A Poem by H. Coleridge: Be Not Afraid to Pray

 Be Not Afraid to Pray

Hartley Coleridge, 1796-1849

Be not afraid to pray; to pray is right.
Pray, if thou canst, with hope, but ever pray,
Though hope be weak or sick with long delay;
Pray in the darkness, if there be no light.

Whate’er is good to wish, ask that of Heaven, 
Though it be what thou canst not hope to see: 
Pray to be perfect, though material leaven
Forbid the Spirit so on earth to be;

But if for any wish thou dar’st not pray,
Then pray to God to cast that wish away.

A Poem by J. Milton: When I Consider How My Light is Spent

 When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

by John Milton (1608-1674)

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

A Poem by J. Donne: Death, Be Not Proud

 Death, Be Not Proud

(also known as Sonnet X)
by John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

A Poem by C. Rossetti: Beneath Thy Cross

 Beneath Thy Cross

by Christina Rossetti

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross, To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss, And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee; Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon– I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; Greater than Moses, turn and look once more And smite a rock.

Christian Application from Jeremiah 29:1-14

Christian Application from Jeremiah 29:1-14
July 4, 2021

So, what about us? We are also living in a hostile environment, aren’t we? It is not ideal or always comfortable. Our level of comfort seems to be decreasing, as a matter of fact. We are not necessarily being punished ourselves for any particular sin, though. There are no prophets among us. However, I think it is safe to say that it is a very real possibility that our nation is being judged by God. It appears that he is giving us over to our sins. Therefore, we are caught up in the midst of divine judgment. And we will have to undergo it along with our pagan neighbors. What do we do with the situation?


Jeremiah’s message to the people of God in exile seems to be an appropriate message to us today as well. Thus says the Lord: build houses and dwell in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to live, and pray to the Lord for it, for in its peace you will have peace. Do not follow after false prophecies or teachings. Do not be led astray. And remember that God will visit us in due time and perform his good work toward us and take us unto himself. At just the right time, God will send his Son from heaven, and he will establish his eternal kingdom on earth in which we will dwell in his presence forevermore. We will enter into the joy of our Lord. 


In the meantime, we must be godly and content. We must be faithful to the Lord, obeying his every command. We must do what he says and go where he sends. Our souls must be swift to answer him. We must work for healthy, godly marriages. We must raise our sons and daughters in the faith, training them up in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. We must pursue work to provide for ourselves, our families, to support the ministries and missions of God‘s church. We must seek the peace of our country, of our communities. To do this, we will have to work, surely, but we must certainly pray for it. Pray to the Lord. Seek the Lord, search for him with all your heart.


And, thankfully, we live in a great country. It is the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We have been safe, free, and prosperous. We have concluded that it is not only a practical thing to pursue the peace of our country, the good of our country, but it is the correct thing to be proud of our country. Patriotism is a good thing and should be promoted among our people, as it should be among the peoples of all nations. A few passages in Revelation as well as many other New Testament passages assure us that every nation, tribe, and tongue will be represented in heaven. When we enter into heaven, we will enter in as God’s people, yes, but also as Americans (and others as other nationalities, all for God’s glory, showing his redeeming work from across the globe and through the ages).


While we can argue (and we do) that our nation is freer than any other, safer than any other, and more prosperous than any other, we also admit that these facts do not make us better human beings than any other. On the contrary, we affirm the biblical doctrine that all human beings are made in God’s image, and, therefore, each and every human life is sacred from conception to natural death. So, again, we do not claim to be inherently better than any other peoples on the planet, but we have certainly been greatly blessed. And for that, we give thanks to God. And we don’t use our liberty for licentiousness. We use our liberty to serve—to serve one another and those around the world. As Christians, we use our American liberty and prosperity to be a blessing to the nations through the preaching of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, his atoning work, his salvation, through repentance and faith in him.

Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23 The Lord is My Shepherd
January 3, 2021

The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar and famous passages in all of the Bible. Of course, familiarity sometimes gets in the way of true understanding of the text, and sometimes it blinds us from seeing fresh things in the Scriptures. While Psalm 23 has become mostly associated with death and funerals (I have read the chapter at several funerals myself), it is actually a song about the here-and-now. It is a declaration of trust from beginning to end.

The Lord Jesus spoke about food, water, and clothing in Matthew 6 by saying, “Therefore do not worry . . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” This psalm is a reflection upon that biblical principle and a declaration of total trust in God’s provision and protection. The main message, therefore, is that there is nothing to fear when God is your Shepherd.

Hear the full sermon audio at this link: Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd