The Inversion – A Poem

God is nothing, they say
 Just imaginary games 
  Yet morality, they claim
    Forgetting their context
Ignoring histories flame
 Hanging by thin threads
  To ever-waning grace 
Blind to the inversion
 Holding conversions
  Creating diversions
   They know not their place 

Goodness without God
 Like moths to acrid flame
  Digging for diamond truths
   Yet never making gains
Ignoring perversions  
 Reality gone
  Almost without a trace
Lost in oblivion
 No equilibrium 
  Willful delirium
   From grace to disgrace

Philosophy flipped aside
 Lost on the rising tide
  Grasping for hope inside 
   But hope is not within
It rides like winter wind 
 From Heaven above
  Sometimes fire, sometimes rain
Holy convocations
 Sacred invocations
  Life reawakened 
   From death to God’s face

Emmaunel In a Manger

Heaven came down without a sound
  Into a lost world needing found
Majestic angels gathered round
  Shepherds bowed low onto the ground
Even as wise men sought the crown

Emmanuel in a manger
  A single ray of light shown down

The tyrant trembling at the news
  Assembled swords to slaughter Jews
Hues of red innocent blood oozed
  The baby king is dead he mused
Yet Christ lived on our sins to take

Emmanuel in a manger
  A single ray of light shown down

Heaven came down without a sound
  The miracle growing in a stable
God in the flesh came to save us
  A lamb slain from the beginning 
Glory to God in the highest

Emmanuel in a manger
  A single ray of light shown down

The Ghosts of Tomorrow – A Poem

They twist and turn in the lamplights glow
  Whether friend or foe we do not know
    Tomorrow's ghosts above and below
      They are tellers of yesterday's truths

The woven tales are not of their making
  The chains they clutch hellishly shaking
    With fingers pointed and backs aching
      They are tellers of yesterday's truths

Consequences near or far removed
  Only delayed by time unreproved
    Their only intent is life improved
      They are tellers of yesterday's truths

Can I deter my own convictions
  Interfere with mystic magicians
    Paving way for faulty suspicians
      For the tellers of yesterday's truths

Holding onto hope like slippery pearls
  My tenderized heartache twists and twirls
    Fading memories chasing unkept trails
      From the tellers of yesterday's truths

This transformation isn't complete
  Little changes building faith so sweet
    Ground thumping with irregular beats
      For the tellers of yesterday's truths

May tomorrow's ghosts see helpless grace
  Arrogance gone like a broken vase
    Reckless demons falling out of place
      For the tellers of yesterday's truths

The Grace of Falling Leaves – A Poem

Those that run with swifter feet.
Know not the grace of falling leaves.   
Nor the magic of treasures deep.   
For they move too fast and do not see.   

Those they love and things they need.   
They make their lists and miss the trees.   
The mystics mourn for living peace.   
Yet moments pass, and no one sees.   

Deeper wells of hidden gems.   
Forgetting depths of secret hymns.   
Humming unheard invocations.   
They won’t recall, and no one listens.   

Those that run with swifter feet.
Might well find grace in slowing pace.
For slow and steady wins the race. 
Avoiding dungeons, maintaining grace. 

The Gates of Hell – A Poem

I’ll take you to the gates of Hell 
I’ll show you what’s there
It’s a horrific, sadistic, gaudy affair
With twisted metals and steep swirling stairs

I’ll take you to the throne of Death
I’ll show you the way
It sits atop the fork of two great lakes
One called disunion, the other disgrace

I’ll take you to the bowels of Hades
I’ll show you who’s there
The liars, the lied-to, ordinary faces
With haunted red eyes and bent bloody feet

I’ll take you to the edge of Sorrow
I’ll show you the pain
The broken, intrepid, intricate traces
Longing to find relief yet complacent 

I’ll take you to the verge of Salvation
I’ll show you the plan
The death, the water, the rush of language 
Choice determines the end destination

Relearning Love – A Poem

I’ve had to learn,
Not every love comes with an expiration date,
Not every heart comes filled with unrecognized rage,
Not every kind word hides secrets full of hate,
And fate does not control what God creates.

If He is love
then love is good regardless of the pain. 
Perhaps the good is better 
once the hurt has filled our veins. 
Maybe love is worth more than we can explain. 
God gave us hearts that break. 
And grace to put them back together again.

I’m relearning love, and it’s better than it was 
Because love is more than fairy tales 
and pretty songs, beating hearts
simple thoughts.
It’s bigger than castles and kingdoms
demons and dreamers
roses and poems and old dusty speeches.

It’s stronger than iron
colder than frozen glass
and burns like the summer sun.
It’s laughter and tears, turmoil and fear. 
It’s incredibly happy and unbelievably sad. 
It’s anger and madness. 
It’s faithful and kind when things are bad. 
It’s tough in the struggle, a light in the dark. 
A whisper in the wind, a hand 
holding tight 
when the worst possible news steals your breath 
and holds it like a vice.
Love forgets to remember 
and remembers to forgive when it does. 
That’s the paradox of love.
It confronts and contends 
without controlling or pretending. 
It speaks up but never down.

But most of all, it casts out fear. It just throws it out.
It wrestles and fights and grabs it tight 
sometimes from morning to night
until finally, perfect light.
Suddenly, with flashes of godly light
love shines so bright
all traces of darkness vanish beneath its might. 
Finally, fear is forced back 
to Hell from whence it came.

A Universal Problem the Invasion of Ukraine Exposes

If you are blissfully unaware of the atrocities taking place in Ukraine at the hands of Russia’s totalitarian president, Vladimir Putin, it’s past time to start paying attention. Why? Well, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes would put it, “Something sinister is afoot.” Empires of evil are on the move. Or rather, they’ve always been on the move, but now they are out in the open. Even as I type these words, bombs are falling on innocent children, and bullets are raining down on civilians who once thought themselves insusceptible to such violence. As I watch and read news clips and have conversations with friends and acquaintances about the Russian invasion, something nags in the back of my mind like a repressed memory that won’t surface. I’ve pondered over it, but even still, the precise nature of my concern hasn’t fully formed. But if you’ll bear with me, I’ll attempt to articulate a universal problem this recent invasion exposes.

An Oddly Shocking Emotion

I think it’s the shock—the sheer unadulterated disbelief. It’s plastered on the face of every pundit, politician, and private citizen as they talk about the invasion of Ukraine. Isn’t history filled with more war than peace? Yes, it is. Furthermore, doesn’t the Bible emphatically teach that peace will not be a long-term reality in this fallen world? Why, yes, it does. Sorrow, disgust, anger, disappointment, frustration, and indignation are appropriate emotions for this situation. Maybe I’m just strange, but all the shock doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Regardless, it does make sense because we’ve been carefully lulled into a utopian mindset. And I include Christians in that number. We’ve grown to believe that civilized nations don’t want war. We’ve bought the hedonistic lie that wars will cease to exist if everyone can just watch enough Netflix and get the newest Apple gadget. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think we have a well-developed philosophy. Theoretically, Christians know that things like materialism, social justice, and the redistribution of wealth are ultimately futile. They certainly don’t fill the human soul with peace. Yet, perhaps the materialistic side of things has unwittingly swept us into a slumber of sorts. To be kind, maybe it’s just been a light nap. Either way, it’s time to wake up and remember that evil is real, and it’s always prowling about in the shadows waiting for the chance to pounce.

The Fall of the Wall

I think the nap began at the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. When the Cold War ended, I was only six years old, and the Evil Soviet Empire collapsed. “We beat those commies back,” I’d hear the old folks say enthusiastically. But it would have been more accurate to say we temporarily pushed it back into the shadows. Few would have believed back in 1989 that most millennials would prefer socialism over freedom in a matter of decades.

It’s Hard to Find the Bodies

“At least they’re not commies,” you might say. But as Marion Smith, the director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said, “Christians go to heaven, whereas socialists go to communism.”[i] Michael Knowles perspicaciously points out in the forward to the must-read book, The Devil and Karl Marx, “The problem with socialism isn’t the inefficiency; it’s the evil.”[ii] Paul Kengor refers to communism as a “killing machine.” He states, “Any ideology with a trail of rot like this is not of God but of the forces against God. It is not of God’s creation but a fallen angel’s anti-creation. It is not of the light but of the dark.”[iii] He’s referring to the bloody death toll communism has amassed, which is a number somewhere between 100 million and 166 million people killed by communist regimes in the name of progress. You might wonder why we don’t know the exact numbers. Well, it’s hard to find the bodies. We’ll probably never know how many die each day in the concentration camps of North Korea or the secret barracks of China. And remember, we’re not talking about distant history. No. These things occurred in the twentieth century, and they’re still happening right now.

Michael Knowles perspicaciously points out in the forward to the must-read book, The Devil and Karl Marx, “The problem with socialism isn’t the inefficiency; it’s the evil.”

The Prince of Darkness Sold It to Me

I know it’s hard to look evil square in the face and acknowledge it’s real. We like to think of evil as something confined in history books or tucked away in some remote place far from us. Interestingly, most people equate the name Hitler with the deadliest form of evil. But even Hitler’s murderous reign of terror doesn’t come close to communism’s body count. Paul Kengor puts it this way:

In fact, neither did the two deadliest wars in history, World Wars I and II, which need to be combined and doubled to get near communism’s butcher’s bill. The highest estimates of death produced during the entirety of the Spanish Inquisition (a period of some sixty years) come nowhere near the level of death in Stalin’s military purge or even Lenin’s first year in power.[iv]

Interestingly, most people equate the name Hitler with the deadliest form of evil. But even Hitler’s murderous reign of terror doesn’t come close to communism’s body count.

As more history comes to light, it’s increasingly clear that communism’s titular founder, Karl Marx, was demon-possessed. His own family and friends referred to him as “governed by a demon,” “possessed,” and as “a monster of ten thousand devils.” And he was oddly fond of writing darkly religious poetry for someone supposedly guided by sheer atheism. Consider this poem by Marx called The Player:

“Look now, my blood-dark sword shall stab
Unerringly within thy soul…
The hellish vapors rise and fill the brain,
Till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed.
See the sword – the Prince of Darkness sold it to me.
For he beats the time and gives the signs.
Ever more boldly I play the dance of death."[v]

As more history comes to light, it’s increasingly clear that communism’s titular founder, Karl Marx, was demon-possessed. His own family and friends referred to him as “governed by a demon,” “possessed,” and as “a monster of ten thousand devils.”

The Courage to Confront

Michael Knowles, albeit unknowingly, prophetically summarized the current crises best:

The Evil Empire collapsed, but evil spirits continue to prowl about the earth seeking the ruin of souls because we contend in the end not against flesh and blood but against the spirits of wickedness in the high places, which will endure until the end of the world.[vi]

My point is not merely to decry the evils of communism, although I’d happily do that for hours on end; more importantly, I’m attempting to call us away from the self-inflicted ignorance of evil. Whether it’s a result of complacency, distraction, denial, simplistic naivety, or an “it’s not my problem” mentality. The thing about the “it’s not my problem” philosophy is that it’s not your problem yet. In his most famous Cold War speech Ronald Reagan quoting the infamous Sir Winston Churchill, said, “The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we’re spirits, not animals.” There’s a special kind of spiritual transcendence or religious awakening that can only be obtained by confronting the forces of malevolence head-on. And that process begins by mustering the courage to acknowledge the stark reality of evil and having the maturity to reckon with the fact that the problem of evil isn’t everybody else’s concern.

The thing about the “it’s not my problem” philosophy is that it’s not your problem yet.

There’s a special kind of spiritual transcendence that can only be obtained by confronting the forces of malevolence head-on. That begins by having the maturity to reckon with the fact that the problem of evil isn’t everybody else’s concern.

Sober & Vigilant

I’m not a war hawk. This isn’t meant to be a call to physical arms. I pray we’re not on the verge of World War III. I understand the United States shouldn’t be eager to fight even wars that would be morally good to fight. However, this is a call to spiritual arms. I’m sounding the alarm! We cannot be ignorant of the signs or the seasons. There’s more happening here than meets the eye. Prophecy is unfolding at the speed of light. I’m pleading with my brothers and sisters to be sober and vigilant. Put on the whole armor of God. Petty problems and silly past distractions must be discarded in the face of genuine evil.

“Therefore, let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:6-9).”


[i] Kengor, Paul, and Michael J. Knowles. 2020. The devil and Karl Marx: communism’s long march of death, deception, and infiltration. 7.

[ii] Ibid., x.

[iii] Ibid., xv.

[iv] Ibid., xix.

[v] Ibid., 39.

[vi] Ibid., xi

The End Is Beginning – A Narrative Poem

The slumbering snore baffled the sages.
Long tattered rags masked the seismic rage.
For eons, scribes waited with bated breath.
Ominous groans bolted prophets out of sleep.
Fickle throngs belabored on with stopped-up ears.
Battle drums beat somewhere in time's vast space,
Faintly thumping as if Hell were marching in place.
The Great Bear rose, and the Red Dragon groaned,
The Eagle fluttered while the Rose tilted and swayed.

Have you not seen, 
have you not heard?
The time is at hand; 
the end is beginning. 
	
Faintly a horn blasts in the distance dreamily.
A weary few were watching and listening easily. 
Others barely noticed until their screens glistened. 

Where did they go? 

The anchors droned on and on.
An old tape squawked, I Wish We’d All Been Ready,
the irony of something ignored so warily 
ignited feelings of agony until now 
left unexcited.

How soon before vials break and wrath explodes?
A trumpet blasts from heavenly places like a war cry.
	
Have you not seen, 
have you not heard?
The time is at hand; 
the end is beginning. 

Two fire-breathing preachers wandered outside,
Speaking truths the world long shouted down.
The beginning of sorrows and woe is trickling now.
They shout in the streets like wild men of old.
Beastly fury stamps them out
they lie there cold.

Moses? Elijah? Peter? James? John? 
No one knows.
Fear, hunger, pain, 
madness, confusion, delusion 
crouch in the shadows.
What does this mean? 
Every human lip screams.

Have you not seen, 
have you not heard?
The time is at hand; 
the end is beginning.

Completed (A Poem)

God knew that Adam couldn’t do it alone

So He created woman, bone of his bone

Once depleted, man now completed by Eve

Complementing, persuasive, persistent is she

Her powers unique, and different than his

In man’s weakness, she enhances his strengths

Disparate, distinct in every way, yet linked

Independent, yet dependent, fulfilling needs

Joined as one flesh, the two becoming as one

Now they are joined, under God’s holy Son


This poem was written for my lovely wife, Taylor, whom I affectionately call JJ.

Ep. 52 | Unusual Thanks, Completed (New Poem) & Gross-Good-Great (Special Thanksgiving Family Edition) Apostolic Voice with Ryan French

Ryan gives a unique perspective on thankfulness from the ryanafrench.com article called In Everything Give Thanks. Then unveils a short new poem called Completed in honor of Taylor's birthday. And finally, the whole French clan gathers together for a special Thanksgiving family edition of Gross-Good-Great, where they taste and rate Hershey's Hot Cocoa Kisses and Reese's Peanut Brittle Peanut Butter Cups. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/apostolicvoice/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/apostolicvoice/support
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Daemonium Avi (Narratio Carmine) – Demonic Bird (A Narrative Poem)

A Brief Introduction

Daemonium Avi is a narrative poem based on an actual event that took place in the parking lot of my church. Daemonium is the Latin word for demonic, and avi is the Latin word for bird. I believe the title accurately describes the subject of the poem. Demonic Bird seemed to carry more gravitas in Latin. Plus, what is poetry without a little dramatic flair? However, the contents of this poem are true, and no dramatization could adequately capture the intensity of the spiritual encounter. Hopefully, poetically sharing this moment will remind others that the supernatural invades the natural more often than we realize. And that a person filled with the Holy Ghost has authority over satanic fear tactics. Resistance in the name of Jesus will cause the enemy to flee (James 4:7).

Daemonium Avi

The car door thudded a final thump

Keys rattled and clanked against 

A coffee cup of metal and steam

It wafted tantalizingly in the sun

Arms and elbows full of daily chores

I fumbled around opening the door

When a blackbird perched nearby

Lifted a guttural unearthly cry
 
Startled, I turned to see this beast

Could this blackbird really speak

Yes, it stared angrily towards me

You’ll never win it screamed and shrieked 

God doesn’t care, and your faith is too weak

I swallowed a lump lodged in my throat

How did this brute steal my hope

This blackbird wasn’t a bird at all

Something sinister was truly involved 

Suddenly I noticed it’s crooked wing

Hanging as if lodged by a string

The bird spoke again, but this time it sneaked

One step, then two, nearer it creeped

Blurred vision, my head spinning ‘round

My voice thickened to master a sound

I knew this fowl was not Heaven sent

A single prick of light suddenly hit

The warmth of courage filled me up

From head to toe, I shivered and shook

Words tumbled out from somewhere below

In Jesus’ name, be gone, thou devilish crow