Deep Breath

Sometimes,
the best thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

is to let

 

 

 

 

 

 

silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

speak
the words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and be
your tutor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in
the school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

of faith.

 

6-13-2019

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Things I Can’t Control (Strambotto)

The quaking earth; mountains tossed in the sea;
Nations toppling, kings rising and falling;
The daily rise of the sun in the east;
The birds in the springtime: lovers calling;
The raging, defiant, sinner’s screed:
Wicked, wolfish, evil caterwauling;
The love and mercy from eternity:
A delights-river ever enthralling.

4-11-2019

Prompt

What is a Strambotto?

The Publican Pharisee (Shakespearean Sonnet)

This poem is inspired by this post.

Lord, I thank You that You are not like me,
For I am full of greed and lust and hate;
But You, a fountain flowing with mercy,
A wealth of love for sinners in dire straits.
Every penitent You will welcome,
Even the publican beating his breast;
You need no tithes of spices and income,
On a thousand hills your cattle find rest.
You prefer mercy over vanity;
You find delight in helpless, humble faith.
I am not worthy to even be seen,
And yet to me––me!––You lift up Your face.
I take no comfort but in Your esteem,
In You I find love for eternity.

2-21-2019



Paradox

Look down to lift your eyes
Lay down to be raised up
Shout and scream by quiet
Open your fist to grip

Grow backwards to mature
Strive to be a grown-down
Give to doubt what is sure
Become poor to abound

Die, die, that you may live
In pride do not be proud
A child trusts mom to give
And rests in love still found

Remember, forgotten
Are sins and stains now white
Hope, newly begotten
Openly runs to hide.

2-3-2019

Help My Unbelief

I hear all the great promises,
I know that they are true
I know all things are possible
For those who trust in You

Lord, I believe! 
O help my unbelief!
Lord, I need You
To give me some relief!
I feel the hardness of my heart
And know it should not be,
I fall down at Your mercy, Lord,
O help my unbelief!

Now my eyes have grown accustomed
To walking in the dark
I need a lamp to light the path
And guide my wand’ring heart

Lord, I believe! 
O help my unbelief!
Lord, I need You
To give me some relief!
I feel the hardness of my heart
And know it should not be,
I fall down at Your mercy, Lord,
O help my unbelief!

One day I’ll be completely changed
And freed from all my sin
I’ll no longer war against
This unbelief within

Lord, I believe! 
O help my unbelief!
Lord, I need You
To give me some relief!
I feel the hardness of my heart
And know it should not be,
I fall down at Your mercy, Lord,
O help my unbelief!

1-14-2016

Children’s Lessons

There is something about a child that is essential for entrance into the kingdom of God. It is not their innocence, for they are not innocent! They are little sinners just like we are big sinners. Nor is it their purity or that they are sweet. Again, they are sinners with Adam and Eve’s and your and my DNA running throughout their being. …

Children are helpless. Their lives are in the hands of another. Yet, even at a tender age, they seem to be filled with hope and expectation. They don’t know all they need, but they know they need the help of another, and they are hopeful they will receive it. They come small, helpless, and powerless. They have no clout or standing, and they bring nothing but empty hands. This is appropriate since only empty hands can be filled! …

By their display of trust and absolute dependence on another, children point the way to entrance into God’s kingdom. Children have the capacity to enjoy a lot but explain a little. They live by faith and dependence. They must trust another to survive.

Jesus picked up the children. What a picture of amazing gospel grace! He is tender and affectionate to those who bring nothing to Him but their need.

— Danny Akin, Exalting Jesus in Mark, 214-215.

2015 Reading List: Not By Sight

Bloom, Jon. Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith.

Not by Sight is a collection of short meditations on what walking by faith probably looked and felt like for a number of people in the Bible. What must it have felt like for Joseph to struggle with Mary’s news? What could it have felt like to be one of the Jews who met the repentant Zacchaeus?

Not by Sight is the product of a faithful imagination engaging with the realities of walking with Jesus. Jon Bloom writes with a novelist’s creativity and a pastor’s heart. This is not deep theology in the sense of inaccessible academia; this is deep theology in the sense of rubber-meets-the-road, Jesus-is-worth-it living.

The aforementioned story of Zacchaeus is probably my favorite chapter in the book. It’s told from the perspective of Judah, an imagined victim of Zacchaeus’ past fraud who receives back four times what he was cheated out of. Judah is understandably wary of him; he is a professional liar and thief, after all. But the way Bloom narrates the tale, the glory and power of the gospel shine through beautifully.

Zacchaeus explains to Judah that Jesus opened his eyes to see the evil of loving money and the good of loving Jesus. He tells Judah,

But as I sat in my home with Jesus and His disciples, who have nothing–nothing but God–I have never seen happier people in my life! And as Jesus spoke, it was like His words were alive. My heart burned with a longing for God I had never felt before! And with deep shame that I traded Him for money.

Then it hit me like a cedar beam: I’m poor, not rich! They had God; I had a dead idol: money. They were rich; I was no more than a beggar. They were free. But the only doors money ever opened for me led to lonely dungeons. My world, as I had known it, fell apart.”

Then, when Judah’s wife asks what the bag is that Judah’s holding, he tells her,

A tax refund.

A what?

I think we need to go hear Rabbi Jesus.

Rabbi Jesus? Why?

I think we’re poor.

It’s a masterful use of imaginative storytelling to show the power of the gospel, both for Zacchaeus and the genuineness of his repentance, but also of the gospel’s heart-persuasiveness to appeal to those who may think they’re okay.

It’s a great book, especially for devotional and thoughtful reading. I read it far faster than a daily devotional reading, mostly because it was too good to stop.