After 30 years far from the crowds,
His public ministry began.
He chose twelve ordinary men,
not perfect, sometimes easy to offend.
But with their own eyes
They saw the miracles that verified:
The I AM stood before them.

As I AM,
He offered bread for spiritual hunger
Shone light to illumine the way,
Stood as the door to welcome the strays
Shepherded His own by name.
As the Vine of the abundant life,
He is the way, the truth, and the life.

To Him, they declared allegiance
And echoed His praise
And yet, they fled.
Did they change their minds in a day?
I could never,
I would never
Dream of something so obscene.

Then speaks this faint fear,
Quiet, but oh so clear.
Am I really that different?
My defense quickly disappears.

I want to protest my case,
Proving somehow I deserve grace,
But then I look at how I treat others:
I assume the worst of my brothers,
And shut my eyes to the needs around me.
My time is precious, that’s plain to see.
Someone else will serve, most would agree.
Someone else will support the homeless by the road,
Someone else will stand up for those who cannot speak,
Someone else will bear the unemployed´s load,
Someone else will tell them of the hope they seek.
I’m too busy earning standing and favor.
Trying to become the greatest of them all,
But perhaps my perspective is too small.

How blind am I?
How long will I justify
The standards I have made?
When I define what is valuable and true
Eventually, everything falls through.
So when the three couldn’t stay awake,
I realize, I’d have made the same mistake.

And Judas cared more for wages
Than honoring the Rock of Ages.
I wonder —what I would have done,
If wealth is my chief aim?
Who’s to say I wouldn’t have played that game?

Jesus led them to familiar ground,
The Garden of Gethsemane.
But the lessons had a different sound
And the prayers of that night
Seemed dark, almost out of place.
The Man of Sorrows poured out His soul.
The Father’s path charged a steep toll.

He cried, ¨Let this cup pass from me!¨
As they closed their eyes,
Slumbering at His broken plea.
¨Not My will but Yours be done.¨
Now…His hour had finally come

¨Are you asleep?¨He asked.
But He knew the answer,
Knew they would desert Him,
Knew they would betray Him.
Yet He loved them to the end.
Oh, how little they did comprehend.

With lanterns, torches, and weapons at their side
The powers of darkness arrived.
The betrayer handed over the Son of Man,
Confirming his choice with the kiss of a friend
Judas would soon meet greed’s sad end.
He thought 30 pieces of silver
Could somehow deliver
From the worries of this life.
Instead, he inherited eternal strife.

Over the years,
Jesus calmed the storm’s mighty winds,
He healed the lame and forgave sins,
He brought unwanted children near,
But in His hour of need,
They forgot all His life decreed.

Not one of his friends stayed
They could not even sit and pray.
Three times they fell asleep,
Three times He would be denied.
They became the scattered sheep.

Their faults describe mine.
Is this why He went to the tree?
My unbelief is as deep as the sea.

The religious leaders then led Him to trial
Relying on Roman enemies to complete their denial.
Instead of falling at His feet,
Jealous pride led them to mistreat
The One whom the prophets foretold,
But He wasn’t the Messiah they wanted to behold.

The disciples deserted Him
The rulers resented Him
And the crowds criticized Him.
They all turned on Him.
Do I?

Song of Joy

Song of Joy

As each morning breaks,
So do the complexities of life.
Yet we take more than we give.
Take our health and community without a thought,
Take our money and our time without thanks

Goodness we suppress
And truth we downplay.
On our own, all we see is darkness
This has always been our way.

We long for hope to be life’s major chord.
Will the song of joy ever be restored?

We forget what happened many years ago,
When history took a surprising route.
For in the quiet shadows,
Hope was stirring about.

From the smallest of towns,
A place often neglected,
Came a King without a crown,
The awaited One, yet unexpected.

His coming was proclaimed of old,
To rescue us from the adversary,
So all the world could behold
This Prince of Peace, born to Mary.

For God did not just look on their suffering.
He sent His very Son.
So they were no longer left wondering.
Immanuel had finally come.

The prophecies were no longer maybes,
This child came from their own tribe, their kin.
God became man and took on human skin,
But could this world really be changed by a baby?

Longing for hope to be life’s major chord.
Wondering if a song of joy could ever be restored.
And this sinless little boy
Grew to be a man
That He might finally destroy
Sin’s power, just as God planned.

This Wonderful Counselor showed understanding
When men like Nicodemus came with questions.
This Mighty God showed the extent of His power
When He calmed the sea with a word.
This Everlasting Father showed His kindness to the least of these
When He beckoned the little ones to come to Him.
This Prince of Peace showed mankind a different way
When He taught them to love their enemies and turn the other cheek.

From the Bread of Life to the Man of Sorrows
He was called by many names
Yet all these titles proclaimed
He was the one born to die
The only One on whom we could rely
To defeat the deep darkness of sin,
That has corrupted the world from the start
And dwells in our very hearts.

When He arose from the grave years later
He showed He was greater
Than the darkness of our soul
The only One who makes our hearts whole.

Finally, Hope transposed into a major chord.
Life’s song of joy is ever restored.

Zechariah Part One

Zechariah Part One

Oh that day.
No matter what circumstances come my way,
I will never forget that day.

The lot to offer incense finally fell to me;
Me, a priest advanced in years.
I could hardly believe that stunning decree,
But I heard my name loud and clear.

All at once, I had two thoughts:
One, God had extended mercy to me, His servant.
And two, this was the encouragement we sought—
Elizabeth’s faithful prayers had been so fervent.

But I must confess
The day did not go as I’d guessed.

As I entered all alone
A bright light appeared,
And my heart turned to stone
My eyes blinded by utter fear.

This is how my days will end
(or so I thought),
Then I heard what I could not comprehend.
This terrifying being knew my name,
And spoke to me. Was I going insane?

“Your prayers have been heard. You will have a son.”
A son? No. That dream had long passed
That part of our lives? That hope was done.
Yet his speech went on—everything happened so fast.

Not only did he know my name, but Elizabeth’s too.
He promised joy at our son’s birth
And gave instructions to guide this life of great worth.
He’d turn hearts of disobedience to the One who is true.
He’d be filled with the Spirit and walk in Elijah’s power.
After 400 years…was this the Messiah’s hour?

Not only did doubt creep into my heart
But dismay and disbelief would not depart.
From my view, this couldn’t be possible,
So I declared what I thought probable.

“I am old and so is my wife,
Can’t you see?
How could this come true in my life,
How could this possibly be?”

My words were rude and rash.
My fear had made me brash.

“I stand in the presence of the Almighty One.
You question not my ability but His.
You will indeed be gifted a son
But until then, your words will be none.
God’s promises are true
And His timing is never overdue.”

And just as quickly as he came, He was gone.
My mind filled with a thousand thoughts—
Had I really been in the wrong?
I felt both hopeful and distraught.

And just as he said, I could not speak.
My people understood I had seen a vision,
I felt confused and weak.
If all was to be as he decreed,
Would Elizabeth believe this wondrous provision?

Psalm 77 – Honest Questions of the Soul

Psalm 77 – Honest Questions of the Soul

I bring my angst to the LORD,
My tears bellow.
And my God hears me.
When everything is hopelessly heavy,
I look for His hand, but I cannot seem to find it.
I cry out all night without ceasing
(Aren’t we told to pray without ceasing?)
But I’m met with the imprisonment of my fears.
I ache for freedom, only to find bars of worry.

I strain to think of who my God is,
But I feel weak and utterly confused.
He is the One that gives breath,
Yet I have not the strength to utter a word.

I remember the days of seasons past.
The treasured truths I used to sing on dark nights
Are now transposed to a somber tune.
I’ve uncovered a hidden refrain,
I tremble to voice these words laced with pain.

Is the LORD disappointed in me?
Has He shut off His kindness?
Does He no longer see me?
Does He no longer care?
Have I failed so poorly that His love and grace no longer extend?
Will my fears be met with unending silence?
Will this night never end?

Stop. Soul, remember the mighty and majestic deeds of my God.

Your wonders, O God, know no bounds.
Your rescue of our people is threaded throughout our history.

Your ways are pure and untainted by our sin.
No idol can compare with Your Sovereign power.
You make the unimaginable come to life,
Display strength across the skies, and
Restore Your people, time and time again.

When the waters saw Your face,
They feared You.
The dark sea recognizes Your voice.
At Your command, the clouds follow Your direction
To guide Your people and guard against their foes.
The cracks of thunder and arrows of lighting show
Creation is at Your beck and call.
Your path is not peaceful
But a plunge into the mighty depths,
Without a wake to be traced.
Still, Your people are never misplaced.

By Your kindness, You led through men like Moses and Aaron, mere mortals like me.
You always mark the way for Your people to be free.

Morning Armor

Morning Armor

A new day begins.
The question is,
Who will win?

The battle is fierce
At the end of the day
I wonder — will I stand?
Will I hold fast to His commands?
Or with I fall
With no hope at all?

But this is not just my fight,
Nor do I stand by my might.
Every day I have a chance
To stand in the shadow of His holiness.

The Belt of Truth is firm,
Reminding me of what is, not what if’s.
The Breastplate of Righteousness protects my soul
For only by His love am I made whole.
The Shoes of the Gospel guard every step I take
For this journey is for His name’s sake.
The Shield of Faith protects me with His grace,
Repelling the drought of doubt
With the promise of His power.
The Helmet of Salvation preserves my mind.
His shepherding presence reminds me Whose I am.
The Sword of the Spirit strikes in all-knowing integrity,
His candor and conviction refine my heart.

And the persistence of prayer threads together each and every piece.
For this is His fight.
I stand in His might.

The Joy of Your Presence

The Joy of Your Presence

I bring all of who I am to the Creator.
To my King, the One in whom I find true confidence.
Don’t let me be disappointed by what You decree.
Don’t let the lies and deceit of my demons take the upper hand.
Surely You replace disappointment with unrelenting hope.
Those who look to their own savior will always be left wanting.

Don’t leave me to my own devices. Direct me in Your footsteps.
Push and pull me until I walk in step with Your kind shadow.
Shepherd me with Your faithfulness, for You alone can mold me in truth.

Call to mind Your promise of compassion and deeds of unchanging love, my King, for they have been established long ago.

Call not to mind my failures, the days I followed lesser rulers and sought futile treasures.
By the decree of Your kindness and law of relentless love, see me as Your own kin.

Pure and trustworthy is this King,
That is why He schools the feeble in His ways.
He trains those who know they are lost without Him.
He guides those who are willing to follow Him without abandon.

Every byway and passage He opens, down to the last faint trail,
Are His avenues of grace, to those who cling to and live by His promises.

For the reputation of Your title,
Declare me free from the weight of my sins.
For only when man sees the unparalleled character of the King’s kind authority
Will He unveil the next right step.
All of who he is will be sheltered by His protection,
And his family shall dwell in security.

The secret counsel of the King is for those who cherish and revere His rule,
To those He divulges the depths of His promises.

My gaze is forever fixed on the King.
He will provide a bridge for every barricade.

My King, see me. Show me Your tender care.
For I am on the island of melancholy and misery.
The anguish of my soul swells.
Reclaim my heart.
Give attention to the distress of my trials,
And pardon each and every one of my failures.

Give attention to my adversaries.
They despise me and want to see me fail.

Preserve and protect my heart.
Don’t let me be disappointed, for I am putting all my confidence in You.
I watch for Your arrival.

Restore us.
Revoke our wanderings and replace our fears with the joy of Your presence.