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Poems

"...a shelter in the time of storm..."

 

 

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The complete booklet "Poems the Pastor Loved" is now available in PDF format:
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Mine Were The Streets of Nazareth

When I am tempted to repine
That such a lowly lot is mine,
There comes to me a voice which saith,
"Mine were the streets of Nazareth."

So mean, so common and confined,
And He the Monarch of mankind!
Yet patiently He traveleth
Those narrow streets of Nazareth

It may be I shall never rise
To place or fame beneath the skies --
But walk in straitened ways till death,
Narrow as streets of Nazareth.

But if through honor's arch I tread
And there forget to bend my head,
Ah! let me hear the voice which saith,
"Mine were the streets of Nazareth."

~~Nettie Rooker
Pastor Kalis used to lovingly replace the word Nazareth in the above poem
with the word Elizabeth

The Royal Priesthood

The race of God's anointed priests
shall never pass away;
Before His glorious Face they stand,
and serve him night and day,
Though reason raves, and unbelief flows on, a mighty flood,
There are, and shall be, till the end,
the hidden priests of God.
His chosen souls, their earthly dross
consumed in sacred fire,
To God's own heart their hearts
ascend in flames of deep desire;
The incense of their worship fills
His Temple's holiest place;
Their song with wonder fills the Heavens,
the glad new song of grace.

~~Gerhard Tersteegen
 

I'm A Watchman In the Night

Where the night of sin lies darkly,
And afar the wand'rers roam,
I must keep the watchfires burning
That will guide the weary home;
'Tis my Lord who loves the sinsick
That has made this duty mine;
He has given to my keeping
This fair gleam of light Divine.

Chorus:
I'm a watchman in the night.
I'm a keeper of a light;
For the wanderer's returning
I must keep the watch fire burning,
I'm a watchman,
I'm a watchman
In the night.

It is night upon the water
Where life's billows toss and roar,
I must keep my watch fires gleaming
On the sand upon the shore;
'Tis for this that Christ my Savior
Hath in love delivered me,
That my light may help another
Who is out upon the sea.


Not my own, the word of warning
Or the light of help and cheer,
But to me has been entrusted
Jesus message, sweet and clear;
I can call to those in darkness
Or far out upon the foam;
I can keep my own light burning
That may guide the wand'rer home.

~~M. J. Babbitt
 

From Prayer That Asks That I May Be

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 soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified;
Not this way went the Crucified.)
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire;
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God

~~Amy Carmichael
 

The Task

To learn, and yet to learn,
whilst life goest by,
So pass the student's days;
And thus be great and do great things, and die,
And lie embalmed with praise.
My work is but to lose and to forget
Thus small, despised to be;
All to unlearn—this task before me set;
Unlearn all else but Thee

~~Gerhard Tersteegen
 

He Gave Us The Best That He Had

To Bethlehem they went to be enrolled;
And there, in Caesar's census book of old,
His name was written 'mong the sons of men
As Caesar's subject: “Jesus”—followed then
By “Son of Mary, born in David's town, Of David's line”—the record thus set down.
In a world's book of life, a place they gave
To “Jesus” who was born a world to save.
They numbered Him with sinful men and poor,
Though He was the Son of God, divine and pure.

A heavenly census book His name alone
Bears, on the title-page; for 'tis His own,
That Book of Life; and there, writ clear and plain
Are names of those born in that King's domain;
All who alive forevermore shall be
Are there enrolled for all eternity.
Since He was numbered once with sinful men,
We may be numbered as God's own again.
Though Caesar's book has long since passed away,
The Lamb's blest Book of Life shall stand for aye.

~~The Census Books,
by Kay McCullough
 

Pilgrim Song

On, O beloved children,
The evening is at hand,
And desolate and fearful
The solitary land.
Take heart! The rest eternal
Awaits our weary feet;
From strength to strength press onwards, The end, how passing sweet!

Lo, we can tread rejoicing
The narrow pilgrim road;
We know the voice that calls us,
We know our faithful God.
Come, children, on to glory!
With every face set fast
Towards the golden towers
Where we shall rest at last.

It was with voice of singing
We left the land of night,
To pass in glorious music
Far onward out of sight.
O Children, was it sorrow?
Though thousand worlds be lost,
Our eyes have looked on Jesus,
And thus we count the cost.

The praising and the blaming,
The storehouse and the mart,
The mourning and the feasting,
The glory and the art,
The wisdom and the cunning,
Left far amid the gloom;
We may not look behind us,
For we are going home.

Across the will of nature
Leads on the path of God;
Not where the flesh delighteth
The feet of Jesus trod.
O bliss to leave behind us
The fetters of the slave,
To leave ourselves behind us
The grave-clothes and the grave!

To speed, unburdened pilgrims,
Glad, empty-handed, free;
To cross the trackless deserts,
And walk upon the sea;
As strangers among strangers,
No home beneath the sun;
How soon the wanderings ended,
The endless rest begun!

We pass the children playing,
For evening shades fall fast;
We pass the wayside flowers—
God's Paradise at last!
If now the path be narrow
And steep and rough and lone,
If crags and tangles cross it,

Praise God! We will go on.
We follow in His footsteps;
What if our feet be torn?
Where He has marked the pathway
All hail the briar and thorn!
Scarce seen, scarce heard, unreckoned, Despised, defamed, unknown,
Or heard but by our singing,
On, children! Ever on!

~~Gerhard Tersteegen
 

I Am Not

“I am not;” O words unwelcome
To the lips of men—
“I am not;” O words that lead us
Back to God again!

Speech of him who knows the pathway
To that refuge sweet,
Where is covert from the tempest,
Shadow from the heat.

Speech of Heaven, from wise men hidden,
Unto children taught;
Few the words of that great lesson,
Only “I am not.”

Heart of man, another language
Is thy native speech,
Spoken by a thousand races,
All alike in each.

“I am, --“ rich, or wise, or holy—
“Thus, and thus am I;”
For “I am,” men live and labour,
For “I am,” they die.

For “I am,” men dare and suffer,
Count all loss as gain,
Toil and weariness and bondage,
Sin and grief and pain.

In the blessed Gospel read we
How a rich man bade Christ the Lord and His disciples
To a feast he made.

Well it was to feed the prophet;
Thus the rich man thought,
But amidst his wealth and bounty
Lacked he “I am not.”

Then there came a sinful woman,
Eyes with weeping dim—
“I am not,” her heart was saying—
She had looked on Him.

He beheld her broken-hearted,
Ruined and undone,
Yet enthroned above the angels
Brighter than the Sun.

All the while in dust before Him
Did her heart adore,
“I am not,” that song of gladness—
“Thou art, evermore.”

For His heart to hers had spoken,
To His wandering lamb;
In the speech of Love Eternal,
He had said, “I AM.”

Now she thirsts no more for ever;
All she would is given;
None on earth hath she beside Him;
None beside in Heaven.

Oh, how fair that heavenly portion,
That eternal lot;
Christ, and Christ alone, for ever—
Ever “I am not.”

~~H. Suso
 

I Met The Master

I had walked life's way with an easy tread,
Had followed where comforts and pleasures led,
Until one day in a quiet place
I met the
Master face to face.

With station and rank, and wealth for my goal,
Much thought for my body and none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life's mad race
'Till I met the
Master face to face.

I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see
That His eyes full of sorrow,
Were fixed on me;
And I faltered and fell at His feet that day,
As my castles all melted and vanished away.

Melted and vanished and in their place
Nought else did I see but the
Master's face
And I cried aloud, "Oh make me meet
To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet."

My thoughts are now for the souls of men.
I have lost my life to find it again,
E'er since that day in a quiet place
I met the
Master face to face.

~~Unknown
 

 I Met God In the Morning

I met God in the morning
When the day was at its best,
And His presence came like sunrise,
Like a glory in my breast

All day long the Presence lingered,
All day long He stayed with me,
And we sailed in perfect calmness
O'er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered;
Other ships were sore distressed;
But the winds that seemed to drive them
Brought to us a peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind,
When I, too, had loosed the moorings
With the Presence left behind.

And I think I know the secret,
Learned from many a troubled way:
You must seek God in the morning
If you want Him through the day.

~~Ralph Cushman
 

Thy Mat

Blasted rock and broken stone,
Ordinary earth,
Rolled and rammed and trampled on,
Forgotten, nothing worth
And blamed, but used day after day;
An open road--the king's highway.

Often left outside the door,
Sometimes in the rain,
Always lying on the floor,
And made for mud and stain:
Men wipe their feet, and tread it flat,
And beat it clean--the master's mat.

Thou wast broken, left alone,
Thou wast blamed, and worse,
Thou wast scourged and spat upon,
Thou did'st become my curse--
Lord Jesus, as I think of that
I pray, make me Thy road, Thy mat.

~~From "Gold Cord"
 

Overheard in an Orchard

Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so?"

Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me."

~~Elizabeth Cheney

It Matters Not

It matters not how the battle goes,
The day how long.
Faint not! Fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.

~~unknown

 

The Mat

It was on a winter's morning
In the days of old,
In his cell sat Father Henry,
Sorrowful and cold.

"O my Lord, I am aweary,"
In his heart he spake,
"For my brethren scorn and hate me
For Thy Blessed sake.

"If I had but one to love me
That were joyful cheer--
One small word to make me sunshine
Through the darksome year!

"But they mock me and despise me
Till my heart is stung--
Then my words are wild and bitter,
Tameless is my tongue."

Then the Lord said, "I am with thee;
Trust thyself to Me;
Open thou thy little casement
Mark what thou shalt see."

Then a piteous look and wistful
Father Henry cast
Out into the dim old cloister
And the wintry blast.

Was it that a friend was coming
By some Angel led?
No! a great hound wild and savage
Round the cloister sped.

Some old mat that lay forgotten
Seized he on his way--
Tore it, tossed it, dragged it wildly
Round the cloister gray.

"Lo, the hound is like my brethren,"
Spake the Voice he knew;
"If thou art the mat, beloved,
What hast thou to do?"

Meekly then went Father Henry,
And the mat he bare
To his little cell to store it
As a jewel rare.

Many a winter and a summer
Through those cloisters dim,
Did he thenceforth walk rejoicing,
And the Lord with him.

And when bitter words would sting him,
Turned he to his cell,
Took his mat, and looked upon it,
Saying, "All is well.

"He who is the least and lowest
Needs but low to lie;
Lord, I thank Thee and I praise Thee
That the
mat am I."

"On the cold and footworn pavement
Lies it still and flat,
Raves not if men trample on it
For it is a mat."

Then he wept, for in the stillness
His Beloved spake,
"Thus was I the least and lowest,
Gladly for thy sake.

"Lo, My face to shame and spitting
Did I turn for thee;
If thou art the least and lowest,
Then remember Me."

~~H. Suso
 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
In Flanders fields.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow;
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~~John McCrae
 

The Hell-bound Train

Tom Gray lay down on the barroom floor
Having drunk so much he could drink no more.
So he fell asleep with a troubled brain,
And dreamt he rode on the Hell-bound Train.

The engine with blood was red and damp,
And brilliantly lit with a brimstone lamp,
For fuel an imp was shoveling bones,
While the furnace rang with a thousand groans.

The boiler was filled with lager beer,
And the devil himself was the engineer.
The passengers made such a motley crew--
Church members, atheist, Gentile and Jew.

Rich men in broadcloth and beggar in rags;
Handsome young ladies and withered old hags;
Yellow and black men, red, brown and white--
All chained together! What a terrible sight!

The train dashed on at an awful pace,
And the hot wind scorched their hands and face,
Wilder and wilder the country grew,
And faster and faster the engine flew.

Louder and louder the thunders crashed;
And brighter and brighter the lightning flashed;
Hotter and hotter the air became,
So clothes were burned off each quivering frame.

Now in the distance arose such a yell--
"Ha! Ha!" croaked the devil,
"we're now nearing hell!"
Then--oh, how the passengers shrieked in pain,
And begged the devil to stop the train.

But he capered about and sang in his glee,
And laughed and joked at their agony.
My faithful friends, you have done my work,
And the devil can never a pay-day shirk.

You have bullied the weak, and robbed the poor,
And the starving brother turned from your door;
You have laid up gold where the canker rusts
And given free vent to fleshly lusts.

You have justice scorned, and corruption sown,
And trampled the laws of nature down,
You have drunk and rioted,
murdered and lied,
And mocked at God in your hell-born pride.

You have paid full faire, so I'll carry you thru
For it's only just, you should get your due.
Why, the laborer always expects his hire,
So I'll land you safe in the lake of fire,

Where your flesh shall roast in flames that roar,
And my imps torment you forever more.
Then Tom awoke with an agonized cry,
Clothes soaked with sweat,
and hair standing high.

And he prayed as he never prayed before,
To be saved from drink's satanic power,
And his vows and prayers were not in vain,
For he never more rode on the hell-bound train.

~~unknown
 

Go Deeper Into Me, Lord Jesus

Go deeper into me, Lord Jesus;
Yes, deeper every day,
Till Thou hast conquered me,Lord Jesus;
Go deeper all the way.

Go deeper into me, Lord Jesus;
Search all the secret springs
Of thought and action,
words and feelings,
Of great and little things.

Go deeper into me, Lord Jesus,
Cleanse all the hidden part,
Where pride, or touchiness, or temper,
May lurk within my heart.

Go deeper into me, Lord Jesus,
Till Thou canst really rise,
Out of the depths of this my being,
Through Thy great Sacrifice.

As Thou dost rise in me, Lord Jesus,
The life shall be Thine own,
Till o'er my humbled, broken spirit
Thou reignest on Thy throne.

~~E. E. B. Rogers
 

Unto Myself

Fearing to launch on
"full surrender's" tide
I asked the Lord
where would its waters glide
my little bark,
"To troubled seas I dread?"
"Unto Myself," He said.

Weeping beside an open grave I stood,
In bitterness of soul I cried to God:
"Where leads this path of
sorrow that I tread?"
"Unto Myself," He said.

Striving for souls,
I loved the work too well;
Then disappointments came;
I could not tell the reason,
'till He said, "I am thine all;
"Unto Myself I call."

Watching my heroes--
those I loved best--
I saw them fail;
they could not stand the test,
Even by this, the Lord,
through tear not few
"Unto Himself" me drew.

"Unto Himself!"
No earthly tongue can tell
The bliss I find,
since in His heart I dwell;
The things that charmed me
once seem all as naught;
"Unto Himself" I'm brought.

~~Unknown
 

Lord, I Would Follow, But...

Lord, I would follow, but...
First, I would see what means that wondrous call
That peals so sweetly through life's rainbow hall,
That thrills my heart with quivering golden chords,
And fills my soul with joys seraphical.

Lord, I would follow, but...
First, I would leave things straight before I go, --
Collect my dues,
and pay the debts I owe;
Lest when I'm gone,
and none is here to tend,
Time's ruthless hand my garnering o'erthrow.

Lord, I would follow, but...
First, I would see the end of this high road
That stretches straight before me,
fair and broad;
So clear the way I cannot go astray,
It surely leads me equally to God.

Lord, I would follow, -- yea
Follow I
will, -- but first so much there is
That claims me in life's vast emergencies,
Wrongs to be righted,
great things to be done;
Shall I neglect these vital urgencies?

He who answers Christ's insistent call
Must give himself, his life, his all,
Without one backward look,
Who sets his hand upon the plow,
And glances back with anxious brow,
His calling hath mistook;
Christ claims him wholly for His own;
He must be Christ's and Christ's alone.

~~John Oxenham
 

 

The Nameless Seeker

We are not told his name--
This "rich young ruler"
Who sought the Lord that day;
We only know that he had great possession,
And that -- he went away.

He went away --
from joy and peace and power;
From love un-guessed, untold;
From that eternal life that he was seeking,
Back to his paltry gold.

He went away--
he kept his earthly treasure,
But oh, at what a cost!
Afraid to take the cross and lose his riches--
And God and heaven were lost.

So for the tinselbonds that held and drew him
What honor he let slip --
Comrade of John and Paul
and friend of Jesus--
What glorious fellowship!

For they who left their all to follow Jesus
Have found a deathless fame.
On His immortal scroll of saints and martyrs
God wrote each shining name.

We should have read his there--
the rich young ruler--
If he had stayed that day;
Nameless--
Though Jesus loved him--
Ever nameless because--
He went away.

~~unknown
 

 

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