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.
I read three chapters in the Bible today without feeling an excitement for the truth I was reading.
(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.
We are a people prone to adulation
Who often are audacious with our praise.
Provoking conflagration, we
Resist all abrogation. See!
The idols are the masters of our days.
Such worship is a devastating blaze.
Idolatry is no anachronism;
All ages suffer its asperity.
Discern the serpent’s schism. See
The apposite baptism. We
Reject apocryphal authority
And trade acerbic lies for clarity.
I speak of beauty, but I feel it not;
Emotion cannot pass beyond the clot.
The intellect amasses stores of facts –
Is there any conviction in my acts?
I speak, but maybe merely for the sight.
My motivation is not love, but right.
Lord, take these stone-like aspects; make them flesh.
Remove the fallen focus and refresh
My mind and heart to know and love the truth,
And let me follow with the faith of youth.
Inhabiting eternity, yet near,
You, Lord, deserve allegiance, worship, fear.
By grace through faith, I rest in your great pow’r
And, ransomed, sing, “I need thee ev’ry hour.”
Another chapter closes now, and I
Lay down my pen to catch a bit of breath.
I reminisce o’er days that have gone by,
And look ahead to days until my death.
Through weeks and months and years, you did unfold
The plan that brought me to this present time.
And though you took things I had hoped to hold,
Your rule has brought about a better rhyme.
I trust you with the days that are ahead;
I still will follow, though I cannot see.
Perfection bore the wages in my stead;
I do not doubt your daily love for me.
This marker on the road lifts up my face,
A testimony to your truth and grace.
Pain is not without its purpose.
Tragedy still points to truth.
Terror may seem to usurp us,
Yet our God is not uncouth.
He, in sov’reignty, is moving.
Evil cannot halt his will.
Through the darkness, he is proving
Faithful. Let us then be still.
Nothing from his gaze is hidden.
He will never fail nor tire.
Evils come to us unbidden;
Evil will one day expire.
Suffer well, O worn believer.
See the larger plan unfold.
Trust the Father, blessed receiver.
He is purging you like gold.
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.
The master of deception posed a question:
“How best can I befuddle Adam’s race?”
He chose to replicate God’s holy bastion
With subtle changes only few would trace.
He called the son of God a moral teacher
Whose lessons help us all live better lives.
The serpent thus can sabotage a preacher
And turn a church into a teeming hive
Of people bent on earning their salvation
By feeble works of their polluted hands.
Grace is avoided by the “able” nation
As death under the law engulfs all lands.
Or else the serpent says the Christ will save us
From any consequences from our sins.
Asserting this, the serpent can enslave us
To think that pain-free living now begins.
He whispers that if difficulty tarries,
We must not be believing well enough.
He in this way ensures the Christian carries
A heart of fear or a self-righteous bluff.
So listen well, my fellows, to the Scriptures
And flee the lying words which tempt the ear,
For catchy lines, which make for pretty pictures,
Are laced with hooks to kill, so learn to fear
All forms of “almost truth,” and seek the certain.
Be on your guard no matter where you trod.
Trust in the Spirit, see beyond the curtain,
And walk in wisdom by the truth of God.