Monday, 25 February 2013

'God of Our Fathers' - Rudyard Kipling

God of Our Fathers
God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine-
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
A humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or other men without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
Valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Rudyard Kipling (1897)

Listen to my cover of this poem sung to music I wrote by clicking HERE.

Posted by William A Moore

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Christian Heroes: Bernard of Clairvaux

            During the reign of Pope Innocent II, the papacy was the greatest power in Europe at that time.  Kingdoms, countries, and men were controlled by, and in awe of, the papacy.  But there were still some men who, even though they submitted to the Pope, trusted in Christ as their Saviour. One of these men was Bernard of Clairvaux.  His heart was full of God’s love and energy to spread the Gospel to all nations.  On three occasions he was appointed bishop of certain cities, but he turned down these offers because he said that the word of God teaches not to strive after great things.  He had many people who followed him, and when one of them actually became Pope, Bernard spoke to him with these words, ‘“Remember that you are a successor of Him who said, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ Gold and silk and pearls and soldiers you have not received of Christ, but they came to you from Constantine. Never strive after these things. Would to God that before I die I might see the Church as it was in olden times when the apostles cast their nets, not to catch gold and silver but the souls of men.”’[1]  Bernard founded many monasteries and was asked for advice by influential men. He also wrote many hymns and preached sermons to different congregations.  Before his death he said that there were three things on which he based his hope for eternity: The love of God for his children; the certainty of His promises; and the power by which He will make these promises come true.  Such words show that he rested his only hope on Christ.  Like all men he erred in some ways, but he was a light of Christ to the people of his day, and we can see that he was a true man of God.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

[1] S. M. Houghton, ‘Sketches from Church History’, (The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), P. 59.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Battle for Truth

The Battle for Truth

The Battle for Truth was about to begin,
The night was over at last;
Men of the Covenant gave prayer to their King,
By grace they would stand fast.

Battle was joined: volleys poured in,
Men burned to right the wrong;
The burn ran red with Covenanter blood,
But their line stood firm and strong.

The enemy charged again, yet again,
Thundering up the height;
The men of the Covenant stood their ground,
They fought and died for Christ.

The battle was lost, but their faith was not,
Their Hope continues on;
Continue to remember the fight for Truth,
Until the Victory be won.

We now look back at those hard-lived days,
Reading in true amazement;
We now look forward – to Christ our King,
Who will come to reign with us yet.

William Moore © 2013

            I wrote this poem thinking of our continual battle of Truth against Sin – both now and in history.  As you can read, the poem both has a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning.  Men, real men, fought against real foes in real battles; I am thinking here especially of Covenanting times in the 1600’s.  In many fights the Covenanters lost to the Royalists, but their faith was not cut off, and they continued to trust their King – that he would “work all together for them that love God.”  But there is also a way in which this relates to our time here on earth.  We must, by God’s grace, continually war against the world, the flesh, and the devil.  He, our enemy, will do all he can to stop us in our walk with Christ, so we must always ask for the help of the Spirit to resist him and turn our focus to Christ, rather than ourselves, in our life.  And lastly, we should always look to Christ, “The author and finisher of our faith,” but at the same time remember the men who have gone before us, and follow in their example – which is that of our Saviour.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ballantyne in Canada!

Ballantyne and Barnston at Tadoussac, 1846

      I found this painting of R. M. Ballantyne (on the left). It was on a cookie tin that our family received at Christmas.  The tin reads thus: "Ballantyne and Barnston at Tadoussac, 1846".  It goes on: "R. M. Ballantyne (left) and Chief Trader George Barnston (center) arrive at Tadoussac, Quebec, on the Saguenay River, February 1846, having traveled overland from Montreal."
      Ballantyne is one of my favourite authors, and to happen upon him in a painting was very exciting.  He, in his writing, used experiences from his travels in Canada and elsewhere, and in so doing fired the spirits of young men to go out and take dominion for Christ in the world.
     I love the way he always proclaims the Gospel boldly in his books, as I am sure he did in his life.  He was a real character in real history, and God providentially used him, in sharing his experiences, to encourage young men and women to populate the New World and in so doing taking the Gospel to un-reached people.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Christian Heroes: The Lion of the North

        This is the first of a periodical series on Christian Heroes. I wrote this article for an assignment last year, edited it a bit, and now am sharing it with you.

        Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, is not a name that is spoken of very often. One of the reasons for this anonymity is that he was a wholehearted Protestant. He loved the Word of God and even wrote a battle-hymn. For a while, Gustavus watched the struggles for religious freedom in Europe. Then, when all was but lost for the Protestant side of the struggle, he decided that it was time to step in. Gustavus landed in Germany in 1630 with 18,000 men.
        Gustavus defeated two of the Roman Catholic armies sent by the Emperor of Vienna, and caused the death of his general, Tilly. By this time virtually the whole of central Europe was free from religious restriction. But the Emperor ordered one more army into the field. On this occasion, Gustavus Adolphus was killed in battle, but this only caused the Swedes to fight even more hardily, and they routed the Emperors troops. 
        The war flagged on for eighteen more years, but at the end the Peace of Westphalia was signed. The Protestants had won the right to exist in Europe. Gustavus Adolphus fought for God’s people and by his courage, faith, and strength, the foundation for religious freedom in Europe was laid and not broken. At a time when the Protestants tides were at the ebb, Gustavus was God’s instrument for securing freedom of religion for Protestants in Europe. We would do well to remember him.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

For further reading:
G. A. Henty: The Lion of the North

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Christian Heroes: Cyril Barton's Heroism

            On 30 March 1944, no fewer than ninety-six bombers were reported missing from the night’s raid on Germany.  It was one of the Allies’ heaviest losses in a bomber raid.  Cyril Barton was captain and pilot of a Halifax bomber detailed to attack Nuremburg.  Seventy miles short of the target, a Junkers 88 night fighter swooped on the aircraft.  The very first burst of fire from it put the entire intercom system out of action.  A Messerschmitt 210 night fighter joined in and damaged one engine.  The bombers machine guns went out of action so the gunners could not return the German fighter’s fire.
            Somehow Barton managed to keep his Halifax on course, covering those final seventy miles to Nuremburg, although fighters continued to attack him all the way to the target area.  But in the confusion caused by the failure of the intercom system at the height of the battle, a signal had been misinterpreted, and the navigator, bomb aimer, and wireless operator had all left the aircraft by parachute.
            Barton then faced a situation of dire peril.  His aircraft was damaged, his navigational team had gone, and he could not communicate with the rest of the crew.  If he continued his mission he could be at the mercy of hostile fighters, when silhouetted against the fires in the target area; and if he happened to survive that, he would have to make a four-and-a-half hour journey home on three engines across heavily defended enemy territory.  Barton determined to press on, however; he reached his target, and released the bombs himself.
            As he wrenched the Halifax round to aim for home, the propeller of the damaged engine, which had been vibrating badly, flew off.  Two of the bombers fuel tanks had also suffered damage and were leaking.  But Barton remained aloof from all these dangers and concentrated on the task of holding his course without any navigational aids and against strong headwinds.  Somehow he successfully avoided the most strongly defended areas on his return route.
            Using just his own judgement, he eventually crossed the English coast only ninety miles north of his base.  Now the worst part was about to begin.  As a result of the leaks in the petrol tanks, fuel was nearly non-existent.  The port (left) engines stopped with a sickening, intermittent cough.  Seeing a suitable landing place – for the aircraft was now too low to be abandoned successfully – Barton ordered the three remaining members of the Halifax crew to take up crash stations.  The bomber lost height rapidly.  With only one engine functioning, he struggled to land clear of a group of houses just below them.  The three members of the crew survived the crash – but Cyril Barton did not.  The three who bailed out over Germany were safe too, as Prisoners-of-War, so Barton alone died, while his friends and crew lived.
            Mrs. Barton read the letter Cyril had written in the case that this ever happened:

Dear Mum,

            I hope you never receive this, but I quite expect you will.  I’m expecting to do my first operational trip in a few days.  I know what ops over Germany mean, and I have no illusions about it.  By my own calculations the average life of a crew is 20 ops, and we have 30 to do in our first tour. 
            I’m writing this for two reasons.  One, to tell you how I would like my money spent that I have left behind me; two, to tell you how I feel about meeting my Maker.
1.         I intended, as you know, taking a university course with my savings.  Well, I would like it to be spent over the education of my brothers and sisters.
2.         All I can say about this is that I am quite prepared to die.  It holds no terror for me.
            At times I’ve wondered whether I’ve been right in believing what I do, and recently did doubt the veracity of the Bible, but in the little time I’ve had to sort out intellectual problems, I’ve been left in favour of the Bible. 
            Apart from all that, though, I have the inner conviction as I write, of a force outside myself, and my heart tells me I have not trusted in Him in vain.  All I am anxious about is that you and the rest of the family will also come to know Him.  Ken, I know, already does.  I commend my Saviour to you.
            I am writing to Doreen separately. I expect you will have guessed by now that we are quite in love with each other.
            Well, that’s covered everything now I guess, so love to Dad and all,
Your loving son,
                                    Cyril Barton

            Cyril Barton was awarded the Victoria Cross.
            The Victoria Cross, I might add, is the highest honour one can win in the British Commonwealth Forces.  

Written and Posted by William A Moore

            Story copied from British Aircraft of World War Two, John Frayn Turner, (Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd, 1975).

Friday, 1 February 2013

Rise Up Young Men of God

Rise up, Young Men of God

'Rise up young men of God,
Have done with lesser things;
Step straight the way that leads on high,
Exalt the King of Kings.

'Rise up young men of God,
He is our King and Lord;
And whether in your work or play,
Oh, think upon his word.

'Rise up young men of God,
Defend our holy Church;
And either if you win or die,
Come in to His new earth.

'Rise up young men of God,
Push on through this hard race;
Run with the help of God's Spirit,
And always through His grace.

'Rise up young men of God,
You shall not fear nor mope;
For God is our refuge and strength,
In trouble - our hope.

'Rise up young men of God,
For yet this race seems long;
Christ's name will help and push us on,
'Till we stand straight and strong."

William Moore, © 2011

            I wrote this poem to encourage young men in the faith and in their walk with Christ.  I have six short things to say to encourage you in our Faith.  These points correspond with the stanzas in the poem.  First, I know well that sin is easy to slip into, and also how easy it can be to justify it.  We need to recognize our sin, put it off, and put our hope in our Saviour.  Second, whatever we are doing, we should be doing it to glorify God, and in so doing bless others.  This can only be done if we continually ask for the Spirit’s help.  It is easy to slip into thinking we can do it ourselves, rather than trusting Christ.  Third, we must know how to express our hope in our Saviour – the Gospel.  If we want to share Christ with unbelievers (which, if we are truly saved, we should want to do), we need not fear others responses, but respectfully and clearly share the Gospel.  This is probably the most important: We need to know the Gospel.  Everything else follows on its heels.  Fourth, things will be tough at times, but the more we lean on our God, who holds all things in the palm of his hand, the more will we be able to keep on the narrow way.  Again, we need the Spirit to help us in this area as well.  Fifth, when we feel like everything and everyone is against us, we should remember that there is always one for us.  Our God.  We are his children and he our father, if we, by his grace, are trying to do the right, he will always stick with us, for he never breaks his word.  He should always be our Hope.  Lastly, there is the Hope of final redemption.  In the end all will be made right.  Christ will come again, and he will make all things new.  If we have been faithful to his word, we then will rejoice with him in his kingdom.  Let that hope stir us to glorify him – our God!  I hope that this encourages you to become more and more like Christ.  Just going through and writing this sure has for me!

Written and Posted by William A Moore