“My Heart is Turning” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Kingdom of Heaven by Violet Oakley (1903)

MY HEART IS TURNING

 

My heart is turning back to May;

The world was then so young and gay:

The birds seemed laughing in the trees,

And flowers scented every breeze.

The peach tree blossoms all are gone,

And it is now September morn;

The days grow short, the nights are cold,

And nature seems so dead and old.

But autumn has its treasures too,

For autumn brings the harvest new,

The luscious fruit, the ripened grains:

In autumn man his food attains.

If earth were always May,

If blossoms never passed away;

We would not have the apples red,

Nor would we have our daily bread.

I will not mourn the time that’s past,

Nor wish that May could ever last;

For May itself was not complete,

Could not my needs entirely meet.

This is the day the Lord has made:

It matters not if flowers fade;

God gives rich blessings in their stead,

New joys are here, though some have fled.

Nor will I dread tomorrow’s dawn,

Nor think that good will then be gone;

For God will me tomorrow love,

And I’ll have blessings from above.

Eternal is God’s love for me,

And I shall never winter see;

My path is like the morning ray,

That brightens on till perfect day.

And I can smile at childhood’s days,

They had the charm of earthly Mays.

But I have treasures richer still

In place of childhood’s morning thrill.

My heart is set beyond the grave,

Beyond the Jordan’s mystic wave:

My life then be all complete,

For there the Prince of Life I’ll meet.

In place of blessings that have flown,

In place of fragments I have known;

I’ll then possess the perfect whole

That lasts while times eternal roll.

Should you who’ve had a later birth

Outlast my days upon this earth;

And should you think you’re called to mourn,

When I in silence hence am borne:

Think then of blessings I have gained,

And of the joys I have attained;

And think how long my race I’ve run;

That I have now the victory won.

This earthly life I must resign,

Or heaven never will be mine:

God’s best for man is never given,

Till death this earthly frame has riven.

You do not mourn the blossoms cast,

When you enjoy the fruit at last;

So why lament what’s left behind,

When you the consummation find?
Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?833496

Image Title:  “The kingdom of heaven.”
Creator: Oakley, Violet, 1874- — Artist

Published Date: 1903

Original Source: From Century magazine.(New York : The Century Co., 1870-)

Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Heaven and hell

“The Riddle” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Light of the World  by William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910)
John 8:12

THE RIDDLE

Birds of a feather flock together,

Thus has is always been:

Crows flock with crows, and wrens flock with wrens:-

Like, is the nearest of kin.

Christ is the head of a new-born race;

Children of light are they:

Earth knows them not, and the world loves not; –

Darkness cares not for the day.

Christ is the light, and Christ the way,

Christ the salvation of men:

Once let the dreamers turn to the light,

True is their fellowship then.

Pray for the eyes fast blinded by night;

Hope for the straying feet:

Patiently teach them by word and by deed;

Patiently mercy entreat.

Swift speeds the time, another today,

Birds now with us are flown:

Thanks to our God will fill our hearts is

Seeds for a harvest we’ve sown.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHunt_Light_of_the_World.jpg
William Holman Hunt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“My Pathway” by Darius Mitteer Ratcliff

View of a rustic bridge and stone house. From Central Park Album, 1862

MY PATHWAY

My pathway led through a field of stones,
I staggered on the bitter groans:
The cruel stones I needs must meet
Left mangled limbs and bleeding feet.

And I’d had many a bruising fall,
And life was turning to wormwood all: –
Oh why does God such field allow?
And hadn’t I suffered enough ere now?

And then by chance I looked one day,
To where a neighbor made her way:
She too was caught in the field of stones
Yet I heard laughter, instead of groans.
When she in the stony field had come
She’s used the stones to build her home:
The field to her was smooth and sweet,
And she tripped along with joyful feet.

‘Twas God who gave the field of stones,
Which I had used for mournful groans:
If I had built of stones a shrine,
A joyous heart would now be mine.

 

Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=1804112&imageID=1659460&word=stone%20house%20%20new%20york&s=1&notword=&d=&c=&f=&k=0&lWord=&lField=&sScope=&sLevel=&sLabel=&sort=&total=47&num=20&imgs=20&pNum=&pos=33
Image Title:  View of a rustic bridge and stone house. From Central Park Album, 1862 / J. Rau, 381 Pearl St., N.Y. ; from nature by G. W. Fasel ; lith. by G. W. Fasel & E. Valois.
Source: The Eno collection of New York City views.

Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Print Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs

“I’ll Win the Crown, Beyond the Cross” by Darius M. Ratcliff


I’ll Win the Crown, Beyond the Cross

 

Now if the man who owns and tills the fields

Must work, or else his land no harvest yields;

And if the man who seeks to win a race,

Must train if he would even hope to place;

Can we e’er hope to win the greatest prize

If for that prize we do no exercise?

If for fool’s gold men toil and sweat,

Should we do less true wealth to get?

If for a car men pay the price,

Think you that less will here suffice?

No, I must strive if I would win,

I’ll do my part, right now begin.

It is my right to have my pay,

It is my right my hand to stay:

On rights of mine I’ll not insist,

If doing this, will aught assist.

I’ll keep my eye on real rewards;

For what care I for earthly hoards?

I’ll be as Jew, I’ll be as weak,

I’ll be all things, the lost to seek:

I’ll run the race, the prize attain,

I’ll fight this fight, the crown I’ll gain;

I’ll spare not self, I’ll fear no loss,

I’ll win the crown, beyond the cross.

Image above retrieved from:
http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Cross_and_Crown_001.jpg

“The Riches of Christ” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Part of sedilia, St. John’s Church Osnabruck, Germany. (1868)

THE RICHES OF CHRIST

I offer you treasures more precious than gold,

More precious than treasures than banks on earth hold.

The riches of earth delude and ensnare;

Man loves them though Christ has bade him to beware:

The riches of Christ delight and refine;

They shine in full splendor when life we resign.

In the day when the worldling awakens to his loss,

When diamonds and riches and gold are just dross;

Then the ones who have labored for riches above,

Will attain them forever in a home of pure love.

If today then seem dim like the gold of a dream,

While the treasures of earth so glitteringly beam;

A tomorrow is coming on wings swift and sure:-

How then will it see? Which then will endure?

I bid you awake, to awaken today:

Lay hold of these riches, lay hold, don’t delay:

I bid you despise, to despise earthly gain:

To hold it as cheap, as a dangerous bane.

If I could but tell all the values to you,

Of the prize held aloft for mortals to view:

How it dwarfs human minds and still beckons on;

How the angels for this would mortal life don:

How it saves from earth’s darkness, the darkness of night.

And in place gives the kingdom, the kingdom of light:

How it makes the heart sing with joys evermore,

How it lasts through eternity, a billion years more:

How it means for us home, a home of pure love,

A home of rich  fellowship with saints saved above:

How it makes us God’s children, — to the world always odd, —

And we’re to be filled with the fullness of God.

When the Christ comes again, appearing in glory,

Then we shall be like Him. This is the story.

Image above:
Image ID: 819337. Part of sedilia, St. John’s Church Osnabruck, Germany. (1868)
Retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?819337
Original Source:
“The study book of medieval architecture and art : a series of working drawings of the principal monuments of the Middle Ages.”

“Worship Talks” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Good Shepherd
Matthew 18: 11-13; Luke 15: 3-5

WORSHIP TALKS

Ninety nine sheep, all safe in the fold;

One was out on the hills away:

Dark was the night, and the wind was cold,

Ye he sought the sheep that went astray.

Many are the men who know not the Lord;

White men, and black men, yellow, and brown:

Never have heard the Gospel word,

Christ our Savior to earth came down.

Who will go with the shepherd of men,

Out in the night and the bitter cold?

Go with the shepherd as he goes again,

Bringing the sheep to the heavenly fold?

Here am I, Lord, send me, send me;

I’ll turn my back on the world and its joys:

I’ll seek the sheep wherever they be,

Counting all else as worthless as joys.

Going with Jesus out through the night,

Losing my life for the Gospel’s sake.

Tears turn to gladness, darkness to light,

Soon in its glory will morning break.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernhard_Plockhorst_-_Good_Shephard.jpg
“The Good Shepherd” by Bernhard Plockhorst (1825–1907)

“The Valley Road and the Mountain Path” by Darius M. Ratcliff, February 13, 1945

THE VALLEY ROAD AND THE MOUNTAIN PATH

 

A road leads away through the valley,

            And promises abundance of fun;

The crowds are gay in the valley:

            Why think of the setting of the sun?

Let us eat, let us laugh, and be merry;

            Let us have a good time while we may:

We are young and carefree and happy;

            We are out to enjoy the whole day.

But Christ has been calling and warning: –

            Alas, is He’s called us in vain:

For His wrath is over the valley,

And we falter and fall with the  slain.

If we ignore God’s calling and warning,

            And despise the Lord and His light;

If we follow the way of our pleasures,

            We’ll be lost in the valley of night.

Have you looked ahead in the valley

            To see what your journey will be?

If the wrath of God’s in the valley,

            Do you think earth’s blessings you’ll see?

Have you looked afar in the valley,

            Where the clouds in the distance dark swell?

Is your road a highway to glory?

            Of the broad way leading to hell?

A path is cut in the mountains,

            And narrow and rugged the way;

And few are the mortals who find it,

            And fewer the heroes who stay.

But the path is the highway to glory,

            And there is not another way;

And a cross marks out in the mountains

            The highway leading to day.

And the love of God is in the mountains,

            And blessings are given up there:

There is joy and unspeakable glory

            For those who the rugged way dare.

And heaven is reached through the mountains:

            It lies at the rugged way’s end.

Its gates are open to travelers,

            The traveler who the mountains ascend.

Image above retrieved from:

http://www.public-domain-photos.com/buildings/church-tower-with-mountain-in-background-3.htm

“The Time is Now” by Darius M. Ratcliff, January 27, 1944

THE TIME IS NOW

1

The time is now.

Oh hear it, thou.

O fellow man,

Your soul God can

Make His today.

Do not delay,

On Christ believe,

The Christ receive;

Make Him your own,

The way is known.

You can not lose,

If Christ you choose.

2

The time is now.

And ask not how

You may postpone;

Yes, you alone,And not obey,

Is this your day,

The Gospel’s call

To one and all.

While you delay,

Choose your own way,

The day is past.

Your day, your last.

3

The time is now.

The heavens bow

To lift you up,

Make full your cup.

You can Christ know,

Like Him here grow;

Through His rich grace

Reflect His face,

Bring life to others,

Make them Christ’s brothers.

You all can gain,

Great heights attain.

4

The time is now.

Oh, face it, thou,

You’re in this fight

For truth and right.

The foe is strong,

Entrenched is wrong;

Your course is on.

God’s armor don;

For if you fail,

To don this mail,

You’ll meet defeat,

And that complete.

5

The time is now.

And seek not how

You can pursue

Christ and earth too;

How you can stay

From church away;

How you can live,

And never give;

How you God’s work

Can always shirk;

How you can win,

And fall within.

6

The time is now.

If you allow

You day is pass;

It will, alas.

Then you must face

Your deep disgrace,

And final doom,

Where there’s no room,

Nor any scope

For faintest hope.

You’ll e’er be left

Of God bereft.

Photo above: Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor), the statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Retrieved from: http://public-domain-images.blogspot.com/2010/12/christ-redeemer-cristo-redentor-rio-de.html