How Blessed

I strive to write a Thanksgiving poem each year. This year though, I’ve been writing quite a bit of poetry through the Psalms, and a couple weeks ago wrote one on Psalm 32 that I think gets at the core of what I’m thankful for this year – forgiveness.

I don’t know what your year was like – horribly exciting or terribly boring. Either way, even if you don’t feel like you have much to thank God for, you have forgiveness and the gospel – and that’s reason enough to praise forevermore! We are blessed…

How Blessed (Psalm 32)

How blessed it is to be forgiven,

How awesome to be justified,

For now our sins have been all driven

Through Jesus who for us has died.

How painful is the path of sinning,

How dark and dismal is that place.

For sin sends our hearts downward spinning

But down and down reaches His grace.

How great it is – my sin is covered!

How wonderful to share it all.

For all my sin’s to Him uncovered,

Forgiveness now for every fall.

How thankful should forgiven ones be,

How tender to His plans and pulls.

For His great love is all around us –

Surrender to His lead and will.

How joyful now we shout and sing out,

How glad our hearts to rest in Christ.

For in Him we can hide from all doubt

So confident He’s paid sin’s price.

Grace on Grace

grace upon grace

Based on John 1:16:

Of Your fullness we’ve received

Throughout our sinful year.

Through each day Your grace was weaved

Since last time we were here.

Family’s here at this great feast

And so is Your dear Son.

Never left us, never ceased

To give us grace in tons!


Grace on grace You’ve given us–

Your grace for days we fall.

Grace for every time we lust

And grace to pardon all.

Now that we have hindsight’s view

We find You all the way.

Grace You gave, now we give you

Our thanks this grace-filled day.


Of Your fullness we’ve took part

Throughout this crazy ride.

In all stress Your will You’d chart,

And make us trust our Guide.

Looking back we see Your hand–

You worked out all things right.

Why would we now doubt Your plan?

You have the end in sight!


Grace on grace You’ve given us–

Your grace for days of doubt.

Grace for times when we don’t trust

And grace when we stress out.

Now that we have hindsight’s view

We find You all the way.

Grace You gave, now we give you

Our thanks this grace-filled day.


Of Your fulness we have known

Throughout life’s push and shove.

Mercy on hard days You’ve shown–

We can’t exhaust Your love!

Family’s gathered in this room.

But there’s someone who’s not.

Give us rest and please come soon!

To take the ones You’ve bought.


Grace on grace You’ve given us–

Your grace for days of death.

Grace for times we’re in the dust

And grace till our last breath!

Now that we have hindsight’s view

We find You all the way.

Grace You gave, now we give you

Our thanks this grace-filled day.

-M@

Hate, Hashtags, and Hopelessness: How to Respond When Terror Strikes

the bible trending

Trending Topic: #PrayingforParis

Though I would rather blog about “easy” subjects—like the “scandal” of red cups at Starbucks or how a woman got permission to wear a spaghetti strainer on her head for her driver’s license—I feel compelled to write about what has happened in Paris.

I don’t need to describe what’s happened. You already know. The world knows. It’s another 9/11—or rather, 11/13. And honestly, I don’t feel like spending another byte focusing on the atrocities committed by these barbaric terrorists. Rather, I think we should focus our attention—indeed, every byte we can—on how to comfort the victims and their families. How to respond to this tragedy—and all tragedies like it. Here are a few tips…

  1. Don’t hate the Muslims—love them to Christ!

That may seem a strange and somewhat liberal statement for a conservative Christian to make. But before you fill the comment section, let me explain. Our focus should not be on hating all Muslims or “punishing” our Muslim neighbors or even Muslim countries. In my experience, it’s very true what the liberals say—the majority of Muslims are peaceful and Calais-Jungle-migrant-camp-fire-619361would never think of such an action. They are getting fewer and fewer, but they are still prevalent. What disgusted me almost as much as the attacks on Paris was the response by some people in the town of Calais—to set a refugee camp on fire as “revenge” for the Paris attacks. We cannot tolerate these sorts of actions!

I know I was too quick to call for utter annihilation. In my depraved heart, I even suggested nuclear attacks on Syria in wake of this. While I do think our response should be quick, decisive, and catastrophic to ISIS, we must always bear in mind the cost of souls—especially the innocents caught in the middle of this.

Our primary goal is to reach the Muslims for Christ. That is what will really stop these terrorist attacks—if terrorists come to Jesus! It is not your Muslim neighbor’s fault—or the man with the turban at the gas station—that these attacks happened. He’s probably living in more fear now because he thinks Americans will hate and attack him for what his religion has done. And too many Americans would. But let us remember: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom. 12:19). God will set the record straight—in His time. Don’t try to be God. Instead be what He’s called you to be—an ambassador for Him, even among the “hated” Muslims (Matt. 28: 19-20).

  1. Don’t just post a hashtag—actually pray!

Paris really does need your prayers—it doesn’t necessarily need your statuses or your changed profile pictures. I’m not going against hashtags or pictures. I’ve changed mine and already posted that hashtag. I think that’s a perfectly good—indeed, encouraged—way to express our support to the French. I would love Facebook to run the numbers of the Americans who changed their picture to the French colors and then send that number to the French people. To show them that we support them. To show them that we—the American people if no one else—will stand by them in this tragedy. They were our first friend as a nation—without them, there would be no America. And now, we ought to stand by them. They are a majestic people, so full of life (and good food!). We must stand by France…

However, we must go beyond that. France needs more than an ally. France needs God. France has become the atheists’ breeding ground. The belief in God is as dead in France as in the rest of Europe. The support of America would be great—it’s a wonderful thing for us to send people over there to help, to send money or flowers to the victims’ families, to support them with touching memorials and lights like they did when 9/11 struck us. But what France needs more than any of these things…is prayer! True, long-lasting prayer for spiritual revival, even through this tragedy. For the victims’ families to find the peace that only comes from Christ. Yes, for judgment to fall upon the terrorists—especially this one still on the loose. For many people to come to Christ through this.

  1. Don’t be hopeless—find hope in God!

It’s easy to lose sight of God in times like this. That is one thing we cannot allow. You’re in good company if you do—Jeremiah the prophet seemed to let his never-ceasing tears flood away His trust in God, almost to utter hopelessness. I encourage you to read Lamentations 3 and discover his despair in the first eighteen verses. He had faced a tragedy similar to the Paris attacks. His city had been ransacked and burned by the evil and cruel Babylonians, with his people going into captivity. He describes his feelings as “affliction,” “wanderings,” “wormwood,” and “gall.” Then his perception all changes…

            “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope” (vs. 21).

What?! What was it, Jeremiah, that made you turn from utter despair to hope?! We could use some of that—rather, the French people could use a lot of it! Verses 22-23:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;

Great is your faithfulness.”

Great is God’s faithfulness—to us, to our country, even to France.

I am the man who’s seen the pain

Of hundreds starved or killed.

Are darkness, shame, and heavy chains

Just part of His wrath’s will?

For happiness my soul forgot

And peace is far from me.

Now bitterness is all I’ve got.

And endless wandering.


We are the people of a world

That’s evil and disgraced.

Fierce storms and shootings round us swirl.

We are the fallen race.

For new attacks we see each day

Against both good and bad.

Is He as sovereign as He claims–

Or is He only mad?


He is the Man who’s seen the pain,

Deciding that He’d act.

He came down to evil’s domain

To face its best attack.

For God in flesh took man’s worst death

And suffered more than all.

He took pain’s power with His last breath

And fell for mankind’s fall.


Oh, I have hope in pain’s worst plight

Because of mercies new!

My faithful God is always right;

He’s good to see me through!

For Him I’ll wait, and Him I’ll seek.

He knows this world’s great mess.

So in His sight I must be meek–

Great is His faithfulness.

-M@

Just Mercy

the fall of man

Based on Genesis 3:

What am I but just the dust

That stains each place I touch?

Who am I–a slave of lust

Who loves the sin I clutch.

Rioter who hates the laws

God put there for my good.

Villain for the rebel cause–

His good plan I’ve withstood.


Tree forbidden I embraced

And boldly ate the fruit.

With one bite I knew sin’s taste

And death in me took root.

“You will die!” the Just decreed,

But something stayed His hand.

“One day,” He said, “You’ll be free–

Begin the rescue plan!”


Step by step redemption’s staged

Against a set so black.

Eden’s Fall stains every page

But Mercy’s fighting back.

Kings and prophets disappoint

Until the Just appears.

“Here’s the One that I appoint

To wipe your record clear.”


Calvary’s Hill now marks the place

Where Mercy’s climax’s set.

Bloody beams on which He’s braced

Show just how great our debt.

Day by day we should’ve died

A punishment that’s right.

But to Christ that death’s applied

And Mercy wins the fight.


Mercy for the undeserved

That breaks with each new dawn.

Sudden death I should be served,

But guilty verdict’s gone!

Mercy for my rebel soul

That’s draws unworthy breath.

Every act the play unfolds:

The Just died for my death.

-m@

Father, Your Love

cross love cópia

I have recently returned from a trip to Turkey, where I heard many lovely hymns in Turkish. One was called, “Baba Senin Sevgin.” I enjoyed it so much that I translated it into English (there already was an English version, but I didn’t like those words). Below are the is my poetic translation–enjoy!

Father, how vast, how deep, how great
Is Your endless love for my state!
Without You I would not make it through–
I stand in awe of You!

Father, I praise You,
And Father, I worship You!
From now till forever,
You’re my one true love!

Father, now Your Hand has saved me
And has placed me in Your family.
Within Your arms until end of days
I will ever stay!

Father, I praise You,
And Father, I worship You!
From now till forever,
You’re my one true love!

-M@

Here and Now

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Based on Proverbs 3:5-7:

Here and now, I’ll trust my Savior,
For He sits on Heaven’s Throne.
He who grips the reigns of nature
Now has called me as His own.
All my heart leans on His leading,
Not on what I think I know.
Why lean on a mind that’s fleeting
When I have a God enthroned?

All my heart, trust in the Lord!
Has He ever let you down?
All my heart, trust in the Lord!
He’ll be faithful here and now.

Here and now, I’ll trust my Savior
And acknowledge Him alone
As salvation’s sovereign Author,
He Who has my sins atoned.
If I trust Him for salvation,
That He’s saved me from God’s wrath,
Why not trust Him and have patience
That He will direct my path?

All my heart, trust in the Lord!
Has He ever let you down?
All my heart, trust in the Lord!
He’ll be faithful here and now.

Here and now, I’ll trust my Savior,
Not be wise in my own eyes.
I am awed by grace that’s greater
Than the evil I devise.
If He plundered Hell’s dark castle
And freed me from that domain,
Can’t I trust Him for this battle
And watch Him my dark heart change?

All my heart, trust in the Lord!
Has He ever let you down?
All my heart, trust in the Lord!
He’ll be faithful here and now.

-M@

Victorious

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Based on Psalm 44:

In old days long ago,

We have heard of Your might.

Your right hand You have shown

And have won us the fight.


So great King victorious

Declare vict’ry for us.

In our strength we won’t trust,

Declare us victorious.


In new days here and now,

You have proved faithfulness.

Every day, Your great power

Has made us feel so blessed.


So great King victorious

Declare vict’ry for us.

In our strength we won’t trust,

Declare us victorious.


In dark days that we face,

We feel crushed and alone.

Where’s the promise of grace?

Where’s the pow’r You have shown?


So great King victorious

Declare vict’ry for us.

In our strength we won’t trust,

Declare us victorious.


In each day, good or bad,

We find unfailing love.

We give praise that is glad

To our God Who’s above.


So great King victorious

Declare vict’ry for us.

In our strength we won’t trust,

Declare us victorious.

-M@

The Sinner

Luke-18-13

Based on Luke 18:13:

O God, I must stand far away;

I can’t approach Your Throne;

I bow my eyes ’cause there’s no way

I can my sins atone.

For I’m the villain, rebel wild,

Who spurns all that You say.

The good I do is done in guile–

All that I’ve done is stray.


But God, show mercy undeserved,

To me, Your sinful child.

I beg for grace that’s so unearned,

For me THE sinner wild.


O God, I must stand far away

I can’t approach Your Cross.

You bowed Your eyes and made a way

To take up my lost cause.

No, it can’t be that Jesus Christ

Should die for men so vile.

He paid my sin’s great messy price

To make me Your dear child.


But God, show mercy undeserved,

To me, Your sinful child.

I beg for grace that’s so unearned,

For me THE sinner wild.

-M@

O the Riches

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Based on Eph. 3:3-10:

O the riches of Your grace

Lavished on my sinful state.

Me with pardoning love You chased,

Till You changed my damning fate.


O the riches of Your grace–

Love with the unlovely shared,

Blessing me in every place,

Welcoming me as child and heir.


O the riches of Your grace

Finding me e’er time began.

God and sinners face to face

In Your wise and perfect plan.

-M@

I Give Up

vacation-90

Based on Luke 14:33:

Lord, I give up all my pride,

All the lusts that keep me tied.

I will choose to push aside

All except the One Who died.


Lord, I give up all my friends,

All the times I’ve sought my ends.

I will let You from me rend

All except the things You send.


Lord, I give up all my things,

All the joy that riches bring.

I will not to riches cling,

All except what serves my King.


Lord, I give up all my heart.

All my life—take every part

From this day I’ll let You chart

My life’s path—and here I’ll start.

-M@