The End of an Era… “For as in Adam all die…”

April 12, 2021

Last week was a sad one in many ways, like the end of an era and my thoughts dwelt very much on my own loving parents who were called Home some years ago. On Tuesday, 6th April last a good friend of my mother and father’s, Miles Gaythwaite also passed away. Miles, like my mother was an artist and he and his wife Audrey, as fellow Christians, would often call with my parents. After my father died Miles and Audrey continued to be loyal friends to Mum. Miles’ paintings were just beautiful and very evocative. We have one which we call “sheep in a storm.” He told me once the story of how he and his art class (who would often go on painting trips) were given permission by a farmer to paint his old disused farmyard. When they arrived, to their dismay the farmer had cleaned up the farmyard and removed the old farm machinery. He didn’t realise that these “arty people” wanted to paint the authentic which had more beauty than the cleaned up version!

A quick “Google” will show some of Miles’ art and I thought this week about the fact that we all leave a “legacy” of some sort behind us, when these short lives are over. Some of us don’t leave much that is of material value or even talented works of art but I believe that it is the Lord’s will that we leave a lasting legacy in the spiritual sense. Time, what is left of it, is a very precious commodity in our lives and I am ever conscious of that clock ticking away, every second bringing me closer to eternity. I also feel that sometimes I am wasting time and pray that the Lord would direct my paths to His glory. The longest life is but a breath in terms of eternity and everything we do will some day be either precious in His sight or “hay, wood and stubble.” Miles and Audrey’s house is named “Forasmuch as” which I found interesting. There are dozens of verses in the Bible containing these words… “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Peter 1v19)

One person who did live a very long life was Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, who also passed away in the last week, in his 100th year. Above is an old photograph of the Greek island of Corfu, birthplace of Prince Philip, which I have visited a few times. I remember him as quite a character, with his quick sense of humour. This aspect of his personality reminded me of my own father and I mentioned this in a letter just last year which was posted to him on 18th January, 2020, just before “Covid 19” was pronounced a pandemic. With the letter I also sent a copy of my second book, “Singing on the Journey Home” to him, receiving in return a lovely letter of thanks from his secretary. I have prayed for the Royal family and feel a burden for them, for like everyone else in this world of ours, they need to be saved. God is no respecter of persons but sadly the human race are – and unfortunately even the Lord’s people are sometimes reluctant to be a witness to people whom they think have a higher “standing” than them.

Did he read the book? I have a feeling that he did, because I felt the Lord’s reassurance in the fact that it was very much in the news that Prince Philip spent his days reading quietly in the last couple of years and also the Lord had been burdening me to write to him for some time previously. I always prayed that something would have spoken to him. The winds of time are speeding us all along towards eternity and we need to reach souls. At least 20 relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances of mine have died between this year and last year – and many of these have been a shock to me. Most were quite elderly but some were not and while a few were Christians, there are others that I would be uncertain about. I sometimes wonder what the rest of the year will hold for us but only the Lord knows that. Meanwhile we walk by faith each day, asking the Lord for opportunities and courage (how I need it!) to be a witness to those we come in contact with.

Surely… “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11v30)

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Cor. 15v22) This is the Lord’s will for this world of lost sinners, for whom He died.

The Lord Jesus Christ Died for Everyone

April 1, 2021

I am remembering today a sermon that I once heard preached many years ago. Based on the words “Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated,” the person in the pulpit was basically saying that God had foreordained that members of His creation were predestined to go to either heaven or hell. As a young non-Christian listening to those words on that day, I was horrified and the thought struck me at the time that maybe I was “one of the hated ones who were predestined to go to hell.” I now believe that this doctrine of “limited atonement” is surely one of the most heinous “doctrines of devils” ever to be conceived and it is terrible to think that certain denominations in my own country and throughout the world adhere to such heresy. I thank God, that He spoke to me personally and showed me His great love for me in sending His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die for my sins – and the sins of all mankind! While alone in my room, it was He who spoke to me and brought me under conviction and I am forever grateful for that night on Monday 28th August, 1978 when I crossed from darkness into light and how He has shed more and more light on my pathway on the onward journey Home. Thank you Lord for leading me into all truth. The following, written in simple terms around 10 years ago can be printed in tract form and expresses what the Lord has revealed to me on the subject. His atonement is unlimited and furthermore there is no limit to the work that the Lord can do in a heart that is consecrated to Him! “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1v29)

Unlimited Atonement

For whom did Jesus die? This simple question has led to much bitter debate down through the centuries, but I believe that God’s Word declares without a doubt that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Which verses do I use to support this view? Here are a few…

 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1Timothy 4v10)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2v11)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9)

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5v18) Does not ‘all’ mean ‘all?!’

In my youthful, unregenerate days I heard a sermon which troubled me. I remember thinking: “supposing I am one of those who have been predestined to go to Hell?” I felt, for a short time, a bleak helplessness but thank God for His reassurance! Somehow I knew that this could not possibly be true and when I later trusted the Saviour, it was with joy that I read the above verses.

As for predestination, I have no problem at all with the verses where this is mentioned. “For whom he did foreknow…” (Romans 8v29) Of course God ‘foreknew’ – because God knows the future. He knows who will trust Him – and who will not.”… “He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Those whom God knew beforehand would trust Him and endure to the end – have been predestined to be glorified. Praise God there is a choice today! “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24v15) And here is another verse to consider: “For the love of Christ constaineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead;” (2Cor. 5v14)

Remember, if you had been the only one – He would still have suffered and died for you! Therefore if you have not already done so, repent and put your trust in the precious blood of Jesus for salvation today – for the great price has been paid for the ransom of your soul. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3v16&17)

Murder Suicides – Thoughts on Land Disputes & “The Graves”

March 25, 2021

A recent report disclosed that there have been over 30 “murder suicides” in Ireland since 2000. Many of these constitute a situation where a husband murders his wife and children, then commits suicide. However, my attention has recently been drawn to this scenario occurring against a rural background involving disputes over land ownership.

In the quiet conservative depths of the Irish countryside there are grievances festering which no one knows about except the families involved, although sometimes close neighbours will find out when someone who is in danger confides in them. During the last year or so society has become painfully aware that during times of “lockdown” when people are not distracted and are living very much on their “home patch,” old grievances come very much to the fore and that which was previously like a “smoking volcano,” erupts in anger and resentment. Sadly this can manifest itself in the most horrific crimes – and resulting tragedy for remaining close relatives and friends for the rest of their lives.

Whoever we are or whatever the nature of our wealth, possessions or poverty, we can all be agreed on one thing – this life is relatively short, while eternity (whatever our views on it) stretches beyond life’s short day. If we believe that eternity holds something for us in the spiritual realm (and most people in Ireland do) then surely we should live those lives of ours with eternity in view? “Where will I spend eternity – and have I the assurance of a Home in Heaven?” is a most important question we should ask ourselves.

Many are so taken up with material values in “the here and now” that sadly they never think that someday it will not matter whether someone has cheated them out of something that they sincerely believe rightfully belongs to them. Whatever the rights and wrongs in any situation, God knows everything about it and ultimately… “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18v25)

During the time of this pandemic I would like to believe that many people have taken their eyes off material values and started to think on things eternal. With the best health care in the world and all the money in the world to pay for private treatment, we may prolong life upon this earth for a short time but sooner or later we all face death – and ultimately judgement. Faced with this, we discover that our many possessions and even good insurances are of little use to us. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Proverbs 11v4)”

“Righteousness delivereth from death….” The glorious good news is that when we repent of all our sin and put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, He imparts His righteousness to us and enables us to lead a life of overcoming and blamelessness in His eyes. No man on this earth can forgive us our sins – but Jesus can, when we come into His Presence and trust Him to lead us through this often thorny path of life, to life everlasting in Heaven. There is a sense in which, when we know Him as Saviour, we shall never die. Yes, these bodies in their present form shall someday die but our spirits, when we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ to save us, will go immediately to be with Him upon our death. We often hear clergy at funerals pray that the soul of the deceased be taken into the Lord’s Presence but they do not realise the truth of those words… “absent from the body… present with the Lord.” (2Corinthians 5v8)

The Lord’s will is that you would put your trust in Him alone for salvation, so that this would be your portion… “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15v54-57)

It is the Lord Jesus Christ and the victory of His sacrificial death and resurrection, who gives us the victory over sin and death and hell – and over a wrongful preoccupation with the material things of this world which would threaten to destroy us. Surely we should think seriously about that “Great Forever, where land and riches matter never?”

A poem “The Graves” which I wrote many years ago is based on the true story of how I came to discover that a neighbour had died without my knowledge and subsequently the Lord gave me these words and a conviction that I should be doing more to reach others. In the light of eternity, let those who have never trusted Him, repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who loved you enough to die for you, that you may have an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1Peter1v4) and may those who know and love Him, be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15v58)

The Graves

One cloudy restless Sabbath Day,

I went in search of where he lay;

So pensively I picked my way,

Past ancient headstones and decay.

Celtic crosses in the mist,

Coloured gravestones, raindrop-kissed,

Crying curlew overhead,

Wooden crosses, unknown dead.

The old, the young, the rich, the poor,

A child, a babe…. a grief to endure;

A nobleman, a pauper, a puritan, a thief:

Death knows no boundary, and nor doth grief.

Who were these within their day,

Whose bodies now lie clothed in clay?

Were they told, or did they see

That Jesus died all souls to free?

And then I thought on the living-dead

For whom His precious blood was shed,

And how I wished that they could be

Joyful, saved, from sin set free.

Oh, how I longed to talk with him,

Before the flickering light grew dim,

But hope had drowned in the Great Forever,

Where land and riches matter never.

So, brother, sister we must go –

Tell loved-one, neighbour, friend and foe,

For how can we so silent be…

If we love the Author of Eternity?

© Elizabeth Burke

Some Interesting DNA Results

March 19, 2021

My younger sister recently received some DNA ethnicity results which I find fascinating. We are a pretty conservative/non travelling lot on both sides of the family and I knew that my father’s English forefathers had landed in Ireland in 1610 and have been sitting on that same patch of land for over 400 years! As there were many English surnames associated with both my parents, it didn’t surprise me that we were 80.4% English. The rest was 15.5% Celtic mixture of Scottish, Irish or Welsh which didn’t surprise me either but what did surprise me was the 4.1% Central Asian component. Now, where did that come in?

Why do my sister and I share the same blue eyes, fair hair (going grey now!) and skin, while another sister and brother have darker hair and brown eyes? I can see both traits in old photographs of great grandfathers but sometimes I wonder about the ancient wanderings of my ancestors. Were some the sons of Shem as well as Japeth?

My sister’s husband (who is English) discovered that he is less English than his wife; a large percentage of his DNA seems to be made up from the regions of South Italy/Greece – and some Ashkenazi Jewish percentage thrown in for good measure.

I think most of us are curious about our origins and sometimes when you dig deep into family history, as I have done in recent times, you find stories there which are really fascinating and sometimes very sad…

My father’s grandfather had a lovely wife who died when she was comparatively young; I still have an old photograph of her and her husband. They had just two children – my grandmother and her younger brother Johnnie. After the death of his wife my great grandfather married again and (although I have never been told this) I somehow got the impression that the children (who were young adults by this time) did not take to their new step mother. My grandmother married, while her young brother Johnnie left home for New York. There he stayed with his aunt and uncle and their three daughters who had previously emigrated from Ireland. To cut a long story short my great uncle Johnnie was murdered there as a young man in 1926, when a gunman entered the store he was working in and shot him. He died later in hospital.  We found old records of the event in the New York Times of back then and I have seen a copy of an old letter sent home to Ireland telling the family of this terrible event. (Amazingly I have managed to trace descendants of Johnnie’s cousins, those three sisters in 1920’s New York although I haven’t attempted to contact them yet!) That same year my Dad was born and his mother (Johnnie’s sister) named him John (nickname Jack) after her only brother who was killed. My great grandfather blamed himself for the death of his son, believing that if he hadn’t married again Johnnie would never have left home. Somehow I felt sorry for his second wife too…

How complex life can be. The dramas and the human tragedy we see when we delve into old family history are enough to fill the pages of a novel. The wind whispers through the glassless window frames of old houses and you can’t help but wonder what went on… But there is another element to this. Around the time my sister was having her DNA evaluated, many more people were doing the same thing and the ensuing results caused considerable trouble, the shock from which many will never recover.

People were angrily discovering that their father wasn’t really their father – or their mother wasn’t who they thought she was. As I think on all these things, I cannot help but also meditate upon those verses… “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” (Luke 8v17); “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” (Luke 12v2)

Particularly here in Ireland when children were “born out of wedlock” there have been heart breaking stories about babies wrenched from the arms of their mothers by nuns who made arrangements for them to be forcibly adopted and those mothers were often never re-united with their children again.

No matter what we do, think or say… God knows and sees every detail of these lives of ours but praise God there is forgiveness and healing balm for those who have repented and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. The sinister terrible things that have happened to people shall one day be made manifest, although in this present age they may be covered by unrepentant forces who do not wish to be exposed. Praise God there is a Day coming when everything shall be revealed! As I thought on these things, the Lord gave me this little verse this morning…

There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed,

Nothing locked away, that shall not be unsealed,

And all that’s buried deep in many a field,

Shall some Day rise; the earth its dead shall yield.

Yes, no secret sins, no matters closed,

That shall not be, some Day exposed.

© Elizabeth Burke

March – A Lesson from the Shamrock

March 17, 2021

Today I am remembering the simple truths expressed in my old blog from early 2010.

Elizabeth Burke's Blog

View original post

How God Answered My Mother’s Prayers – Wilbert Kirk’s Testimony

March 14, 2021

Yesterday in the continued process of “clearing” I found little testimony tracts, many of which are quite old and make interesting reading. I don’t know how I came to have this one but I felt that since today is coincidentally “Mother’s Day” here in Ireland, the U.K. and other countries, I should share it. Mention of the lovely coastal town of Bangor where this gentleman was born brought back pleasant childhood memories to me and having investigated online, I think that he may have passed away in 2002. How marvellous that his mother’s prayers for him were indeed answered… so mothers (and everyone) out there – take heart, for the Lord loves your loved ones even more than you do – and He hears your prayers!

“In the town of Bangor, Co. Down, on the 30th July 1926, the third child was born into the family of a working class couple. Although there were few luxuries in that home, yet the certain hope of a “Home” in Heaven was a precious comfort to them. This “blessed hope” was enjoyed because of a decision each of the parents had made while they were young in life, when they each trusted Christ as their own and personal Saviour. Hence it was my privilege to be born into a Christian home. My parents agreed that my name should be WILBERT, and from my earliest recollections, I soon learned that I had a praying mother who had the love of Christ in her heart and life and a Godly concern for her children’s welfare.

An infant when her love first came

A man I found it, just the same

Lovingly I breathe her name

The sweet dear name of Mother.

Being a sinner at heart, it became very easy for me to say and do all the wrong things in spite of having such a Godly mother. It is still fresh in my memory when Miss Donnell called to take me with her to Sunday school. Indeed, there was one occasion when one of the teachers called at our home to complain to Mother that my behaviour was so bad that he had lost control of the class. Needless to say, this report won me a special lecture from Mother. In spite of having the best mother in the world, at the age of 12 years, I, along with other boys, was in the hands of the police for smashing windows. The R.M. spoke to me very severely and branded me the “ringleader!” (Be sure your sins will find you out).

At the age of 15 years, I commenced to serve my time as a joiner with a local builder. Very soon, I was absent from the Sunday school; indeed, I became more interested in the “card school” – always to my great loss. Many Sundays, when Mother was about to go out to the Gospel meeting I would swagger in for my tea. Lovingly and patiently she would wait on me and kindly ask me to come with her to the meeting. Often I would swear and tell her to go to Hell and “never ask me to go to a meeting.” With tears streaming down her face, she would gently say “Son, thanks be to God, I shall never go to Hell, and furthermore, I shall continue in prayer to God to forgive you and that in His great mercy He will save your precious soul.”

During my wild years 14-34, I explored every avenue that was open to me, seeking satisfaction – but WITHOUT CHRIST. Indeed, during that period I was not more than 5 or 6 times under the sound of the Word of God in any place of worship. Alas, to my bitter cost, I still carry the wounds of having my nose smashed with a bottle, and, on another occasion, a butcher left his brand below my left eye with a knife. How I thank God that Mother never lost heart but persevered in prayer to God on my behalf; indeed, my mother’s Godly life and consistent testimony spoke loudly to my heart and conscience. Even when drinking with my friends in some of the local pubs, there were occasions when something that my mother had said or sang would flash before my mind and spoil my desire for the evening, words as in that sweet old hymn:

Oh what a Saviour that He died for me,

From condemnation He hath made me free,

“He that believeth on the Son,” saith He,

Hath Everlasting Life.”

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Verily, verily, message ever new,

He that believeth on the Son, ‘tis true,

“Hath Everlasting Life.”

As a joiner, I worked in the homes of many of the Christians in the area to whom my mother was well known. Often they would say to me “How is it that your mother, father, brother and sister are all saved and YOU ARE NOT SAVED?” These remarks struck terror to my heart and conscience. There were even occasions when in the still of the night I would awake with a start and tremble at the thought that the Lord had come and taken my family all to Heaven and I was left behind for judgement. What a relief it was to hear my father turn in bed or even to sigh in his sleep.

Christmas 1960 found me having what I thought was a great time, drinking, etc., with unsaved friends, yet I felt miserable and my heart dissatisfied. When I looked into the face of a Christian I saw a REAL PEACE, A JOY AND A SATISFACTION that this world could not give to me, try as I would. There and then I decided to go in for God’s Salvation, at all costs. Therefore, the first Sunday evening in January 1961 found me at the Gospel meeting in Central Hall where Mr Robert Love was the speaker. His message that evening really touched my heart and encouraged me to seek the Lord while he may be found.

I was attending the Gospel meeting for about a month before any of my relations mentioned the matter to me. THEY WERE AFRAID TO IN CASE THEY PUT ME OFF. During that year, I attended every Sunday and the desire for football matches, drink and gambling seemed to leave me and found me looking forward to the next Gospel meeting.

On Sunday, 10th December, 1961, I heard four young men from Ballymena relating the story of their conversion in Central Hall. As I listened to each of them telling how God had dealt with them prior to their conversion, their trials, the doubts, the fears, it seemed that it was my very experiences at that time. As I left the hall that night deeply troubled, I met my companions and went for a walk round Pickie. My mind was neither on the walk or the conversation, but these words reverberated in my brain: “Wilbert, where will your soul be 5 minutes after you’re dead?” This great reality really gripped me that it was possible for me to miss God’s salvation and spend eternity in Hell with the lost. I was under very deep conviction of sin before God.

During that time, we were working at 54 Ward Avenue, the home of the Rev. David Burke. On the Monday at approximately 9am, while working in the kitchen alone, John 3v16: “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE” came before me as it never did before. There and then for the first time in my experience, I realised that God loved me. This He proved by giving His Son to die for us. Also for the first time I realised that the love of Christ for me was so great that He was willing to die in my stead. Weeping and melted by such love for a guilty sinner like me, I knelt down and confessed my sins to God, asked His forgiveness and TRUSTED CHRIST AS MY OWN AND PERSONAL SAVIOUR, “WHEREFORE HE IS ABLE ALSO TO SAVE THEM TO THE UTTERMOST THAT COME UNTO GOD MY HIM, SEEING HE EVER LIVETH TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR THEM.” (Hebrews 7v25)

What a load was lifted! It seemed as if the Albert Clock was lifted off my back, and as the hymn-writer said “The burden of my heart rolled away.” The things of this world that used to charm me and the things that I thought that I could not live without, all desire for them left me. Indeed, they only gave temporary satisfaction and were a very poor substitute for what I am enjoying in my heart now – the forgiveness of sins and the peace of God and sure hope of Heaven for all eternity.

What a joy it has been to tell what we know by personal experience about the Saviour and to see many respond to His Word, trusting Him as their own, not only in the United Kingdom but even in the distant land of Korea.

In Proverbs we read, “Her children shall rise up and call her blessed.”

MOTHERS!! In years to come (D.V.) when your children look back down memory’s lane what thoughts will fill their hearts and minds as they… REMEMBER MOTHER?”

I came to Jesus as I was

Weary and worn and sad

I found in Him a resting place

And He has made me glad.

Jesus says: “HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” (John 6v37)

These are Difficult Times for Those Who Mourn

March 11, 2021

My Aunt (one of the few remaining relatives of that generation) went Home to be with the Lord on Monday past and it was touching to know that all four of her children were with her at the time. Funerals in Ireland are an important time, when many relatives who haven’t seen each other in years can be together again. However, since there are travel restrictions, police checks and restricted numbers at funerals, only the direct family could be in attendance at a small funeral service in her home, which sadly meant that I could not attend.

Memories returned to me this week of the events of December, 2014 when my mother was called Home and just a week later my father-in-law. It may be years ago now, but I still feel dazed by that particular time and hardly processed it all. I also know that we “should sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1Thess. 4v13) but “Jesus wept” and He understands our feelings of loss. I thank the Lord for His sustaining Presence in my life and for the prayer of sincere Christians. Sometimes the yearning to talk again to loved ones and the grief we still feel even after years can be overwhelming but how good to know “the God of all comfort.” These indeed are even more difficult days for those who mourn, because of the restrictions on account of Covid 19 in all its mutations. Furthermore, my aunt’s only sister has just been discharged from hospital this week, after suffering with Covid 19 for months. Weak and weary as she must feel, it must have been devastating to learn the news that her only sister (whom she had not seen in a long time) had just passed away.

I remember shortly after Mum had gone Home, being sent a beautiful little poem by an elderly lady, Eunice Walker, who lived up on the north Antrim coast. This lady herself went Home to be with the Lord just last December 2020. Eunice had contacted me many years previously, after having read my first book “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” and we had kept in touch ever since. I discovered that she too had written many poems, based on Biblical truths and had sold booklets of these to raise funds for missionary work. I was touched by the fact that Eunice had written the poem especially for me at a time of loss and I shared it with my siblings back then. I felt that the Lord would have me now share it with my cousins who have lost their mother this week….

PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD

IS THE DEATH OF HIS SAINTS  

Psa. 116:15

Oh precious in the sight of God

The saint whom God calls home

How priceless is the value placed

By God upon His own.

Redeemed and purchased by the blood

Of God’s beloved Son;

Chosen in Christ and set apart

‘Till work down here is done.

Transported home to heaven’s shore

To gaze on Christ her Lord

What endless joy and worship there

Her entrance does afford.

But loved ones here will miss her much

With heart felt ache and tears

A loving mother who has cared

For family many years

We know that God makes no mistakes

His way, perhaps, not plain,

Our God in grace will care for all

Each one He will sustain.

Eunice Walker

(Called Home 4/12/2020)

Rioting This Weekend – We Should Be Careful With Whom We Align Ourselves

February 28, 2021

There were distressing scenes as anti-lockdown, anti-mask and anti-vaccination protesters attacked the police in Dublin this weekend. The wisest decisions weren’t always made (as regards not closing airports while at the same time enforcing a 5km limit) it’s true – but there can be no justification for the violence we viewed, with so many police officers injured. We are living in terrible days of civil unrest and rebellion against the forces of law and order; unfortunately people who would claim to be Christians are sharing viewpoints which are much the same as that of the rioters.

My recent readings in Romans 12&13 show me that “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12v18) In Romans 13 we are exhorted… “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Verse 1) Whatever our views, if they are not motivated by love for our neighbour, then those views have a dubious root. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13v10)

No one is being forced to take the vaccine and many have some very good personal reasons for not doing so (or perhaps they are hesitant until they see the long term effects) but no one has the right to stand in the way of others receiving it. Perhaps never in our lives have we ever seen so much mayhem, rioting and suffering on a global scale as we are seeing today – and tomorrow could be worse.

I love Romans 13v11… “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer that when we believed.”  How true! It is therefore imperative that we follow the Lord Jesus Christ closely in our daily walk, reaching as many souls as possible with His great love poured out at Calvary, in the knowledge that His will is for all souls to come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth.

Jesus said: “Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13v35-37)

Paul’s exhortation in Romans 13v12-14 is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago… “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provisions for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

Spiritually speaking, as the days grow darker…“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Romans 14v19) Bright and glorious Day may dawn sooner than we think and certainly at an hour unknown to any of us when, in the words of the Lord… “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14v11&12)

On Being Warned in a Dream… Thoughts on Dreams and Memories of my Father

February 16, 2021

I have been having really strange dreams during these extended lockdowns. Some are so vivid that I can see the whole situation in my “mind’s eye” next day. Dreams are a healthy way to process all the psychological paraphernalia we have to deal with – or so we are told! Certainly I have had dreams in the past which came true. From a spiritual point of view, dreams can definitely be a warning or to guide us in decisions and often in a dream we may be commanded to take a certain course of action.

 Some Biblical examples are the wise men who were “warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod” and “they departed into their own country another way.” (Matthew 2v12) In the very next verse “the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt…” In this same chapter, in verses 19 & 20 we learn that Joseph is again spoken to by the angel of the Lord in a dream, telling him to return to the land of Israel, “for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”

Further on in Matthew, we come to the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ; in Chapter 27v19 Pilate’s wife sends him an important message… “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”

The Old Testament abounds with accounts of dreams – too numerous to mention here. Jacob’s vivid dream is recounted in Genesis 28…”and he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Verse 12) Here is recounted the wonderful promise of God to him: “… in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (V 14) “And, behold, I am with thee in all places whither thou goest…” (V 15)

Joseph had two dreams which signified something which became reality in his life in Genesis 37, while later in Genesis 41 he was an interpreter of Pharaoh’s dreams – something which led him into an important position in which he was able to help his family and re-unite with them.

In the Book of Daniel we learn of Nebuchadnezzar’s disturbing dream and Daniel’s interpretation of it. In subsequent chapters we learn of Daniel’s dream and visions which are so prophetic. This book with its amazing stories gives God the glory over and over again. In the words of King Nebuchadnezzar who was ultimately humbled… “I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever and ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4v34)

Certainly it is true that “a dream cometh though the multitude of business…” (Ecclesiastes 5v3) and for the most part many of our dreams (and even nightmares) consist of nothing that should be taken seriously but very often dreams can signify something of importance in our lives and may even prompt us to make a certain decision or to pray for someone. On one occasion when I was young and very far from home I had a dream that our neighbour was in trouble. He cried out in this dream, disturbing me in the middle of the night and on wakening, the Lord asked me to pray for him. When I arrived home my mother told me that that our neighbour had died in the middle of the night on which I’d had the dream…

My Dad, who died 10 years ago this week, on 16th February 2011, loved to recount his dreams to my mother regularly and some of those dreams were uncanny to say the least! I miss him (and his vivid dreams) so much. He trusted the Lord to save him away back in June 1950 and this week I hope to send links to his testimony (which is amongst other testimonies on my site) to people I feel could benefit from reading it.

One of his dreams stands out in my mind, although I cannot remember the precise details of it. Dad (a farmer) was to do business with someone the following day. I believe that he was going to buy cattle from another farmer, a distance from where we lived. In the dream he could see clearly the old man who sold the cattle – and also could see the cattle which were not in good condition. He had a feeling, when he wakened, that he shouldn’t do business with this person. He travelled there anyway and when he reached the destination… the old man and his cattle were exactly as he had observed them in his dream! Needless to say he didn’t do any business that day… For years he recounted this story with a chuckle, still amazed at how clear the dream was and how the whole situation was exactly as it was in the dream.

While dreams are not always significant, I believe that the Lord may still speak to believers through dreams and indeed He speaks to the unsaved too, convicting them of their great need of Him. While we cannot always be in communication with loved ones and acquaintances we are burdened for, we can ask Him to speak to them by whatever means possible. It is better, surely, to be momentarily greatly disturbed by terrible nightmares, than to suffer the reality of a lost eternity.

These are disturbing days for many and sometimes people find it difficult to get proper sleep but the Lord’s people have this advice and this promise… “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127v2)

Today as I remember my Dad on the 10th anniversary of his death, I thank the Lord that some day I will meet him and my mother again in that beautiful great Forever. Death has been described as “the sleep with no dreams” but death for believers is to be very much alive in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for them. While we may be troubled by current events in our world, it is the Lord’s will that we rest in Him and commit our cares to Him. The sweetest dreams of all are the dreams of those who have placed their trust in Him for time and eternity. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26v3)

I love the hymn “Forever with the Lord” which I am thinking of in terms of Dad today. The hymn writer James Montgomery (1771-1854) who lived for a while in Northern Ireland wrote 400 hymns, many of which are still in use today – and he died quietly in his sleep… the day after he had written his last hymn. How wonderful to drift off to sleep and to waken up in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Forever with the Lord”     (1) For Ever with the Lord! – YouTube

Forever with the Lord!

Amen, so let it be!

Life from His death is in that word

’Tis immortality.

Here in the body pent,

Absent from Him I roam,

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent

A day’s march nearer home

My Father’s house on high,

Home of my soul, how near

At times to faith’s foreseeing eye

Thy golden gates appear!

Ah! then my spirit faints

To reach the land I love,

The bright inheritance of saints,

Jerusalem above.

“Forever with the Lord!”

Forever in His will,

The promise of that faithful word,

Lord, here in me fulfil.

With You at my right hand,

Then I shall never fail;

Uphold me, Lord, and I shall stand,

Through grace I will prevail.

So when my latest breath

Breaks through the veil of pain,

By death I shall escape from death,

And life eternal gain.

That resurrection word,

That shout of victory:

Once more, “Forever with the Lord!”

Amen, so let it be!

“Who did Sin… this Man or his Parents…?”

January 27, 2021

I have noticed many strange reactions with regard to individuals who have succumbed to this present virus in all its forms. There are still people out there, believe it or not, who are certain that Christians are somehow “divinely protected” from Covid 19. They tried to do the same thing with cancer years ago but in recent times so many Christians have been diagnosed (and even died) with cancer that they had to change their minds on that one.

Sadly there are those who are convinced that certain health conditions have come about in the lives of individuals because of sin in their lives. Of course this is not impossible in some cases; I also believe that the Lord can allow certain illnesses for many reasons, some of which we will never know this side of eternity. Sometimes, too, illness is for character building, so that having experienced some trauma in life, we are more equipped to be a witness and a comfort to others in their tribulation. (2 Corinthians 1v3&4)

Indeed the Great Counsellor, the Lord Jesus Christ, understands our suffering because He has been there Himself, when He walked this earth in human flesh. (Hebrews 4v15)

Like everyone else who resides in this fallen world, Christians are not immune to all the diseases, plagues and health hazards that ravage it – but all the more so if they take an arrogant, elitist attitude to viruses and carry on as usual, whilst cruelly putting the lives of others in jeopardy. I am presently thinking of a lady (about to congregate with others and not wearing a mask) who was approached by an interviewer with his microphone. This lady maintained that she had “divine protection.”  

In my own life, right now I take the necessary personal precautions to prevent myself from catching this virus. I have no wish either to catch it – or to be the means of spreading it to others. If I catch it then it’s quite possible that I could take up a much needed hospital bed and if I spread it to others they could die of it or be left with some permanent health problem – and I would have this on my conscience. I shelter from the possibility of catching it, because I believe that this is the Lord’s will and that it is the wise and caring thing to do.

However, to know of someone who has somehow succumbed to the present virus and conclude that “here is a person who deserves this because of sin in his or her life” is so wrong. Only the Lord knows the heart; He is the final Judge and anyone who thinks this way would need to take a long hard look at his or her own life and definitely study the Book of Job…

These thoughts came to mind in my recent reading of John 9v1-3. “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Perhaps the greatest scenario of all is when someone has been ill or has even been born with a certain affliction… and the “works of God are made manifest in him.” I have, in the last while, seen many positive and amazing answers to prayer for people I know who have been very seriously ill with the virus – and are recovering, praise God. There is no doubt that the hand of God has been at work here.

Jesus said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the word.” (John 9v5)

As Christians, as long as we are alive upon this earth, He desires our fervent prayer on behalf of those who need it, whether for healing or salvation or sometimes both. I thank Him that He is working out His will even in the midst of traumatic situations in this stricken world, in response to the fervent prayer of those who know and love Him. The same Lord who healed the diseased, lame, blind and raised the dead to life is listening to our every prayer – and very often those miracles will be a witness in themselves and the means of bringing salvation to many lives, as we see in this instance… “And Peter said unto him, Ae-ne-as, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.

And all that dwelt at Lyd-da and Sa-ron saw him, and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9v34&35)