat. Throughout the wilderness wandering (which came about due to the people’s disobedience), Israel shows herself to be a fussy people. Continue reading
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What do you do when you realize that your love for God is sub-par at best? How do you respond when you feel like you’ve forgotten how to pray? What steps do you take when you recognize a deficiency in your walk with the Lord, but you don’t know how to fix the problem?