(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.
(Photo cred: Mitchell Martin – Instagram: @mitchellrmartin )
Within this world of fiction,
I yearn for heaven’s diction
To deepen my conviction.
I feel the present friction
From our great self-infliction,
And long for sin’s eviction.
Though strong the serpent’s striction,
He faces grave restriction
In all of his affliction.
For Christ, the great nonfiction,
God’s visible depiction,
Fulfilled the Word’s prediction.
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.
Proper fear begets a proper faith.
The foreigner becomes family.
God gives substance to the wraith:
Grace and mercy meet the guilty heart
Turning stone to living flesh and blood.
Love transforms every part,
Cleansing in the crimson flood.
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.
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 gospel is the poetry of truth,
For in it love and beauty condescend
From heav’n above to take the form of youth:
A righteous life to cover those who sinned.
Redemption’s plan was fixed before the fall.
The father, through his prophets, has foretold
The coming of the king who sounds the call
To all who under sin and death are sold.
Twas at the proper time and proper place
The son himself engaged man’s greatest foe,
And by his death the dead were made alive.
Alive again, the word of love and grace
Inaugurates his kingdom here below,
And all who know him evermore shall thrive.
Do we then dare to look within
These hearts inhabited by sin
That we, by looking well, might win
Our lives from this dark gamble?
Or is the truth too much to take
For all the ways it makes us shake
When bones and promises do break
And lives are seen in shambles?
For when we peer behind the screen,
And our reality is seen,
We cannot claim that we are clean
But must confess conviction.
We spurned the fountainhead above
And killed the son who came in love.
Our hands still bear his blood like gloves.
Our innocence is fiction.
We dare not let ourselves believe
That we could e’er our sins retrieve.
Christ’s righteousness we must receive
If we would walk in freedom.
So take no chances with this life
By gambling yours ‘gainst certain strife.
Embrace the Word, the surgeon’s knife,
And leave the liar’s kingdom.
A mother’s cries are echoed by her child,
Their voices piercing through the quiet night.
The newborn son has entered undefiled
To save the sinful souls from their own plight.
His coming was foretold in days of old,
His presence was announced by angel songs.
The shepherds, upon hearing, left their fold
To worship him to whom all praise belongs.
No other child so greatly changed the world.
No other king could rival this one’s worth,
For in this son the plan of God unfurled:
God stepped into this broken world by birth.
Salvation’s story shone this holy day.
The spotless lamb entered into the fray.
The greatest gift of all was born –
The gift of Christmas presence:
The God-man facing scorn and thorn
To save the sinful peasants.
Unto a race which cried for blood
Christ Jesus came fulfilling
The Father’s plan foretold in flood,
Worked out in Christ’s own killing.
But death of son meant death of sin.
The devil was defeated.
Christ’s rising brought new life to men,
And God will not be cheated.
So let the Gospel ring this year
In ev’ry celebration,
And speak with joy to ev’ry ear
Of peace to ev’ry nation.