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 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)
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
( 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’)
A ‘Leap of Faith’ they called the ride –
an almost vertical water-slide:
no foolish leap or gambling drop,
partakers knew they’d safely stop,
they trusted those who had designed
and tested, built, the check-sheets signed
when they were absolutely sure
its safety really was secure –
with faith in that, the tourists leapt,
on to the scary slide they stepped.
And faith in One you cannot see
is not a ‘hope’ that maybe he
will be a real trustworthy prop
who won’t forget, neglect or flop.
Real faith trusts One who’s shown his worth
in records of his time on earth,
his skill observed in flower and sky
now love and comfort will supply
– their faith’s no folly, gambler’s bet –
well-founded faith in One they’ve met.
‘Come, let us reason together!’
– See, he is willing to talk.
Will you be reasonable, wanting
constantly with him to walk?
‘Come, let us reason,
reason together’, says God,
– sins that are horribly scarlet
can be as white as the snow.
Has your behaviour been pleasing?
Is your religion a sham,
hiding your sin, and pretending,
lying to God and to man?
Sins unconfessed tend to fester,
hindering fellowship sweet,
but when admitted, forgiven,
Jesus brings joy as you meet.
Sin stains like splashes of crimson,
cleansed out as white as the snow.
All now desiring his pardon,
mercy and comfort will know.
Tune: 87 87+ ‘Showers of Blessing’ by J McGranahan
(Jonah chapter 1)
The sailors, frightened in the storm,
found idol-gods dead, deaf to cries.
The real, true God they had not known,
and guilty Jonah sleeping lies.
What God d’you worship? – Jonah speak!
– his God, he told them was not weak.
His God, he said, had made the sea,
the land, the sky, and taught his Word,
but disobedient Jonah, he
his God’s chastisement had incurred.
They from the storm would be set free
by throwing Jonah in the sea.
A God who speaks? A powerful God?
who teaches, judges, rules the waves?
Must they throw Jonah overboard?
– surprising will of One who saves.
They had to trust he would not blame,
and great their reverence for his name.
Their boat to land they’d tried to bring,
but could not, for the storm increased.
So now they called, and sought this King
to be from any guilt released.
At once the raging sea was calm,
and God saved Jonah too from harm.
Tune: 88 88 88 eg Melita by J B Dykes (tune of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’)
of Savina by (tune of ‘And can it be that I should gain’)