Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Searching and Sifting

“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).  “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew 24:37-40). 

Our God has been searching and sifting all hearts
Since man was empowered to make a decision.
We’re either like trees or like chaff that departs;
Our answer to God manifests that division. 

King David had come to the end of his reign,
And Solomon stood to inherit his throne.
The charge of king David was certainly plain
To know, and to serve, and to seek God alone. 

We do a disservice to children we raise
If we’re just assuming that they know the Lord.
We need to impress on them in these last days
Their hearts are exposed before God and explored.

Noah found grace in our God’s holy eyes,
As God was yet searching and sifting all men.
Though God called them evil, they thought they were wise,
And so shall it be at His coming again.

He’ll come as a thief, do not be mistaken,
To those not suspecting a break-in or theft.
With two in the field, the one shall be taken:
How sad shall it be for the other one left!

O Lord, You have searched us and thus understood
That, but for Your grace, we are surely depraved.
It’s only because You are loving and good
That You have provided a way to be saved!

Create in us, Lord, a right spirit and mind,
Now searching and sifting our hearts with perfection.
Revive us and cleanse us of all that’s inclined
To turn from Your will in a different direction.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Desire vs. Defiance

“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2,3).   “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?  Who hath gathered the wind in His fists?... He is a Shield unto them that put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:4,5).  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37). 

The Lord looked down from heaven’s throne
To seek for those who were undone.
Yet no one sought Him on their own,
And none were righteous, no not one.

But still His love was undiminished,
His heart burned brightly with desire.
He knew the work that must be finished,
Defiance could not quench that fire.

He gathers wind within His fists:
He is the Lord of all creation!
What kind of foolishness resists
This hand extending His salvation?

Jerusalem, Jerusalem: 
Your visitation has been missed!
Your Christ was born in Bethlehem:
You killed the One you should have kissed!

As chickens gathered by the hen
Are sheltered by her wings above,
The Lord would die for sinful men,
Though many would reject His love.

O Lord, that portrait has not changed:
We see their same defiant thought!
How many from You are estranged
Whom you would save, but they would not!

Yet still the harvest fields are white,
And Your great love, Lord, is the same.
With Your desire thus in sight,
We preach the Gospel in Your name.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tangled Talk

“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest” (Proverbs 29:9).  “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk.  And they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying… What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites?  Shew Me the tribute money. And they brought unto Him a penny.  And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?  They say unto Him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:15-21).

The wise may convincingly show what is right,
Explaining the truth from each possible angle.
The fool merely brushes the truth out of sight,
With self-contradictions that further entangle.

The counsel of Pharisees carried this thought,
To tangle our Lord in the things that He said:
“Should we give our tribute to Caesar or not?”
They tangled themselves in their own words instead!

For Jesus, perceiving them asking amiss,
Requested a coin from the tribute be shown.
He posed then the question:  “Whose image is this?”
They said to Him, “Caesar’s”, an image well known.

Our Savior commanded that they should then render
The things back to Caesar that to him belong,
Yet man (in God’s image) to God should surrender
His heart, soul, and strength; to withhold would be wrong!

His foes therefore marveled; they could not respond;  
They found themselves tangled with no words to say.
The counsel of God was completely beyond
The rage of His foes that He silenced that day.

O Lord, give us also a right word in season
To silence the dangerous lies that abound,
So sinners entangled may search for a reason
And find in the Gospel Your answer is found!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Babes and Builders

“The words of the LORD are pure words… Thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever” (Psalm 12:6,7).  "Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?...  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” (Matthew 21:16,42). 

When children praised our Lord and Savior,
His foes complained for what they said.
But this was prophesied behavior
In Scriptures that they should have read.

When builders also had rejected
The Lord, on whom they wouldn’t  build,
This is what our Lord expected,
As Scriptures thereby were fulfilled.

Behold God’s pure and perfect Word
Preserved for every generation:
Have you never read or heard
The prophecies of Christ’s salvation?

The babes would thus perfect their praise,
And builders would reject their Lord,
As prophets said in former days
In Scriptures that would be ignored.

O Lord, with babes we take our stand
To lift our humble praise to You,
Though builders still resist Your hand
As prophets said that they would do.

Your Word, O Lord, has never failed.
We trust in You, and You alone.
The Church You’re building has prevailed
Because You are the Cornerstone.

O Lord, we hear the builders mock
Who build upon another frame,
So teach us how to wisely talk,
Perfecting praise that lifts Your name.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tomorrow is Tentative

“The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His eyelids try, the children of men” (Psalm 11:4).  “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth…My son, be wise, and make My heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth Me.” (Proverbs 27:1,11).

Tomorrow is tentative, yet we must plan,
For time marches on and refuses to pause.
We can’t see tomorrow, but God surely can,
And He gives us grace for advancing His cause. 

Although we don’t know what tomorrow will bring
In terms of specific events and details,
We boast with assurance that Christ is our King
Who reigns on the throne, and His love never fails.

How bright is the future!  How sure is the grace
Of Christ who assures us of things up above,
For now we see darkly, but then face to face,
When we shall behold Him with unhindered love.

Yet now our God calls us to daily be wise,
Assured that His grace is sufficient each day.
We live to be pleasing in His holy eyes,
As He tries our hearts, and we walk in His way.

O Lord, we are viewing Your glorious throne
Where You reign today and forevermore still!
We’re boasting and trusting in You, Lord, alone,
And daily delighting ourselves in Your will.