So God was there, as always,
Himself complete, the three of him,
and we want to ask, how long
of eternity before he decided
to create — what a nonsensical question!
As if minutes and seconds counted
before the First Creative Word to Let
there be light! — when nothing contingent
or iffy existed. As I was saying, so God was there —
not that there was a place — for space didn’t come
along until later — and he spoke it all
into existence — it didn’t just happen.
He made it happen.
And he had a reason for making it happen.
And it all fit, and worked, until somebody
goofed it up (we’ll not call names). And still
it works, because God keeps it going.
So he spoke not only the universe
into existence, but shouted out
the reason as well, for those who’re inclined
to listen.
And for those who aren’t,
they can always believe in evolution,
or some such nonsense.

In time, the weights of life increase,
God exercises the working soul.
The lifting strains will never cease,
His power you learn more and more to extol.

Burdens remain, the heart discerns
To release them from the inner man.
Though worldly chains may bind the hand,
Upon eternal grace the spirit turns.

Today, I meet with God, in faith,
In deep and copious blessings I bathe,
I live in truth in Jesus’ death.

Today, my needs the Lord provides,
His tender mercy to justice adds,
And changes all my attitudes.

Today, the future holds no fear,
From here eternity’s not far,
For God-who-Is draws me near.

At such a time as this has God
placed you where you are, to act
on behalf of his people. Many will scoff
and scorn you. Silence is not an option.
Speak surely and firmly, with love,
the Word of God on your lips, arising
from your heart full of goodness.
Jeremiah’s group has room for more,
a lonely prophet with meager results,
among a stubborn people with eyes wide shut.
The Lord may start again through you.
Doubt not his power. The Kingdom seeds will sprout
where least the world expects. An open heart,
a will of flint for God’s devoted service,
this fertile earth will bear a hundredfold.
Patience! Be whom you ought, do what you must,
and let the Spirit rain upon your planting.
He blows at will, you cannot see his work,
just when you think he’s left your field of sowing,
the ground breaks, the tender shoots appear,
harvest promise gladdens and strengthens faith.
God does not string you along,
but tests you, proves you, burns
away the dross, prepares your soul for better things.
Keep on, keep on, that day is coming.

To you I cry, O Lord of lights,
Illumine my soul, and hear my plea;
The devil is near with flaming darts,
Make swift my feet, that I might flee.

Come touch my heart and make me whole,
Fill every need, make glory shine;
And under your hand, no plan shall fail,
When Word and Deed in faith combine.

Which is the more dangerous sin, the one that creates a chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol, and destroys a body, or the one that creates an emotional or behavioral aberration, such as envy or complaining, and twists a person’s spirit?

We know the answer to that, do we not? All sin is dangerous. But perhaps the physical effects of many sins are not evident, so we attribute less weight to them. (Probably most or all sins have some physical manifestation.) We treat them with less seriousness. They are more respectable to us.

In a way, however, all sin is addictive. All sin traps the sinner. All sin is controlling.

The wicked will be captured by his own iniquities,
and he will be held by the cords of his own sin. Prov 5.22.

The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires. Prov 11.6.

The Hebrew word behind “captured” is used most of the time in the Old Testament of a city, of men, of spoils, or even of a kingdom being captured or taken, according to the Theological Wordbook of the OT. It is a powerful image for the effects of sin in one’s life. Continue reading

If you let him, God will turn your life upside-down. Or rather, right-side up. He will work a great thing in you.

He will not leave you where you are, but will sweep away the trash of selfishness and the litter of small concerns to fill you with a consuming love for him. God will transform you, change you, reorient you to himself. He will leave you marveling at grace and in awe of truth.

Further, he will remake you in his image, revealed in Christ, by the power of his Spirit, with all the might of heaven at your disposal. And he will give you the greatest mission of all, to work at his side that this image might be reproduced in others.

Satan would blind you to God’s goodness, but if you let him, God will break through your blindness and give you the sharpest vision of himself.

Make this your prayer and your goal today.

“At that time the deaf will be able to hear words read from a scroll, and the eyes of the blind will be able to see through deep darkness” Isaiah 29.18.

Focus question: Where is God working in my life? How is he effecting the promised transformation? What do I need to do to allow his transforming power in me?

A world of peoples, cultures, languages,
Lies beyond my small horizon,
Across oceans, over mountains,
Around the corner from my house.

My little circle draws a line
To neatly hold my loved ones in,
Define those I consider mine,
Exclude who isn’t my kith and kin.

To others the kingdom’s door is shut,
My comfort rules, I can’t be bothered,
In my own clan my treasure’s put —
The gospel? By someone else be offered.

A new Bible, a new journal, a new page,
a new day, a new start, a new age —
So much newness! So much hope! Unspoken fear!
Can I really and truly change in this new year?
Growth has happened, progress made, but oh! how slow!
God prepares his people with patience — Yes, Lord, I know!

This little gem was sent to my Cloudburst poetry list back in 2008. Nobody saw it outside that now defunct list. (Here’s the post I wrote on the occasion.) So I thought I’d revive it, since it applies even more, now that we have some grandkids near us to share the holiday with. What doesn’t apply is the mention of cold. All the windows are open here, and the fans at high speed.

May your day be blessed today. Continue reading