(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.
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?
Photo by lydia harper on Unsplash
The sacrificial lamb was laid upon
The altar by the hands of wicked men,
And all was dark the days before the dawn
In the apparent victory of sin.
The lesser lion, seeking to devour,
Set his assault against the sacred son,
And Satan, in the darkness of the hour,
Was certain that the victory was won.
And so it was, but not for his array.
The cross of Christ displayed for all to see
That Satan’s claim to power had been wrong.
The finished hunter had become the prey.
The word made flesh fulfilled the prophecy.
The lamb had been a lion all along.
Sacrifices are vices unless
True conviction accomp’nies the gift.
Heartless rituals will never bless,
Nor can they ever mend the great rift.
We feign well true repentance and faith,
Rending garments but never the heart.
Ev’ry prophet who preaches, “Thus saith,”
We deny with a devilish art.
Lest we follow destruction’s wide path,
Let us perish the heart’s apathy.
Learn the weight of the Lord’s love and wrath,
And, by his grace alone, let us see.
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.
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
Is it not gain to sacrifice
When giving to the Lord?
Since he has paid the ransom price,
Can we not love afford?
Is it not wise to lay aside
The things that pass away
And in the light of love abide,
For this alone will stay?
Is it not loss to grasp and cling
For what can never fill,
And follow after hopes that bring
Destruction to the will?
Is it not foolishness to prize
What only will decay,
And feed the fault before our eyes
Which on our souls does prey?
I bid you by God’s mercies to
Present yourselves as sacrifice,
A living offering unto
The One who paid your ransom price.
Be wholly pleasing to your Lord,
Be holy in your heart and soul,
For Christ is now your great reward,
And God in Christ will make you whole.
Do not adopt this earthy mold,
But be renewed in mind and will.
You now belong to heaven’s fold;
Embrace the Shepherd and be still.
Put to the test so to discern
What is the perfect will of God,
And learn to love, and love to learn,
As you with your Creator trod.
The humble ruler born to die did come
Desiring not the trappings of a king.
Far greater than all earthly glory’s sum,
He entered his own world through suffering.
Presuming not to take the place of prince,
He lived instead a life of sacrifice.
His poverty did make the wealthy wince,
Yet he was fit to pay the ransom price.
So well acquainted was he with our grief,
Afflicted by the wrath of God above.
The silent, slaughtered lamb has won relief,
And, by his wounds, he heals our hearts in love.
In service did the Master live and die
And rise to rescue lost ones from the lie.
I feel temptation’s throes around me now.
My heart is being beaten by the brute.
This flesh would see me finished with my vow.
Cry vengeance, God, and cut it at the root.
Too long have I now struggled just to breathe.
Too long have I imagined life is jest.
The holy Sword of God I must unsheathe,
And drive the blade into my very chest.
Cut out the heart of stone, O Lord of hosts,
And bring the dead to life by sacrifice,
For Christ has come to walk among the ghosts.
He paid with his own blood the ransom price.
O resurrected Warrior of light,
Raise me now up to worship and to fight.
Inspired by John 13
Creator of the universe
Inhabiting our little earth
Fulfilling ev’ry holy verse
The highest name of heaven’s worth
His glory he has laid aside
To grant a gaze to sinners’ eyes
The Savior stooped to now abide
To die for justice and to rise
He has the right to claim the throne
He need not face our fallen throes
But still he comes to call his own
To bear the cross his Father chose
His place as Lord is clearly seen
His praises, many men repeat
And yet he comes to make us clean
Our God is washing dirty feet
Humility in sacrifice
Messiah meeting man in plight
Our God has paid the highest price
Salvation springs from dying Light
His victory is now proclaimed
Exalted over ev’ry name
His standard, too, has now been framed
“Go now,” He says, “And do the same.”