Friday, 30 December 2011


He gave Himself to ransom me,
He gave His life that I might live,
He gave in grace that I might see,
He is a Man who loves to give.

He gave me life, He gave me light,
He gave me righteousness and peace;
He gave me grace and power and sight:
He gives me joys that will not cease.

He gave His Spirit from above,
He gave adornment to His bride:
He gave me love - He gives her love
And gives a place at His own side.

He loves to give, He loves to bless:
His grace flows towards me like a river;
My heart goes out in thankfulness
That through His gifts I learn the Giver.

I don't need to put a name in, do I?

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Why wife to a carpenter? Although
The royal blood pulsed, the rights
Of monarchy existed, you husband
Crafted in wood; each day's labour
Used energy, skill and mind. Nothing
Derived from you or him imbued
That Child of whom you were mother.
But it pleased God in His ways to choose
The ambience you both provided; righteousness
Of your unwilling‑to‑expose husband,
Subjection of your spirit, soul and body.
You observed perfection in childhood,
Pondered signs and growth, retained
Thoughts, memories and affection till
You could act as repository to His church.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


We gather, Lord, to call to mind
Thyself and all Thy worthiness;
Thou hast secured all God designed
For those whom He desired to bless;
Our souls and spirits lifted up
We break the bread, we drink the cup.

We gather, Lord, till Thou shalt come
As testimony in the scene
When, mid this world's opprobrium
Thy death and sufferings have been;
Our souls and spirits lifted up
We break the bread, we drink the cup.

We gather, Lord, unto Thy Name
In fellowship that will not cease
United in the single aim
Of righteousness, faith, love and peace
Our souls and spirits lifted up
We break the bread, we drink the cup.

We gather, Lord, to furnish Thee
With opportunity to show
Thyself and all Thy love whilst we
Remain in pilgrimage below:
Our souls and spirits lifted up
We break the bread, we drink the cup.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011


There had been lamps
In the gloom; but John
Came as a burning and shining light.

Then came the dayspring. Christ
Visited, shedding light to His people
Cowering in death's shadow.
Most closed their eyes.

Light cannot be contained:
Wide-eyed Gentiles
- Centurions, needy women -
Came to the light.

Sunset fell, and what glory
Streaked the sky, despite
That sundown!

The world, sunk in the darkness
That it prefers, has not seen
That full light again.

His own have His secret,
The Morning Star,
In their hearts.

They await
The Sun of righteousness,
The cloudless day,
The healing rays.

Meanwhile He leaves us
As lights in the world.

Meanwhile His church,
In her serene progress,
His heavenly body, reflects

Monday, 26 December 2011


Among God’s ancient chosen race
Who always tended to rebel
One came to show the heart of God,
Whose title is Emmanuel.

“God with us”, to express God’s love,
To show His constant will to bless,
To bring a humbled nation back
And to fulfil all righteousness.

The poor in spirit were His care,
Hungerers, those who mourned, the meek,
And all whom human pride despised;
Such were the ones He came to seek.

He listened to His Father’s voice
Each morning from the time He woke,
And His disciples came to know
The Father of whose grace He spoke.

The children God had given Him,
Under His word and touch, began
To grow in grace and thus display
The features of the heavenly Man.

He praised His Father that though He
Was One the nation might despise
The Father had revealed to babes
What had been hidden from the wise.

If Israel despised His rights
And thus blasphemed the Father too
The Gentiles were embraced to share
In concepts which were wholly new.

For He was minded to secure,
To His great cost, the entity,
Unnamed as yet to men, which would
Delight Him to eternity.

But Who was this who in His grace
Among the needy humbly trod?
The Father sovereignly revealed
It was the Christ, the Son of God.

Into a world of sins and ills
One who was God in Person came,
And His assembly can be built
On the confession of His Name.

Yet if that joy for Christ and God
Will merge as a celestial whole,
It meant His suffering and death,
It meant the anguish of His soul.

Those who are faithful to His Name
Through this can be victorious
As conscious of the present love
Of Him who came as “God with us”.

Sunday, 25 December 2011


O Lord, Thy love’s unbounded,
So sweet, so full, so free;
My spirit does Thee homage
Since love has reached to me.

I see in all Thy pathway
As here to heal and bless,
In glorious demonstration
Thy love for righteousness.

And heaven was delighted
As God the Father saw
One who, in spirit, uttered
Oh, how I love Thy law!”

I see in every footstep,
As moving to fulfil
All that must be accomplished,
Love for Thy Father’s will.

How Thou didst love His purpose -
Willingly Thou didst go
Till all thing should be finished
Through toil and pain and woe.

For Thou didst love Thy Father
And daily didst rejoice
As wakening each morning
To hear the Father’s voice.

And Thou didst love the brethren
Thy Father gave to Thee -
We hear Thee pray concerning
Those Thou hast given Me...”

Thy love for Thine assembly,
Thy helpmate and Thy wife,
Led Thee to give up all things,
Even Thy precious life.

For where was love more vivid
Than on Golgotha’s tree?
Love that was undiminished,
Love that has made me free.

Love that will last for ever,
Love that surrounds me now,
Love of a Man in glory,
Love that has made me bow.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Oh praise the Saviour for His love
Which made Him take on blood and flesh,
As come from realms which are above,
To bring men back to God afresh.

Love brought Him to a world of sin
Which held men in captivity;
He worked in grace to bring men in
To righteousness and liberty.

Love led the Saviour to the tree
To bear sin’s judgement and atone
That sinners might be just and free,
Secured by Christ to be His own.

Victorious through all He endured
He sits upon the throne above:
We sing, as those He has secured,
Oh praise the Saviour for His love!”

Friday, 23 December 2011


The sun darkened:
There, at Golgotha,
Righteousness was accomplished.

The sun risen:
In the garden, testimony
To accomplished righteousness.

The sun in its firmament:
Accomplished righteousness
Celebrated in ascension.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


But where God wished a sanctuary
He quickly found idolatry
As Israel's fervour failed;
Though you may have the greatest light
You need still to maintain its height
For it will be assailed.

The time was long, the bondage sore,
The word occasional before
Recovery came in;
Oh Christian soul, do not relax
For joys will wane and sorrows wax
As you make way for sin.

For when the conquest would restart
God found a man after His heart
Who would do all His will;
As Christ in beauty fills our view
Abundant blessing will ensue
Through what He will fulfil.

David, through all life's storms and calms
Distilled experience into psalms
For God's unending praise;
And Christ now, as He moves and tends
Our souls wakes worship which ascends
In anthems that we raise.

Affection and affliction shared
In the material prepared
For what his son would build;
Love answers love to bring us near
While suffering shapes how we appear
So that God's house is filled.

See the resplendent house unfold,
With all its plenitude of gold,
Which Solomon has made;
See the grand place that Christ has wrought,
Formed by the persons He has brought
And sumptuously arrayed.

The ark that graced the desert sand
And led them in the promised land
Is finally at rest;
Christ is before the Father's face,
Appreciated in His grace,
And in Him we are blest.

Trumpets and singers in accord
Proclaim the glory of the LORD:
The house fills with the cloud;
Now glory fills the courts above
And sons praise with united love,
Reverent, but uncowed.

Let hallelujahs now resound
Unto the LORD for He has crowned
The work He had begun;
Praise Him by whom all was conceived,
And now the matchless deed's achieved,
Determined, dared, and done.


The final two lines have been taken from "A Song for David" by Christopher Smart

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Isaiah 7

"Ask for a sign" the prophet told the king;
"Ask for it in the deep or in the height."
King Ahaz sneered "I will do no such thing".

How great the sign of Jonah to incite
Wonder at God's unfathomable ways,
Bringing one man through darkness into light!

How great the sign of Solomon's great days,
His splendour and the wisdom which God gave
To rule His people and to bring Him praise!

There is a greater sign now in the grave,
Its depths and darkness entered for His own
By Christ that to the utmost He may save.

There is a greater sign now in the throne
Where Jesus sits, acclaimed at God's right hand,
Whence all the power of heaven may be known.

If you touch depths you cannot understand
Remember what your Lord endured for you
That heavenly power might be at your command.

If you reach heights, with Jesus in your view,
And know relationships in which to bask,
Remember all the depths which He went through.

"Ask for a sign" ‑ God longs for you to task
His willingness and nature ‑ knock! seek! ask!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


In the past
Invading and enduring
The recesses of the deep
He has been shown to be
“More than Jonas”.

In the future
He will be displayed
In power and majesty -
“More than Solomon”.

In His charm and beauty,
His dignity of bearing,
His vitality and graces -
“More than beloved”.

Monday, 19 December 2011


Your first husband morally greater,
All ways a mighty man, your loss
And your dead child led you to value,
Especially, peace, your son Solomon;
Jealously you protected his interests,
Provoking your enfeebled king to grant
Immediate access to the throne.
Skilfully you chose subtle allies,
Priest, prophet and the commander
Of the king's bodyguard, men
Fitted by a great king's service
To inaugurate the new regime.

Sunday, 18 December 2011


All God's inheritance is richly blest
Since, in the temple Solomon prepared,
The Ark of God is finally at rest.

Round it a system God chose to invest
With glory which will never be impaired
‑ All God's inheritance ‑ is richly blest.

It led the way in every storm or test
But now, past all the trials which they shared,
The Ark of God is finally at rest.

Since God's great wisdom knew which way was best
And He was there beside them as they fared
All God's inheritance is richly blest.

His people praise the Lord with joy and zest
As, while His lasting triumph is declared,
The Ark of God is finally at rest.

Because God knew the object of their quest
Before they ventured, and in all things cared,
All God's inheritance is richly blest;
The Ark of God is finally at rest.

Saturday, 17 December 2011


Almighty God  - give judgments to the King
And He will judge  according to Thy will!
He will do justice to those whom sin afflicts:
By righteousness  peace will flow from the hills;
He will descend  as a delicious smirr
While grace and truth  will both be flourishing;
Kings of the earth  will render precious gifts
And all mankind  will own His rulership.
Each day He shall be blessed:  and He shall live
While corn shall pullulate  from fertile tilth
Even upon  the mountain’s loftiest ridge:
Seeing His glory  let all the people sing!

Friday, 16 December 2011


You had them all ‑ the ivory throne
With guardian lions; the palace of the house
Of Lebanon; vast revenues of gold;
Widespread domains and exotic embassies;
Each day's thirty oxen, its hundred sheep,
Harts and gazelles; a splendid palanquin
Enhanced by your sixty swordsman escort;
You had them all ‑ but not these only ‑
To probe a matter, the glory of kings,
One sword for wisdom and for justice,
Solutions to enigmas, three thousand proverbs,
With your own ascent to your God's house,
And desire and skill for songs and psalms ‑
All the accoutrements of monarchy.

And of these songs one only was the Song of Songs,
Depiction of love and beauty, the incomparable ode
To rapture of love, loveliness, cruel jealousy ‑
The symbols apt in their sensuousness, apt to love,
Apt in their spirituality ‑ breathed through the love of God.

Not gardens only, nor beds
Of spices, interested you ‑
You knew the value of tillage:
"He who tills will be satisfied
With bread"; "Manual labour
Will increase wealth"; "Truth
And mercy will attend those
Who plough good". These were
Your kind of adage. But,
Did you follow your own advice?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


In the subversion of man,
Satan and death;
In the promotion of another
Manhood, Lord,
We see wisdom.

In the assembly,
An administration of blessing,
Where Thou hast a dwelling
We see
The house that Thou hast built.

The food of Thy table!
What variety we have in Thee:
An oblation, a passover,
Fresh ears, baked loaves -
All to our taste.

Persons of another marque
From worldlings, in dignity,
Act as children of wisdom
The deportment of Thy servants.

We can appreciate
As the angels can
The all-various wisdom of God
In the order of service of Thy servants
Which the Chief Musician ordered.

In their needs - Christ
For coats of skin;
In their testimony - Christ
For armour;
In their privileges - Christ,
The Best Robe:
What apparel for Thy servants!

Men who have had
A vine before them,
Who have admired its growth,
Relished the lush grapes,
Their wine for God,
Are Thy cupbearers.

But what an acme
Of grandeur, a zenith
Of accomplishment, what
An ascent:
Lord, Thou art He who leads
Many sons to glory!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


I’ll tell you of a happening
When Zedekiah was the king:

God sent His prophet to condemn
The wicked in Jerusalem,

While just outside the city gate
They saw the Babylonians wait.

That army was God’s punishment
For sinners who would not repent

And disobeyed when called upon
To serve the king of Babylon

Which was what Jeremiah taught
When he explained Jehovah’s thought.

The wicked men who hated it
Put Jeremiah in a pit.

The prophet thought; “This place is dire -
I’m sinking down into the mire!”

But while he found his prospects dim
His God was looking after him.

Now Ebed-Melech was the man
Whom God selected for His plan.

He went to see the king and said,
“If he’s left there he’ll soon be dead!”

The king replied, “Without a doubt
You must pull Jeremiah out”.

The Ethiopian found some rope
And soon gave Jeremiah hope.

“Just put some rags beneath each arm
So that the ropes will do no harm.”

Then Ebed-Melech and his friends
All started pulling at the ends.

Soon he was rescued, safe and sound:
He gladly stood on solid ground.

Thus Ebed-Melech pleased the Lord
Who shielded him against the sword.

Monday, 12 December 2011


If your way is fresh and bright,
If your way is dank and strange,
If you move from gloom to light
His compassions never change.

Though the way ahead seems dark,
Though the foe seems to prevail,
Or you’re buoyant as a lark
His compassions never fail.

When oppressions press the brain,
When you need a heavenly Friend,
When your heart is full of pain
His compassions never end.

Written during the illness of my sister-in-law Liz: with Christ 12/12/2005 (aged 41)

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Alleluia to the Saviour!
Bless the glorious Name of Jesus;
Come before His throne with gladness,
Do Him homage for His greatness.
Everlasting praise will echo
For the Firstborn of creation,
God's anointed Priest and Prophet,
Heaven's Centre of affection,
Israel's Monarch and Messiah,
Judah's Prince and Sprout of Glory,
King of kings and Prince of princes,
Lord of lords and Head of all things!
Men of every tribe and nation,
Nurtured in that splendid kingdom
Open wide their mouths in anthems
Praising Jesus their Redeemer.
Queenlike His beloved assembly
Raptured by her Bridegroom's beauty
Sits upon His throne beside Him.
Thousands upon thousands bring Him
Universal acclamation;
Victory is accorded to Him,
Worshippers are bowed before Him,
Xenia presented to Him:
Young and old in happy chorus
Zealously sing - Alleluia!

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Though raging billows roll
And winds are contrary
Fear need not fill us with dismay -
The Lord is in control,

Should iron pierce your soul
Or catch you in its gin
Help is at hand, and Hope within -
The Lord is in control.

Should your boat nudge a shoal
Or shudder in a squall
Trust in the One who made them all -
The Lord is in control.

Friday, 9 December 2011


Lord, keep me underneath Thy hand
Secure from harm;
Without Thee I cannot withstand
Storm or alarm.

Lord, keep me underneath Thy hand
Guided by Thee
Finding as under Thy command
Thy path for me.

Lord, keep me underneath Thy hand
Both warmed and blessed
Where in Thy love I understand
The way that’s best.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


The trees resolved that they should choose
Their own anointed king -
A king they would not dare refuse
To serve in everything.

Asking the olive they began:
No, I will not forsake
My oil which honours God and man
For my own title’s sake”.

The fig-tree they asked secondly:
I will not leave fruit
And sweetness for a king’s display
Which will not contribute”.

Thirdly, they spoke unto the vine:
I have new wine to please
Both God and man, so I decline
To wave above the trees”.

But finally they asked the thorn:
Have confidence in me;
Rest in my shade. But if you scorn
Fire will devour each tree”.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


“When I was blind and poor
And only Christ could cure
He heard my anxious cry
And did not pass me by.”

“Wounded and torn by sin
Both outside and within
Without Him I would die -
He did not pass me by.”

“I climbed within my tree
To hide but still to see:
He saw me hidden high
And did not pass me by.”

“The night almost opaque,
We glimpsed upon the lake
A figure drawing nigh -
He did not pass us by.”

“So if you are in need
Christ listens when you plead;
His mercy will reply:
He will not pass you by.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


“My pain is great, my wounds are sore,
My life bleeds to its end.”
“I’ve come to care for you, to pour
Oil on your wounds, my friend.”

“I faint, I feel my spirit pine:
My soul is reft by strife.”
“My friend, I’ve come to pour you wine
To stimulate your life.”

“I have no shelter, can’t begin
The journey to my home.”
“I’ll bring you safely to the inn -
There is no need to roam.”

“I lie within a world of harm
And cannot be released.”
“My friend, I’ll bear you on my arm
To set you on my beast.”

“My money and my goods are lost;
I cannot pay a fee.”
“Do not despair, my friend - the cost
Has all been borne by me.”

“Out of this inn what shall I do?
When I am gone - what then?”
“The innkeeper will care for you
Until I come again.”

“My Friend - how I shall miss your face!
Why must you go away?”
“I’m going to prepare the place
Where, with me, you shall stay.”

Monday, 5 December 2011


The vital water, silting and moistening,
Compounds the good ground.

The fecund seed, broadcast on the earth
Clung in the good ground.

The theivish birds jibbed at the nets
Shielding the good ground.

Roots writhed down, toward the procreant water
Imbuing the good ground.

Toward the sun sprouts pullulate
Out from the good ground.

Master, garner the mellow fruit
From your good ground.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


O all ye ransomed throng
Life up your joyful song:
Honour and praise belong
To Him who loves us!

He washed our sins away
And saved from Satan’s sway:
Lift a fresh song today
To Him who loves us!

He made us share His feast,
Made each a royal priest:
Let praises be released
To Him who loves us!

Consciously loved by Him
Whose glory will not dim
Let constant praises brim
To Him who loves us!

Saturday, 3 December 2011


God heard amid His fresh creation
His angels’ shouts of celebration.

He had in His premeditation
A greater cause of celebration.

When Christ brought in illumination
That gave God cause for celebration.

Because of reconciliation
God bids us join His celebration.

Christ in His place of elevation
Is centre of God’s celebration.

Christ’s men by grace and derivation
Will cause eternal celebration.

Friday, 2 December 2011


Hast thou heard Him, seen Him, known Him?
Is not thine a captured heart?
Chief among ten thousand own Him;
Joyful choose the better part!

Idols, oft they won thee, charmed thee,
Lovely things of time and sense;
Gilded thus does sin disarm thee
Honeyed lest thou turn thee hence.

What has stripped the seeming beauty
From the idols of the earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
But the sight of peerless worth.

Not the crushing of those idols
With its bitter void and smart,
But the learning of His beauty
The unveiling of His heart

Who extinguishes the taper
Till they hail the rising sun?
Who discards the garb of winter
Till the summer hath begun?

'Tis that look that melted Peter,
‘Tis the face that Stephen saw,
‘Tis the heart that wept with Mary,
Can alone from idols draw;

Draw and win, and fill completely,
Till the cup o'erflow the brim,
What have we to do with idols
Who have companied with Him?

Ora Rowan 1834-1879

Thursday, 1 December 2011


A Saviour’s love has taken up my case
That one who had been captive should be free;
A Bridegroom’s love has claimed and cherished me,
And held me in the warmth of His embrace.
A Father’s love has lavished on me grace,
Riches and blessing, and has given me
The status of a son that I might be
For His eternal praise before His face.
The Spirit’s love has acted in my soul
And shed abroad God’s love within my heart;
Thus in the church He touches every part
And in uniting love makes all one whole.
The love of God has been so full shown
That now the God of love Himself is known.