Thursday, May 28, 2020

Kingdom Come

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God's dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.  Then the one seated on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new." He also said, "Write, because these words are faithful and true."
Revelation 21:3‭-‬5 CSB

The Kingdom of God came,

eternal King of endless realm
an embryo in a virgin's womb,
a baby laid in an animal's crib,
angel-announced Savior
adored by shepherds,
worshiped by wise men seeking the King of the Jews,
hunted by a wicked king fearing a coup.

The King came
preaching the good news of His Kingdom,
healing broken bodies and souls,
breaking bread to feed multitudes,
blessing, breaking, giving Himself for our sins.

Pilate asked Him, was He a king?
He said without saying, He was.

The King came
on a cross,
thieves His courtiers,
a placard bearing His only crime:
"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

The Kingdom of God comes
in the risen, ascended Jesus
sitting at the right hand of the Father;
pouring His Spirit into those who trust Him,
worship Him, follow Him;
in His power in their weakness;
in His light radiant in their brokenness;
in healing some wounds, redeeming all.

The Kingdom of God is coming
when the restoration of all things arrives,
the King on a white horse in salvation-soaked robes:
Faithful and True,
Word of God,
King of kings and Lord of lords;
death, last enemy, defeated;
His palace a forever, tearless, deathless, darkless tabernacle:
no brokenness there,
no loneliness,
no injustice, 
only light, life, healing, glory.

Come to the King, O broken one.
Enter His Kingdom through the cruciform gate.
There is yet time.

Let the people of the Kingdom pray,
"Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done."
Come, Lord Jesus.
We wait for You.

Thursday, May 21, 2020


"The language of the saint who draws near to the throne of God's majesty says—
before I saw His sovereignty,
I was prone to be stubborn and quarrel with God
because of the difficult duties He imposed upon me
and the difficult dispensations I was made to pass through.
But now, I can quarrel no more with any duty or difficulty, [sic.]
I submit to all His will.
Whatever He will have me to be—that I am!
Whatsoever He bids me do—that I do!
It is only fit that He should be my sovereign.
I give myself afresh to Him,
and forever,
that He may dispose of me according to His own will,
for His own glory.
It is only fit that He should be the ultimate end of all that I can be,
and all that I can do,
for He is my sovereign."

Isaac Watts

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Restore {a poem}

“Why do you forget us forever, why do you forsake us for so many days?
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old-“
Lamentations 5:20-21

The hero of a  favorite novel series
Spies for Israeli intelligence
And restores paintings by Old Masters.
His “cover job” captures the core
Of his character:
Restorer of broken beauty.
Taking great pains,
He swabs away
Centuries of yellowed varnish,
Patches done badly,
All the accretions that hide
The luminous beauty the Master intended.

He views people also
As restoration projects:
Espying goodness, virtue,
Some small gleam of purity of heart,
And creating opportunities to choose right,
To shed a broken past,
To start again,
As he himself had done.


The builder and designer
On a home improvement show
You may have heard of
Find “the worst house
In the best neighborhood”
And transform it into a showplace.

They find the good
Even when it seems there is none.
They see potential
Where we see dry rot,
A dark, cramped kitchen,
Dingy paneling,
Avocado shag carpet.
They discern what works
And what doesn’t.
Then they knock out this wall,
Strip those back to the studs,
Rip out kitchen cabinets,
Demo day.

Only then is restoration ready:
Add this window,
Rebuild the kitchen
That gives the home a beating heart,
Replace the rotten walls
With shiplap
And bright paint,
Lay down solid flooring
To support decades
Of first steps,
Dog zoomies,
Prom heels,
Christmas mornings.


There is a God
Revealed in a Book,
Who gazes upon a valley of dry bones
And sees potential.
He finds hope
Where no hope is.

He tells His prophet:
Speak to the bones.
And look:
Ligaments, tendons, muscle, skin
Embody the skeletal valley.

He tells His prophet:
Speak breath to the bones.
And they lived, and breathed,
And rose, and stood,
A mighty army.

When His people turn away
And dim His light with sin
And waywardness,
And won’t turn back
“The easy way,”
When this goes on
And on
And on,
Sometimes the gentle touch of the art restorer
Becomes the hammer of demo day.
“The hard way” of restoration
Costs such pain, such stripping,
So very many tears,
Sometimes defeat
And exile
And the loss of so much once held dear.

A skilled restorer
Never destroys
What was always meant to be there.
The demolition and stripping away
Of layers of false trust
Serve to bring the beauty and glory
To fruition.

When His people are restored,
He returns them to His place,
Life into the dry bones
Of a nation
And a temple.
His servant Nehemiah
Rebuilds the wall,
A symbol of God’s protection
Around the restored city of Zion,
And the Persian oppressors
Even bear the cost.

Restoration never brings
As good as new;
Sometimes the restoration
Is better than new;
Ofttimes scars remain,
Reminders of the cost
And loss
And brokenness,
That we might become
Gentle and lowly
Restorers of each other.
For we are all fixer-uppers.

Demo day is not the end of the story.
Restoration is.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:10-11

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rewrite {A Poem}

Is it too soon to call this year a total rewrite?
One, no, two new medical diagnoses,
Four new doctors,
One surgery down, one to go
For this year,
And now quarantine,
Economic collapse?
Just like that,
The Editor bled red ink all over the pages of my calendar,
My plans for the year,
My hopes for the days to come.

While I grieve the changes,
The losses,
The 2 AM weight of new fears,
I acknowledge Your control of the molecules of my body,
The molecules of the air,
The movement of millions.
This could not have come unless You
Are actively orchestrating,
Rewriting it for good
To your people,
Who love you and are called according to Your purpose.

I acknowledge that the days being rewritten
Are not being written out of Your plans.
All the days of my life were written in Your book
Before there was yet one.
You rewrote the poem of me from death to life
In Christ Jesus
To do the good works
You prepared ahead of time.

This total rewrite is the path
Of dying to my first draft
And embracing Yours.

If I knew
What You know
About the millions of things You are doing
In these months,
I would claim the gift You offer in this rewrite.

And You do offer a gift.
Do I dare to wait for it,
Watch for it,
Expect it,
Believe it?

A child at 99–
A 430 year sojourn in a foreign land,
Descending from princes to slaves—
Another 40-year delay for the deliverer's
Then plague upon plague
Until Your time was right—
40 years of the not-so-scenic route
Through the wilderness
To the Promised Land—
Divided kingdom,
Unanointed kings,
Unintended worship—
Seven decades in Babylon—
Return, rebuilding, restoration—
A voice crying in the wilderness—
A babe for a virgin—
Messiah on a cross—
Empty tomb—

As hard as it is to lose the year I'd hoped to have
And the things which will never be the same
Here I am, Lord.
May this rewrite
Set me right
In plans and patterns
I didn't even know had gone wrong.

I trust You;
Help me trust You.