The Gardener

Lord of glory, You dwell with the poor and destitute,
God of justice, You delight not in the death of the wicked,
King of Israel, King of all the earth,
Teach us gracious courage, humble wisdom,
Truth seasoned with gentleness,
Kindness stripped of appeasement.
Show us beauty from ashes,
That when all is against us, God intends good.
Help us learn patience toward those who are learning,
Compassion for the foolish and proud,
For our ignorance, too, led to darkness.
Open our eyes to see
That when we stand alone, we are least alone,
That grace calls forth extravagant sacrifice,
That strongest love requires strongest worship
Perfected in weak and broken vessels.
We love our friends, so we must love our enemies,
Because we were enemies until You called us friends.
In greatest anguish, there is greatest hope,
So we sing in the night to the Giver of songs
Who redeems our tears and answers our cries,
Who grows mercy from evil
And fills emptiness with life.
Whoever waits for You shall not be put to shame. Continue Reading


God, You rule over all history.
If You see each sparrow as it falls,
Surely You have known these times,
Held them in Your hands,
And done what is right.
You are the Ancient of Days –
None is like You,
Unchanging, trustworthy, and eternally faithful.
You are all-consuming, yet
We are not consumed;
We have nothing, yet
We shall not want for anything;
We are cradled in the arms of
The Shepherd of our souls.
Lion of Judah,
Lamb who was slain,
Eagle whose wings are true shelter,
Majesty and Humility,
Servant made King,
What an honor it is
To love You. Continue Reading


Father, I am exhausted and overwhelmed.
When I look at the future,
I take my eyes off of You,
And I am filled with dread.
Let Your Word soak into my soul,
Cleanse me from within,
That I may instead be filled with Your Spirit,
For many are waiting and watching
To see if my God has power –
If He is above all gods,
If the fear of Him can consume all other fears,
If He can fill the shadow of death with brilliant light
And make the Valley of Baca a place of springs.

Lord, with each step of faith,
I cry for Your grace and strength;
Your life is my supply to endure again –
But the world is filled with lifeless souls
Walking empty paths,
Crying for hope.
Father, I pour myself out as a sacrifice,
Carry the dying of Jesus,
That their eyes may be opened
And their souls find peace.

Let those who count all as loss to know You
Stand firm and take action!
Let them shine like the stars –
Cause many to bow at Your name as we await
The rising of the morning star,
The dawning of day
When we, too, shall arise
To rejoice in Your glory forever. Continue Reading

Remembered and Redeemed

When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4

When I think of the righteous and holy King, who am I that He should think of me? Who am I that I should be redeemed by His blood? I am a jar of clay, a creation from dust to dust, and in the end, an unworthy servant. That He should set His love on me speaks nothing of my worthiness and everything of His mercy.

I am as much in need of His sacrifice as I was the day I first believed. Were He a God of changing, were the shadow of His wing to depart from over my head, I would stand condemned and without hope in the world. Yet He is a God of covenant faithfulness, of eternal intercession, and of a perfect priesthood which once for all lifts me out of the mire and places me in the cleft of the rock. Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, the wages of my sin have no power to lay hold of me.

As many were astonished at you –
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.
Isaiah 52:14

My Lord and my God, who are You that you would descend from so high a throne to so lowly a death? Who are You that You would pay the highest price for the most wretched of sinners? There is no other God like You, a God who creates life and conquers death, who brings healing with a touch of Your robe and authority with a whisper of Your name.

But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:17

Would I be joined to the holy and perfect One? Would I, once dead in my trespasses and sins, caked in the mud of lawlessness and the disgrace of corruption, be united with Him who dwells in unapproachable light, who rules with a scepter of uprightness? Am I to be counted among the spotless bride of the most handsome of men? Am I to share in the righteousness of the Righteous One? Then it must not be my own doing, but only the redemption and grace of the everlasting God of Abraham, who numbered me among the children of His kingdom before the stars were ever hung in the evening sky.

Yet is was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

Waiting in His Path

In the path of Your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for You;
Your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
My soul yearns for You in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks You.
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Isaiah 26:8-9

The path of the Lord is level and true. His way is full of light and peace. He is a steady and strong rock for those who tread the narrow road; He is eternal life for those who walk in the everlasting way. My soul know that His thoughts are just, and His ways are good.

In His name I seek refuge; in His righteousness I find righteousness. Jesus is salvation, and only the Lord is a Savior.

For Him my soul waits, and in His word I hope. The anchor of my soul is settled in His promises; in Him the waves of doubt are stilled. To no longer be tossed to and fro by the wind, to walk steadily with one opinion, one mind, one heart – this is my heritage as the Lord works and wills, as He tends and prunes, as He completes and glorifies.

Oh to be found waiting at the coming of the King of kings! To be lingering in His paths, abiding in His love, working in His fields, feeding on His pastures, judging with His right judgments. To not shrink back in shame, to be ready at His arrival, to daily seek the Day of seeing face to face.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
For the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1-2

When, Lord? My soul yearns for You in the night; I wait for You more than watchmen for the morning. I have seen Your light in this land of deep darkness, and I look expectantly for the time beyond the end of time when there is no need for sun or moon because Your glory with shine. Today, Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and eternally, the Lamb, Your Word made flesh, will be the lamp of the nations.

May Your name be glorified and remembered in all generations.

For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14

My soul longs for the reign of the King.

He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore;
but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
and no one shall make them afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
For all the peoples walk
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.
Micah 4:3-5


A Time to Pray

My heart is broken for our nation. Having refused to love the Lord, we now find the ability to love one another slipping through our fingers. Why are we surprised that we cannot obey the second greatest commandment when we have failed to heed the first? If what is divided is to be brought together and made new, we must be dependent upon the Great Physician who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I don’t have simple solutions, profound answers, or innovative plans that would make everything right. Even if I did, they would be a brittle, fading, and insufficient response to the present need. To trust in any person – a friend, a teacher, a leader, or myself – is both dangerous and disappointing. It is better to fall helpless and broken, in need of wisdom and grace, at the feet of an all-sufficient, ever-present, and enduringly trustworthy God.

Understanding cannot come through tireless thinking, or agreement through ceaseless arguing, or rest through endless effort. No human endeavor can suffice when a God-sized solution is required. Only Jesus can change hearts of stone to flesh, only He can break down dividing walls of hostility, and only in His love can we learn what love truly is – not a warm and fuzzy feeling, but a perfectly complete, wholly undeserved, and entirely selfless sacrifice.

In the spiritual battle we face today in our country, I refuse to surrender to human vision, or capability, or reasoning, or reassurance, or willpower. I look to the Captain of my salvation, whose weakness is stronger than the greatest human might, whose foolishness is wiser than the accumulation of all knowledge, and whose love is more powerful than any earthly attempt to find reconciliation and peace. Nothing and no one else will do.

I think it is best to follow in the footsteps of those counted faithful before us – Abraham, Moses, David, Esther, Daniel – and pray with humility, intercede with expectancy, and find strength in our God. Perhaps you would like to join me in praying

For a mind to understand the times, how God is working, and what we ought to do

For the discernment to recognize the Spirit in a world of many spirits that are deceitful and false

For the strength to hold fast to truth in the midst of lies

For feet that walk in justice, mercy, and humility before our God

For the decrease of our own kingdoms, and the glory of His

For the composure to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

For the ability to forgive when we are wronged and seek forgiveness when we wrong others

For an ear that listens, not prepared to win an argument, but ready to minister with compassion, truth, and gentleness

For the wisdom to recognize needs and the grace to satisfy them

For an open heart that shares generously

For a hunger to hear from God daily in His Word, and for a thirst for righteousness

For the boldness to share the gospel in season and out of season

For the dignity to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry

For the meekness to possess a righteous anger that does not sin

For hands that are willing to wash the feet not only of friends, but of those who will betray us

For eyes always fixed on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

I don’t know if God will reach down in mercy to heal a land that has turned its back on Him, but I know that He can heal you, I know that He can heal me, and perhaps through us He might begin to bring healing to those around us. In the midst of the mighty winds, raging fires, and terrifying earthquakes, may we perceive the quiet whisper of that still, small voice and follow the One who speaks.