Showing posts from July, 2009

Light Brigade

Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismayed?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
Someone had blundered:
Theirs was not to make reply,
Theirs was not to reason why,
Theirs was but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to the right of them,
Cannon to the left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell,
Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sab'ring the gun…

Duke and Duchess

Watching a movie this evening about English aristocracy, Hilary and I were reminded of our holiday trip to England and Scotland the year before our daughter was born.

A dream come true to avid students of English literature, art, history and Scottish culture. Lovers of the current monarchy. Lovers of theatre, old architecture, darts, shepherd's pie. Seashores, cathedrals, heather covered hills. The list goes on.

But almost in the same breath this evening, the two of us blurted out "Blenheim Palace". This is the home of the Dukes of Marlborough (pronounced "Mollbra"), the family of Sir Winston Churchill.

The night before we had lodged in Oxford, drizzling wet, gray ancient buildings. Too tired and late to sight-see. But we had a delightful conversation in a common room with a foreign exchange student, a girl form the east, who simply needed some companionship and a few smiles as she adjusted to the big English centre of learning.
Our little stints at UWO in London, …

Dear Little Book

For almost 25 years now my wife and I have been turning to the daily selection from "Daily Light on the Daily Path" compiled by the Bagster publishing family of England. It is one of the earliest known topical scripture helps, over 175 years old and translated into numerous languages the world over. The book was compiled as a collaborative effort by family members bringing to the table their research, reflection and revelation on numerous pivotal Bible topics. Discussed, sorted and revised with love.

It is astounding how often the daily portion for either morning or evening will address some very pertinent topic or challenge being faced by the reader. It provides another illustration of how the Word of God "lives" for your need.

Consider for example yesterday's posting on this blog entitled "Peculiar Person" and note how appropriate and timely today's Daily Light appears to this writer. (I had not read it when I made the entry.)

July 31 morning


Peculiar Person

Someone out there today needs to hear that you are not intended to fit in. The pain can come at the workplace, school, neighbourhood, family gathering or corner store.

The Church is a body "called out" of something...the trends, the popular news, the cheeky humour, the gossip, the idols and vain interests.

We have a stink about us. One of the epistles claims that it is a savour of life unto those being called to Christ, and a stench of death unto those not being drawn by the Gospel.

One of the most evidently "born again" characters in the Bible, Peter, the Big Fisherman puts it this way:

First Peter 2:

9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Not too long ago I was indulging in a pity party …

The Yoke

The night club song says "You'll Never Walk Alone". It was a favourite with Jerry Lewis at the end of each Labour Day Telethon.

Neil Diamond would croon "He Ain't Heavy. He's My Brother". The lyrics went on to say:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

He's my brother
He ain't heavy, he's my brother. (Rufus Wainwright)

All the questions of such a journey and the prospect of companionship an…

Hillside Message

Up on the hillside on that clear day
Jesus told us secrets of life;
Blessings in faith and right ways to pray,
Ways into peace, ways out of strife.

How my poor heart rejoiced when he spake,
“Bless’d are the poor; Bless’d are the meek;
Bless’d are the hungry for righteousness’ sake.”
These blessings I wanted to seek.

Worship he showed as intimate time,
Time for the Father to meet me.
Prayer and fasting in secret were mine,
Mine an appointment with Deity!

Never would I have reason to fear
How in the months yet ahead,
How in the passing of year after year,
I would be clothed or be fed.

Father would manage all of my need
Just as the wee birds are blessed.
Better I strive my spirit to feed,
And trust in him for the rest.

Some of his words, though, have troubled me;
How I must heed all the laws,
How I must out-do the Pharisee
In righteousness for God’s cause.

Can it be true in my mortal state
That I can dominate sin?
That I can rise above lust and hate,
Not just without, but within?

Must I refrain from judging my peer…

Age Twenty-Nine and Taken

"There is nothing more surprising to an attentive reader of the gospel than to notice the little success Christ had in the conversion of sinners. Although he speaks with love such as never man spake with, yet for all that, Christ had to complain, just as we have, "Ye believe not." O brethren! is it to be wondered at, then, that there are so few believers among us, when there were so few converted under Christ? We are always to expect this, then. Observe still further that the more that Christ opened out his mind to them, they seemed to hate him the more. They said, "He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? They were pulling one another away from hearing him. Brethren, it is the same now; the more that ministers have Christ in their sermons — the more faithfully they preach — the more you will say they are mad, and have a devil. Is the servant greater than his master, or the disciple than his Lord? Still farther, observe, when Christ pressed the truth hard upon…

Bit of Tozer

Here follows today's devotional from our link with the teachings of A.W. Tozer. I remember when we had just arrived in Waterloo from Chatham and I was wondering about available Gospel radio broadcasting (1987). I was delighted to discover that every Thursday evening on community radio Howard Ellis hosted a couple of hours of Good News. He was never reluctant to read portions from the good old "chestnuts" including A.W.Tozer and Andrew Murray.

Ungodly Tolerance and Godly Intolerance

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am convinced that a committed Christian will show a zealous concern for the cause of Christ. He or she will live daily with a set of spiritual convictions taken from the Bible. He or she will be one of the toughest to move—along with a God-given humility—in his or her stand for Christ. Why, then, have Christian ministers so largely departed from exhortations to love righteousness with a great, overwhelming love, and to hate iniquity with a deep, compelling revulsion?


Jesus Gets to Slammin'

Sometimes Eugene Peterson can be so refreshingly clear in his paraphrase. Take a look at how Jesus dresses down the religious hypocrites:

Matthew 23
Religious Fashion Shows
1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. "The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law. You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer.

4-7"Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers…

Seven Words Selected

WOMAN, WHY WEEPEST THOU? WHOM SEEKEST THOU? – Mary Magdalene, so much like the rest of us, weeping over the failure of a promise, over unanswered prayer, over a lost friend, over the great divide of death. But here was the promise fulfilled, the prayer answered, the Friend recovered. So unbelievable that she mistook the speaker for a gardener, until she heard the soothing pronunciation of her name by the risen Lord. “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.” (Isaiah 58:9a)

Seven Words Selected

I HAVE TOLD YOU THAT I AM – Jesus through prayer has been strengthened for the self-offering. Judas has arrived with troops and torches. Jesus has just acknowledged in prayer that He has kept safely all followers that the Father had given Him. But here is the greatest threat yet; that there will be confusion, arrest and prosecution of the disciples as well. He asks of the guard “whom seek ye” and they reply, “Jesus of Nazareth”. The answer “I am” flashes forth with all the divinity within Him and the troops fall to the ground on their backsides. No doubt that this is an intentional self-offering of Majesty. He is in charge of His own arrest!

Seven Words Selected

SIT YE HERE, WHILE I SHALL PRAY – Jesus took the eleven from the Upper Room to Gethsemane and the favoured three to a more intimate circle where he would pray and ready Himself before arrest. His mortality needed their company, support, compassion and prayers, as before He had needed rest, reception, food, fellowship or contemplative time. He knew that they did not understand the darkness of the hour and would not come under its burden. Charitably, He told them to sit while He undertook the heavy task of will-struggle, petition and tears. It is always thus in spiritual transactions; His to DO and ours to sit and trust that it has been DONE in His sufficiency.

Seven Words Selected

I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE – The empty tomb was the pivotal message of the Early Church, the bedrock of apostolic testimony and the great divider of the hearts of men. Acceptance or rejection of this message would determine either a community of hope or of hedonism. Presently some who name the name of Jesus would be content to recognize him as a great moral teacher, and not as our fore-runner beyond death into glorified person and purpose. To them death would remain that unconquerable enemy. But Jesus, addressing troubled Martha in the Lazarus account, applies to himself a “Jehovah” name and power. “I am” the resurrection and the life.

Chicago Poems


I DRANK musty ale at the Illinois Athletic Club with
the millionaire manufacturer of Green River butter
one night
And his face had the shining light of an old-time Quaker,
he spoke of a beautiful daughter, and I knew he had
a peace and a happiness up his sleeve somewhere.
Then I heard Jim Kirch make a speech to the Advertising
Association on the trade resources of South America.
And the way he lighted a three-for-a-nickel stogie and
cocked it at an angle regardless of the manners of
our best people,
I knew he had a clutch on a real happiness even though
some of the reporters on his newspaper say he is
the living double of Jack London's Sea Wolf.
In the mayor's office the mayor himself told me he was
happy though it is a hard job to satisfy all the office-
seekers and eat…

Fish Got Away

I remember a Revival Crusade in an auditorium in Windsor. Much advertised. Many churches on board. Big American Prophet-Evangelist to speak with an exceptional praise team accompanying. We had visited a Windsor Pentecostal church that morning and had decided to stick around.

As the crowd developed, I took special note of a "young twenties something" dating couple who had brought along a male friend, seemingly unchurched. As the praise began, the couple appeared to get quickly into the choruses, hand clapping, arm raising etc. Their friend seemed to remain eyes forward and rigid. Periodically his buddy would place his hand on his back, give him the full frontal smile and wink knowingly, all the while singing at near top volume. The gestures seemed to say,"Isn't this great? Are you getting it? Praise the Lord!"

I felt that I was watching a tragedy. No sensitivity to the stranger; no understanding as to where he was at. Just a carnal desire 'to get him under the…

Gospel in Miniature

Many people know that the shortest verse in the Bible is "Jesus wept" (John 11:35). The Lord has come late on the scene and his friend Lazarus has died. The sisters are grief-stricken and perplexed that Jesus delayed. The family and friends are watching and weeping. The mortal inevitability of death is before them all. The sense of potential curtailed, opportunity lost, fellowship torn. Jesus walks in their midst and feels this weight of sin's making and weeps. This is not a God untouched by our fears or pain.

But recognize that there is another short verse found at First Thessalonians 5:16..."Rejoice evermore." What an exchange! His pain for our eternal bliss. His identification with our sin for our full and complete discharge. Truly this is shouting music! Let the two verses of scripture be your song of victory.

Jesus wept. Rejoice evermore.
Jesus wept. Rejoice evermore.
Jesus wept. Rejoice evermore.
Jesus wept. Rejoice evermore.

Such a Dead Dog as I Am

David and Jonathan were brothers in a blood covenant, each to bless the heirs of the other to the best of his ability. When Jonathan was killed in battle the nurse-maid of his son Mephibosheth hurried the child out of the camp. She was terrified that David would slay any descendant of King Saul. In her haste she dropped the child and he was rendered a cripple. His name meant "destroying shame".

Several years later, David as king was eager to determine whether any heir of Jonathan remained alive. He was compelled by the force of his covenant and by compassion for the memory of his dead friend. He heard the story of the crippled youth and went with an entourage to find him.

As the band approached Mephibosheth's residence he cowered in fear, expecting the worst. In the intervening years he had often contemplated how the King would hold him in contempt. Disfigured. Disinherited. Dishonoured.

How shocked he was to discover that David only wanted to bless him and to involve him i…

A Death Witnessed

I was looking over some of the art of Ron DiCianni when I came across the picture of a Para-medic with suggestions of the parable of the Good Samaritan in the background.

This reminded me of an experience which my daughter Lauren had while driving after dark about two winters ago. She was proceeding north on King Street Waterloo and approaching an underpass just before the freeway by Conestoga Mall, when she noticed a pick-up truck above seeming to climb the guard rail. Alarmingly close to the overpass, she saw the truck airborne and upside down falling to King Street in her very lane.

Lauren relates that the event almost appeared to be happening in slow motion. By reflex she changed lanes, drove past the wreck and made a U-turn as soon as possible to come back to the scene. Other motorists had stopped and a cell phone had been used for emergency help. Lauren could see the driver in the badly squashed cab and she attempted to make eye contact in the poor light. The young man appeared to…

God's Hand On It

Taken from "Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush" by Ian Maclaren. How providence saw Flora Campbell home...

When Marget came, Flora told her the history of her letter.

"It wass a beautiful night in London, but I will be thinking that
there iss no living person caring whether I die or live, and I wass
considering how I could die, for there iss nothing so hopeless as to
hef no friend in a great city. It iss often that I hef been alone on
the moor, and no man within miles, but I wass never lonely, oh no, I
had plenty of good company. I would sit down beside a burn, and the
trout will swim out from below a stone, and the cattle will come to
drink, and the muirfowl will be crying to each other, and the sheep
will be bleating, oh yes, and there are the bees all round, and a
string of wild ducks above your head. It iss a busy place a moor,
and a safe place too, for there iss not one of the animals will hurt
you. No, the big highlanders will only look at you and go away to
their pasture. But it iss…

The Bell- Weather

A young sheep has proved itself dangerously rebellious and independent. Continuously it goes into hazardous places, eating inappropriate foods, spurning the fellowship of the flock.

Soon the Shepherd will apply the old remedy. He takes the sheep and swiftly breaks one of its delicate legs. The sheep is stunned by this uncharacteristic behaviour. With low and soothing words and sounds the Shepherd sets the fracture and holds the patient effortlessly in his strong and capable arms, speaking affectionately to it.

In the days to follow, as the flock travels to one and another grazing place or refreshing stream, the Shepherd carries his charge on his shoulders and close to his heart. They are in constant communication. The little sheep observes his Master's vigilance and service for the flock; his patience with the faltering; his resilience in changing weather; his sparing use of harsh words; his laughter at the gamboling antics of the little ones; his patient application of oil and herb…

As Unto the Lord

They Who Tread the Path of Labor

THEY who tread the path of labor follow where My feet have trod;
They who work without complaining, do the holy will of God;
Nevermore thou needest seek me; I am with thee everywhere;
Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me, cleave the wood and I am there.

Where the many toil together, there am I among My own;
Where the tired workman sleepeth, there am I with him alone:
I, the Peace that passeth knowledge, dwell amid the daily strife;
I, the Bread of Heav'n am broken in the sacrament of life.

Every task, however simple, sets the soul that does it free;
Every deed of love and mercy, done to man is done to Me.
Nevermore thou needest seek me; I am with thee everywhere;
Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me; cleave the wood, and I am there.

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933)

Stormy Crossing

Today's entry from our link with J.R. Miller:

Toiling in Rowing

“He saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them.”

Mark 6:48

Jesus always sees our toils and distresses in this world. We do not see Him, and sometimes we think He has forgotten us; but that is never true. He is never indifferent for a moment. On the heights of Sedan, while the battle was in progress, stood a group of men watching the struggling armies in the plain below. In this group was the American general Sheridan, who watched the mighty strife with the keen eye of a soldier. King William was also there; but his interest was different from Sheridan’s. His son was in the thick of the fight, and he watched the battle with the eye of a father as well as of a king.

Christ looks down upon our struggles in this world. He sees us toiling; all our battles and strifes He beholds. He sees us in the waves and in the storm. He sees us, not with the eye of the calm spectator merely, but with the eye of tenderest…

Wondrous Worship

The command is to come together to worship. More than to "fellowship" (when did that become a verb?). More than to receive teaching or communion. We owe Christ everything.
Our songs should repeatedly name His wonderful name with thanksgiving and adoration. Too many "renewal" songs are ambivalent naming the Lord or the Holy One. Say that powerful name. Say it! Jesus!

Acts 4:

8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;

10Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven …

Don't Whip Yourself

Took a drive for my workplace yesterday morning and enjoyed a radio broadcast from Charles Stanley's "In Touch" program. He was looking at Paul's situation when he wrote the "jail-house" epistles, claiming that his unfortunate circumstances were working out to the spreading of the Gospel. This was all that mattered to Paul and consequently he could affirm that he lived above the difficult circumstances. (See the first chapter of Philippians or 2 Corinthians 11)

Here was an exceptional servant of Christ in custody as an enemy of the empire. He could have wallowed in self-pity or struggled with self-doubt. Instead he focused on the good results which were becoming apparent from this bad situation. He knew that he was in the will of his Master. He knew that the Lord was all love and all capable. He knew that every aspect of his situation was known to Christ. There are no words of anxiety, discouragement or self-condemnation in these epistles.

Every day Paul was…


Psalm 130:6 (King James Version)

6My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

In Spurgeon's Commentary on this Psalm in "The Treasury of David" I found an interesting story.

At the end of the American Civil War on the day before implementation of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, a black community in the South had a unique idea. They would spend the night awake and in prayer, song and discussion, waiting for the sun-rise.

They would watch for the early light of freedom. Darkness reminded them of generations of oppression, humiliation, taskmasters, destruction of families, ignorance, terrifying flights northward and stolen moments under the stars in worship. The new light would show them standing independent with choices and chances and a future path of advancement worth the struggle.

The Psalmist speaks of waiting for the deliverance of a Rescuer who brings forgiveness, mercy and plenteous r…

Day's A Comin'

Taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H.Spurgeon:

"And the evening and the morning were the first day."—Genesis 1:5.

"THE evening was "darkness" and the morning was "light," and yet the two together are called by the name that is given to the light alone! This is somewhat remarkable, but it has an exact analogy in spiritual experience. In every believer there is darkness and light, and yet he is not to be named a sinner because there is sin in him, but he is to be named a saint because he possesses some degree of holiness. This will be a most comforting thought to those who are mourning their infirmities, and who ask, "Can I be a child of God while there is so much darkness in me?" Yes; for you, like the day, take not your name from the evening, but from the morning; and you are spoken of in the word of God as if you were even now perfectly holy as you will be soon. You are called the child of light, though there is darkness in you still…

A Month of the Good Stuff

Just in case daily Bible reading gets into a rut. These will bear fruit...

3. JOHN 14
4. 1 PETER 1
6. PSALM 103
7. PSALM 27
8. PSALM 34
9. ISAIAH 53
10. ISAIAH 43
11. EZEKIEL 34
13. MICAH 6
14. LUKE 15
15. LUKE 1
16. JOHN 11
17. LUKE 7
18. MARK 14
19. ACTS 16
21. HEBREWS 11
22. GENESIS 24
23. GENESIS 45
24. EXODUS 12
25. RUTH 3
26. 1 SAMUEL 17
27. 1 KINGS 17
28. 2 KINGS 4
30. JOB 29
31. DANIEL 6

City of Blessedness

Today's entry from "Our Daily Walk" by F. B.Meyer

"OUR LORD lived inside the City of Blessedness, and in Mt 5:1-12 He reveals to all men the eight gates by which that City may be entered. For myself, I cannot go in by the Gate of Poverty of spirit, for I am not humble enough; nor by the Gate of the Mourners, for I am not grieved enough for my own sins or the sins of others; nor by the Gate of the Meek, for I often resent injury; nor by the Gates of Mercy, or Purity, or Peace. But I may claim to enter by the fourth Gate, for I Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness. And as I go in, I find myself inside the City, and in the company of all holy souls that have entered by the other gates. For in the Heavenly City, to enter by any gate is equivalent to having entered by all; and one grace which is inwrought by the Holy Spirit will ultimately lead on to all the rest.

What is Blessedness? According to our Lord's teaching, it is a condition or state of heart. Outward circ…

Heaven Looks Upon Mary

This is the chosen little girl
With hazel eyes and hair awhirl,
Gaily gathering hillside flowers
Or watching clouds for hours and hours;
Singing tunes with sweet bird’s breath
Or skipping streets of Nazareth;
Father, this is she.

This is the chosen blooming maid,
Who with her friends had often played
The rudiments of family life,
Preparing now to be a wife.
Observing all the sacred rites:
Passover, Purim, Feast of Lights.
Father, this is she.

This is the chosen woman now
Reflecting prophecy on how
A virgin gives Messiah life,
And she not yet kind Joseph’s wife.
Her’s is the vessel, now the time.
She will accept your Seed Divine.
Father, this is she.

This is the chosen handmaid now,
Receiving gladly Gabriel’s vow.
The first to know, fair bless’ed one
That now is her salvation come.
We watched her grow so beautifully,
A precious child to you and me;
Father, this is she

Oh yes, dear Father, this is she.
Fulfill her waiting womb with me.
This is the time, this is her story,
This the moment Christ forsakes Glory.


This is the Greek word for self-emptying. It is of particular interest in the second chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Philippians, where the humble mission of Jesus is described:

"5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

9-11Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, …

Those Big Fellas

In an earlier post I referred to our friend Geri. She and her husband Allan played a very large role in encouraging my wife and myself in early Christian experience. She was the wide-eyed, petite, feminine one with a tremendous sense of humour, hospitality and gentleness in her treatment of others. Allan, a long-trip trucker, had a remarkable way, out on the road, in meekly coming alongside a fellow trucker, hearing of his gains or losses, and turning the conversation toward Christ.

I wish that I had retained the details better on this story, but here goes. Geri had a sister who was in missionary work in South America with her husband. The native communities contacted were very primitive and significantly uncomfortable with outsiders. This was over forty years ago.

The husband was called away by small aeroplane from their new and undeveloped mission camp. The woman busied herself with domestic improvements, singing and Bible reading to stave off loneliness. At night on the outskirts …

The Everlasting Mercy

One of my treasures is an old copy of the Collected Poems of John Masefield. He was Britain's poet laureate for a time and perhaps best known for his maritime descriptions and his longer narrative poems. The most outstanding perhaps is "The Everlasting Mercy" (1911), telling the story of a poaching, wenching and pugnacious drunk who discovered Christ. The following is its conclusion:

Slow up the hill the plough team plod,
Old Callow at the task of God,
Helped by man's wit, helped by the brute,
Turning a stubborn clay to fruit,
His eyes forever on some sign
To help him plough a perfect line.
At top of rise the plough team stopped,
The fore-horse bent his head and cropped.
Then the chains chack, the brasses jingle,
The lean reins gather through the cringle,
The figures move against the sky,
The clay wave breaks as they go by.
I kneeled there in the muddy fallow,
I knew that Christ was there with Callow,
That Christ was standing there with me,
That Christ had taught me what to be,
That …

Father's Plan Unsearchable

I can only bless the willing.
I will not coerce my child;
But will draw him, and will woo him
By my Spirit, meek and mild.
I will have no puppet kingdom.
All shall be by love and choice.
Will each loved one take my offer,
And eternally rejoice?

I can only bless the hungry
With sweet manna from above.
For the searching, ever searching,
For my truth and peace and love.
Through the pangs of spirit-hunger,
He will come to find the source
Of the bread that never faileth,
Of the living watercourse.

I can only bless the ransomed,
Who in Jesus finds his worth.
Not in strivings or in doings,
Of the kind men praise on earth.
But who, taking Christ’s blood payment,
Comes to praise and understand
The completeness, and the justice,
And the mercy of my Plan.

I can only bless the serving
Who will flee all worldly fame,
And delight me with small love-tasks
Given solely in my name.
As he dons the towel of service,
Washing feet of worldly grime,
He will know the heart of Jesus.
He will know the joy sublime.

I can only bless the givin…

How Could a Loving God?

Tell me, could a God of love
Bring war upon the earth?
Or grip a life in cancer’s curse,
Or maim a child at birth?

Tell me, could a God of peace
Delight in streets of crime?
Or shackle once-whole lives to drugs,
Or prostitute youth’s prime?

Tell me, could a God so wise
Take pride in filthy air?
Or look with joy on wasted streams,
Or wildlife, once so fair?

Tell me, could a God so just
Let guns control the realm?
And how could hunger waste the weak,
With justice at the helm?

I’ll tell you, friend, please take
The time to study in your Bible,
To see that God is not at fault,
But Satan, our arch-rival.

For once the whole creation bloomed
When Man first got his lease;
Full-binding through God’s spoken word
For love and health and peace.

But then pride’s fallen cherub came
To make his subtle play.
And pledging Adam power and fame,
He snatched the lease away!

Prince of this world, an enemy?
Most certainly he is.
But victory through Christ has come.
Repent and become His.

For time is counting out the age,
And soon the lease…

Talons Tested

A little drama played itself out one Sunday morning. I had gone for a walk and found myself near the creek beside Moses Springer Park. Cozy bench. Tree overhang. Shade from the sun. Quiet. Book in hand.

Then the shrill but seemingly distant shriek of a hawk. The little black squirrel on the tree ahead looked up, tail twitching alertly. In half-dead branches of another tree I could see the pale brown predator, neck craning.

As he took a short glide down to the the other trunk, the squirrel scampered around to the reverse side and then up a distance of about fifteen feet. Bird had lost the elevation advantage. Squirrel had used the tree as a "pick". Empty talons flexing. Bird flew higher up to adjacent branch.

The cycle repeated itself about three times, but then I noticed the squirrel checking out the ground beneath for an escape route. I wished then that I had the means to say in squirrel jargon, "Don't do it little fellow. As soon as you touch the ground you become an…

The Song of the Mouth-Organ

(With apologies to the singer of the "Song of the Banjo".)

I'm a homely little bit of tin and bone;
I'm beloved by the Legion of the Lost;
I haven't got a "vox humana" tone,
And a dime or two will satisfy my cost.
I don't attempt your high-falutin' flights;
I am more or less uncertain on the key;
But I tell you, boys, there's lots and lots of nights
When you've taken mighty comfort out of me.

I weigh an ounce or two, and I'm so small
You can pack me in the pocket of your vest;
And when at night so wearily you crawl
Into your bunk and stretch your limbs to rest,
You take me out and play me soft and low,
The simple songs that trouble your heartstrings;
The tunes you used to fancy long ago,
Before you made a rotten mess of things.

Then a dreamy look will come into your eyes,
And you break off in the middle …

Ouch, Rudyard

The following is a poem from Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) which reads somewhat like the Epistle of James.It suggests very strongly that there is work to be done.

The Sons of Martha

THE Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary's Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains ``Be ye removèd.'' They say to the lesser floods ``Be dry.''
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd---they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the h…