Breathlessly Miskeyed

Breathlessly Miskeyed

Oh when a thousand tongues
sing praises
to an unbefitting god,
then the world turns
upside down,
flips over,
plunges into depths
under violent waves,
no breath
for shriveled lungs
till blue meets blue
in direful depths,
for a gasp
of air,
for life,
for truth.

© 2012  by D. G. V.

* photo: Swan Underwater by Viktor Lyagushkin @flickr

God is Light

“This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5

God has many facets to His character, but the Apostle John’s proposition is that we must start with the holiness of God: “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”  In other words, if we are to grasp an understanding of the Creator, we must not start with His power, or His greatness, or even with the fact that God is love, even though all of these traits are stupendous truths in and of themselves.

Why must we start with the holiness of God rather than with the love of God?

It is by considering His holiness that we can understand God’s plan of salvation for mankind, a strategy achieved only through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary.  If God’s attributes were limited to love, mercy and compassion, then the cross would have been inconsequential because all God had to do was to forgive our sins.  But the whole message of Christianity is that the cross is vital and central, and apart from Christ’s sacrifice, our sins could not be forgiven, and the deep chasm would still persist between our sinful human nature and God’s absolute and perfect holiness.

Why was Christ’s death on the cross absolutely essential?  Because God is light, He is just and righteous, with such purity that He cannot behold and look upon iniquity. (Habakkuk 1:13). “It is the holiness of God that demands the cross, so without starting with holiness, there is no meaning in the cross.” 1

If we start with the holiness of God, we realize that Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection had to take place.  And we recognize that fellowship with God, communion with Light, is only made possible in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, Who has reconciled us to the Father by His great sacrifice on the cross.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Safe in the World: The Assurance of Our Salvation”, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988,  p. 108

*** References:

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Safe in the World: The Assurance of Our Salvation”, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, pp. 99-110.

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, “The Holiness of God”,

*** Photography: The Hand of God by Rich Goldman

How the Christian Glorifies Christ

“… and I am glorified in them.”  John 17:10

As God sent His Son into the world to glorify Him, we who believe in the Son are given the sublime privilege and responsibility to glorify Christ in our lives.  How do we accomplish this? Let us consider the progression of ways wherein we glorify our Lord.

First, we do so by believing in Him. The Pharisees did not believe in Christ. They dismissed Him as just a “Carpenter from Nazareth”,  the son of Joseph and Mary.  And the world to this day does not know Who Christ is and hence they disregard  Him.  To acknowledge Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God Who came into this world is to give Him glory.

Second, it is to apprehend why He came and what He has done while He lived on earth.  It is to be persuaded that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s only way of salvation, that through Him we are brought back into right standing with God, into joyful fellowship with the Father.

Third, to glorify Christ is to know the meaning of the cross: that by Christ’s death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven and we become children of God.  And because of what Christ has done, He is everything to us.  We put an end to our self-reliance and realize that what we have become as a result of His sacrifice is entirely by the grace of God.

Fourth, it follows that we glorify Christ by telling other people about Him, pointing them to His Person, proclaiming Him as the Son of God, and His great sacrifice to free us from the bondage of our sins.  The world delights in lauding and talking about people: sports heroes,  politicians, actors, and other interesting personalities.  The Christian is one who delights in talking about Christ and praising Him.

Fifth, we glorify Christ by being living proofs of His life in us.  We are to be such men and women that the moment others meet us, they think about Christ.  People took note of the apostles when they performed miracles and spoke in a manner inconsistent with the speech of ignorant fishermen: they came to the conclusion that the apostles had been with Jesus.  The test of the Christian is that he or she cannot be explained apart from Christ,  and by this, Christ is glorified.

Finally, we glorify Christ by being the manifestation of His power, having been separated from the world. It is only by the power of Christ that we can leave the mentality of the world, and we become different.  The Christian is a person who strikes others as somebody who is distinct, somebody peculiar, not possessing the self-pride and self-assertion that the world applauds as strength; one who belongs to the lowly and humble Christ.  And he is spiritually alive, interested in spiritual things, making the affairs of the soul the top priority in his life and thinking.

As Christians we have been given a new life and a new understanding, a new outlook upon everything that faces us.  To the extent that we reflect this to the outside world, we glorify the Lord.

What a privilege and a great responsibility it is to be given this high calling, that Christ should be glorified in our lives.

*** Reference:  Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Safe in the World: The Assurance of Our Salvation”, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, pp. 79-92.

*** Photography by Artemis

A Childhood Memory of My Father


for my father — a childhood memory….

Late morning silhouette:
unwelcome shadows,
purple grey subtlety
suffocate the sun
I am befuddled by the silence,
absence of laughter,
ordinary talk,
the smile on my mother’s face —

Sunday respite away from home,
a town where my father was born, we would
spend hours at Aunt Andrea’s house
until the sunset bid farewell
and the gas lamps gave light along with fireflies
and the crickets chirped on.

I was a little child less than school age
in pigtails and petticoats
wondering where my father went that day
for I longed for his strong presence
amidst this baffling purple silhouette —

I crossed the pebbled country road,
climbed up a stunted hill
to Grandma’s house and I found
my father weeping,
hunched under a native fruit tree,
mournful violin strings uncontrollable,
relentless rivulets of tears cascade
for a brother to be buried,
at height of youth,
at a town feast the week before
a chef’s senseless blunder —

Wide brown eyes watched in wonder,
my little child’s heart cried at his distress and he
looked back and beheld his daughter,
his countenance contorted in grief softening,
and slowly the mournful music lulled
as he staggered to where I stood
and my father held my hand
and he and I chased the purple shadows out of the morning
as we walked down the hill
along with life and the sunlight.

© 2012 by D. G. Vachal, revised 2021

* photography by Аркадий Деев

Solomon in All His Glory

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.   Matthew 6:28-29 ESV

What about clothing? Jesus marvels at how we worry about outward appearances. He points to the lilies of the field and challenges the mind to consider their comeliness.  What you see in a lily is beauty in its entirety:  a flower with no added trappings to make it more beautiful than it already is.

The Lord plunges into the very depths of our understanding.  King Solomon’s silken robes, rings of gold, crowns of precious gems, and other glittering ornaments are, in our Lord’s appraisal, pathetically inferior compared to the splendor of God’s creation.

Our lives are as the lilies of the field; the fullness of real beauty emanates from within. Everything we reflect to the outside world are blossoms of growth from the innate potential that our Creator endowed upon each of us at birth.  As we cultivate the measure of faith, hope and love that we hold in our hearts,  no earthly adornment can augment the essence of loveliness that springs forth in our lives, a blessing to others,  to the glory of God.

***Photography: Yellow Lilies by Poppy