“Do not fear me,” spoke the specter,
And I was afraid.
Death would surely follow from this brush.
But the holy soul collector,
With his wounds displayed,
Welcomed me and did the devil crush.
I want to walk with hope though there be sadness.
I want to be at peace though there be war.
I want to remain sober in the madness.
I want to trust, not knowing what’s in store.
I want my life to testify to blessings
Surpassing the self-pity that I feel.
I want to stand in spite of second-guessings.
I want my love to be alive and real.
I want my joy to show through circumstances,
Joy drawn not from my circumstance or sight.
I want my setbacks to serve your advances,
That, in the darkness, I reflect your light.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
We live in a culture of busy Christians. I read stories of the stresses of pastoral ministry driving pastors away from the church and into sinful lifestyles. I hear the struggles of my fellow seminarians as they attempt to juggle the demands of school and ministry and work, often walking the edge of burnout as they long for rest. I understand the weight of many responsibilities, often feeling both burdened by the load yet unable to slow down. We whose lives are marked by busyness would do well to remind ourselves of Jesus’s words on the subject of obedience.
What draws people to fear?
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16
James encourages Christians to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). A brief scroll through the average believer’s social media feed may suggest that we as Christ followers struggle to apply James’s teaching. We can be quick to anger when we read something disagreeable, quick to speak our mind on the matter, and slow to truly hear any alternate or opposing position. Our passions appear to be very much at war within the body (James 4:1), and the casualties of war extend beyond the church to the lost world watching us fight.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Presence can make the act of sitting through a terrifying movie more bearable. Presence can make a nervous child more courageous. Presence can strengthen and encourage in powerful ways.
Presence can also cause a tempted eye to avoid the glance. Presence can make a child who’s considering disobedience choose to obey. Presence can remind and convict in powerful ways.
I am not infallible or inerrant. Neither am I sinless or untouched by the fall. As much as I wish I were, I’m just not. I’m a normal guy, saved by grace from bondage to sin, yet still struggling with sin. Continue reading
Counted righteous, yet we sin
Broken, but He lives within
Dying daily while we live
We are paupers, yet we give
Owning, but cannot afford
Wealth belonging to the Lord
Rich beyond all human dreams
In the desert finding streams
Walking from the state of death
Lungs of dust inflate with breath
Weakness shows a deeper might
Faith replaces eyes for sight
Hope endures when hope has died
Tortured souls in peace abide
Counting joy the deepest strife
Dying Son; eternal life