Posts Tagged ‘charles wesley’

Sunflowers Still Blooming in November!

November 3, 2018

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“Those sunflowers will never grow,” someone told my daughter when she planted them. “They’ve been planted too late and many storms are forecast. It’s just impossible.” But miraculously, not only did they come out in full bloom but they are still standing after several storms; they have survived and we are now into November. Strong trees have fallen but the row of sunflowers have stood resolute throughout fierce gales and dashing rain. Only one fell, which perhaps had not been properly rooted. There is a spiritual lesson there somewhere…

This little encouraging event is synonymous with another much more serious event that has been going on in our lives. If sunflowers can stand through three major storms, then anything is possible. Indeed, as the old Wesleyan hymn goes… “All things are possible to him, that can in Jesus name believe.” If, as this hymn describes, the Lord can so transform our lives, not only in the new birth experience but to the extent where sin shall not have dominion over us, (Romans 6v14), then “all things are possible to me.”

Every new day in our lives is a miracle in itself. As the days draw in and winter lies ahead, inevitably the sunflowers will die – but their seeds are being used for something really good and beneficial. I remember my father saying… “There is no telling what the Lord can do with a life that has been totally consecrated to Him.” In Romans 5v3-5 we are told: “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

I prayed that the sunflowers would grow – because it would have a deeper meaning for me. Not only did they bloom but they grew tall and withstood the storms. Just as I stood, opened-mouthed with wonder at the sight of the sunflowers still in full bloom despite the elements, people are watching those who know the Lord; watching their reactions to the full blown storms of life. “How can they bear it?” they ask themselves. And they look for the answer – and we need to reach them with it.

Praise God…

“All things are possible to God;

To Christ the power of God in me;

Now shed Thy mighty Self abroad,

Let me no longer live, but Thee;

Give me this hour in Thee to prove

The sweet omnipotence of love.”

 

(Charles Wesley)

 

 

Thoughts on June Birthdays – and a Birthday that Counts!

June 17, 2011

Just recently, on 15th June, I felt sad in the knowledge that it was the birthday of my dear dad, Jack Hutchinson, who had passed away earlier this year, but then the Lord showed me this uplifting tract which I had written some years ago – something I believe that Dad would have wanted me to share at this time…

“Many notable Christians were born in the month of June. Billy Bray, the famous Cornish miner who was converted from alcoholism was born on 1st June 1794; Elizabeth Clephane the hymn writer, who wrote “There were ninety and nine,” was born on 10th June 1830; John Wesley, the great evangelist was born on 17th June 1703, while Charles H. Spurgeon, also a renowned preacher, was born on 19th June 1834. Samuel Medley the hymn writer was born on 23rd June 1738 and Richard Weaver (known as “undaunted Dick”) was born on 25th June 1827. No doubt, some further research would reveal even more well-known Christians who share a June birthday!

Just recently I was invited in to see the new baby of a neighbour of ours. As she reached out her tiny hand and gripped my smallest finger tightly, I thought about this new life. What would the future hold for her? Would she be rich or poor, famous or obscure, miserable or happy? Would she grow into an accomplished young lady or would she commit some terrible crime? ‘Hopefully,’ I mused, ‘not the latter.’ Above all I hoped that someday she would come to trust the Lord Jesus as her Saviour…

Have you ever looked on a tiny vulnerable baby and paused for a moment to think of what the future holds for that little one? Most of us are average individuals with humdrum lives, but we are all unique. Just as each one of the billions of human beings ever born into this world through the centuries have had DNA and fingerprints peculiar only to them, so it is with our paths in life. You and I as individuals have a path before us that is ours alone to walk. Although there are many factors which may influence our behaviour in life, we do not have to shoulder those burdens alone, and despite what some would say – our eternal destinies have not been decided for us before birth. (2Peter 3v9) One thing is for certain, for whatever life and all its uncertainties throws at us, the Lord Jesus Christ sincerely loves and cares for each one of us more than anyone else in this world. The Christians mentioned above came from vastly differing backgrounds. Billy Bray was a drunkard in his youth, while John Wesley was a Bible-reading church-goer – but both of them needed to see their need of salvation.

How wonderful that Jesus died for both of these individuals and for all the other Christians mentioned above. Furthermore He died for you and me and every other human being born into this world, including that little baby who gripped my finger. (1John 2v2)

As we grow from infants into childhood, at some point we begin to have a spiritual awareness and with that age of understanding we are faced with a choice. Sometimes, in His mercy, the Lord will continue to speak to souls for many years, confronting them with this choice, time after time. Billy Bray had the choice – either to continue in his sin, or let the Saviour deal with it. John Wesley had the choice – either to proudly hold to his good works as a means of salvation, or come humbly to the foot of the cross.  When he did so, what a transformation! Now all his good works (and these are essential in the Christian’s life) were the evidence of a new life begun in faith, and he was able to move on to an even deeper experience. Each of the aforementioned individuals came to a place where they trusted in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ atCalvary. Charles Wesley (John’s brother, who was the author of over 6,500 hymns) wrote in his final verse of “And Can it be…”

“No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine.

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

Can you sincerely say these words with confidence? If so, praise God – for He can lead you into an even deeper walk with Him!

If you cannot say the words of this hymn with confidence, then come to Him now and ask Him into your heart, for you will never regret it. Every day we make minor choices in life and sometimes more important ones, but there can be none more important than that of repenting of our sins and choosing to follow Jesus. He wants to use your life to His glory and although your name may never be recorded by mankind in the annals of history, it will be written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21v27) and this is the only record that truly matters. Some day those who serve Him shall hear those beautiful words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” (Matthew 25v21) Why not trust Him to do that work in your heart, even today?”

“Absent from the Body – Present with the Lord” (2Cor. 5v8)

February 24, 2011

A few days before the end of 2010 my father took a severe stroke. What a shock that was and how my loved ones have rallied around for the seven weeks (to the very day) that he died! How much we shall miss him – especially my mother; yet I have that assurance in my heart that Dad is with His Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. On Saturday 19th February as Dad’s body made its last journey down the tree- lined avenue from his home, it was a beautiful day. New baby shoots were pushing their way up through the soil – the promise of another spring of growth and of the warmth of the sun, after winter’s dark cold sorrow. Yes, I cry as I write this, in the knowledge that I shall never see that dear face, or hear his voice on this earth again but I have such joy in serving my father’s risen Saviour who has given me that ‘peace which passes all understanding.’ Now I must go, in His strength, to proclaim His love for all mankind, for I am aware, more than ever of the brevity of life and of the need for souls to be ready for His coming again. I felt privileged to do the reading from 1Thessalonians 4v13-18 at Dad’s funeral service. With trembling hands I opened at this reading which commences with the words… “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”  

After the long journeys made to his bedside these past seven weeks, I had been feeling drained and yet the Lord gave me the strength to climb the steps to the lectern, to do this reading. Hundreds of faces stared up – something which would leave me quivering under normal circumstances, as I am a naturally shy person, but I was doing this for the Lord – and His servant, my Dad. Afterwards my three daughters hugged me and I was greeted with the words: “Grandad would have been so proud of you.”

The two hymns which rang out that day were: “My Jesus I love thee, I know thou art mine” by W.R. Featherston and “Jesus the Name high over all” by Charles Wesley. I love the final verse of “My Jesus I love thee…”

“In mansions of glory and endless delight

I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright

I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow

If ever I loved thee, my Jesus ‘tis now.”

And I love the final verse of “Jesus the Name high over all…”

“Happy, if with my final breath

I might but gasp His name,

Preach Him to all, and cry in death,

‘Behold, behold the Lamb!”

Outside the church another sea of faces greeted me; some I had not seen since childhood and scarcely knew now. Hands shook mine, old acquaintances embraced me and a world of people from another era of my life floated around. It was almost surreal; I walked as if in a dream with my loved ones behind the funeral cortège, down the village street where I had walked as a child from school. Later at the ‘Orchard cemetery,’ in a lovely rural setting just outside the village of Richhill, my husband and daughters were a comfort as the interment took place. As the coffin was lowered into the grave, the sun suddenly came out in full force, shining strongly and triumphantly through the clouds and I felt embraced by its kindly warmth. How I felt the Lord’s strong Presence and reassurance with me at that moment!

That night my eldest daughter had a dream; she wakened and said to me: “Mum, Grandad is alright. I dreamed that he hugged me and told me not to cry. In the dream he was tall, strong and healthy… and so happy. But when he hugged me, it was as if there was something separating us… ”

“Yes love,” I said, “he is alright. I know that.”

And yes, there is something separating us – the last enemy which is death. Perhaps I will face it some day – and maybe not, but this I know…

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4v16-18)

My prayer is that all who read would trust in the precious Name of my Dad’s Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation!

Link to these hymns: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/m/j/e/mjesusil.htm

http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/j/n/a/jnamhigh.htm

Snow on the mountains – and a Song within My Heart!

November 29, 2010

On Friday last (26th November) I travelled up for the carol service in the Disabled Christian Fellowship Centre, in Newcastle County Down, Northern Ireland. ‘Early for a carol service,’ one might say and I suppose it was, but in carols such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley, there are words which are joyfully relevant at any time of the year…

“Christ, by highest heaven adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

Late in time behold Him come,

Offspring of a virgin’s womb!

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail the incarnate Deity!

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus, our Immanuel.”

 

What truths are proclaimed in this carol! The virgin birth, the Deity of Christ and then in the third verse – His death and resurrection, whereby mankind can be born again to an inheritance incorruptible!

That night after the carol service I travelled back through the ice and snow to the mountain house where we would stay the night. I hate driving in this weather, but the Lord took care of us throughout the entire journey. During the night we were wakened by a thunder storm, followed by hailstones pounding off the roof and windows but the fury of the weather during the night was replaced by a beautiful and peaceful scene next morning, as I looked out to see white capped mountains glistening in the sun.

This heralded a most encouraging and interesting day when I was able to visit little towns and villages that were new to me. We stopped briefly at the St. Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick which provides an outlet for my first book “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” and then we moved on to the small town of Killyleagh. Here we spotted the fascinating 12th century Killyleagh Castle, complete with turrets and believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland. Strolling up to its great doors we discovered that there was a craft fair being held there that day.

Our next ‘port of call’ was the small town of Comber, home to “Revive Books,” a Christian Book and coffee shop in Castle Street. Along the journey I could not help but wonder at the diversity of Ireland as a whole. How the Lord loves its citizens – from the glens of Antrim to the rocks of Mizen Head. From the families who live in ancient Castles and ancestral homes – to the families who live in crowded conditions in the cities of Limerick, Dublin or Belfast. He is no respecter of persons and it is His will that all souls would put their trust in Him as Saviour, whatever their backgrounds. How He loves the souls of Ireland in their rural and urban communities, with all their differing customs, dialects and denominations!

At last we arrived in the much larger town of Newtownards, home to around 30,000 people and also home to another Christian Bookshop: Ards Evangelical Bookshop, Crimond House, in Frances Street. Both of the Christian Bookshops listed kindly facilitate copies of “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year,” “Singing on the Journey Home,” and “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You.”

We started the terrifying journey home from the mountain house that night. I say “terrifying” because of the weather conditions that prevailed close to our home in County Meath. I prayed before the journey, I prayed during the journey – and then I prayed, giving thanks to the Lord for His protection when finally we slipped through the entrance to our home. It was a short but memorable trip – and one that increased my resolve to serve the Lord by distributing the words that He gives me throughout the spiritually needy land of Ireland with its diverse cultures.         

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/h/a/hhangels.htm

Singing on the Journey Home

February 4, 2010

“Singing on the Journey Home – True Stories with Favourite Hymns & Photographs”

ISBN: 978-0-9557155-1-8 Published 2008 Retail Price: £7.50 (Sterling) or €8.50 (Euro)

“On the beautiful evening of Monday, 28th August 1978, a spiritual battle raged within me. I thank God that His power prevailed and that He assisted me to take that life-changing step from darkness into His marvellous light, through faith in the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ. Now thirty years later, I feel led of Him to write thirty little chapters from my life; each one praising Him for His love and mercy to me. Linked to these stories are lovely old hymns which have touched my heart over the years, in addition to many colour photographs of Irish and international locations. My prayer is that those who love the Lord will be blessed and encouraged; while others will find my Saviour, whose shed blood on their behalf has inspired men and women to write verse and music to His glory throughout the ages.”

The above is based on early childhood memories of my parents ‘singing on our journeys home’ and was written to commemorate 30 years since the evening I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. For each year I have written a little story from my life’s experiences, while linked with these stories are appropriate favourite hymns and colour photographs from Ireland; a few reflecting international travel over my years. Wherever possible I have researched the background to the old hymns quoted – material in itself which makes interesting reading. Although a few of the hymns are obscure and little is known about their authors, I felt that I must include them because their words have touched me at certain stages on my life’s journey. The book includes early childhood memories and life before coming to know the Lord; events which led to my salvation; and then many little experiences which occurred during my life of faith. Some of these are more dramatic than others, but they all have one common theme… with God all things are possible!

A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year

February 4, 2010

“A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year, with True Stories, Reflections & Photographs”

ISBN: 978-0-9557155-0-1 Published 2007 Retail Price: £6.99 (Sterling) or €7.99(Euro)

“What does the Bible have to say about ‘Lent,’ the Trinity, forgiveness, depression, illness, affluence, education, the occult, Heaven, Hell, death, prayer… the need for salvation?  These true experiences, woven into the Irish/British seasons, but internationally relevant, are told in twenty-four simple chapters and show us that the infallible Word of God is a faithful Guidebook for every issue that affects us in life.”

The above is a full colour autobiographical/devotional taking the reader on a journey through the seasons of the year. There are twenty-four chapters in all, each one containing a true story. At the close of each chapter is a full colour photograph of a scene or object lesson, based on the story told. Also included are two original paintings by my mother and daughter.