Friday, December 8, 2017

The Unbelievable Miracle

The Unbelievable Miracle—
to the natural mind

“A sign…spoken against” Luke 1:34

This Child. . . is for a sign
which some will hate—deny!
And others will, defending it,
if need be, choose to die.
Because there rests upon this,
our sure eternal hope,
and for the present hour,
the strength with life to cope.

“A virgin shall conceive!”
’Tis said, “Can never be!”
yet science cannot side-step
the facts of history.
The prophecy made audible
seven hundred years before;
and holy men confirmed it—
their faithful witness bore.

This whole world is divided,
the camps are only two;
the virgin-birth of Jesus
is the issue clear and true.
We cannot say, “God with us,”
if this we dare deny;
God gave the sign—believe it!
Or reject, and you must die!


Art: Kissing the Face of God by Morgan Weistling

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Apex of History

Originally posted October 23, 2017 on this blog

The shepherds in the fields by night,
the wise men far away,
the angel throng, the guiding star,
the Child on bed of hay—
these all combine and give to us
a story with intrigue,
which centuries cannot erase,
though fought by Satan’s league.

It seems so strange that wheels stand still
in factories everywhere;
and stores are quiet on this day
while clerks stay home to share
with loved ones, or go out with friends,
to “celebrate” they say,
a birth—two thousand years ago—
a Babe—born far away.

Of course, some folks don’t realize
just what it’s all about;
and some who know are not concerned;
their minds are filled with doubt.
But of all statesmen in the world,
or notables, not one
has caused a stir so great, so long,
as that Jewish maiden’s Son!

While on this earth, where Jesus went,
He chose a lowly place,
until the time had come to show
the world His power and grace.
And then at last, He yielded to
the passion of the crowd—
was crucified for sinful men;
He was the Son of God!

He did not die like other men, 
but shouted at the last,
in triumph, “It is finished!” 
as the soldiers stood aghast.
He rose again and lives today, 
in hearts that let Him in—
the mighty Victor over death;
the only Cure for sin!


Picture: #26373653, standard license

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The First and Second Coming

Originally posted on this blog July 22, 2017

’Twas not unto the masses
that “glory shone around,”
but to the lowly shepherds
all seated on the ground.
Their longing hearts enraptured,
so many years forlorn;
their trusting faith rewarded,
Jesus Christ is born!

Word of His first appearing
by faithful prophets shared,
fulfilled, yet found the masses
completely unprepared.
Though many knew the scriptures
pertaining to His birth,
yet few believed the message:
Christ had come to earth.

The dawning of the morning
when Christ shall reappear
is surely now upon us,
yet who shall see and hear?
Oh, may His second coming,
much heralded today,
find us awake and waiting;
let us watch and pray!


Published as Poem #13 in Contemporary Psalms ©1975 by Radiant Light Enterprises
This poem has been set to music (Rutherford, by Chréten Urhan; arr. by Edward F. Rimbault).
For a copy of the printed music, contact Joyce.

Picture: Govert Flinck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Genuine and Original

Where ever there is counterfeit
the genuine can be found;
and where the imitations are, 
the original has been ’round.

Where something excellent exists,
you’ll find the copy-cat;
who sells for cheaper price and claims,
“It’s just as good as that!”

Oh, yes, there’ll be a lot who try
to get into the act,
and peddle junk as though ’twere gold
and fiction, as ’twere fact.

Just who invented Santa Claus?
And whom would they crowd out,
while telling youthful, trusting hearts 
that he’s not one to doubt.

An imitation may at times
not really be so bad,
but worthless counterfeit for truth,
that, friend, indeed is sad!

When celebrating Christmas,
with gifts and much ado,
consider implications
of the counterfeit and true!


Artwork: Tamás Kolozsvári, Wheat Miracle of St. Nicholas of Myra, 1427. Tempera on wood, Christian Museum, Esztergom, Hungary.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Enter the Gates (Psalm 100)

Words by F.P. Nickel, Music by Rachel Bontrager

Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving,
come into His courts with praise!
Serve Him with gladness and sing in His presence;
voices in glad anthems raise.
For all that we have has been given
by grace of our Maker above;
we dare claim no merit, nor credit—
our boast is His power and love.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
honour His name (oh, honour His name).
For we are the sheep of His pasture,
come into His courts with praise!

Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving,
come into His courts with praise!
Bless thou the Lord and forget not my soul 
His benefits all of thy days.
Redeeming thy life from destruction—
forgiving iniquities great,
and healing thee of thy diseases—
how happy and blissful thy state!

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
honour His name (oh, honour His name).
For we are the sheep of His pasture,
come into His courts with praise!

Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving,
come into His courts with praise!
Glory resplendent declared by the heav’ns, 
His pow’r by the sun and its rays.
Beholding the stars and the planets—
the earth and the universe plan,
I cannot contain awe and wonder, 
that He should be mindful of man.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
honour His name (oh, honour His name).
For we are the sheep of His pasture,
come into His courts with praise!

This was written as a song. For a copy of the printed music, contact Joyce

Picture: sourced online

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Memory, Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years ago today, November 22, 2002, Frank P. Nickel was promoted to glory. I woke with this song on my mind. In it, he reminds us that heaven is our true country of citizenship. I like to think of Dad perhaps collaborating with King David to compose and sing new songs of praise to our God. I don't know if that sort of thing happens in heaven, but I'm guessing we'll be using our God-given creativity in some fulfilling, joy-filled manner. It boggles the mind.

We sang this song often during the later years of our family ministry, and I've already posted it twice in this blog project. Yet as I meditate on these words, inspired by Psalm 103:2, it seems fitting to share them again, this time courtesy of a video taken during the memorial service for our brother, Bob, this past July. Not our finest moment, musically or emotionally, as you can understand, but it is a tender mercy that we can be together and remember our beloved ones who have gone before, and realize they are in that place where God wipes all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more sadness. Please enjoy the video and the lyrics below.

Forget not all His benefits, my soul, bless thou the Lord.
Review His tender mercies and the comfort of His word.
Remember well the greatest of the gifts that He has given:
Eternal life through Christ our Lord and citizenship in heaven.

Forget not all His benefits, for friends and loved ones dear;
For those who share our joys with us, who in our grief stand near.
Thank God for courage and for strength when past endurance driven.
Yet keep in mind that gift supreme: your citizenship in heaven.

Forget not all His benefits within the walls called home.
For peace and for protection as the paths of life we roam.
For healing of these bodies and for sins, now all forgiven.
For hope beyond this vale of tears and citizenship in heaven.

Oh bless the Lord for Jesus' blood and for his side once riven
Eternal life through Christ is mine, and citizenship in heaven.


Originally posted Jan. 25, 2014 and May 5, 2017
Video credit: Jay Holden, via Facebook Live, July 19, 2017
Contact Joyce if you would like a copy of the printed music.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Great Choice

The pleasures of sin for a season
or the joys of salvation so grand?
Oh, how will you wish to have chosen
when at last in God’s presence you stand?

The world with its riches and glory—
however enchantingly sweet—
when death comes, will offer no comfort
but mock with a hasty retreat.

Today you may have the assurance:
your sins have been taken away
and your name is recorded in heaven,
fair land of the unending day.

In the light of eternity, answer.
Why trifle with God and your soul?
Choose now, as you’ll wish to have chosen
while the years of eternity roll!

fpn / undated

Published as poem #30 in Contemporary Psalms, and as song #25 in Sing and Give Thanks. Recorded on LP 365: My Sheep Know My Voice as "The Pleasures of Sin for a Season" and on LP 569: Let Us Talk About the Lord as "The Great Choice." If you would like a copy of the music, contact Joyce.

Video created on