Examples of faith

Hebrews 11 & 12:1-3
A race to run, – don’t falter, faint;
press on, don’t pause, but perservere;
And anything which holds you back,
throw off; be drastic and severe
with all that draws your mind
and makes you lag behind,
or duties, goal forget,
God’s Word and call neglect:
press on, let nothing interfere.

All things must keep their place,
and help us serve, not dominate;
but right throughout our Christian life
temptations come God’s Word to doubt.
Entangling unbelief
brings misery and grief;
so trust and don’t lose heart
for Christ can faith impart.
Satanic lies must be cast out!

What multitudes of witnesses, –
in scripture lives of faith abound.
They suffered setbacks, troubles hard:
through faith endured and victory found.
On Jesus fix your eyes,
receive his grace, and rise
with nourished faith to praise,
serve God with joy always:
look where he is – we’re heavenward bound!
Tune: 8888 66668 but fits ‘Ein’ feste burg’ by Martin Luther

Ezekiel chs.25-39

Parts 3, 2, 1 (chapters 24-1) below

chapter 25
Those who chose to gloat or sneer,
nations voicing malice clear –
hostile, callous – who were glad
to wreak vengeance when they could:

they will know He is the LORD
when He keeps his judgement word.

chapters 26 –28:20 A Prophecy against Tyre
Tyre had flourished, wealthy strong,
thinks she’ll grow when Israel’s gone –
is their God not now around?
Materialism built on watery ground, –
shipwrecked Tyre laid bare and drowned,
lifetime’s labours all invested
in wrong objects, – lavished, wasted:
lamentation, slaughter, plunder,
Tyre destroyed and torn asunder.
Pride will poison through success:
glittering wealth to deep distress,
horrible end of godlessness.

chapter 28:20–26
A Prophecy against Sido
n;

but the regathering of Israel.
Malicious neighbours, painful thorns:
gone when Israel soon returns.
Godly people must be users
of his principles and Word.
Watch! for ‘friends’ may tempt (seducers),
or frighten servants of the LORD
if they can!

chapter 29
Pharoah, Egypt, proud and boasting
strong their kingdom (as if their making),
like the Nile, but God is now
against them, and will bring them low.
Monster crocodile hooked out, laid
floundering, helpless, in great need.
Why had Israel sought for help, aid,
leaning on that splintering reed?
Egypt: devestation, desolation,
dispersal, plundered, – they’ll return
– lowly, weak, – the nations view
its threat no more, and Israel rue
their sin in seeking foolishly
her help before.
But Israel’s horn and strength, will grow
by power divine, and they will know
(the prophet’s mouth he’ll open wide)
he is the LORD, and has not lied.

chapters 30 – 32
See, the Day of sorrowing, ending
Pharoah’s rule and Egypt’s power.
God, the Babylonians strengthening,
weakening Pharoah in that hour:
broken arms, defence, resistance
limp, for now his toppling’s come,
– Egypt’s might cut down when darkness
shows that justice has been done.
Assyria tree was also felled.
Many graves with tyrants filled.

chapter 33
Appointed watchman given information,
– responsible to warn;
hearers then have heard the exhortation,
– they must turn,
turn from evil, finding grace,
no returning to that place
of disobedience:
foolish playing with the fire,
insincere repentance.

The way of the LORD is just:
he takes no pleasure
in the death of the wicked
– if they feel their guilt, and turn, and trust,
they’ll live.

“The city has fallen”, – the message came,
as prophesied, predicted.
If Abraham’s land they want to claim,
his faith, obedience they should share,
not live without a care
for the sovereign LORD’s commands.
You exiles too must his demands
heed, not just give respectful
praise, attention to Ezekiel.

When all the prophecy comes true,
you’ll know God’s prophet spoke with you.

chapter 34
Shepherds who neglect and scatter;
Shepherd who will feed and gather.
Sheep who shove and grab, despise
weaker ones, but God has eyes
that judge and save; he has appointed
Christ as Shepherd-Prince anointed:
covenant of grace and peace
for his sheep, and problems cease
fully, in the time to come; –
now the Shepherd leads them on,
now the Shepherd leads us home.

chapter 35 A prophecy against Edom
God sees men take advantage when
some suffer;
– think they can
take what they like,
but soon they’ll know
God heard them boast and plan,
and speak contemptibly, delight
to harm and ‘twist the knife’.
The Sovereign LORD they scorn, without
restraint, a bitter life.
For they who will not bloodshed hate,
find bloodshed will pursue.
God has an end in view,
and Israel has a future blest,
when evil-doers in the world,
like Edom will be judged and gone
for all the hate they hurled.

chapter 36
God’s promises are not deserved:
for his own sake he would
bring back his people to his land,
and fill its hills with good.
Their lives, their sin, had spread about
dishonour to his name.
He’d bring them back, but make them feel
their sinfulness and shame.
He’ll change their hearts and make them new,
and cleanse, and move their will
to follow his decrees and laws,
and then with blessings fill.

The nations will know that he is the LORD,
holy in judgement, and rescue, rebuilding,
faithful in rule and in Word.

chapter 37
By now the exiled Israel felt
past hope, cut off in death.
God shows he can restore, revive
those now bereft of spiritual breath.

Regenerated saints restored,
cleansed, love the precepts of their LORD,
his covenant of peace, his Word:
united people, – nations see
that he, the LORD, has made them holy
and dwells with them eternally.

O LORD, you only know
what you alone can do.

And when you act (fulfil your Word),
they’ll know you truly are the LORD.

chapters 38 & 39
Again there will be enemies,
vast hordes rush in, attacking
– God’s people will be unprepared,
defenceless, vulnerable, – needing
that God defeat the evil schemes,
and deal with those who plot – all
crushed, – no longer sent to chasten –
their plotting brings their downfall full,
and future fullness nearer for
God’s people, who will then be free
of evil danger evermore.

Glimpses of glory

Moses saw a glimpse of glory,
glory of the LORD,
passing by, his name proclaiming,
self-revealing Word.
Glory, glory,
soon we’ll surely see
more than fleeting,
passing glimpses
of God’s majesty.

Glimpse of glory for Elijah,
and God’s voice he heard
telling of God’s certain purpose:
quiet, effective Word.

All the crowd saw Jesu’s power
when he made the bread
and the fish to feed the hungry:
sign to all who fed.

Later Christ showed his disciples
glimpse of glory, for
he walked by upon the water,
filling them with awe.

Still they needed explanations,
faith to comprehend,
understand the implications,
trust their sovereign Friend.

On the mount he was transfigured,
voice from heaven heard,
(Peter, James and John were frightened):
awesome, gracious Word.
Glory, glory,
in God’s Word we see
glory, grace of Christ eternal,
and his majesty.

Tune: ‘Pass me not’ by William H Doane (408 Grace Hymns) 85 85+

The rich man and …

Luke 16:19–31
What is the hope of atheists?
– hoping that death’s the end;
– nebulous views of humanists
I cannot comprehend.
God has appointed all to die,
– no-one the summons can defy;
– then they will realise, not deny
Jesus has told the truth.

Jesus declared God’s wrath and grace –
note all he had to tell –
taught them of heav’n, that glorious place,
warned of eternal hell.

Laz’rus had suff’ring while on earth, –
awful to live like this;
but he had found God’s grace, new birth,
– so after death came bliss.

He who was rich had with great zeal
looked after self each day;
yet he neglected needs so real –
need to be kind and pray.

Christ has himself returned from death,
– many will still not heed,
will not give thought beyond this earth,
though we may warn and plead.
Tune: CM eg ‘Lead me to Calvary’ by W J Kirkpatrick

Growing in grace

Colossians 1:23; 2:6,7; 3:5,8,12
Habits strengthen day by day, –
not with ease we’ll break away;
strong the current all around, –
godless thoughts and words abound.
‘As you received him,
Christ, Lord and Saviour,
as you received him,
in him now live in faith.

Saints imperfect sometimes feel
lust for what should not appeal,
pull of passion in the heart; –
scheming Satan plays his part.

Christians need God’s power to stay
walking in the narrow way;
admonition to press on
in the life that they’ve begun.

‘Stand unmoved on gospel ground,
sins forgiven, God’s promise found;
put to death your ways so wrong
for to Christ you now belong.

‘Clothe yourselves with kindness, love,
grace receive from God above;
let his Word within you dwell –
rule to guide and truth to tell.’

Faith: believing truth revealed,
though the reasons be concealed.
Scripture study, persevere; –
faith in Christ casts out all fear.
Tune: 77 77 + ‘Jesus loves me’ by W B Bradbury

Bad memories …

Love … keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (1 Cor.13:5,6)
Bad memories can’t be erased,
but Christ can quell all hate;
can help us pity, – make us see
our own imperfect state.
Love does not keep a list or record,
it does not harbour resentment, grudges,
and love does not delight in evil,
but rejoices with the truth.

Love knows that God can change men’s souls:
does not assume they’ll still
repeat their hurtful, thoughtless ways,
and always treat us ill.

Love is not quick to judge, condemn;
to gossip gives no ear;
not eager to find fault; does not
of sins delight to hear.

Love wants to help a sinner rise;
– not glad to see his shame;
prefers to find things to commend
than speak of guilt and blame.

Love praises God for other saints –
God’s mighty work within.
It notices his work of grace,
more than remaining sin.

I need God mastering mem’ry’s thoughts;
let Jesus have his way.
I must remember Christ himself,
and what he did, each day.
Tune: Wondrous Grace by J McGranahan
(tune of ‘I know not why God’s wondrous grace’).

Draw near, and pray

Man can come to God almighty,
draw near and pray;
holy God of love and pity,
draw near and pray;
caring God, not weak or distant,
God of grace, though so important,
calling all to come, repentant,
draw near and pray.

He’s the God who made and formed me,
how dare I come?
he’s the God who now sustains me,
how dare I come?
All my strength and power is weakness,
infinite his glorious greatness,
for his presence I’ve no fitness,
how dare I come?

Christ is worthy of all favour
worthy to pray.
Those receiving him by faith are
welcomed to pray.
Jesus is the way to heaven,
all who love him are forgiven,
we can come to him as bidden,
draw near and pray.

Abraham, and Moses, Daniel,
drew near and prayed.
David, Solomon, Ezekiel,
drew near and prayed.
So with fear, and awe, amazement,
humbly, trustingly, repentant,
benefit from grace abundant, –
draw near and pray.
Tune: Ar hyd y nos