Friday, August 31, 2007

Shield and Shining

"Thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me, my Glory, and the Lifter up of my head" (Psalm 3:3).

Lord, You are my only Shield
You alone are my Protection.
By Your Spirit I am sealed;
Here I rest in Your perfection.

Lord, You are my only Glory
And the Lifter of my head.
Author of Redemption's Story:
Oh, what light in darkness shed!

Lord, thank for this confidence!
In Your presence I recline,
Knowing You are my Defense,
Basking in the light You shine.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wondering Why?

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing.... against the Lord, and against His Anointed?" (Psalm 2:1,2). “What is His name and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: He is a Shield unto them that put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:4,5).

Why do the nations rage,
And the people imagine what's vain?
Where are the wise and the sage?
Why can't they see what is plain?

God has been perfectly clear
From the Scripture to history's page.
So why do the people not fear?
Why do the heathen still rage?

Are you wondering why they're so blind?
Are you wondering why they're not stirred?
Invariably you will find
They’ve cast aside God’s Holy Word.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Doom of the Deaf

"He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy" (Proverbs 29:1). "Beware, therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets, Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you" (Acts 13:40,41).

We live in a day when the deaf have dominion;
No view will suffice but their own,
Selectively muting all but their opinion
No matter how clearly they're shown.

They harden their necks; they cannot be turned
From the path of their ultimate harm.
The Gospel that pleads for their souls they have spurned;
They are deaf to the Gospel's alarm.

The prophets foresaw this fearful condition
When many would simply not hear.
Refusing God's peace, they are choosing perdition,
Too deaf and indifferent to fear.

What more can we say? What more can we do,
Than to plead with the lost to beware?
Help us, Oh Lord, that we may break through
By Your Spirit, Your Gospel, and prayer.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Focused on Fulfilling

"The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.... [God] gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfill all My will.... John had first preached before His coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And... John fulfilled his course" (Acts 13:2, 17-25).

What a happy occupation,
Searching out God's perfect will,
Living for His expectation,
All His pleasure to fulfill!

David sought for God's own heart,
As God told him, Seek My face.
There's no better time to start
Than today to seek His grace.

John the Baptist also knew
The privilege of seeking Christ.
The Lamb of God had filled his view,
His Lord who would be sacrificed.

God is seeking yet today
Those who will His heart pursue;
Those, like Paul, who humbly say:
Lord, what will You have me do?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Expanding the Expectations

"And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews" (Acts 12:11).

People have their expectations,
Sometimes high and sometimes low.
Cast aside these limitations;
Rise to levels God will show!

Now I know that God gives strength.
Yes, He gives grace with each command.
Expand the height, the width, the length:
Let God's expectations stand!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Name of those Near

"Both young men and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the Lord.... the praise of all His saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto Him" (Psalm 148:12-14). "God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.... Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.... And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:17-26).

The name of the people who God has brought near Him
Cannot be declared as a singular nation.
Gentiles and Jews, and all who will fear Him
Have all entered into to His wondrous salvation.

The name of that people who rightly can claim
This nearness to Christ that the psalmist speaks of
Is Christian, derived from our Savior's own name,
The Praise of His saints here below and above.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Word for the World

"He showeth His word unto Jacob, and His statutes and His judgments. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for His judgments, they have not known them" (Psalm 147:19,20). "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all): that word, I say.... give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:34-43).

The Word that God gave to Israel's nation
Was not for that nation alone.
The prophets gave witness to God's great salvation
That Christ and His grace may be shown.

That Word of His peace to each nation we preach,
For Jesus is Lord of them all.
Thus to the end of the earth it will reach,
And thus every soul it will call.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Present and Prepared

"And Cornelius said.... Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God" (Acts 10:30-33).

Why is it we sometimes find
The Word of God seems dry?
God who knows our double mind
Can surely tell us why.

We open up God's sacred Book
As if it were a chore.
We finish with a hasty look,
No wiser than before.

God shows to us Cornelius
In chapter ten of Acts,
And thereby manifests to us
The fervor our heart lacks.

Be present then before the Lord
Prepared for His commands.
God has promised to reward
The heart that understands.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

End and Expectation

"Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off. Hear thou, My son, and be wise, guide thine heart in the way" (Proverbs 23:17-19).

All the day long and every night
We should be in the fear of the Lord.
For surely there is an end in sight,
And there surely shall be a reward.

These are the guide posts that mark out our way:
The END and our great EXPECTATION.
These will remind how short is our day
And the treasure we have in salvation.

Lift up your eyes, for the end is not far;
Behold there your sure expectation.
Then live in the fear of the Lord where you are,
Thus guided in each situation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gospel of Gladness

"Philip preached Christ unto them... And there was great joy in that city.... Philip opened His mouth... and preached unto him Jesus.... and He went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:5,8,35,39).

The essence of the preaching that surely leads to joy
Is centered in the Person of our Savior Jesus Christ.
All the good news needed, the message we employ,
Is the Gospel of our Savior, for us once sacrificed.

The privilege of preaching, to speak for God above,
Belongs to His ambassadors, the stewards of His Word.
The rivers of our happiness, the ocean of God's love,
Are thrilling souls today by the Gospel they have heard.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Do We Do Well?

"Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household" (2 Kings 7:9).

Do we do well if we hold our peace,
Withholding good tidings today?
Do we do well to slothfully cease
To look on the fields and pray?

Do we do well if we fail to share
The Gospel to all who will hear?
Do we do well if we don't really care
For sinners as judgment draws near?

Now therefore come that we may go tell
The good news that Jesus Christ lives!
We dare not be silent as souls march to hell;
Let's seize every minute God gives!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Final Failure

"I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my Refuge and my Portion in the land of the living" (Psalm 142:4,5).

I sought for a refuge in my fellow men
When I was afraid and distressed.
No man would know me or cared for me then;
I found neither refuge nor rest.

But refuge had failed me for the last time,
When I finally turned to the Lord.
There He was waiting with refuge sublime,
That His grace alone could afford.

What kind of love could patiently wait
To save me by His sacrifice?
Why not just leave me to my chosen fate,
The consequence of my device?

Lord, You are my Refuge that never can fail,
As sure as Your heavenly throne.
I rest in the knowledge that none can prevail
To separate You from Your own.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cancel the Counsel

"Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.... Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge" (Proverbs 29:20,27). "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

Cancel the counsel leads you astray
That you may be wise in the end.
Sift every word through the sieve of God's way,
Whether from foe or from friend.

The counsel of men is often so flawed
That gives no regard to God's Word.
Rather than men, we ought to heed God,
Obeying His truth that we've heard.

Cease now from hearing instruction that turns
Your feet to the left or the right.
Stay on the pathway that your heart discerns
Is true to God's Word and His light.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

By the Book Boldness

"And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost said unto them... by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom ye crucified, Whom God raised from the dead.... This is the Stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the Head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John... they marvelled" (Acts 4:7-13).

The ones who know the Scriptures well
Can see the plan of God unfold.
The hearts wherein God's Word will dwell
Shall be obedient and bold.

But how can we be bold to speak
It we don't study, to our shame?
Shall we thus urge the lost to seek
And trust alone our Savior's name?

Our boldness, then, is by the Book
Inspired by God's Spirit.
Lift up your eyes, and thereby look
On those who need to hear it!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Searching the Sum

"O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.... Thou understandest my thought afar off.... How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee" (Psalm 139:1,2,17).

Lord, You have searched me and known me completely,
And You understand my thought from afar.
How precious Your thoughts in Your Word also sweetly
Permit me to search out how awesome You are!

The thoughts of Your heart, Lord, preserved in Your Word,
You've graciously given to each generation.
Oh Lord, how our hearts have thereby been stirred
With love and with worship through Your revelation.

Searching the sum of Your thoughts, precious Lord,
Forever (for that is how long it will take)
Shall thrill us with every new thought we've explored,
And even now greet us each morning we wake!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Asking for the Awesome

"And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing" (2 Kings 2:9,10). "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.... And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days My Spirit" (Acts 2:17,18).

Lord, You have taught me how to ask
For those things that matter most.
So I'll pray each word and task
Be governed by Your Holy Ghost.

For in these last days You decreed
You'd pour out Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, this is all I really need;
Nothing else comes even near it!

Like Elisha who was told:
"Ask what I shall do for you,"
I ask, Lord, for a life controlled
By Your Holy Spirit too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Send the Song

"How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psalm 137:4). "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

How shall we sing of our Lord and His grace
In a land that despises His song?
How shall speak of His love in a place
Where it seems that we just don't belong?

This is the answer, for what it is worth:
We're empowered by God's Holy Spirit.
Thus we are sent to the ends of the earth
With His Gospel that others may hear it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thoughts on These

"Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.... Jesus saith to Simon Peter... lovest thou Me more than these?" (John 21:10,15).

What a question Jesus posed!
"Do you love Me more than these?"
How the heart is thus exposed,
As it harbors vanities!

"More than these" in Peter's case
Might refer to all those fish.
It's what we are inclined to chase;
It's what our hearts may vainly wish.

God the Holy Spirit sees
And knows our hearts are thus inclined.
Do we love You "more than these?"
Expel these idols, Lord, You find!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Do Nothing Deities

"Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.... The idols of the heathen.... have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears but they hear not" (Psalm 135:6,15-17).

Our Savior and Lord has done what He pleased
In heaven, in earth, and in every deep place.
He extended His hand to heal diseased,
He opened His mouth and expounded His grace.

This is the way that one understands
The living true God from the idols untrue:
Idols have mouths, have eyes, ears, and hands,
But speak not, they see not, they hear not, nor do.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Risen Rabboni

"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, Sir, if thou have born him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto Him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master" (John 20:15,16).

Risen Rabboni, oh, what a sight!
Jesus said, "Mary," and opened her eyes.
Weeping, indeed, had endured for a night,
But joy in the morning then dawned with surprise.

Risen Rabboni, forever the same!
Like Mary, You draw me by faith to the place
Where I am hearing Your voice call my name
To open my eyes by Your marvelous grace.

Risen Rabboni, my Teacher and Lord,
I've come to Your tomb and within I have peered,
Where Death is vanquished, my joy is restored,
My strength is renewed, and my vision is cleared.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Marvel at the Man

"Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the Man! .... Behold your King!" (John 19:5,14).

Behold the Man that sinners mocked,
God incarnate, perfect Man.
Angels watch, dumfounded, shocked,
Stunned at God's unfolding plan.

Behold your King comes meek and lowly,
Though He is the great I Am,
Over all transcendent, holy,
Mighty God, and spotless Lamb.

Behold the Man! Behold your King
Claims His victory from the grave!
He Who has removed Death's sting,
Ever lives henceforth to save!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Victory in the Valley

"There came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the Lord, Because the Syrians have said, the Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the Lord" (1 Kings 20:28).

Life is filled with highs and lows
Yet Jesus Christ is Lord of all:
Hills and valleys, thorn and rose,
Whether joy or sorrows call.

Hills ascend that thrill our soul;
These are high points in our life.
Valleys too can take their toll,
When we're tasting pain or strife.

Let it thus be clearly shown
That hills and valleys are the Lord's.
As through trials we make known
The peace and strength His grace affords.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Contemplating the Cup

"Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth.... Then said Jesus unto Peter... The cup which my Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:4,11).

We shall never fully know
What was in that awful cup
Filled with our eternal woe,
When our Savior drank it up.

Jesus, knowing everything
That would come upon Him then,
Went forth to bear our suffering
At the hands of sinful men.

All the treachery and scorn
That filled that vessel to the brim,
The cruel cross, the crown of thorn,
Were in that cup God gave to Him!

Contemplate how very full
That mixture was that He drank thus,
And let it thrill your heart and soul
To know He drank it all for us.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Low Volume of the Lord's Voice

"And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind.... but the Lord was not in the earthquake.... but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.... And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:11-13). "Blessed is the man that heareth Me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors" (Proverbs 8:34).

Lord, You shouldn't have to shout
To get my singular attention;
Elijah figured that one out
In the cave of his detention.

For there you sent a mighty breeze,
An earthquake, and a fire.
But, Lord, You were in none of these;
A voice was Your desire.

That still, small voice, Elijah heard,
Was where the Lord was found.
And so may we, who have God's Word,
Thus hear our Lord expound.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cynical Certainty

"[They] called upon the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered.... And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.... And Elijah said.... hear me, O Lord.... Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench (1 Kings 18:26-38). "Surely He scorneth the scorners: but He giveth grace unto the lowly" (Proverbs 3:34).

I must admit I love to hear
Elijah's cynicism,
As he called the scorners near
To heed God's criticism.

For still God scorns the one who scorns,
But He gives grace to the lowly.
And God will judge the one He warns
By a standard that is holy.

Mockers think that they are clever,
By their scorning without shame.
And they think that God will never
Speak to glorify His name.

They shall find that they are wrong
When all the laughter dies.
The day will come, it won't be long,
That takes them by surprise.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Obstinate Opinion

"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him.... And the people answered him not a word" (1 Kings 18:21). "If I (Jesus) had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father" (John 15:24).

How long shall Jesus Christ's dominion
Be foolishly denied?
How long shall ignorant opinion
Be vainly magnified?

How long shall sinners thus ignore
The deeds of God the Son?
For never were there works before
Nor after like His done.

How long indeed shall sinners halt
To waste another day?
Alas! It shall be their own fault
When time sweeps them away.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Perpetual Peace

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

The world gives a fragile peace,
When things may go your way.
But alas, when good times cease
That peace can never stay.

The peace that Christ our Savior gives
Is anchored to His throne.
It rests secure because He lives
And has redeemed His own.

How different is the quality
Of peace that Christ imparts!
It lasts for all eternity
And satisfies our hearts.

Do not let your heart be stressed,
Nor let it be afraid.
Child of God, in this thought rest:
Your ransom has been paid!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Excellent Example

"I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.... By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:15,35).

Jesus, Lord of realms above,
Exalted on His throne,
Set it all aside for love
That He had for His own.

His splendor that He left behind,
His suffering in our stead,
Were all considered in His mind,
And yet He went ahead.

And thereby God has given us
This model of our Savior
That we should love each other thus
In likeminded behavior.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Appraising our Approval

"They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God" (John 12:43).

If we love the praise of men
More than the praise from God,
We're only motivated when
Our fellow men applaud.

If we are by God approved,
We shall be satisfied.
Why yearn for praise that is removed
As soon as men have died?

If we've longed for human praise,
Then God's praise we have scorned.
No, we cannot have both ways,
For so our Lord has warned.

Our heart will surely hold to one;
The other we'll despise.
So let us seek for God's "Well done,"
That God may find us wise.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Serving, Sitting, Sacrificing

"They made Him a supper, and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment (John 11:2,3).

Worship has a threefold chord:
To serve, to sit, to sacrifice.
These are valued by the Lord:
Very costly, without price.

Martha served as she was able,
Joyfully for Christ, her Guest.
Lazarus was at the table:
What a portrait of our rest!

Mary's ointment sweetly filled
The house with fragrance of her love
For her Lord who would be killed,
But then exalted far above.

To everything there is a season;
God ordains the time and place.
Every purpose has a reason:
To glorify the God of grace.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Loosing Lazarus

"[Jesus] cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go" (John 11:43,44, 12:1,2).

What a sight it must have been
At the tomb of Lazarus!
What a lesson learned back then;
What comfort now for us!

Lazarus was loosed above;
Earthly bonds were set aside.
Perfect liberty and love
Were his portion when he died.

But Jesus called him from the grave,
Choosing him to testify,
That Christ alone can surely save
And loose the souls of those who die.

And so we sorrow not as those
Who have no hope beyond the tomb.
Jesus Christ who died and rose
Has robbed the grave of all its gloom.

Those in Christ who safely sleep,
Are loosed forever as they wait
For the promise God will keep:
His shout that we anticipate!

That shout will come, we surely know
When our Lord comes for His own.
Thus we loose and we let go
Those He calls forth to His throne.