1) Flashing pictures in the corner
place you in a grander world.
You may feel yourself a loner,
living by the LORD’s good Word.

Pointless chatter buzzing by,
fills your mind, can occupy
pathways made for meditation.
Channels zapped to soothe attention,

and so, the days can drift away,
less time to ponder, praise and pray.

And yet, in moderation,
an aid to relaxation,
– what beauty we can see,
and sometimes drama opens up
our sensitivity
to people’s problems, thoughts and cares;
and news can prompt important prayers.

2) The adverts in the papers,
on the telly, by the road,
seem to want to make us wanting,
seem to tempt us, seem to goad; –
and if we had just everything,
they’d soon make something new.

A challenge to be thoughtful, thankful,
– the kind, contented few.

Destructive lusts

Colossians 3:5-8
Those lusts seductive
to hearts so weak,
are so destructive,
and friendships break,
bring pain, and fracture
good family structure,
make many cross:
society’s loss.

Made new in Christ,
beloved and dear, –
put kindness on,
forgive, forebear
with love, compassion,
and admonition, –
urge from his Word,
to holy living

Broken families

James 1:27
Women deserted, or men pushed away:
struggling mothers, hard-pressed every day: –
children alone and hungry for care,
longing for parents with time to spare.
A welcoming Saviour, his church that shares
– supporting those striving at role-repairs.

A New Guide in Relationships (Colossians 3:8-16)
Relationships broken, and love turned to hate:
let down and belittled, and none to placate.
New friendships ( – now wiser? ), – regrets are too late;
but come near to Jesus, he knows all your state,
and can bring you healing – the only fresh start
that really can function has Christ in your heart
to guide in your friendships, and wisdom impart.
And all you have done that was wrong and unkind,
confessed, and put off, with God’s Word in your mind.

Sustaining Marriage

Young couples with children
Dashing here and dashing there,
and at pains the work to share –
– paid employment, nappies, chores ( –
“these are mine, and those are yours”);
shuttling children everywhere,
quick to feel it isn’t fair
if he wants his favourite leisure,
and you like some different pleasure;
– rarely sitting down together,
past reviewing, plans preparing,
hurt confessing, wisdom pooling
bond of partnership cementing:
friendship, caring love maturing.

Before the fall they knew no shame,
no secrets from their Maker,
but also did not hide away
their thoughts from one another.

And shielding areas of your life, –
not sharing with your wife
or husband, won’t preserve the peace –
provokes suspicion, strife.

Encourage married friends to value
joint efforts, time together,
to increase understanding, and
commitment to each other.

Confiding strengthens confidence,
productive frank discussion, –
for he must some decisions take,
with her wise contribution.

Leaning and Supporting (1 Peter 3:1-7)
Holiness in daily living,
in your job and in your home:
your relationships are giving
witness of what Christ has done
in your spirit, in your heart,
– for his pleasure set apart.

Gentleness of life is winning
(Christians imitate your Lord!)
– and it’s shown when wives are willing
by their life and by their word,
for their husbands’ leadership
in their bonds of partnership.

Husbands, – show consideration,
work together as you ought, –
listen, with appreciation
of your wife’s advice and thought:
so there’s joy, support, and prayer
through the trials that you share.

Skill cosmetic and in dressing
will not long endure and last,
and it won’t so much impress him
as what stays when these are past:
godliness, the spirit’s beauty,
grows in love and wisdom’s duty.
Tune: 87 87 77 eg ‘All Souls’

Patience learnt, a little drop, –
unnoticed, and unpraised:
but I managed now to stop
from saying what I could have.
I realised that it would have
caused hurt or anger, nothing good.

No-one knows I feel inside
pleasure, though I can’t confide
my progress, tiny victory,
to anyone but the Lord!

Women and Men

Helpful women … (The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Prov.14:1)
Some are single, some have wed,
some look wearily ahead,
tired of babies, toddlers wild,
some have longings for one child;
some find ’teenagers a strain,
feel their efforts are in vain,
some have interests far afield,
some have loneliness concealed,
some have husbands they neglect,
some have husbands who reject
Words of truth: We tear or build
– duties skimped, or life fulfilled.

Needed men
Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home. Proverbs 27:8
Where have all the fathers gone?
– lonely and frustrated.
Where have all the fathers gone?
– living alone.
Where have all the fathers gone?
– families impoverished.
What loss and bitterness,
distress and emptiness!

‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them’

Some fear to teach a child to pray.
Some tell them words to bow and say.
But I would rather always try
to show them ‘how’ to pray, and ‘why’.

The ‘how’’s the same in age and youth:
I must explain the gospel truth
in phrases simple, faithful, clear –
not hindering them in drawing near.

And help them understand that all
who truly come to God, to call
and thank, will have those lives which show
they love this One they claim to know.

They’ll know if from the heart they pray,
and want to please God, and obey;
for though still sinful, muddled, young, –
has Life eternal, new, begun?

If so, they’ll long to know him more, –
but please remember that their store
of knowledge still is very small, –
they need your help to learn it all.

They still have sinful thoughts to fight,
need help to learn God’s will, what’s right,
accept rebukes, keep in the Way
where Christ is with them, and they pray.

I wont insist they pray, or press
that Jesus Christ they must confess;
but urge, invite, – for so I may
stir up a strong desire to pray!

So may they think and test their state,
and really pray, not shrug, and wait
uncaring whether they have come
to know this God and his dear Son.

Division of labour in marriage

Marriage needs co-operation;
each needs wisdom, love and grace;
full support, not competition:
home can be a happy place.
Neither role will be soft option:
yoked – no mutiny or friction.

Leadership in marriage never
lordly tyranny unkind.
Loving God, love for each other,
– teamwork’s rich rewards we find.
Wife’s assistance is far-reaching,
– task demanding, talents-stretching.

People are so very varied
– mothers are not all the same!
but the pattern God created
gives each family a frame:
working steadily through life,
husband helped by gracious wife.