Thursday, June 26, 2014

Faithfulness


"Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me,"
But am I faithful? O Lord, you see.
You know my weakness, my sinful fear.
Lord, make me faithful--right now, right here.

Shred my excuses, my lies, my pride.
Fill me with Jesus--Give zeal inside.
Steel my convictions. Fill all my gaze.
Make all my goal now only your praise.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

I wrote this sermon in response to an excellent sermon on The Faithful Life. Click here to watch or to listen to it.  



Saturday, June 21, 2014

Growing Older

Photo credit: Hartwig HKD. Some rights reserved. The poem is public domain.

I once was filled with hopes and dreams
Of serving God in bigger ways,
Of preaching to a growing church;
Of mission work, and writing, too,
Composing songs and writing books
And trusting God to meet our needs.

I prayed that we would have a home
Filled up with love. I didn’t care
About a house. A room or two
Would do.
But if a house, a house where strangers could come in
And feel our love
And meet our Lord
And start their lives anew.

That’s how my heart was
Some short years ago.

Now youth is gone,
And twilight’s closing in
Much faster than I dreamed.
My strength is fading.
My hopes have faded, gone
To live in other younger men.
O, may they live them,
Not just dream them for awhile!

My mind, once swift and bright
As any shooting star,
Now alternately leaps and limps.
Will I be senile shortly now,
Unable to do anything but wait
For death’s release to life above?

If so, our God will see me through.
While dreams are dying all around
And hope lies shattered on the ground,
I hear one thought, still, clear and true.
“There is a God! He cares for you.”

Written May or June, 1994. In reading this after 20 years, I sense an undertone of self-pity and discouragement. I'm thankful that I rarely pity myself these days. 

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.
(Psalm 37:25 ESV. Read all of verses 23-26.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Subtle Words


Subtle words,
Almost true,
Soon would kill
Me or you.

First, a small
Seed of doubt--
Then, the lies
Start to sprout.

After that,
Just a breath
Stands between
You and death.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ...?” (Genesis 3:1 ESV)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Manly Strength


Brothers, God has made you firm and strong
Not for empty, proud displays--
Brawny feats to grab some praise--
But to serve him all day long.

Other men have cleared the way,
Gone through deserts, jungles, mud,
Sacrificed their very blood
So that you'd be here today.

Honor, then, that legacy.
Join the fight for all that's right.
Lead and guard--by day, by night.
Be the light for all to see.

And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. (Nehemiah 2:18 ESV)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Marriage Supper


Hear the voice like mighty thunder,
Roaring like Niagara,
Saying all must praise their Maker,
For the Lord Almighty reigns!

Hear the call to celebration—
Joy and glory flow to God.
Now the Lamb is to be married.
Now his lovely bride appears.

She’s prepared herself. What beauty!
She’s been given linen bright:
Righteous deeds of all the holy
Shining forth in purity.

Look in awe. Shout Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord whose words are true!
Blessed are those who are invited
To the marriage of the Lamb!


Theology notes: My understanding is that the Lamb's bride is the true Israel (see Isaiah 61:10), the church (see Ephesians 5:25-27 and 2 Corinthians 11:1-3),  the new Jerusalem (see Revelation 21:1-2). In other words, the bride is the people of God. We as individuals are the guests, not the bride.
The righteous deeds in which the bride is wrapped are given to her. We are not saved by our good works, but are saved for good works (see Ephesians 2:8-10).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Like an Infant

Photo credit: Andrew Morrell. Some Rights Reserved

Like an infant, I can do
Nothing, nothing, nothing well.
Like an infant, I can rest
Fully, fully, full of trust.

I can trust the Lord who saves
Little, simple, helpless ones.
I can trust his gracious ways.
I can simply rest and trust.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; 
  fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, 
  over the man who carries out evil devices!
(Psalm 37:7 ESV)

There's a time to stand up and fight. We're in a spiritual war. But there's also a time to simply stop striving; to trust; to rest. Never trust in your own strength. Even when in a spiritual battle, trust the Lord's strength, not your own.