Archive for December, 2016

Beyond the Night

December 31, 2016

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Recently I discovered this poem which I had written when much younger. Tonight (the night before New Year’s ‘Eve) I just happen to be sitting alone – but certainly not ‘forlorn’! However, I can recall the night on which I wrote these words (which are based on the portions of scripture shown) and I can still remember very well how I felt at the time. Praise God, like the Psalms, the Christian’s poetry may sometimes start on a downcast mode but it will conclude on a note of victory and confidence – ultimately in the Person of our Redeemer; our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our brief lives are indeed as “a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144v4) but we are promised that “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12v3)

Beyond The Night

(Psalm 90v9; Psalm 144v4; Daniel 12v3)

The old year dies, the new is born,

As I sit alone on this night, forlorn.

My eyes look up from the words of old:

“We spend our years as a tale that is told,

Man is like to vanity, his day

As a shadow that passeth away.”

Beyond my shadow at the window pane,

A tender snowflake dies to rain,

While a golden ember upon the grate,

Falls and dulls to darkest slate.

I recall the beauty of evening sun

Splash blood-red on the bleak horizon,

But always the darkness would spread,

And glowing embers are too soon dead.

But I look above, and beyond the night,

And see at last that wondrous sight,

For the gentle moon is surely there,

Bearing light to the darkest lair.

The fields lie quietly now, and all my house asleep,

But I know, oh how I know that a billion tiny jewels

Lie beyond the darkness deep,

And far far away lies precious perfect light

Triumphant on the darkest night.

Oh let us ne’er be held in bond

By clouds of darkest night,

But let us look above and beyond –

To the Son, our Redeemer and Light.

For was it not this King of Love

Who cast the stars in space?

And did He not die and rise above

For all of Adam’s fallen race?

For moon and stars will fail some night,

And all this world be gone,

But we shall shine as the stars forever,

If we love Him at the Dawn.

©Elizabeth Burke

 

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Seasonal Tracts: Catholicism’s Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary… In Light of Scripture

December 8, 2016

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In recent times I have been distributing tracts locally to coincide with certain occasions and events. My last local distribution of tracts concerned a tract entitled: “The Bible is Still the World’s Best Seller! Thoughts on International Day of the Bible 14th November 2016.” I distributed this particular tract just prior to International Day of the Bible, resulting in a couple of interesting conversations – and ultimately contacts.

Today is a major celebration in the Roman Catholic calendar, celebrating as it does “the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.” The following tract (which can be printed on A4 paper and folded in book fold) concerns today’s event. It has been modified from a blog which I wrote previously. Tracts are free to download, copy and distribute, providing that no part of the publication is altered and the © (copyright) sign bearing the author’s name is retained. The following is the tract: “Catholicism’s Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary… In Light of Scripture…”

I remember one morning an early Christmas card arrive through our letterbox which quoted from that well known verse in Matthew 1v23… “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Here we can see clearly from this verse in God’s Word that Mary was most certainly a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

We also learn from the Bible that Jesus was born without sin… “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Cor. 5v21)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1v14)

God’s Word also reassures us that Mary was indeed a blessed person. In Luke 1v28 we read the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary… “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.” Without a doubt Mary would have to have been a virtuous woman to have been chosen by God for such a wonderful calling. In Proverbs 31v10 we read… “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Mary was surely such a woman, and yet she too, like every other human being born into this world needed a Saviour.

On first hearing of the “Immaculate Conception” when I was very young, I immediately thought that these words referred to Jesus, because of what the Bible told me about Him. I was therefore amazed to discover that Roman Catholicism applies them to Mary.

In 1854 Rome declared the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception,” which is celebrated on December 8th. This commonly held doctrine holds that Mary, like Jesus, was born without sin.

Yet nowhere in scripture can we read anything which supports such a view. On the contrary, there are many portions of scripture which reveal that only Jesus was born and lived without sin in this world.

In Romans 5v12 we read… “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Also Romans 3v23 declares: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Note again, an important little word… “all.” With David, the psalmist, each individual born into this world (with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ) can say: “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51v5) So we see that because of one man, sin entered into the world – but thank God for the Person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, of whom we read that He… “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1Peter 2v22-24)

The Bible makes no such claims for any other person in history.

Only the blood of the perfect Son of God “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Pet. 1v19) was (and is) able to take away sins.

Note too, that in God’s Word we are exhorted to pray to no one, but the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. “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.” (1Tim.2v 5&6)

Here too the little word “all” is important, as is the word “one.” These verses clearly dispenses with the view that Mary is a “mediatrix,” according to a lady I spoke to on one occasion.

Jesus is the One and Only Mediator between God and men!

In 1545 Rome decreed that man’s tradition was to be equal in authority to the Bible. Please do not be deceived. Pray directly to God today, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ask Him to show you the truth in its entirety. His will for you today is that you would repent of your sin and trust Him to save you for He is “not willing that any should perish.” (2Peter 3v9)

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8v32)

© Elizabeth Burke

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