Ruth speaks …

(based on the book, ‘Ruth’ in the Bible)

They came here from Judah,
for scarceness of food
was making life hard.
They were hoping for good
in Moab. I married a son,
and slowly I learned
of the God they had known:
his saving provisions,
but hardships, afflictions
when his people forgot
and assumed that their lot
would always be pleasant
however they lived.
[When they realised they’d grieved
their holy Protector who
loved them so dearly,
and they showed they were clearly
sorry, and properly prayed
he helped and he rescued
and mercy displayed.]

The father, he’d died,
soon Mahlon died too,
and also his brother;
my mother-in-law wondered
what then she should do:
she heard things were better
in Judah, now blessed
with food, so decided
to return, but she stressed
my sister-in-law, Orpah
and I should abide,
stay here, but she prayed
God would kindly provide
us husbands anew.
But now I could see
her faith and her God,
and I chose that they’d be
mine also, and so
I stayed with her, went with her
to help her, we both
would lean on this Saviour,
in life and in death.

*******

Arriving in Bethlehem,
as harvest began,
I went to glean grain
in the field of a man
named Boaz, who proved
to be thoughtful and kind
and ordered protection
and made sure I would find
plenty of stalks
left-over to thresh.
He had heard how I’d
stayed with Naomi
and trusted their God.
She knew him to be
a kinsman-redeemer
who could be allowed to
support us, accepting
me now as his wife,
and buying their family’s
land. And my life
with him has been blessed
and happy, so glad
I found refuge and rest
and a share in God’s care.

Feelings or Facts?

Appealing bells,
sensuous incense,
awe-inspiring spires,
enchanting chanting
thrilling, enthralling:
surface magic and excitement;
high ceilings lift aloft,
thoughts drift,
mellow spirit glowing –
yet from these little learning,
that in the knowing
can gird the mind
when in the cold of daily grind,
groping, groaning, hurt and blind.

Relaxing, fragrant, ‘bubble-bath’,
escape awhile, refreshment –
perplexing thoughts
unreached, untouched
untaught, unsatisfied,

until

hear words of truth
– though these may not caress, allure,
they enter aural gate unlocking light
producing courage to endure
distress,
and satisfying mental sense,
intelligence.

Equipped

(2 Timothy 3:15-17)

Equipped to work for God,
do what he wants us to;
he gifts us, but he gives his Word
to train us through and through.

These writings holy are
told to us on his breath,
and they are able to make wise
and lead to saving faith.

Time given to read will profit –
his purposes we learn,
surrounded by ungodliness
to truth and light we turn.

Here taught the way to live
– rebuke is safe and kind,
correction lifts from foolish slide:
well-trained in heart and mind.

I want to live for him,
God’s man or woman, I
would live by faith, believe his word,
its teaching well apply.

Tune: SM

Productive Word

As rain comes down on earth
and causes plants to grow,
God’s word accomplishes the things
he’s saying will be so.

Th’eternal God reveals,
declares his mind, decrees:
he spoke – and light and life were born
with supernatural ease.

Christ stood before the tomb,
told Lazarus to come out,
though four days dead, his life returned:
Christ’s call and power don’t doubt.

His gospel promise heard
can open up the mind
to understand, and truth believe,
with power his peace to find.

When Israel groaned as slaves,
God’s promise clear they heard –
he’d rescue them from Egypt’s land:
he then fulfilled his word.

When exiled far away
in Babylon, God said
he’d bring them back in seventy years,
and that is what he did.

He promises to come,
renew this damaged earth;
we know his promises have power
to bring their plans to birth.

Tune: SM  eg Franconia by J B König  (tune of ‘Blest are the pure in heart’) or Trentham by Robert Jackson or Carlisle by Charles Lockhart (tunes of ‘Breathe on me, breath of God’)  or Venice by W Amps (tune of ‘When God begins a work’)

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10,11

God spoke, from the beginning

For fellowship no longer fit –
see how they tried to hide,
but in that perfect place they now
could not, must not abide.
God spoke – his words were stern, but showed
that he would one day bring
a way of mercy so they could
approach the holy King.

God spoke when Cain, in jealousy
his brother Abel killed;
and when with violent godlessness
and evil, earth was filled,
God spoke to Noah of his grief  –
he’d send a world-wide flood,
but told him how to build a vast
safe vessel out of wood.

God spoke to Abram, so that he
might pass the teaching on
to his descendants, who’d expect,
await the Christ to come.
God spoke through prophets to rebuke
unkindness, pride and greed,
and taught them to turn back, and pray
for mercy, grace in need.

God spoke how he would come one day,
to teach, redeem and save,
foretold Messiah’s birth and death,
and then the empty grave.
And so God spoke by his own Son,
the Priest, the living Word
– himself revealing: will his words
be scorned, repressed, ignored?

DCM eg Noel tune of ‘It came upon a midnight clear’
‘In the past God spoke … at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son …” Hebrews 1:1,2

Deep Happiness (on Psalm 1)

Who tastes real happiness?
supported, blessed and strong
to stand against the throng
enticing to do wrong.

Who tastes real happiness?
He will delight to read
each day in God’s Word feed,
and meditate, take heed.

Who tastes real happiness?
he will bring forth good fruit,
in God himself his root,
established, prosperous shoot.

Who tastes real happiness?
not those like dry dust blown,
no Saviour sought, alone
they come before God’s throne.

Who tastes real happiness?
those Jesus washes white
through faith, now counted right,
kept safe within his sight.
Tune: 66 66 iambic eg St Cecilia by Leighton G Hayne

Finding answers

The devil is skilful when spreading his lies.
For true understanding, to truly be wise,
when puzzled, bewildered, your thinking unclear –
God’s Words can enlighten: attentively hear!

– to learn more of God, and to learn of his ways;
to learn why we often have troublesome days;
informed of God’s standards, and government sure,
full gracious salvation for ever secure;

to see far more clearly the devil’s design,
perceive I am weak, need instruction divine,
to pity the foolish who live for men’s praise,
for comforts and pleasures of transient days.

So, every backslider, remember the past, –
the fellowship shared with Christ Jesus surpassed
the comforts and luxuries praised by the throng:
let God be your Portion, Instructor and Song!

The New explains the Old

Hebrews 1:1-3
Increasing revelation,
the gracious preparation
for coming incarnation –
the Father’s final Word:

complete illumination,
a perfect presentation
of God, propitiation –
salvation’s finished work.

God’s words are precious gold
– in Christ they all unfold,
the New explains the Old:
feed on the Word of life.

Living by his Word

Romans 12:2 Psalm 119:9
God’s Word should transform
my thinking, my mind.
I should not conform
to attitudes blind.
Such pressures surround my,
erroneous views –
to mould and confound me,
impress and confuse.

They say, ‘Push ahead
to comfort and ease’,
but I should instead
my Lord try to please.
The world seeks to gather
enjoyment and fame,
but I should much rather
Christ’s glory proclaim.

We see with surprise
how saints have been drawn
to follow men’s lies;
this should serve to warn,
how easy to wander,
by subtle deceits,
so watch and consider, –
earth’s vanity cheats.

Whatever my wealth,
position and place,
abilities, health,
may I, by God’s grace,
live more by his scripture,
not fearing men’s scorn,
or mocking: – I’m richer
when truth I adorn.

God’s Word teaches perfectly

Ps.19:10; 119:72, 103, 131 Heb.4:12 Is.55:11
Word to appreciate, – better than honey,
truth more sustaining than richest of food,
sweeter than sleep, or abundance of money,
casket of treasures, all holy and good.

Word to appropriate, – carefully listen
listen to truth and its message receive:
meditate, think, and be willing for action:
famine for all who refuse to believe.

Sword of the Sovereign to bring us conviction,
– he who has ears let him hear and embrace
Word that empowers to obey its instruction,
Word to apply to our lives by God’s grace.
Tune: 11 10 11 10 dactylic Epiphany Hymn by J F Thrupp