Tag Archives: Poetry

Maker of All

I had fun writing this poem this week, and thought it worked well sandwiched between these verses. Enjoy!

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through Him and for Him.

Maker of All

Satin ribbon,
starch and dye,
I could try
to replicate a rose;
But imitation only tends
to flatter the real thing.

Could I stitch
even a simple wing?
Making first the hollow frame,
criss-cross the trusses,
lend it strength for the stress
of taking flight?

Could I composite
fabrics that feel so soft,
yet shed water off,
and shape them neat
into feathers?

Could I give the wing skin,
sticking those feathers in
and angling them for flight?

We dress up in camo
but chameleon’s camouflage within.
We graft green broken branches back
but the tree accepts them in.
We propel impressive ships,
but none jump like a humpback
whale with its’ weight;
And everything we make
borrows and imitates.

My feeble hands
point to the sky,
knowing who to glorify.
An eagle soars,
seeking his pray
and knows, like I do now,
his Maker.

Job 39:26-29

“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars
and spreads his wings toward the south?
Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up
and makes his nest on high?
 On the rock he dwells and makes his home,
on the rocky crag and stronghold.
 From there he spies out the prey;
his eyes behold it from far away.”

The Desolation of Smug

Trials have a way of killing smugness. I suppose some little wave crashes upon a boulder and he doesn’t feel it much. But there are waves that beat upon a stone without relent, and sometimes he thinks “I’m surely going to crash into this sea like so many tiny pebbles do.”

It’s the long relentless trials, often repeated, in which desperate men cry out for deliverance with parched throats and eyes that dim of scanning the horizon (Psalm 69:3)- these are the trials which put a knife to smugness.

To be smug is to “be contentedly confident of one’s ability, superiority, or correctness; complacent.” You can see it in the life of people who store up their treasures and say to themselves “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry (Luke 12:20).” We see it in those who simply live without acknowledging God or His ways, fill up their measure of sin, and tell themselves “He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us (Jeremiah 5:12).”

It’s easy to identify smugness in unbelievers isn’t it? And we might have some patience for that, since after all, they don’t know God. But there are some sins, or struggles the smug believer thinks he or she would never be tried with. The things “good” and “real” Christians just don’t do, or even think of doing. Good Christians don’t get divorced. They don’t curse, or hit things, or hit others. They don’t hurt themselves or have “mental breakdowns.” Good Christians aren’t tempted to use alcohol or drugs to dampen the pain and difficulties of life. They don’t get bitter. They don’t experience large scale moral failures. The “true” Christian doesn’t question God’s purposes and never thinks- “perhaps a different path would have led to a happier, easier life.” That “real” Christian never has doubts about His God or His faith.

The smug believer thinks he doesn’t do those thing because he simply couldn’t do those things. He is too good a Christian in fact. It would be impossible for him because he has climbed too high for such a heinous, ignorant, and disgraceful stoop. He knows too much truth and has too pure of motives. His reasons for coming to Jesus were right; he follows Christ for Christ alone, and nothing else that might be gained. Take the world but give him Jesus, and he will be just fine. He is sure.

The problem is not that he despises the thought of ever sinning or struggling in such ways, but rather that his trust is in himself, and his attitude towards failing believers is one of quick readiness to judge and deem them cut off. But trials are not so easy and glamorous a tool of refining believers as sometimes they are made to sound. People talk about their victories but we often don’t hear how trials will prove you ugly before they start to make you pure. Consider this excerpt from a poem I have written reflecting on this topic:

“Did you think
To put you in a furnace
Would not scorch your skin?
To come out gold
With easy glee
And not the surfacing of sin?
Or that boiling water hot
Would like a warm bath
Scathe you not?
Like sinking in so comfortably
To fire should come easily?”

When a Christian goes into the boiling pot and stays in it for a long time, God will undoubtedly grow and refine that Christian. I look back on this long trial with chronic pain and I see a hundred idols slain. But it is not as if they crumbled down themselves. They’ve been slain through tears, constant battle, and much travail in prayer. The longer I go through the trials, the more I see that there is no temptation uncommon to men (1Corinthians 10:13), and there is no temptation or sinful thought too sinful for myself. I see those idols slain, but I know their root lies in my own heart and when my eyes go off my God how quickly they resurrect. I see that this battle isn’t won until I finally find myself safe in the arms of God. I will overcome and conquer one doubt or one sinful wish, but it will rear its head again. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as killing a sin (including smugness!) once and for all. When you’re living in a trial it is constant war and you must kill the flesh daily or quickly lurch towards destruction.

If it were not for God you’d find my faith somewhere dashed upon a rock. I’m certain of it. Trials have had their way of desolating smugness in me, but there is (thank God!) a higher rock than I (Psalm 61:2). Smugness and security are not the same thing. Eternal security- the promise of God that He who began a work of salvation in me will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6)- is my hope and joy. It is my confidence in the day of trouble.

My confidence is a person. My trust is in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I’ll echo these words from hymnist John Berridge:

“Thou poor, afflicted, tempted soul,
With fears, and doubts, and tempests tossed…
What if the billows rise and roll,
And dash the ship-
It is not lost;
The winds and waves and fiends may roar,
But Christ will bring thee safe on shore.”

About the smug heart, I have written previously:

Did you think endurance
Meant to never fall?
So with steady steps
To conquer all?
So worthily you might
Win the crown?
And say at last
“Was me who won
By never falling down”?
The valiant and strong
Shall win the prize!
All Heaven will esteem me
With their eyes!

Do you see how that attitude differs from the Christian who has seen they are a ship who left to their own will drift off in the turbulent seas and be dashed? Oh, but even if he drift for a time, even if the winds, and waves, and fiends assail him, and he approaches his shore as one almost sunk- be it certain, Christ will bring him safe on shore. He is not lost.

That is the hope I’m clinging to, and am learning to embrace with godly fear- fear that takes seriously the warnings in scripture that urge us not to fall away, while clinging to the only Savior who can sustain our hope, our faith, and our strength. Eternal security is not a doctrine that leads to sin, unless we have careless hearts which cast ourselves on a doctrine rather than a person (Christ), with an attitude of smugness. That is dangerous, and a real threat. But when shattered hearts lean into the Everlasting Arms, resting safe and secure from all alarms, that indeed, is a beautiful thing. God who sees the heart knows the difference.

I end with a portion of scripture that seems fitting:

1Corinthians 10:12-14 “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”

Hem Me In

He had hemmed me in
Behind and before,
Drew the lines that fall
But I thought to soar
Past sunsets that looked
Like bars might prove more.

Pastures green, like plain
Bread, stale and dry
Rolled on for days; Streams
Meandered nearby-
My eyes gazed elsewhere,
I refused to lie.

“Pleasant places, these,”
Said a lamb. I nod,
Pretend, but o’er the
Valley there’s a broad
Place with less restraints-
To please! But not God…

Oh, but there to taste
To spread like wild vine!
Should such a pleasure
Be deprived of mine?
Can sweet fruit not grow
Among fainter lines? Continue reading

A Thorn To Bless

What will I do with satan’s thorn
Lodged deep in weakest access point?
No pill to take
No treatment makes
It well, no method has supplied
A cure,
Steps stumble; Backward falls
The soldier, boldly with a limp
But limping on
He goes, he goes,
A carefully crafted grin
All turmoil within.

Paul called his a tormentor,
Assailant of the flesh,
A harassing messenger
Its’ agent being death.

What wickedness with cruel intent
Should drive the thorn so deep?
What does he gain
From this my pain?-
But not my soul to keep.

God, the guardian of my soul-
He does not sleep.
No armies march past Him
While I do weep. Continue reading

He Will Not Let You Drown

Now it seems His hand has turned
Against you,
Yes, has seen you sinking
And has pressed your head
Beneath the waves.
You think “To catch a breath,
‘Tis one small favor,
Can’t He see?”
But yes, He sees;
So why do gray skies
Blacken more
And gray waves
Lash upon the shore?

But oh, His hand does stretch
To reach you,
See Him walk on stormy seas?
All around control has left you,
Where has gone the Lord of peace?
Your eyes are full of salt
You think you saw the Savior frowning,
Do you really think
He stands aloof while His loved one’s drowning?

Lift up your eyes, He rends the Heavens
His presence dooms the tempest,
Robs of power death’s cold sting
For drawing near, salvation brings
A smile yet, with warmth and love
Though seems abandoned from above. Continue reading

Come to Christ

How has the domain of darkness
So disguised its self as light?
There you sit as in the shadows
And the chains of death but yet
The world says “this is life,
And yes what life is all about:
To sit in darkness as if light,
To raise your bound hands high
And shout your freedom,
For you are free to do as much
Of what you’re bound to as you like.”

They say that sin won’t really hurt you
It’s what you want; it’s what we all do,
And so you’ve drunken your full measure
Still empty though you’ve had some pleasure
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost
Of sleepless nights and devastation
Heart-break and felt condemnation,
Once self assured now feeling lost
It hasn’t quite felt worth the cost.

Where can you turn?
Where can you run?
Sin hasn’t proven that much fun.
And why this guilt, and why such shame?
Isn’t there someone else to blame?
You know the world runs hard and fast
The same way you do but at last
You’re left alone to sit and wonder
Why this gnawing feeling grows
That life is more than this world shows.

Have you been lied to and deceived?
You thought money and looks were all you need
Could it be the advice of fools
To suppress guilt and ignore God’s rules?

You’re afraid but must keep it inside
Alone though in a room of friends
Pretending this life satisfies
But what really happens in the end?

You’re hurt, pretending to be strong
Let down, pretending not to care
How could following your heart have proven wrong
And left you with sorrows beyond compare?

The Lord is the one whom you’ve offended
Yet in love for you He condescended
He has loved you, but Him you’ve ignored
Yet He chose to lay aside His sword
And instead became the spotless lamb
The Son of God, The Great I AM
For blemished sinners was punished.

Dear slave of sin come enter in
You’ve seen now that you aren’t free
You’ve been deceived and have believed
A lie that sin won’t make you die.

Come to Christ oh weary sinner
From Him flows a living river
That wells up to eternal life
And then
He says you’ll never thirst again.

Come leave your burden at the cross
Where once was gain you now count lost
This heavy weight of sin come shed
For under its’ weight Jesus bled.

If you’d repent of all your sin
And trust in Christ He’d let you in
He is the door for all of His sheep
But now be warned because you keep
Turning your gaze back towards sin
If you won’t repent
Then He won’t let you in.
Come to Christ, lose your life
To find it in Him,
Or go on lapping up dust
As if water, satisfy your lusts
Preserve this life but who will console
You when you’ve gained the world but lost your soul.

My friend, I pray this won’t be you
Come to Christ who makes all things new.

 Colossians 1:13 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Might We Be True Worshipers of God

 

John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John Piper: “True worship comes from people who are deeply emotional and who love deep and sound doctrine.”  (see whole quote at end)

My Response-

 

My heart;

Arise!

For Jesus calls,

And yearns for me with jealous love

Grow not weary nor wax dull

All creation tells of his glory above. Continue reading

Consider His Death

(I am, Lord willing, writing a book titled (as of now) “The Complex Nature Of God’s Heart For Lost People.”  I don’t think that this chapter (or intro) “Consider His Death” is finished yet.  It is highly likely that a lot of editting is yet to be done.  This is what I have written, prior to editting.  Please let me know if anything is confusing or needs clarifying. Also if you could tell me if there is anything you particularly like about it.  Any comments or questions are appreciated!)

There is a fair amount of “gospel preaching,” that goes on today.  The vast majority of it is being done in our churches, which is all together necessary because the gospel is not only for the unsaved, but for the saved as well.  Yet, I long that much more gospel preaching would go forth from out of the church and on to the streets.  Some people see the cross as only a stepping stone to move on to better and more glorious things.  I pray that this is not how you learned Christ.  I remember a time before I was saved when I Continue reading

Why A Blog Called “Come To Christ”?

I confess, I know next to nothing about blogging.  But I do love to write.  I love to journal, to write poetry, and to write varieties of exhortations with the hopes that any person reading these things would come to Christ.  If they know Him, I desire that they would know Him even more, and if they do not know Him, I pray that they would be called into saving faith.  Jesus is my life and the cross is my only boast and glory. Anything that is not done through Him and for Him is a waste.  It is not worth my time, nor my thoughts, nor my efforts to waste away the precious seconds the Lord has given.

Ephesians 5:15-16 “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Continue reading