Let a Man Examine Himself – on “Letters of Commendation”

March 6, 2017

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Just recently I happened to be researching places of worship in an area which I may visit in the near future. One particular place of worship had an online statement: “letters of commendation required for visitors wishing to remember the Lord.”

My understanding of this is that if you are a stranger in a certain place of worship and you want to have communion with the other Christians there, then you must carry a letter “of commendation” from your normal place of worship. As to whether your “normal place of worship” must be of the same denomination as the one you are visiting was not made clear. As it happens no such denomination exists in our area – and in fact we would have to drive for a very long time before finding one!

That Paul wrote letters to churches, commending brothers and sisters who would be visiting there, is an entirely different matter, as he was introducing these people as fellow workers in the gospel. He was not passing judgement or comment on whether these individuals were eligible to participate or receive communion in the church they were proposing to visit.

In the world in which we live, any person could find himself in any area at any particular time – and if that soul is truly a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and wants to have fellowship with local believers in a place where he or she is a total stranger – should they not be given a warm welcome?

Years ago my husband and I were visiting a certain church in a certain city and (although I don’t remember much about it) it must have been decided that we shouldn’t have communion with the rest of the congregation as ‘they didn’t know us’ and so we were amused to find ourselves ‘put behind a curtain.’

I refer to the words of Paul in 1Corinthians 11v26-31: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged, But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

Here we see that we should judge ourselves, otherwise we will be judged by the Lord. The Lord “looks on the heart” of men and women and only He knows whether that person eats or drinks unworthily and only He can judge. Obviously, if some stranger came in, acting in an unruly manner, then clearly someone should have a quiet word with this person so that the service is not interrupted. However, this passage talks about “judging ourselves” and the “Lord judging us.” No one else should be able to decide whether we are worthy or unworthy, unless there is some very obvious reason for doing so, like the one previously mentioned.

Legalism and the letter of the law are so at odds with the spirit of the law. Ironically, at the end of the day, the stranger who enters one of these churches might be in a better standing with the Lord than someone who is known to the elders, because… who can know the heart of man? “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17v10)

Praise the Lord, we can have fellowship with (and love for) others without denominationalism being an issue when we pray sincerely about these matters, leaving them at the feet of the “Judge of judges. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1Samuel 1v7)

Ever Thought About The Countries Which View Your Blog?

February 28, 2017

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In the past week “International Mother Language Day” was celebrated on 21st February and this led to my thoughts on the thousands of languages throughout our world and how many souls are currently being reached with the gospel through the internet in their native countries or in the far-flung nations that lie thousands of miles beyond my own little shores. I have made a list of mine (for my own information) in order of the total number of views from each country and although I don’t have that many views, on the whole it is encouraging and fascinating to see just where they come from!

United Kingdom, United States, Ireland, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France, Greece, Malaysia, European Union, South Africa, Jamaica, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, Indonesia, Norway, Brazil, Singapore, Kenya, South Korea, Turkey, Belgium, Russia, Czech Republic, Ghana, Romania, Serbia, Thailand, Nigeria, Sweden, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Denmark, Israel, Bulgaria, Austria, Switzerland, Chile, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR China, Qatar, Japan, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Iraq, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Bahamas, Isle of Man, Latvia, Mexico, Oman, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Cyprus, Iceland, Peru, Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Ecuador, Myanmar (Burma), Kuwait, Tanzania, Finland, Portugal, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Estonia, Lithuania, Guatemala, Mongolia, Fiji, Guam, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Ukraine, Uganda, Venezuela, Georgia, Syria, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Tonga, Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Maldives, St. Kitts & Nevis, Armenia, Slovenia, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Albania, Mauritius, Nepal, Malta, Malawi, Guyana, St. Lucia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Netherlands Antilles, Guadeloupe, Gabon, Cameroon, Macedonia, Monaco, Paraguay, Cambodia, Luxembourg, Togo, British Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Croatia, Guernsey, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Liberia, Vietnam, Algeria, Cook Islands, Dominican Republic, Swaziland, Belarus…. Perhaps in time North Korea, Yemen, Iran and many more can join that list!

I find it interesting that countries like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are on the list. I know that I had a view from Syria with regard to one of the old hymns I write about. Was it some homesick U.S. soldier or even an army chaplain… or even a native? Who knows? When I look at the landscape of some of the countries, they appear so beautiful in the online photos. Gabon on the west coast of central Africa looks fascinating, with lush green fields, golden beaches – and the wildlife is wonderful! But then there are the world’s war-torn and famine ridden trouble spots – and the “hermit kingdoms…”

It was reported in the last week, too, that NASA had discovered a large batch of earth-size habitable zone planets. Where is it all going to end with these new discoveries, I wonder? We are living in amazing days; in my lifetime I have seen so many changes but I feel that the Lord is no happier with some of these than He was about the Tower of Babel. However, I also feel that He is using the sincere and true testimonies and words written for Him all across this world today on internet sources.

So, yes, we live in fascinating days but in reality man’s need for salvation remains the same and although technology has transformed exponentially, human nature needs the touch of a Saviour. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12v4) Yes, knowledge may have increased and men are indeed running to and fro now, even throughout the entire universe – but sin is as it was in the days of Noah. Jesus said: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of No-e were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24v36&37)

His message to His servants in the nations of the world was never more urgent…. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24v42)

“Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” (Matthew 24v46)

Never were there more signs of the Lord’s soon coming than in the days in which we live. His message to every soul in every nation in their own language remains the same: “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)

Informal Ladies Meeting in the Barbican Centre, Drogheda

February 21, 2017

Lord willing, the above will take place on Friday, 24th February, 2017 between 7.30pm and 8.45pm approximately.

A testimony will be shared, as well as some reflections on a selected Irish hymn writer. Sadly many of our old hymns have been abandoned in the days in which we live, in favour of short choruses, many of which have no depth. These are very often sung repeatedly in an effort to stir up a certain “atmosphere” in the congregation, all to no avail.

Manie Payne Ferguson is the selected hymn writer at this meeting. Born in the town of Carlow, County Carlow, Ireland in 1850, she eventually emigrated to U.S.A., where with her husband Theodore, she founded “The Los Angeles Mission.” She wrote many other poems and hymns, including “That Man of Calvary” and “Christ in the Storm.”

I have written about her in my book “Singing on the Journey Home,” where I choose the hymn “Blessed Quietness” for a true story: “Lonely Hotel Room – and a Comforting Presence.” I write: “This hymn writer was mightily used of the Lord, having been associated with the Wesleyan/Holiness Movement in the 19th Century. After her conversion Manie had been struggling with a sinful nature but having experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit, she felt empowered to write “Blessed Quietness.”

I pray that all will go in accordance with the Lord’s will at Friday’s meeting. Indeed I have no idea who will come along, as some people I have invited may not be able to make it… but I trust that it will be a blessing, even if our numbers are small!

 

 

Ladies, you are invited to an informal meeting

In the Barbican Centre, Drogheda

On Friday 24th February, from 7.30pm-8.45pm

Local lady will share her testimony

 Admission Free/light refreshments

For further information Email:

readywriterpublications@gmail.com

 

 

Thy Welcome Call… Avails for All!

February 16, 2017

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I have always admired the voices of a Welsh choir… particularly when they sing some of the lovely old hymns like “Gwahoddiad,” which is Welsh for “Welcome.” The words and music of this beautiful hymn (“I am coming Lord” or “I hear thy welcome voice”) were written by Lewis Hartsough (1828-1919) who composed it at a revival meeting in Iowa and it was subsequently published in “Guide to Holiness.” There are many stories of how it went on to be used in revival meetings and how it blessed many souls and brought many more to a place of repentance.

 

So, why am I thinking of this hymn today? Well, today is the anniversary of when my Dad (who prayed much for revival) was called Home to be with the Lord. Above is a little hall (Ballytyrone) where he used to pray with friends. I recently put a memoriam notice in the local newspaper, in remembrance of him, followed by a little verse which I composed just last week. The Lord gave me the words in an instant one morning, just after I had woken up.

 

Hutchinson, Jack, Called Home 16th February, 2011.

 

Lovingly remembered by Elizabeth, George, Grace, Christine and their families.

 

 Oh, the arms outstretched to all

 

Who gladly hear Thy welcome call!

 

Oh the joy on heaven’s shore,

 

That greets Thy saints forevermore!

 

© Elizabeth Burke

 

All sorts of people read newspapers (even local newspapers) which are left in all sorts of places and waiting rooms and somehow I believe that some simple words which we have been led to write may strike a chord with someone somewhere and will be used of the Lord to, at the very least, inspire them to think upon eternity and spiritual matters.

 

His arms are indeed still outstretched to all in this the Day of Grace; He died for all (“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1John 2v2) and it is not His will that any should perish. (2Peter 3v9)

 

Today I sing along to the words of this lovely old hymn which has blessed thousands the world over. I don’t recall Dad referring to this hymn but I know he would love it… I quote the first and last verses and chorus and share the link as a tribute to him.

 

Link to this hymn:  https://youtu.be/TlR1ot4QzP0

“I hear thy welcome voice,

 

That calls me, Lord, to Thee,

 

For cleansing in Thy precious blood

 

That flowed from Calvary.

 

I am coming, Lord,

 

Coming now to Thee:

 

Wash me, cleanse me in the blood

 

That flowed on Calvary.

 

 

All hail, atoning blood!

 

All hail, redeeming grace!

 

All hail, the gift of Christ, our Lord,

 

Our strength and righteousness!

 

“Be of Good Courage and He shall Strengthen Thine Heart”

February 6, 2017

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On a recent journey for a hospital procedure I received a gift from an elderly Uncle of mine – a little “box of promises,” which he had left for someone else to give to me. Just before embarking on the next leg of my journey, I picked a promise… “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psalm 27v14)

Now, my Uncle had no idea that I was going for a procedure on that particular day or that I was driving close to his house around that time, or that I had received the “promise box” – although I called with him later and told him! How lovely were those words – and how comforting to know that the Lord was with me “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

How He was with me on that day – and how I felt His love and compassion surround me and uplift me… and how He answers prayer! I quote from an inserted leaflet in the little promise box: “Dating back over a century to the 1860’s and each containing 140 extracts from the Authorised King James Version of the Bible, Promise Boxes were widely used by our Victorian ancestors. Seeking comfort and reassurance from God in times of trouble the ladies would draw a scroll, replacing it carefully after use. Given as keepsakes by the men going to the front, to their wives and sweethearts during the First World War, they gradually faded into oblivion and the actual date of origin is unknown. The few which have survived the passage of time have been handed down from generation to generation and become treasured family heirlooms. Used with respect and reverence these charming, unusual gifts are appropriate for any occasion, happy or sad, for their message and purpose are timeless.”

Yes, the message of God’s Word is indeed timeless. Sometimes, indeed, as we go through life we face situations which are tantamount to “going to the front” in a war situation. That battle can be a physical or a spiritual one – or sometimes both. None of us; no, not even those who faithfully serve the Lord, sail peacefully through the seas of life without some storms and testing times. Of course the ultimate testing time is death itself, for “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1Cor. 15v26)

“Have you anyone with you?” the nurse asked me, looking somewhat surprised when I said “no.” But in a sense I did have someone with me – and that ‘Someone’ is always with me and will be with me, for as long as I serve Him here below… “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28v20)

Praise God for every one of His precious promises, of which there are thousands in the Bible. “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. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for inasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor. 15v55-58)

Thoughts on Holocaust Denial…. and the “Apple of God’s Eye”

January 27, 2017

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I am currently quite close to the end of the Old Testament once more in my daily reading. This morning I read from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, in Chapter 2: “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me. Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again. Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” (Verses 8-13)

This phrase “the apple of your eye” is used commonly today to refer to someone you cherish – and there is no doubt about the fact that the Lord held His ancient chosen people, those who were obedient amongst the Jews, in this esteem. This chapter is also prophetic of the promise of the Messiah – Jesus our Lord and Saviour; and today, for all those amongst the nations (whether of Jewish ethnicity or not) who accept Him as Lord and Saviour, we are “the apple of His eye.” In this regard I believe it is true to say that offences may come – but the Lord’s judgement will ultimately fall upon those who are responsible for these offences. (Luke 17v1)

Later on I coincidentally heard a lady speak on the radio of her court battle with a “Holocaust denier.” Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I thought: “For a historian or public figure to go out of his way to try to prove that the Holocaust ‘never happened’ must surely take up a lot of valuable time, money and energy. So why would they do it?” I researched just a few of the many well-known personalities who are so strangely adamant that the Holocaust never happened and found that they all had one very obvious trait in common… anti-Semitism. However, to research the psyche of the deniers would take much longer and would perhaps take up much more than just a few paragraphs…

To tell an escapee from Daesh, or a person who has been mugged and robbed that it ‘has never happened’ is a hurtful and spiteful attack on the credibility of that person and the very real traumatic experience which has impacted his or her life. I can only imagine how the (now very elderly) victims of the holocaust must feel when they hear the derogatory words of a denier about a very real pogrom which was directed at millions of their people. The horror of those memories and the extent of those evil offences are still a very real part of their lives too, whether sleeping or awake. Jesus said: “Woe unto the world because of offences!  for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18v7)

Furthermore, despite what some would have us believe; real Christians, those born again of the Spirit of God have this one thing in common: their love for the Jewish people. It has been recorded in history that “Christians” at one time persecuted the Jews. However, those by whom offences came throughout this world’s turbulent history may have called themselves “Christians,” but they most certainly were not.

How wonderful that the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, of David’s royal line, still stands today with arms outstretched to all individuals of the nations of the world – whatever their background. “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3v14)

I also believe that it is significant in these dramatic days in which we live, that a very great number of Jewish people are coming to see the truth of this beloved Messiah who loved them and gave Himself for them and indeed for all the world. Only He can bring healing to troubled minds in the wake of terrifying experiences and only He can break down the barriers that divide mankind. To those who truly know Him as their personal Lord and Saviour, Paul says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3v28&29)

What is “The Church?”

January 16, 2017

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I was at a funeral a few days ago, in a small church which was absolutely packed to capacity, given that the deceased was very well known in this rural community. Later after standing in the bitterly cold wind in the country churchyard, I decided to make my way into the warm church hall for a welcome cup of hot tea and the customary sandwiches and “tray bakes.” Some people that I talked with referred in vague terms to “the church” in conversation, something which led me to my present train of thought…

So what exactly is “the Church?” Many would say that it is an organisation or denomination… their denomination; others would say that it is a building; still others would use the term generally, in the ecumenical sense for members of many (usually mainstream) denominations, while there are those who would say that “the Church” consists of those who “attend church services.”

Well, the truth is that “The Church” as portrayed in scripture is not a building, nor an organisation of religious people, nor a denomination or denominations, nor even the “people who attend church services.” “The Church” is that body of believers throughout this entire world who have been truly born again of the Spirit of God – those who have trusted, by faith, in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and who “walk in the light as He is in the light…” (1John 1v7) These individuals may attend a variety of different churches or denominations but they are marked by one common trait – the love in their hearts for both their Saviour and each other. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13v35)

The warmth and love that is felt when having fellowship with other believers is second to none… and this love is also extended to my fellow travellers in life, whatever their faith or indeed lack of. The believer, the member of that body of Christ has a love for souls and a desire to see them saved and while they may not always see “eye to eye” with fellow Christians of other denominations, they have a love in their hearts for those individuals; love which transcends their differences.

We are not to be surprised if “the world hates us.” (1John 3v13) But understandably it would be surprising to feel the coldness and animosity of those who claim to be our brothers and sisters in the Lord – and yet this must not affect our attitude to them.

In Matthew 24 we are told of many of the signs of Christ’s coming again. In Verse 10-13 we read: “And then many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Coldness and lack of love are surely traits of these last days. Places of worship are full of many nominal Christians but “we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1John 3v13)

To love the Lord our God and one another is the greatest commandment upon which all others are based. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1John 4v18)

“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (1John 3v23)

And so, “the Church” know the Lord and the Lord knows those that are His. I love the old hymn by Samuel J. Stone: “The Church’s One Foundation” which embraces this truth… “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2Timothy 2v19)

Many denominations were represented at that funeral, but there is only one Church – the Church which is made up of those individuals who have availed of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation; those who love Him and walk with Him until He comes or calls them Home…

The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord:

She is His new creation by water and the Word;

From heav’n He came and sought her to be His holy bride;

With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.”

Link to this hymn, which in its original form has seven verses: https://youtu.be/iOGF93cDYNs

Beyond the Night

December 31, 2016

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

Beyond The Night

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

The old year dies, the new is born,

As I sit alone on this night, forlorn.

My eyes look up from the words of old:

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

Man is like to vanity, his day

As a shadow that passeth away.”

Beyond my shadow at the window pane,

A tender snowflake dies to rain,

While a golden ember upon the grate,

Falls and dulls to darkest slate.

I recall the beauty of evening sun

Splash blood-red on the bleak horizon,

But always the darkness would spread,

And glowing embers are too soon dead.

But I look above, and beyond the night,

And see at last that wondrous sight,

For the gentle moon is surely there,

Bearing light to the darkest lair.

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

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

Lie beyond the darkness deep,

And far far away lies precious perfect light

Triumphant on the darkest night.

Oh let us ne’er be held in bond

By clouds of darkest night,

But let us look above and beyond –

To the Son, our Redeemer and Light.

For was it not this King of Love

Who cast the stars in space?

And did He not die and rise above

For all of Adam’s fallen race?

For moon and stars will fail some night,

And all this world be gone,

But we shall shine as the stars forever,

If we love Him at the Dawn.

©Elizabeth Burke

 

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

December 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note too, that in God’s Word we are exhorted to pray to no one, but the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Tim.2v 5&6)

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

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

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

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

© Elizabeth Burke

For further information or discussion:

Email: readywriterpublications@gmail.com

Visit: https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com

 

 

…”His Compassions Fail Not. They Are New Every Morning…” (Lamentations 3v22)

November 22, 2016

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November, I used to think, is a dull, uninspiring month, a month when the final leaves have fallen, the flowers are almost dead or dying… and all the world lies dull and dreary. But there is something very beautiful about November – its sunsets! In a sense the seasons of the year are like the years of a man or woman. Spring is the childhood of our years, summer is still youthful – but with growing maturity; in autumn our hair will change colour (if it’s allowed to!) and we begin to experience some aches and pains, while winter is, to be frank, approaching death. Of course this is in a normal life cycle. Unfortunately not all lives follow this pattern and sometimes life will be snuffed out in youth or even childhood…

Traditionally November has been a month to remember – we remember the fallen of two world wars and other conflicts and often we remember our loved ones more as the festive season swiftly approaches. Those cold dark evenings are certainly a time for reflection and reminiscing.

As I walk in the fading light of the early evening, listening to the blackbirds in the fields behind our home, I glance towards the beauty of another sunset in the west and I thank the Lord that He has given me another day to live for Him. I thank Him for the simple ability to walk, to see… but above all to appreciate all that He has done for me. In the last few years He has been my Rock, through hospital procedures, operations and bereavements. As John Newton writes in the final verses of his hymn “Amazing Grace”….

“Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,

His Word my hope secures;

He will my Shield and Portion be,

As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,

And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil,

A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,

The sun forbear to shine;

But God, who called me here below,

Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we’d first begun.”

This is surely the Lord’s promise to all who trust in Him alone for salvation and who walk with Him towards the sunset of their lives. “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 136v1)

In this Psalm there are 26 verses – and each verse ends with “for His mercy endureth for ever!” If you have not already done so – trust Him for His mercy now, while it is day, before that night comes when your soul will be lost forever.

As I view another setting sun (or even just the darkness fall) I thank Him for the beauty of His creation, in the wonderful knowledge that each new sunrise is another gift from Him – and each sunset is another one closer to Home…