To whom praise is due

 on Psalm 103
Angels, praise your Maker’s worth,
praise him all who here on earth
serve him; all of nature shows
beauty that his skill bestows.

And my soul should ever praise
who He is, my Lord’s good ways,
King who rules, delights to give
redemptive love by which we live.

His compassion and his grace
understands, and we can trace
kindness and provision shown –
adoptions’s covenant we own.

Tune: 77 77

Stay Close!

There’s nothing on earth as important
as closely to walk with your God.
For so many things can distract us,
forgetting the words he has said.
Take heart, take heed!
when feeble and fearful, be strong –
our Saviour is Sovereign,
with joy we’ll be home before long!

Each word he has said is important
– the way of his kindness and grace,
but also his warning of judgement
if scorning a pardoning embrace.

So when you’re discouraged, remember
his promises, fixing your eyes
upon him the God who is Saviour,
and walk in the way that is wise.

Then clearing your life of the litter
of sin, choosing holiness pure,
and aiming towards the bright future
of joy in his promises sure.

Tune: 98 98+ eg ‘Redeemed ‘by William J Kirkpatrick (tune of ‘Redeemed how I love to proclaim it’)

Lasting Light

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world”
Matthew 5:14,16”You are the light of the world … let your light shine before men”

So many think enlightenment
will come with education.
They’re itching for excitement
but often find confusion
– in casting off the truth revealed
for novelty unproven
that to the curious has appealed –
delivering but depression.

Christ said he is the needed Light
for everyone’s direction,
and when he’s shone into our night
we give a pale reflection;
so to his followers he spoke
they must the world enlighten,
display his way to stumbling folk
with winsomeness invite them.

Tune: 87 87D iambic eg Bishopgarth (tune of ‘For My sake and the gospel’s go)
or 87 87 iambic eg Dominus Regit me (tune of ‘The King of love my Shepherd is)

Press On!

(I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12) NIV

No lingering look at failures past,
no longing glance at follies cast
away, nor on successes dwell,
press on to know your Saviour well.

Don’t falter, give up, when you fail
– your cry for mercy will prevail,
reach out, hold tight he’ll help you rise,
press on as Jesus grace supplies.

Press on when service seems so dull,
watch out – the world and flesh may pull,
so read his Word, press on, well fed
towards the goal of heaven ahead.

Look back in thankfulness at all
he did for you, his sufferings full
to pardon gain, he soon will come,
so persevere, preserved: press on!

“Santa(?)”’s ‘Naughty’ list

If Santa really watches all,
then every single name would fall
not in the ‘nice’, but ‘naughty’ list –
for everyone the target’s missed.

We won’t succeed even if we start
perfecting life – the whole, not part –
we’re bound to mess up, and can’t pay
to wash past guiltiness away.

So if there is a God who sees,
can anyone his verdict please?
and can we have real happiness,
can he be kind to us and bless?

As no-one can be nice enough,
then Jesus came to take us off
the ‘naughty’ list if we’ll receive
his goodness, niceness and believe. Tune: LM

“I did it my way”

I liked to drink and mess about,
with no-one to restrain,
I did it my way, soon found out
it led to sadness, pain.

I’m fickle with my friends, don’t want
commitment – free and loose.
– Why is it that decisions haunt
and feel like self-abuse?

I left my home, and took my share,
then squandered it away.
Bankrupt, with no-one left to care
– my ‘pals’ had had their play.

Dare I return, my way now own
was stupid? ask for food?
But look! he’s running, welcomes home
and gives again what’s good!

(cf The parable of the Prodigal Son, recorded in Luke 15)

Tune: CM

Materialism

As you think of provision abundant,
As you thank the Provider omnipotent,
do the things he has sent
grip your heart to prevent
your seeing the things more important?

For all your belongings and money
can’t give your heart rest when you’re lonely,
cannot take your soul on
when your time here is gone:
without God, satisfaction is phoney.

So at least give some thought to such matters
when weary of boastful go-getters,
for our life’s more than food,
seek the One who is good,
who can help when your hopes lie in tatters.

Whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. … Be on your guard against all types of greed … “This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God. … Life is more than food. Luke 12:8, 15, 20,21,23

Learning from the Rain

‘ 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’

Reward for the persecuted

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

I have God

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
weary labour
I have God, and with him all.

Tune: 87 87 trochaic eg Sussex (tune of ‘May the grace of Christ our Saviour)