Archive for the ‘Tracts’ Category

“Upon this Rock I will build my Church…”

September 7, 2019

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Ireland is full of famous “rocks,” like the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary, the Rock of Dunamase in Co. Laois and the “Big Stone,” (“Cloughmore” pictured) in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. Standing stones are also a fascinating phenomenon in Ireland; many of these are associated with old legends about how they came to be there but I love to draw spiritual analogies from those rocks…
Rocks are sure foundations, rocks are reliable, unchanging, and unmoveable; rocks can be a refuge and a hiding place from the storm and Psalm 81v16 speaks of “honey in the rock.”
Unfortunately many people in Ireland believe that Peter was the “first pope,” of whom they say that Jesus said… “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
However, Jesus when He made this statement was speaking of Himself as the Rock and to get understanding of this we need to read the entire chapter of Matthew 16, especially from Verse 15… “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v15-18)
When Jesus went on to say “Upon this rock I will build my church” He was clearly referring to Himself because of His words in the previous verses. Throughout the New Testament only Jesus is referred to as “the Rock.” In 1Corinthians 10 Paul is speaking of Moses and his ancestors… “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (Verse 4)
In 1Peter 2v8 Jesus is referred to as “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
There is no doubt that Peter was a beloved disciple and later in the New Testament, a faithful and fearless servant of the gospel but he is not the “Rock of our salvation.” Read the words of Jesus to him in Matthew 16v23… “get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Peter, like many, may have meant well by his words (“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Verse 23) but these words were not pleasing to the Lord. Peter was a mortal man; the church was never built upon mortal man but upon the Lord Jesus Christ “in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1v14)
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1v18) Unfortunately mankind like to establish their own organisations, claiming that only their particular denomination is “the church.”
The church, as I have said previously, is not a building, or an organisation or a denomination – but that body of believers throughout this world who have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and are born again of the spirit of God. “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” (1Corinthians 12v27) This chapter continues to show how the “body,” of which the Lord Jesus Christ is Head, have differing gifts.
“Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth in him shall not be confounded.” (1Peter 2v6)
Praise God, these words are also prophesied of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament … “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28v16)
In Psalm 62v2 the words… “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved,” are repeated again in Verse 6, this time reinforced by omitting the word “greatly.”
Praise God if we build upon this Rock, like the wise man Jesus refers to in Matthew 7v24, spiritually speaking we are building on the Rock which cannot move.
… “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v18)
We are living in days when the “gates of hell” are most certainly trying to prevail against the church. Black clouds are threatening those who have taken refuge in the Rock of Ages… that Rock which is so eloquently spoken about throughout the Psalms and many other books of the Bible. “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18v46)
But when God promises that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” He will keep that promise. While the famous earthly rocks we are familiar with will some day pass away, the Rock of our salvation is eternal and unchanging and many times prophesied of in the Old Testament. Unto those who believe “he is precious” (1Peter 2v7) but a “rock of offence to them which stumble at the word.”
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”(Isaiah 8v14&15)
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21v44)
Manmade religion seeks to exalt man above God. How can a mortal man be the rock upon which God builds His church?
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” (1Corinthians 3v11)

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Bicentenary Celebration of the Birth of Joseph Scriven – Author of “What a Friend we have in Jesus”

August 28, 2019

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On 10th September next it will be 200 years since the birth of hymn writer Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-1886) and I hope to use the occasion to distribute tracts, based on the title of his beautiful hymn. On Saturday 14th September free hourly bus tours of sites connected with the hymn writer will take place in Banbridge, County Down and these can be booked through the Visitor Information centre in the town. I have a lovely early memory of discovering Corbett Lake; near Banbridge and pictured in the old photograph above, it reminds me that Joseph Scriven’s formative years were spent in this area. Joseph did write other hymns and poetry but I believe that “What a Friend we have in Jesus” is sung universally and has been translated into multiple languages.
I have one very personal and poignant memory of the singing of this hymn. One hot Sabbath summer morning far away on the Greek island of Crete, I was feeling downcast as we tried to find an International Evangelical church in a certain town there. Then somewhere on that street, carried on the warm breeze I heard the sweet strains of music and singing in my own language… “What a Friend we have in Jesus…” In that instant I felt the singing of that familiar hymn and the beautiful name “Jesus” touching my very soul and it brought tears to my eyes; I felt the Lord’s Presence very strongly at that moment.
Indeed the singing of the hymn has touched many a troubled heart over the centuries. Little did Joseph Scriven know when he sat down in his little room to pen a few comforting words to his mother who was going through a time of great sorrow, that in years to come those words would touch hearts all across the world. When a Christian neighbour (who helped Joseph in his later years) discovered the manuscript, he asked him who had written these beautiful words, to which Joseph replied… “I wrote it. The Lord and I did it between us.”
Life’s journey, along with happy times, inevitably also brings trials, temptations, grief and trouble but praise God, Jesus our Saviour is a certain Refuge for all who put their trust in Him. Not everyone wants to know about our sorrows but there is “a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18v24) Unlike earthly friends and acquaintances who may indeed “despise, forsake thee,” this Friend is faithful, loving and caring throughout life’s most troubled and sorrowful moments – and He is but a prayer away.
The Bible tells us that “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.” (1Timothy 2v5) Do you know this Friend today? He gave His life for you, so that you may have abundant life now – and eternal life in His Presence in the next.
“For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14v11&12) It is better, surely, to repent of your sin now and ask Him into your heart, while on this side of eternity – than to face Him as Judge on that Day when the small and great stand before Him.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7v21) His will is that you repent, commit your life to Him today, obey His Word and trust Him for all your tomorrows.
What a Friend you will have in Him as Saviour – a Friend and Confidant who will all “your sorrows share,” and a Friend who will “take and shield thee” throughout life. Only in His arms will you find the great “solace” for which you seek.

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged:
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness:
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge:
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Reflections on Greencastle: a Royal Medieval Castle – and Mankind’s Need through the Centuries

August 9, 2019

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I have felt led to produce some tracts on themes of historical interest to give out in the areas where they are situated. The following, written about the lovely ancient Greencastle in Co. Down, is one of those…
Greencastle, like most ancient castles and fortifications throughout Ireland has a colourful history spanning the centuries. Built in the 13th century by Hugh de Lacy in the 1230’s, it guarded the entrance to Carlingford Lough in medieval times. Lying close to the tiny village of Greencastle which now hosts a ferry transporting visitors to and from Greenore in the Republic of Ireland, many famous names in history are associated with it. Hugh de Lacey, John de Courcey, Edward Bruce, Sir Nicholas Bagnall and Oliver Cromwell are just some of those names.
Today the little hamlet of Greencastle, the green pastures and the familiar sight of the castle are somehow comforting to me in a world that is changing too quickly… and not always for the better.
The familiar coastline here and the nostalgic scene of Greencastle surrounded by green pastures, reminds me of childhood days and carefree walks along the sandy shore from Cranfield to visit this beautiful old castle. I am reminded of shared experiences with loved ones who are long since gone…
What stories the stones of Greencastle could tell me if they could speak and yet the ancient battles and human drama associated with it have long since faded into the misty oblivion of historical records. But of course not all historical records can be trusted because of the very nature of mankind…
Yes, famous people down through the centuries of Greencastle’s existence have come and gone. It has been said that human nature is the same in every era. Indeed it is true to say that…. “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1v9)
Mankind’s need of a Saviour is the same today as it was in 1230. Well over a thousand years before the first stone was laid in Greencastle, the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to give His life for you and me and every other person who was ever born into this world. “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)
Some day, as His Word says, He will return. “Surely I come quickly,” the last recorded words of Jesus tell us in Revelation 22v20. Are you ready for His return – or for the moment when you will depart this life? The Bible assures us that we can be ready – and that we can know that we are ready. We cannot have this assurance in our hearts because of all the good works that we have accomplished. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9) It is after we trust Him as Saviour that our good works are evidence of a new life begun in Him.
We must firstly acknowledge our sin, repent of it and put our trust in the all atoning sacrifice, once for all, of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, for He has paid the price for our sins. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10v17&18)
God is no respecter of persons and the famous people connected with Greencastle, like all of mankind had to die and face judgement: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9v27&28)
Even the ancient solid stones of Greencastle will some day be no more for the Bible tells us that this old world will soon pass away and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21v1).
But repentance and simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood at Calvary will stand the test of time and eternity. He longs for you to put your trust in Him alone today, so that you may be ready for that great Accounting Day when the “small and great” (Revelation 20v12) stand before God. May you know the wonderful joy, peace and assurance in your heart of the knowledge of sins forgiven and the promise of a Home in Heaven.

Soon we’ll gather by His Throne

July 20, 2019

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“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6v11) These words were written of the days of Noah, just prior to God’s command to him to build an ark. Today we have all the technology available to let us know just how corrupt, violent, twisted and evil this present world has become and some of it is quite frankly… the subject of nightmares. I am aware, yes, I pray for people, yes – but I don’t dwell on the horrific things that are taking place or I find myself getting more and more depressed at the very thought of it. We read that Lot was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.” (2Peter 2v7)

Today Jesus is “our Ark.” To those who will still listen – and yes, I believe there are some; cast all your burdens, sins, and despair upon the One who loved you so much that He gave His very life for you. Take refuge in the Ark that saves you now and grants you peace and safety from the wrath which inevitably is going to fall upon this old world.

Jesus said: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24v37) The rainbow is a sign to us that the Lord will never flood the world again “but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” (2Peter 3v10&11)

Just last night I was alone and feeling despondent when I reflected on certain news events. I felt the Lord showing me the reality that He was coming again – perhaps soon and that His people must “work for the night is coming…” He also gave me the words of this little poem – a challenge to the unsaved and encouraging for the Christian.

Soon we’ll gather by His Throne

Soon the night of sorrow

Will take its wings and fly.

Soon the Son of Morning

Will beckon us on high.

 

Away away from darkness,

From sickness, pain and grief;

Oh sinner come to love and life

To pardon and relief!

 

Soon the saved will meet their own,

Who left them long ago,

Soon they’ll gather by God’s Throne,

Where the crystal waters flow.

 

© Elizabeth Burke 2019

 

 

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21v4)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14v3)

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24v44)

Eternity – A Message for Everyone

June 11, 2019

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In recent times I’ve had an urgent sense that I must make the most of the time that the Lord gives me and not waste it. I believe that even in the midst of turmoil in our lives, we can use these experiences to reach others. The Lord expects us to take care of loved ones and He also knows that we need rest but the Christian must make the most of his allotted span, in using the resources and talents that He has given each one of us to reach others. At the end of the day we really don’t know how long the remainder of our lives will be. Life is so short but eternity is, well, forever. There are so many distractions in the era in which we live – for everyone.

People on public transport used to be receptive years ago, when you struck up a conversation with them, with the intention of being a witness; but now the majority have their earphones on. Earphones or not, you can still offer an individual a tract though and if he doesn’t want it he will invariably shake his head vehemently in refusal or perhaps just glare at you or simply ignore you. Sometimes though, even the simple gesture of offering the tract in itself will speak to someone or perhaps they may get a glimpse of one word on that tract which could change their lives here and their eternal destination forever.

Just recently I came across this interesting true little story from long ago…

“On the Hudson River, a man, in indignation tore up the tract which was handed to him, and pitched it into the river. But one of the pieces was blown back, and fell on his coat sleeve. That piece contained the one word, ETERNITY, by means of which he was at once aroused to his godless condition, and led to “seek the Lord while he may be found.” (Isaiah 55v6) Truly “the wind bloweth where it listeth.”

To the Christian… go in His strength this day, for we cannot depend on our own, looking to Him for direction and wisdom in all that we undertake.

To those who do not know Him, seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near, for He has said “My spirit shall not always strive with man…” (Genesis 6v3)

 

The Danger of Bridges – Old and New

May 7, 2019

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Ireland is full of bridges; some are small and not very high, gently curving over shallow rivers and ravines in the countryside; others are like the bridge over the River Boyne near Drogheda which spans 230 metres of the motorway between Dublin and Belfast. Some bridges are rustic, others functional but one of the most beautiful I know is the “Craigmore Viaduct” with its eighteen arches near Newry railway station, its construction ending in the year 1852.

I sometimes have concerns about certain bridges I know, because perhaps they have never been checked!  The little local one which is familiar to me was most likely built many years ago – but how safe is it when a great truck comes thundering over it? As I recently waded through the wild garlic and the shallow bubbling river underneath it, I could hear traffic above my head. I also sometimes wonder when I drive, take a train (or even walk) over a bridge, how reliable it is and indeed sometimes it is the new bridges we have to be concerned about…

These thoughts on bridges came into my mind recently on reading another true little story from my very old book: “A Thousand Tales worth Telling,” It is entitled: “A Startling Sight…”

“A horseman road across a dangerous bridge one dark night; and on reviewing the place next day, he fell into a swoon when he became sensible of the danger which, by the darkness of the night, was hidden from him. If unsaved men and women could only see how near they are to a lost eternity, how they would “flee from the wrath to come” (Matthew 3v7; Revelation 6v16)… to the mighty Saviour of sinners.”

When souls travel through life in spiritual darkness they are truly unaware of the great danger they are in. Which “bridge” are you using to span the great divide? There are many bridges which mankind may put their trust in – from the bridge of humanism and the many other thousands of dangerous bridges, each one the name of a different system of belief. Some bridges are old, some are modern, while some get a minimum amount of traffic and some have a massive amount of traffic. People think that by using their particular “bridge” (whether it is used by the multitudes or by the few) they will land safely on the “good” shore of eternity. How safe is our “bridge?” This is the vital question. Surely all bridges need to be checked….

“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.” (1Timothy 2v5&6) Jesus is the only Mediator – the only Bridge, spiritually speaking, Who can span the great divide between God and mankind. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4v12)

This is the only Bridge we can put our trust in, His great love spanning the great divide – that no other person or philosophy could ever adequately fill. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10v12)

His will is that you put your trust in this “one sacrifice for sins for ever” and have faith in Him alone; the One whose dying love spanned that great divide between God and men. He loves you and wants you to know that all other “bridges” have shaky foundations and will someday crumble and fall but Jesus Christ, praise His Name, is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever,” (Hebrews 13v8) and we can trust in Him alone to take us safely over. Praise God, “I won’t have to cross Jordan alone…. Jesus died for my sins to atone.”

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)

 

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.

 

Have You Any Room For Jesus?

December 10, 2018

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I was recently listening to the story of Brian Gault, who was a victim of the Thalidomide drug in the early 1960’s. Around that era expectant mothers were given this so called “miracle drug” to combat morning sickness and as a result many other children like Brian were sadly born without legs or arms at that time. It was lovely to hear his testimony of coming to know the Lord as Saviour, after all the bullying and hardship he had endured as a child with no arms. Praise God, he had made room in his heart for Jesus… and that room is now filled with love, joy and peace, instead of bitterness and anger about his situation.

How the love of God transforms the humble place when He fills it with His Presence! This, His Presence will never find its abode in the heart that is full of the things of this world. The humble, quiet manger became filled with the Presence of God. There was no room for Him in the inn… a place full of the distractions of this world.

Another interesting testimony came to my notice recently: that of the hymn writer Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901), who rose to the rank of major in the American civil war. Like Brian Gault, Daniel was disabled but his one missing arm was as a result of combat. While in a prisoner of war camp recovering from his wounds, Daniel looked for something to read and found a New Testament. Although under conviction from the words he read, he was still reluctant to accept the Lord into his heart. A short time later an orderly approached him, saying that a dying prisoner wanted someone to pray with him. The orderly said that he assumed that Daniel was a Christian as he had watched him “reading his Bible.” Finally, Daniel agreed and miraculously he confessed his own sins and asked the Lord into his heart, before praying earnestly with the dying young soldier. In his own words he said: “I cannot but believe that God, who used him to bring me to the Saviour, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.” What a wonderful miracle of two lives transformed in one “fell swoop!”

Praise God, indeed, for such stories and testimonies. There is no limit to what the Lord can do with a life that is filled with His Presence. Brian Gault now travels extensively, speaking at meetings and churches, his DVD’s making a practical difference in the lives of disabled children and adults and his testimony to God’s grace in his own life touches the lives of individuals whoever or wherever they are.

And Daniel Webster Whittle’s humbled, repentant heart was touched by the Lord to such an extent that he went on to write at least 130 beautiful hymns. After his conversion experience he said that while at work, he “went into the vault and in the dead silence of the quietest places I gave my life to my Heavenly Father to use as He would.” The quiet, humble manger is filled with the Lord’s Presence…

I love his hymn… “Sin no More,” the chorus of which goes…

“Sin no more, thy soul is free,

Christ has died to ransom thee;

Sing the message o’er and o’er,

Christ forgives thee, “Sin no more.”

 

His hymn “Have you any room for Jesus?” is a convicting one, reminding us that “room for pleasure and room for business” should never be allowed to take the place of His Presence in our lives…

It is somehow fitting that the great Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be born in the humblest of abodes – one that was emptied of the trappings of this world…

 

Have you any room for Jesus,

He who bore your load of sin?

As He knocks and asks admission,

Sinners, will you let Him in?

 

Room for Jesus, King of glory!

Hasten now His Word obey;

Swing the heart’s door widely open,

Bid Him enter while you may.

 

Room for pleasure, room for business,

But for Christ the Crucified,

Not a place that He can enter,

In the heart for which He died?

 

Have you any room for Jesus,

As in grace He calls again?

O today is time accepted,

Tomorrow you may call in vain.

 

Room and time now give to Jesus,

Soon will pass God’s Day of Grace;

Soon thy heart left cold and silent,

And thy Saviour’s pleading cease.

 

 

Remembering the Sacrifice – and the Victory

November 10, 2018

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I discovered a little article in recent times concerning the “Souls family,” which I feel is very relevant on a weekend in which we remember the dead of two World Wars and later conflicts. On this Remembrance Sunday in particular, widespread events will be held to mark the centenary of the First World War.

It is also 100 years since Arthur Souls and Alfred Souls (twins aged 30) both lost their lives in Flanders fields. This was two years after the death of their brothers: Albert, Frederick and Walter Souls who were all killed in action in 1916. Five brothers from the one household… my heart goes out to their mother and father, Annie and William Souls (humble English country folk) who must have endured such grief. The couple had a family of six healthy sons in total and it is heart-breaking to think that five of their boys were killed in this way. Upon research I discovered that Annie Souls never stood again for the anthem “God Save the King” but her terrible grief was further compounded when their youngest surviving son died from meningitis.

The awful reality is, though, that many young people today know little about what certain wars were all about and the enormous sacrifices that were made. War would appear senseless and yet most of us realise that democracies must be protected from certain tyrants who rise up in every era (and in all parts of the world) to threaten those democracies that we take for granted.

It is respectful to remember both the sacrifices that were made in these wars and those who made them… but how much more should we honour the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who made the ultimate sacrifice ever in the history of mankind? “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 2v24)

Wars and conflicts through the ages have resulted in heartbreak for mothers and fathers, husbands, wives and children but when the man Christ Jesus “offered one sacrifice for sins for ever” he arose in glorious victory, defeating the greatest enemy that mankind has ever had to face – forever. He heals the broken hearted and He comforts the bereaved in their darkest hours, if only they would acknowledge their need of Him, His sacrifice for them – and trust Him to save them.

The greatest enemy we will ever have to face (and the father of all tyrants in this world who arise to distress us) has permanently been defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ and His unspeakable sacrifice. Praise God, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1Corintinians 15v54)

The saved can say… “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15v55-57)

This King of Kings and Lord of Lords, of whom it is said: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come,” (Ephesians 1v21) lives to heal the wounded soul and gives us the victory over sin and death and hell.

How can we remember and honour His great sacrifice? For those who don’t know Him…. By acknowledging their sins and trusting in Him to cleanse them from all unrighteousness (1 John 1v9) and trusting their future lives into His care. And for those who walk the narrow path, to be “stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15v58)

Today we have “wars and rumours of war” but it is acknowledged that an outright “Third World War” could be a nuclear war, resulting in the end of life as we know it on the universe today. To all He says…

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24v44)

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation….?” (Hebrews 2v3)