Archive for January, 2019

“My Word Shall Not Return Unto Me Void”…… On Sharing Tracts and Christian Literature

January 27, 2019

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I have felt burdened in recent times to share the many tracts in my possession. Some of these I have written over the years, others have been given to me to distribute and some I have purchased a quantity of in the past. I am aware that for those who don’t know the Lord there is something very convicting about being handed a tract in the street, especially when they know the nature of what is being given to them. As for the Christian who distributes tracts… this is not an easy task.

Jesus said: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9v26) If we love the Lord, have a burden for souls and want to distribute a convicting message to souls who are outside of Christ, then we must reach them as the Lord leads and directs us personally, as individuals.

We may not always feel led to distribute tracts at certain parades, festivals or crowded events where they are thrown everywhere and trampled underfoot; those in authority will instantly blame the tract distributor for the “litter,” although not all individuals at these events are like this. Some people feel that they should put tracts in letterboxes and others feel strongly that this should be more of a “one to one” activity, where they reach out to those they know, live beside, do business with, share a flat with – or work with, although our words of witness and our actions and reactions as Christians will sometimes play a larger role in this instance. This tract sharing activity may be extended to all sorts of people, some of whom we may only ever come in contact with once in our lives.

Whatever we feel about of all of this, one thing is sure – our own hearts and lives must be right with God, before we begin sharing His Word and we must also be convinced about the nature of the literature we are distributing. Not everyone feels happy about distributing certain types of tract; for example those with cartoons, or those which bring in doctrines which we are not happy about.

Reactions will vary. The worst reaction I have ever encountered is where someone I gave a leaflet to shredded it to pieces in front of me. Another instance was when my husband once left a tract in the glove compartment of a car we had hired on a Greek island. We had left that car back clean and in perfect order, with the same amount (if not more) of fuel in it as when we had received it. Subsequently we got a phone call to our hotel room. Someone from the hire company called us in a fury to wrongly accuse of us of all sorts of things he had no grounds for, regarding the car. We subsequently worked out that this employee was not Greek and, we believe, of the Muslim faith… Of the fact that the tract had somehow angered him greatly, we had no doubt.

Most tract recipients, who receive one directly, will just politely say: “No thank you,” or “thank you,” while hurriedly stuffing it into their pockets. I remember years ago giving out tracts at an open air rock concert, when I spotted a young relative of mine walking along there with some friends. When he spotted me engaged in this activity, he actually looked quite embarrassed and convicted. Who knows what may be achieved in the future because we have felt led to be in a certain place at a certain time!

It is good to use opportunities too, when travelling. I have often felt strongly led to leave tracts in unusual places, as the above photograph illustrates. I was walking once in a scenic area of Ireland when I discovered a little grotto of Roman Catholic significance with many pieces of idolatry left there. Here was an opportunity to leave the tract “This is my Story,” by ex-Roman Catholic priest, Henry Gregory Adams.

I believe it is true to say that there are apt tracts for specific occasions and not all tracts are suitable for particular occasions or individuals. I would not see the point, for example, in giving out the aforementioned tract at certain events in Northern Ireland, as many may agree with it – but be blind to their own need for salvation!

I once found a crumpled gospel tract thrown into a shopping trolley, picked it up, smoothed it out and put it in my handbag. A long time after that my husband and I were visiting a really old graveyard where we had the opportunity to talk to an elderly man about spiritual matters. He told us that since retirement he had an interest in history and had been travelling around, recording all the old graveyards in the rural areas of Ireland. He had joked that his wife had lectured him… “You’ll spend long enough in a graveyard without devoting the rest of your life walking around them!”

Although we talked with him, I also wanted to leave him with a tract and thought that I had none available. But then I remembered the one in my handbag… The person who threw it away into the shopping trolley probably thought: “Well, that’s the end of that…” But we must never forget that the Lord’s Word travels and touches other souls, even if it has been discarded. “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)

May the Lord bless and guide, as His children seek to distribute His Word to souls young and old; souls that we may never encounter again in the unique journey of each of our lives… but souls that we would dearly love to meet again someday in heaven.

 

When My Father and My Mother Forsake Me, Then the Lord Will Take Me Up (Psalm 27v10)

January 16, 2019

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Just recently I have been reading about the experience of a lady who had been adopted and in later life had a yearning to find her biological parents. I believe that most people have this natural curiosity to discover who their birth parents are; she also had some health issues and wanted to know whether these were hereditary. This led to an initial contact with grandparents, who were delighted to hear from her – and later also with two brothers who were also initially glad to know about her. She discovered from her grandparents that her own parents later had married – which seemed wonderful and the best possible scenario. She now felt that she could contact her real mother and father who would be as welcoming as the rest of the family and be overjoyed to meet their only daughter.

Sadly this was not to be… they rejected her and wanted no contact whatsoever. Even her grandparents could not understand their attitude but both they and her brothers appeared to be strongly influenced by the reaction of the parents and in time made it clear that they had no wish for any further contact. The mother who had adopted her, loved her and raised her had also recently died, which distressed her terribly. Apart from her loving adoptive mother’s death, she said that this “second rejection,” as she saw it, was devastating for her.

Such stories are not unusual. This one is not set in my country but I have recently heard of many other similar stories here in Ireland where mothers have no wish to ever see or be in contact with the child that they gave birth to. On the other hand, there are many more stories of joyful reunions; these were often situations where mothers did not want to give up their children but were forced to do so by the prevailing power of the Roman Catholic system at the time. Such mothers were heartbroken when their babies were snatched away to be trafficked for adoption, with R.C. organisations being paid for the adoption. Indeed, many mothers searched for years for their children, some sadly dying, without ever having met them.

Nevertheless there are other stories which have come to my attention recently and these, although truly heart breaking from an initial glance, are surrounded by great hope, faith, blessing and victory. These are the stories of people, who having come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, are totally abandoned by family, friends and loved ones. But these souls look to the Lord for their every breath – He is more than life itself to them. They continue to love and pray for those who have rejected them even though in some instances their lives are in danger, if for example, they have left a system of belief such as Islam.

Jesus said: “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19v29) Of course, this must be read in context. The Lord never expected anyone to abandon their children, or indeed a husband or wife if they are already married but often those who are called into certain service for Him, are led to remain unmarried and without children and so they forsake that way of life for Him. And as regards material property, we of course hand this to the Lord, for Him to use as He sees fit.  There is also a sense in which, when we are wholly following the Lord, our lives being guided in the way that He would have us go, that we will be forsaken of everything that the world holds dear and unfortunately we may also be forsaken by once good friends, loved ones or even spouses and older children.

“Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” (Isaiah 49v15)

What is your situation today? Do you feel that you have been denied by the very people who are responsible for your existence in this world? Well, there is Someone who loved you enough to die for you, even before you were ever born. Why not confess your sins (for we all have sinned) to the Lord Jesus Christ alone and put your trust in Him as Lord and Saviour? Believe me, you will find the greatest Friend for now and for eternity. He knows you, He loves you and your happiness and well-being in this life and the next… is His goal. “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isaiah 49v16)

Do you feel abandoned today, or ridiculed because you have chosen to follow the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour? Or could it be that you even feel in danger because you no longer want to be a part of something which you know is wrong? There is nothing in your life that the Lord Jesus Christ is not aware of – whoever you are or wherever you are. Remember that your times are in His hands and He will take care of every detail of your life, if you have committed it into His care.

Perhaps, on the other hand, you have had a loving family upbringing but still you may not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Life, even for those of us who have a good start in it, can be stormy to say the least. Why would you want to face those storms alone, without the power of the One who loved you and gave Himself for you? With this Captain at the helm – you can be certain of victory!

Always remember that He will reward you “an hundredfold” and you shall “inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19v29) in the Presence of Someone who loved you so much that He gave His life for you, when you trust in Him as Lord and Saviour.

Whether you have forsaken material possessions for His sake, or whether those you love have forsaken you, there is indeed “a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18v24)

May the Lord bless you and meet you at the point of your need.

 

Sadly, Many Professing Christians Have Never Seen the Need to Read their Bibles Through

January 9, 2019

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Sadly many have never actually read the Bible in its entirety, even though they would claim to have known the Lord for a very long time. “I just read bits and pieces of it every day,” someone told me once. Some also cling to certain doctrines because “their minister/pastor said so,” without reading the relevant verses prayerfully in the Word for themselves and continuing to pray fervently about the matter. It never ceases to amaze me how someone can leave a system like Roman Catholicism where personal Bible study is not encouraged and people follow a priest (and the oracles of the church) blindly – and then continue to follow the words of a pastor blindly, without studying the scriptures for themselves.

I have also been dismayed in recent times to note how many in a congregation will absorb and believe everything that is said in the pulpit. Unlike the believers in Berea who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” (Acts 17v11) they accept every word without question.

I was at a conference in recent years where the speaker made some comment which was totally unscriptural. Glancing around the congregation in shock I could see that some were half asleep but no one raised an eyebrow or even seemed to notice what he had just said.

And how can we challenge or be a witness to those with false doctrines and those who are involved in cults if we are not familiar with the scriptures which clearly show basic truths such as the deity of Christ?

If someone loved you enough to actually give His only Son to die for you, would you not read all of the inspired letter that He had penned for you? Men have their own interpretations and ideas but only those humble souls who walk closely with the Lord will preach the truth in its entirety.

Admittedly the Bible is a very “long letter” – so long that it takes most people an entire year and more to get through it. Many take much longer, as they study, meditate, take notes and sometimes the Lord leads them to write something based on the scripture they have just read. This Great Book, containing many books should be the Christian’s guiding influence in all decisions he or she makes and in the very manner of their lives. I heard a pastor once say: “I’ve started a Bible study here as many people believe certain things – but they don’t know why they believe them, so maybe this should clarify matters.”

That worried me too, to be frank; do they believe something just because he has spoken it from the pulpit? If they cannot (like the Christians in Berea) see it for themselves in scriptures as they read prayerfully – this is dangerous.

I remember well my first little Bible. I had asked for it as one of my presents approaching the Christmas of 1977. At the time I wasn’t even a Christian but I had just read Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and I felt that I must read the Bible for its “literary value.” Little did I know that some months later, in August 1978, I would come under such strong conviction of sin, that this volume would change the direction of my life forever!

I have a large print Bible now for my study at home and a smaller Bible which I take to Christian meetings/churches where hopefully the truth will be preached, although those places are becoming fewer and fewer… “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)

There is an unparalleled joy in discovering something new in the scriptures every time we read through them. Really, I believe that our own personal quiet time and study of the Lord’s Word is much more important and crucial to the Christian’s growth than a communal Bible study.

And so my first little Bible (which is falling apart) is now contained in the gift box that my mother gave me all those years ago. One day far beyond earth’s clouds I’ll meet her, hug her and thank her for her love to me, for throughout many rolling years since I received this precious gift in December 1977, I have turned to it in times of bereavement, distress and yes, great joy. Now, my big print Bible means everything to me too.

On the inside I have scribbled a simple little rhythm from the heart, a poignant reminder of a tough time in my life…

I love to lean upon my Lord,

I have no help but Him,

And when I read His lovely Word,

My earthly fears grow dim.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” (Acts 17v10-12)

Jesus said: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5v39)