Poetry Saturday—The Wond’ring World Inquires To Know

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The wond’ring world inquires to know
Why I should love my Jesus so:
What are His charms,” say they, “above
The objects of a mortal love?”

Yes! my Beloved, to my sight
Shows a sweet mixture, red and white:
All human beauties, all divine,
In my Beloved meet and shine.

White is His soul, from blemish free;
Red with the blood He shed for me;
The fairest of ten thousand fairs;
A sun amongst ten thousand stars.

His head the finest gold excels;
There wisdom in perfection dwells,
And glory like a crown adorns
Those temples once beset with thorns.

Compassions in His heart are found,
Hard by the signals of His wound:
His sacred side no more shall bear
The cruel scourge, the piercing spear.

His hands are fairer to behold
Than diamonds set in rings of gold;
Those heav’nly hands, that on the Tree
Were nailed, and torn, and bled for me!

Though once He bowed His feeble knees,
Loaded with sins and agonies,
Now on the throne of His command
His legs like marble pillars stand.

His eyes are majesty and love,
The eagle tempered with the dove;
No more shall trickling sorrows roll
Through those dear windows of His soul.

His mouth, that poured out long complaints,
Now smiles and cheers His fainting saints
His countenance more graceful is
Than Lebanon with all its trees.

All over glorious is my Lord
Must be beloved, and yet adored;
His worth if all the nations knew,
Sure the whole earth would love Him too. —Isaac Watts

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God’s Unrivaled Pencil

Not a flower
But shows some touch in freckle, streak or stain
Of His unrivaled pencil. He inspires
Their balmy odors, and imparts their hues,
And bathes their eyes with nectar.
Happy he
Who walks with Him! —William Cowper







all photos (c) Craig T. Owens 2020

Poetry Saturday—The Thorn

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out of His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face. —Martha Snell Nicholson

Poetry Saturday—Where The Roses Never Fade

I am going to a city where the streets with gold are laid
Where the tree of life is blooming and the roses never fade.
Here they bloom but for a season—soon their beauty is decayed
But I am going to a city where the roses never fade. 

In this world we have our troubles, satan’s snares we must evade
We’ll be free from all temptation where the roses never fade.
Here they bloom but for a season—soon their beauty is decayed
But I am going to a city where the roses never fade. 

Loved one gone to be with Jesus in their robes of white arrayed
Now are waiting for my coming where the roses never fade.
Here they bloom but for a season—soon their beauty is decayed
But I am going to a city where the roses never fade. —variously attributed to Elsie Osborn, Jack Osborn, or Jim Miller (the handwritten copy is from Russell Coffield, my wife’s grandfather, and was read at his funeral) 

Sunbeams From God

For You are the fountain of life, the light by which we see. Psalm 36:9

“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it. Then I moved so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and (above all) no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of a tree outside and beyond that, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences.” —C.S. Lewis

“So we can say that when we ‘look along’ the heavens and not just ‘at’ the heavens, they succeed in their aim of ‘declaring the glory of God.’ That is, we see the glory of God, not just the glory of the heavens. We don’t just stand outside and analyze the natural world as a beam, but we let the beam fall on the eyes of our heart, so that we see the source of the beauty—the original Beauty, God Himself.  This is the essential key to unlocking the proper use of the physical world of sensation for spiritual purposes. All of God’s creation becomes a beam to be ‘looked along’ or a sound to be ‘heard along’ or a fragrance to be ‘smelled along’ or a flavor to be ‘tasted along’ or a touch to be ‘felt along.” —John Piper 

Saturday In The Psalms—Like No One Else

Praise is awaiting You, O God… (Psalm 65:1).

Why is praising awaiting God? Because no one else does what He does!

  1. He hears all our prayers
  2. He turns no one away
  3. He atones for our transgressions
  4. He helps us approach Him
  5. He fills our lives with good things
  6. He longs for us to dwell with Him
  7. He satisfies our deepest longing
  8. He is All-Righteous
  9. He does awesome things!
  10. He is Salvation
  11. He is Confidence
  12. He answers our prayers
  13. He is Creator
  14. He is Wonderful
  15. He is Beauty
  16. He is All-Powerful
  17. He is Provider
  18. He is Abundance
  19. He is Good
  20. He is Joy

There is no like You, O God!

So my praise will be lifted to You—to You my vows will be fulfilled!

Who’s Driving Your Bus?

“So who’s driving your bus? You … or your what-if thoughts of cancer? Feel free to have a conversation with the disease and put it in its proper place. …

“If you want to empty your mind of those awful cancer what-ifs, you need to find something else to put in their place. Because if all you do is try really hard not to think about something, you’ll think about it all the more! … You need to crowd cancer what-ifs right out of your mind by pouring in much more productive thoughts. …

A mind filled with the best doesn’t have room for the worst. A mind filled with the beautiful doesn’t have space for the ugly. A mind filled with things to praise doesn’t have a spot for cursing.” —Lynn Eib, in Peace In The Face Of Cancer (emphasis mine)

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

For some other beautiful things on which to meditate, check out some other quotes from Lynn Eib here and here.

Saturday In The Psalms—My Praise Is Beautiful

…praise from the upright is beautiful (Psalm 33:1).

God thinks praise from upright people is a beautiful thing! That’s great … for the person who is upright.

Whose life does God think is “upright”?

Well, God helps me with that too! “The Lord looks from heaven” and He sees me (v. 13), and “He considers all [my] works.” But before looking at my works, He develops the inside part of me from which my works flow—“He fashions [my] heart individually” (v. 15). I am not an assembly-line, mass-produced product. I am a unique, one-of-a-kind creation!

So how do I get God to spend this individualized attention on me? “Behold the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him” (v. 18). Just standing in awe of His greatness—worshiping Him—asking for His kingdom to come and His will to be done—is the kind of invitation God delights in.

When I fear God it gets His attention and invites His individualized heart work on me. That makes me beautifully upright in His sight, and makes my praise pleasing to His ears. My praise glorifies God and increases my reverential awe of Him, which develops an even deeper fear of God … [and the cycle repeats!].

God delights in making my praise of Him delightful. I am a beautiful thing in His sight!


But none honors God like the thirst of desire,
Nor possesses the heart so completely with Him;
For it burns the world out with the swift ease of fire,
And fills life with good works till it runs ov’er the brim. … 

Oh then wish more for God, burn more with desire,
Covet more the dear sight of His marvelous Face;
Pray louder, pray longer, for the sweet gift of fire
To come down on thy heart with its whirlwinds of grace. … 

God loves to be longed for, He loves to be sought,
For He sought us Himself with such longing and love:
He died for desire of us, marvelous thought!
And He yearns for us now to be with Him above. —Frederick William Faber, Desire Of God

True Beauty vs. Pornography

God’s design for sex is truly the most beautiful thing that exists between two people. Its counterfeit is called pornography. Porn is simulated, imitated, and purchased; but no price tag can ever buy true beauty.

God demonstrates the purest love in Himself, when one part of the Godhead is the Lover and the other parts of the Godhead are the Beloved. The Lover is constantly discovering the beauty in the Beloved, and then praising that beauty. The Beloved then reciprocates back to the Lover. It’s a love dance! 

Humans are created in God’s image. We are first created to be God’s beloved. Then we are designed to be both lover and beloved in the bonds of marriage. True beauty—real, lasting beauty that pleases God—is discovered. It’s something that starts inside and radiates outside. A true lover takes the time to discover who the beloved truly is.

To see this in action, just look at some of the compliments between husband and wife in the Song of Songs—How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! … How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! … Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. … My lover is mine and I am his. … All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

True love that sees this kind of beauty cannot be imitated, purchased or simulated. If someone attempts to, it’s called pornography.

The dictionary gives this definition of pornography: sexually explicit materials whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal. In other words, porn tries to imitate and simulate true beauty at a purchase price.

Jesus identified this sell-out of true love with the Greek word porneia (see Mark 7:14-23). This word means any sexual involvement outside the marriage between a husband and wife. Porneia comes from words that fill out its definition: things like prostitution, idolatry, and slavery.

Your body was not made for porneia but for God (1 Corinthians 6:13). You were made in His image: to be His Beloved, and He your Lover, and then to have a marriage relationship with another image-bearer of God, where you are both lover and beloved, and where you focus on true beauty.

Anything else is imitated, purchased, and simulated. It’s pornography. It’s idolatry.

Christians are told to fight many temptations, but there are only two that we are told not to fight, but to flee: pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18) and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). So our prayer for the purity and enjoyment of God’s true beauty should be: Turn my eyes away from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).

Don’t sell out to the fake beauty in pornography. Discover true beauty exclusively in your spouse!

We’ll be looking at more relationship builders and killers, and I’d love to have you along for this journey of discovery.

Poetry Saturday—Gazing On Jesus

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art,
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Here I gaze and gaze upon Thee,
As Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole. —Jean Sophia Pigott

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