“This Father’s Prayer for Grace”

IMy first pic with Graysonn the amazing kindness of the Lord, today my wife Stacie and I rejoiced at the birth of
our fourth son, Grayson Mitchell Chase. He was 7 pounds 15 ounces, 20 inches long, and arrived at 5:44 pm in Louisville, Kentucky, at Norton Suburban Hospital.

Here is a poetic reflection and prayer on the day of Grayson’s birth.

“This Father’s Prayer for Grace”
May 2, 2017

Praise and honor be to God
who rules the depths and heights,
and knits inside a mother’s womb
an image-bearer’s life.

What joy to declare the birth
of Grayson Mitchell Chase!—
this one whom we have longed to see
and now hold face to face.

We pray his future steps you will
direct to this chief end:
to glorify and to enjoy
Your Son who saves from sin.

Our fourth son needs a heart to love
and eyes of faith to see
the Risen, Reigning Lord above
who sets the captive free.

Father, you alone can grant
this father’s prayer for grace:
that gospel light will dawn upon
my Grayson Mitchell Chase.

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“This Temple Will Be Raised” – A Good Friday Poem

The people of Israel were familiar with a temple being destroyed and rebuilt. When Jesus tells the people in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” the disciples later realized he was speaking about his body as a temple that would be destroyed and raised. Here is a Good Friday poem focusing on that temple motif:

jesus on the cross“This Temple Will Be Raised”
April 14, 2017

Seven years it took to build
The temple of the Lord,
That sacred space
And dwelling place
Where blood and life were poured.

But when the people saw the curse
That prophets warned would fall,
They strode the path
Of holy wrath,
And bitter was the gall.

Many years would pass before
The house, which fell by flame,
Was built to stand
In promised land
Once more for Yahweh’s name.

But all the blood of bulls and lambs
For sin could not atone,
So God the Son
Said, “It is done,”
And drank the cup alone.

Upon the hill they crucified
The temple of the Lord,
His body dead
Where, in our stead,
His blood and life were poured.

The people ’round the cross beheld
The one they deemed a fraud,
Who took the path
Of holy wrath,
The spotless Lamb of God.

Now he who once said, “In three days,
This temple will be raised,”
Who by the cross
Brought gain not loss,
Should be forever praised.

Seven Scenes of Joseph Weeping

joseph weepingThe stories in Genesis 37-50 report the trials and vindication of Joseph. The chapters are full of moving accounts for the reader, and characters inside the events are moved as well. Jeremiah may be the weeping prophet, but Joseph is the weeping ruler. In multiple scenes he weeps both privately and openly: 42:24; 43:30; 45:2; 45:14-15; 46:29; 50:1; 50:17. Here’s how it breaks down:

  1. In 42:24, Joseph weeps privately during his brothers’ first visit to Egypt. He recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him.
  2. In 43:30, Joseph weeps privately as he is moved over one brother in particular, the arrival of Benjamin in Egypt.
  3. In 45:2, Joseph weeps openly as he reveals himself to his brothers after more than twenty years since they betrayed him.
  4. In 45:14-15, Joseph weeps openly on all his brothers.
  5. In 46:29, Joseph weeps openly as he presents himself to his father after many years of relational separation.
  6. In 50:1, Joseph weeps openly in response to his father’s death.
  7. In 50:17, Joseph weeps openly before the messengers whom his brothers had sent.

Seven scenes of weeping. SEVEN.

My 10 Favorite Reads in 2016

So many great books published, too little time to read them all. In no particular order, here are my favorite nonfiction reads this year. Almost all of them were published in 2016.

  1. Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus, by L. Michael Morales.
  2. The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology, by Jeremy R. Treat.
  3. You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. A. Smith.
  4. A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness, by John Piper.
  5. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical, by Timothy Keller.
  6. Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification, by Sinclair B. Ferguson.
  7. Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel, by Ray C. Ortlund.
  8. God the Son Incarnate: The Doctrine of Christ, by Stephen J. Wellum.
  9. Impossible People: Christian Courage and the Struggle for the Soul of Civilization, by Os Guinness.
  10. Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes It Compelling, by Jared C. Wilson.

“Come, Thou Word” – A Christmas Hymn

The following lyrics of “Come, Thou Word” were composed to the tune of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

“Come, Thou Word”
December 20-21, 2016

Verse 1
Come, Thou Word, which with the Father
and the Spirit ever dwelled
And hath taken flesh to save us
from our sin and death and hell.
We behold Thee in Thy manger,
Fully God and fully man,
Myst’ry of the ages former,
Now revealed in Bethlehem.

Verse 2
Come, Thou King, whose birth the angel
Sang to shepherds in the night.
‘Round them came a host of heaven,
‘Round them shone a holy light.
“See I bring good news of great joy,
So no longer be afraid:
Christ the Lord, the promised Savior,
Unto you is born this day.”

Verse 3
Come, Thou Son, whose arms shall carry
Those fast-bound in chains of sin.
‘Mid this exile, ruined sinners
Shall be raised to life again.
He was born for our redemption,
O’er the manger loomed the Tree.
There in David’s little city
Lay the one who set us free.

“See This Child”–An Advent Poem for 2016

“See This Child”
December 6, 2016

See this child for whom all things
Are made and by whom held.
This mighty one, begotten Son,
Has come with men to dwell.

See this child with undefiled
Nature now asleep.
This righteous one, beloved Son,
Will scorn and murder reap.

See this child with tiny hands,
Who cries and must be fed.
This lowly one, a virgin’s Son,
Is everlasting bread.

See this child with infant smile
Whom heavenly host proclaim.
This worthy one, the royal Son,
Shall be for sinners slain.

See this child in swaddling cloths
And in a manger laid.
This gentle one, the promised Son,
Has come to kill the grave.

A Cluster of Christological Affirmations in 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Written sometime around A.D. 50 or 51, 1 Thessalonians may be the earliest of Paul’s letters (with the possible exception of Galatians), and it’s always interesting to see what someone’s theology (or, in this case, christology) consists of early on.

Paul writes, “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:9-10).

My interest is specifically verse 10, which is in bold. What kind of truths are present there, either explicitly or implicitly, about Jesus?

  1. Jesus died (“from the dead”). The very word “dead” is present.
  2. Jesus rose (“whom he raised from the dead”). Bodily resurrection ended his death.
  3. Jesus ascended (“from heaven”). At some point between his bodily resurrection and his current location in heaven, there was an ascension to get him there.
  4. Jesus remains in heaven (“from heaven”). After his ascension, Jesus has not dwelt elsewhere. The God-Man remains in heaven.
  5. Jesus will return (“to wait for his Son from heaven”). He will return from where he presently dwells. This refers to his Second Coming, which is the bodily return of the bodily risen and bodily ascended Jesus.

#’s 1, 2, and 5 are explicit in the verse, and #’s 3 and 4 are implicit. Paul affirms–all in one verse–the death, resurrection, ascension, session, and return of the Lord Jesus Christ.