The Grace of All Graces

Broken is the man, stained by sin,

            likewise the woman, born of his rib.

Lost are their children, strayed since birth,

            for they don’t understand the soul or its worth.

Ravaged by envy, driven by greed,

            they’re pushed and pulled by the evil one’s seed.

He’s planted it there within their hearts,

            leading them swiftly into the dark.

But light still exists in the form of Christ!

            For love overflows from the Giver of Life!

He takes the guilt and the shame we all bear,

            He wipes the slate clean, He signs His name there.

We’ve all been offered His infinite grace,

            both deeper than oceans, more expansive than space.

There is no end to the grace He bestows,

            the depth of His love, not one can know.

For He is beyond and so high above

            that He cannot sin; He simply loves.

His love is greater than all we have known,

            much higher than the eagle has ever flown.

No comparison of love will ever be found,

            for God is unfathomable, His grace too profound.

Yet our souls have weight, we’re given a choice,

            to ignore His gift or to follow His voice.

We are to choose between life and death,

            and God will decide in whom to place breath.

Though some will fall and rise no more,

            others will marvel at His graces galore.

For He yearns to take us to heaven with Him,

            to shower us in grace and to usher us in.

There with the angels His praises we’ll sing

            to the Grace of all Graces, our King of Kings.

Lions & Trees, You & Me

Sitting in the garden alone,

            I pray out to the Lord who sits on His throne.

I marvel at His majesty,

            and wonder why He would ever think of me.

I am just a sinful man,

            tainted by the world, with sin on my hands.

The words I pray are quiet and small;

            how could they ever matter to the Lord of All?

 

Sunday morning we all sing,

            lifting up our voices in praise to the King.

Some will raise their hands to the sky

            while others will kneel down to pray and to cry.

In unison we glorify,

            but our words are often empty and our hearts so dry.

Five hundred voices harmonize,

            and yet they do no justice to the Lord on High.

 

Angels in the heavenly clouds,

            dancing and rejoicing and shouting out loud.

It’s an overwhelming sight,

            joyful explosions of both sound and light.

Even the lions and the trees

            are leaping in worship and bowing on their knees.

But still it’s simply not enough

            to glorify a God who is so glorious.

 

Yet somehow God is more than pleased;

            He’s filled with joy at the dancing of the trees.

He’s also honored by our songs;

            even sung by sinners, He’d hear us all day long.

He is even happy with me;

            a long lost son who’s come home on his knees.

Our God is oh so glorious,

            yet He still longs to love and be loved by us.

The World and I

The world and I are not alike.

The world spins at the same pace, day after day after day. It never speeds up. It neither slows down. It remains constant, ever steady. I, on the other hand, am not constant. I can sit still no longer than a moment. I may run quickly but surely I will tire. I am fast and I am slow, but I am not steady.

The world and I are not alike.

The world is neatly divided. It has its Northern and Southern Hemispheres. It has its North and South Poles. It has an equator and lines of latitude and longitude that clearly separate and define. I, on the other hand, am not neatly divided. I am part boy and part man. I am one part strong and the other part weak. I am both proud and humble. I am one moment serious and the other giddy. But while the world is black and white, I am grey.

The world and I are not alike.

The world is dominated by the fittest. The weak are brushed aside to the fringes and stepped on while the strong succeed and survive. The world has no mercy on the lesser man. The world is unrelenting. I, on the other hand, am unfit. I would prefer not to step on the weak but rather to give them a hand. I would rather not be first, but actually last. Greed is something I try to avoid, and not collect. I am in favor of mercy, of forgiveness.

The world and I are not alike.

The world is a created place, a landscape. It is also a canvas, so to speak. The world is lived on by many people, and those creatures paint the earth, sometimes beautifully and sometimes with ugliness. I, on the other hand, am a created being, a person. I am also an artist, so to speak. Both the world and I are creations, but I am made in the image of the Creator. Therefore, I can also create. I am not painted on but I do the painting. I leave my mark on this world, in whichever way I choose to do so. It may be beautiful, and uplifting, and meaningful. Or it may not be. That is up to me.

The world and I are not alike.

The world is a temporary residence. It is finite. It will have an end. I, on the other hand, am not temporary. I have a soul, and that soul does not have an end. It is everlasting in its being. When the earth has long been dissolved, I will still be, in some other place. I will be alive and well, not because I deserve to be, but because it has been offered to me and I´ve accepted. The world ultimately ends in destruction, as will all who choose the world over their souls. The world, at its core, is wicked. But in my core, should you pry open my soul, dwells one we call the Holy Spirit. And he is the stamp of everlasting life, the seal of the Almighty God, and by his word I will not perish but have eternal life.

The world and I are not alike.

Are you?

Glorify!

“Thump, thump,” goes the heart.

“Pat, pat, pat,” move the feet.

“Do, re, mi,” sings the voice.

But what should be of your soul?

“Swish, swoosh,” blows the wind.

“Crash,” and then “Shhhhh,” speak the waves.

“Chirp, chirp, chirp,” sing the birds.

But what should be of your spirit?

“Vroom, vroom,” roars the engine.

“Tick, tock,” clicks the clock.

“Beep, beep, beep,” sounds the alarm.

But what should be of your song?

The empty soul is hollow,

The distant spirit is silent,

The sound within is frightening,

For those who do not know…

The satisfied soul is joyful!

It sings at the top of its lungs,

It leaps and bounds, rejoicing,

The God-filled soul is alive!

The active spirit is a marvel!

It whispers in wisdom and peace,

It speaks in Psalms and hymns,

The lively spirit is a revelation!

The song from within is thunderous!

It sings and sings, never ceasing,

It’s joyous and sunny and wonderful,

The inner song is one of victory!

Each soul may choose its content.

Each spirit may invite its sound.

Each song is chosen by its singer.
Each life is lived by its given body.

So, the soul is yours to fill.

The spirit is there for inviting.

The song is yours to sing.

And your job is to sound them all.

The Soul of God is everlasting!

The Spirit of God is eternal!

The Song of God is never-ending!

All you have to do is let him in.

The purpose of the soul is to glorify.

The purpose of the spirit is to guide.

The purpose of the song is to rejoice.

And the purpose of sound is to share.

So let your soul be loud in love!

Let your spirit be heard in wisdom!

Let your song be one of praise!

And let your life be one worth sharing!

HIGH

Two months out from a big race and I decide to go for a training run. I get ready, mentally and physically, plug into my running playlist and take off. There’s a route I like that heads toward the highway and crosses over into a peaceful countryside. It’s sometimes louder, colder and windier, but to me it far outweighs being chased by dogs in the town center. So, I cross the bridge over the highway and get a glimpse of the trail ahead, beaten down on by warm rays of sunshine. It’s a welcome sight after a few days of rain kept me from heading out. I round the corner fronting the fields and run parallel to the highway, looking not towards the sporadic passing of trucks but towards the country, and towards the sky. In this moment I see the clouds part and the sun burst through in a way I haven’t seen in some time. People say not to look at the sun, but I can’t refuse. It’s as if the heavens are opening up. The warmth that’s beating on my chest and face is indescribable, and I’m filled with an overflowing peace and joy. An infectious wellspring explodes within me and I begin to rejoice as I run. I’m literally pointing to the skies and jumping, leaping and fist pumping. It’s as if I’m celebrating a goal at the World Cup; a goal that I’ve scored. That’s the kind of elation that I’m feeling. There exists this thing that people call a “running high,” a sort of euphoria experienced by distance runners when they reach this point of pure bliss and feel an extra jolt of energy. There also exists this thing that people call a “spiritual high.” This high refers to a place of spiritual satisfaction, peace, understanding and joy, often brought upon by retreat, meditation, or witnessing some miracle or conversion. And while this was likely somewhat a combination of the two, it was certainly more of the latter. I was high on running, on life, and on the Spirit. As the skies parted before me I witnessed a coming of light that I’d never seen before except in my soul. In my own heart, soul and spirit I’ve experienced bursts like this before, but this time it was different. It coincided with an explosion of light before my own eyes. The way the light refracted through the clouds amplified it in a way that made it otherworldly. I literally felt as if God was beaming down on me, lifting my spirit, warming my soul. He was cracking through the skies like a beacon, sweeping aside the darkness of this world as dust is taken by the wind. And there I was, leaping and rejoicing along the side of the highway, celebrating the grace that He pours down on us. I felt energized and relaxed at the same time. Despite the fact that I was salted with sweat, I felt cleansed. The joy that came over me was pure. The way my soul was renewed was breathtaking. And all that I felt was directly from God. As I continued running I dwelt on that moment, even as the clouds rolled back over the sun. That moment, that sunburst, that high, lingered in my soul, beneath my breast. And it still does some two days later. I’m consistently reminded and blown away by the mercy of our God, the way He renews us and cleanses us, the way He provides and cares for us. But above all, I’m flat out astounded at the way He loves us. Whether it’s apparent or not, I’ve spent days trying to formulate the words to describe this experience, and I’m still struggling to find them. Words aren’t sufficient; they fall short. And they will always fall short when we attempt to use them to describe our God, our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer. I’m still blown away by this moment that I was gifted, but there is one thing that saddens me. The more I think about it the more I realize that God deserves that celebration, that jubilation, at all times. We should be on fire for Him, incapable of keeping His magnificence to ourselves. But it’s more often the opposite. We struggle to motivate ourselves. We lack the boldness, the gall, the strength, to step up and say something. Being loved and saved by the Creator of the universe deserves a celebration and euphoria far beyond that of a World Cup goal, or any other petty thing that we rave over. But we get things mixed up. Our priorities are wrong. We’ve got it all backwards. We give God ten percent and the world the rest. In reality, we should give God all that we’ve got. He deserves more than our lives are even worth. But instead He comes down to earth. He descends from on High, and dwells among us. Then, to top it all off, He dies in our place. We have life because He loves us to the grave. We have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts because that grave cannot hold Him. Death cannot hold Him. He is greater. He is far greater. And now He’s exalted on High, at the right hand of the Father in heaven, and His Spirit dwells within us. In moments that are all too rare, we take notice of what this Spirit within us is saying. In moments like the one I experienced on my run, we realize that we have things backwards. So, I will continue to rejoice. I will continue to skip and jump and pound my chest and pump my fist and exalt the One who deserves all praise, the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. Rejoice. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Amor como agua / Love like water

He visto un amor tan puro,
            como una fuente, un manantial de agua cristalina;
He sentido un amor tan poderoso,
            como un salto, un río que fluye sin cesar;
He conocido un amor tan profundo,
            como un mar, un océano cuyo fondo no se encuentra.

Así es el amor de nuestro Dios,
            Creador de los cielos y de la tierra;
Así es su amor para nosotros,
            tan puro, tan poderoso, tan profundo.

Nos ama con un amor tan puro
            que ninguna mancha, ninguna falta, se encuentra;
Nos ama con un amor tan poderoso
            que ningún demonio, ningún mal, podría detenerlo;
Nos ama con un amor tan profundo
            que su grandeza jamás se podría medir.

Así es el amor del Señor,
            tan puro, tan poderoso, tan profundo;
Así es el amor que nos ofrece
            que ningún otro amor podría emparejar;
Así es el amor que nos regala,
            más puro, más poderoso, más profundo,
Que jamás podríamos imaginar…

 

I have seen a love so pure,
         like a fountain, a wellspring of crystal waters;
I have felt a love so powerful,
         like a waterfall, a river that flows without ceasing;
I have known a love so profound,
         like a sea, an ocean whose depths can’t be reached.

Such is the love of our God,
         Creator of the heavens and the earth;
Such is His love for us,
         so pure, so powerful, so profound.

He loves us with a love so pure
         that no blemish, no fault, can be found;
He loves us with a love so powerful
         that no demon, no evil, can interfere;
He loves us with a love so profound
         that its depth can never be measured.

Such is the love of the Lord,
         so pure, so powerful, so profound;
Such is the love that He offers us
         that no other love could match it;
Such is the love that He gives to us,
         purer, more powerful, more profound,
Than ever we could dream to imagine…

Heavenly Peace

In life there is always hardship

Tribulation and trials will come

But there’s a peace I’ve come to live with

It warms my heart like the rising sun

 

Sometimes I walk through the valley

And yea though I fear for my life

There is a peace that’s always with me

It rescues my soul from the night

 

There are times when the storm is raging

When I can’t see the light of the day

But despite all the floods that I’m facing

I know that peace will make me a way

 

Darkness has always been present

And evil has tried to leave its mark

But there’s a King coming down from the heavens

He brings a glorious end to the dark

 

He is gracious and ever faithful

He is worthy of our praise and our trust

His love and his light are eternal

He is Immanuel, God with us