Archive for the ‘Prayer, Reflections & Poetry’ Category

I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me (Philippians 4v13)

April 10, 2019

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Yes, I can; I can drive many miles through heavy city traffic, I can pray while someone I love is going through procedures and treatments – and I can trust the Lord each day for whatever it may bring. He is my strength and my shield through all the changing scenes of life. What is more – He can assist me to be a witness and a comfort to those I come in contact with in that place. Someday I will understand why certain things happen but for the moment I walk by faith, His thousands of promises filling my heart. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34v17)

If all of my life had been filled with joy, good days and laughter, how could I empathise with those who are suffering? I would nod as they tell me of their troubles and try to understand but no one can even start to understand unless they have been there.

Jesus walked this earth and understands – and His timing is perfect, as regards the people we meet, seemingly by chance. But it is never by chance, as I have discovered this very day. He gave me the words for the little tract: “Words of Love, Hope & Comfort Especially for You” over a year ago (29th January 2018) and He has assisted me to give copies to people as He directs. Yes, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me… including having the courage to speak to others. I “test the waters” first, as not everyone wants to speak. A smile, a comment, a friendly two-way conversation and then, in the Lord’s strength, showing them that you understand, you care – and what the Source of your own strength is. Only He can give us real love and compassion for others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Corinthians 1v3&4)

No, nothing is by chance. Ultimately, as soldiers in the Lord’s army, we are placed strategically in certain places and at certain times – to reach certain souls. And I firmly believe that we will meet some souls that we have spoken to some beautiful day in Heaven.

There are times when my heart is heavy but I turn and place my burdens on the God of all comfort, for His ways are perfect and I know that no matter what happens in this scene of time to His children… “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

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Thoughts on the Kings of Israel and Judah – and Eternal Security

April 3, 2019

As I approach the end of 2nd Chronicles in my daily reading, it is interesting to note the behaviour of each king from the beginning of his reign until the end – which is usually marked by his death. Some kings (like Joash) start off well and please the Lord. We are told that “Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Je-hoi-a-da the priest.” (2Chronicles 24v2)

However, after the death of the priest we learn that the princes of Judah “made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.” (Verse 17) Listening to man, I feel, was the downfall of Joash for after all the good he had accomplished in repairing the house of the Lord, after the death of Je-hoi-a-da, he turned to idolatry. As a result he would not listen to Zechariah, the son of the priest whom we are told had “the Spirit of God.” He said “because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you.” (Verse 20) Sadly Zechariah was stoned to death for merely warning Joash of the wrath to come – and it did come, in the form of an attack from the Syrians. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16v7). When we read about the lives of the kings, we can see that the reverse is also true.

There are other kings who started off well in their reign but something then happened to mar their relationship with the Lord. Certainly David walked perfectly with the Lord “save in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” David and some other kings are greatly repentant and restored in their walk with the Lord but there are kings (like Ahaz) who from start to finish are steeped in idolatry and never got right with God at any time during their reign.

We are not told either way whether Joash (who died at the hands of his servants after being attacked by the Syrians) found peace with God in his final hours. It saddens me to think that all the good that he had previously accomplished in repairing the house of God would be vanquished by his later actions.

In Ezekiel 18v24 we read: “When the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”

By the same token… “if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” (Verse 21)

“Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” (Verse 25)

Today there is a doctrine permeating many churches globally and the ways of this doctrine are not equal. It holds that an individual can commit his life to the Lord and then enjoy the position of unconditional eternal security, no matter what sin or degradation he descends to in the present or future – even if he never repents of it. While some preachers promise their congregation “liberty,” they simultaneously tell them that they “are slaves to sin.” Indeed I have heard these very words uttered from the pulpit. We have to ask ourselves, did the Lord suffer and die so that those who commit their lives to Him should be “slaves to sin?”

In 2Peter 2v19-22, we read… “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment, delivered unto them.”

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Here we learn that it is indeed possible to fall way.

Like the kings of the Old Testament, some of whom walked with the Lord for a while and then fell away, Revelation 2 has a message for certain churches or categories of Christian…. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Verse 4&5)

Thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden the devil uttered those words…”Yea, hath God said…?”(Genesis 3v1) He assures Eve… “Ye shall not surely die.” (Verse 4) And he still utters them today. But today, praise God, there is eternal security for the believer who rests in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. We are told “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.” (1John 2v1) Note, it is not when we sin.

Something else has never changed since the Garden of Eden… God never has taken away the free will of mankind. Unlike mindless robots, invented to perform certain duties, the Lord wants nothing but our wholehearted and sincere love for Him, His ways and His Word. He never forces His way into our lives and He never drives us on that narrow road. The Shepherd ever leads us. By faith we trust Him and we follow Him by faith all the way. Our security is sure in Him, as long as we desire His Presence in our lives, obey His Word and follow the Shepherd. We are exhorted to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14)

Yes, of course “backsliders” can be restored. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of those who die spiritually (Ezekiel 18v32) and is long suffering to us-word, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9) But I believe that there is a point at which this may not be possible and certainly if someone remains in unrepentant sin, he will die in his sin.

There is a dangerous doctrine which states that “God doesn’t see my sin – He looks at Jesus and I am forgiven.” Where in scripture does it say this? Sadly, this idea may leave people with the notion that they have no need to repent of sin. Another well-known statement I have heard is that “when we trust the Lord to save us, all our sins are forgiven: past, present and future.” Again, there is no scripture to back the latter. Yes, past sins are forgiven when we repent of them. However, no sin is forgiven until it is repented of, whether the person concerned is a professing Christian or not – for God’s ways are equal.

The vast majority of evangelical Christian churches and fellowships in the Republic of Ireland adhere to the doctrine of unconditional eternal security and some would even go as far as to say that the Lord Jesus Christ only died for certain people.

His creation is precious in His sight. He died for them all – not just “the elect” (another subject which I have touched on briefly and will do so again) “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

Praise God His atonement is not limited – and neither is His mercy. It is His will that souls are not led astray into a false sense of security, in which they think that they do not have to get right with Him, concerning many serious issues and even deep sin in their lives. There is a reckoning day coming and His message to all is… “Cast away from you all your transgressions; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezekiel 18v31&32)

Lurganearly Mission Hall, County Monaghan

March 28, 2019

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With all the current discussion and fierce debate regarding “Brexit,” I found a recent trip through Irish border areas very interesting. The narrow country roads I traversed that day meandered, sometimes north of the border and sometimes south. In fact I kept driving from one country into another without even realising it! Driving through areas which would previously have been seriously troubled, sadly I believe that today, in a sense, they still are; suspicion of strangers is still very much the order of the day in some places…

I remember a large family my parents used to visit when I was a child. This family lived on a farm close to the border and I can still see in my mind’s eye the old kitchen, with a table by a window where the sun shone in on the mother of the house who stood making bread. I have been told that the farmhouse now lies uninhabited. It is not unusual to find abandoned houses in rural areas of Ireland with all the bedding, old furniture and crockery still sitting there!

It is fascinating to realise that the Irish border is not easily defined. Some people’s land or farms straddle the border, while there are those who claim that some rooms of their houses are in the Republic of Ireland while others are in Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope that they’ll never require a passport to walk from their living room into their kitchen! It is many years ago now since we visited that family but as I reminisce on youthful days, I realise that spiritually speaking the need of mankind remains the same and the people of Ireland, whatever their political views, need to come to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, if they have not already done so.

Still nestling amongst the peaceful emerald drumlins of County Monaghan (which is south of the Irish border) are some non-denominational little mission halls and Lurganearly is one of these. Lurganearly is a small townland, lying just 10km (around 6.5 miles) south east of Castleblayney. There is good car parking space across from the little hall, which is ran by a Mr J. Smyth who lives halfway between Castleblayney and the hall. Every Sunday at 12noon a Sunday morning worship service is held here and I know that anyone desiring to go would be made most welcome.

Every Wednesday night there is a prayer meeting at 8pm and a Sunday evening service is held on the first Sunday of each month at 8pm. The visiting speaker at this first Sunday evening meeting normally also speaks at the morning service. Unlike many mission halls, this one continues to operate during the summer months, except on rare occasions for a very good reason. There are sometimes other special mid-week meetings arranged, with visiting speakers and organisations invited to the hall.

This year (2019) it will be 63 years ago since Stanley Conn (see previous blog https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/the-testimony-of-stanley-conn-1928-2007/ ) put his trust in the risen Saviour in this very place and I thank the Lord for the existence still, of such places of worship where there are no denominational barriers. In the sparsely populated rural areas of Ireland and indeed in the towns and cities, I pray that souls will still repent and listen humbly to that “still small voice” which continues to whisper in this the Day of Grace… not only in places of worship but in city streets, villages, country lanes, mountains and valleys.

Political regimes and leaders may come and go, terrifying events will surely happen and this old world is changing fast “but the Word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1Peter 1v25) and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13v8)

Praise God for the text on Lurganearly’s wall which may even speak to weary travellers on that narrow country road… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16v31)

 

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The Testimony of Stanley Conn (1928-2007)

March 16, 2019

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“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2Corinthians 5v17)

Photos of the verdant countryside of County Armagh remind me of my father’s farm and the many people who helped him out on it over the years. Having recently found the personal testimony of an old friend of Dad’s, I decided to transcribe it and post it with other testimonies here. Stanley was saved in a mission in Lurganearly Mission Hall, County Monaghan; one of the few mission halls which still exist south of the Irish border. Mr Edmund Sandford, another old friend of my parents was speaking on the night that Stanley came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The following are Stanley’s own words, taken from his testimony tract…

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

I was born in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh. I left school at the age of thirteen. My horizons soon broadened, as I thought, when I smoked my first cigarette at the age of fourteen. I drank my first bottle of beer at fifteen, and at the age of eighteen I drank as much as I liked.

Education was not a big emphasis in my life as all I aimed to do was to have a good time. When I reached the age of twenty eight, I realized there had to be more to life than this – my life had no meaning, ambition or satisfaction. I never attended Sunday school and rarely went to church.

In the year 1956 Mr Sandford came to conduct a Gospel Mission in Lurganearly, near Newtownhamilton. I was invited to go along. Mr Sandford spoke of Someone who could change my life – His Name was Jesus. He explained God’s way of salvation: first, I needed to repent of my sins, to turn away from them, and ask God’s forgiveness; then I needed to receive Him as my Saviour, the One could cleanse me from every sin because He took my sin on His own body when He died on the cross.

2 Corinthians, 5:21 – He became sin for us,

Who knew no sin; that we might become

The righteousness of God in Him.”

I had never heard the gospel explained in such a way as this before and realized it was of utmost importance to accept Jesus into my heart, because one day He will return for those who know Him. God spoke to me clearly through a verse of a hymn:

“Come every soul by sin oppressed,

There’s mercy with the Lord;

And He will surely give you rest

By trusting in His Word.”

That night I made a decision to follow Christ. I knew within my heart that my life would be renewed. I never smoked another cigarette, or drank another beer, as God was faithful to His promise – “Old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.” God completely delivered me from every bondage that these things had over me.

God performed a miracle of Salvation in my life and also in healing. In 1978 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour with uncertain predictions, but it was God’s will to have me fully recover to tell of His great miracle in my life. Through my years as a Christian, my life has proved meaningful with complete satisfaction and my only ambition is to tell others of God’s great love and of the urgency to respond to the Gospel Message.

Two groups of people – saved and unsaved.

When Christ returns eternal life will be:

Heaven for the saved – Hell for the unsaved.

 

 

Link to Hymn, “Come every soul by sin oppressed:” https://youtu.be/nfeSkHqd0sY

 

Are You Sleeping on the Cliff Edge?

March 6, 2019

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In September 2018 I was saddened to hear of deaths associated with Storm Ali which was raging through Ireland at the time. One lady, a Swiss tourist, died tragically when the caravan she was sleeping in was swept over a cliff in County Galway, in the west of Ireland. To go to sleep to the sound of the waves on the beach below is a pleasant experience but clearly this lady had no idea that her caravan was going to be swept over that cliff and ripped apart during the night.

On hearing of this my mind travelled back to another story and another time. This story is set in a warm summer day in the east of the country, in July 1861. Two policemen who were on patrol in an area of County Wicklow happened to see a young man sleeping on the very edge of a dangerous cliff. They knew that they must proceed with caution in order to save him from the danger he was in and so quietly approached the sleeping youth. However, he wakened with a start and struggling against “his attackers,” he almost landed all three of them over the cliff! Thankfully their firm grip on the boy was successful and they were able to pull him to safety. It seems that he had been looking after some cattle in a field and had fallen asleep, rolling away towards the cliff as he did so. Of course he afterwards apologised to the police officers for resisting their attempts to save his life, on discovering the danger that he had been in! Thankfully this true story set in 19th Century Ireland had a happy ending for all concerned.

There is a spiritual lesson to be learned from “sleeping on the cliff edge.” There are at least 100 references in the Bible as to the brevity of our lives and in a sense all our fragile lives are fairly close to this “cliff edge.” “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.” (Psalm 144v4)

Surely each day lived is a step closer to that cliff, over which lies the abyss of eternity – and whatever that will hold for each one of us as individuals.

The Bible tells us of two destinations for the souls of mankind after this life; each as far removed from the other as it is possible to be. One is unthinkably horrific beyond any suffering we have known upon this earth, while the other is joy beyond anything we will ever experience here.

But it is not God’s will that “any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9)

Jesus said: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3v16&17)

Like the boy who fought the police officers in his drowsy and confused state, are you fighting conviction in your own heart today? In order to be rescued we must realise and admit that we are in danger and need to be saved – and let the Lord Jesus Christ who died to save us, do the rest. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11v28)

Someday we will reach the “cliff edge,” whether that will herald the Lord’s return – or the end of our own lives upon this earth. If you have not already done so, it is His will that you admit your sinful state (For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3v23)

By faith let Him rescue you; cease struggling and let Him drag you away from the imminent danger of that “cliff edge,” for it is not His will that you are lost in that terrible abyss. Why not trust in the great sacrifice that He has paid for you and in His redeeming love for you this day, in the knowledge that tomorrow could be too late? He who loves you will carefully rescue you and guide you safely in future years, as you walk with Him in “newness of life” – into His gift of joyful eternal life.

“…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Corinthians 6v2)

 

Feathers and Faith

February 27, 2019

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In recent times “feathers” have become very significant and meaningful in the life of someone close to me and also in my life. Feathers in the Bible are symbolic of the Lord’s covering, care and protection of His children. “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91v4)

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91v1) He has promised to “give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Psalm 91v11)

No matter how weak and powerless we feel under certain circumstances, the words of those who have put their trust in the Lord can echo that of the prophet Isaiah… “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40v28-31)

As the sometimes turbulent winds of life would seek to toss us to and fro, we find refuge in the shadow of His great wings. “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 17v8) We fly on the wings of faith till journey’s end; whether the breeze is calm and balmy or the storms batter us relentlessly, we must find refuge in Him. This little acrostic poem which I wrote in the past while portrays the walk of faith for those who hide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Feathers

Faith is the substance of things hoped for,

Evidence, praise God, of things not seen.

And when the day is far spent,

Turn I must to He who died for me;

His arms around me in the darkest hour,

Ever my Saviour, holding my hand as I tread

Rolling Jordan’s treacherous waves.

Silence, peace, then endless joy as I meet Him face to face.

In an Age of Celebrities… Humility is Rare

February 5, 2019

The world is currently full of celebrities… both major and minor, thanks to the internet and popular culture. Men and women naturally love the applause and accolade of their fellow human beings but this is a phenomenon which should have no place in the Christian realm.

When one sees a well-known leader in the “Christian” world being lauded and honoured by thousands and often millions of cheering crowds, there is surely something terribly wrong. How concerning is the knowledge that there are “evangelical Christian” preachers out there who have become bathed in fame and fortune over the years! People revere the man and are not looking to the Saviour. Their personality, their charisma, their very presence gets in the way of the love, goodness and humility of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, too, these seemingly great preachers can often be deceivers… “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers unto the false prophets.” (Luke 6v26)

One evening I had just returned home from a poetry reading event (where I had felt like “a fish out of water”) when I stopped in my tracks in amazement, at the words of the verse of a hymn floating out of the kitchen: “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”

“I will not boast in anything,

No gifts, no power, wisdom;

But I will boast in Jesus Christ,

His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer;

But this I know with all my heart –

His wounds have paid my ransom.”

It was as if this singing on the kitchen radio as I filled the kettle was just for me and my eyes filled with tears. I had earlier felt the ridicule of other writers but really I should never have expected to be accepted by the world…. I can only write for my Saviour; applause has no place in the life of the Christian; genuine and sincere encouragement from other Christians, perhaps – but not applause.

My participation at the open-air public event I had just attended was intended to reach others for “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” (Romans 1v16) But the words which the Lord gives those who write for Him are very out of place in this world. They don’t fit well with men’s many other philosophies as I have discovered – and Christian poetry is incongruous in a world of intellectual snobbery. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness…” (1Cor. 1v17) and yet I pray for those present that they will remember something later and be drawn to know the Saviour who loves them.

There are many older hymns than the above which echo these sentiments too. “When I survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts is one of them…

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God:

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.”

Frances Ridley Havergal’s “Take my Life” is yet another…

“Take my silver and my gold;

Not a mite would I withhold;

Take my intellect, and use

Every power as Thou shalt choose.”

All that we do, say and write should surely be to His glory. In a world where the applause of men can be deafening, the standard for the Christian in this regard is to follow the Saviour’s example in all humility. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23v12)

“…And the common people heard Him gladly.” (Mark 12v37) He owned nothing; “He had not where to lay His head” and when the streets were lined with palms, He rode on a donkey – not an amazing golden carriage drawn by great white horses or like in today’s world, where a “pastor” might have his private jet. Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18v36) – and neither should ours be.

“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)

 

“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)