“Because Iniquity Shall Abound, the Love of Many shall Wax Cold” (Matthew 24v12)

July 24, 2021

For the best part of two years now, I have felt that the Lord wants to do “a new thing” (Isaiah 43v19) in the lives of Christians the world over but sadly many are not responding in the way that they should. The Lord is shaking this world and to ignore, ridicule or disregard the finger of God as sovereign in a situation, is dangerous and sinful, to say the least. Who is listening today? Very few, it would appear. Nothing will ever be the same – and there will be more and more pestilences fall on the earth, because the Word of God has said it. This is a time to reach out to the lost, the hurting and the lonely. A love for the spiritually lost and a yearning to see them saved is surely the need of the hour.

Life will never be the same

Many suffering, who to blame?

All is crumbling, all around.

Lives are threatened, sins abound.

Souls are dying, souls are lost,

Yet faces hardened, cold as frost.

Oh for that love within your heart,

To reach these lives, His love impart!

Soon the clouds of night will flee,

To love Who loved our only plea,

Soon before the Throne we’ll stand,

From every nation, every land.

Oh reach dear souls for Him today,

For the things of life shall fade away

And only those who loyal stand,

Shall throng the choirs in Glory Land.

© E. Burke 2021 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24v12&13)

Heavenly Sunlight

July 18, 2021

Ripening fields of gold and emerald green against a clear blue sky and the warmth of the sun made me thankful today for the goodness of God. In the last couple of years through strict lockdowns, He has shown me the beauty of my own surroundings and taught me to be content with this little place I call “home.” I have learned to appreciate our animal friends – both wild and tame, while the taste of home grown strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and potatoes is second to none. From a social point of view, yes, I suppose we’re a bit isolated but we have plenty of forms of communication in this age. I feel that terrible though this time has been for many, the Lord has been wanting to use the situation to do something new in different individual’s lives.

In the distance the Irish Sea blends with the blue horizon and I think about the faraway places I used to visit but for now all that is on hold. I heard a young person say recently… “The only reason I’m getting this vaccine is so that I can get the travel certificate to fly out of here to Spain.” Well, I am fully vaccinated now (and no, I am not controlled by a well-known billionaire with an agenda) but I have no wish to fly anywhere right now, unless the Lord shows me otherwise. As numbers of people with new versions of the virus escalate again, we really have no idea what tomorrow holds and I am under no illusions as to whether vaccines are the ultimate deterrent. The future looks hazy and uncertain…

While in Ireland we have been enjoying an unusual heatwave, there are places in Europe, including Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland which have been experiencing severe flooding, with many lives lost and homes swept away by the surging waters. By coincidence, my reading is presently in Genesis once more and my thoughts on Noah. I feel that we are currently living in the “just as in the days of Noah” times that Jesus described in Matthew 24v38-44… “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that No-e entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (v38&39)   

I thought about Noah and his family circle, just eight of them, living in the confinement of the ark for around 370 days, it is has been said. We are not told but we get the impression that Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives on board with all their furry and feathered friends co-existed very well. They had no contact with other human souls (all of whom perished) and they would only have had fellowship with one another in this confined area. They were, of course, glad to be alive. Contrast this with the impatience, the fury, the denial, the protests, the rebellion and the constant complaining since ever this pandemic descended upon the global community. It surely reveals that very few would be happy to find themselves in an “ark” situation. Many would probably say that the ark was built to “control” them and turn their backs on it. My heart goes out to people who are actually suffering with the virus or from “long Covid,” or to those who have lost loved ones, or whose livelihoods have been destroyed. However, ironically it appears that the people who are making most of the noise are those who have been affected least by it – and sad to say, some of these would profess to be Christians.

I asked myself the question today… what if this beautiful weather suddenly changed and our home was swept away by rushing tides? If I have given my life to Him, I must also believe that He will provide for those who trust Him. Yes, it is easy to talk positively when flowers are blooming and the sun is shining but I must remember to praise the Lord in every situation, beseeching Him for help for “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62v6&7)

The safety of the ark then is the safety we know now in Him, if as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the winds of adversity blow against us and the dark cruel floods of life’s storms threaten to overwhelm us. Even the beautiful sunlight of this earth pales into insignificance when compared with the heavenly light of the Son, which His faithful followers will experience some beautiful day when all of this life’s troubles are over. But how we long for and pray that loved ones, neighbours and acquaintances will join us over there… “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21v23-27)

Will there be any Stars in my Crown?

July 12, 2021

Heaven will reveal so much and I believe that we must work for the night is coming “when no man can work.” (John 9v4)

As Christians, when we look back down the years of our lives, we can remember little instances when the Lord led us to reach out – perhaps under strange circumstances. We are links in a chain and the Lord will use your gifts and your unique life for His glory. Believe it or not, there are people in this life who may only ever meet one Christian in their lives – and that one Christian will be you.

When I look back down the years I see in my mind’s eye a Roman Catholic priest I vaguely knew sitting talking to his friend (another priest) at a little restaurant in the countryside where my youngest daughter and I had stopped for lunch. I had a couple of ex-priest’s testimony tracts in my pocket and took them out to look at them. My daughter said… “Oh no, you’re not Mum, are you…” She knew what I was about to do on our way out of the restaurant, as we walked past them – and I did, although it does take courage, which is not my strong point. Just recently I saw the death notice of one of those priests online and I shall never regret leaving the tracts with them, although their reaction was not so favourable at the time. But who knows…

One evening not long after my conversion, when I was quite young, I heard the Lord speak clearly to me and He was asking me to do something for Him, which in a sense seemed like a strange request. It was a dark, cold and damp windy night as I sat in my little bedroom, hearing that ‘still small voice’ urging me to get dressed again and go with a tract down the lonely avenue and across the busy road to the old public telephone kiosk. (Those were the days before mobile phones). I was weary after a full day’s work, but to this day that small incident stands out in my mind and I am so glad that I was obedient, for I feel certain that it was intended for some specific person. Was it that lorry driver who drew up in the darkness of the night…? I only know that next morning the tract had disappeared from the kiosk. This little incident is very firmly imprinted on my memory because the Lord spoke to me so strongly.

Sometimes in this age we live in, we can become discouraged, wondering have many ever responded to our outreach but the one thing that we must always remember is that the Lord’s Word will not return unto Him void. (Isaiah 55v11) I remember finding a crumpled tract lying in a shopping trolley outside a supermarket. I lifted it, smoothed it out and put it in my pocket. Later one day, my husband and I were visiting an old graveyard, when we got talking to a retired gentleman who said that he found it fascinating to go around Ireland recording all the locations of old forgotten graveyards and their history. He said that his wife was irritated with this new occupation. “You’ll spend eternity in a graveyard… keep out of them while you’re alive.” She had apparently said. This gave us opportunity to speak to this man and I gave him the tract from the shopping trolley which was still in my pocket, as well as one of my books.

I remember reaching out to an elderly lady called Martha in Edinburgh, Scotland and later receiving a letter from a friend of hers to say that she had passed away. I honestly believe that Martha had trusted the Lord, from what this friend was saying. Many more little incidents in our lives can be forgotten about but remember that some day you may be overjoyed to meet those people to whom you were a witness.

Sometimes we may be led into dark places and situations in our lives, so that the Lord can use these lives of ours to His glory. This could be your own serious illness and hospitalisation, or that of a loved one – but the opportunities are enormous and one day all will be revealed. Only eternity will show the reasons why certain unpleasant events come to pass in our lives and praise God it will be worth it all.

On a wet miserable winter’s night on a train you hand a stranger a tract or Christian literature, or wearily you reach out to another patient in a hospital bed – and that stranger (now your brother or sister in the Lord) could some glorious day be running to greet you in heaven, joyfully with open arms. Praise God, some day it will be worth it all.

“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” (Ecclesiastes 11v1)

Pour Out Your Heart to the Lord

July 3, 2021

I remember someone saying: “never tell the world your troubles” and I believe, to some extent, she was right. Genuine friends and those close to us may show concern but eventually we come to the growing realisation that such people are relatively small in number. How we appreciate those people who have prayed sincerely when we have found ourselves in very real crises! When you are attempting to support a loved one who is really unwell, or when you find yourself in a worrying depressing situation, to whom can you turn?

Many often take their fears and worries to counsellors and therapists, not realising that the greatest Counsellor of all, who knows absolutely everything about us, is only a prayer away. While I don’t deny that sometimes it is good to talk things over with a trained professional, we must remember that no matter how good they are at their job, they can never take the place of the Greatest Counsellor that this world has ever known.

We don’t need to make an appointment to see Him and there is no time limit to how long he can listen to us. He never grows weary of listening to us, He doesn’t mind at all if we weep in His Presence; He is available 24/7 night and day – and we certainly don’t have to pay Him. In fact he wants you to talk to Him about what is troubling you because He loves you so much and wants the very best for you. “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalm 55v17)

In a weary world of sickness, disease, suffering and unbelievable evil and cruelty, those with shallow life experiences really don’t have much to say and we shouldn’t expect anything from individuals who don’t know the Lord as Saviour but the Bible tells Christians to “bear one another’s burdens.” Still, even Christians grow weary and have their own problems and pain in life to cope with but remember always that “He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121v4).

Whatever you are currently experiencing in this life and whatever your spiritual standing, remember that “there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother” and He wants to be your forever Friend. He says… “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55v22)

“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11v28-30)

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5v7) Who cares for you when you toss and turn in the middle of the night? He does: the Lord who made heaven and earth. When you pull the curtains on a dark night to look up at that starry sky, never forget that the One who flung the stars in space and whose hands were pierced for you, deeply loves you and cares for you – more than anyone in this world could ever do. Every earthly counsellor is inferior to Him, for “our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124v8)

“When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” (Psalm 63v7)

Praise God… “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Se-lah.” (Psalm 62v7&8)

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) wrote a hymn which is very much on my mind at present… “I heard the voice of Jesus Say.” He is our Rest, our Rock, and our Refuge in life’s storms and when we follow Him as Lord and Saviour, He remains a loyal Friend, though earthly friends and acquaintances forsake us. If you have never done so, come to Him in repentance and find in Him the greatest, most caring, supportive and loving Friend of all.

I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon my breast.”

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.”

The Bible Never Contradicts Itself

June 21, 2021

We often hear 1John 1v8 quoted to support the notion that Christians must always be living in a permanent state of sin in their lives… “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” However, subsequent numerous verses would appear to contradict this one. Here are a few examples…

“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that ever one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (1John 2v29)

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1John 3v3)

“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” (1John 3v7)

John, although speaking to Christians throughout this book, was also warning them about the false doctrine of Gnosticism which had already crept in unawares – in the same way that the church today has also been infiltrated by those who hold false doctrines. Because the Gnostics believed that Jesus was a “phantom spirit” and did not die on the cross (amongst other fallacies), we have John’s words in 1John 1v 1-3, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. I quote verse 1… “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.”

Gnostic influence is, unfortunately, still very prevalent today. To the self-righteous church-going individual, who thinks he has no need of salvation, to the modern-day Gnostic who thinks that he has no need to confess his sins because “sin cannot defile the spirit,” or to any person who needs to be aware that they need forgiveness of sin in their lives, John says… “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1John 1v8-10)

After this John immediately plunges into his exhortation of those on the Christian pathway… “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1John 2v1-4)

The devil, the father of lies wants us to believe that the Christian life can be nothing but a defeated one, in which daily we are steeped in “many sins” – and that we are covered by some sort of imaginary cloak of righteousness in a situation where God does not see our sins. Adam and Eve’s attempt to cover themselves in the Garden of Eden was unsuccessful because “neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4v13) Indeed if there is sin in any life, whatever our personal profession of faith or lack of, it must be confessed and repented of.

If we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous but praise God there is no need for a defeated life on the Christian pathway, for He who has got the victory over sin and death and hell for us reigns triumphantly in heaven and ever lives to cleanse, protect and guide us on the journey Home. Praise God, He can keep us from falling. “Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24&25)

The Folly of Putting Man on a Pedestal

June 10, 2021

Now and again I have felt led to write someone’s testimony (as they dictate it to me) as I know what a blessing it can be to others to read of the amazing changes in a soul’s life after coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. On reflection, though, I have recently noted with interest that most of the testimonies I have collected belong to people who have now gone Home to be with the Lord and furthermore these people were not so well known, except perhaps in their own communities. All over the world there are amazing testimonies to the Lord’s transforming and saving grace. On the other hand, unfortunately, I have listened to some testimonies in meetings over the years – and today, I really don’t know where those people stand with the Lord, as some have slipped back into deep sin, or possibly they were deceivers and never saved in the first place…

We can have prayerful love and care for people but we should never ever put someone on a “pedestal.” “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (Acts 10v34&35). How true… “God is no respecter of persons.”

This is the age of “celebrity preachers,” when men behind the pulpit are revered as being “great” but then sometimes the masses find out something terrible about them and they are crushed, disappointed and disillusioned. Sadly if you make the mistake of looking up to men, you will invariably be disappointed. I have seen hospitals, cancer units and other establishments called by a famous person’s name but after the decease of this person it has transpired that he was a criminal, so that the authorities concerned had the expense of renaming their institutions. Bridges, roads, streets and buildings are often named after individuals, a situation which can later be very controversial.

The world puts famous speakers, politicians, leaders and historical figures on pedestals, literally and physically – Christians should not. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2Cor. 5v10)

In the words of Jesus: “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23v11&12)

When we see a “great” person surrounded by an “entourage” of one sort or another, alarm bells should start ringing, spiritually speaking. Discernment is a gift, a gift that the Lord wants His people to possess. We need discernment and wisdom in these days when deception and deceivers are growing rapidly. 

Some of the best sermons and testimonies I have ever heard were from people who are unknown in this world; humble, sincere servants of the Lord who will some day have their reward. They quietly go about the Lord’s will in their lives; they are dead to this world – and the world is dead to them. (Col. 3v2&3)

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1John 4v1)

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6v14)

That Others Would See… Jesus in me

June 2, 2021

One evening just recently my aunt (in her ninety second year) called me to say that she’d “just had a wonderful day.” I haven’t been able to see her in a long time because of restrictions and the fact that we currently live on opposite sides of the Irish border. She is widowed, lives alone and her only daughter married and living in England but she loves to drive out to different places, to explore and take a walk. Apparently on that lovely sunny day she had taken a drive to a village that she hadn’t visited in a long time and after strolling around she discovered a little café which also had Christian books for sale. “Well,” she said, “after my cup of tea and a bun, I went up to pay the cashier lady and she told me with a smile that someone had just paid my bill. She said she didn’t know the person and I just thought… what a lovely thing to do!”

My aunt (like many in these last couple of years) has lost a friend in the Covid 19 pandemic and also her sister-in-law who passed away just a couple of months ago. These two were very close and would have accompanied one another to different events. Also she has had a rough time with her own health problems but these have miraculously assuaged and she is looking forward to her daughter visiting at the end of June. Emotionally she told me… “You know, I just felt that it was a picture of what Jesus has done for us… He has paid it all.

After hearing this uplifting story and about the rest of the pleasant day she’d had visiting someone whom she hadn’t seen since last year because of restrictions, I couldn’t help but think how even a small kind gesture on our part can make someone’s day. My recent Bible reading was in James and I can see how true it is that, while we are definitely not saved by good works – we are saved unto good works. The thief on the cross trusted in Jesus to save him and in the very short time between then and his death, he would have had no opportunity to accomplish great things – but praise God, by faith he is in heaven today. The great thing that was accomplished in him was his changed attitude and the miracle of the new birth, wrought in him at the point of death by his Saviour, the innocent Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died beside him.

Even the oldest of us right now most likely have a longer span ahead of us than the dying thief. How the Lord can take these lives of ours and use them, even in small ways, to cheer a fellow Christian (as in my aunt’s case) or to reach out to the lost! In a sense our very lives are “little sermons” in themselves. When we witness to people they will naturally look at our lives for evidence of what a Christian should be. Do our actions complement our words? Sadly, during the last while many have not shown the love, kindness, compassion and selflessness that people would expect to see in followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53v4)

This unchanging message to His followers is: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2v5-8)

“This Church is Full of Sinners”

May 24, 2021

While looking online at some churches in a certain area just recently and reading their “about us” sections, the following statement left me open-mouthed… “This church is full of sinners. Everyone who comes here is one. You’ll need to remember that if you associate with us.”

To be honest I was shocked and couldn’t help but feel that the statement was a little aggressive… Now what does the Bible have to say about “sinners…”?

“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Psalm 1v5&6)

“The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18v20)

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4v8)

When I ask someone what their profession is, they may say.…. I’m a lawyer, a carpenter, a doctor, a bank manager, an artist, etc. These are their professions – the things that they do for a living. In the same way (but on a spiritual note) if someone tells me they are a “sinner,” I take it that this what they do habitually and constantly every day.

If this is the case, then what difference is there between the “saved sinner” and the “lost sinner?” The answer is… absolutely none, because the term “saved sinner” does not appear in scripture and is a ridiculous oxymoron – every bit as ridiculous as that other term: “sinner/saint.” Habitual sinners are servants of sin, yet scripture tells Christians… “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6v9) 

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Romans 6v13) This is a commandment.

The Lord never asked His people to do the impossible. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6v14-18)

The ancient lies and deception of the devil in the Garden of Eden are still infiltrating today’s churches. However, I am told throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation that sin separates from God and that “the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6v23)

Thousands of years ago the serpent told Eve… “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3v4) and today he is deceiving many professing Christians into believing that they can safely sin “in thought, word and deed every day” (an unscriptural phrase), some even believing that repentance is unnecessary.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John2v1) Sin, in the Word of God is portrayed as the exception rather than the rule in the Christian life; something alien – a dangerous virus which must be dealt with by the Lord.

The true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ never stops growing in Him, in every aspect of their Christian lives. They have a desire to be right with Him, to read His Word, to pray for others and they have a love and a burden for souls. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14) This is the message which should go forth from the churches of those who profess to be Christians and yet sadly, we rarely find it preached.

Every chapter of the New Testament echoes the sentiment that we should press on with the Lord and that there is deliverance with Him. We read that “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” (2Peter 3v10) 

In this day of false teachers, when “iniquity is abounding” I pray that individuals would see the dangers and not just be satisfied with what they are told on a Sunday morning, but that they would get alone with the Lord, read His Word and study it for themselves – which is something we are commanded to do. (2Timothy 2v15) “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” (1John 3v24)

A May Reflection – and Thoughts on Reaching Out

May 17, 2021

Today, on this beautiful May day, as I opened my Bible, a tiny piece of paper fell out with this short excerpt, on a subject which I have often written about. I had typed it up years ago on an old typewriter and I feel that it is an exhortation for Christians to reach out to those around them with the truth of God’s Word – not only in this month when Mary is the object of devotion and worship…

As May unfurls its blossoms, and new shoots and buds burst forth, we are encouraged to reflect on the summer which lies before us. But for many, this beautiful month is also associated with Marian worship. We know that, while Mary was an honourable woman and truly blessed, (Luke 1v46-48) she was never intended to be the object of worship or a mediator/”mediatrix.”

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Timothy 2v5&6)

These days the Bible is so widely and freely available, yet it remains a closed book to many. As we have freely received this wonderful gift of life-giving Light, let us freely give, expounding in love what we have learned to others. As one hymn writer put it: “Can we to men benighted, the lamp of life deny?”

This four verse hymn “From Greenland’s icy mountains,” written by Reginald Heber (1783-1826), exhorts us to reach out to “the heathen,” who “in his blindness, bows down to wood and stone!” The old hymn mentions Africa and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) but really we don’t have to go too far in our own neighbourhoods to find those who “bow down to wood and stone” – and indeed other gods in their lives.

While the Lord does call many to be missionaries in different parts of this world, it is a fact that we are surrounded by all sorts of idolatry wherever we live, while in this present age the Christian’s written and spoken words can reach many nations!

“Can we, whose souls are lighted                                                

With wisdom from on high,

Can we, to men benighted

The lamp of life deny?

Salvation! Yea, salvation!

The joyful sound proclaim,

Till each remotest nation

Has learned Messiah’s name.”

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10v32&33)

“Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem: They Shall Prosper That Love Thee” (Psalm 122v6)

May 12, 2021

Returning from a quiet walk down a country lane behind our home, I viewed the green fields and the blue sea on the far horizon and thought of my daughter far away in Tel Aviv and how much she loved this scenery. Later back home something made me look at my phone, which was on silent. Immediately I felt led to pick it up and saw that it was ringing. “Tel Aviv” flashed up on the screen. It was my daughter, distraught and telling me about the attacks on this city where she is currently living.

They are just two hours ahead of us and at that stage darkness had fallen there. Dusk turned into night here in Ireland and neither my husband nor I got much sleep last night as we were on the phone to her much of the time, with the horrific noise of rockets, sirens and a multitude of frightened voices in the background. Neither she nor her neighbours in the flat complex had managed to get to the shelter in time and they were sitting together on the stairwell; many children were there too.

I would never have imagined some years ago, that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would affect me personally but when someone you love is in danger, you pray night and day – and you pray with all your heart. “When it comes to the end times,” I remember an old preacher saying, “Keep your eyes upon Israel.” It’s a modern day news story which is as old as the hills. Today I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, in the knowledge that true and lasting peace can only come about when hearts have been consecrated to the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. How we long for that glorious Day described in Revelation 21… “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Verses 2&3)

Yes, how I long for that day… and yet I pray for souls to be ready for it. As darkness falls once more tonight, I pray on for my daughter in that situation; the Lord knows that there are only so many nights we can go without proper sleep. As I look at terrible scenes of people in pain, people mourning and devastated by the death of loved ones, murder, mayhem, rioting and destruction, I know that some day it shall be no more. Oh that men and women would be ready for that Day when “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21v3)