Remember now the darkness of those three long days before
The dawning of the day of resurrection,
For few have felt the fear of thinking God had lost the war.
The shadow of his people’s insurrection
Now loomed across the future. Now our hope seemed spent and slain.
The light of life appeared to be extinguished.
The ones who sang his praises now in shock sang no refrain.
His life, howe’er, was willingly relinquished.
What seemed to be a sure defeat was fixed before the fall.
The devil’s darkest scheme was his undoing.
As Christ was lifted up, he drew all men to heed his call.
He drained the cup of wrath our sin was brewing.
The bitter silence of that Sabbath day must have been great.
Unheard, Satan’s presumpt’ous celebration.
When was it Satan realized the cross had sealed his fate?
The slaughtered lamb became our faith’s foundation.
We now look back in wonder at this work in history
And sing with joy to God who reigns eternal.
The cornerstone came forth again in holy victory
O’er ev’ry sin, the mean and the infernal.
The resurrection of the Son secured our joy and peace.
No enemy can sabotage or sever
Us from the Father’s love. In him, sin’s slavery must cease.
Sing praise, his people, now and to forever.
Photo by Ricky Turner on Unsplash
Unmatched, unmarred by sin, unshaken, God
Maintains the utmost glory. ‘Fore his face
E’en angels hide their faces. In that place
Corruption is not suffered, cannot trod
The ground made holy by his presence. Hide
Your eyes; gain clarity. Be still and know
That he is LORD o’er all, above, below.
Fear fills us, fear fulfills us: terrified
In tenderness. Unknown yet known; most high;
E’er near; eternally enthroned above
All enemies, all not-gods, perfect love
Perfectly conquers all, never runs dry.
The sun is but a shadow of his light.
No darkness can present a worthy fight.
Photo by Roland Epple on Unsplash
Huge thanks to Brett Dickson for his invaluable insight and encouragement during the writing of this poem.
Whom do you serve? Whom do you truly follow?
Let them know me not for my mind
Or my manners. Keep from them all
Tendency to love my name (kind
Flattery). Their praise is my fall,
For I know my heart enough to
Predict its vain response. They call
For me, and I shamefully do
All that I can to earn their awe.
I must decrease. I must decrease,
For I, though only briefly, saw
Your glory. Arrogance must cease,
For you alone warrant all fear
And worship. You who dwell above
Creation yet art ever near,
You meet us with your perfect love.
I am undone. Let me then be
A humble vessel. Let my boast
Be only of your grace to me.
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
This clay can claim no title. You
Alone are worthy. Let all eyes
That look on me always see through
And your great glory recognize.
Be evident in all I do.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
Lord, save me from the fatal flaw
Of needing to be right,
Of loving not my brother but the fight.
God, humble me with holy awe.
Let truth be my delight.
Let me persuade with meekness, not with might.
Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash
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.
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
I wonder if comparison is a nicer-sounding expression for envy. When I read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, I can quickly pass over verse 17 under the assumption that I don’t have any problems with desires for the wealth or the family of my neighbors. In fact, I tend to read this verse with specifics in mind, comforting myself that I don’t desire my friend’s Xbox or his car or whatever else he may have. I tell myself envy isn’t an issue for me. But then I begin to compare.
Last week, I wrote that the word of God discerns in us what we fail to discern ourselves, and I tried to show how this cutting work serves to draw us nearer to God. But what do we do when God reveals idolatry in our hearts? How should we respond when God highlights some object or dream or comfort or person and reveals to us our unhealthy attachment? The answer, I think, lies in how we understand gifts. Continue reading
Though the night be filled with bitter sorrow,
Joy comes in the mourning, in the waiting,
In the ignorance, the hesitating.
In our times of testing, God is calling
Those with ears to hear to heed his whisper.
We perceive our need when we start falling
Then detect the Spirit’s voice grow crisper.
God, in perfect love, exposes fiction.
House of cards collapsed then on the table.
He reveals to us with clearest diction
That we need him and that he is able
To, in our great weakness, show his power,
Quenching not the wick nor crushing flower.
Hope then, soul, for God controls tomorrow.
Photo by Tyson Dudley on Unsplash