John Newton: “Precious Bible”


DSC_0277

Precious Bible! what a treasure

Does the Word of God afford?

All I want for life or pleasure,

Food and med’cine, shield and sword:

Let the world account me poor,

Having this I need no more.

 

Food to which the world’s a stranger,

Here my hungry soul enjoys;

Of excess there is no danger,

Though it fills, it never cloys:

On a dying Christ I feed,

He is meat and drink indeed.

 

When my faith is faint and sickly,

Or when Satan wounds my mind,

Cordials, to revive me quickly,

Healing med’cines here I find:

To the promises I flee,

Each affords a remedy.

 

In the hour of dark temptation

Satan cannot make me yield;

For the Word of consolation

Is to me a mighty shield

While the scripture truths are sure,

From his malice I’m secure.

 

Vain his threats to overcome me,

When I take the Spirits’ sword;

Then with ease I drive him from me.

Satan trembles at the word:

‘Tis a sword for conquest made,

Keen the edge, and strong the blade.

 

Shall I envy then the miser

Doting on his golden store?

Sure I am, or should be, wiser,

I am rich, ’tis he is poor:

Jesus gives me in his word,

Food and med’cine, shield and sword.

“Creed” by Steve Turner

I first heard this poem as an introduction to one of Mark Dever’s sermons. It’s hilarious– and a great satire. Enjoy.

“Creed”

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before during
and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
You can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes,
UFO’s and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha
Mohammed and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
his good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same,
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.

We believe that after death comes The Nothing
because when you ask the dead what happens
they say Nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it’s compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between
warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth
that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust. History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds, and the flowering of individual thought.

 

Justified Forevermore

JUSTIFIED FOREVERMORE

As far as any eye could see

There was no green. But every tree

Was cinder black, and all the ground

Was gray with ash. The only sound

War arid wind, like spirits’ ghosts,

Gasping for some living hosts

In which to dwell, as in the days

Of evil men, before the blaze

Of unimaginable fire

Had made the earth a flaming pyre

For God’s omnipotent display

Of holy rage.

The dreadful Day

Of God had come. The moon had turned

To blood. The sun no longer burned

Above, but, blazing with desire,

Had flowed into a lake of fire.

The seas and oceans were no more,

And in their place a desert floor

Fell deep to meet the brazen skies,

And silence conquered distant cries.

The Lord stood still above the air.

His mighty arms were moist and bare.

They hung, as weary, by his side,

Until the human blood had dried

Upon the sword in his right hand.

He stared across the blackened land

That he had made, and where he died.

His lips were tight, and deep inside,

The mystery of sovereign will

Gave leave, and it began to spill

In tears upon his bloody sword

For one last time.

And then the Lord

Wiped every tear away, and turned

To see his bride. Her heart had yearned

Four thousand years for this: His face

Shone like the sun, and every trace

Of wrath was gone. And in her bliss

She heard the Master say, “Watch this:

Come forth, all goodness from the ground

Come forth, and let the earth redound

With joy.”

And as he spoke, the throne

Of God came down to earth and shone

Like golden crystal full of light,

And banished, once for all, the night.

And from the throne a stream began

To flow and laugh, and as it ran

It made a river and a lake,

And everywhere it flowed, a wake

Of grass broke on the banks and spread

Like resurrection from the dead.

And in the twinkling of an eye

The saints descended from the sky.

And as I knelt beside the brook

To drink eternal life, I took

A glance across the golden grass,

And saw my dog, old Blackie, fast

As she could come. She leaped the stream–

Almost– and what a happy gleam

Was in her eye. I knelt to drink,

And knew that I was on the brink

Of endless joy. And everywhere

I turned I saw a wonder there.

A big man running on the lawn:

That’s old John Younge with both legs on.

The blind can see a bird on wing,

The dumb can lift their voice and sing.

The diabetic eats at will,

The coronary runs uphill.

The lame can walk, the deaf can hear,

The cancer-ridden bone is clear.

Arthritic joints are lithe and free,

And every pain has ceased to be.

And every sorrow deep within,

And every trace of lingering sin

Is gone. And all that’s left is joy,

And endless ages to employ

The mind and heart, and understand,

And love the sovereign Lord who planned

That it should take eternity

To lavish all his grace on me.

O, God of wonder, God of might,

Grant us some elevated sight,

Of endless days. And let us see

The joy of what is yet to be.

And may your future make us free,

And guard us by the hope that we,

Through grace on lands that you restore,

Are justified forevermore.

—- John Piper, from Future Grace

A Poem to My Firstborn

I am not a good poet, but in times of great thought and emotion, a poem springs forth.  The day Ashley told me she was pregnant, welling within me were thoughts and feelings that I had to capture and put to form. (Apologies to Dr. Simons, my poetry teacher.)

To My Firstborn

To my firstborn, I don’t know
which direction you might go
In life. I’ve never heard you cry,
I’ve never heard a solemn sigh.
And I don’t know your name just yet,
but when I think of you I get
A deep, abiding feeling of love,
something before I’d only heard of—
How a dad’s heart longs to hold;
protect and keep within the fold
of safety. How I wait to see
your love surround our family.
But more than anything, I pray,
that you would love God more than day.

To my firstborn, I don’t know
what makes you laugh. What kind of joke
Will I tell just for the sake
of hearing your laugh silence break?
And as your breath emits the sound,
what noise will come when bliss abounds?
In time, we will learn all these thrills,
discovering the joy that fills
Our rooms with dear and pleasant riches,
holding close our family’s wishes:
That as you seek to love God first,
we pray he’ll give you an unsatisfied thirst
For truth, for knowledge, for wisdom above—
all blanketed in an innocent love.

To my firstborn, an emotion follows,
filling up my inner hollows
with complete weakness, total inept,
to help you say “God’s ways, I’ve kept
from my youth, I’ve failed at times,
but Christ forgave, his love—it binds
my heart to his.”
And so we come, your mother and I
before the throne of grace and cry
out before the living God for grace
to pour upon our humble place.
He gently pats me on the arm,
and calms my heart from this alarm,
“My grace is enough when you are weak.
Cast your cares to the cross and only trust me.”

To my firstborn, seek wisdom for any cost!
Without it we are all but lost.
Be wise in what you choose to do,
your choice of friends needs wisdom too.
Be wise in how you choose a spouse,
consult the living God and dowse
Your days and nights in earnest prayer,
there’s misery in an unhappy pair.
And when the times comes when you cleave to another,
remember to always be blessing your mother,
So in winter, warm, all clothed and dressed—
rise up and call your mother blessed,
Her love is deep and maternally adorned,
deluge her with blessings and laud her, firstborn.

To my firstborn, be strong and be brave,
to fight for the truth all life to the grave!
So when the time comes to exit our home,
and enter the world of scary unknown
Stay close to your family, if only in soul.
But go as God leads you, to the ends of the world.
And when the storms of life glare down,
I pray your eyes are heaven-bound,
And when the Lord permits delight,
I pray you’ll thank him in the night.
And if the Lord demands your life,
I pray you’ll look at me and my wife,
Remind me that it’s worth all the pain,
because for you, to die is gain.
Quill&Pen