What Joys are Ours in the Gospel…

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What joys are ours in the Gospel,
No soul can comprehend
What heights of love are to us given,
No mind can e’er ascend
What praises from our hearts should shine,
That Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What wonder to the Angels,
The Father choosing us
Forming a plan to raise us
To Glory from the dust.
Loving Father, for Thee we pine
Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What joyous acclamation,
The Bosom Son came down
Redeemed us to adoption,
His missing sheep He’s found.
What glories in our face should shine,
Thou hast bought us, we are Thine.
~
What happiness must fill us
The Spirit sent to earth,
In us He’ll raise the Abba cry
To us He gives rebirth
What glorious peace in this we find
Thou hast made us ever Thine.
~
What all-consuming wonder,
The Godhead looks on men
He takes the chiefest sinners,
And brings them home to Him
What praises from the church should shine
Grace to us says “thou art Mine”
~
Oh holy ones in glory,
Oh saints still here below
Let nothing quell thy singing
The gospel ever show
Glorious, holy Trinity
Let us ever worship Thee

Love Story: Our Souls still Meet

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  This may not be the most poetically precise piece I’ve written, but it is still close to my heart, because it was born out of real experience and joy. The joy of watching some dear friends go through intense trials, the kind that we as humans all have to face. But they did it while be sustained by a glorious Redeemer.  Because it is born of real experience, I hope that it resonates with you, wherever you are now.

We’re walking in the footprints,

That Providence hath made,

Our lives on the foundation

Eternal wisdom laid

The cutting thorns of anguish

Make every Rose more sweet,

And through the bitterest trials,

In love our souls still meet.

~

We find a sweet oasis,

In every desert land,

This troubled life, tis guided,

By loving Nail-scarred Hands

Though by our own mad strayings,

We again pollute cleaned feet,

God still comes down in mercy,

In Love our souls to meet.

~

We find we must climb steeply,

On treacherous stepping stones

Yet on we’ve plowed with patience,

For our strength is not our own

One step and we’d have fallen,

And all our strivings cease,

But mighty are the Hands that hold,

In His love our souls find peace.

~

Long dwelt we in Death’s Shadow

How bitter every loss,

Yet all our deepest groanings,

Were stolen on the Cross,

Whence sorrows turned to gladness,

Justice and grace did greet

And God came down to sinful earth,

In Love our souls to meet.

~

Sweet resting in the shadow,

Of that sacred Tree

Tight sealed the tomb on all our sorrows,

Now joyful we must be

Not glorying in peace or comfort,

For these ne’er half so sweet,

As Christ coming amidst our trials,

In Love our souls to meet

~

Though hard seemed every parting,

The meetings still were fair,

In absence and in Union,

On Christ we’ll cast our care

Whilst we wait with longing,

His shining face to see,

He’s gracious in our sorrows,

And in love our souls still meet.

God With Us…

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Emmanuel, Oh blessed thought

This glorious day the prophets sought,

When God Himself should dwell with Men

And save His people from their sin.

~

Emmanuel, the Holy One,

Yet could He be this Virgin’s son?

Life to all the earth He gave,

And can He be this helpless babe?

~

Emmanuel, God with man,

All things shaped by His same hand,

Who now as helpless child cries,

And bringeth light to Simeon’s eyes.

~

Emmanuel, behold his face,

Fasting in this desert place,

Encompassed by temptations round,

Yet never once His Father doubts.

~

Emmanuel! Tis God indeed,

Yet now He comes as David’s seed

Son of God and Man is He,

healing, helping, glad and free.

~

Emmanuel! come to Him now,

Ye, with heavy weights bent down,

The poor in heart He calleth blessed

Come now ye weary, find your rest.

~

Emmanuel, gaze on Him now

On the mount, within the cloud

The light of God upon His face,

The shining glory of His grace

~

Emmanuel, Yet now alone,

betrayed, forgotten by His own

Praying long into the night,

In struggles hidden from our sight.

~

Emmanuel, and there He stands,

Before the slaughter as a lamb,

The Son of God comes now to bleed,

Pressing on, seeing His seed.

~

Emmanuel, come now to die,

The Father will not hear Him cry

The wrath of God comes as a flood

Made visible in Jesus’ blood.

~

Emmanuel, this darkest day,

Till all the wrath be turned away

His own anger on Himself pours

That we should live to sin no more.

~

Emmanuel, this lifeless form,

Breathless, broken, bruised and torn,

The living God, in has fallen sleep

For He must every promise keep

~

Emmanuel, let angels sing

No more we feel the Reaper’s sting

Death is placed within the grave

That He may all His chosen save.

~

Now how shall we more sorrow know,

His chosen Bride, though still below?

In this eternal Name we trust,

“Emmanuel, God with us.”

Poem: A Song of Redemptive History…

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I wrote this once while going through Dr David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ exposition on Romans 5.

Before the Throne of God on High,

All Adam’s race stands clothed in guilt:

With no relief from anguished sigh,

In works on which their hopes are built.

The One before Whom angels bow,

In righteousness rules over all,

Yet sinners He abideth now,

For mercy’s sake, the judgment stalls.

~

Before the Father’s Holy throne,

His Chosen One takes up the task,

Of winning sinners as His own,

Taking their judgment to the last;

The Father sees it not enough,

To reward Him with Israel’s race,

Nay, He asserts His boundless love,

And calls all nations to His grace.

~

Before Jehovah’s judgment seat,

The Son in agony doth cry:

Yet all His judgment will He mete,

To Christ He turns not pitying eye.

Till, “It is finished,” all is done,

The Trinity’s wrath is satisfied,

Now reascends the Lovely Son,

Now drawing those for whom He died.

~

Before the King, in Beauty Clothed

We stand as prodigals returned,

In perfect righteousness now robed,

From Him for whom our hearts now yearn;

Till in His presence, our faith fulfilling,

To harps of gold His praise we sing,

We strive each day, our hearts now willing,

Our lives a sacrifice to bring.

Farewell, Though I Love Thee Still…

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The need to believe Christ’s portion for me is better than I would have chosen for myself never ceases.

In the dark of the night, made low and contrite,
This one that I trusted has brought me no peace,
Surrender I must, these hopes turned to dust,
And fight back the longing I’m wanting to cease:
The lot my Lord has given me,
Must e’er my joyful portion be.
~
Enrapturing eyes! The heart’s subtle lies,
Find portal to come and to claim them as mine
No words can show, for God only knows
How much I long to cease thus to pine:
Tis good, my heart should be ignored,
To give my devotion to only my Lord.
~
So every day, though often I stray,
All lesser loves must be quickly suppressed
“To none but my Christ, my heart is enticed”
Let this be my boast, above all the rest:
I love the hurt, as each new day,
I feel Him purge the dross away.
~
Sweet lovers all, unto thee I call,
Submit thy hearts to none but Him
The thrice Holy Lamb, the Risen I Am,
Who breaks from us the bonds of sin:
He who was faithful with thy soul,
Will guard thy  heart, and keep it whole.
~
Though real be the pain,  much greater the gain,
To have our idols thus withdrawn
The Christ we sing, He alone is our King
And unto Him our loves belong:
He’ll give our hearts to whom He will,
And so, farewell, though I love thee still.

Darkness Yields: a Song of Subjective Redemption

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I have ten thousand things I want to write. I typically have them thought out systematically and all my thoughts are gathered…always when I am apart from a notepad or keyboard. When I do find time to sit down and start typing, all I have is a mess. I think this is the phenomenon known as “Writer’s block.” But for lack of something more original to say, I’ll follow through with my threat to use old material for new posts. The following is a poem which a wrote earlier last summer; I offer here a little explanation.

One of the truths upon which believers have for centuries built their hopes is that which is found in Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” No matter what their theological background with regards to belief in Sovereignty, these words provide a Worship-inducing grounds for hope in times when sight runs entirely contrary to faith. But even with such words as these, we are still perplexed when the circumstances in which we find ourselves are the result nothing other than our blatant disobedience. God works all the natural disasters, wars, sicknesses and bodily woes together toward that great end, that God would conform those whom He foreknew and Predestined into the image of His beloved Son; but when it comes to our own sin, we are hardly as sure. We rightly feels the pangs of repentance, if we are in the right frame of heart. We are grieved and shaken to the core that we have misrepresented our Saviour and King, and possibly have done damage to His cause.

But all too often, we stop short there: we never allow for the necessary accompaniment to repentance, namely faith. Faith, not only believing everything God says about sin is true and therefore repentance in so hugely necessary; but also that His every promise is true, His salvation is true. Even to the point of believing that the consequences of our sin will be used by God for His glory.

Now I am not trying to be therapeutic towards sin, God forbid. But to give God full glory, we must believe that He lays hold even of individual sin, and uses that as a means toward expelling sin as a whole from the hearts of those He loves. He is not the author of sin: but praise His name! He is the one who chastens and sanctifies His own.

Two examples would include: Joseph’s brothers. They knew they were doing wrong, and deliberately proceeded with it because of their self-serving, idolatrous jealousy. Yet that was used by God to presence His people, a people through whom the Promised Messiah would come. Or to jump forward several thousand years, a law school student rebelled against his parent’s wishes and became a monk. He later acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and his choice sinful. But oh, how great the visible good God has chosen to bring about through the monk, Martin Luther.

I thought on these things while considering the case of some friends of mine, and holding their beautiful month-old boy. They had been through much, yes, and suffered much for their sin. But even so, God sustained them, and worked things so as to bless their souls beyond what they could ask or think. Out of that came the following:

The darkest night, no morn in sight,

The sin which rent the soul apart,

When flesh seemed strong, oh how we longed,

For Christ to come and warm our hearts.

Did He delay? we could not see

His hand at work behind the cloud

Shortsighted, then we saw but darkness,

In which, it seemed, our souls were shroud.

~

A ray of light, had caught our sight,

When Hopelessness seemed all our lot

The sweetest tryst, was ours in Christ,

By His love, forsaken not.

What was for evil, this He took,

To show the power of His grace,

Though mist around us, seemed yet unclear,

The Sun of Glory showed His face.

~

Now you are here, I hold you near,

A wonder of the Maker’s hand,

You are the one, oh precious son,

The Father used to show His plan.

Though hard the sowing, in patience waiting,

Though hard the doubtings through the night,

What joys attended this our reaping,

As darkness yields to Morning light.

Faber on Prayer

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Here’s a poem on prayer. It was the first that I alighted upon in the book The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, compiled by Tozer. You should read it carefully, and with a comtemplative spirit and feeling of need. Listen to what Faber writes:

Ah dearest Lord, I cannot pray,

My fancy is not free;

Unmannerly distractions come,

And force my thoughts from Thee

~

The world that looks so dull all day,

Glows bright on me in prayer,

And plans that ask no thought but then,

Wake up and meet me there.

~

All nature one full fountain seems,

Of dreamy sight and sound,

Which, when I kneel breaks up its deeps,

And makes a deluge round.

~

Old voices murmer in my ear,

New hopes start to life,

And past and future gaily blend,

In one bewitching strife.

~

My very flesh has restless fits,

My changeful limbs conspire,

With all these phantoms of the mind,

My inner self to tire.

~

I cannot pray, yet Lord, Thou knowest

The pain it is to me,

To have my vainly struggling thoughts
Thus torn away from Thee.

~

Sweet Jesus! teach me how to prize

These tedious hours when I

Foolish and mute before Thy face,

In helpless worship lie.

~

Prayer was not meant for luxery,

Or selfish pastime sweet;

It is the prostrate creature’s place

At his Creator’s feet.

~

Had I, Dear Lord! no pleasure found,

But in the thought of Thee,

Prayer would have come unsought, and been

A truer liberty.

~

Yet Thou art oft most present Lord

In weak distracted prayer:

A sinner out of heart with self

Most often finds Thee there.

~

For prayer that humbles sets the soul

From all illusions free,

And teaches it how utterly,

Dear Lord! it hangs on Thee.

~

The heart that on self-sacrifice

Is covetously bent,

Will bless Thy chastening hand that makes

Its prayer its punishment.

~

My Saviour! why should I complain?

And why fear aught but sin?

Distractions are but outward things;

Thy peace dwells far within.

~

These surface troubles come and go,

Like rufflings of the sea;

The deeper depth is out of reach,

To all, my God, but Thee.

~~

Fredrick William Faber