Posts Tagged ‘christian’

The Two Roads: Destruction and Eternal Life

July 10, 2015

scan2roads1

How I miss my mum and dad who went to be with the Lord in recent years. This week, especially, I have been thinking of mum who only passed away some months ago. Old choruses that they used to sing have filled my thoughts and I feel an aching void within my heart for their company. Recently I discovered a little booklet amongst all the Christian literature that they left behind.

Entitled “The Two Roads,” it has many short stories based on the theme of its title – something I feel may bring conviction to those who read them. I know well that my parents would approve of me using these little stories as tracts – both online and in personal distribution. Compiled by Norman Lorimer and printed by John Ritchie Ltd., Kilmarnock, Scotland, it has obviously been written in an earlier era. I feel that many of the stories it contains (on the theme of its title) may convict those who read them…

Two roads before us lie,

And each a choice must make,

One upward to the sky,

One downward to the lake.

Will any choose the path of woe;

Each soul must answer “Yes!” or “No!”

 On the first page of the booklet is printed these words from Matthew 7v13&14:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate, and BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, and few there be that find it.”

The following poem (author unknown) is printed before the stories:

THE BLOOD

There is forgiveness God doth say,

Through the Blood;

Both sin and guilt are put away,

Through the Blood;

And sinners fitted for the sky,

Yes, unto God Himself brought nigh,

Made meet to dwell with Christ on high,

Through the Blood.

‘Tis not your work puts sin away,

But the Blood;

Nor is it gold, God’s word doth say,

But the Blood;

Yes, ‘tis the Blood, the precious Blood

Of Christ, the chosen Lamb of God,

That clears away sin’s heavy load;

Precious Blood!

Thousands of souls in Heaven will be,

Through the Blood,

Praising the Lamb Who on the tree

Shed His Blood.

All white and pure, all glorious fair,

They praise the Lamb, Whose joy they share;

O happy throng! Will you be there?

Through the Blood.

How often has it been said that the “the Blood” is rarely mentioned in modern hymns… I hope to post the first of many stories in this little booklet shortly. Surely His Word will not return unto Him void!

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Pilgrim’s Progress – Living for that which is to come

May 23, 2014

pilgrimsprogress 002

 

Some time ago my daughter gave me a present of some second hand books from the Trinity College book sale. Perhaps the most interesting of these (priced at just €5) was a beautifully bound and embossed antiquarian copy of “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” something which I have only started to read for the very first time in the past few weeks. Inside this very old edition was equally old handwriting showing that it had also been given as a gift to someone on 7th August 1866.

I have seen other copies of The Pilgrim’s Progress, but somehow the print was very small in these, while the larger, clearer print in this book made me just want to read it!

So far I have been reading it very slowly, taking everything in, including all the Biblical references which are marked on the side of each page and I have to say that I find this allegory of the Christian life deeply fascinating and revealing so far. Sometimes I just have to smile with recognition when I encounter the places that Christian finds himself in and the people he meets!

From time to time as I read of Christian’s adventures, I feel that I must write about these from a personal point of view.

Very early in his journey, when Christian is in the ‘interpreter’s house,’ the latter talks of Lazarus and the rich man and Christian comments: “Then I perceive it is not best to covet things that are now, but to wait for things to come.”

The interpreter agrees with Christian: “You say truth: for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.” (“2Cor. 4v18)

Interpreter goes on to say: “But though this be so, yet since things present and our fleshly appetite are such near neighbours one to another; and again, because things to come and carnal sense are such strangers one to another; therefore it is, that the first of these so suddenly fall into amity, and that distance is so continued between the second.”

In our materialistic ‘throw-away’ world “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is like an alien piece of literature or a little piece of gold in a rubbish tip. I learned that it has never gone out of print since it was first published in February 1678 and that it has been translated into more than 200 languages. It has also been regarded as one of the most significant pieces of English religious literature ever written.

From the outset of his journey I see that Christian’s is the path of the “few that find it” and I have a great sense of his loneliness at this point of the journey.

Of the Christian life I would say with ‘Christian’ – “To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it: I will go forward.”

We must go forward.

Perhaps something that made a very real impression on me this week was when I read of Christian being confronted by ‘the lions at the palace gate’ – a sight to frighten the bravest of souls.

But Watchful reassures Christian: “Fear not the lions, for they are chained, and are placed there for trial of faith where it is, and for the discovery of those that have none: keep in the midst of the path, and no hurt shall come unto thee.”

In my life just recently I have met some ‘lions’ but I thank the Lord that they are ‘chained’

“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1Peter 3v13)

Those who know the Lord can say with the psalmist… “My times are in thy hand…” (Psalm 31v15)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8v35-39)

I look forward to joining Christian on the rest of his journey, for in his words… “but now I desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one…” (Hebrews 11v15&16)

 

Primroses, New Life – and Showers of Blessing!

March 23, 2011

My favourite wild flower of spring is the primrose. Its delicate fragrance and colour is a joy to experience, tastefully decorating the ditches and hedgerows in this part of Europe. I love those verses in Song of Solomon 2v11&12… “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” These lovely words fill me with optimism, although it must be said that Solomon had never experienced an Irish winter, which often lasts longer than we would wish!

When we entrust our lives into the Creator of all life, we inherit something special – a deep appreciation of the beauty of His creation. Although tainted by man, we can still experience something of its wonder and beauty when we visit some unspoilt countryside. How glorious is spring; that newness of life, which is not just a renewal, but new vibrant and budding life – a victory over death!  Just as spring emerges from the pessimistic gloom of winter, our lives can emerge from a spiritual death, as cold as winter itself – when we repent of our sin, asking Jesus to forgive us and take control. I once wrote the following, a simple acrostic verse that children may appreciate, which expresses my love of the flower and my joy in God’s creation and in the knowledge of sins forgiven through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Primroses in the Gloaming

(2Cor. 5v17)

Perfume so fragrant at the dawn of spring

Rose to meet me one twilight evening.

I hummed a tune as I strode along,

My heart as content as a bird in song.

Red was the sunset through clouds of the west,

Over the trees flapped the last crow to nest,

Silently, gently, I picked one pale flower…

Enraptured my soul after the shower!

 

Elizabeth Burke

 

“There is a Way which seemeth right unto a Man, but the End thereof are the Ways of Death”

January 19, 2011

In recent weeks I have spent much of my time wandering through certain hospital corridors – hardly an enjoyable experience; yet the Lord has assisted me to use the occasion to reach others with the gospel at this testing time in my life. In a sense all of life passes through this hospital. I have seen joyful faces carrying flowers towards the maternity unit where new life has just begun; worried and distraught faces sitting in ‘accident and emergency;’ boredom on the faces of visitors who regard visiting their relatives as something of a chore to be endured. And then there are the pale grief-stricken faces…

One night I also saw a young man whom I suspected had a drug problem, being flanked by two young policewomen.

On another day I took a walk into the “Quiet Room” for the first time. “A Place for Everyone” was the caption at the entrance, but on entering I felt immediately at odds with the atmosphere. I wanted to pray but somehow felt that this was not the place. In fact I felt more like praying in my car in the car park or in a quiet corner of the canteen than in that place on that particular day.

At the entrance to this “place for everyone” are signs for many religious beliefs: Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i… I’m not entirely sure what all the signs meant but as I looked at them I reflected on what people refer to as ‘our increasingly pluralist society.’

God’s Word tells me that “there is a way which seemeth right unto a Man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14v12)

And Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14v6)

Yes, there is only one way. In the midst of all the meandering beliefs and the vast twisting maze of men’s philosophies, there is only one shining path that leads to the city which has “no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21v23-27)

Above all, it is God’s will that every man, woman, boy and girl presently alive in this world of many contrasting beliefs would hear His knock at the door of their hearts and open them to let Him in.

As for those of us who name His Name, let us seek to reach others, even in the troublesome times in our own lives. If the last few weeks have taught me anything, they have taught me that life is incredibly short; too short to waste on anything other than serving my Lord and Saviour.

Oh that we would possess His great love for the unloved, the troubled, the sick, the weary, the bereaved, the lost…. Then prayerfully, we can point them to that Highway, the “way of holiness” (Isaiah 35v8) “without which no man shall know the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14)

And then one glorious day we can put the dark scenes of this life behind us for the Prophet Isaiah promises that “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35v10) Praise God!

My little Greek Donkey – A Thought for “Palm Sunday”……(John 12)

March 23, 2010

Paul said: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (Gal. 4v10&11) Therefore with this in mind, I do not observe these “days, months, times and years” in the sense that I feel obliged to pay homage to them. Yet these times which are noted on our international calendars may be used to proclaim all that the Lord has laid upon our hearts. With this in mind, I remember my little Greek donkey…

Some years ago I made friends with a little donkey on the Greek Island of Corfu. Day after day it stood tethered by the dusty roadside, looking parched in the intense heat of the sun. As I gave it some water to drink, my eyes fell on the cross upon its back… something peculiar to all donkeys I had ever seen.

He could have chosen a golden chariot drawn by well-groomed horses, for after all He was the King of Glory, but as always Jesus trod the road of humility.

It was a beautiful day when those who loved Him lined His path with branches of palm trees, as He came riding upon an ass’s colt. “Hosanna!” they cried, “Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” There were certain Greeks on that day who had come to worship at the feast. “Sir, we would see Jesus…” they said to Philip. (John 12v21)

Sometimes on a stormy Irish winter’s night while I try to sleep, my thoughts return to another time, another place… and my little donkey. Aptly named ‘beast of burden’, the donkey is universally subjected to ill-treatment. No one understands burdens more than Jesus does, for He took the burden of sin of the entire human race to Calvary – and made it His own.

Today, as the burdens of life would press upon us, we can (like the Greeks of old) see Jesus – by faith. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden”, He says, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt.11v28-30). Why not trust Him with your burden today, for no matter who you are or what you have done, He died to make your burdens His own!

Jesus said: Peace I leave with you, my peace give I unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14v27)  © Elizabeth Burke 2006

Book launch in the Failte Centre, Balbriggan

March 12, 2010

A children’s book launch party will be held in the Failte Centre, Balbriggan on Friday 19th March, between 6.30p.m. – 8.30p.m. Free bookmarks, stickers, balloons, pencils etc. while stocks last. Also light refreshments. The full colour children’s book “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You,” will be available for just €5 at the launch! All adults/children are welcome to drop in between the above times.

 https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/god-made-you-god-loves-you-god-saves-you/

God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You

February 4, 2010

“God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” ISBN: 978-0-9557155-2-5 Published 2010

Retail Price: £6.99 (Sterling) €7.99 (Euro)

“This full-colour children’s gift book has been produced for a wide age range. The lovely contemporary photographs of creation will especially appeal to the very young, while subsequent pages will speak to all who have reached that age of understanding. Covering creation, the fall of mankind and the flood, it then touches on some Old Testament characters, who in faith looked for the coming of the Messiah. The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are comprehensively dealt with, while His invitation: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6v37), is extended to each reader in a personal way. May readers of all ages be touched by its timeless message!”

One day my daughter came home to say that she was in a shop when she heard a tiny boy singing…

Good News! Good News! Christ died for me. Good News, Good News, if I believe…”

Everyone in the shop stopped to stare – and listen. In the summer of 2009 many other children and their stories crossed my path and one day the Lord spoke to me: “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19v14). It was then that I knew what He would have me do, with the result that my first children’s book was born! This Children’s Bible study takes us on a journey from Genesis to Revelation. It features full colour photographs of creation, Irish and international scenery, in addition to photographs, illustrations and object lessons which give the ambience of Bible times. My desire is that the Lord would use this little book, wherever it may travel and to the hearts of all who read, for in the words of Jesus… “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18v17)

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.