He is Risen (Easter)


When the world woke up that day, Hope had come alive.

And the dead rock was pushed away,

the heavy weight lifted like a feather with the resurrection’s power.

“He is risen!” sighed the breeze He breathed again.

No more grieving—the women, first fearful, now knew

the Son of Man went before them

in death to life.

Don’t look for the Living among the dead.

~~~

” We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:4

“Christmas Tears” (A Christmas poem)

Some tears will fall this Christmas day
Though baby has been born
Because we wait the other day
When tears will be no more.

The Second Advent, He descends
To take us to our home.
God with us ‘til very end,
He sees you and shall come.

So hope is real this Christmas day
Although some tears may fall,
For God did do as God did say
And He’ll restore us all.

~~~

I wanted to write something to acknowledge the many griefs magnified during the holiday season for many people. God sees your tears. Christmas proves God keeps His promises and comes to us. And He will come again and wipe every tear from your eye.

“Advent” – by Sr. Christine Schenk

Advent

by Sister Christine Schenk

I wait
with quickened hope
for crooked paths
to straighten,
with tough-soul’d
anguish,
while blinded
keepers of the keys
shut out
God’s own.

(If such a thing were possible.)

I wait,
and will not be
dismayed.
I wait,
and will not be
dismayed.

For tiny shoot
of Jesse tree
took root in me
to love
transform,
give sight
set free.

“Throne of Glory” (A Christmas Poem)

Throne of glory filled with hay, there in a cattle stall
Majesty, on it was laid, our King and Lord of all.

Lifter of my head as babe who couldn’t lift His own
Latent power, love displayed, the King lay on his throne.

Manger held the King that night whom cribs did not accept.
He who has so loved the world, the world would still reject.

Good Shepherd slept among the sheep for that was his path
to willingly lay down his life for lambs deserving wrath.

Humble Savior, King enthroned upon a mound of hay
Star awakens souls to sing Him everlasting praise.

“Behind the Scenes” (An Advent Poem)

Before we knew it, Jesus was alive on earth
in the womb,
human heart beating, little feet kicking,
viable,
vying for us
from the beginning.

Take heart, He is with us.

When He’s behind the scenes
when we’re still waiting,
He’s growing
a plan into fruition
for our good, for His glory.

Carefully arranging
fulfillment of the prophecies
as the baby grew,
pushing them toward Bethlehem,
He shaped their paths
“as it is written.”

So while we were still wandering
still hoping,
still longing,
the Messiah was already here—
behind the scenes
about to make His entrance.

~~~

I wrote this poem after contemplating something I had never given much thought before: Jesus spent nine months in the womb before Christmas. While Mary, Joseph, and some others may have known the Messiah was en route, most Jews would have been completely unaware that their Savior, though unseen, was already on earth. Nine months before Christmas, Jesus already had His human DNA, and His body was being formed. He was already God incarnate. And He was not far off.

How true it is for us as well—that many times when we believe God is far off, He is doing something important and amazing behind the scenes, doing things instrumental to the fulfillment of His promises and will. In due time He will reveal to us His purposes. And in all times we can trust Him for He is good.

“Not Yet” (An Advent Poem)

“Not yet,” He said.
Or—At least He implied.
Or—At least I inferred from His
Silence.
Years of silence. Decades of silence. 400 years of silence
Or—At least it seems that way.

So forgive me, but it’s hard to believe.
It’s hard to wait.
It’s hard to listen when all I hear is . . .
—Did you hear it?
I didn’t either.
Not yet.

My heart is faint;
Come, quickly.
My eyelids droop;
Come, quickly.

Lifter of my head, I wait for You.
I behold a sky waiting for a star of hope
I belong to a world waiting for a Son of God,
A Savior
Not yet.
But soon.

Prepare My Heart to Praise You Then

I’ve said and heard many times in Bible studies before “It’s so much easier to praise God when life is going well for us.” It’s true. A few days ago I was feeling unusually joyful and happy about life. As I was singing worship songs in the two-hour drive I was taking that day, I prayed, “Prepare my heart to praise you then.” In the other times. In the less-easy-to-praise-God times. In the less-easy-but-immensely-important times.

I think of it as an infinite pattern of praise—praising God today for today and praising Him today for tomorrow. “Lord, I praise you today. And I praise You that when hard times come tomorrow, You will be with me. And I praise You because when you get me through the hard times of tomorrow, and I’m tempted to ignore You and boast in myself, You will be with me. And I praise You that when I’ve been humbled from that boasting that follows the hard time following the goodness of today, You will still be with me!”

And so this is what I’ve written over the past week:

Prepare my heart to praise You then
When darker days do come.
When earth gives way and mountains move,
Recall to me Your love.
Steadfast, I know it never leaves.
Each morning it is new.
I trust You for the coming doubt
That You will see me through.

The woes of earth surprise me not.
Already I rejoice.
I hide Your word within my heart
To always know Your voice.
With truth in hand, I’ll face the trials.
My double-edged sword
Cuts down the lies that pull me far
Away from Christ my Lord.

With eager heart, expect great things,
His glory coming soon,
A story of His faithfulness
To never-changing tune.
Steadfast, I know You never leave,
Each morning grace anew.
I trust You for the coming doubt
That you will see me through.

Some verses referenced:
Lamentations 3:21-22; Psalm 46:1-3; 1 Peter 4:12; James 1:2; Psalm 119:11; Psalm 105:5; John 10:3-5, 14-16; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 8:18

Thank You, Father

Sometimes God amazes me. Oftentimes God amazes me.

This week started off with an off-the-charts “meh” level. I was stressed about school, anxious about life, and feeling very lonely. A few days ago I thought to myself: I cannot live like this. I could not make it through this semester if nothing changes. I need more of God.

I don’t always like to draw a direct cause and effect link between these things, but last week I was not spending enough time with the Lord, especially in the Word. I’m fairly sure that had some effect ton why I was feeling so down and anxious. While I was praying about my anxieties, I wasn’t listening to God’s words in Scripture.

So the next morning I woke up and put aside the excuses. It didn’t matter if the house was burning down, I was going to read the Bible. I don’t think it was really the checking of the “read Bible” box, but it was the turning toward God and relying on Him that changed my outlook—saying, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Perhaps what amazes me most is how God prepares me and refines me through trials. A week ago I posted about how God always holds my hand. It was inspired, as I mentioned, by someone else’s hardship, and yet even as I posted it to my blog, I was beginning to realize how much my heart needed to hear that message. I believe God is always with me, holding my hand in the valley of the shadow of death which is this life. But I want to share a couple ways God “squeezed” my hand to remind me of this in the last 24 hours.

  1. Financially – There’s a good chance I will have a free place to stay when I’m traveling for a wedding in a few weeks. I was getting a little worried as I was searching for hotels earlier this week, but I think I now have another option. It’s not 100% settled yet, so I’m continuing to pray through this, but it was the greatest relief.
  2. Relationally (a) – I was sad that a particular friendship seemed to have ended, and I was praying for some sort of reconciliation, and yesterday, I saw concrete progress in that direction.
  3. Relationally (b) – I am absolutely overjoyed right now because I just learned that at aforesaid wedding, I will get to see a dear friend whom I’ve not seen in over a year!

And now, I’m off to finish my writing assignment for what I’m sure will be a long night (early morning), and yet, even in this, I’m encouraged as I was reminded today about where my identity is (not in academics):

Thank you, Father,
That whatever I do,
To the heights I’ll reach,
To the lows I’ll fall,
When the As become Cs or the Cs become As
When the undesirable becomes desired,
Then returns to ugly again,
My identity is secure above
As beloved, child of the Most High God.