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

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



Great is Your Faithfulness

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:19-24


Jesus Understands

This summer, I studied the book of Mark and learned ever so much more than I could have hoped; the Lord is a good teacher! (That’s just how He works, isn’t it? He always exceeds expectations!) I learned about our mighty and loving God by looking at the way Jesus acted and the words He spoke, never once failing His Father or the people He came to redeem. He saw entire crowds with compassion, feeding them with both bread and truth, shepherding them in love. At the same time, He would go great distances just to find one of His lost and lowly sheep, whether a child, a tax collector, or a beggar. He had the power to perform miracles, yet those disciples who saw Him transfigured on the mountain also watched as He meekly laid down His life to save us while enduring the taunting of those who thought that He could not even save Himself.

Sometimes, as we study the Bible, God teaches us something completely new, and at other times, He gives us a new understanding of something that we’ve already heard. Several of the most important lessons I learned this summer fall into that second category, and I thought that I would share one idea in particular that stood out to me. We spent several weeks looking at the final chapters of Mark, carefully observing the time from the last supper through the resurrection. It was good to slow down and really process the unfolding events. As we looked at all that Jesus endured, I realized, in a new and deeper way, that Jesus understands.

Jesus understands.

I knew that Jesus suffered for me, died on the cross, and rose again. I knew that He lived a sinless life so that by His death He could satisfy the penalty for our sin and by His blood cleanse us from our own deadness to walk in newness of life for all eternity. But there was always a part of me that thought, oh, it must not have been that difficult for Him. He is God, after all. Jesus came to earth, but being born of a virgin without the sinful seed of man, He didn’t have a sin nature. So it was natural for Him to live a perfect life, not once giving into temptation, right? Could He really know what we face? Could He relate to my pain, my bad days, my heartache? Could He truly understand what it’s like for me?

Studying Mark changed my understanding of what it meant for Jesus to be not only fully God, but fully human. It’s a concept we’ll probably never quite grasp. But Jesus was fully human. He inhabited the same sinful and broken world that we do. He experienced what we experience – pain, sadness, loneliness, exhaustion – because He was a real person. He wasn’t some made-up superhero in an imaginary world; He was a real hero who faced trials and overcame them when no one else could stand. “He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought Him salvation, and His righteousness upheld Him” (Isaiah 59:16).

Hear some of His words from the night in Gethsemane, when His brutal torture and crucifixion were awaiting Him: ‘And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.’ And going a little farther, He fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:33-36). Jesus was greatly distressed and troubled. He was sorrowful even to death. Luke’s gospel tells us that He was in such agony that His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

It would be impossible for us to do what Jesus did, so perhaps we cannot truly understand how difficult it was.

Jesus, being God, knew what would happen. He had been telling His disciples over and over again what was coming. The Scriptures were being fulfilled. He knew the excruciating pain, the humiliation, and the loneliness that He was facing. He knew what it would be like to become sin for us, to become a curse for us when He hung on that cross. He knew what it would be like to carry on His raw, bleeding shoulders the enormity of every single sin and hurt and sorrow that has ever existed in this world. He knew. And He, being fully human, the Son of Man, did it anyway.

“The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.
But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”
Isaiah 50:5-7

Jesus prayed three times the same words; Jesus, the Son of God, asked that if it were possible, God would relent and spare Him from what was coming. In His humanity, He didn’t want to face the suffering, yet from Jesus we can learn one of the greatest lessons, which is that what we want does not have to become our will. Like our Lord, we can set our face like flint and determine to submit to God, knowing that His purpose for us, even in the midst of trials, is good, and that He is our loving Father. As our Father loves us, so does Jesus. Look how much He loves us! “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). In complete unity with the Father, He determined to lay down His life so that He might bring life and light to us, His brothers and sisters through adoption. Mocked, tortured, forsaken by God, through all of these things He loved us and counted it as joy that He would redeem us to Himself.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  For surely it is not angels that He helps, but He helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Heb. 2:14-18)

He understands. He is merciful and faithful as He helps us. When we are tempted, He offers guidance and a way of escape, having fled temptation Himself. He can relate to our difficulties and temptations much more than we could ever relate to His. In His infinite wisdom and love, our Lord provided not only for our forgiveness and new life, but for our daily needs; from His own experience He now sustains us through every moment as we await His return. “For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the Founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10). Jesus, who Himself sought God’s help, now helps us. He leads us in victory as only a Good Shepherd would, walking before His sheep so that they might follow in safety and peace. He traveled the road before us, and now He travels it with us.

When I face trials, He is my refuge. When I am tempted, He is my wisdom. When I sin, He is my Advocate. When I endure, He is my reward. Day to day, He carries me through life. His grace is not begrudgingly given; His love for me is steadfast. He knows that my troubles are sometimes messy, but He cares for me anyway, and nothing can separate me from His love. He is there to help and build up; would He tear down the ones for whom He gave His life? “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3). My concerns are not too trivial, my wounds are not too deep, my problems are not too disgraceful. In my weakness He draws near in strength, because His love transcends all. Nothing is hidden from before Him, and He doesn’t want me to hide – He wants me to run to Him, to draw near and be cleansed and abide in Him. He knows. He cares. He heals.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16).


Finding Rest

“As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.’”   Matt. 24:3-12

These days, the world seems to be falling apart all around us. Events that would once have defined the sadness of a generation now grieve us on a daily basis. We weep with those we weep, we mourn and cry out to God. We search for ways to be the hands and feet of the Lord who delights in steadfast love, justice, and righteousness, and who even now practices these things in the earth. As obedient and beloved children, we seek to imitate our heavenly Father, to do the good things He has prepared for us to do, to be the people whom He redeemed to be zealous for good works.

But day after day, week after week, we hear stories that make our hearts sink, and we realize that for each story that threatens to tear apart our souls there are a thousand more we will never see in the headlines. Sometimes it seems to be too much. Who can keep going? Where is there any shelter from the pain so common it grows dull, from the weariness that seeps into our bones, from the fear that leads to restless nights and anxious days?

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

In these troubling times, it is the Lord who gives us rest and peace that surpasses all understanding, peace that the world cannot give because it does not know Him.

We live in a world that is terribly, irreparably (from a human standpoint) fallen and broken. If you search for peace, you will not find it. Are you finding it in the news? Do you have faith in something that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt will get you through today? Have you found anyone that can sincerely take away all the fear and sadness of the past, present, and unknown future?

The days to come may look bleak, but even in the storm that never seems to end, there is hope. There is One who created the universe with the mere words of His lips, who by His Word brings good news and a promise of a better future. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:13-14). There is salvation. There is life that cannot be taken away, that continues even through death. There is an end when all tears and pain will be wiped away and forgotten forever. There is a kingdom where there will be no injustice or deceit, no chaos, hunger, or loneliness, a kingdom where the brightest days on this earth will seem as dark as night in comparison to the light of His countenance shining upon us as we see Him face to face.

This world will not satisfy us; it will not bring us abundant life or peace or comfort. These things can only be found in one place, and that is in the Person who in Himself is the way, the truth, and the life. No human plan or effort will create a lasting remedy for all that is wrong on this earth. To find any hope or solution, we must turn to the God who has overcome all things. He is our stronghold in this life as we sojourn in a world to which we do not belong, and He is preparing a place for us, waiting to receive us into a glory that is far beyond all comparison. “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20-21).

I am, without Christ, a person who struggles with heavy burdens of anxiety. I am prone to worry, stress, and fear. But my Savior is a Good Shepherd who brings peace. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Truly, truly, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, because He is with me.

You see, my God is a Father who cares for His children. We are helpless infants. We do not and cannot understand His ways – they are higher than ours, and His thoughts are not like ours.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” ( Job 38:4-7)

Even so, He has told us ahead of time the things that are to come, just enough to get us through without unnecessarily burdening us, as a parent would prepare a young child. “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He gives us comfort when He tells us these things; He knows what will happen, and even when it is painful and we don’t understand, He is sovereign over all. Completely, 100%, no exceptions. We must trust that He does not afflict from His heart or grieve the children of men. We must trust that His faithfulness is great. We must trust that He does indeed have a plan, a plan that has not failed and that will prevail as He watches over His word to perform it.

These things must come to pass, and though He is patient toward us, He is coming quickly. The disarray crafted by the evil one will only serve to prepare the way for the kingdom of the Son of Man who destroyed Satan’s power long ago; though we do not yet see it, there is nothing outside our Lord’s control. Though we do not know the day or hour, we can be sure that the Messiah who once entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the Jesus who is the Prince of peace, is coming on a white horse, soon proclaiming Himself undeniably as the King of kings. Let us never forget that our Lord Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our forgiveness, did so not only because He is love, but also because His name is righteousness, and in His own blood He satisfied the need for justice in the sight of a righteous God. He saved us out of His incomparable goodness, a goodness that is not only compassionate but holy, a goodness that is more worthy of worship than we will ever comprehend. As we cannot plumb the depths of the priceless meaning of our salvation, so we cannot perhaps understand what a serious and awful thing it is to rebel, as all have done, against the great I AM.

As throughout the ages, even so today He warns us. He calls those who have not yet come to Him and offers them the chance to be His own children, to plead for forgiveness and escape His wrath that will completely eclipse even the terrible things that are here right now. Our sin drags us down to Sheol, but the Lord lifts us up in grace. He calls us to believe Him and worship Him in faith, knowing that “in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Rom. 8:24-25). Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe, who have not seen Him and yet love Him. When this world is soon stripped away, only those things rooted and grounded in Him will last.


A Well-Tuned Heart (About)

Jesus is sweeter than life. There is nothing and no one that is His equal. He is freedom, peace, truth, and the longing of our souls, and I’m learning that nothing really seems to matter compared to knowing Him. As Paul said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:7-8a).

When we place our faith in Jesus, all our sin is washed away, our debt having been nailed to His cross and paid in full. The Lord in His grace and love promises that we are a new creation, reconciled at last to Him. He takes away our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh, one that is free to beat in sync with His, one that is transformed “to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). A miracle has taken place.

Even so, there is still much to be done. Our Father sees that our hearts, though free, need to be strengthened – tested, refined, and proven. The road is narrow and difficult, but the journey and its end are worth more than gold; only on this path can we learn to truly know His heart, to listen and follow, to keep in step with Him, to glorify His strength in our weakness now sustained. A heart that beats in tune with His own must be a beautiful thing to God, useful to Him who rejoices over us with loud singing. Will my life be in return a song to Him, a melody of worship worthy of the One who knew before the creation of the world that He would someday call me, know me, and hear all that is in my heart? As the hymn says,

“Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.”

And, in another song,

“My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above,
And with a well tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love.
And all my days let no distress
Nor fears suppress His joyful praise.”

My desire is that every day would find my heart more in tune with His, and that by His strength I would boldly sing of His grace with joy, thankfulness, and courage.