Author Archives: Michael Penfold

Flame of God

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), missionary to India, penned these challenging lines, borne out of her own experience of sacrifice and suffering: From prayer that asks that I may be Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee, From fearing when I should aspire, From faltering when I should climb higher; From silken self, O Captain, free Thy […]

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The Conversion of the Author of Webster’s Dictionary

Noah Webster (1758-1843), the notable American lexicographer and textbook pioneer, remains famous to the present day in connection with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. In 1843, George and Charles Merriam bought the rights to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary (An American Dictionary of the English Language), and all Merriam-Webster dictionaries trace their lineage back to this source. Not so well known is the […]

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Tongues were Real Languages

“Speaking in tongues” has been a leading feature of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement ever since its inception. The first supposed occurrence of “tongues speaking” in the modern era took place at 11.00pm on Jan 1st 1901 in Topeka, Kansas, USA, when Agnes Osman claimed to possess and use this gift. Aside from the historical fact that the […]

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The Family Altar

Author and preacher Franklin Ferguson (1866-1957) from New Zealand, who for 30 years edited The Treasury magazine, wrote a helpful article on the vital subject of “the family altar”, a term once widely employed to describe the habit of Christian families reading and praying together daily. His exhortations provide wise counsel for 21st century families […]

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How to Pray

Author and preacher Franklin Ferguson (1866-1957) from New Zealand, who for 30 years edited The Treasury magazine, wrote a helpful article called “How to Pray” based on Ephesians 6:18-19a, which says: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me…” […]

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Introducing Dr David Gooding (Author)

Author and Bible teacher David W Gooding, MA, PhD, (born 1925) was for many years professor emeritus of Old Testament Greek at Queen’s University, Belfast, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. Throughout his long life, Professor Gooding travelled extensively expounding the Word of God and authored numerous highly recommended volumes, most of which are […]

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Gambling and Alcohol – A Biblical Perspective

This article by Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) tackles two epidemics of 21st Century western culture – gambling and alcohol – and examines them from a Biblical perspective. Any student of American history quickly recognises the name of Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables”, who enforced prohibition in Chicago during the 1930’s. Alcohol […]

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Why I Abide By The Authorised Version (William Hoste)

This article by the British author William Hoste B.A. is of historical interest to any concerned with the “Bible Version issue”. The publication, in 1881, of the Revised Version, marked the introduction of the first major English Bible revision since the King James (Authorised) Version (1611/1769). However, the “R.V.” was much more than a mere […]

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12 Must-Have Books on Calvinism

Theologically sound, well-written books on the subject of election and predestination, that avoid the extremes of “limited atonement” (Calvinism) on the one hand, and the “falling away” doctrine (Arminianism) on the other, can be hard to come by. Listed here are 12 volumes that engage with the Biblical text using a proper grammatical-historical hermeneutic and […]

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Secular Psychology Harms the Gospel and Christian Living

In two books examining the withering effects of modern secular Western culture on Christian life and Biblical theology, author David Wells provides page upon page of perceptive comment to help the reader make sense of our confusing times. Reading Losing Our Virtue (9780851115771) and No Place For Truth (9780802837134) will amply repay your time and attention. Wells […]

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A “Millennial” or “A-millennial Future”: Which?

David McAllister, a Bible teacher from Donegal, Ireland, examines the vital topic of the Millennium. He gives 8 major reasons why the pre-millennial view of prophecy is correct and scriptural, as opposed to the amillennial view. In Revelation 20:1-7, we read about a period of “a thousand years”, from which we obtain the word “Millennium”. […]

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Introducing Jim Flanigan (Author)

Mr James (Jim) Moorhead Flanigan (1931-2014), from Northern Ireland, had a long a fruitful speaking and writing ministry that lasted more than 40 years. He travelled widely throughout the UK, Ireland, North America, Australia, South Africa and Israel, always leaving behind him a savour of Christ. He was known for his personal godliness, his Christ-exalting ministry and […]

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An excerpt from “The Sexton” by Isaac Ewan

In The Caravanserai, a collection of poems by the early 20th Century Scottish poet Isaac Y. Ewan, there is an impressive and unique composition entitled “The Sexton”. A sexton is a religious official charged with taking care of a church building and its contents, organising the ringing of its bell and sometimes burying the dead in its graveyard. Ewan portrays his […]

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Introducing Dr. Mark Sweetnam (Author)

Dr Mark Sweetnam, a professor at Trinity College, Dublin, has published widely on a range of topics, including articles on Donne, Shakespeare, Alexander Montgomerie, early-modern preaching and millennialism. Four of his books will be of particular interest to Webtruth readers. In Worship – The Christian’s Highest Calling (9781909789104), Dr Sweetnam seeks first to define worship – never […]

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Evangelical Feminism

Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) addresses the issue of feminism from a Biblical perspective, with particular emphasis on how feministic thinking, in the form of “evangelical feminism”, is challenging the way the Bible has been interpreted for many centuries. Its Roots What should be our Scriptural worldview of the feminist movement? How […]

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The History of the Temple of God

The author Erich Sauer (1898-1959), in chapter 4 of his classic work From Eternity to Eternity (Paternoster Press, 1954), outlines the purpose and history of the “Temple of God” from its beginning through to the eternal day of God. This insightful article, dealing with a much neglected subject, opens up a theme that runs throughout […]

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Sound Biblical Exegesis Inevitably Leads to Pre-Millennialism

The author Erich Sauer (1898-1959), in chapter 20 of his classic work From Eternity to Eternity (Paternoster Press, 1954), includes an impeccably argued passage in which he addresses the importance of taking literally the Bible’s prophecies of a future Millennial kingdom of God on earth. His analysis will repay careful reading: “The expectation of a […]

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Dispensations Conference (Videos)

In October 2015 a conference on the subject of “dispensations and ages” was held at the Gospel Hall in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Understanding the Bible’s dispensations greatly aids in appreciating its overall flow, structure and goal. These sessions will repay careful viewing. Dan Shutt opened the conference with “An Introduction to Dispensationalism”, outlining the concept of […]

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How To Get A Sermon

J. Sidlow Baxter (1903-1999): “The greatest sermons usually come when we are not looking for sermons but are studying the Word of God for the sake of its own vital truth. “Much depends on our method of study. According to choice, we may study the books of the Bible spiritually, historically, typically, topically, prophectically, dispensationally, […]

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The New Testament and Musical Accompaniment

This is an inquiry as to whether the New Testament’s use of the Greek word ‘psallo’ – usually rendered ‘to sing’ – can be advanced as a proof that instrumental music was employed in the gatherings of believers in apostolic days. An anonymous enquirer posed this question in writing to four respected Bible teachers in a former generation. […]

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A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia

This article by Dr. A. J. Higgins M.D. (New Jersey, USA) sets out the Bible’s teaching on debility and euthanasia: Shakespeare said it back in 1600: “Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Solomon’s description in Ecclesiastes 12 […]

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My Friend and My Foe

Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841-1923) is best known, and rightly so, for her hymn “Before the Throne of God Above”.* Mrs. Bancroft, widowed twice in her lifetime, wrote some exquisite poems all of which are available in Within the Vail published in 1867 in Omagh, Northern Ireland. At that time her initials were C.L.S. – Charitie Lees Smith. Sadly, […]

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15 Must-Have Books on Eschatology

A sizeable portion of the Bible is devoted to covering events that are eschatological. That is to say, they haven’t happened yet. “Last things”, “future events” and “prophetic truths” are scattered liberally throughout both the Old and New Testaments. One could hardly be a Christian and not have an interest in the meaning of such […]

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Stephen Hawking’s Sleight of Hand

In his 2010 book, The Grand Design, Stephen W. Hawking deftly composes a sentence of staggering, perhaps unparalleled, sleight-of-hand proportions. “Because there is a law such as gravity,” he writes, “the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why […]

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Too Busy to Pray?

Commenting on Luke 5:16, “And [Jesus] withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed”, J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) has these very challenging words of exhortation: “We see, lastly, in this passage, our Lord Jesus Christ’s diligence about private prayer. Although great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities, He still made time […]

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Will the Church Go Through the Great Tribulation?

by E.W. Rogers (1893-1977) The Great Parenthesis Will the Church go through the Tribulation? This question is perennial: it is always cropping up, and the phrase is almost hackneyed. Only to the ears of those who have some knowledge of what ‘the Church’ really is, and what particular ‘Tribulation’ is alluded to, does the question convey its proper meaning. Amplified, […]

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Do or Done?

An examination of the world’s religions quickly reveals one outstanding fact. Whether it’s Hinduism with its rituals, Islam with its pilgrimages, Roman Catholicism with its sacraments or evangelicalism with its “sinner’s prayer”, ultimately all religious want you to do something to get right with God. Your salvation, your forgiveness, your peace with God, is dependent […]

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Should Christians Listen to Contemporary Christian Music?

Lifest is an annual 4-day Christian music festival that takes place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, each July. It attracts around 20,000 attendees per day and features around 100 artists performing on 6 different stages. It is a member of The Christian Festival Association, a group representing all the major Christian music festivals held in the […]

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Ecumenism or Separation – Which?

This is a transcript of a message given in Motherwell, Scotland, by the evangelist and Bible teacher William Trew (1902-1971) entitled “My reasons for not being free to engage in inter-denominational services”.  Scripture readings: Matt 28:16-20, Acts 20:17-38, 1 Cor 9:1-23 The saints who have gathered here today to hear this statement of my reasons […]

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How To Find Peace

Inner peace. Illusive, fleeting, easily disturbed. How to obtain it? How to maintain it? Meditation, drugs, religion, yoga, romance? Endless options, mixed success. There’s another kind of peace that’s more fundamental, more important. Objective rather than subjective; fixed rather than variable. You need it. Think about this. The opposite of peace is war. Ever since […]

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Heaven…a fairy story? (Stephen Hawking vs. John Lennox)

Proposition from Professor Stephen Hawking (Theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge) “Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Response from John Lennox (Professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, philosopher of science, and Christian apologist) “Atheism is a […]

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Review of “The New Calvinists”, a book by E.S. Williams

The following review is taken from the Precious Seed magazine Volume 70 Number 2 – May 2015 “For those who do not follow events in evangelical circles, this book will seem to have little relevance. “Whether it is ‘old Calvinism’, or so-called ‘new Calvinism’, many may feel that the turmoil affecting those of a Reformed […]

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A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence M. Krauss

Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist, highlights two books as particularly significant. Says he, “If On the Origin of Species [by Charles Darwin, 1859] was biology’s deadliest blow to supernaturalism, we may come to see A Universe From Nothing [by Lawrence M. Krauss, 2012] as the equivalent from cosmology. The title means exactly what […]

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Worldviews as Soundbites

Humanism is self-centred. It says “Be what you want.” Quote: “You can be whatever you want to be.” Hedonism is feelings-centred. It says “Do what you want.” Quote: “If it feels good – do it.” Materialism is possessions-centred. It says “Get what you want.” Quote: “You deserve it.” Relativism has no centre. It says “Believe what you want.” Quote: […]

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Two Worlds

At the beginning, God placed man in Eden’s paradise. The original creatorial order featured harmony between the Creator and His creation under the rule of Adam, heaven’s vice-regent on earth. Satan engineered a rebellion which resulted in Adam rejecting God’s authority. Adam shifted his allegiance from God to the arch enemy Satan, and since that […]

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The Christian and the Media

British journalist and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), writing before the dawn of the internet age, observed that “…the media in general, and TV in particular, and BBC television especially, are incomparably the greatest single influence in our [British] society today, exerted at all social, economic, and cultural levels. The influence, I should add, is, in […]

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Eternity (A poem by Isaac Ewan)

Timeless eternity, Shoreless infinity, Measureless, limitless, fathomless sea! Incomprehensible, Vastness extensible, Ever and ever and ever to be! Life’s perpetuity, Love’s continuity, Ceasesless and sinless, in fulness and free! Joyous futurity, Blessed security, Ever and ever and ever to be! Judgement’s immensity, Torment’s intensity, Fearful finality, changeless decree! Conscious nonentity, Sinful identity, Ever and ever […]

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The Two Ways

The Bible outlines two ways. Man’s way and God’s way – the way of lawlessness and the way of righteousness. These ways are opposed to each other. Indeed, one is a deliberate turning away from the other. Isaiah describes it well. “All we, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his […]

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If There’s A God

The British TV series Dixon of Dock Green ran for an incredible 25 years. In 1990, the atheistic playwright behind it, Ted Willis, moved an amendment to the Broadcasting Bill in the British Houses of Parliament, hoping to pave the way for the presentation of humanism alongside Christianity on religious programmes on the BBC. Explaining […]

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The Maker of the Universe

The maker of the universe, as man for man was made a curse: The claims of laws which He had made, unto the uttermost He paid. His holy fingers made the bough which grew the thorns that crowned His brow: The nails that pierced His feet were mined in secret places He designed. He made […]

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Pain Knocked At My Door

Pain knocked at my door and said she’d come to stay. Though I would not welcome her but bade her go away, Still she entered — And like my shade she followed after me, And from her stabbing stinging sword No moment was I free. And then one day another knocked most gently at my […]

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God Knows What He’s About

When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man, When God wants to mould a man to play the noblest part; When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man That all the world shall praise…watch His methods; watch His ways! How He […]

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The Weaver

My life is but ‘a weaving’ Between My Lord and me, I cannot choose the colours He worketh steadily. Oft times He weaveth sorrow, And I in foolish pride Forget He sees the upper, And I, the underside. Not ’till the loom is silent And the shuttles cease to fly Shall God unroll the canvas […]

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The Rosebud

It is only a tiny rosebud A flower of God’s design; But I cannot unfold the petals With these clumsy hands of mine The secret of unfolding flowers Is not known to such as I, The flower God opens so gently In my hands would fade and die If I cannot unfold a rosebud, This […]

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The Kite

My waking dreams are best concealed, Much folly, little good they yield; But now and then I gain when sleeping, A friendly hint that’s worth the keeping. Lately, I dreamt of one who cried, “Beware of self, beware of pride; When you are prone to build a Babel, Recall to mind this little fable.” Once […]

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The Bend in the Road

Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads We view what we think is the end; But God has a much wider vision And He knows that it’s only a bend The road will go on and get smoother And after we’ve stopped for a rest, The path that lies hidden beyond us Is often the path […]

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Blest Cross

Thus far did I come laden with my sin; Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in Till I came hither: What a place is this! Must here be the beginning of my bliss? Must here the burden fall from off my back? Must here the strings that bound it to me crack? […]

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The Atonement

Introduction When selfish, narrow minded man the mighty works of God would scan He’s sure to estimate the whole in keeping with his narrow soul, Till he, by truth divine, advance into the infinite expanse That lies beyond his shallow thought, and face to face with God be brought To measure, by Jehovah’s strength, the […]

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The Anvil

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door, And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime; Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor, Old hammers, worn with beating years of time. “How many anvils have you had,” said I, “To wear and batter all these hammers so?” “Just one” said he, and then, with […]

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Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?

Arriving at a clear understanding of the true nature of salvation represents the first step in settling the question of eternal security. The Bible clearly teaches that at the very moment of genuine repentance and saving faith a sinner is: Converted – turned around (Acts 3:19) Reconciled – made at peace (2 Cor 5:19) Sanctified […]

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Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day, Travelling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ […]

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How To Study The Bible

Although it is an honour to engage in the immensely rewarding task of Bible study, make no mistake, it’s hard work! The Bible calls its students labourers (2 Tim 2:15). With that in mind it might be helpful to list a number of benefits connected with personal Bible study: 1. It facilitates real personal spiritual […]

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Contemporary Praise and Worship

Assessing contemporary praise and worship (CPW) is a tricky task for two major reasons. Firstly, the phenomenon is less than 60 years old, and secondly, it is a varied and constantly changing field of study. Yet, for all its variety, CPW exhibits four enduring features, which distinguish it from all that went before it, during […]

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Contemporary Song Books Examined

A hymn book and a Bible. For hundreds of years ‘the saints’ all carried them to church; but the 21st century finds most worshippers showing up on Sunday morning empty-handed. Only the preacher carries a Bible and the songs are on the big screen. In fact, in many places hymns have practically disappeared altogether. Their […]

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Transubstantiation

Once a matter of life and death, transubstantiation is now generally a matter of indifference. Despite the fact that the process of transubstantiation apparently takes place 120,000,000 times a year (once at each Catholic Mass worldwide), many evangelicals have neither heard of the word nor know what it means. Even when they find out, they […]

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No Hands But Mine

Thou hast no tongue, O Christ, as once of old, To tell the story of Thy love divine: The story still as strange, as sweet, as true; But there’s no tongue to tell it out, but mine. Thou hast no hands, O Christ, as once of old To feed the multitudes with bread divine; Thou […]

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Child You Must Wait

Desperate and helpless and longing I cried. Patiently, lovingly my Lord replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate; And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.” “Wait? You said wait?” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers. I need to know why. Is Your hand shortened or have […]

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I Asked the Lord

I asked the Lord that I might grow, In faith, and love, and every grace; Might more of His salvation know, And seek, more earnestly, His face. ‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray And He, I trust, has answered prayer! But it has been in such a way, As almost drove me to […]

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Is This The Right Road Home?

Is this the right road home, O Lord? The clouds are dark and still. The stony path is hard to tread, Each step brings some fresh ill. I thought the way would brighter grow, And that the sun with warmth would glow, And joyous songs from free hearts flow. Is this the right road home? […]

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I Asked God

I asked God to take away my pride, And God said, “No.” He said it was not for Him to take away, But for me to give up. I asked God to make my handicapped child whole, And God said, “No.” He said her spirit already is, While her body is only temporary. I asked […]

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Beneath An Eastern Sky

Beneath an eastern sky, Amid a rabble’s cry, A Man went forth to die For me. Thorn-crowned His lovely head, Blood-stained His every tread; Cross-laden, on He sped For me. Pierced through His hands and feet, Three hours there on Him beat Fierce rays of noontide heat For me. Thus wast Thou made all mine: […]

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Read The Bible Through

I supposed I knew my Bible, Reading piecemeal, hit or miss, Now a bit of John or Matthew, Now a snatch of Genesis, Certain chapters of Isaiah, Certain Psalms (the 23rd), Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs Yes, I thought I knew the Word! But I found that thorough reading Was a different thing to […]

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Hast Thou No Wound?

Hast thou no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand? I hear thee sung as mighty in the land, I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star; Hast thou no scar? No wound? No scar? Yet as the Master shall the servant be, And pierced are the feet that follow Me; But […]

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Five Minutes After I Die

Loved ones will weep o’er my silent face, Dear ones will clasp me in sad embrace, Shadows and darkness will fill the place, Five minutes after I die. But the faces that sorrow I will not see, The voices that murmur will not reach me, But where, O where will my spirit be, Five minutes […]

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Four Sleeping Infants

Bold infidelity, turn pale and die. Beneath this stone four sleeping infants lie. Say, are they lost or saved? If death’s by sin, they sinned for they are here. If Heaven’s by works, in Heaven they can’t appear. Ah, reason how depraved! Turn to the Bible’s sacred page, the knot’s untied. They died for Adam […]

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In Acceptance Lieth Peace

I said, I will forget the dying faces, The empty places will be filled again; O, voices mourning deep within me cease! Vain, vain the word – how vain! – Not in forgetting lieth peace. I said, I will crowd action upon action, The strife of action will stir my spirit; O tears that drown […]

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The DaVinci Code (A Critique)

Dan Brown, author of best-selling novel “The DaVinci Code’, claims to know the truth about the greatest cover-up in human history. Though the information he discloses already existed in older non-fiction books such as ‘Holy Blood Holy Grail’ (Dell, 1983) and ‘The Templar Revelation’ (Simon & Schuster, 1998), it took what ‘The Boston Globe’ called […]

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I Will Not Doubt

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain, And troubles swarm like bees above a hive, I will believe the heights for which I strive Are only reached by anguish and by pain; And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses, I yet shall see through my severest losses, The greater gain. I […]

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I Cannot Say

I cannot say beneath the pressure of life’s care to-day, “I joy in these”; But I can say that I had rather walk this rugged way, if Him it please. I cannot feel that all is well when darkening clouds conceal the shining sun; But this I know God lives and loves; and I can […]

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I Cannot Give It Up

I cannot give it up, the little world I know! The innocent delights of youth, the things I cherish so! It’s true, I love my Lord, and want to do His will, But may I not enjoy the world, and be a Christian still? I love the hour of prayer, I love the hymns of […]

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Have a Heart

Pray don’t find fault with the man that limps Or stumbles along the road. Unless you have worn the shoes he wears Or struggled beneath his load. There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt Though hidden away from view. Or the burden he bears, placed on your back Might cause you to stumble […]

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First Days for God

First days for God, Before Thy life is moulded, And God is given Second place – or none. Give Him thy time, And see His plan unfolded; Find in thy years Eternity begun. First hours for God; The day will not be wasted If thou dost tarry In His presence till. Strength from His strength […]

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Every Word Was True

I sinned, and straightway, post-haste, Satan flew Before the presence of the Most-High God, And made a railing accusation there. He said, “This soul, this thing of clay and sod, Has sinned. ‘Tis true that he has named thy Name, But I demand his death, for Thou has said, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall […]

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Day of Judgment

Day of judgment! Day of wonders! Hark! the trumpet’s awful sound, Louder than a thousand thunders, Shakes the vast creation round! How the summons wilt the sinner’s heart confound! At His call the dead awaken, Rise to life from earth and sea; All the powers of nature shaken By His look, prepares to flee. Careless […]

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A Pomegranate and a Bell

With holy awe and reverent pace, The Priest approached the Holy Place; Attired in garments that became The Place where God had set His Name. His ephod shone with gold and gems, While softly from the wreathen hems The mellow music rose and fell, From ‘a pomegranate and a bell’, ‘A pomegranate and a bell’. […]

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Are All The Children In?

I think oft times as the night draws nigh Of an old house on the hill, Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred Where the children played at will. And when the night at last came down, Hushing the merry din, Mother would look around and ask, “Are all the children in?” ‘Tis many and […]

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