THE STORY OF DORCAS
(Adapted from Acts 9:36-42)

There was a certain disciple in the town of Joppa,
Whose reputation was pure and behaviour proper,
Never told a white lie, never uttered a whopper,
In doing good deeds, nothing could stop her.

Her name was Tabitha, translated Dorcas,
In extolling her virtue, her friends were quite raucous,
Her life was pervaded with charitable deeds,
She was always prepared, to fill various needs.

In modern times, some might call her "dork",
Some have nothing to do but gossip and talk,
Those same people would say, "She's a do-gooder jerk,
She should look out for herself, and enjoy every perk."

Even then there were critics, but nothing could faze her,
Back in those times, she was like Mother Theresa,
She was doing God's work, that's all that mattered,
Her work's remembered, their memory's scattered.

But Dorcas got ill, then died before time,
She was still a young woman, just into her prime,
In the helping of others, she brought great relief,
Her sudden demise brought whole-hearted grief.

But Simon was near, whose surname was Peter,
His purpose in God was one day to meet her,
To show God's great love and His mercy and might,
Word came to Peter of the good woman's plight.

He came from Lydda which was not far away,
The people of Joppa didn't know what to say,
They'd cleaned up the body and started to mourn,
Their faces were long and they looked quite forlorn.

They showed him tunics and garments she'd made,
And told him their feelings, how they felt dismayed,
That Dorcas had died who seemed the Lord's best,
"Why take her now to so early a rest?"

Peter went in, but sent mourners out,
He wanted to pray in the absence of doubt,
He spoke just two words, "Tabitha, arise.",
Then presented her live, to universal surprise.

The word of the deed spread far and wide,
So many had seen, it could not be denied,
Many that day came to trust in the Lord,
Their doubts overcome by the power of His Word.

Dedicated to my beloved Sister-in-Law, Doreen a.k.a. Dorcas

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


THE TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
(Adapted from Matthew 4:1-11)

The Spirit led Jesus to a wild desert place,
To be tempted by Satan straight to His face,
He abstained from food, forty days and nights,
After that time, the hunger soon bites.

It was just about then that the Devil spoke,
In subtle terms, his intentions to cloak,
Lies and deception, he around himself girds,
So he said to Jesus the following words:

"Look at you, you're skin and bones,
Command to make some bread from stones,
For if you are the Son of God,
Utilise your ruler's rod."

Jesus said, "There'll be no bread from stone,
As My Father has written, from His Throne,
'Man shall not live by bread alone,
But from God's words, the truth be known'"

Then Satan took Jesus to the temple roof,
Demanding that the Lord give him concrete proof,
"If you're God's Son, then throw yourself down,
When the angels save you, that'll prove your crown."

Jesus answered, "Again it's written,
Those foolish men, might be smitten,
Who put God to an absurd test',
Surely Devil, your idea's a jest".

Then Satan took Jesus to a high mountain peak,
And showed Him Earth's kingdoms while He was yet weak,
From starvation brought on from His fast,
He considered the will of the Lord couldn't last.

Satan offered those kingdoms if He would bow down,
And worship the Devil, to gain one Earthly crown,
Jesus quoted, "It's written you'll worship the Lord,
And worship Him only. That's my final word."

"Away with you, Satan. Get out of my sight,
In case you can't pick it, I've just won this fight",
Then Satan took off with a face that was grim,
His plans had been dented and his prospects were dim.

Then angels came down and stayed in the Lord's camp,
He'd just won three rounds 'gainst the world's heavy-weight champ,
Those angels partied with Jesus for quite a few days,
Tending His needs and singing His praise.

Dedicated to my friend, Shaun Marler

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


JOHN THE BAPTIST
(Adapted from Matthew 3)

John the Baptist was a wild-looking man,
With his camel-hair shirt and his desert tan,
His food was dried locusts dipped in wild honey,
A common food then if you didn't have money.

He preached in the wilderness of Judea,
Multitudes came from far and near,
To hear his message of salvation,
Baptism, repentance and preparation.

"Make the way straight," was his often cry,
"For the One who is coming, behold it's not I,
Even His sandals, I'm not worthy to loose."
(Man, preaching like that could lead to abuse.)

The abuse was forthcoming from Pharisees,
Not far behind, the corrupt Sadducees,
They held the sway in religion and law,
Heaven knows what they were good for.

John accused, "You guys are snakes,
Not only that, hypocrites and fakes,
You don't have at all just what it takes,
Repent or you're doomed to the fiery lakes."

"God will sort out the wheat from the chaff,
He cuts out the goats with His shepherd's staff,
You think you're safe 'cause you're from Abraham,
Faulty thinking like that got you into this jam."

"The Lord can raise up the rocks and the stones,
He has control of the Kings and their thrones,
Your place can be taken by those who believe,
Depart now vile serpents, find someone else to deceive."

Then Jesus came down to be baptised by John,
Who replied in clear terms it was surely not on,
It was he who should be cleansed at the hand of the Lord,
Not the other way round as it seemed untoward.

But Jesus prevailed at the Jordan that day,
As he rose from the water, the Father did say,
In a Heavenly voice, as the Spirit on to Him eased,
"This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Dedicated to Murray Pai

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


WALKING ON THE WATER
(adapted from Matthew 14:22-33)

Jesus fed five thousand, then went aside,
To the mountain top to in prayer abide,
He sent us forth to the other side,
He knew we were in for a wild ride.

For a wind sprang up, it was a fierce gale,
We rowed nine hours 'til our hearts should fail,
If we steered east, the wind blew west,
Whatever our course, our plans were messed.

In the fourth watch, it was the darkest hour,
Our mood was low, we began to cower,
But in the midst of the wind and wave,
A figure appeared who had come to save.

At first, we thought it was a ghost,
Fear engulfed us, we were "toast",
We'd never make it to the coast,
On the scale of terror, we scored "most".

Over our fearful screaming, Jesus spoke,
Comforting words, and we awoke
From our fear and dismay,
We watched the Master head our way.

He walked on water, this was new,
A total surprise to all the crew,
Peter cried, "If what I see is true,
Command me come from here to you."

Jesus answered with one word, "Come",
Peter stepped out, we thought him dumb,
But when he walked upon the lake,
No dissenting comment could we make.

When he saw the wind, he began to fear,
Even with the Lord, so very near,
Through lack of faith he began to sink,
If bold Peter's scared, we all should shrink.

Jesus caught his hand and lifted him up,
We'd reminisce as we'd later sup,
The Master asked, "Why did you fear?
There's nought to doubt when I am near."

Jesus boarded, then caused the wind to cease,
He'd raised his hand and called for peace,
We now follow where He's trod,
For truly, He's the Son of God.

Dedicated to Pastor Dean Clarke of Anaheim, California

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia
 


DAVID AND GOLIATH
(Adapted from 1 Samuel 17)

The Philistine army faced the army of Saul,
The giant Goliath came out each day to call,
"Send me a man that'll represent you in battle,
I'll tear him in half, then scatter you like cattle."

Goliath the giant measured six cubits and a span,
Which was well over twice the height of even a tall man,
He had six toes on each foot and six fingers on each hand,
What this brute didn't realise, was he was about to be canned.

The giant mouthed off for at least forty days,
The army of Saul did nothing but gaze,
They wandered about with their eyes all aglaze,
They'd lost all their hope, they were all in a daze.

But young David the shepherd had brought food for his brothers,
What sickened his heart was hearing men cry for their mothers,
"What's wrong with you guys, is there no bone in your back?
What you're needing to do is to go on the attack."

"Who's this that challenges the army of God?,
Give me five minutes, I'll deck the big sod,
Allow me a chance at this vile Philistine,
This uncircumcised heathen has stepped over the line."

News of his words filtered back to King Saul,
Who was greatly impressed by his bravado and gall,
If his heart was in tune and he had heard God's call,
Perhaps he was the one to make the giant to fall.

David was summoned to meet with the king,
Who offered to him if he would but bring,
The head of Goliath who he'd have to slaughter,
David's reward, the king's beautiful daughter.

Not only that, Saul promised to axe
Payment by David of the king's tax,
As well as great riches beyond compare,
Ensuring a life without worry or care.

Saul said, "I've no choice but to tell you the truth,
I'm just concerned by your small stature and youth,
Don't be insulted, your zeal can't be denied,"
But David interrupted, and cautiously replied,

"I tell you the truth, for lies I can't bear,
In defence of my flock, I killed a bear,
Again, and I swear, be assured I'm not lyin'
On another occasion, I killed a lion."

So King Saul clothed David in his personal armour,
He replied in polite terms he was just a sheep farmer,
Who relied on his speed and his skill and his wits,
To go into battle weighed down, for him was the pits.

David went down to the brook, and picked out five stones,
Then called to Goliath and made himself known,
The giant couldn't work out why from the whole mob,
They'd picked on a boy, to do a man's job.

David replied, "You come with a sword,
But I come to you, in the name of the Lord,
He gives this battle into our hands,
You'll know all about it, when this shiny rock lands."

Goliath drew near to David, who ran towards him,
He let go his sling and made the giant's lights dim,
The stone flew like a rocket and imbedded in his fore-head,
Before he crashed down, David knew he was for sure-dead.

David ran to the body and took up Goliath's sword,
When he hacked off his head, the army of God roared,
When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead,
They turned on their heels, and like cowards they fled.

The army of Saul pursued them for days after days,
Then returned from their chasing to praise God and His ways,
By the use of the weak things to confuse the strong,
They learned that by His faith, they could never go wrong.

Dedicated to my son, David and to my brother, Dave

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


THE STORY OF ESTHER
(Adapted from the book of Esther)

The reign of Queen Vashti was brought to an end,
Because she insulted the King in front of his friends,
He sent his servants to get her, to show off her great beauty,
When she refused his command, he considered her snooty.

The Princes were worried, that news of her defiance,
Would get back to their wives and affect their compliance,
It was a wife's duty to come when she's called,
If she refused, then one must be appalled.

The King and his wise men drew a new proclamation,
That was promptly distributed throughout the whole nation,
"Wives must treat their husbands with utmost respect,
This is the King's order which none can reject."

Then in the King's mind, an idea started to burgeon,
That he'd take as his Queen, the most beautiful virgin,
Word was sent through the land to keep an eye out,
She must be a "babe", of this there was no doubt.

Esther, the Jewess was the cousin of Mordecai,
Who was more like a father who always stayed nigh,
Her beauty and nature caused most men to sigh,
Small crowds would gather, just to watch her walk by.

Esther was chosen for the King's beauty school,
Out of that class, she was the bright shining jewel,
A year would be spent in intense preparation,
To be the new Queen was her sole inspiration.

When her turn came, the King saw her as a "keeper",
He'd seen quite a few, but he loved Esther the deeper,
Orders were given that he need see no more,
As he'd found the new love that he'd long waited for.

At the time of their marriage was proclaimed a great feast,
And a holiday decreed from the west to the east,
Presents were given all through the land,
For great was the wealth at this mighty King's hand.

The Jew Mordecai became aware of a plot,
And advised Esther, with the news that was hot,
That two eunuchs of the King who attended the gate,
Would soon lay hold of the King and quicken his fate.

Soldiers were sent to arrest these two fellows,
In no time at all, they were hung from the gallows,
Just about then was appointed Prince Haman,
A man not averse to killin' and maimin'.

Haman took great offence to Mordecai,
And constructed a plan that all Jews should die,
A plan that was approved by the hand of the King,
And sealed by Haman with His Majesty's own ring.

Mordecai arranged for a message to Esther,
And reasoned with her in a way that would test her,
She must plead for her people in front of the King,
News of her background, she must now to him bring.

But for thirty days, she hadn't been called,
To go unannounced, the King might be galled,
If he raised not his sceptre, it could cost her her life,
This rule applied to all there, including his wife.

When she entered his court, she found with him favour,
In fact, he offered to her whatever she'd savour,
Up to half of his kingdom, whatever she pleased,
"You'll find out what I want at the banquet." she teased.

"Be sure to bring Haman, I have a surprise,
The food will be great. There'll be burgers and fries."
Haman was pleased at the news, to say the least,
Apart from the King, it was just him at the feast.

When it came time, she let it be known,
That something had happened, that made her heart groan,
Her people were to be murdered by royal decree,
Because one man to Haman, would not bow his knee.

Esther's request was to revoke the order,
And to send the news to every border,
As well, she asked for Haman's head,
And all those who wished that the Jews were dead.

Haman was sent to the gallows to die,
The King assigned in his place, who else, Mordecai,
Who became second-in-charge in all the land,
Which was more than he hoped or even planned.

He and Esther the Queen had saved the Jews,
From a terrible fate that Haman would choose,
He wanted their bones crushed into the ground,
But God took hold of that fate and turned it around.

Dedicated to my young friend, Naomi Donovan (Pianist Extraordinaire)

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


THE STORY OF RUTH

(Adapted from the book of Ruth)

Elimelech left Judah during a time of great drought,
He'd done best by his family, there was no doubt,
His wife was Naomi who'd borne him two boys,
He died in Moab, but she still kept her poise.

Her two sons soon got married to two local girls,
Their choices were good, their wives were both pearls,
The sons then died too, leaving three women alone,
Naomi was shattered, she'd lost all that she'd known.

The decision of Naomi was to go back to her land,
She farewelled her in-laws and the journey was planned,
But Ruth loved Naomi and refused to be left,
How could she abandon, one who felt so bereft?

Ruth said, "Don't ask me to leave you or go away,
I plan to stay with you whatever you say,
Wherever you live, there also I'll live,
And the God that you worship, to Him worship I'll give."

Their return was at the time that the harvest was reaped,
Naomi was grieving, on herself sadness she heaped,
"Call my name Mara, for I am now bitter,
My life is now over, it should have been fitter."

Boaz was closely related to Elimelech's clan,
His wealth was outstanding, he was a rich man,
Ruth gleaned in his fields with no hope but to win,
Favour and grace in the sight of Naomi's close kin.

In a very short time, she received his attention,
He enthused at her presence and failed not to mention,
That he'd ordered the young men not seek her detention,
So she could gather in peace without bother or tension.

When she inquired of him, regarding his kindness,
He replied it was because he didn't suffer from blindness,
He'd seen how she'd cared for her mother-in-law,
And for her great love, God would give her much more.

Naomi was pleased at this wonderful news,
And gave Ruth instructions she should not refuse,
At harvest, he was to sleep on the threshing-room floor,
Until he ate and got merry, she was to wait by the door.

Ruth was to anoint herself and wear her best clothes,
And be washed and perfumed and smell like a rose,
She was to wait 'til he slept fast on the ground,
Then lay at his feet, until she was found.

Although she lay with him, he knew her not,
To win him that way was not in the plot,
As a kinsman redeemer, it was always his place,
To fulfil the duty as husband, for such was the case.

The duty was joyous, for he loved her dear,
But another relation, to her was more near,
Boaz determined to conclude the matter,
He wished to be first, and not be the latter.

In front of the elders, he met his relation,
And proceeded to make an investigation,
Regarding his thoughts or his secret intention,
To take up his rights under the Jewish convention.

The man was forthright and proceeded to say,
That he had other plans and was unable to pay,
He'd step aside, thus paving the way,
For Boaz to step in, thereby making his day.

Boaz took Ruth and made her his wife,
This pleased Naomi and gave her new life,
For Ruth bore a son which Naomi then nursed,
She now felt fulfilled and no longer felt cursed.

They called the son Obed, who later would sire,
A line that would remove, Israel from the mire,
For in the long term, take note of one precious thing,
In a few hundred years, his line begat David the King.

Dedicated to my mother, Betty Ferris

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


DEBORAH THE PROPHETESS

(adapted from Judges 4)

King Jabin from Canaan oppressed Israel for years,
His constant aggression brought women to tears,
He rattled his sabre and played on their fears,
'Til the cry of God's people came to the Lord's ears.

Now Deborah was judging in Israel at that time,
She'd sit under a palm tree in the mountains of Ephraim,
The children of Israel came up to her with their woes,
And begged God's deliverance from these dastardly foes.

So she sent for Barak and his ten thousand men,
And deployed them at Mount Tabor with orders that when,
Jabin's army under Sisera assembled at the River Kishon,
They were to go into battle and meet them head-on.

But Barak would go only if Deborah went with him,
For his faith was low and his confidence was more dim,
She told him he'd win but he'd gather no glory,
His wussy request put an end to that story.

For the LORD would sell Sisera into a woman's hand,
It should have been him as the Lord God had planned,
But he hid behind a woman, showing a cowardly pallor,
Instead of being on that day, God's great man of valour.

In the battle that followed, the day belonged to the Lord,
Jabin's whole army fell to the edge of the sword,
With the battlefield scattered with his dying and dead,
Sisera leapt from his chariot, and on foot he had fled.

He fled to Jael on foot, the wife of Heber the Kenite,
Who he thought he could trust in a spot that was this tight,
But his instinct was wrong and surely had failed him,
As soon as he slept, Jael made sure that she nailed him.

With a tent-peg and hammer, she spiked his head to the floor,
When Barak arrived, she showed him the door,
Of the tent where Sisera had been given "what for?",
Which brought to an end, Jabin's threat of plunder and war.

Dedicated to my friend, Millie Thiesfield

John "Banjo" Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


THE FRIENDS OF DANIEL
(Adapted from Daniel 3)

Daniel the Prophet had three close Jewish friends,
Who came close to all meeting with hot fiery ends,
But their God met with them in the flaming inferno,
To save Shadrach, Meschac and a young Abed-Nego.

Nebuchadnezzar the king had made an image of gold,
His officials were called to the dedication and were told,
That the king had proclaimed and made a royal decree,
That when music was heard, they must bow their knee.

A herald proclaimed loudly to all who were present,
That failure to kneel would bring a fate most unpleasant,
They'd be thrown bound alive into the fierce furnace fire,
Any act of rebellion would make the furnace their pyre.

Certain of the Chaldeans accused the Jews,
And brought to the king the distressing news,
That certain of his officials held dissenting views,
And refused to pay his majesty his well deserved dues.

Nebuchadnezzar commanded in his rage and his fury,
He alone had the power to be their judge and their jury,
The three must now bow before his image as he demanded,
They could be sure they weren't there to be just reprimanded.

"Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?,
My word alone is supreme through the lands,
Once you are bound, there's no escape from those bands,
I encourage you to conform and kneel in the sands".

Then they replied, "Though we be cast in the furnace,
You may certainly try, to bind and to burn us,
But our God is well able to save and deliver,
We kneel only to Him, the One True Law-Giver.

Nebuchadnezzar saw red and commanded the fire,
Be not only readied but stoked seven times higher,
They were flung into it's midst which seemed their defeat,
And the soldiers attending expired from the heat.

Then as the King watched, he was astonished,
He'd acted in anger, he now felt admonished,
He said, "They're not even hurt and they're walking around,
They should be burnt to a crisp, but they're not even browned."

"And weren't there just three, for I see one more,
Who's the Son of their God, of that I am quite sure,
Come out, you servants of the God who's Most High,
My word's been frustrated 'cause you failed to fry".

When they came forth, they were inspected,
No smell of smoke could be even detected,
Not even a hair on their heads had been so much as scorched,
Nor any sign on their garments that they'd been recently torched.

The King then decreed that his men would dismember,
Any scorners of God, then they'd turn to an ember,
The houses of those who failed to comply,
With the new law of the King which they must live by.

Nebuchadnezzar declared God's great dominion,
And spread far and wide his new-found opinion,
He had learned much through this timely commotion,
For which Shadrach and his friends gained instant promotion.

Dedicated to Russell and Kaye Coglan, who always come through the fire unscathed.

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia


WE'LL SEE YOU SOON

We'll see you soon, for the Word is clear,
That the Kingdom of God is so very near,
It may seem long for us, if it's years that go by,
But as for you, it's just the twinkling of an eye.

We all look forward to that glorious reunion,
There to partake in Heavenly communion,
But until then, we must fulfil our days,
'Til we then too, feel our Master's gaze.

When we saw you in church that last Sunday morning,
How could we know that a new life was soon dawning,
Where you'd live in the presence of the God that you love,
To be absent from us is to be with Jesus above.

Of course it is fitting that we miss your face,
Though we know for sure you're in a much better place,
When God calls us too, if with His Word we're in tune,
There's one thing that we know, yes, we'll see you soon.

Dedicated to the memory of Marion Johns

John Ferris, 1999
Brisbane, Queensland
Australia