Prologue: “The Mists of Darkness”

Off the Coast of Ireland: March 1845

Lord God Almighty seems angry… angry at me.

Dark clouds look like demon faces jeerin’ at me from a nightmare, an’ the shriekin’ wind lashes the icy salt spray of the Atlantic intae my eyes, addin’ tae the sting of my tears. My heart—I see half of it bleedin’ on them bonnie green shores while Ireland slips away, swallowed by fog as the clipper Narcissus dashes westward.

My petticoats freeze tae my legs an’ ankles. I shiver. Through the dark mists a tall hatless shape paces the starboard deck. He looks at them black waves that churn the hull, an’ he curses. They look back at him, an’ they laugh. He walks, but he walks in a cage.

Am I Jonah, or is he?

The vessel lurches on a roarin’ breaker. I clutch the iron railin’ but my hands slip. I tear off my plaid shawl an’ lay it ’cross the iron tae get a grip, an’ I tell my heart that the cold don’t matter when the pain’s so great.

Yet guilt is a vulture. It sweeps down an’ snatches me. I struggle. I tell myself I wasnae cruel; I had nae choice but tae leave. Just a common, unmarried midwife. Och! How could the Lord ’spect a body like me tae care for the wee bairns of an adulteress?

But my conscience fashes me still, an’ each rush of black water stabs the pain down. My thoughts go four years back—back tae the Magdalene Asylum. There I stood afore the gates beneath her window, my face pressed against them icy bars, listenin’ helpless tae her cries of pain in childbirth. Only minutes afore the wee lass had stood afore me on the other side of the iron fence. For nine months she’d been locked in there—an’ ’twas hell. Nothin’ was left of her poor wee body. Her wee face—blanched like death! Her bonnie flaxen locks—matted an’ tangled! Her chill, raw-boned hands clutchin’ mine as she pressed her weddin’ ring intae my palm.

“They would take it from me and sell it for money if they knew I’d kept it!” she had whispered, in tears. “Och! Take it now—hide it for me—an’ if I die ye must give it tae my wee bairn!” She pressed her swollen belly.

Lookin’ past her tortured face, I seen two dark shapes stalkin’ up behind her through the gloom.

The nuns, comin’ tae take her away. An’ she kept cryin’.

“He won’t forgive me! Och! My dear, precious Johnny won’t forgive me! I beg him! I beg, beg, beg. And the dirty nappies of other women’s bairns I wash, and wash, and wash until my hands are raw and my heart is sick to death… But it’s not good enough for him! Not good enough for Johnny! It will never be good enough! Never good enough for him!” Bowin’ against the fence, she sobbed, scarce able to draw breath. “I love him still! I love him still… I do! I never thought he’d learn of it. Oh! But now I’m sorry. Sorry! Oh so sorry because I sinned against him and against heaven! God forgive me! O gracious God… forgive me!” She gripped my hands through the bars as though she knew the nuns were stalkin’ her. I felt the strength of a contraction shudder through her body, an’ she gasped, sayin’ desperately against the pangs, “Pray tae God for my poor wee bairns. God in heaven hears ye when ye pray—I know he does—and he knows my wee bairns need ye now. Och! Won’t ye help tae save them from this hell?”

Tears burned my eyes an’ I nodded. I took the wee gold ring an’ slipped it intae my dress pocket.

The women came. One clamped her steely hand ’round my lassie’s spare arm, then wrenched her back as my lass cried out.

“Who are you?” the woman snarled at me.

“A servant of the lassie’s family; a midwife, ma’am,” said I. “This woman is in labour, she ain’t well. Ow, please, ma’am, please! Allow me tae come in an’ help her!”

The second woman stepped close tae the fence, blocked my view. Her look was dirty. “We know how to deliver children here,” she said, then turned an’ walked away, draggin’ my lassie with them till they disappeared inside the dark walls of the asylum.

’Twas the last time I saw her face.

Five hours I had stood there. Midnight, an’ the whimper of a wee babe from the window told the child came safe from God. But the next day my lassie was gone. They say she bled tae death.

Four years rolled by. Each Monday I passed those gates on my way home from market. My heart prayed an’ my eyes searched for the wee face of the bairn I knew would look jist like my lassie—aye, they said the babe was a lass, an’ told me her name. Then one day I saw her. She was playin’ with her ball outside in the stark brown yard with three others, all stick-thin, too. I went tae the part of the fence shaded by a spreadin’ ash tree, an’ with my basket on my arm I beckoned the lass. She saw me an’ came near.

“Can ye keep a secret, lass?” said I, stealin’ the ring from my pocket.

She blinked her cornflower-blue eyes an’ nodded.

“Don’t tell naebody, ye hear? It’s from yer own mother, lass. ’Tis her weddin’ ring. Hide it safe—there in yer stockin’, see? Never tell a soul, promise?”

She gaped at me, then at the ring glitterin’ in the sun. “In my stockin’?” she whispered, leanin’ closer.

“Aye, lass, for now,” said I, then turned. If I tarried, ’twould be danger. “Run along now, lass. Aye, run!”

I hastened up the street, with one glance back. She was playin’ with the other children. But she watched me, too, like she wished tae follow.

It happened scarce two weeks ago, but weeks turn tae years for me now. My lassie’s face—her words, tears, cold hands, an’ my promise tae nae leave her bairns in that hellish place—aye, how an empty promise will turn tormentor!

“Lord God Almighty! Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!” Sweat an’ tears stream down my face. “Rattle the cage, O God! Rattle the cage!”

Can he hear me? Can he see?

I lift my voice an’ scream intae the chill blast. “Ye’re the first an’ the last! Ye were dead, but now ye live! Ye hide from us, an’ yet ye know the thoughts of men! Ye hold the keys tae hell an’ death! The body of Jesus Christ was sacrificed once for all—I know it! I know it, an’ I thank thee! I thank thee! Now help us, Lord! Oh, help us tae understand it an’ believe ye will turn this evil for the good! O God, my God! Ye say ye give good things tae them who ask! Ye say ye open doors tae them who knock, an’ I’m knockin’ now! Och! I’m knockin’ knockin’ knockin’ like I nae have knocked afore! Hear prayer, O Lord! Hear prayer! Hear prayer!”

I bow over the railin’, bawlin’ fit tae die. But somethin’ draws me through the tempest.

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.

I look behind me. My russet hair snaps my cheeks, lances my eyes… I’m alone. But that voice I know like I know the beat of my own pulse. I lift my face intae the rain an’ taste sweet an’ bitter waters. “Och! Then, Lord God, look! Look down from heaven upon these sparrows! Alone, alone, alone! Draw them tae ye! Their poor mother died in that cage… I know ye forgave her, but— Och! Break the fowler’s snare! Make it so these precious bairns may escape it, an’ make them a testimony for Jesus!”

The ship tosses on a long wave. It roars. It peaks. It seems tae hang from a noose. Shadow waters swirl below. I feel sick. Then… then… Is it a touch on my shoulder? Aye, a warm touch… a hand? I strain my eyes but cannae see— jist that dizziness stirrin’ everythin’ ’round intae a midden.

Then I’m fallin’: down, down, down. All I see is black, black, black, an’ nae more.

Thank you for reading the Prologue to "Through These Dark Gates." If you enjoyed this sneak-peak into the pages of my debut historical novel, then I hope you will head over to fourseasonsnorth.com to order your copy today! For those of you in Canada, please note that we provide flat-rate shipping, so freight is the same whether you order 1 or 4 copies - thank you for your support of my work!

I want to take this opportunity to give a special shout-out to my FIRST PATRONS who have made their purchases and then went above and beyond to so generously support my book through their monetarily gifts on its release week: Bob B., Peter N., and Nathanael S. - from this indie author: THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

Reviews are important to every author - so drop me a line in the comments if you're inclined... as always, it's a real treat to hear from my readers!

WEBSITE: fourseasonsnorth.com
FACEBOOK: At The Brook's Bend
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WRITER'S BLOG: atthebrooksbend.ca




Today I am thrilled to share with you the long-awaited cover reveal of my debut historical novel, THROUGH THESE DARK GATES.

After years in the trenches of research, writing, and editing – and months of trotting through the long but exciting process of cover and interior design, galleys, and proofing with the assistance of my amazing book production and proofreading team – I am pleased to introduce you to a historical saga of heartbreak, loss, redemption, and family reconciliation. The book is slated to release next month but your autographed Softcover or Hardcover copy is available now for Pre-Order HERE at FourSeasonsNorth.com.

Without further ado… more about the book (cover design courtesy of award-winning book designer Dean Pickup of Canada Book Design):


            Kate Fletcher can never forget that she is the orphaned child of an adulterous woman—it is the reason she lives at the Magdalene Asylum. Her fate as a stigmatized member of society is sealed, and it is her duty to atone for her mother’s sin by binding herself irrevocably to the Roman Catholic Church as a Sister of Mercy.

            Union Sergeant John Dallington will not allow distant regrets to follow him. He is a Protestant, and a past littered with painful secrets can neither threaten his identity in the doctrines of Reformed theology nor shake the confidence inherited through his patriarchal role as father to his two children—until he meets Sister Kate.

            Set against the backdrop of the nineteenth-century Irish immigration movement and the American Civil War, this fascinating story follows the lives of Kate and John as they collide amidst the turmoil and treachery of a war-torn Washington, DC, where they both are forced to grapple with questions about their pasts, their choices, and the will of God. The rebellious but furiously honest Collette Clayton, the tobacco-chewing illiterate Private Jack Gunderson, the confirmed bachelor and pragmatic skeptic Dr. Robert Hall, and the fiery Scottish midwife Ellen Kelly are just a few of the unforgettable secondary characters who play into the intriguing subplots of this rich piece of historical fiction.

            Exploring themes of innocence and betrayal, slavery and free-will, and the conflict between the search for romantic fulfillment and the quest to find peace with God and oneself, Through These Dark Gates is a compelling novel about a young woman’s journey—and one man’s battle—through the labyrinths of religious skepticism and self-deception toward ultimate self-realization and the knowledge of what it means to be truly free.

The book is available for pre-order HERE!

What is Like the Sand?

What is like the sand?
Stars are like the sand…
They drop a voiceless truth
On paths of trodden earth
Along the desert’s dearth 
And forests rich with mirth.
	Yes; stars are like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Snow is like the sand…
Its tiny sparkles left
On towering mountain cleft
To never leave bereft 
Of pond’rous snowy heft.
	Yes; snow is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Rain is like the sand…
It pours a happy tide
Where silver clouds abide
And splashes down the side
Of heaven—like a slide.
	Yes; rain is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Time is like the sand…
It runs between the lines
Of space we realize 
And years and age defines
As—ceaseless—it refines...
	Yes; time is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Seeds are like the sand…
They settle in the clay
Upon a springtime day
And smile at the ray
Of sunlight giving way.
	Yes; seeds are like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Man is like the sand…
He passes through his sphere
Of desperate hope and fear
And does his best to steer
T’ward things he holds most dear.
	Yes; man is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Thoughts are like the sand…
In countless waves they burst
With fragrance sweet, immersed;
Or floating fancies cursed,
Inflicting passion’s thirst. 
	Yes; thoughts are like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Pain is like the sand…
Like sharpened grit it snags
The heart—the mind it gags;
Through aching mud it drags,
And clothes man’s soul in rags.
	Yes; pain is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Faith is like the sand…
A tiny mustard grain
Implanted in the vein
Of sorrow, joy... and pain
As holy fruits sustain.
	Yes; faith is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Hope is like the sand…
It beads a steady light
Through ebon mists of night
And in faith’s strength so bright
It substitutes man’s sight.
	Yes; hope is like the sand.

What is like the sand?
Love is like the sand…
A natural flame inside
Where selfless needs reside;
A tender loss of pride
Embracing joy supplied...
	Yes; love is like the sand.


FEATURED Top 20 Canadian Poetry Blogs: “At the Brook’s Bend”

Greetings From the Rugged Climes of Northern Alberta:

Friends, join me today in a rather out-of-the-ordinary blog post… In celebration of having my blog chosen by the panelists of Feedspot to be listed as 1 in 20 of Canada’s top poetry blogs of 2022, I wish to thank YOU, dear readers, for your support of my work! Without you the success of my less-than-one-year-old-blog would not have been possible. I am honoured that this infantile online enterprise of original poetry and prose has been discovered and selected by what is known as “the most comprehensive list of Top 20 Canadian Poetry Blogs on the internet.”

I also want to take this opportunity to give Thanks to my Heavenly Father, who has inspired us by his Word, and who, by his magnificent foreknowledge and kindness, has given to us the gift of words to express meaningful messages of spirit and soul by way of the unassuming tools of paper and pen… and computer keys 🙂

Once again, thank you, Readers, for your continued support of my work. If you continue to enjoy the content provided on At the Brook’s Bend, please consider supporting my platform by adding your email to the subscription list, and promoting and sharing my blog with a friend. I hope you will join me in my most recent anticipation that involves the release of my debut historical novel, Through These Dark Gates – scheduled to be released late this summer – and will standby for a future post on my book’s exciting Cover Reveal!

Sincerely Yours,


There is a Mighty River


In contemplating our family’s loss, I felt it incumbent upon me to write a tribute, not only for Grandma, but for all of her family—for our family. Each one of us will face death one day. Each one of us fights a battle. A battle with ourselves—and, sometimes, with God. Each one of us searches for relief—for solace—in one way or another. In the end, though, we will discover that there is only one place we will find it.

There is a mighty river upon a mighty shore;
There is a surging current behind an iron door;
There is a life-long battle within each living soul,
Of every surging heart-beat recorded in the Scroll.

The river—is it God’s heart? The iron portal—bars?
The surging current—lifetime? That doorway—is it ours?
And who will break the death-bands,
And burst the stubborn locks
Of all our bound-up sorrows
And all our human loss?

Who looks with eyes of pity upon our weakening frame,
And reaches down to save us from all our self-made pain?
What eyes look down the lost years 
And ask us to believe 
That what we thought was wreckage
Can a brand-new life receive?

A river—Yes! A River! Bursting with bright tides,
That bursts the chains of darkness, and rolls back all the lies
Of pride and envy, doubts and fears, of all our doors inside
That bound us in one lifetime, but no more shall reside—
As Jesus looks upon us, and listens to our cries,
And opens wide those flood-gates, and with our spirit flies 
To new heights where His River is flowing wide and clear,
And bursting back each locked door
So Life shall know no tear.


“Fifty Years in the Church of Rome” BOOK REVIEW

Published in 1886, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome is the astonishing autobiography of the French-Canadian Roman Catholic priest, Father Charles Chiniquy. 

With eloquent prose and poignant testimony, Chiniquy details the many conflicted, disturbing, and soul-stirring experiences he encountered first as a child, then as a student in a Roman Catholic college, and later as a devout priest who served for twenty-five years in the parishes of Quebec and Illinois before being born again in Jesus Christ and finally leaving the church he loved to become one of its most dreaded—and demonized—apostates.

Charles Chiniquy was a remarkable man. He was a stunning intellectual, a devoted scholar, a compassionate charity-worker and caregiver. He was also a champion in Canada’s nineteenth century Temperance movement, and was recognized in the Canadian Parliament for his contribution to the cause. Chiniquy also had an indirect influence on American politics, having been intimately connected with the young railsplitter-turned-lawyer of Springfield, Abraham Lincoln, whose brilliant defence of Chiniquy in the court battle of 1856 dealt the Church of Rome an unforgivable blow. 

Pick up this extensive, first-hand narrative of Fifty Years in the Church of Rome and you will embark on a compelling and unforgettable journey. You will discover that the roots of some of Catholicism’s most revered and signature dogmas and traditions—such as auricular confession, the Immaculate Conception, transubstantiation, and the priestly vows of celibacy—are inventions that blatantly oppose the teaching of the Gospel and the dictates of plain reason. You will also learn of the shocking undercurrents that linked the secret political agenda of the Pope of Rome and his Jesuits with the plot to destroy the most fundamental ideals of the Republic, spur on the bloodiest war fought on American soil, and commit the tragic assassination of one of the United State’s most beloved presidents—Abraham Lincoln.

This book is not for the faint of heart. It is an incredible literary feat that will leave you questioning what we have been fed through the stagnant current of mainstream history, and it will raise the curtain of nearly two centuries to reveal a religious and political stage upon which a French-Canadian priest, a United States President, and the Vatican are flung together in a startling and unexpected drama.

As Chiniquy himself tells us in the dedication of his book: 

“TO THE HONEST AND LIBERTY-LOVING PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, I also dedicate this book. Americans! You are sleeping on a volcano, and you do not suspect it. You are pressing on your bosom a viper which will bite you to death, and you do not know it. Read this book, and you will see that Rome is the sworn, the most implacable, the absolutely irreconcilable and deadly enemy of your schools, your institutions, your so dearly bought rights and liberties. Read this book, and you will not only understand that it is to Rome you owe the rivers of blood and the unspeakable horrors of the last civil war: but you will learn that Romanism and Liberty cannot live on the same ground. This has been declared by the Popes, hundreds of times. 

Read this book: And you will not only see that Abraham Lincoln was murdered by Rome, but you will learn that Romanism, under the mask of religion, is nothing but a permanent political conspiracy against all the most sacred rights of man and the most holy laws of God.”

*You can purchase your own unabridged copy of Fifty Years in the Church of Rome from Chapters Indigo or Amazon. Other works by Charles Chiniquy include “The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional,” “Papal Idolatry,” and “The Manual of Temperance.



The Insatiable Need

To know. It is a need not fully satisfied
If met without the search of free-will’s choice.
To know: it is to feel one’s human ignorance 
And say, “How can I fill this need
That, filled, frees me?”
To eat. It is a need not rightly satisfied
If met without the effort of one’s will—
Of appetite. Man seeks to know, and choose: 
“What shall I feed this shell of mine
That groans until my hunger is appeased?”
To hear. A need man’s two ears seek 
To fill, by sound or voice, the empty space;
And whether that be light or dark in substance,
Each man picks.
And lust. It is a flame not fully satisfied
At all. It never ends. But burns and kills by turns,
With no relief, and wants to know what should be left 
And truth. What’s that? 
A burning lamp that leads… A single Word.
A rock where all needs fall and break—and cease.
It’s life. It’s peace. It’s soul tranquility…
And that which lust will counterfeit
And lie, and say, “Be freed—feed me!”

The man. He had a need of soul not satisfied
By beasts. Alone… he was alone with God
In Eden’s peace until God formed 
A wife from Adam’s rib, and filled the need 
His side had long ached for.
Man and his wife, alone—alone with God 
Whose voice they heard and walked with 
In the cool of the day.
The grape: a gorgeous fruit not firm denied
By Eve, who wished to know and hear the Snake—
And for him lusted. 
God’s warning voice was not enough for her 
When coils of lust caressed 
Her gluttonous pride, 
And looks of sparkling sin
Enticed her mind with charms to eat and be—
And thus she ate. 
Adam, too: he touched and gulped
The beauteous food that turned to bitter bile 
In his mouth, and made him hide in leaves of fading green
As opened eyes to nakedness and shame
Made dying souls
And man’s insatiable need.
Who lied?—and yet, are half-truths lies?—
Indeed—what half-truths, these! that made the lusting 
Seem somehow much-less lustful when “to know” 
Seemed like, “Forbidden fruit will be so sweet 
For ‘good’ is also in it!” 
And evil—what of it? (implied the Snake);
If gods, like God, they’d overcome the “bad”
And turn their ear and eye away—
Oh yes! for they would be as gods!

The mind. It was a land of passive thoughts unleashed
By hell, and there the seat of man’s great appetite,
And there, in truth, the battlefront of worlds.
Who knew? All food, once chose, will feed or kill 
The mind it knows. 
And half-truths never told 
Of doubt that bred the worms of fear,
And hate that felt the part of love,
And bane that tasted much like wine,
And birthed in man 
The living side of death.
Man’s god? His wormy belly now,
That gnawed his choice to fill that blood-sucked space
With lies, and made the truth most hard to eat
And most distasteful
Because it looked so hard.
All knowledge now was man’s to eat and drink
Of good and evil—nothing was restrained;
And on forbidden fruits the greedy man relied
And was the feast of demons 
Who feasted on his mind.
Alas! A double head! It seemed to eat itself—
But no man saw the pain that man was in
To whom all sweet was bitter,
All bitter sweet, 
While all his will 
Some beastly thing became without control 
Of natural faculties
By him whose skill was slain
In mere appearances 
Of light;
And though he wished to vomit up those thoughts 
(those ugly thoughts!)
Man never could, for they would vomit him—
His personality—
In foaming shame that oozed the guilt
All over him, infesting all that flesh 
With parasites, while mocking sick a gutless man
Who chewed himself to death,
And wept and sobbed and cried—"Oh! where is life 
Outside a caged man’s 
Lofty appetite?"

The Christ. The need that each man had
Was Him. To earth a honied bread He came
As manna came to feed the wandering flock
And Shepherd each one back 
Into His arms. 
He was the bread for men who ate by choice
And drank the life that flowed from every word
He said...
His voice was clean, 
As though its sound could wash the stinking scum
Right off of man.
And then... Golgotha. Giant scull there looming,
And as a hill supporting 
Hell’s final meal of the flesh of man
In Christ, who let the curse of sin, 
And weights of guilt,
Be laid upon His back
For us;
And took the famine of humanity 
In his own frame, and made it shrivel up and die 
A willing death
Beneath the plunging tide—the one great flood of blood—
Of precious blood!—poured out for man 
By one Emmanuel
Who from the grave emerged
And purged man’s restless soul and anorexic brain
From wormy eggs that hatched the lust for death,
And in their place gave man the Light 
To drench himself withal.
Christ rose! Ascending high His spirit flew
To God, sweet-smelling as perfume that blessed the air
With peace;
And no more caged by mankind’s shell
Of weak mortality 
He reached his pierced hand toward man’s boils of shame,
And pity touched them all, 
Exchanging them for life,
And hope,
Atoning righteousness,
In every man who chose 
Co-death with Him. 
And man observed: “To know.” Was it to eat?
"To eat." To know?—as choice would govern
What his body ate? The food of knowledge, sound, and sight
At each man’s fingertips 
Like trees...
And which one would he chose? 
And listen to?
And eat?

Man said: “My heart and mind and will—these tools 
Are dead, and must be washed at once,
For they were used (when I was old) 
In eating filthy thoughts I used to do
And hate besides.
Does Christ the Lamb have blood enough
To cleanse my soiled mind? My stains of thought
And deed? The ear I lent to sin
To know it, and become a double man?
I crave to know the way—the way away from lust;
Away from minding flesh in all its appetites,
Its selfish motives, and its prideful gains—
Lord Jesus, see!
This poor man—me (once lost within himself)
Knew not how to resist 
The sin… 
But now he’s new
In reconciliation 
And perfect circumcision 
By Him whose holy crimson
Made my poor earthly wisdom 
A foolish thing indeed. 
Now give him strength, sweet Lamb of God!
The strength of faithful sight in will,
And power to subdue 
And be renewed
In You!
What law is this?” man asks, amazed. “What law 
Has saved me now from awful self?
The self myself could never run and hide?
The law of life—of love! Not that I loved, but He!
And gave me where my heart and mind were old
New ones, that bear His word of life 
Alive in me—in my own will!
My frame! My inner man!
No more a slave
To scalding chains of lust
But now, in truth, emancipated whole!
In Him I walk, I speak, I breathe—in Him:
No strength of mine will charge these feeble limbs again,
But His—His will! for there my own will rests 
With quiet joy... an offering...
Within the will of Him who lifted my death’s cup
And brought it to His lips 
In love for me.”

The need: to know that each man's need is God.
To meet Him through the search of free-will’s choice.
To know our human ignorance is cured 
In Him, and that He’s killed the lust to know 
What ought to be unknown
And satisfied the ache 
With knowledge of Himself. 
In need, in end… it’s Him who can be known
And yet, in knowing, man knows no end of knowledge,
But eats with thanks, and runs the Spirit’s way
In truth—an onward tract of tasteful mystery
Of which no man can get enough to eat.
Each thought? Man’s choice.
Each bite? Man’s will.
Each action proving what his mind now knows.
The Snake, or Christ? 
There’s one insatiable need.
What death or life 
Will each man choose


All Scripture References in the KING JAMES VERSION [Public Domain]:


ISAIAH 1; 5:20-24; JEREMIAH 31; EZEKIEL 18; PSALMS 51, 95;

MATTHEW 17:14-21; 27, 28; MARK 5:1-20; 15, 16; LUKE 23, 24;

JOHN 1:1-34; 3:1-21; 4:5-26; 6:25-71; 8:32; 10:1-18; 11:25-27; 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21;


EPHESIANS 2; PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11; 3:19; COLOSSIANS 1:9-29; 2, 3; HEBREWS 3, 10, 12;

I PETER 1, 2:22-25; JAMES 1; I JOHN 4, 5; REVELATION 1, 5, 22;

“THE SPIRITUAL MAN” BY WATCHMAN NEE [Copyright 1968 Christian Fellowship Publishers, INC. New York]

Forever and Forever


God heard the words—’twas like a carol clearly
Chanted through the echos of years early
As the lips of youth were speaking holy
	The vow that lasts forever.
“This day give I thine hand the key
Of my own heart, my love to thee;
Our lives are wed, will ever be
	Forever and forever."

With every word swelled new emotion clear,
And year by year the lovers grew more dear,
While seeing visions of their youth appear
	Reflections in the river.
No hands more tender, no hearts more fully true,
Than man and wife whose love ran ever-new
As did the rushing river running blue
	Forever and forever.

The course was staid, the three-strand cord
Grew stronger though cares pressed them hard,
For both had sorrow’s mem’ry shared
	With courage, waning never.
And passing through the sphere of life’s pace,
To each spake they with heaven’s holy grace,
Words that e’en time cannot erase,
	“Forever, love; forever.”

Though tempest blew, the race went steadily
For those who trod the path along the sea
Of their life's trials—they whispered readily,
	“Forever we’re together.”
And never moved by age's impending sway,
Nor letting evil tongues bear them away
They sang again the Master’s perfect way:
	“Forever and forever!”

And now with words of simple faith they pray
That this such truthful love will stay
Each wedded two in one united way
	Till death, and happy-ever:
"May our Creator’s wisdom now impart
A portion of his love in each young heart—
What God hath joined let no man part,
	Forever and forever."

It’s December

Before the sun rises:
The ice hardens
As the wind
Sheds a throw 
Of deep snow.
	It’s December.

Before the sun rises:
The smoke stiffens
As it lifts
From the stack 
That is black.
	It’s December.

Before the sun rises:
The air shivers
As the branch
Filled with flakes
Finally breaks.
	It’s December.

Before the sun rises:
The moon glistens
In the blue
Like a tear
On the cheek
Of the day
That is new.
	It’s December.

Before the sun rises:
The elk watches
As the bliss
Of the dawn
Gives the frost
On the trees
A pink kiss.
	It’s December.

And while the sun rises:
The earth listens
As the dark
Finally flees
From the trees,
And the sun
Jumps the hill’s
And strikes light
That is bright
On the waves
Of the drifts
That are white.
	It’s December.


I’ve Heard Tell

I’ve heard tell of wander-lust
And men and boys beside
Who sought out nature’s gold-dust
And left their fireside
With youthful lustre in their eyes—
No thought for hearts their passions crushed—
Their lips and arms gave feigned goodbyes
They did not feel, nor cared they rushed.

I’ve heard tell of wander-lust
And women and girls beside
Who dab on fashion’s eye-dust
And flee their husband’s side
With not a care of home’s demise—
Or thought for how he feels the thrust—
She shuns her role and her children’s cries
To find her fame in the world’s eyes.

I’ve heard tell of wander-lust
And children and youths beside
Who grew up never life-rushed
And loved the ocean tide
Of life’s sweet calm, no compromise
That steered to things that rust;
Moth-eaten dreams their eyes never cried—
For a child's heart has a child's trust.

And I’ve heard tell of wander-lust
And a handful I’ve known beside
Who hate this world’s gold-dust
And choose a road not wide;
They maybe have no envious eyes
Of man or name fixed on their private ways,
But God’s hand gives them restful days
That hold the peace of the Only-Wise.