When Kanye West Proclaimed Jesus is King

“Everything that I felt, praise the Lord. Worship Christ with the best of your portions.”

This was the first lyric I heard off of Kanye West’s new album, “Jesus is King.” Six months ago, if you would have told me I would be listening to a Kanye West hip hop/gospel album, I would have thought you were insane. But that is exactly what I was doing with my beautiful fiancée, Lindsay, last Sunday afternoon on our way to church. A few minutes prior to our arrival, Lindsay turned to me and said, “Do you want to hear Kanye West’s new album?” I hadn’t gotten the chance to listen to it yet, so I definitely wanted to check it out. With only a few minutes left before we arrived at church, Lindsay quickly picked up her phone and turned on the track: “God Is”. Upon hearing the verse, every hair on the back of my neck stood up. A soft and soulish voice flooded our car, singing: “Everything that I felt, praise the Lord. Worship Christ with the best of your portions.” We were listening to a man who in times past professed to be a god, now profess the one True and Living God. I couldn’t believe my ears. Lindsay and I turned to each other, tears streaming down our faces, with hearts of skepticism washed away and with hearts renewed with hope. There was no overarching emotionalism from the song itself. While the beat of the song was beautiful, and his voice powerful, that was not what caused our emotions. Had this been another gospel artist, I doubt there would have been any tears because we would have expected what we were hearing from a seasoned worship artist. Our tears of joy were brought forth from hearing the genuine brokenness for Christ in this man’s voice and song. We were hearing a man who used to rap about himself being a god, now singing about Jesus Christ and pointing his listeners to worship Him. As we continued to listen to the song, we continued to weep. We wept because Kanye West was worshipping Christ in his music. This was beautiful, and it melted any form of pride we once held onto in our hearts. We wept rejoicing over the one that was lost, that God had left the 99 to find— (and no, that is not a Reckless Love reference.) We pulled up to the church and restarted the song and cried even more. We were both in absolute shock and awe, listening to Kanye West lift up genuine, heartfelt praise and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ.

After listening to the rest of the album, we shared it on social media, joining many brothers and sisters who were doing so, encouraging other believers to support Kanye, not as a teacher or leader in the faith, but as a brother in Christ and a new convert. I had been following Kanye’s journey for the last few months, but I chose not to comment on it until recently. Once I learned of Kanye’s mentor and that Kanye was in good hands, I really began to take this more seriously. I am not exactly sure when Kanye began experiencing conviction of his sins, but his mentor and pastor Adam Tyson, a graduate of John MacArthur’s Masters Seminary, gave insightful details to a conversation he had with Kanye on Apologia Studios interview with him. Tyson said, “Kanye, what happened five weeks ago?’ He’s [Kanye] like, ‘I was just under the weight of my sin. And I was being convicted that I was running from God. And I knew I needed to make things right. So, I came to Christ. I came out of darkness into the light.’” Kanye West, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, confessed with his own tongue that he was under the weight of his sin. And what did he do in response to this conviction? He threw himself at the foot of the cross.

Upon sharing our endorsement of the album and Kanye’s new profession of faith, we were met with vitriol and a rather aggressive backlash. (For the sake of civility, I will not be sharing screenshots or names.) Professing believers came out in droves to tear Kanye West down and to destroy the validity of his profession of faith. We saw many comments from professed believers attempting to connect his profession of faith to an illuminati conspiracy, freemasonry, deception, and even blasphemy. Professing believers came to point out every sin Kanye has ever committed, every blasphemy he has ever uttered, and how this was all just a big publicity stunt. Professing believers (do you see what I am getting at here?) suggested my fiancée and I and everyone who were rejoicing in Kanye’s conversion were deceived.

My intent is not to be divisive, but I want to be as straightforward as possible. I really do not have it in me to unleash a scathing rebuke of everyone who vehemently rejects Kanye’s recent confession of faith in Christ. Honestly, it is not even worth it to me at this point. I am no longer going to go back and forth or continue to read numerous conspiracy theories rooted in unfounded speculations and hearsays. My reasoning for this approach stems from my interaction with those who held to the conspiracies. These individuals absolutely refused to consider any opposing viewpoint. I am not saying they had to believe what I was saying— but they did not even give it a moment of consideration before the accusations against Kanye continued.

What do the Scriptures say about laying accusations against each other?

“This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” -2 Corinthians 13:1.

Paul is deriving this from Deuteronomy 19. This is our standard of witness. If you want to level an allegation of sin against a brother or sister, there is to be two to three lines of independent witness. Sharing abstract theories and spewing unfounded accusations is not using discernment, nor is it even remotely biblical. This is not independent witness. At best, conspiracy theories specifically about Kanye West’s conversion are a form of worldly eisegesis, reading and imputing something into a situation that simply is not there. Jesus is King was trending worldwide and was displayed in Times Square for millions to see and yet this was a part of some big conspiracy orchestrated by Satan to get people to proclaim Jesus is King? Come on. Use some logical thinking, brothers and sisters.

I believe we are honestly seeing the heart condition of many professing Christians amongst us. I believe what we are seeing on social media is revealing what was already there: a cold heart that has forgotten what Christ saved them from. I do not have an issue with people wanting to test all things, but I do have an issue with prideful hearts suggesting Kanye’s profession of faith is fake or a publicity stunt. I have a problem with people tearing Kanye down and bringing up the sins of his past. Can you imagine what would have happened to you if a Christian did that to you when you were first saved? How broken would you have felt? Alone? Devastated?

Anyone reading this knows that you are the worst sinner you know. I will testify to that before Christ myself. I am the worst sinner that I know, (the chief of sinners, as Paul stated.) And He still saved me. If God can save me, then He can save anyone He so chooses to save. For that, I am grateful. I am grateful that there is nothing in me that can save me. This is why I have assurance in my salvation. It’s not because I saved myself, it’s because God saved me. And I know that nothing can snatch me from His hand (John 10:29).

Kanye is a new believer and I do not expect Kanye to have everything correct right now and neither should you. Growing in knowledge, wisdom, and sanctification is a lifelong process. I am not going to nitpick Kanye’s sanctification. Now is not the time for that. How many of you embraced heresy or deception upon your conversation? I know I did. How many of you held to doctrines in the past that you no longer embrace? I can name you many doctrines that I used to hold to that I now categorically reject.

Brothers and sisters, give Kanye some grace. Let him grow. Fruit does not grow on a tree the same day the seeds are planted. If you want to see a new plant grow, you give it water and sunshine. You do not trample on it and call it a fake when it does not look like what you expect. You did not plant the seeds in Kanye. You were not a part of the watering or nurturing of Kanye. But you could be. Stop trying to uproot him. Stop rambling about conspiracy theories. Stop holding him to a standard that no Christian held you to upon your conversion. I am okay with you remaining skeptical, or wanting to wait a little longer, but please stop tearing him down. Pray for him. Do you act this way when someone you know comes to faith in Christ? I would certainly hope not. If you do not have anything good to say, pray for him instead of tearing him down. Kanye may not see it, but others will.

We need to remember where we came from. We need to remember we were once dead in our trespasses and sins, and Christ made us alive! I believe a lot of us have forgotten that. Pride is a destructive sin that puffs up our ego and tramples anyone that gets in our way. The attitude I am seeing reminds me of the pharisee in Luke 18: 10-14.

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

I will end with this from Kanye’s song:  “Hands On.”

“Told God last time on life

Told the devil that I’m going on a strike

Told the devil when I see him, on sight

I’ve been working for you my whole life

Told the devil that I’m going on a strike

I’ve been working for you my whole life

Nothing worse than a hypocrite

Change, he ain’t really different

He ain’t even try to get permission

Ask for advice and they dissed him

Said I’m finna do a gospel album

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Feelin’ like nobody love me

Told people God was my mission

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it feel like nobody love me

Make you feel alone in the dark and you’ll never see the light

Man, you’re never seein’ home and you never see the domes

I can feel it when I write, point of livin’ in the right

If they only see the wrongs, never listen to the songs

Just to listen is a fight, but you booked me for the fight

It’s so hard to get along if they only see the slight

From the love of religion

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?

They’ll be the first one to judge me

Make it seem like nobody love me

I’m not tryna lead you to Visas

But if I try to lead you to Jesus

We get called halfway believers

Only halfway read Ephesians

Only if they knew what I knew, uh

I was never new ’til I knew of

True and living God, Yeshua

The true and living God

(Somebody pray for me)”

Pray for Kanye West.

Pray for his family. He has admitted that he has a burden for them.

Pray that millions hear the gospel through him.

Please do not be the “Christian” to fulfill the fear of Kanye’s heart: to be unloved, not believed and not embraced. Do not make him “walk this walk alone,” as he feared in “Closed on Sunday.”

I pray we see him in heaven one day. I hope you pray the same too.

If you do not, that reveals the depraved condition of your own heart— and in that case, you should pray for yourself.

 

Before the Sunrise

Majesty Sunrise began over a decade ago. It began with the teenager who spent many nights struggling with loneliness. I remember the tears from middle school and high school. I remember the pain. I remember all of it. I told very few people about this. In fact, you can count the people who knew about it on one hand and still have fingers left over. I kept it from almost everyone because I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Admittedly, this was very prideful, but I am glad I never sought help because I do not believe I would be who I am today if I did. While that seems crazy, allow me to explain.

The war with loneliness is exactly that; it is a war. It rages on constantly. From the moment your eyes wake up until the moment you fall asleep. Whether you are in a room full of family members or by yourself, that feeling is still pressing on your chest to the point to where you feel like you are suffocating. It eats at you day and night and there is never a moment to when it releases its grip on you.

You will have an opportunity to read all about this. I never held back from what it felt like when I wrote some of these poems. Some of my favorite poems detail the pain I experienced going back to those teenage years. Why are they favorites? They remind me of the work God has done. They remind me how He was faithful to me even when I was hurting the most.

I will be the first to admit that I pray for faith everyday and I will not pretend I have more faith than anyone else. My faith is still weak and pathetic compared to what it should be and there is even a poem on that. Nevertheless, even though this war has raged on for over a decade, I can tell you this: I trust God more today than I ever have before. One of the lies loneliness will influence you to believe is that you are all alone when, in fact, you are not. While I believed this lie more times than I want to count, I am glad to know that I was never alone. Did it feel that way? More times than I can count. Was it ever true? Not for a moment.

Even reminding myself of how faithful the Lord has been to me brings me to tears. I know that I can trust Him, which is what inspired me to write this:

Trust His Heart

________________

Even over this trial, You are sovereign
That is hard for me to grasp
Though I cannot understand why
Such a trial has been allowed to fester
I trust Your heart to afflict me

A trial that everyone knows
We all have experienced it at some point
Strikes the heart through the soul
The soul gripped with fear and trembling
An agonizing heartache that bleeds from within

Though you have allowed and ordained this
I want to do nothing but trust You
As I find the greatest peace in your sovereignty
That even with my bleeding heart
I know that I can trust Yours

I learned to trust God enough to afflict me. That was so hard for me and it will be until the day I die. But I know that I can trust God. He was faithful to me even though I gave Him every reason not to be. For the most part, throughout this war, it was just me and the Lord. And He brought me through it.

The ultimate purpose behind Majesty Sunrise is to glorify Christ and to show every person that you can trust Him, even in pain. I do not have all the answers and please do not look at me as an example of faith, as that is not my intention. If you look to anyone, look to Christ and keep your eyes fixed on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).

While my war with loneliness is a huge theme, I talk more about the gospel and Christ than anything else. There are 9 different themes in total, one of which is a special story within 6 poems that I am very excited to share. I will leave the reader to interpret that story for themselves. They are in order, so you will not have to decipher which poems are a part of the story. You will also see how I came up with Majesty Sunrise and what it means. To date, “Majesty Sunrise” is my absolute favorite poem.

Knowing Christ has been the greatest joy of my life and I would not change a moment of anything because my afflictions have made me the man I am today. I am not the man I want to be, but I thank God every day that I am not the man I used to be. My prayer is that you will get a copy and see the Lord Jesus glorified through every work. It has never been about the money for me (I wish it were possible to give you all a copy!), only the opportunity to tell the world about Christ and the work He has done in me. I want this to help someone who fights the same war I do.

This will not be the last book I write, either. God willing, I have something else up my sleeve and I have already begun working on it. This will not be in poetic form either. It may be a few years, but I have every intention of making it happen. I pray the Lord’s will done with this, but if He allows it, I believe you will be blessed.

God bless you all.

Get ready for Majesty Sunrise.

At Last: When Adam Saw Eve

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.”

-Genesis 2:18-23

 

The Lord God said: “It is not good for man to be alone…” Adam did not know it was not good to be alone, but God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. God brought Adam every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, but there was not a suitable helper found for Adam. And in one of the most incredible acts of God recorded in Scripture, God would fashion woman from man out of one of the man’s ribs. In his beautiful commentary on this account in Genesis, Matthew Henry says: “[Note] that the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” This is how men should treat their wives. It should also be considered that our wives are also our sisters in Christ. They are daughters of the King and we will be held responsible for how we lead them, how we treat them, and how we love them.

Notice the beautiful reaction from Adam when he saw his wife, the woman that was taken from his side. This may be explained by man’s reaction when he sees his wife walking down the aisle toward him with her earthly father accompanying her. What Adam is saying here, in modern terms: “At last! After being presented all the living creatures on the earth, I have found a helper suitable for me! Here is my beloved!” The woman God brought Adam completely blew him away. Meditating on this for a few moments after reading it brought me to tears. God provided Adam something he did not even know he needed. I believe God does this in our lives many times over. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us that God knows that we need the necessities of life and He freely and graciously provides these things, but He goes above and beyond in providing the things we do not know we need. While the command God gave Adam not to eat of the tree was a test of obedience, I also believe God wanted to show Adam that He did not need that knowledge of good and evil, that God Himself would be the One who would distinguish that for him. We see this concept repeated in Scripture numerous times where we see the faithfulness of the Lord towards those who put their trust in Him. Those who trust in the Lord shall not be shaken. See Psalm 16, 23, 27, 34, 62, 63, 91, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Also note, that God brought the woman to Adam. In the same way, if it so be His will, He will bring a husband/wife to you. Be patient. At the right moment, you too will have a reaction like this. God knew precisely how He would create the woman and that none of the animals would suffice for Adam’s helper. God truly did something extraordinary when He created the woman from the man’s rib. Actually signifying that these two become one flesh and that a husband and a wife become one flesh. God’s design of marriage in the garden between man and woman cannot be corrupted by the world. No matter our efforts, the decree of the Lord shall stand, that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Though for some it may not be the will of God for you to be married. While rare, celibacy is a gift from God as we see in 1 Corinthians 7. This gift allows for an advancement of the Gospel that may be more difficult for those who are married. Nevertheless, this does not absolve us all of our responsibility to preach the Gospel to all nations. Paul also notes that celibacy is not possible for all believers and he was not discouraging believers from marrying, but that there were advantages in ministry by remaining single.

We must also understand that if we do not find contentment in Christ outside of marriage, we will not find contentment in marriage. The reality is that Christ is enough. He always has been, and He always will be. Do we really believe Christ is enough? Do you really believe that Christ is enough? This is where we will determine how strong our faith is. How we answer this question will show us what is most important to us.

I will speak to my brothers now, both married and unmarried, as this will be pertinent to them. To my brothers who are married, understand what your wife is. She is a blessing to you. She is your helper. She is your best friend. She is/will be the mother of your children. What is yours is also now hers. Treat her the way she deserves to be treated. Treat her to date nights, flowers, or whatever brings her joy. Spontaneously go out of your way to do something special for her. Do not abuse or neglect her. Do not belittle her or talk down to her. At the end of the day, you must remember she is your sister in Christ too. Teach her the Word of the Lord and follow the commands given to you in Ephesians 5. To my brothers that are not married, keep your faith. Trust that God will bring you a wife, but even if He so chooses not to, remain faithful to Him and worship Him for all that He has done. Christ is more than enough for us, brothers. While it is not wrong to believe and have faith for a wife, trust that the Lord’s will shall be done in your life.  

God’s faithfulness exceeds the bounds of space. You will never find His faithfulness end. It is not good for man to be alone. What man did not even know that He needed, God brought to him. He fashioned her from the man and presented her to him. The man’s reaction was truly spectacular and again, is often the reaction every man has when he sees her on that special day. But even if God’s will be not for you to be married, you will still be a part of a marriage. As we, the church, shall be adjoined to our Husband, Christ.  This is the picture of marriage found in Scripture, as man and woman are to be brought together, so shall the church and Christ be brought together. This day is one I long for. Until that day, may we keep the faith and wait for our Husband to return for us.

12-Liners

The Lesser Light

_______________________

Seen or not seen depending on when you take a glance

Placed there for a purpose in the midst of the expanse

Called the lesser light, but governs the ocean tides

Never take for granted the services it provides

How often do we ignore those things we deem less

Even though they be crucial to our success

Those which we ignore and cast aside with insignificance

Are often the instruments of God’s most brilliant magnificence

So in those times when it cannot be seen

Remember it’s still there somewhere in between

Be patient and at the right moment in your sight

Your eyes shall again see the lesser light

 

The Blessings from the Storms

­­­­­­_____________________________________

The storm God brings carries a blessing in disguise

Not every blessing will be wrapped up like a pleasant surprise

Those that require endurance until the very end

Give us the strength to endure those storms again and again

For our ultimate reward is still yet to come

On that day when He ushers in His Kingdom

His face, our eyes finally shall see

And enjoying for all eternity

In that day, those storm’s value will be known

When your eyes on fixed on Him on the throne

Knowing that each and every storm was worth the pain

Truly, for us to live is Christ and to die is gain

 

Afflicting Grace

___________________

A temporary affliction

Brings necessary conviction

So the soul cries out for repentance

To be saved from an eternal death sentence

An awareness of the sin within

Causes a new battle to begin

Remember, you will not fight unarmed

Though your enemies are great, be not alarmed

The sword in your possession

Holds the key to your progression

Where eternal life is ultimately found

And where grace does most definitely abound

8-Liners

 

When God Speaks with Silence

___________

God’s faithfulness speaks loudest in the silence

Don’t mistake quietness for a lack of guidance

He brought you here without saying a word

Don’t mourn because it’s not what you preferred

God doesn’t have to give you an explanation

Just trust that He’s leading you to your destination

Even in the silence, His hand still remains true

Just as He promised, He will be faithful to you

 

Waiting on God

_______________________

While it’s true that patience is a virtue

That doesn’t mean the wait won’t hurt you

This is the perfect time to persevere

Instead of turning and running in fear

You know God is putting your faith to the test

Will you trust Him while He takes care of the rest?

Remain faithful to Him and endure to the end

For the reward that brings joy you will never comprehend

 

Pick Up the Sword

________________________

The Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword

Yet far too often, it lies on your shelf entirely ignored

So in the moment you find yourself facing temptation

You struggle immensely to get out of the situation

The desire to overcome is overcome by the desire to sin

Keeping you away from the Word and the truth within

So you keep falling and falling, over and over again

If you want to be free, pick up the sword and use it to conquer your sin

 

What Faith is All About

______________________________

Not a day goes by without this thought

A pursuit worth the war to be fought

Echoing silence from the dream pursued

Even though in the distance it can be viewed

A matter of time, but you know not when

Let this not discourage you from within

Take the next step and do not doubt

Pursue your dream and learn what faith is all about

 

The Shadow in the Distance

_______________________________

A sight beheld from the perspective on high

Seen uninhibited with the naked eye

Even through the darkness that did appear

There remains nothing left for me to fear

God’s faithfulness still shines just as bright

Casting the shadow even in the night

Showing my future be written by His hand

And nothing can change what the Lord did command

 

Just Let Go

____________________________

The past that holds you down in despair

Always on your mind in consistent warfare

Even though you hear that forgiveness reigns true

The guilt of that sin still finds its way to you

When Christ hung on that cross, He bore all of your guilt

And forgave every trespass by the precious blood He spilt

Therefore the guilt you bear has already been atoned for

Because of Christ, you do not have to hold on to that guilt anymore

 

The Struggle to Surrender

_______________________________

If I knew what You knew, I’d ask for what you have given

Not asking for some other fantasy to live in

Though I find it hard sometimes to be content

Being ungrateful is never my intent

At least I know this path for me is written

I don’t have to worry about where this or that will fit in

It really is a complete surrender to Your will

I wish my flesh wouldn’t struggle to trust You still

A Single Strike

I’m standing right in front of you
What’s seen can be faked
The inner struggle can be hidden
Like covering a scar with makeup
It’s still there, you just can’t tell
The smile of which you may know
Was only shown to hide the pain
It’s still there, you just can’t tell
Which is exactly my aim
While it seems like I have it under control
There’s a war raging on the inside
And you had no idea what was happening

This is far too difficult for me
Retreating entertained me more than once
Strategy needed changing or I would lose
It’s easier just to back away, though
My defeat was imminent
Approaching me in the distance
If I ran away, perhaps I could delay it
Either way, so soon would I be consumed
And there was nothing I could do to stop it

What a fool I was to think I could win this alone
Pride wanted me to believe I could
That lie is the reason I am about to lose
Every moment the enemy gets closer
If I have any chance to survive this
My only hope is to cry out for help
Somehow…I know I need help
I don’t have to do this alone
I never realized this before
Something is different

I know of a name that I can call upon
Thinking that I knew Him before
He and He alone is my only hope
I never wanted to ask Him for anything
What He could do did not matter to me
I wanted the glory for winning this battle
That pride caused me to be slaughtered
Even though this cry for help comes late
I hope it’s not too late to save me from this

As I watched them grow closer to me
The overwhelming presence of my enemy
Knocked me to my knees
Leaving me in perfect position to pray
Jesus Christ, please save me
Before I am completely destroyed
I am helpless
I cannot live without You
Save me, Jesus

He did; He saved me
In that moment, when I was defenseless
In complete and total spiritual bankruptcy
He snatched me from the enemy’s hand
Just as I was about to be overtaken
He took away the power of darkness
That soon would have obliterated my soul

Like dust they vanished before my eyes
Carried away by the wind
For the first time in my life: peace
Now I be overwhelmed by something new
No longer by sin nor my enemies
But by the grace and mercy of God
Who saved me from certain death

When I take time to ponder the thought
Of how He totally erased my enemies
With a single strike, a single strike
The supremacy of this Christ does strike fear
That I would have dared to sin against Him
Yet have lived in that sin willingly
Choosing the sin over the Savior
This no longer shall be my walk
I’m standing here right in front of you
A former slave to sin
Now free

Seeking sympathy is not my aim
Which is why you knew not of the war
Precisely what I was hoping to accomplish
Now, I realize the foolishness of my pride
Wars are more easily won with allies
Brothers and sisters who will stand alongside
On the front lines together, hand in hand
Helping each other fight the wars we have
But even I chose to go in alone
And it nearly destroyed me

This is my story
Fight the good fight
But don’t make my mistakes
Cry out for help whenever you need it
Swallow the pride that has bound your soul
Confess your helplessness to Christ
And He will come down and save you
Destroying your enemies with a single strike
Their existence be but a memory
Cry out to the Lord
He will save you

The Calm After the Storm

| “After a storm comes a calm.” -Matthew Henry |

             Some time ago, I stumbled upon this quote from Matthew Henry. While he states nothing here that we are unaware of, what he speaks of is something we need to ponder more. The first thing we all notice is the storm. Quite frankly, it is impossible not to notice a storm when it comes through our lives. With violence and chaos, the storm impedes on our daily lives and causes havoc. It is more than just rain, but the wind that howls causes the rain to sting our flesh. The lightning strikes fear into our eyes and the thunder roars menacingly into our hearts. Before you know it, the storm has engulfed your life and it seems as if peace was carried away by the gusts that took your hope. The storm is here, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. The storm has made its presence known and felt. What will you do? While it is difficult to see the storm this way, understand that this is not necessarily a punishment. Not only is God the author of the storm, not only does He control the rain, the wind, the thunder and lightning, but He is going to stand by you in the storm He created. The storm is subject to Him and it only has as much power as He allows. He does not always calm the storm as quickly as we may desire, but He will always stand by your side from the moment the first raindrop hits the dirt.

 

The storm is always difficult to endure. By no means will I attempt to understate the realities of enduring the trials and afflictions brought by the storm, but I will state that it is possible to stand firm. The only way to endure is through prayer and faith. Pray that God will deliver you and believe that He will. Spend time in the Word, and if the pain from the storm causes your tears to stain the pages, know that He distinguishes the tears from the rain, and He holds your tears close to His heart. He is not oblivious to what you are about to have to fight through either, which is why He will be your source of everything you need. Be prepared to fight and endure, and if the storm knocks you to your knees, realize that you are in perfect position to pray. And pray you should, without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Pray for strength, pray for courage, pray for hope, pray for peace, pray for discipline, pray for faith, pray for mercy, pray for grace, pray for God to use this storm to glorify Himself. Pray that you will understand the purpose behind the storm and embrace it as grace instead of punishment.

 

The calm after the storm has more importance than we realize. The calm is not just a time to recover, but a time of reflection. Reflect on the events of the past season. What exactly did God just bring you through? Glance into the distance and see the remnants of the storm. Take a deep breath and smell the rain that you withstood. God is just as much the author of the storm as He is the author of the endurance He gave you to weather it. Take time, as much time as you need to reflect on how God just gave you everything you need to endure the storm that you thought could destroy you. Reflect on how you felt when the storm first appeared. Do you remember the chaos that surrounded you? Do you remember the fear that ate away at your heart when you saw the storm? This happened because you took your eyes off Christ. The peace and hope you thought you had was taken away by the wind because any hope and peace outside of Christ withers away and is tossed aside at the moment of affliction. Despite idolatry, God displayed His grace and mercy to you by creating the storm that took that sin away from you. This act of grace cannot be overstated! God allowed the storm because He knew that your attention and affections were elsewhere, and while He is a jealous God, He does not want you to place your affections anywhere else because He knows that road leads to eternal destruction. God will often bring in a storm to wipe the foundations clean because He is trying to get your attention. If you replaced your foundation that was built on Christ with anything else, your foundation will crumble and destroyed. This may be the case for some of us, where we built a foundation of idolatry and sin. And despite this, God still held us together during the storm because of His grace. The ultimate purpose of the storm is not to punish you, but to show you grace. Think about it, if He really wanted to punish you, He would not allow the storm in the first place. He would just let you continue in your sin.

 

This season of reflection may last longer than the storm itself, but this is also the season where the most growth happens. Do not waste this season of your life and do not use it as a time to pity yourself. Get back on your feet and understand that God was sovereign over every drop of rain, over every flash of lightning, and over every gust of wind that carried the roars of the echoing thunder. Rejoice knowing that He was in absolute control. Ultimately, you cannot forget the lessons behind the storm. Use what you learned and apply it everyday for the rest of your life. Everyone of us will go through a different storm and we will have different lessons to learn, but the most important lesson to remember is that He who caused the storm stands with you during the storm and gives you everything you need to endure it. And now, you have true hope and peace because you found them in Christ. This hope and peace does not flee at times of trouble, instead it embraces them times knowing that God is about to display His faithfulness yet again. We do not fear because we know our God is truly a faithful God even when we give Him every reason not to be. Our unfaithfulness to Him has never determined His faithfulness to us. He was faithful before the storm, He was faithful during the storm, and He will remain faithful after the storm.

 

When God Speaks with Silence

When God Speaks with Silence

God’s faithfulness speaks loudest in the silence
Don’t mistake quietness for a lack of guidance
He brought you here without saying a word
Don’t mourn because it’s not what you preferred
God doesn’t have to give you an explanation
Just trust that He’s leading you to your destination
Even in the silence, His hand still remains true
Just as He promised, He will be faithful to you

          A few weeks ago, I began to write poetry with fewer words. When God Speaks with Silence was my first attempt at this. Like all my poems, there is one obvious meaning and there is one hidden meaning. If you reflect on what I write, you may be able to interpret the second meaning. For example, the obvious purpose behind this poem is to remind us that God often speaks with silence. Too often, we believe that His silence is a sign of ignoring our prayer or our cry for help. This is never the case. John Piper famously said that God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of about 3 of them. At every moment of your existence and even before you were even dreamt of by your parents, God was working on your behalf. Each breath you take, and every heartbeat is a sign that God is actively working in your life. When I say God speaks with silence, this is just one way I am referring to. Think of the events of today. God provided you with at least two meals so far, perhaps even three, with more to come, Lord willing. You have a roof over your head right now, access to technology that allows you to read these words from anywhere in the world, and more than likely a job that allowed you to purchase these things. All these things were given to you purely by grace and He did that without saying a word. He just provided because He is good. I certainly know  that I am the sinner of sinners and I do not deserve anything He gave me. Despite that, I still woke up this morning because He chose to wake me up this morning. And you know what? You woke up this morning too. None of us deserved to wake up today. Life today was not promised, and if we are honest with ourselves, He should have killed us yesterday. He would have been just in doing so too. Never forsake or overlook the “lesser things,” but oh how often we make this mistake. Even if today turned out to be the worst day of your life, you still made it through, right? After all, you found yourself on this blog reading what God wanted you to read. You are still alive; therefore He is still working on your behalf!

 

The second meaning, which you may have been able to interpret, is this: be patient while God works. Just as God does not owe you an explanation for the events of your life, He does not owe you a swift response to your prayer (or even a yes for that matter). His display of faithfulness may take time to reach its perfect result. Will you be patient and wait on Him while He is working on your behalf? During my brief life on this earth, I have seen that God often has us wait on many things because He wants us to appreciate what we are asking for in the time we finally receive it, that is, if we receive it at all. Nevertheless, waiting should be expected of Christians. This is a part of our daily walk with Christ. Matthew Henry stated that “those who look for great things from God must be content to wait for them; God’s time is the best time.”

And what are Christians around the world all waiting for? We are waiting for Christ’s glorious return to earth! Come soon, Lord Jesus!  Ponder these verses on waiting on God:

Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.            -Psalm 27:14

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. -Psalm 40:1-2

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord. More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. -Psalm 130:5-6

God is going to be faithful to you, even if what you are waiting for does not transpire in the way you expected. In fact, more often than not, God’s faithfulness exceeds what you were even asking for in the first place. But even if it does not, if God answers your prayer and breaks your heart in the process, will you still trust Him? There is not a single molecule in this universe that so much as moves without God’s authorization. That is what sovereignty looks like. The same God who authorizes the movement of every single molecule and particle in this vast universe that exceeds human comprehension is working at this very moment on your behalf. If you do not believe me, remember that next time you take a breath. You will have to wait on God even when He is speaking with silence. This was the whole point of my poem. We live in a culture that demands answers loud and quick. As a result of this, we have come to expect God to answer us in this same fashion. When He does not, we lose faith and blame Him for everything. Instead of complaining, ask God to sustain you while you wait. Ask God to grow you while you wait. Ask God for patience and endurance. Just as Christ did in the garden, pray that His will and not yours be done. Pray that God brings things to pass in His perfect timing, not your own.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 4:6-7

God made many of His people wait for many different things. Noah waited. Abraham waited. Isaac waited. Jacob waited. Joseph waited. The Israelites waited. And we have just approached the end of Genesis and I do not even think I covered everyone who had to wait. Waiting on God tests our faith in God. Waiting on God requires supernatural patience and endurance. He who is making you wait will give you the strength and the patience to wait. Trust His heart. This is all working for your good. Even if it hurts right now, God is still with you and He is still carrying you. God is still leading you and God is still being faithful to you…even in the silence.

The Desert

It represents what we do not know and what we do not see

A calling so difficult to follow, even hearing who gave the decree

Out of the comfort zone where we rest in peace

Into the barren wilderness, so that our faith may increase

When we are called into the desert

We are not promised that the steps will not hurt

 

Here, we often grow weary with unquenchable thirst

So that when we find ourselves at our worst

We realize our total dependence upon Christ

The One for whom the Father sacrificed

In order that we may be made right with the Lord

Giving us something to keep our eyes fixed toward

 

Our sight often be so narrow and dim, we care not to even glance

While He knows full well of His intention for this circumstance

He simply calls us to trust Him further than He can be seen

Never out of spite or in an attempt to demean

This call is for our own benefit and maturation

Ultimately helping us reach our final destination

 

In the desert, never cease your lips from praise

For while you did not know if He would meet you there

Every step you took, He was there with you always

And while it did so seem that this task you could not bear

It was He that have you the strength to keep going

Even the wasteland could not stop you from growing

 

Which is precisely why He called you here in the first place

Even though it has been hard, you were given abundant grace

Not only to make it in the desert, but to come out

With faith that will carry you for when you doubt

And when those times come, remember God in the wild

Who took you where your faith could grow, bringing you back reconciled

 

The desert is not always the worst place to find yourself

God may call you here to show you more of Himself

Where you depend on Him like never before

And even though you may not know what He has in store

Not only will He meet you where He calls you

You can be assured that He will carry you all the way through