J. G. Braddock

With sails all set and anchors weighed,
My soul’s armada is arrayed
To meet all trials and enemies
That prowl for prey out on life’s seas;

Lord ship

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A worthy flagship of my fleet,
Ship Lord, has never met defeat,
For at her helm a Master stands—
An Admiral with nail-scarred hands—
Who steers our course by timeless charts,
Through all of Satan’s fiery darts,
Through maelstroms of adversities,
Through shoals of sickness and disease,
Through blinding fogs of times unsure,
Through shallows where temptations lure,
Until we reach that tranquil sea
And anchor in Eternity.

Ship Lord must lead the battle line—
There is no other sure design
For victory against all foes,
No hope that man can interpose;

All other ships within this band
Are vessels under my command
To keep astern and close behind
Ship Lord and on her course aligned
Through doubts and fears on every side,
Through humbled hearts and pangs of pride,
Through temptings sore, and keep my eyes
Upon that crimson flag Lord flies—

A Cross on which Lamb’s blood was spilt
To cover all my sin and guilt.

Wor ship

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Of all my ships, ship Wor must lead,
To her my other ships are keyed
To mirror her in every wise—
Her readiness, her speed, her size,
Her course, her spontaneity,
Her fervor—in precise degree;

Aboard ship Wor I celebrate
Salvation’s gift and demonstrate
My joy and gratitude unbound
In exultations that resound
From here below to Heaven’s King,
Creator from whom all works spring:
The universe and all therein;
sun, around which planets spin;
This Earth He formed with loving care
And wrapped in warmth and light and air
And grass and flowered plants and trees
And lakes and streams and vibrant seas,
Then filled with beast of every kind—
A Paradise by Him designed
For mortal men, Creation’s crown,
The breath of God to Earth come down;

For all these works His hands have done
And for the giving of His Son,
I lay my praise before His throne,
But not in words and sounds alone,
For if my praise to Him be true,
It must reflect in deeds I do

My fervor in the psalms I raise,
My spontaneity of praise
The state of awe I evidence,
Speak louder than my eloquence.

Disciple ship

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When Wor’s the ship she’s meant to be,
Disciple follows naturally,
And is designed from stem to stern
A training ship on which I learn
To safely sail upon life’s main,
And from her decks I ever train
My eyes upon my chosen Guide,
My Admiral, The Crucified,
And seek through prayer His Father’s will,
Who gives to me sufficient skill
And strength to keep my ships afloat,
And from the Manual He wrote,
My soul His every word I feed
To satisfy my every need.

I strive to gain, while I’m aboard,
A helmet, breastplate, shield and sword,
A battle-dress that does not fail
When Satan’s many wiles assail.

Steward ship

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If properly my fleet is lined,
Ship Steward shall be close behind,
And in her hold I keep in store
My every gift—with none on shore—
My minutes, hours, and days of time,
My wealth—ten million or a dime,
My talents, whether small or great,
My health, my strength, my favored state,
My very soul—it is not mine:
Christ bought it with a price divine;

No credit for these dare I claim—
They all from Heaven’s bounty came,
And each and every one was sent
Into my care and management,
For me to strive with zeal intense,
With faithfulness and diligence,
To nurture, polish, and enhance,
To prosper, strengthen, and advance
Until they’re fit in every wise
To glorify before men’s eyes
The King of Heaven and His Son,
My Admiral, the sinless One;

When I attain that favored shore,
And all my ships are safe at moor,
My Lord, the King, shall come aboard,
And every gift upon her stored
Shall He, with careful eye, inspect
For signs of wasting and neglect,
For selfish use and slackened hand,
And shall require of me to stand
Within his presence and relate
A full accounting for their state.

Ambassador ship

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Good ship Ambassador ensues
And is a bearer of good news
Of how my Admiral has paid,
With stripes and shame upon Him laid
And thorns and nails all meant for me,
An awesome price that set me free
And for my sins, did full atone—
And for the world’s, not mine alone;

I sail her with a graceful style
And fly His banners—ready smile,
Forgiving spirit, helping-hand—
While following His great command
To sail upon Life’s every sea
And seek with utmost urgency
Each derelict, each sinking ship,
Each vessel snared in Satan’s grip,
To tell in words, but mostly deeds,
Of Him who for us intercedes,
With Love divine unwavering,
Before the throne of Heaven’s King.

Fellow ship

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Ship Fellow follows at the end;
Her presence and success depend
On all my other ships in line,
How true in heading and design
They match in following ship Lord;
And when they sail in one accord
And heaven’s charts and truths employ,
Ship Fellow is a ship of joy
Where kindred hearts together meet
To taste anew communion sweet
And one another cheer and lift
And celebrate
God's priceless Gift;

In all of these we Fellow
The icing on believers’ cake.


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For other poems by J. G. Braddock Sr.
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