How do you define success? Continue reading
How do you define success? Continue reading
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.
In high school and college, I saw a number of people set boundaries on their lives for the sake of holiness and purity. Friends of mine would declare a “Facebook fast” and would deactivate their accounts for months at a time, citing their need to strengthen a relationship with God as the motivation to abstain. Other friends would declare a year of singleness, determining not to date for twelve months in order to refocus on the Lord. Others set boundaries on existing relationships (“we will not be alone in a bedroom together”; “we will not hang out past 11:00 pm unless others are present”; “we will not kiss until marriage”). At the outset, hopes were high for the excited individuals, each one intent on drawing nearer to God. But not every promise produced the desired result, and not every pledge proved effective.
You spoke, and all that is began to be,
Yet you are uncreated, without end.
The voice with which you rule eternity
Is present in the whisper of the wind.
In sov’reignty, you raise and lower kings.
No power can contest your ruling right.
For you are he of whom creation sings,
The power that ordains the day and night.
And yet you clothe the flowers of the ground,
And yet you feed the sparrows of the sky.
You care for your creation all around
So much you sent your sinless son to die.
It matters not how much I may rehearse:
Your greatness, God, I cannot grasp in verse.
Today is my birthday. Birthdays are great excuses to spend quality time with family and friends, and I cherish those times. But birthdays are also great times to reflect on one’s life. Here are a few things I’ve noticed as I’ve reflected on my life this year. Continue reading
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.
When I read verses like Philippians 3:17 (“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us”) or 1 Corinthians 11:1 (“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”), I think of John Piper. Piper has consistently been an encouragement and a challenge to me, from first encountering his work when I was a high school student to seeing him preach last month at a missions conference. No matter how many authors I read, and no matter how many preachers I hear, I still hold John Piper in the highest regard. Today, I simply want to express my thankfulness for his ministry by highlighting a few things that have deeply influenced me in my walk with the Lord.
Broken with no hope of being mended;
Focused on a chapter that has ended;
Feeling as if time has been suspended;
Captivated by the sudden stillness-
Life appears infected with an illness.
Pain, oh how much longer will you tarry?
Fear: oppressive fog around the ferry.
How much farther, Father, must I carry
Weakness, like a cancer in my being
Which corrupts the sights that I am seeing?
Deeply does the curse cause me to suffer.
With each passing day, the road feels rougher.
God, be my deliverance, my buffer.
I can not in my own strength endure this.
Must I suffer so much in your service?
Yet your promise holds, for you are working
All things for the good – even the hurting.
Keep me then, in test and trial, from cursing
You in your unfathomable wisdom.
Keep me focused on your holy kingdom.
Sometimes, we don’t realize how much God has worked in our lives until we reflect over a period of time. Last night, I pulled out my journals and looked at my journey through the notes I kept. Between that and some general reflection, here are some lessons I learned in 2016. Continue reading