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.
We place our memories upon the tree
Along with colored lights and tinsel spheres,
Traditions carried on through many years
Displayed for ev’ry passerby to see.
Together with our friends and family
We celebrate the end of earthly fears
Proclaimed by angels unto shepherd ears,
The Gospel passed along to you and me.
As days pass by, these trees are brought and burned.
We gather ’round the bonfire and are warmed
As friends and fam’ly fellowship again.
More blessed still, the God whom we have spurned
Has sent his son to save the world he formed,
And in our songs, this truth is our refrain.
These fleeting frustrations can fill me with fury;
The littlest loss can produce a lament.
Please pardon this person so lost in the flurry;
Prevent me from spurning this chance to repent.
Let not limitations incite my impatience.
Impertinent thoughts – let them perish from me.
For I am a man unaffected by penance,
Provoked by the splinters I happen to see.
Yet you have forgiven my vilest offenses.
You made me a son though I spit in your face.
God, break down my barriers, dash my defenses,
And teach me to live by your mercy and grace.
Let me learn to better reflect your perfection.
Let sanctification reach every part.
Let my life bear witness to thy great salvation
As patience and peace rule my critical heart.
My eyes behold a sight so terrible
And lovely I cannot but stand in awe
And dread at knowing now what others saw,
The truth perceived in part through parable.
The Lord of all that is, in love and wrath,
Has ev’ry right to rid his world of me.
And I, now seeing him, do suddenly
Abandon all excuses for my path,
This road which led me to my own demise.
I am a sinful man deserving naught
But righteous condemnation without end.
Yet now I hear a spotless lamb’s last cries,
And now I learn my worthless life is bought,
And now I know that Christ has called me friend.
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
God, guide your Word like a sword for my reckoning,
Wrecking all hopes in my heart for this waste.
Cut to the quick for the purpose of quickening
Works of your Spirit to sever the sickening
Sludge that I sought in my haste.
Clauses like claws are accustomed to scratch away
Any remainder of wretchedness here.
Tear away sin and, in so doing, tear a way
Through the commotion that coaxes my heart astray
Till I have learned how to fear.
Let ev’ry phrase of your holy book break my heart
For ev’ry way I dishonor your name.
Never relent; pierce my soul from the very start
Till I reflect your resplendence with ev’ry part,
Living as proof of your claim.
Who is a God like you
That you should hear our cries,
And pardon our iniquity,
And never speak in lies?
Who is a God like you
That we are not too small
For you to stoop and seek and save
Our souls from our great fall?
Who is a God like you
That you should suffer loss,
And leave your throne to bear the curse
Of sin upon that cross?
Who is a God like you
Who overcomes our death
Who makes the broken heart to beat
And gives us saving breath?
O God, I humbly must confess
My love for all unrighteousness.
My love for you, I know, is less
Than my desire for filthiness.
And I, by my own might, cannot
Erase the blemish, ban the blot
Of sin. This wound I cannot clot.
Apart from help, this life will rot.
So come before this heart of dross
That festers underneath the gloss
Makes of this man a total loss.
O God, how I deserve that cross.
I know there is no good in me.
Your son, I could not hope to be,
For by your Word, I better see:
My only hope must come from Thee.
And though I cannot earn your peace,
By grace you do from sin release
My soul, and cause my death to cease.
Your holy blood has washed my fleece.
Depravity cannot repel
The Savior snatching souls from hell.
And though we wear this dying shell,
Our ears will hear the wedding bell.
So let me never now lose sight
Of your great glory, grace, and might,
And let your holy, saving light
Shine through and make me ever bright.
Jonah strikes me as a guy who might have gotten punched in the face a few times over the course of his life. The short book that bears his name records that he fled from God when called to service, he hid his sin from those who were suffering from the consequences of his mistakes, he got angry at God for allowing his enemies to repent and for allowing his shade plant to wither, and he asked God to kill him because those frustrations made death more appealing to him than life. By the end of chapter four, Jonah seems to be the epitome of the title, “Jerk.” But when you do a bit of study, you learn that this book is likely autobiographical. In other words, Jonah is probably the author of this account. And, if that is true, than Jonah arguably highlighted his less than honorable characteristics for a purpose. So, what would make a man point out his flaws so transparently?
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash
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?