Poems by Paula Worth        

Contents:   (Click on Title)

To Live or Die ?
Choices
My Peace I Give Unto You
Repentance
The Lonely Road
The Purpose
Walking with Jesus
The Lion
The Reason for the Fire
Light
Pilate said, "What is Truth?"
Israel
I Thought of Temptation
I Thought of Sorrow ...
I Thought of Pain
I Thought of Love
November
Requiem for a Robin
Emmanuel
Perspectives
I Crossed the Threshold
It Isn't Fair
Hope
King of kings
I am a Poppy
Pain ... Unwelcome, Uninvited    
Summer
O Little Mouse
Memories
The Treaties of Men
Guilt
Tiny fragile life
New Life
Witness
Victory or Defeat
Will you have this king to reign over you?
Following the Maker's Instructions
No Cross - No Christianity
Autumn Perspective
Called Away
A Prayer
The Pilgrim Way
Shadows
Listening
A Hopeless End or an Endless Hope?
God's Rescue Plan
Time
The Performance
Passover
Mercy and Grace
Mid-Winter
Glimpses of Heaven
Weep with Those who Weep
The Tears We Shed
Dementia
Looking Forward
An Empty Cross
The Gospel According to Barabbas
You Could Have Stayed in Heaven
Trust
A Feather on the Breath of God
A Death Anticipated
A Place of Unknowing
Outrageous Grace
Voices from the Edge
Jars of Clay
A Place of Springs
The Carpenter
God's Greater Plan
Remembrance
Choices
Eternal Certainties
The Father's Will
Beyond Understanding
Passover Fulfilled
The Father's Plan
Doubt
Singing in the Dark
The Emmaus Road
Kyrie Eleison
The Valley of Baca
Coming Soon
The Cost
Growing Old
Opportunity
He Made the the Tiny Wren
The Shadow of His Wings

 
To Live or Die?

God made a world, He fashioned it,
The hills, the sea, the sky.
He made a man and gave to him
The choice to live or die.

Man chose his way, from life he passed,
To sin and death and shame,
But God in love was tender yet
And to His children came.

He came, at first a little child,
To suffer and to die,
That we, each one, may have the choice,
The choice to live or die.

Will you accept Him now you know
The sacrifice He made?
Or would you still be lost in sin
As if the price had not been paid?

The choice is yours, the way is clear,
You can alone decide,
Whether you turn your back on Him,
Or in His love abide.

 
      [Contents]

 
Choices

1 Kgs 1426,27  Is 6017

'Brass for gold' the world would offer,
Steal our precious gold away
With subtle sins and tawdry pleasures;
The cheapened values of today.

'Brass for gold' the world allures us;
"Obey the impulse which you feel,
Love and live and laugh together,
Doesn't matter it's not real."

Brief these vain and idle pleasures,
Bringing momentary joy,
Then we weep in disappointment,
Like a child with broken toy.

"Gold for brass," our Saviour whispers,
"All that's pure, and good and true
Can be yours, if you accept me,
But the choice is up to you."

'Brass or gold'. Each one must answer,
Jesus' offer is to all;
Choose today the gold of Heaven,
By responding to his call.

 
      [Contents]

 
My Peace I Give Unto You

Jn 1427

Peace when I am resting, Peace when I am gladdened,
Peace when life rewards me without the sorrows added,
Peace when I have plenty, Peace when I succeed,
Peace to add to joy and grace; I praise my Lord indeed!
But peace when I am storm-tossed? Peace within the pain?
Peace when I can't see the way ahead, or follow gain?
Peace when I lose all things, Peace even when I fail?
The Peace that comes from Jesus, that Peace can still prevail.
Peace that speaks in trouble, peace that lifts the pain,
Peace that triumphs over all, and gives me rest again.
Peace that means I prove His Word, and all His will for me,
Peace that reigns within my heart until eternity ...
This is the peace He longs to give, my Saviour and my King,
The Peace that nothing can disturb - that deep unruffled calm.
Not as the world the Saviour gives His own mysterious balm.
But looking now at Calvary I see the price He paid
To give me Peace;
The rock was cleft, the veil torn,
The way to God for me was made ...
And shall I fret or doubt His will when He says,
"Peace, be still."

 
      [Contents]

 
Repentance

I kneel as the woman long ago
Knelt at Jesus' feet.
Silently my spirit weeps ...
With my tears I would wash the feet of Jesus.
Repentance flows from my heart,
The fragrance of my broken spirit
Rises to Him as sweet perfume;
The vessel emptied, poured out to Him,
The good and bad together,
My offering ...
With my tears I would wash the feet of Jesus.
Gently He lifts me up,
Forgiveness is in His touch
"Those who have been forgiven much, love much ..."
With my tears I have washed the feet of Jesus.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Lonely Road

You said you'd walk with Me;
I turned My face to Calvary ...
Your footsteps dragged.
You said you'd watch with Me;
I knelt in Gethsemane,
"Father your will be done in Me ..."
You slept.
You said you'd die with Me;
They nailed Me to a cross,
And what they did to Me
Seemed not like victory ...
You fled.
And now you cry to Me
Because your pain
Is more than you can bear.
I understand my child ...
I care.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Purpose

If I believed that all that I was going thro'
Was but the hand of Fate, or chance, or whim
Of some unknown capricious god ...
An accident perhaps, exploding atoms,
An inadvertently created Man.
Then I would seize at every fleeting pleasure
And hasten to fulfill my every whim,
Would grasp at all the world appeared to offer,
Demanding happiness, believing in
The Now ...
But I believe in purposeful creation
The preparation for a realm more real
Than all these days called life;
When all my times and moments be extinguished,
The triumph learned thro' every suffering sealed
In Eternity.
And so to me is given joy, endurance;
The courage to look up, anticipate
All that my Father planned
And its fulfilment,
When long ago he said,
"Let us create ..."

 
      [Contents]

 
Walking with Jesus

2 Co 120

Moonlit pathway on the water
Leading out to sea;
Untried ways that call me onward
Beckon mysteriously.
Clouds that race across the moonlight ...
Will I find my way,
Chart the course ahead correctly,
Turn the night to day?
Now I hear my Father speaking,
"I will give you peace,
Each new day is my adventure:
Fear and doubt can cease.
As you learn to trust me fully,
Walk my path for you,
You will find my way is holy
All my word is true.
The promises that are in Jesus
Are always 'yes' in him:
The 'amen' that I give to honour
His great suffering.
He's gone before in every journey,
Knows which way is best;
So step out on your moonlit pathway ...
I give you peace and rest."

 
      [Contents]

 
The Lion

I was free until the day they came
With nets to ensnare me.
I fought with all my strength ...
To no avail;
Their cunning ways were not
The weapons I was used to.
They carried me away
And put me in a cage,
And said I'd settle down.
But I was troubled,
Pacing to and fro,
Restless in my spirit.
Destined to live some other way
Than this apology for living.
No longer can I roam
And hunt my prey,
My untamed spirit glorying in
The vastness of my territory.
But now must pace, and lie,
And sleep, and dream
Of all that other world
Beyond the bars.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Reason for the Fire

Within this frail vessel lies
The crucible wherein my faith is tested.
The refiner alone knows how delicate is his task;
The flame must be neither so low that dross remains,
Nor yet so high that the fragile beauty of the crucible
Is shattered for ever in its heat.
And so steadily and gently he applies his fire,
His only motive my purification;
His purpose not wavering,
His eyes fixed on the beauty that he will one day behold ...
Regarding nonetheless my present suffering with compassion,
The identification of one who has also walked in the fire,
And proved that it does not utterly consume,
Even if it should include a Calvary.
As in my fire I cry out to Him
And see him walking freely towards me,
I realise afresh that only in the fire
Are my bonds burned away;
And I receive a heart poured thro' with love,
His love to stand with others in their fire,
Until in that final purity
We stand together at his throne.

 
      [Contents]

 
Light

Light everlasting, no beginning or ending
Light springing out of Life eternal;
Light to enlighten every man
Whose spirit reaches out to embrace that Light;
God's final Word to overcome
The darkness of the World.
As a flower reaching out to the sun
My light-sensitive spirit,
Created to reflect his
Reaches out to this one true Light.
The Word made flesh,
Graciously desiring to be
My Emmanuel,
And make my darkness
Light.

 
      [Contents]

 
Pilate said, "What is Truth?"

And I too grapple with this question.
Is truth the under-scoring of my favourite doctrines,
Is it truth that I believe, or am I tradition-bound,
Brain-washed into believing other men's persuasions?
Is it truth because I, or they, feel strongly about it,
And have the gift of eloquence to sway my mind?
Is it truth because it is presented to my emotions,
Demanding some response?
Or is it even the things that I want to believe
About myself, or others?
In conflict, when there are so many different voices
What is truth then?
What do I believe ... whose advice do I take?
Perhaps truth is simply the absence of all pretence,
Clear eyes unafraid to meet mine ...
In seeking truth, may it never become an end in itself,
But rather lead me closer to the One who,
Being the Truth, and bearing witness to it,
May bring me to the fullness of truth,
In his own time.

 
      [Contents]

 
Israel

(after reading Zechariah)

When you were a child I loved you,
Tho' you turned your face from me,
Held my arms out while you stumbled,
Longed to teach you to walk free;
Watched in anguish while the nations
One by one declared you'd die
Without trace, not understanding
You're the apple of my eye.
Still I sent you as I'd promised
My Messiah, Holy Lamb,
O my heartache then, and sorrow
When you didn't see my plan.
Now I wait my bride to cherish,
These are days for other men
To find grace and my salvation,
Days to be fulfilled, and then,
Then with shouts of 'Grace' and 'Glory',
My Corner-stone now recognised,
I shall pluck you from the burning
And declare you justified.
Then the fountain which I opened
Still shall plead your cause to me;
And my child, beloved Israel
Bring me joy - Eternally.

 
      [Contents]

 
I Thought of Temptation

1 Co. 1013

I thought of temptation ...
And Satan said to me,
"See how close to the edge of the precipice you are,
Come and watch the black waters swirl and gurgle,
How soon they would swallow you up ...
One push from me and you'd be in ..."

And with a sinking, sick despair,
I knew that he was right
But we were not alone on the edge of the precipice ...

And Another said to me
"Just because you stand on the edge
Of a precipice, there is no need to fall over.
See, I have made a path for your feet,
And here is another way to climb ..."
And I said, "Hold my hand, Abba Father,
Don't let me go."
And we journeyed together.

 
      [Contents]

 
I Thought of Sorrow ...

And Satan said to me
"See what He allows you to bear
Who calls Himself your lover.
Such crushing sorrow will surely break you
And leave you useless."
And listening to his voice
I was filled with fear and resentment,
And anger rose in my heart ...

But Another drew near
And I heard Him say,
"Can I trust you My child with this sorrow?
True, it is heavy, but I will not leave you
To carry it alone
And you will find that
It is in the way in which you receive it
And offer it back to Me
That your release and wholeness comes;
A purging and a purity that would not be possible
If I had allowed this sorrow to pass you by."

And in my acceptance of His unquestionable wisdom
Came peace.

 
      [Contents]

 
I Thought of Pain

And Satan said to me,
"Is this the abundant life He offered you
This constant twisting of the knife?" ...
And listening to his voice my pain
Was a nagging in my body
And a bitterness in my soul.

But Another said to me,
"Am I not inflicted with your pain, and
Were not My stripes for your healing?
And if for the 'little while' of this life
You suffer pain, then remember that
Even this you can offer to Me
As a sweet sacrifice;
And you will be as you never would have been
If I had deemed it otherwise
And let you walk an easy road."

And then I understood a little more
Of His Eternal purposes.

 
      [Contents]

 
I Thought of Love

And Satan said to me,
"If you give yourself in love to others
You will become vulnerable and naked,
And mostly your reward will be
Hurt and disappointment ..."
And listening to his voice
Fear rose up as a barrier between myself
And those that I would love.

But Another said to me ...
"True, love will bring heartache and pain,
Did not my love for you bring me to Calvary?
But it is only by entering into my Calvary love
That you will know the depths
and the riches such love can bring,
And be able to see the poverty
that those without my love walk in."

And putting aside my fear I replied
"Lord teach me more of Calvary love."

 
      [Contents]

 
November

Damp and still,
A misty chill
Has settled on the land.
Drops of rain
On the pane
Remind me Winter
Is at hand.
A lonely crow,
Nowhere to go
Laments his plight
And takes his flight
To distant tree-tops ...
November still ...
November chill ...
November will
Soon pass away
And then we'll come
To Christmas.

 
      [Contents]

 
Requiem for a Robin

Rest now in peace
My little feathered friend.
Your noble song has ceased,
Your flight come to an end.
As dust to dust
And ashes you return,
A breath of the Creator,
Who loving beauty, made you
For His own enjoyment.
I wonder what you ever did
To deserve your end ? ...
Or were you just a part
Of all that groans
In this creation ?
A part of nature's law,
Seen in the cruel claw,
The unrepentant paw
Of Cat.

 
      [Contents]

 
Emmanuel

Welcome to the world little Child,
Born to die as all men are ...
And yet yours was a different death;
A life given from a sinless span,
A life laid down,
No other man could do what you have done.
A life not taken, but
A willing sacrifice,
To pay the price my sin demands from a God
Who cannot deny his own righteousness ...
Welcome to my heart little Child;
My trembling trust
And hope of heaven
Rests only in your willingness
To be my sacrificial Lamb.

 
      [Contents]

 
Perspectives

Let me live in the light of eternity.
In that perspective of life, which seeing
The eternal as God sees it,
Casts aside the disappointments of daily life -
My narrow human vision of now,
And rises up to embrace whatever fire
He allows me to pass through.
That with the dross consumed,
And the shining gold revealed,
I may bring joy to the heart of Jesus;
Who for this joy also had to die.

 
      [Contents]

 
I Crossed the Threshold

I crossed the threshold to a fuller life,
I walked in freedom on another shore;
My many pains and sorrows were no more ...
They called it death.
Death? ... to be at last made one
With him who gave me life?
Please tell them on that other shore
That theirs is grief, but mine no more ...
I call it life ... Eternal.

 
      [Contents]

 
It Isn't Fair

"It isn't fair", I cry,
When life seems full of hurt and care
When my dreams are shattered
When the things that matter most to me
All slip away, and in dismay
The empty shell I see.

"It isn't fair?" One questioned,
"Was it fair that I should die
When they hung me high
For things I did not do.
Was it fair, or was it just,
Did I cry out, 'Enough!'
Or did I let them do their worst
That I might do my best for you?"

I turned my head with tears of shame;
I didn't need to ask his name.
"Life isn't fair", he said.

 
      [Contents]

 
Hope

All Winter long I waited
For the Spring ...
The naked branches seemed to mock,
The hardened earth gave forth no life;
The birds had ceased to sing.
How did I know
That once again these days would end?
And Spring her glorious garment wear,
A gentle benison descend
To cover every living thing ...
I did not know ... I hoped.
When hope explodes in certainty,
When Spring, Winter defies,
I glimpse then of Eternity ...
I look into his eyes.

 
      [Contents]

 
King of kings

Over Jerusalem he wept,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
In the Upper Room the Passover kept,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
"No one takes my life. I lay it down."
King of kings and Lord of lords,
Not to win an earthly crown for the
King of kings and Lord of lords,
On a donkey he rode as they waved their palms,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
In the court he stood as they washed their hands,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
On the cross he hung and was crucified,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
Conquered death on the day he died,
King of kings and Lord of lords,
And sometimes we "Hosanna" cry, to the
King of kings and Lord of lords,
But when our shouts are "Crucify", he's still
King of kings and Lord of lords.

 
      [Contents]

 
I am a Poppy

I am a poppy bending,
Bending in the wind.
The corn on slender stalks
Nod their heads in acquaintance ...
In the same field we grow,
But long before the reaper comes
My fragile flower will blow away,
And yield its glory to the earth ...
While the corn will come to harvest
And be used by man for food.
And yet I have a part to play;
My brief moment of beauty gladdens
The heart of Creator and created alike ...
And it is said that man
Shall not live by bread alone ...
So shall I doubt the value of my role
While poppies gladly dance in fields of corn?

 
      [Contents]

 
Pain ... Unwelcome, UninvitedGuest

"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ...
The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
 Is 534-6

Pain ...
Unwelcome, uninvited guest,
Invades my body,
Steals my rest.
The more I resolutely try
To conquer him,
He conquers me ...
But wait,
Upon a Cross I see
The Son of God
Who speaks to me.
"Come lay your heavy burden here;
At my feet the pain and tears
Of all the world are laid.
This is the place where I have paid
In full the price ...
Your wholeness here receive."

 
      [Contents]

 
Summer

What is Summer? ... let me paint
A picture with my pen
Of warmth, and festal fruitfulness;
Of patient blackbird sitting
Upon her clutch of eggs,
Of swallow as she swoops and dives
To feed her precious young,
Of long tall grasses swaying,
Of glorious setting sun.
Then before the darkening storm
That heralds Summer's end,
The singing grain, full ripened
Before the reaper bends. ...
The bread to eat, the seed to sow
Saved from the golden grain ...
God grants the rest of Winter days,
The sleeping earth in dormant phase
Before the cycle starts again.

"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer
and winter, day and night will never cease."  Gen 822

 
      [Contents]

 
O Little Mouse

"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, ...
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the Lord.
  Is 6525

O little mouse
Your tiny house
Of moss and leaves
Deserted.
Your jewel bright eyes,
So recently alive,
Now dimmed;
Your silky fur dishevelled ...
The proud cat sits,
Victor over her victim;
Polishing her face and whiskers
With those now-sheathed claws,
Soft as velvet paws ...
Surely there will come a day
In the great Creator's plan
When cat and mouse,
And even man,
Shall dwell in peace together?

 
      [Contents]

 
Memories

Lord of all my yesterdays
I bring to you all the things
That hurt me to remember ...
The half recollected images
That flit across the screen
Of my subconscious,
Leaving disturbing ripples in my life
That I scarcely understand.
All these I bring to your Cross, Lord,
And know that only when I leave them there
Can I truly be free.
I receive your word that in you
I am a new creation,
The old gone ... the new, exciting
About to happen.
And I put my hand in yours,
Lord of all my tomorrows ...
For who else can I trust?

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation."  2 Co 517

 
      [Contents]

 
The Treaties of Men

Around the conference tables
Of the world
The powerful are met
To pontificate or vacillate ...
The treaties of men
Are motivated by fear,
And honoured when convenient;
"We'll bring you peace,"
Their oft repeated cry.
"Arms for oil - we'll make a deal,
Land for peace." ...
They give away
What isn't theirs to give ...
While in the gutter children live,
And hold up empty hands; and die.
Hunger and oppression reign,
Disease is rampant, and the pain
Of lostness in so many eyes ...
And once again
The Man of Sorrows weeps,
Again is crucified.

When Jesus ... saw the city, he wept ...saying,
"Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace."
 Luke 1941

 
      [Contents]

 
Guilt

I thought of my guilt
As Satan accused me
Of all that I'd done
That was wrong.
I knew he was right,
And my heart agreed
That the judgement be hard
And the punishment long.
But Jesus said,
"Child, remember my word,
And look at the Cross
Where I died.
Your sin and your guilt
Are the nails and the thorns
And the spear
That they put in my side.
First on the Cross
And then in the grave
But my love
Was stronger than that.
For I burst through the bonds
And returned to my throne;
And I burst through the bonds,
But I wasn't alone!
Now fully forgiven
You stand at my side.
Now eternally loved,
All guilt set aside."

"There is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus."
 Ro 81

 
      [Contents]

 
Tiny Fragile Life

Tiny fragile life,
Cradled in the Father's hands;
Love unfailing made his plans
Before you breathed.
Fruit of your parent's love,
Awaited with joy and hope;
Yielded to him again
Each living breath.
Safe in the Father's hands,
Whether in earth or heaven,
Wisdom unsearchable has known
Your days and hours.

 
      [Contents]

 
New Life

Now Winter, frosty foe, retreats,
Gives up her barren ground.
Life's ebb and flow,
And pulse and growth
In every corner found ...
So Spring is here
And evenings are not dark.
The golden daffodils abound,
Their blooms a shout of triumph
In the Park.
And Jesus, Son of God Most High,
Gives up his life,
Content to die
That we, though sinful may receive
God's grace,
And share with him
The great reprieve.
So life is come,
His dying not in vain,
Our lives a shout of triumph
To his name.

 
      [Contents]

 
Witness

Jesus said to them,
"You will receive power ...
And you will be my witnesses."
 Act 17,8

I may not physically have touched his hand
Or looked into his eyes,
Nor poured my perfume out
As Mary did upon his feet
To seek forgiveness,
May not have walked the dusty roads he trod,
And seen the miracles performed.
But I have met with him in other ways,
His word and Spirit in my heart
Bear witness to the life he gives.
As I believe, I know of sin forgiven,
Receive his joy and power.
And from my overflowing heart
Become a witness to his grace.
And may the fragrance of his love
Which captured me
Help others to believe.

 
      [Contents]

 
Victory or Defeat?

It didn't seem like a great victory,
Wrongly accused in the court,
Found guilty without a fair trial,
As a pretext to kill him they sought.
So they led him away, the soldiers,
They thought they were in control
Of this stumbling, bleeding, dying Man
Who had made so many whole.
But Jesus turned, eyes dark with pain,
"Weep for yourselves," he said,
"Would that you knew of my kingdom ...
I offer you living bread."

It didn't seem like a great victory,
In fact it looked like defeat,
A cross for the only Son of God?
But the story is not complete.
"No one takes my life," said Jesus,
"As you'll see in three days time.
This cross is the price I'm willing to pay,
Your sin has been counted as mine."
So it wasn't defeat for Jesus,
But a victory he won that day;
Our sin and our shame are nailed to his name
And he offers a living way.

 
      [Contents]

 
Will you have this king to reign over you?

Will you have this king to reign over you,
Though his kingdom you cannot see?
No palace, no robe, no royal throne,
No promise of earthly peace.
No! cried the rulers and rich men,
"This king will never please."

Will you have this king to reign over you,
Messiah, Anointed One?
Promised of old, to the sheep of his fold,
Will you believe he is come?
No! cried the religious leaders,
"This king we will never crown."

Will you have this king to reign over you,
Child of the world today?
Material wealth versus spiritual health,
Will you choose the narrow way?
What will you answer the King of Kings,
When you meet with him today?

 
      [Contents]

 
Following the Maker's Instructions

When we buy a new appliance,
Or when we learn to cook;
We start by reading carefully
Instructions from a book.
It tells us how to get the best
Results from what we've bought;
Or how to make the recipe
Taste as it really ought.

But when we look at how we live
In these 'enlightened' days
It seems that the Instruction Book
Is often thrown away ...
And then there is no right and wrong,
And nothing's black or white,
We trust the 'feel-good' factor
To tell us what is right.
We talk of our experiences,
Rush headlong into life,
And wonder why there's problems,
Trouble, heartache, strife.

So if you'd like to change your life
And walk another way,
Please take out your Bible
And read it every day.
And there you'll find the rules for life,
The way to heaven too;
Instructions from the Maker
Especially for you!

 
      [Contents]

 
No Cross - No Christianity

God is holy. I am not.
Therefore we cannot meet.
My sin deserves his judgement -
My misery complete.
And all the good deeds I would do
And all the laws I keep
Will only emphasise my need
To find his mercy seat.

Now God can show his mercy,
For Jesus, in my place
Died to make me holy
And offers me his grace.
So judgement meets with mercy,
And when my case is tried
The all-redeeming blood of Christ
Will claim me as his child.

"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of salvation." 1 Co 118

 
      [Contents]

 
Autumn Perspective

One last perfect rose of Summer
Stands in a vase alone,
Its perfume a gentle reminder
Of days that will soon be gone.
The kitchen that smells of Autumn
Where onions are strung from the beam,
Red berries and tall pampas grasses
In a jug on the dresser are seen.
A garden where most of the produce
Is harvested, stored away,
The evocative smell of a bonfire
As the smoke spirals up at the end of the day.
The barn where the bales are waiting
To feed hungry cattle and sheep,
A silo where barley is drying
To provide them with Winter keep.
A field that is dark in the sunlight,
Rich earth where the furrow is ploughed;
A wood where the leaves drift lazily down
The trees standing upright and proud.
A town where the Autumn bustle
Means the children are back at school,
And mothers are shopping and meeting,
The days feeling brisk and cool.
These ordinary things that employ us
Bring order, and joy to our days,
They act as a pattern and anchor
In the puzzle that makes up life's maze.
And when the alarm bells are ringing,
The news filled with horror, so grim
We can shift our perspective a little,
And draw on the strength from within.
Learn to cherish the good, and the lovely,
Give thanks for the blessings God sends,
See his smile on the face of a stranger
Or walk hand in hand with a friend.

 
      [Contents]

 
Called Away

A shaft of sunlight in a dusty room
Falls upon an instrument,
Unplayed and out of tune.
The one who plucked the strings
Was called away,
His home and hearth, and violin
Slip into decay.
These earthly things will crumble into dust.
Far better then to trust
That other realm.
Silenced there his tears and strife,
He enters the eternal life,
And meets the Master Music-maker there.
A violin in perfect tune is near ...
His trembling fingers strengthened on the bow
And glorious heavenly music starts to flow.

 
      [Contents]

 
A Prayer

For a gentle sense of humour when mine wears rather thin,
For happy news of family and friends;
For strength to tackle harder days,
For courage as I find the way
To keep the lurking fears at bay,
For knowledge of a Saviour and a Friend.
Dear Lord, I thank you.

For all the things that might have been,
For disappointments, hopes and dreams,
The heartaches that are common to mankind;
For these, that emphasise to me my human frailty and need,
That make me look beyond myself
And see my Saviour.
Dear Lord, I thank you.

For all the things that I don't know
For days as yet unlived,
Uncertainties and questions in my mind,
I bring them to my God in prayer,
Our life, our future, in his care
And know that He our burden shares.
Dear Lord, I trust you.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Pilgrim Way

We do not know how long the road,
How steep the hill we have to climb;
The future hidden from our eyes,
We see but one step at a time.
A way to walk, a path well worn
By others who have gone before,
The pilgrim way that leads us on,
And ends on the eternal shore.
A Father's mercy doesn't show us
All we'll have to bear,
But promises his grace and strength,
A Shepherd's tender care.
He'll walk with us, and lead the way,
And quieten our fears,
He'll be there in the darkest night,
And gently dry our tears.
We may not know how long the road,
The end is out of sight,
But the Shepherd leads us safely
To the eternal light.

 
      [Contents]

 
Shadows

Flickering lantern light casts shadows
On the rough stone wall;
Footsteps fall in the dark night,
The warm breath of ox and ass at rest,
A rack of hay rewards the work of day
And quiet reigns at last.
But then the cries of labour, pangs of birth,
As into this humble corner of God's earth
A child is born; hear the infant's cry
And wonder why, as Mary must have done ...
"Why here? Why now? Why me, my God
To bring to birth your Son?
This costly gift, for you to give
And me to bear,
To have within my care
The Lord of all."
And in the flickering lantern light
The shadow of the manger
Made a cross upon the wall.

 
      [Contents]

 
Listening

"Here we are then, you and I,
and Christ ... makes a third between us."

Aelred of Rievaulx

I listened as you talked,
The broken pieces of your shattered dreams
Pierced you through;
The path you'd walked
Of sorrow and of pain
Were all too much for you.
And so I listened,
Privileged to be a part of your hurt,
Trusted to see you naked and afraid,
Your broken heart laid bare ...
And listening, became aware
That we were not alone;
The brokeness of heart you knew
Found echoes in his own.
He took the jagged pieces gently in his hands
And made of them a pattern
In the new life he had planned all along,
While standing in the shadows by your side,
Waiting for this moment,
For the turning of the tide.

 
      [Contents]

 
A Hopeless End or an Endless Hope?

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even if he dies."
  Jn 1125

A hopeless end to a troubled life,
Strung on a cross to die,
The death of a common criminal
To be mocked by the passers-by?
A hopeless end to the miracles;
Could he not save himself,
When he'd saved so many others
Restoring them to health?
The end of hope for his mother,
The disciples despaired of him too,
And they ran away and left him
To do what he had to do.

But stay and listen to the words
For one who hung by his side,
"Today ... in Paradise ... with me,"
He promised before he died.
So the hopeless end begins to turn
Into endless hope, as we
The promise of Paradise regain
By his death on Calvary.
So the darkest day the earth had known
Was the day that the light broke through,
And death became life eternal
As the promise of God proved true.

 
      [Contents]

 
God's Rescue Plan

God made a world, he fashioned it,
The seas and hills and plains,
He planted there a garden
For the man that he had made.
And God was pleased with all his work,
He thought it ‘very good',
Looking out upon the land
Not marred or spoiled in any way,
Each detail just as he had planned:
He rested on the seventh day.

Perfection didn't last for long,
The story of man's fall
Finds echoes in each sinners heart
And we are guilty, all.
Now God looked sadly on his world,
He wept to see such sin,
All the beauty he had made
Marred and spoiled and dimmed.
The story might have ended there,
The judgement justly given,
But, Jesus, our Emmanuel, came
God's rescue plan from heaven.
From the cradle to the Cross,
From the manger to the tomb,
Patiently he bore it all
To bring the guilty sinner home.

 
      [Contents]

 
Time

There is a time for everything, ...
and God has made everything beautiful in its time.

Ecc 31,11

A child in long and sunlit days
Has no perception of their flight,
Tomorrow seems so far away,
A day is long enough for all his plans,
And then the night to dream.

The man is tall and strong,
The days are never long enough
For all he has to do;
To make his mark, and shape his world,
And take responsibility while there is time.

But then the years are flown.
A little while is all he has;
The days pass swiftly by.
So many things that he had planned
Before his Maker he prepares to meet.
But now, to younger, eager hands
The torch is passed,
To swifter feet
That they may run
And finish what he has begun.

And so the circle comes around;
The child, the man, the child again.
Time echoes with his running feet,
And history is not complete
Without his name.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Performance

The stage is set, the backdrop lit
Hushed expectation in the wings;
The orchestra are seated in the pit
And start to tune their strings ...
Now the actor waits his cue,
One last deep breath
And out he steps,
His audience to woo.
To take them from their everyday,
Their ordinary working lives,
Invited for an hour or two
To laugh and care,
Or gasp and weep
As he commands,
Till as the curtain falls
He bows, and disappears from view ...
Repeated curtain calls
Return him once, and then again,
But then he's gone.
Bright lights replace
The darkened stage of fantasy
Reality returns to chase
The world of make believe away.
And homeward-bound,
The lamplit streets
Seem somehow dull and grey.

 
      [Contents]

 
Passover

Each man is to take a lamb ...
the blood will be a sign for you ...
and when I see the blood I will pass over you.
 Exd 123,13
Jesus, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed ...
therefore let us keep the feast.
 1 Co 57,8
Without the shedding of blood
there is no forgiveness of sin.
 Heb 922

Long ago in Egypt, God outlined a plan
To save his chosen people out of Pharaoh's hand.
That final night in every house each man shall take a lamb,
Perfect and whole in every way, it's blood shall be a sign.
"And when I see the blood," God said, "I'll know that you are mine."
This Passover will be the way, your children shall recall the day,
When instead of judgement from my hand
I led them out of slavery to freedom in the Promised Land.
And later on in history, and in God's plan and will
Another Lamb was given, his purpose to fulfil.
A Saviour and Redeemer for all the human race,
A Passover of judgement - A miracle of grace.
For on the cross, his arms spread wide, and nailed in agony
He shed his blood at Passover, from sin to set us free.
Perfect and whole in every way, his blood will be the sign.
"For when I see the blood," God said, "I'll know that they are mine."

 
      [Contents]

 
Mercy and Grace

Mercy is not getting what we do deserve
Grace is getting what we do not deserve

God's wrath against mankind he has made known,
As Adam's fallen race has spread and sown
His evil deeds across the globe.
We stand without excuse before his throne,
And know his judgement just, for he alone
Can see our hearts and all we hide within.
And who would dare to say he has no sin?
But now a plan from God revealed.
On the cross, in blood the contract sealed,
The sinless Saviour died ... my Advocate.
By faith his righteousness I take.
What overwhelming mercy this,
That I am justified and freed to live.
My punishment is set aside;
No longer do I need to hide
As Adam did of old.
For now I hear the Father say,
"Come, walk with me today,
My own dear child, my friend to be,
Now and for eternity -
Yes, come and walk beside me, look into my face,
As to a Father's mercy I add a Saviour's grace."

 
      [Contents]

 
Mid-Winter

8'oclock, and reluctantly the darkness releases
The frosty land to another winter's day.
The naked trees silhouetted against the sky
Offer little shelter to the rooks, who rise
In a dark cloud to make their morning protest.
While below the sheep huddle together for warmth,
Their lambs, for the moment,
Still tucked safe in the womb.
Mid-winter, and time to remember
The coming of the Good Shepherd;
Arriving, appropriately enough,
In a cattle shed, surrounded by animals,
And sharing their manger for his bed.
An unlikely setting for the Son of the King;
But told of long before by prophets,
Welcomed by angels and shepherds
And travelling magi ...
And since then by wise men everywhere.
JESUS - God's Christmas gift to us,
Himself in infant form.

 
      [Contents]

 
Glimpses of Heaven

Oh to escape from the bonds of the flesh,
To soar to those places my soul would possess,
To kneel at his footstool by mercy and grace,
To dwell on his glory, to look on his face,
And the God of Creation bless.

Oh to be free from convention and time,
To know that forever I'm his, and he's mine;
To bathe in the fragrance of that lovely place
To worship in awe that transcends time and space,
And the God of Creation bless.

But for now I catch glimpses of how it could be,
Like Jacob I wrestle and long to be free,
For now I am earthbound, but dimly perceive
The day that is promised, when all will receive
Who trusted in Jesus, that final reprieve;
The glory of heaven, the door open wide
And Jesus there, waiting to take me inside.
For one day this mortal will immortal be,
And there in eternity, there I shall see
The God of Creation blessed.

 
      [Contents]

 

"Bear one another's burdens,
      and so fulfill the law of Christ."
  Gal 62

The world is dark around us
In these wicked godless days,
And we're weary as we swim against the tide;
The peace we've sought has slipped away,
And sometimes in our pain
We even feel God's presence is denied.
There are no words that we can say
To take away your cares,
But we will sit and weep with you as friends;
When it seems there are no answers
To all your heartfelt prayers,
When the night-time of the soul is dark
And all is doubt and fear,
The comfort that we offer is our tears.
For 'two or three' are stronger
Than when one stands alone,
And can help to bear the burden and the pain,
Encircling with love and care,
Compassion tender, earnest prayer,
We offer this in Jesus' precious name.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Tears We Shed

Borne on the wings of prayer
Into that heavenly place,
Before the throne we stand,
Before the Father's face.
We plead the Saviour's name
And intercession there;
The groans we utter in our pain
He turns into a prayer.
The tears we shed he treasures,
The questions and the fears
He gathers up, and quietens
Our doubts, and dries our tears.

"Be still my child, and trust me,
This thorny path you tread
Is known to me, each step you take
I'll be one step ahead.
And yet beside you all the way,
Each day new strength provide,
Give grace to see the journey through
As Saviour, Friend and Guide.
The springs of living water,
Flowing from my throne
Refreshment bring, and wholeness,
To lead you safely home."

 
Ro 826
... The Spirit himself intercedes for us
with groans that words cannot express.

Rev 717
... He will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

 
      [Contents]

 
Dementia

Like a bad dream, the shadowy world of dementia
Creeps up, encroaching reality.
Confusing the past and the present
And magnifying natural fears and anxieties
Out of all proportion.
Within its portals the sufferer
Wanders to and fro, looking for the exit,
Knowing this way is wrong,
But helpless to alter its course.
Feeling frightened and alone,
Even when there is someone to care,
Restlessly weaving a web
From which there is no escape ...
The carer suffers too,
Watching this cruel degeneration
Of a loved one,
Once practical, capable and strong,
Descending into vulnerability and dependence.
Moved at times by tearful compassion,
And at others by a weary exasperation
That even the simplest things
Cannot now be remembered or achieved ...
Together their hearts cry out
How long, O Lord,
How long?

 
      [Contents]

 
Looking Forward

I pray I will not lose my faith
As I grow old,
Or disillusioned by life's pain
May not blow hot and cold.
As life's dark times
Bring heartache and despair,
Frustration at my inability to change,
My faith and hope impair.
But seeing God's fidelity to me,
Faithful through the years,
May humbly in his presence stand
Acknowledging my fears.
Yet confident in self-despair,
My trust is in God's hand,
As all through life I've known his care
The purpose he has planned.
For the God of all the world is just,
Who deigns to be my friend,
His mercy won at Calvary
Will grace to judgement lend.
His courage for the journey
Will some day make me able
To cross that final river
And be welcome at his table.

 
      [Contents]

 
An Empty Cross

An empty cross, an empty tomb
And men with empty hearts
Locked in an upper room.
Now suddenly the Lord appears
He offers peace for fear,
Belief for doubt,
For grief, a victory shout.

"I died ... I rose," he said
Death could not hold
The Son of God,
For I was bold to break its bond.
I am the Law fulfilled,
The One of whom the prophets told,
My mission now complete.
Come see my scars,
My hands and feet will show
The price I paid to save
Each precious soul."

Now Jesus is our Advocate
And we as sinners saved by grace,
May lay our doubts and fears aside
With confidence,
And take our place
With him.

Now on this resurrection day
We celebrate again
His triumph over sin and death
The reason that he came.
And with our glad hosannas
Bring glory to his name.

Jn 2019-29     Lu 2436-53

 
      [Contents]

 
The Gospel According to Barabbas

Barabbas! Barabbas!

Give us Barabbas ...
The shout is taken up.
With no regard for justice
The frenzied mob cry out
For blood;
Crucify! Crucify! ... Is this
My day of crucifixion?
Stumbling and blinking,
Unaccustomed to the light
Of freedom
I hear them shout;
But not for my life it seems,
Another has been taken
In my place
And I am freed.
This man from Galilee,
Some prophet or a Jewish king,
I hear them say.
Following behind the crowd
Outside the city walls
I see them crucified,
Those three.
But it was the middle one,
They said,
Would die instead of me.
As the drama was played out,
Six long and anguished hours,
I heard him cry forgiveness
And promise paradise ...
Who was this man?
A King indeed,
And unlike me,
Innocent of crime.
And yet he died ...
For all mankind?
Then with the others
Standing there,
I felt that I agreed
He was the Son of God indeed!

 
      [Contents]

 
You Could Have Stayed in Heaven

You could have stayed in heaven,
Condemned us from afar;
As your holiness offending,
Sin and disobedience ending
In total separation
From our God.
But you chose to send us Jesus,
Beloved only son;
In his person and his passion
Wholly man;
And your Father-love transcending
In that mercy never ending
Brought us grace and life extending
From the cross.
Now the judgement we deserved
For ever is reserved -
The death of Jesus
Tore the veil away.
Now 'passed-over' by his grace,
We can meet him face to face,
For judgement bowed to mercy
On that day.
Now with tears of adoration
We receive this great salvation,
And become the fruit
For which the seed was sown.
So now we are forgiven ...
You could have stayed in heaven,
But we never would have made it
On our own.

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
1Co 57,8

 
      [Contents]

 
Trust

God grant that,
When the storm clouds gather
And suffering casts its shadow
On my way,
When all my hopes and dreams
Are turned to ashes,
My plans for life
So badly gone astray,
I will recall the word
That he has given,
The living word
That lights the darkest day;
And even in the pain
To see beyond the rain,
The rainbow,
And God's promise still to me.
As patiently confiding,
I await his perfect timing,
His faithfulness abiding to see;
That looking back
I may discern,
Of all the lessons
I could learn,
To trust his overwhelming love
For me.

Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved?
Song of Sol. 85

 
      [Contents]

 
A Feather on the Breath of God

Let me be
A feather on the breath of God ...
Floating down
Settling lightly,
Gently touching other lives
With compassion;
An understanding
Of their needs
And aspirations ...
The hopes and fears
Common to humankind.
Bringing the fragrance
Of Jesus
To those I meet.
Holy Spirit,
Let me be
A feather on the breath of God.

 
      [Contents]

 
A Death Anticipated

Waiting in the wings,
Hovering in the watches of the night,
As body and soul prepare to separate,
The earthly body
Worn away to almost nothing;
The soul reaching out
To its ultimate fulfilment
And longing to fly free;
Free from fear and pain
And earthly sorrows
Into the arms of her Creator.
God grant upon this final journey
His peace and courage,
His perfect timing;
That we who also watch and wait,
Anticipating grief and loss,
May nonetheless rejoice
In her Arriving.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  Ps 11615
 

      [Contents]

 
A Place of Unknowing

"Now we are children of God,
and what we will be has not yet been made known."
 1 Jn 32

From a place of unknowing
I step out tentatively,
Of necessity walking in the way
Of others who have gone before me,
And yet forging my own path
Of discovery,
And enlightenment,
As each of us must
As we make our way through life,
Finding a road that leads
From fear to faith,
From pain to a place of peace, From dark unknowingness
Beginning to know God's light;
An earthly journey
That will last a lifetime
And lead to an eternity
With him.

 
      [Contents]

 
Outrageous Grace!

Outrageous grace!
That Jesus, in my place
Should die;
A holy God to satisfy;
Justice and mercy to supply.
And so for this
The Saviour died,
That I might see him
Face to face,
Repentantly accept this grace,
And live.

 
      [Contents]

 
Voices from the Edge

The Lord said, "I have heard them crying out ... I have come down to deliver them."  Exd 37,8

Voices from the edge cry out
Empty hands held up
In supplication.
Disadvantaged,
Or taking advantage,
Abused or abusing;
Sliding down the slippery slope
Of society
To end in the gutter.
Empty hearts
To whom love is a stranger,
Reaching out
For wrong things to fill the void
Left by life's bitter
Disappointments:
Anything to ease the pain.
God grant these empty hearts
May turn to you,
May see the sacrifice
Already made for sin;
Your Father heart
Just waiting to restore
And gather to yourself
Lost lambs,
For whom the Shepherd
On that lonely hill
Gave up his life and died.

 
      [Contents]

 
Jars of Clay

"We are like clay in the hand of the Potter."  Jer 186

"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that ...
power is from God, and not from us."
 2 Co 47

A jar of clay can be a lovely thing,
It's treasure hidden deep within.
Providing there a pool of peace and joy,
Which ups and downs of life cannot destroy.
That calm within the storm
One may be strong to bear the load,
And comfort other travellers on the road.
To prove that in our weakness or despair
A stronger power than ours is working there.
Now praises bring to Jesus, as we show
The power is his, not ours, to fight the foe.
And come at last a humble 'jar of clay'
To yield this treasure on that final day.

 
      [Contents]

 
A Place of Springs

Blessed are those ... who set their hearts on pilgrimage ...
As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping)
they make it a place of Springs.
 Ps 845,6

May I not murmur or complain
When sorrows cast their shadow
On my life, but use this pain
To bring in prayer
And commend to God the Father
All those who need his care.
That in this earthly pilgrimage
My tears may become
A spring of living water
Flowing to each one
Who comes across my pathway
As we journey home,
For together we are stronger
Than when one stands alone.

 
      [Contents]

 
The Carpenter

Isn't this the carpenter?  Mk 63  Math 1355

We know the gospel story
And of his humble birth,
But who would think a king could be
A Carpenter on earth?
And yet in contemplation
It's not so very odd
For carpenters mend broken things -
Why not the Son of God?
For many years at Joseph's side
He worked with saw and plane
And waited for his Father's time,
The reason that he came.
They heard him speak in Galilee,
Amazed as wisdom flowed
For "Was not this the Carpenter,
Whose family we know?"
And then that final irony
Upon a cross of wood
They saw him die, the Son of God,
Alone, the truly good.
He'd promised this was not the end,
He'd rise, return again,
That those who waited on his word
Would not believe in vain,
For only he could pay the price
Of sin, not his, but mine;
This Carpenter from Nazareth
Who stepped into our time.
And one day, coming on the clouds,
Around the world will flash
The long awaited headline news
"The Carpenter is back!"

 
      [Contents]

 
God's Greater Plan

When God moved in creation
He made a perfect world;
Balanced and whole in every way,
The moon to rule by night,
The sun by day.
Mankind was made to walk with God
In fellowship and innocence.
But then he chose another way -
Of sin and disobedience.
And by this choice we all are bound,
Instead of peace and harmony,
A sinful, fallen world is found.
Disaster strikes on every hand,
Atrocious crimes enacted,
Bring darkness to our golden lands,
Our peace with God is fractured.
Now nature groans from our mis-use,
And in a twist of irony,
As forests fall and floods increase,
We blame the God who lovingly
Created it so perfectly for us to use.
But now there is another choice
God's rescue plan was made;
Through Jesus' love and sacrifice
The price of sin was paid.
We may regain that walk with him,
Bring praises to his name,
Who lovingly at Calvary
Took all our sin and shame.
And in the fulness of his plan
He's promised there will be
New heaven and new earth to come
For all eternity.

 
     
[Contents]

 
Remembrance

Dan 926 Jn 1513 Rev 214,5

It was never meant to be like this,
Before the Fall, God's kiss
Of peace was on the land.
But now, through sin, from Eden banned,
Man, at war with God and man
Destroys his golden heritage
In any way he can.
Now battles rage on every hand,
Greed and oppression reign;
World wars have brought us to our knees,
But still there is no lasting peace.
With lives cut short, or lived in fear
Of bombs and guns, as children die;
Forever hear the battle cry,
As refugees are scattered far and wide. ...
And yet on this Remembrance Day
The poppy blooms again,
Calls us to stand in silence,
To hear the precious names
Of lives laid down to fight the cause,
And bring our thanks to God
For these brave souls.
Beginning now to look ahead
We know that in his kingdom Jesus said
There will be peace.
For in the new creation that he planned
And bought with blood outpoured,
There'll be no war, no tears, no pain,
And poppies blooming in the fields again
As Eden is restored.
 

      [Contents]

 
Beyond the Shadow

The Law is only a shadow of the good things to come.  Heb 101

Beyond the shadow Jesus stands
I see the nail prints in his hands ...
Before that day the priest was called
To offer bulls and goats
In sacrifice for Israel's sin,
Whilst waiting for the covering
Of blood from Calvary's Cross to flow
To make his people whole.
High Priest and Advocate and Friend,
The love of Jesus knows no end
For every precious soul.
And once for all he paid that price,
The perfect Lamb, our sacrifice.
And now before the Father's throne
The old is swept away.
Our confidence is in this plea,
That Jesus lived and died for me.
Beyond the shadow Jesus stands,
I see the nail prints, and those hands
Are reaching out to me.
 

      [Contents]

 
Choices

It's hard to make sense of our world today,
Injustice and violence and greed
Dominate headlines, and shatter our peace,
Showing us so much need.
And closer to home when disaster strikes
Our lives seem so fragile and torn
By accident, illness and early death
To leave us bereft and worn.
We cry out to God in our anguish,
Sometimes we blame him as well,
But it wasn't the way he intended
For his people on earth to dwell.
For back in the garden of Eden
In choosing to disobey
Man started this chain of events on earth
And we see the results today.
Instead of a peaceful existence
In fellowship with our God,
We have war and disaster and sickness
And generally life can be hard.
But now by the Father's provision
We have Jesus who died for our sin,
And gave us the chance to choose again
A new life on earth to begin.
Called then to be his disciples,
Called to show others the way,
We wait for his coming to right all the wrongs
And welcome that wonderful day.
 

      [Contents]

 
Eternal Certainties

I believe in the sun when it isn't shining,
I believe in the rain when it doesn't fall,
I believe in a smile when the tears are flowing,
I believe in peace in a time of war.
For prison bars can never trap my spirit,
Though the bars are strong, and the walls are high,
My spirit like a bird has wings upon it
To rise above these walls, and learns to fly.
God grant that though my earthly steps may falter,
Eternal certainties may guard my soul,
And seen from his divine perspective,
This 'little while' will bring me to my goal.
For I believed in the Son when I saw him dying,
I believe that he died and rose again,
I believe in his smile when he sees me coming,
I believe in a heaven where he will reign.

 
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The Father's Will
      Lu 131 Lu 2343 Gen 314,15

When Mary knew the time had come
To bring to birth God's only Son
A chosen vessel she became
And bore the questions and the shame
"Because it is the Father's will", she said.
"My soul will magnify the Lord,
My Son, his Son will change the world
And be the Saviour we have waited for."
When Jesus grew and walked the streets
In homespun robe, with dusty feet
He met the people's needs with truth,
And with a touch or with a word
He healed the sick and raised the dead ...
"Because it is my Father's will," he said.
When Jesus died on that dark day
It seemed the plan had gone astray,
But from the Cross we hear him say
"I promise paradise today."
For all who will confess their sin
His blood is shed, so enter in ...
"Because this is the Father's will," he said.
When Jesus rose, his work completed,
Salvation won and sin defeated,
Again to sit at God's right hand
Fulfilling all that he had planned
To crush the Serpent's head;
"Because it was my Father's will," he said.

 
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Beyond Our Understanding

God speaks to Job (Ch. 38-42) at the end of his time of trial.

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Where were you when I heaped the mountains up?
Have you ever given orders to the morning
For the sun to rise at daybreak, or the rain to fill your cup?
Have you journeyed to the springs that made the oceans?
Have you seen my storehouse filled with snow?
Were you there when I set the stars and seasons,
When I caused the trees and flowers to grow?"
We hear the words God spoke to Job, his servant,
As faithful through his trials he lived to say,
"My ears had often heard of you before this
But now my eyes have seen you today."
How great is God beyond our understanding,
The number of his years we cannot count,
Creator and sustainer of all being,
The answer to our questions and our doubt.
When trials come and suffering casts its shadow
On all that we desire and long to be,
We stand upon the truths that have been written,
Our God is Lord for all eternity.
Now he can take our suffering and our sorrow,
And through them bring us closer to himself,
As from the broken vessel that we offer,
He draws the fragrance of a godly life.

 
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Passover Fulfilled

When he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts,
the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer
to enter your houses to strike you.
 Exd 1223b

They said, "Not during the feast,
lest there be an uproar among the people."
 Math 265

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Prov 1921

"Not at the feast," they said,
As they planned to kill their Saviour;
"Passover is when the lambs are slain,
Not the one we call pretender!"
But God had other plans,
And as the day drew near
The lambs were slain - and his Lamb too,
His word fulfilled,
As blood was spilled salvation could ensue.
Now as we read God's Word we see
From Genesis right through
The promise that a Saviour
The Serpent's head would bruise.
For when the blood is sprinkled
The guilty are made whole,
Granted God's forgiveness,
Deep peace within the soul.
Now in our own experience
We can enjoy this grace
As at the cross of Jesus
We meet him face to face;
Repentance and forgiveness
And then our new life starts
As now we paint his precious blood
On the lintels of our hearts.

 
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The Father's Plan

We read the history of man's fall,
From the time that Adam chose
To trade created innocence
For wisdom he supposed.
Knowledge and disobedience
Found him naked and ashamed;
He hid from God his Father
In the garden that he'd made.
But God already had a plan
The serpent could not spoil,
Now blood was spilt and with the skins
A covering was made for sin.
A distant shadow of a Cross
Embracing all mankind was given,
One day to paradise restore
And grant a place in heaven.
Four thousand years the Father waited
Broken hearted for their pain,
Prophets and kings he sent to tell
The people of his way;
Sometimes they'd listen and obey
But much of it was vain.
Till finally he sent his Son
The sinless God-man came
To crush at last the serpent's head
And gain for ever by his pain
The just redemption for man's sin
And for each one an Eden win,
Where we may choose again,
To walk with God our father
In the garden he has made.

 
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Doubt

Build yourselves up in your most holy faith ...
     Be merciful to those who doubt.
 Jude v20,22

The serpent sows the seed of doubt, he whispers "Did God say?"
His sole aim to destroy the faith of those who walk the Christian way.
But if we listen to his words doubt causes us to sin,
And questioning God's right to reign we lose our peace within.
His promise now seems hollow, his judgements quite unjust,
Our prayers will go unanswered, faith lies crumbled in the dust.
The fear that waits to enter can do so now with ease,
We toss and turn upon our beds instead of being on our knees.
But Jesus in his mercy calls us to the Cross,
The blood that always speaks of grace can still redeem the loss.
Repentance brings forgiveness, faith banishes the doubt,
We rest upon the mercy that we can't do without.
Now as we walk the Christian way we share what we have learned
Pass on the grace and wisdom, the lessons we've discerned.
A fragrance then of Jesus till all his truth revealed
For there's no doubt in heaven, and every promise sealed
May come to its fulfilment by Christ's redeeming grace,
We'll stand then in his presence and see him face to face.

 
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Singing in the Dark

Sitting with my Bible just before the dawn
I heard a blackbird singing in the dark;
The pure notes filled the air with joy
As upon the day to come
Creator and created made their mark.
And God who makes the blackbird sing
Lifts up my fainting heart,
Renews me for the day that lies ahead;
Darkness banished, peace restored
His Word will make me whole,
I'm worshipping my risen Lord
With singing in my soul.

 
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The Emmaus Road

Lu 2413-35

Their faces were downcast as they walked along the road
The journey from Jerusalem made long
By broken dreams and broken hearts;
They spoke much of their loss,
Of their leader, and his dying on a cross.
But then a stranger joined them,
"What makes you sad?" he asked.
"We had a powerful prophet," they replied,
"We'd hoped he was Messiah, the Chosen One of God,
Redeemer of our people - but he died."
Their Saviour, though not recognised, started to explain
With all the Hebrew scriptures he began
To tell about Salvation, and how he had to die
To conquer death with his own rescue plan.
Then reaching home and breaking bread together,
Their eyes at last saw Jesus as he was,
Risen Saviour and Messiah; the One they thought they'd lost
Had brought Victory out of death upon a Cross.
Now as we celebrate again his rising from the dead,
We pray with open eyes and open minds;
That those we meet along the way
With disappointed dreams,
In Jesus, a living faith may find.

 
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Kyrie Eleison

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy
      on your world.

Kyrie eleison - hear our prayer
When we cry to you
With repentant hearts, and true
Desire to do your will.
Christ have mercy on our world,
The world to which you came,
The blood so freely spilled ... yet
Your name so often used in vain .
Kyrie eleison - hear our prayer
Christ have mercy on your world.
To darkness of the human heart
Bring light and truth and grace
Till we can meet at last,
Face to face with judgement past.
Kyrie eleison - hear our prayer
Christ have mercy on your world.

 
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The Valley of Baca

As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping),
      they make it a place of springs.
 Ps 846

Out of my brokenness I cry to you my Lord;
All your waves and billows have swept over me,
To whom else can I turn, for healing for my aching heart?
To answer all the difficult questions of life,
To quieten my soul in its times of distress?
I offer you, Lord, my human frailty, my sacrifice of self,
Knowing that you alone can turn it into strength
And make my earthen vessel a vehicle for your glory.
Fulfil your goal for me, O Lord
And make me each day more like Jesus;
That out of my depths may came
Your compassion and love for a hurting world.

 
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Coming Soon

Rev 69-11

ďHow long, O Lord, how long?Ē the martyrsí cry
For all the faithful and the true,
Whose blood was spilt to share his name,
Who lost the world for heavenís gain
To stand before the throne arrayed
In robes of white.
From ages past, and recent days
These martyrs wait to see
The justice promised by their Lord
Rewards that are awaiting
For all eternity.
And looking at our world today
The bloodshed, loss and pain,
We wonder at his patience
And the reason for delay.
But then we see our Saviourís heart,
His longing for a Bride,
For many to be gathered
From every land and tribe.
And then at last the martyrsí cry
Is answered from the throne
By this promise from their Lord
ďYes! Iím coming soon.Ē

 
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The Cost

If I thought it might cost me my job or my home
When I joined with the saints on a Sunday,
Would I be strong enough in my faith
To count it all joy and suffer the loss,
And trust God to take care of Monday?
If I thought it could cost me my freedom
To be in the congregation,
Knowing that next week I might be in gaol;
Would I have courage, would his strength prevail,
If this were the price of salvation?
If I thought it could even cost me my life,
Am I willing to go this far?
To offer to Jesus this sacrifice,
To share in his pain and suffer the shame?
Would heaven rejoice as he called me by name?
Would I come if the cost was so high?

 
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Growing Old

I was managing quite well at home
Until I had a fall;
I lay there feeling so alone,
But couldnít get a grip;
Then they took me off to hospital
And put me on a drip.
The nurses and the doctors stood around my bed,
But I didnít have my hearing aid
So donít know what was said.
My spectacles were broken,
Now everything was blurred;
My teeth were in a pot somewhere,
My speech was somewhat slurred.
And after that the time slipped by,
Was it night or day?
I didnít really know or care
How long I had to stay.
Then one day they sat me up
And said that I was better,
They sent me to a nursing home
With an Official Letter.
Now everyone is very kind
The days pass idly by;
But sometimes I do wonder
If theyíll ever let me die?
For heaven beckons and I know
One day Iíll be called home;
Then Iíll be young and fit again,
No more sorrow, tears or pain,
And never more alone,
When Jesus calls me home.

 
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Opportunity

Man plots to bring about his schemes,
The end to justify the means
By which he acts;
Not caring whom he tramples on
To reach the goal heís set his heart upon.
For power is all-important in his sight
And wealth, which he considers as his right.
Nor gives a thought to his eternal soul,
Intent alone on reaching worldly goals.
But God, who watches from afar
Can knock these schemes down
In a single hour.
Manís fragile hold on wealth and power
Is quickly lost in troubled times;
His hopes now crumble in the dust,
Where then his focus and his trust?
But this can be the moment when
Awakened to his need,
When all his plans have gone astray,
He sees at last another way
And weeping, he may turn to God,
Admit to all thatís wrong
Finding forgiveness and new life
Was Godís plan all along.
And in perspective now, and new identity,
His earthly dreams become eternal destiny
To be at peace with God for all eternity ...
What better plan?

 
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He made the Tiny Wren

Observing in my garden the heron and the wren,
Extremes of avian disparity,
I wonder at creation and the intricate design
Of all its infinite variety.
When God moved in creation, in aeons long ago
He formed the land, the sea, the skies, and then
Later in his wisdom, and his love of little things,
For our delight he made the tiny wren.

 
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The Shadow of His Wings

ďHe spreads his wings over them even as an eagle covers her young.Ē  Deut 3211

ďI will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the storm is past.Ē  Ps 571

As the eagle soars above her young
      She gives them confidence to fly.
The shadow that she casts
      Grants them protection
To test their fledgling wings
      In stormy skies.

Now as I trust the God who made the eagle,
He promises his covering and shade;
A shelter in the storms that life will bring me,
A place to hide; a refuge he has made.
The refuge that is my faith in Jesus,
For heís my rock and shelter from the storm.
And even when my wings are somewhat tattered,
He guarantees to bring me safely home.

 
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