The Problem of Evil

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(Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash)


As history has been unfurled,
One question ‘gainst the church has stood:
From whence came evil to this world
If God created all things good?
We grant some evil works for gain,
Some purpose may be found therein;
Yet is there not much needless pain,
Much suffering because of sin?
Could God not keep his world from death,
Or – bitter thought – might he desire
To curse those he hath filled with breath,
To see them sinking in the mire?
Or might it be that he allows
His people to rebel, to stray,
That they may truly then avow
His lordship, then may truly pray?
And could it be that majesty
Did not abandon to decay
Damned souls, but there upon the tree
Engaged in full the sinner’s fray?
Christ bore the wrath of God in place
Of those who chose the path to hell
That they might turn to seek the face
Of love, to taste the one true well.
God’s justice cometh like a flame,
And evil will not stand the show.
I may not know from whence it came,
But well I know where it will go.

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Unite My Heart

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(Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash)

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
Psalm 86:11

I read and re-read this verse multiple times after running across it in my devotional time. I love the wording here for its poetic sound and feel. I love the imagery within the prayer. Even so, my mind kept returning to a question: What does it mean for a heart to be united?

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Transformation

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Proper fear begets a proper faith.
The foreigner becomes family.
God gives substance to the wraith:
Glorious anomaly.
Grace and mercy meet the guilty heart
Turning stone to living flesh and blood.
Love transforms every part,
Cleansing in the crimson flood.

Reflection on Psalm 50

At the word of the Maker, the earth
Is brought forth to revolve round the sun
To the praise and the glory of one
Who possesses an infinite worth.
He shines forth from perfection’s high’st form,
From great Zion, with sounds of a choir.
Ev’ry step is preceded by fire;
When he walks, he is shrouded in storm.
His salvation is given, not bought,
For he owns all that we could present.
Sacrifices for vices are spent,
Yet they profit the Almighty naught.
So walk not in the pathways of death.
Ponder life ‘fore your lips claim his pow’r.
Let the fear of the Lord fill each hour,
And let thanksgiving fill ev’ry breath. 

A Prayer for Wisdom and Humility

(Photo cred: Jeremy Poe – Instagram: @jeremy.m.poe)

I do not know how much I do not know.
I know that there are limits to my reach.
Let me, O Lord, as I aspire to teach,
Walk in humility and ever grow.
Let fear protect me from presumption’s throes
And keep me bowed before your holy face.
Teach me to dwell before your throne of grace.
Speak heaven’s poetry to human prose.
My learning threatens me with arrogance.
It whispers lies of self-sufficiency
And hides the truth I know, that I am weak.
Grant me a reverential reticence.
Produce in me humble proficiency.
God, make me quick to hear and slow to speak. 

Fear of the Lord, 2


Focus me to fear your name,
Lord of glory, sacred flame.
You are good; you are not tame.
All creation is your claim.
I, mere man, before you fall,
You: eternal God of all.
Unto you I humbly call
For I know that I am small.
Source of all things pure and true,
Love and worship are my due:
All my life to honor you.
Let my words be wise and few.
Make me, Lord, to know my end.
Let me never break or bend.
Let my focus now transcend.
Help me live the words here penned. 

The Fear of the Lord

Fear of the Lord

I’ve always been a bit fascinated with fear. When I was little, when the mildest frights could send me running, I still looked forward to October and to Halloween, the decorations, the costumes, and the spooky movies on the Disney channel each captivating my interest. In literature, I loved reading Edgar Allan Poe with his mastery of the macabre. Even in Batman cartoons and video games, I found myself enjoying the stories with Scarecrow more than the stories with many of the other villains. Fear, in a way, has been a lifelong interest. Continue reading

Fear and Faith

(Photo cred: Jeremy Poe)

My final destination is secured;
Tis fixed within my future by the pow’r
Sustaining all creation ev’ry hour.
And yet the days ahead appear obscured.
By pages and by principles applied,
May I perchance perceive the Father’s plan
(And thus pursue the path by strength of man
And live a life untested and untried)?
No. Faith is forged by following in fear,
Uncertain of the details of the road
Yet certain of the Master’s love and might.
Help me then, Lord, to listen and to hear.
Let me abide in thee in this abode
And learn to walk by faith and not by sight. 

Grief

Broken with no hope of being mended;
Focused on a chapter that has ended;
Feeling as if time has been suspended;
Captivated by the sudden stillness-
Life appears infected with an illness.

Pain, oh how much longer will you tarry?
Fear: oppressive fog around the ferry.
How much farther, Father, must I carry
Weakness, like a cancer in my being
Which corrupts the sights that I am seeing?

Deeply does the curse cause me to suffer.
With each passing day, the road feels rougher.
God, be my deliverance, my buffer.
I can not in my own strength endure this.
Must I suffer so much in your service?

Yet your promise holds, for you are working
All things for the good – even the hurting.
Keep me then, in test and trial, from cursing
You in your unfathomable wisdom.
Keep me focused on your holy kingdom.