Archive for June, 2011

Signed by the Author: A Beautiful Full Colour Book with a Free Handcrafted Bookmark for Just €5… Not only on “Fiver Friday!”

June 29, 2011

Recently I tuned in to R.T.E Radio when I heard the broadcaster Joe Duffy announce “Fiver Friday;” an initiative to encourage people to buy locally in our recession-ridden times here in Ireland.

Having heard about this I decided to offer autographed copies of my children’s book with free handcrafted scripture bookmarks, for just €5 – beautiful gifts with a message of hope.

However, this offer stands, not just on 1st July 2011, but every day for as long as stocks last.

Wherever possible, the books will be delivered freely. However, in some instances a small postal charge (no more than the flat rate of €1 in the island of Ireland will apply).

For those living abroad, the postal charge will also be kept to a minimum.

“God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” has been used by Sunday school teachers and acquired for use with those whose first language is not English. Its full colour pages display the beauty of creation, reveal the faith of Old Testament characters and declare the truth of the gospel in the simplest of terms. The book is Christian in content – but non-denominational and not aligned to any church or organisation.

If you wish to avail of this offer – please contact me at readywriterpublications@gmail.com to arrange delivery and choose a payment method which suits you.

Unfortunately the book is a little more expensive in bookshops, as these deduct a considerable amount of commission.

A description of the book “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” can be viewed at: https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/god-made-you-god-loves-you-god-saves-you/

Thoughts on Bicycles and Pioneering Missionary Mary Slessor

June 25, 2011

The past week (18th -26th June) was National Bike Week in Ireland and I have been thinking about the history of the bicycle, which made its debut as early as 1817 when Baron von Drais invented a ‘walking machine’ to help him to get around the royal gardens. I have also been remembering a bicycle trip that I made between the east and west coasts of Ireland around twenty-five years ago now. It was an exhilarating journey; my husband and I camped here and there en route and cooked meals over a little camping gaz. Actually we didn’t have a car at the time and couldn’t afford a holiday, so this was the next best thing! Somehow cycling has a way of making you feel healthy, de-stressed and relaxed, although even little hills can be quite taxing. These days I have also been taking a long look at each passing bicycle, as my youngest daughter’s bicycle (pictured below) was stolen recently, much to our annoyance. Cycling, we are told, is healthy, safe, environmentally friendly and economical – but of course it can be dangerous on some busy roads where motorists are not so sympathetic to cyclists.

As I was thinking about bicycles this week, I remembered an old book in my possession, about the Scottish missionary Mary Slessor (1848-1915). There is a picture in the book of Mary Slessor on her bicycle, which always made an impression on me. Like many other pioneering missionaries in the continent of Africa, Mary used this method of transport to travel through wild terrain where superstition, barbarism, witchcraft and paganism reigned. In some regions when twins were born, they were either buried alive or left to die in the woods but Mary Slessor won the hearts of the leaders of African tribes and of the ordinary people she worked with, to the extent that many turned from this brutality to a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At one point she nursed an African chief until he died and then with her own hands she made him a coffin and buried him.

Given that Mary Slessor’s father had been an alcoholic and she had worked hard to support her mother and the rest of the family when he died, it is truly amazing how the Lord subsequently used this young woman to reach remote regions in the continent of Africa. I have no doubt that she was followed by the prayers of her mother who (unlike her father) was a godly Christian who devoted her life to her children.

With bicycles in mind, I am reminded of this spiritual analogy: climbing the hills can be strenuous but what a beautiful view we have when we reach the summit! Mary Slessor’s life was burnt out in the service of her Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, often it must have been an agonising uphill struggle – but what a marvellous sight awaited her when, on reaching the summit of life, Mary passed into the Presence of her Saviour!

Thoughts on June Birthdays – and a Birthday that Counts!

June 17, 2011

Just recently, on 15th June, I felt sad in the knowledge that it was the birthday of my dear dad, Jack Hutchinson, who had passed away earlier this year, but then the Lord showed me this uplifting tract which I had written some years ago – something I believe that Dad would have wanted me to share at this time…

“Many notable Christians were born in the month of June. Billy Bray, the famous Cornish miner who was converted from alcoholism was born on 1st June 1794; Elizabeth Clephane the hymn writer, who wrote “There were ninety and nine,” was born on 10th June 1830; John Wesley, the great evangelist was born on 17th June 1703, while Charles H. Spurgeon, also a renowned preacher, was born on 19th June 1834. Samuel Medley the hymn writer was born on 23rd June 1738 and Richard Weaver (known as “undaunted Dick”) was born on 25th June 1827. No doubt, some further research would reveal even more well-known Christians who share a June birthday!

Just recently I was invited in to see the new baby of a neighbour of ours. As she reached out her tiny hand and gripped my smallest finger tightly, I thought about this new life. What would the future hold for her? Would she be rich or poor, famous or obscure, miserable or happy? Would she grow into an accomplished young lady or would she commit some terrible crime? ‘Hopefully,’ I mused, ‘not the latter.’ Above all I hoped that someday she would come to trust the Lord Jesus as her Saviour…

Have you ever looked on a tiny vulnerable baby and paused for a moment to think of what the future holds for that little one? Most of us are average individuals with humdrum lives, but we are all unique. Just as each one of the billions of human beings ever born into this world through the centuries have had DNA and fingerprints peculiar only to them, so it is with our paths in life. You and I as individuals have a path before us that is ours alone to walk. Although there are many factors which may influence our behaviour in life, we do not have to shoulder those burdens alone, and despite what some would say – our eternal destinies have not been decided for us before birth. (2Peter 3v9) One thing is for certain, for whatever life and all its uncertainties throws at us, the Lord Jesus Christ sincerely loves and cares for each one of us more than anyone else in this world. The Christians mentioned above came from vastly differing backgrounds. Billy Bray was a drunkard in his youth, while John Wesley was a Bible-reading church-goer – but both of them needed to see their need of salvation.

How wonderful that Jesus died for both of these individuals and for all the other Christians mentioned above. Furthermore He died for you and me and every other human being born into this world, including that little baby who gripped my finger. (1John 2v2)

As we grow from infants into childhood, at some point we begin to have a spiritual awareness and with that age of understanding we are faced with a choice. Sometimes, in His mercy, the Lord will continue to speak to souls for many years, confronting them with this choice, time after time. Billy Bray had the choice – either to continue in his sin, or let the Saviour deal with it. John Wesley had the choice – either to proudly hold to his good works as a means of salvation, or come humbly to the foot of the cross.  When he did so, what a transformation! Now all his good works (and these are essential in the Christian’s life) were the evidence of a new life begun in faith, and he was able to move on to an even deeper experience. Each of the aforementioned individuals came to a place where they trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ atCalvary. Charles Wesley (John’s brother, who was the author of over 6,500 hymns) wrote in his final verse of “And Can it be…”

“No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine.

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

Can you sincerely say these words with confidence? If so, praise God – for He can lead you into an even deeper walk with Him!

If you cannot say the words of this hymn with confidence, then come to Him now and ask Him into your heart, for you will never regret it. Every day we make minor choices in life and sometimes more important ones, but there can be none more important than that of repenting of our sins and choosing to follow Jesus. He wants to use your life to His glory and although your name may never be recorded by mankind in the annals of history, it will be written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21v27) and this is the only record that truly matters. Some day those who serve Him shall hear those beautiful words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matthew 25v21) Why not trust Him to do that work in your heart, even today?”

“Jesus Saviour Pilot me Over Life’s Tempestuous Sea”

June 10, 2011

The night before I embarked on a recent lone trip to bring my student daughter home with all her belongings was a restless one and next morning I was worn out before I even started to drive to the Stena Line port in Belfast! Gale force winds had been forecast for the day and the sea looked as grey as the sky, as I drove the car through driving rain on board ship. But thankfully the winds seemed to die down as the journey progressed and soon I was standing on deck admiring the first faint glimmer of the Scottish coastline across the pale blue sea. Now, the next hurdle (thoughts of which had kept me awake the previous night) was on the horizon. I knew that I would enjoy the trip along country roads by the sea as far as the motorway which led to Glasgow but driving in a strange city was not something I was looking forward to! As anticipated, I felt at home in those first rural roads; the sea spray lashed off great rocks and sheep grazed peacefully here and there as I drove slowly along the rugged coastline. At one point I stopped briefly to eat a sandwich and drink some water, while watching the rolling waves foaming into a lovely sandy cove. But then as I continued on my journey, the country road led to a fast dual carriageway and soon the latter became an even faster motorway with many lanes.

I now felt ill at ease because I wasn’t quite sure about the way to the part of the city my daughter had been living in for the past year; it is impossible to study a map while driving – and I don’t entirely trust satellite navigators! Soon I came to overhead signs which left me in no doubt that I had missed the turn off the motorway that I was supposed to take. Eventually I found myself in the city centre, parking here and there to ask people for directions. Nobody was able to help me and by now I felt exhausted, so I decided to call my daughter who thankfully agreed to come around to where I was parked. Meanwhile an angry looking traffic warden tapped on my window. “This is a tow-away zone. Move it!” He barked unsympathetically when I told him about my journey, my uncertainty, that I was a stranger to this city and the fact that my daughter would be there at any minute. Just as I was beginning to despair (even though I wasn’t obstructing anyone) I looked in the mirror and there she was – running towards the car! How I thanked the Lord for bringing her there so quickly in answer to my prayer! My daughter jumped into the passenger seat and after giving me a hug was directing me through all these streets which had become so familiar to her.

Further mini-dramas awaited me on the journey and I began to think about how impatient, angry and unwelcoming some people can be to visitors to their country. I resolved there and then never to be impatient when driving behind someone who looked a little uncertain… Next morning while packing all the belongings she had accumulated over her Erasmus year, I noticed some onlookers watching as my daughter and I carried them down to the car. After packing her laptop I said: “I think I’ll stay in the locked car while you bring the remaining things down here.” I simply didn’t trust those who were watching us and later that evening I breathed a sigh of relief as we drove the car on board ship for the return journey. Yes, the sea was more tempestuous than it had been on the way over, but somehow I felt at peace amongst those rolling waves – just as I had while sitting alone in that little sandy cove watching the foaming tide the day before.

Somehow I feel more at peace with God’s creation than with mankind in the cities they have built; yet I know that the Lord wants me to reach these souls He loves and for whom He died. I could spend the rest of my days avoiding people and admiring the Creator’s handiwork – but how wrong this would be! I love the hymn: “Jesus Saviour Pilot me…” Yes, life’s seas are tempestuous but I must keep my eyes fastened on the Master Pilot and while doing so, He will assist me to throw out the lifeline for others so that they too can some day be at peace in that Haven of Rest. There is a lovely story associated with this hymn; a dying soldier was being visited by Major D. W. Whittle who felt led of the Lord to sing it. The soldier was touched as it reminded him of his sister who used to sing it for him before he entered the army. He requested that the hymn be repeated over and over again for him and finally asked: “Will Jesus be my Pilot into the Haven of Rest?” When told that He would, the soldier said that he would “trust Him with all his heart.” Next day when Major Whittle called to see the young soldier, he learned that he had passed away during the night… into that Haven of Rest, to be with his Master Pilot. Praise God – He is better than all the satellite navigation systems that were ever invented! 

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/s/jspilotm.htm