Archive for May, 2011

On Genealogy – and a Spiritual Inheritance

May 23, 2011

It must have been a nostalgic moment for President Obama when he first encountered the little Irish village of Moneygall in County Offaly, from where his great-great-great grandfather emigrated in 1850. I had similar feelings when I first visited the tiny cottage on the shores of Lough Neagh, where my great-grandmother gave birth to ten children. Not all of those children lived into adulthood and of those who survived, many emigrated to the U.S.A, because of the economic circumstances of the time. I often wonder are there any descendants of those children still alive today… Photographs of my ancestors were passed on to me by an elderly relative – and a wedding ring belonging to that same great-grandmother who had the ten children. To this day I wear it, this precious heirloom… and I will pass it on to my eldest daughter.

I often daydream about the life of my hard-working great-grandmother (Mrs. Elizabeth Turkington) who lived under such humble circumstances. But where are they today, the descendants of those daughters who emigrated in the nineteenth century? Sometimes I take the well-worn ring off, hold it in the palm of my hand and dream of how it must have been for her all those years ago…

Someday, when I get the time, I hope to delve into old church records pertaining to my ancestors in that area. Perhaps after much research I may even find at least one descendant from that original family who is still alive! I believe that as we grow older, that yearning to find our ancestral roots grows more intense and yet I know that for those who belong to the Lord, it is more important by far to reach our living relations with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The years pass for us all, with their joys and sorrows, just as it did for our ancestors from long ago. One generation follows another quite quickly and a few generations later we will be forgotten of those who still live on the earth. Still, I believe that Christian writers who live in this age can leave an inheritance of spiritual significance, for the words that we write can live on to challenge, convict and encourage.

I would therefore encourage those who have a sincere desire to reach out to souls – to keep writing to the glory of their Lord and Saviour. Yes, there will be discouragements and there will be those who misunderstand or even mock your efforts – but your writings can survive the rolling years, inspiring others long after you have been taken Home.

Antique heirlooms and photographs may be beautiful possessions – but how wonderful to know that the Christian’s writings can survive to reach future generations with the truth and love that has been gleaned from God’s precious Word. “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Psalm 45v1)

May 21st 2011 – On Harold Camping’s ‘Rapture and End of the World’ Date Setting

May 22, 2011

Well, the day of May 21st 2011 has now passed through all the world’s time zones. As I write, it is 20.47 pm. in Australia, 4.47 am. in Mr. Camping’s native Colorado and 11.47 am. in my native Ireland.

The Bible illustrates how people will be engaged in all sorts of activities when the Lord returns to take His own. In some parts of the world it will be day, while in others it will be night, but the Great Question which must be put to every precious soul for whom Jesus died is this: “Spiritually speaking, will your heart be right with the Lord upon His return?”

If we have not made our peace with God, by repenting and putting our trust in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, then our destiny will horrifically be hell. From scriptures we learn that Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven, because (unlike the theology which Mr. Camping and others cling to) God’s Word maintains that He is “not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3v9) For this reason Jesus put forth many warnings about this horrific place.

Even amongst Christians there is much speculation and dispute about the nature of the Lord’s return, but are these words not of far more importance…? “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2Peter 3v14)

As for those who choose to set dates, how can they ignore the many references to the fact that we don’t (and cannot) know when the Lord’s return will be? Here is just one of them…

Jesus said in Matthew 25v13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Let those of us who have an assurance of salvation in our hearts pray for the followers of this cult and for Mr. Harold Camping too; that they would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ who loved them and gave Himself for them.

I Received a Letter from Buckingham Palace this Week!

May 19, 2011

Last week as I pondered the forthcoming visit to Ireland of the Queen of England and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, I felt led of the Lord to write to her, enclosing a copy of my first book, “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year,” in addition to a couple of my handcrafted scripture bookmarks. My motive for doing so…? Well, I really was concerned about the royal couple’s visit to Ireland, given recent threats issued by Republican dissidents and so I wanted to reassure them that there were people in Ireland who were not antagonistic towards them and who were genuinely praying for their safety. Security has been on a high here, particularly around those places where the Queen was to visit, including Trinity College, Dublin. (See photograph above.)  Above all, I want the Lord to use my book to touch the hearts and lives of all who read – whether the individuals concerned are political leaders, reigning monarchs, or children…

Just yesterday I received two letters: one from the Queen’s lady-in-waiting and another from a little girl in Northern Ireland who had read my children’s book: “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You.”

Both of these pieces of correspondence were most encouraging and I will continue to pray for everyone who has ever contacted me about the books. I felt emotional as I read the ‘thank-you’ card from the little girl and overjoyed with the knowledge that the scripture quoted throughout the books will speak to hearts long after the books themselves have become obsolete. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55v11)

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. 20v12)

Let those of us who know the Lord never “weary in well-doing” – but rather seek to reach ‘the small and the great’ in this, the Day of His Grace!

Why I do not rejoice at the Death of Osama Bin Laden

May 11, 2011

For me the name ‘Osama Bin Laden’ is synonymous with horrific terrorism and an ideology which I fail to understand, but to be honest my first reaction on hearing of his death early last week was one of dismay. I immediately thought… ‘another soul for whom Jesus died has gone out into eternity…’ and… ‘I hope that there are no reprisals…’ Of course I am appalled by the September 11th atrocity (and many others) which have wiped out thousands of people, left others with horrendous injuries, including psychological disorders, and still others sentenced to a life of mourning for loved ones. Yet whenever I look at the face of Osama Bin Laden in newspapers or elsewhere, I see the face of a human being, not a caricature. I have never looked at his face with hatred because the Lord has given me a heart of love for all human beings.

Born on 10th March 1957 Osama Bin Laden, like you and me, was a little baby once who sat on his mother’s knee… but his upbringing was tragic in an extreme form of Wahabism in which it is normal to lead a polygamous life; his father had 22 wives and 54 children. Most of all, I see a man for whom the manner of his life and death could have been otherwise…

Most people remember where they were when the first news filtered through on the horrific events of September 11th 2001. I was driving along on a busy road listening to my car radio. If I had been (like Osama Bin Laden) a native of Saudi Arabia – this would have been out of the question as women are not permitted to drive there. I would have been anonymous, veiled, my marriage arranged and my life ordered by others in this patriarchal society.

Another feature of Wahabism, I discovered in a book in recent years by Osama’s ex-sister-in-law, who described an incident in which Osama refused to let one of his wives feed her baby who was screaming with hunger. I often wonder was Osama Bin Laden ever presented with the glorious gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; that which brings freedom from sin and every heavy chain that the devil would try to burden us with in this life, including Wahabism’s strict rules for observing Ramadan?

But who can bring the gospel to Osama’s birthplace; that spiritually dark nation of Saudi Arabia? There are some who do, I believe, but to say that this is difficult is a euphemism. Officially no one is even permitted to bring a Bible within its borders and to proselytise is against the law and punishable by death. This is not a nation which Christians should go to, unless they are strongly led to do so by the Lord. But I pray (and I exhort others to pray) for those who must be undercover as they seek to spread the gospel in Saudi Arabia and other nations with a strict Islamic code. Pray for their safety and for the salvation of more and more souls with whom they come in contact – and pray that the Lord will prepare hearts and open them to hunger for the truth.

Osama Bin Laden was just one man but unfortunately the ideology which he sowed throughout the world has already taken root in minds everywhere. But no, as a Christian I cannot rejoice or celebrate the death of any human being, whatever they have been guilty of, for God exhorts us to take “no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” (Ezekiel 33v11 & Ezekiel 18v23 & 32) Rather, I soberly pray for those in the frontline of spreading the gospel in lands like Saudi Arabia, for if Osama had been reached as a young boy, was there not a strong possibility that the world may have been spared such tragedy – and such a legacy as this?

Why Beatification is Blasphemous and Contrary to Scripture

May 2, 2011

Yesterday, as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims congregated in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul 11, I felt saddened by the knowledge that vast numbers of people throughout the entire world believe in the validity of such a ceremony as this. Firstly there is absolutely no scriptural foundation for the notion that men (whatever position they have been elected to) have the power to decide the destiny of a soul who has passed into eternity. Hebrews 9v27 tells me that “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” Who judges us? Surely only God has the power to decide my spiritual standing, or yours – or that of any pope who has ever walked this earth? According to the Roman Catholic Church, “beatification is the last step on the road to sainthood.” How contrary to scripture this is, for whenever I read of ‘saints’ in the New Testament, they are indeed living followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example Paul writes to the living not to the dead in Ephesians 1v1… “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus,” and “to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (Philippians 1v1.) The saints then (and today!) are ordinary men and women who have come by faith to a living relationship with the Lord.

The fact is… only saints can enter heaven and only saints can go to heaven! In Jude 14 we read that Enoch prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.”

John 1v12&13 tells me that … “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Saints are therefore born by the will of God and not by the will of men – and although their bodies die, they live on in the spirit and are elevated to heaven; not by the will of man, but by God the Creator, Saviour and indwelling Holy Spirit of all who come to Him in repentance and faith in His finished work for them at Calvary.

My prayer is that souls would come to see the “spiritual wickedness in high places” and these “doctrines of devils” that are prevalent in such ceremonies as beatification. The Bible tells me that the “love of money is the root of all evil” and I am inclined to think that prayers for the dead, beatification and great ceremonies in the Vatican bring in much needed finance at times like this. May my Lord and Saviour speak to those souls who are sincerely searching for truth and questioning the validity of such practices, beliefs and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church. Oh that they would see clearly the simplicity and wonder of this truth… that sainthood is totally God’s will for each one of us and that this has been made possible for us here and now in this life – by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ… “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1v14)