Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Sing Praises to thy Lord and King: Thoughts on Traditional Hymns

April 25, 2019

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Having returned from more hospital treatment we heard our robin friend singing his little heart out behind our home – and my daughter got a lovely photograph of him! If there is anything I love to hear… it is birdsong. How they love to praise their Creator – and how their song can cheer the weary soul! Around here we have chaffinches, bullfinches, blue tits, great tits, wrens, greenfinches, goldfinches, blackbirds, gold crests, sparrows, swallows, swifts, robins and of course birds of prey like buzzards and long-eared owls. Starlings, curlews, pheasants, crows, jackdaws, pigeons and magpies, although sometimes noisy or with their own peculiar plaintive call, have their songs too!

The Lord wants mankind to praise Him too and it is true that many beautiful hymns have been written to His glory and for the extension of His Kingdom over the centuries. However, for a number of years now I have noted a departure from the traditional hymn, with all its depth and sincere exaltation of the risen Saviour. Not everyone is aware of this, as they may worship in a fellowship or church where traditional hymns are always sung – but these are rare nowadays.

Unfortunately the traditional hymn, rich in doctrine and divine truth, has been discarded in many places, in favour of modern choruses with little depth. What is worse, sometimes their words are far from the truth…

“You’re the Lord of every man…” “Really?” I thought, as I heard these words sung recently. Someone told me once that he felt that some modern choruses were like “the vain repetition of the heathen” and sadly I was inclined to agree with him.

Of course mankind can only truly praise the Lord in song when he owns Him as Lord and Saviour. How many have sat in congregations over the years singing words which did not at all apply to their own spiritual state? Only those who have true communion and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ can sing out the beautiful words of hymn writers like Frances J. Crosby. Somehow, I feel that only those who know Him as Saviour can truly appreciate and are especially touched by something as simple as a little member of His creation singing sweetly to his heart’s content.

Rich are the moments of blessing

Jesus my Saviour bestows;

Pure is the well of salvation

Fresh from His mercy that flows.

 

Ev…er He walketh beside me,

Bright…ly His sunshine appears,

Spreading a beautiful rainbow

Over the valley of tears.

 

Rich are the moments of blessing,

Lovely, and hallow’d, and sweet,

When from my labour at noon-tide

Calmly I rest at His feet.

 

Why should I ever grow weary?

Why should I faint by the way?

Has He not promised to give me

Strength for the toils of the day?

 

Tho’ by the mist and the shadow

Sometimes my sky may be dim,

Rich are the moments of blessing

Spent in communion with Him.

(F. J. Crosby)

If Trees could talk… A Walk in Balrath Woods

June 1, 2013

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On the return journey from Navan, County Meath recently we stopped for a short time at Balrath Woods, a beautiful spot throughout the seasons. Known locally as ‘Knockcomra,’ oak, beech, ash and spruce grow in these mixed woodlands, while lovely wildflowers carpet the depths of the woods. One tree in particular caught my eye – ‘the great beech.’ I don’t know how old this one is but my guess is that it has probably seen several centuries. How amazing to think that some trees, like the oak, can live for more than a thousand years! As a child I used to think how fascinating it would be if an ancient tree had eyes to see, ears to hear conversations – and a tongue to describe the people who had walked past it over the centuries. Fashion, language and terminologies, manners, customs, technology and life as a whole have changed dramatically over the centuries but some things never change…

The natural man’s need for salvation never changes; Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and to day and for ever” – and the “Word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Hebrews 13v8, Isaiah 40v8)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away,” Jesus tells us in Mark 13v31.

Very high up in the beech tree I saw a name deeply carved into the bark and I wondered how long ago this was carved and whether the person who carved it was still alive today.

Surely we make our marks upon the earth – for good or for evil. We will never walk this short journey of life without leaving some sort of impression on the other lives we touch.

As I listened to the chorus of birdsong in this lovely unspoilt place, I thought on the beauty of the Lord’s creation and could only imagine the wonders of the Garden of Eden before the fall of mankind.

I looked beyond the trees where soft fluffy clouds were gathering in the blue sky.

Are you ready today, to meet the Lord, should He break through the clouds, to take those who belong to Him home to glory?

“Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth.” (1 Chronicles 16v33)

There are numerous references to trees (and indeed different species of trees) mentioned in the Bible but perhaps some of the most spiritually significant are those trees which are mentioned in parables and in the first and last books of the Bible – Genesis and Revelation.

How sad that mankind ate of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” but how marvellous that God has sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to save ‘to the uttermost’ those who trust in His finished work upon the cross of Calvary.

Trees have existed since those early days of creation and if ancient trees could talk, what stories they would tell us! They have been used as weapons, turned into paper, regrettably carved into articles of worship; used to make an ark of ‘gopher wood’ and the ark of the covenant; in the day of the battle of David and Absalom “the wood devoured more people than the sword;” they are a source of paper for the printed word, and once so long ago a large piece of wood was carried to a place which is called in the Hebrew “Golgotha.”

The Lord Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose again that we might have right to the tree of life.

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they might have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city.” (Rev. 22v14)

Only in His strength can we “do His commandments,” so that we may be likened to the “man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. And he shall be like a tree planted by the river of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1 – 3)

Surely, our leaves shall never wither while we are walking in the perfect light of the Son.

O1

I Know that my Redeemer Liveth!

April 21, 2011

This evening I took a long walk down the country roads close to where I live and I felt joyful in my spirit. Little rabbits were jumping and skipping in the fields, cattle were peacefully grazing, birds were singing and away to the west I watched in wonder, the blood-red sunset turn to amber through the trees. Yes, I love God’s creation but often I feel that the individuals I come in contact with within the human race are unpredictable and untrustworthy. Yet Jesus died for every one of them – and for me. How amazing!

In this world we can be certain of nothing or wholly depend upon no one, but we can depend on the Lord Jesus Christ and in this day of grace His arms are ever open; ready to embrace those who repent and come to Him in simple faith. Below is a little poem which I wrote a long time ago, expressing the sentiments described in James 4v13 &14… “Go to now, ye that say, Today or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

I may lead my life, unknown to the world and forgotten when the few who love me pass away – but because I have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and am walking in the light, as He is in the light, then His victory is mine forever!

Perhaps some day this transient life,

With all its sorrow, joy and strife,

Like a vapour, will vanish away,

This earthly frame beneath the clay,

My name forgotten quietly,

With the death of those who loved me.

But there is One who will remember me –

Surely the King of Immortality?

He, suffering, died that we should live forever,

His blood a cleansing, flowing river,

His rising conquered sin and death forever –

For all mankind: the “whosoever,”

O Lord thy victory is mine forever!                  

© Elizabeth Burke