Writing a Poem

The blinds keep out the light of midmorning:
The yellow sun outside is smiling,
But I am oblivious to its felicity.

I work inside a narrow space
That’s full of books and colored pens.
The artificial light’s my calibrated sun:
Neither dim nor bright – just right.

A few words scribbled on my pad –
The fruit of long reflection.
A sigh escapes from me. How dismal
is the progress – the wrong word!

My eyes stare at my blank achievement;
The sorry etchings do not count.
I tear the paper free and crumple it
And open up the blinds.

Copyright Dennis Cortes 2021

(Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash)

Adieu!

I have to leave you, lyric Muse;
I have no time for everything.
I wish all talents I could fuse:
Not only write, but play and sing.

But time is finite; so am I.
The mastery that I pursue
requires a dedicated eye.
Thus, lyric Muse, I bid adieu!

Copyright Dennis M. Cortes 2021

Pursuing Christlikeness (part 2)

In a previous post, I pointed out that Christlikeness is something that awaits us in the future, namely, glorification, i.e., having our bodies transformed to be like Jesus Christ’s glorified body. And we have to pursue this goal primarily in terms of remaining faithful to the end.

Romans 8:29-30 ESV

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Philippians 3:10-14 ESV

that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [11] that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. [12] Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. [13] Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

More

Standing Firm in the Lord

Phil. 3:17-4:1

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according tothe example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord JesusChrist, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the powerthat enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

This is part of a series of sermons on Philippians. My task is that outlined in Neh. 8:8.

Nehemiah 8:8 ESV

They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

I’d like to answer three questions in relation to our text: 

  • What does it mean to stand firm in the Lord? 
  • Why should we stand firm in the Lord? and 
  • How do we stand firm in the Lord? 

More

Pursuing Christlikeness (part 1)

Yesterday, we learned that to be conformed to Christ’s image means firstly that our bodies will someday be transformed to be like his glorious body. It’s equivalent therefore to “attaining the resurrection from the dead” which Paul talks about in Philippians chapter 3.

Philippians 3:12-16 ESV

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. [13] Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. [16] Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

More

Christlikeness

I listened to a sermon on Christlikeness today and afterwards felt the urge to reflect more on the topic and write down my thoughts.

First, there is no doubt that Christlikeness is God’s goal for us; it is that to which he has predestined us.

Romans 8:29 KJV

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

More

Bewitched!

“Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3 NRSV)

INTRODUCTION

Read Galatians 3:1-5.

Why do people not believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone in Christ? One reason is because Satan has bewitched them (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

However, some Christians who believe that God graciously accepts them by virtue of what Christ did for them and not because they deserve to be so accepted on the basis of their performance, think that maintaining that acceptance is something they should earn by their efforts. They find it hard to believe that from first to last God accepts them by grace through faith in Christ alone and not by works.

More

Preserving the Gospel

“And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” (Galatians 2:4, 5 NKJV)

INTRODUCTION

Read Galatians 2:1-14.

This was a crucial time in the life of the early church. The way of salvation was at stake. Would the gospel remain pure or would it be polluted? We owe Paul a great debt of gratitude for his efforts in preserving the gospel.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. If it were to be distorted (such as the teaching which says that salvation is earned by our performance and is not a free gift of grace received by faith), the result will be people will be deprived of the only way to be saved.

More

Here I Stand

One of my favorite hobbies is writing songs. Here’s a song where I’ve combined a lot of things I’m interested in: theology, music, poetry, preaching. It’s actually a sermon in the form of a song on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The title is taken from Roland Bainton’s Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther – a book which I really enjoyed reading. I do hope many will be blessed by the message of this song.

Ravings of a Lesser God

“Rebellious, sinful man no longer bows his knees to God, he has set himself up as a god. And each one becomes a god, and so there is discord and disunity, rivalry and strife.” (D. M. Lloyd Jones, Christian Unity, p. 129)

How is it with me?

I am a world in the world;
I am the center of my cosmos.
Do not mistake this for the ravings of a madman.
It is not madness you hear,
But the selfishness of a heart
Drowning in a sea of desires.

But that is perfectly legitimate –
Is it not?
To love one’s self above all else,
To be sovereign and lord
In a world of my own making,
To be god in my own mind.

But why be god in my own mind merely?
Why not be god in the real world too?
Simply because the real world
Is a stubborn place filled with stubborn people:

Everyone else wants to be god!

How stupid can they be!
Can’t they see there can be room only for one god?

I should be loved!
I should be worshipped!
I should be cared for
And magnificently pampered!
But no; I have been unjustly deprived
Of all that should be mine!

Well then, the real world
Is a hard place to live in.
But no matter:
I could always live in the recesses of my own mind.

Call it insanity if you wish.
I would rather be insane and divine,
I would rather be happy in fantasy,
Than bewildered and perplexed
In the real world.

Copyright 2020. Dennis M. Cortes

(Photo by Armin Lotfi on Unsplash)