‘ He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven …’ Acts 14:17
A gift of God sustaining life,
refreshment after thirst and drought
to fill the rivers, reservoirs,
and moisten earth so plants can sprout.
But rain falls inconveniently
and interrupts warm sunny days:
we cannot organise these things,
need God to order well our ways.
We should do well to take account
that once he sent a world-wide flood
because of wickedness so great,
and though he said he never would
again so flood the earth, there will
be surely judgement day to come,
and that is why the rainbow speaks
of mercy coming through God’s Son.
For like a refuge in the rain,
we shelter from what we are due
for all offence to judgment right,
we gain instead that comfort true.
And then we drink, refreshed, awake,
the Holy Spirit quenches thirst,
he quickens, nurtures and he fills
us, in his love we are immersed.
Tune: DLM eg ‘Ye banks and braes’
Disciples listened to his word –
soon they’d be proving what they heard –
for insult, accusation, lie
would come, and maybe they would die
from persecution they’d receive
because in Jesus they believe.
Though peaceful, making peace, they seek
to show God’s way, with grace to speak
of mercy, love, be wise and kind,
hatred of righteousness they’d find,
but blessed in heart because they own
God’s kingdom, perfect love have known.
God knows what scorn his people face,
remembers all they bear, his grace
supports and will give honour due
one day when all own what is true
– and sometimes viewing persecution
will shake, move some to seek salvation.
Tune: 88 88 88 eg Melita (tune of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for their is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me …” Matthew 5:10,11
More than mercy,
more than insight,
more than comfort, love and grace,
not just hope, joy
not just peace, light,,
I have God, and his embrace.
Through all turmoil,
through all pressure,
and when foolishly I fall,
through lies hurtful
I have God, and with him all.
Tune: 87 87 trochaic eg Sussex (tune of ‘May the grace of Christ our Saviour)
( He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:2,3)
Boys in Thailand deep inside a cave –
needing rescuers who can save
coming in from far to find each boy
– welcomed gratefully, with joy.
Stuck in bog of sin, we can’t break free,
burst from chained captivity;
needing someone wise with rescue plan
who’ll fulfil it – Saviour-man.
When he comes you must respond, and grasp,
call, his help then firmly clasp,
and when lifted from lust’s powerful pull,
follow him, your Lord, joy-full.
The God who is and ever was
knew well before creation
that those he made would fall to sin
and sadness through temptation.
He knew the only way would be
to rescue through redemption. –
for One untaintable to take
their sin’s full condemnation.
So they could be washed and set free,
procured grace receiving
when told what had been done for them,
It was the Son of God himself
who took the task upon him,
and came to Bethlem, gave himself
upon the cross atoning.
‘What must I do?’ the lawyer asked,
‘eternal life to have?’
– the most important question – will
I live beyond the grave?
If fact, he felt he had some chance,
thought he was good enough
– but Jesus challenged him to think
– he saw beyond his bluff.
He sets the standard very high,
and when we realise
how much we fail, we then may ask
his grace – and that is wise.
Do you reject this news that’s really good
because of me?
D’you feel I’m hypocritical, and should
be living, do I seem a shallow lie?
Don’t judge me hastily, I truly try.
Maybe you’ve others met who tell this news
who’ve let you down,
and so you shut your ears, their words refuse
– don’t shun a crown,
if messengers are poor, still ponder well
the things they shared, important news we tell.
Or is it rather that your anger strong
is with this God?
for, if he’s true, why is there here such wrong
not perfect good?
he hasn’t taken out all evil yet,
so answers seek from him – ‘don’t ask, won’t get.’
Tune: 10 4 10 4 10 10 eg Sandon by Charles Purday (tune of ‘Unto the hills around do I lift up’)
How can we worship One unseen?
No man-made idol-image
can ever nourish true esteem –
distortion is an outrage:
it does not show his skill,
his wisdom, mighty will,
unable to define
his attributes divine –
misleads us and insults him.
His image once on earth was known,
whose words made men astonished,
his power, and rule and kindness shown –
in death his love was lavished.
He’s jealous of his right
to make us his delight,
and those who hate his name
will bring their children shame,
but some return to love him.
John, persecuted, exiled on
the isle of Patmos, saw him –
the risen Jesus, glorious Son
the holy Saviour reigning
to teach his people, keep,
give comfort when they weep:
we worship him we know,
though have no aid to show –
the scriptures well describe him.
Tune: 87 87 66 66 7 eg Ein Feste Burg by Martin Luther (tune of ‘A Safe stronghold our God is still’
“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them …” Exodus 20:4,5”
Implanted in our heart
an awareness of infinity,
of unseen things, eternity
we cannot contemplate completely
but the skill that us constructed
has its image, glimpse imparted
though shaded by conceitedness,
masking unacknowledged ignorance
of such dimensions supernatural,
omniscience and power
beyond our finite sphere,
but a clear direction came
a revelation to explain
from the Ruler of the spirits
to everyone who here inhabits
to lift the shading shadow, show
our place in the eternity
and spiritual prosperity,
felt peace experience with transcendent Judge.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:12
Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made … Romans 1:20
Christ Jesus – human and divine;
his Father, God above.
When Jesus Christ returned, he sent
his Spirit, gift of love.
So, on that day called Pentecost
the nervous little throng
of those who followed Christ, received
th’empowering Spirit strong.
For God is supernatural –
one God who is triune
– three persons, one amazing God:
we’ll bow before him soon!
Whoever could expect that God
to our created mind
be fully understandable?
– our thoughts are too confined
“In a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit. …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses …” Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 1:5,8; 2:33)