I watched a movie recently where the protagonist (a minister) wrestled with questions concerning prayer. Is God listening to us? Can we know his thoughts on the matters that most trouble us? Is there only one way to pray? As he struggled to reconcile his faith with his feelings, I found myself resonating with his concerns. At the root, I kept returning to one question:
Does God still listen when we feel like we’re praying all wrong?
“I don’t have peace” may be four of the most frustrating, painful, and beautiful words you can say in the context of discerning God’s will for your life.
People love ghost stories. People hate ghost stories. But no matter the response, ghost stories have crept into our lives and our cultures, and they don’t appear to be leaving. Continue reading
Subtle are the seeds you sow, deceiver,
Passive possessor quietly at work
At shifting my soul’s focus till I shirk
Habits that distinguish a believer
For old futilities. You water waste
To fill the garden grounds with thorns and weeds.
In fear, I grow impatient, turn to haste.
Forgetting faith, I fall. Temptation feeds
Upon my flesh’s efforts. Travesty
Becomes me in the mire of my pursuit
When I forget my strength comes from the root
Of David, from a higher majesty
Than your false throne can feign. I will endure.
Though you assail, my advocate is sure.
Photo by Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash
People struggle to respond to imperfect people.
Pain oft will come, will not relent.
You may well feel your strength is spent.
Pour out to God all your lament.
Lay down all weight. Let go all sin.
Temptation comes. Refocus, then
And when you stumble, rise again.
Pleasures of life will bid you stay.
Stay focused on the narrow way.
Pass through the night to brightest day.
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The hearts of men may not detect
Distinctions ‘twixt a noble trait
And meaner ones. They thus effect
No proper fight against the state
Of their impurity. But God
Knows well what yet resides within
The cage of bone and flesh. His rod
Gives direction and discipline
To wayward men that they may be
Saved from their state of sinfulness.
Corruption, at his word, must flee
(Proximity of holiness).
So fear not God’s refining fire,
Let go the inexcusable,
Follow the path out from the mire,
And trust the holy crucible.
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Remember now the darkness of those three long days before
The dawning of the day of resurrection,
For few have felt the fear of thinking God had lost the war.
The shadow of his people’s insurrection
Now loomed across the future. Now our hope seemed spent and slain.
The light of life appeared to be extinguished.
The ones who sang his praises now in shock sang no refrain.
His life, howe’er, was willingly relinquished.
What seemed to be a sure defeat was fixed before the fall.
The devil’s darkest scheme was his undoing.
As Christ was lifted up, he drew all men to heed his call.
He drained the cup of wrath our sin was brewing.
The bitter silence of that Sabbath day must have been great.
Unheard, Satan’s presumpt’ous celebration.
When was it Satan realized the cross had sealed his fate?
The slaughtered lamb became our faith’s foundation.
We now look back in wonder at this work in history
And sing with joy to God who reigns eternal.
The cornerstone came forth again in holy victory
O’er ev’ry sin, the mean and the infernal.
The resurrection of the Son secured our joy and peace.
No enemy can sabotage or sever
Us from the Father’s love. In him, sin’s slavery must cease.
Sing praise, his people, now and to forever.
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The fall was not the final word.
Isaiah has foretold,
A silent lamb shall take our place,
A saving act of wrath and grace
That sinners young and old
Might know the power of the Word:
He laid aside his majesty
To be for us the light
And tasted death in place of men
That man might know freedom from sin.
He overcame the night
And shines for all eternity.
Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash