Oh holy God

Oh holy God, Almighty Father

close to us though we think farther,

ever there in time of need

Thou Self sufficient, without need.


Oh holy God, divine Creator

righteous, gracious, no dictator,

not a tyrant we must please

not one who says ‘Yes’ to appease.


Oh holy God, triumphant Saviour

You outstripped our best behaviour,

how can we without Thee live

we ever take, You ever give.


Oh holy God, most Holy Spirit

who will cry and You won’t hear it?

still we grieve Thee every day

turning to Thee not all the way!


Irresistible grace 7

While there would seem to be an element of choice in Ruth’s cleaving to godly old Naomi, the reality is that she was drawn to choose by God’s irresistible grace.  For in human terms there was nothing to attract her to a life of uncertainty, away from her ethnic heritage and more comfortable channels of blood and birth.  Orpah kissed (Ru 1:14) Naomi, using her worldly-minded common sense to take the advice given to her, advice which in Ruth’s case was overruled for her eternal good.  God’s testing, then, is for our own benefit and His glory, because from His side the outcome is never in doubt.  For example, the words When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her (Ru 1:18) give us much assurance that our seeking shall not be in vain.  However, from the perspective of our holy Father, He has sovereignly bestowed upon us that seeking heart and that trusting mind in the first place, and it would be madness to claim otherwise: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? (1 Cor 4:7).

The chain of events which then occurred from Ruth’s human perspective, were no doubt filled with prayerful waiting, emotional trembling, mental trusting, physical walking by faith alone, unsure of exactly how things would pan out but nevertheless rolling her cares upon the blessed, promised Messiah.  The Bible speaks in very human terms when the Holy Spirit breathed out these words: […] and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz […] (2:3); and then Boaz came (2:4), Boaz answered (2:11), Boaz commanded (2:15); Ruth then came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down (3:7) . . . as if any of these events were ever in any doubt and not ordained before time began by our holy God.  He even overruled the heart of Ruth’s nearest kinsman: And he said, I will redeem it (4:4) . . . for I cannot redeem it (4:6), permitting him to tie himself up in a knot of worldly-minded nonsense.

Thus nothing in this life of ours is left to chance, because chance ultimately does not exist, every sparrow being known by God, as the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Mt 10:29, 30).  What then, with those notions of human achievement, personal genius, right to choose, Machiavellian machination?  Into the gutter of delusion with them, while the golden thread of HIS story is slowly but surely threading soul to soul to soul through the perfect God-man in whom Ruth was irresistibly, graciously entwined:

Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; and Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; and Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; and Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: and after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ (Matthew 1:2-16).

One among us

As every seed hath not a claim

until the sun draws out its need,

we grow up self content in frame,

until the Son exposes need.


So Ruth did labour in the field,

expecting nothing for her time,

till Boaz wondered, then did yield,

in God Almighty’s perfect time.


For every plant there is a plan,

a blueprint made before the stars,

some go to seed, some can’t, some can,

some turn to God, some worship stars.


As Ruth obeyed old Naomi,

Boaz obeyed eternal God,

defying all astronomy,

Ruth’s womb would bear a womb for God.


So every tree of life among us

inwardly hath streams of tears,

behold the holy One among us,

crucified and scorned with jeers!

Limited atonement 7

That great chapter of John 10 might on one level seem benign and innocuous, with all its pastoral imagery and allusions to believers as sheep.  But make no mistake, however much the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (Jn 10:10), he is no match for the tender, mild sheep who has been called by Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd.  And that, not because of any indwelling strength or relative goodness, but solely because the Lord Himself came that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (v. 10).

Worldly loss and gain can do nothing to alter the destination of the believing sheep, although the trajectory might seem to go awry from time to time.  Eternity was the perspective from which the Godhood foreknew each one, and determined him or her to have life; not merely the chance to have life, the offer of potentially having life, or some inherent ability to choose or to lose the reward of life.  No, have life.  And not merely have life, but have it more abundantly, so that the spiritual richness of it might overflow and water every dimension of the believer’s internal tributaries.  For outwardly the believer might be being persecuted, in hospital, suffering from disappointments, temptations, or equally being goaded on by worldly success, acclaim, distinctions and high honours.

What matters, though, is that the believer has life, and has it not to themselves but shares it with others, believers and unbelievers alike.  For it is not theirs to begin with, for life is not just life but the glorious person of the Lord Jesus Christ; the One who cannot lie proclaiming Himself to BE the life (Jn 14:6).  Therefore to hoard or to squirrel away something that doesn’t and cannot belong to you is the height of foolish ingratitude.  Christ Jesus IS the life; to have the life is to have Him; to lose your life is to have Him.

But only those who are chosen are honoured to share what never belonged to them in the first place.  All others are active antagonists to the life, consciously or unconsciously endeavouring to undermine all that Christ achieved at Calvary.  While claiming to give, to save, to create, they are actually aiming to stealand to kill, and to destroy.  Some do it one way, some in another, some in good conscience, some with no conscience and some with a bad conscience.  And yet all who have not life represent the philosophy, ideals and hubris of Satan, id est the judgement and everlasting punishment of souls, those who would not come when bid, all ultimately according to the sovereign will of God.

New born

Oh look upon that new born foal,

it can’t stand up yet knows its goal,

it knows its steps were measured hence,

it fears no flesh, no farm or fence.


Oh gaze upon that new born lamb,

it can’t yet skip but knows its sham,

it knows the way, the truth, the life,

it fears no worldling, wielding knife.


Oh see that lowly new born calf,

it can’t yet move but yet can laugh,

it knows its time on earth must end,

it fears no means that can but end.


Oh wonder at that new born kid,

it can’t get up but knows it’s bid,

it knows the Father, Spirit, Son,

it fears no evil, ‘It is done’.

Unconditional election 7

What a wonderful and yet humbling thing it is to know that one’s conversion to Christ was completely outside of oneself.  No credit, no originating self-esteem or human glory could or can be associated with it, for it was determined before time began, before that very thing known as ‘human’ or ‘Adam’ was created from the dust.  If the salvation of a soul could be even 0.1% attributable to one particle of human merit, then the palace of Sovereign election would crumble, and the glory of the Creator would have to be shared with another.

So thankful we are that we remain 100% dependent on the Lord, not just for conversion but for preservation and lifelong guidance too, for O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer 10:23).  It is not just that the way of man is different to the way of God, it is that the way of man is not IN himself at all, that is, there is no spiritual advancement whatsoever in any way, any truth, or any life outside of Christ. 

Not only this but our footsteps are directionless, our thought processes broken and bent, without the guiding hand of our God.  Once a believer is raised from the ground of unbelief then it is God who directs his steps.  That is not to say that we always obey, or that He puts us upon a conveyor belt from which there is no possibility of deviating; far from it, as we can see in the lives of God’s children from Genesis-Adam to Revelation-John and beyond.  However, it is not IN man to be, as it were, self-sanctified or self-blessed; not possible for man to, so to speak, engage in DIY Christianity whereby all that we need is IN ourselves.

There is nothing IN oneself.  The world is wrong when it tells you that there is.  Eastern mysticism is wrong when it tells you you can escape the self.  The key is not to find yourself or to lose yourself, but to find yourself in CHRIST who is the eternal I AM, the ocean into which our empty selves must submerge and be filled.  The key is to spurn a life lived as an empty shell upon a fading windswept shore, and be found in him … (Phil 3:9), to … reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord  (Rom 6:11).

the One

I didn’t choose my birth

and I will never choose my death

so how on earth while here on earth

can I receive a new-born’s breath?


I didn’t choose to live again

but Jesus called me from the dead,

but now I’m here I’m born again

I know it as I know my head.


You look the same if you ask me

you are yourself, you cannot choose,

you’re Lazarus as I am me,

I’m Nicodemus, head of Jews.


You are but wrapped up in yourself

as I was wrapped up in graveclothes,

you will receive a new-born self

when you believe no more in oaths.


This Nazarene, this man Jesus,

I met him once, a one to one,

but tell me this much Lazarus,

do you believe he is the One?


This Nazarene is the Messiah,

God has come in fleshly form,

the Holy One of Psalms, Isaiah,

entering to earth transform.


So you say and so he says

but many think it’s heresy,

I see foul sinners on him gaze

and think on holy prophecy.


So you think and so we stink,

there is none righteous, no not one,

He is our righteousness, our link,

His blood will mean God’s will is done.