Anthology: Higher Ground

“He Has Set My Feet on High Places”

The best  you can do for others is to keep near the Flame of God; 
yea, not near it, but in it. 

Thou, Flame of Love

 Surrendering all into the kiln,
Take all desire and stubborn will,
All friends whom my devotions share,
All else than You, take every care

Burn in me, through me, singe the dross
And purify 'til all is loss;
Turn white the heat and burn still more,
Fire me with the love You bore

'Til, white-hot, others feel the heat,
Draw in close and take a seat,
Warm their winter-bitten souls
By radiated Love—come, stoke the coals!

As kindling is unto the fire,
Lord, make Your flames leap higher, higher!
I, nothing but your kindling be;
O Flame of Love, burn, Thou, in me.
             -- January 22, 2004

"Thy kiss of grace meets lips of stone
and we admit Thy love at last
to hearts that have none of their own."
-- Robert McColl Adams

Thy Kiss of Grace

Singing songs of love to Jesus,
I sing what I do not know.
My love is selfish (and grateful),
Petitionary (and yet demanding),
Inconsistent, unceasing,
Detached and then leaping into
White flames of holy desire—
Soaring to dimensions unknown,
Glimpsing the parted veil—
And still, it is not love.
It is but a jumbled mixture of devotion and ritual,
Adulterous arms dropm from wanting embrace.

Is this why, in that great mystery of One Flesh,
The Bride must be taught to love?
The lesson, "If you love me, you will obey me"
Is given to the Bride, 
Commanding respect and honor,
Awaiting love,
He knows our flesh, that it is dust—
Only He loves. 

Yet respec t and obedience become as love to Him,
Not my passion, but my patience—
Patience to trust Him,
To submit myself to His moving
In me and through me.
It is His Passion that consumes and completes
That which I've committed unto Him against that Day—
One Flesh,
One Spirit. 

It is then that I know love—
God's love released in me, through me,
Passion ignites on the other side 
Of obedience.
I am caught up in His love,
Not my own.
The two become One and the Source of the flow
Spills and splashes in beautiful music
To the ears of those who desire
To know it, too. 
I sing of love, yes! 
I sing of Him. 
          July 2, 2003


"Resolutely, I resign
All my will and hold to Thine,
I will not turn, nor doubt, nor fear;
How can I when I feel you near?"

This was said in light of day
When in brightness I would pray,
But dark of evening soon draws near,
Resolve then shrinks from faith to fear.

"Oh, yes, He's near, but He is  God!
Can I avoid the path He trod?"
When burdened with my weight of sin,
All grief and anguish enter in.

"Should I suppose no pain to bear
As others 'round have had their share?
Can't God remove His staying Hand
And mill me fine as powdered sand?"

Doubt creeps in with sudden cold
As though no promise e'er was told.
Gone is the cheer of godly verse
As I sink down from doubt to worse.

My blood has turned to chilling ice,
My knees grow weak as fear's cold price,
"Where is the hope? Is it grounded still?
Can hope stand firm through terror shrill?"

The words that once brought highest joy
Fall clanging like a useless toy;
"My God! I know there still must be
Some word of hope from you to me.

"Can promise and reality
Join hand in hand, from fear set free?
From grip of fear and death of doubt,
Will you drive taunts and demons out?"

And He responding to my quest
Reminds me, "This is not your rest.
I know the path I've set for you,
I know because I walked there too. 

"Tomorrow's mine, not yours, to know;
Today is all you have to go.
One step in Joy, the other pain;
But not one step without Love's gain.

"That promised Day I'll say, 'Well done,
Thou good and faithful, blessed one.'
I'll lift you high, from care release
And answer grief with love and peace."
          -- Spring/Summer 2004

To A.C.

I never got to meet you,
But I know you.
Born of loving parents in Millisle,
Touched by God beside a fountain,
His touch reached deep into the secret places,
You didn't understand how deeply at first;
All you knew was that you had to obey,
Factory girls called "shawlies" and
A lonely, godly old man were the benefactors
Of God's grace through you.
But that was not your rest.

High up in oriental gardens,
You heard His voice
And so did they.
Still heeding whispered words you didn't want to hear,
"This is not your rest,"
You journeyed to arid plains
Swept by gentle breezes
Secreting lotus buds
Rare jewels for His crown to win and to keep.
Life surged within and joy spilled over
Yet you wept and prayed blood-tears with Him
In another Garden for His own.

I hear your voice echo through the years
Singing me up to the heights with joyful song
I hear and your voice resounds within me
Strangely, for I cannot attain the heights you kept;
And still, I know you.
How do I know you? 
Your call urges me onward
As if I were one of your flowers plucked
From death's iron grip 
And you are calling to me,
"I'll be with you at the summit,
If only you'll keep climbing 
And keep looking up,
You will find your rest." 
I look up and find Him there.
Now I know how I know you.
               — August 17, 2004.    *to Amy Carmichael
In This Quiet Hour

In This Quiet Hour

In this quiet hour I come;
The world is asleep as I pray.
As the dew drops from the morning rose,
My defenses all fall away. 

I bow my head and I'm revealed;
My burdened spirit beat down.
I fall to my knees at the throne of the King
As I enter on holy ground.

"Have mercy on me, O my Lord,
For I cannot lift my head!
I've failed you and all of my power is gone,
Lord, I need Your power instead!"

My God is faithful to hear my prayer;
My King reaches down His scarred hand,
And as praises fall from my trembling lips,
With His help, I am able to stand.


Unrest, Questioning
Silence, Sovereignty, Repentence
Peace, Worship
—Jan 7, 2000

The Bridegroom Cometh!

Cresting edges of the night's black,
Light dispels all sorrow, pain;
Burning the chill that seized the darkness,
Drying the teardrops of night's rain.

Palest reaches of the radiance
Turn the blackness into blue;
Waking all the hope of my heart,
Singing now that night is through.

White-hot, now the globe arises,
Focused light beams deep within.
Shadows, fears, that taunt like cowards
Fade as though they'd never been.

Sovereign of the skies, He ruleth,
Truth that sets the captives free,
Mercy on a world that groaneth,
Gracious love poured out on me.

I am shee who kept the night watch,
Cried repentent tears, forlorn;
This is He who comes to cheer me,
Brilling Light of hope reborn.

Still, He rises—Come, my Savior!
Hear the birds sing, "All is well!"
Brighter, higher, Hope arises
Leaving death an empty shell.

Did He not in love foretell it?
Christian, see Hope draweth nigh!
Behold Him now, your Bridgroom cometh
Breaking forth in eastern sky!
              —May 8, 2004

Note: The following scriptures go with the above poem:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, REVIVING THE SOUL…giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes…Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me…May the words ofmy mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” — Psalm 19

Also, Psalm 20:7-9
Psalm 22—"My God, My God..." v.1 -- "It is finished" v.31
Revelation 1:16
2 Samuel 22:29,30—"You are my Lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.  
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."
2 Samuel 23:4—"he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth."
Isaiah 14:12
Lamentations 3:23—"His mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness."
Revelation 21:22-25—" more night..."
Revelation 22:12-16—"Behold, I am coming soon!....I, bright and Morning Star."

"Amen, Come, Lord Jesus,
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen."
Revelation 22:20-21

Morning Prayer

Thank You for the sunrise cheering
Thank You for the hope You give
Thank You for Your Sovereign ruling
Rising so that I may live.

Thank You that You see my loved ones,
However far they be from me,
Thank You that, in love, You guide them
They are never far from Thee.

Thank You that there is no darkness—
Not a shadow—in your grace,
Thank You that no hope is foolish
That stands bare before Your face.
               —May 8, 2004


And I, yes, I who forgot you today
Lie in my bed with muddled head
Trying to regain what distractions lost,
Mists of silence move mysteriously
Over the gaping pain
Groping for words
Caling out their name
But only their name is out
Before another mist shadows the whole
And the names are lost
The names are lost.

O, God, you know my sin
Can any thought of others enter in
When all is in disarray
Like my children's rooms at end of day?
So many, so much in need of You.

Jesus, Jesus
The only Name I plead
Clear my heart and mind
Burn the mists with cleansing beam
Consecrate me to Yourself again
So that I can enter in
And find audience for these
Whose names I barely name,
O, Jesus, You know—
They are not lost to You.
               —June 13, 2005. 

Animas Me

Take from me all of my guilt and my shame
     Fill with your mercy and love,
Take my disgrace, Jesus, take all my blame
     I need your mercy and love

Take from me all of the idols I've loved
     Burn them with your cleansing fire,
There is none else but You, You are all Life
     Consume me, my only Desire,
     Jesus, You are my only Desire.

Animate me, move me body and soul,
     All that you will, let me do
May my eyes be Your eyes, may my words be Your words,
     Move me, Lord, let my life praise You,
     Move me, Lord, let my life praise You.

Take from me those thoughts that take me from You
     Cleanse my mind, Precious Word
Speak to me wisdom, O Beautiful Truth
     Teach me, O Master of Love

All of my sorrows, joys, all that I feel
      Take these, my body, my will
Burn them in Your holy flames, purify
       Make them Yours, holier still,
       Make me Yours, holier still.  

Animate me, move me body and soul
      Let a darkened world see none but You,
May Your heart be my heart, may my hands be Your hands,
      Move me, Lord, so their lives praise You,
      Move us, Lord, let our lives praise You. 
              —February 6, 2008.