Posts Tagged ‘creation’

Not a Care in the World!

October 12, 2018

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She sits surveying the last roses of summer, her fur glinting in the warmth of the autumn sunshine… on top of our car! As far as she’s concerned it’s her car, a very warm place to sit; she hasn’t a care in the world. And the surrounding fields are all hers too – she is free to roam where she pleases.

Unlike human beings, animals live in the moment and tomorrow’s worries have no part in their lives. “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.” (Psalm 104v21&22)

Well, our “young lions” are well fed on the best and can rest and sleep anywhere and at any time in our home! Chasing the odd mouse is just a form of gruesome entertainment to them – not a life or death food situation. I look at the complacent cat and I look at the car and I remember recent events…

A while ago, feeling worn out, I had reversed that car into a car park pillar by accident. Oh the sound of that sickening crunch! How could I do such a stupid thing? I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been driving for many years and have never had an accident – and now this sheer stupidity.

“You’ve been very stressed out for a long time with all that’s going on in your life,” someone told me later. “Don’t worry about it. It could happen to anyone under similar circumstances. Just try to put it behind you. Really, in the grand scheme of things it’s not that important…”

She was right of course – but still I can’t help reliving the moment and berating myself. My thoughts also returned to the news I received around the same time that my youngest daughter had been in an accident. Her car was in a bad way- but I thank the Lord so much that she managed to escape uninjured, although she was trapped in the car for a while.

“Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause.” (Job 5v7&8) Such are the “ups and downs” of life but praise God; although the human race is “born unto trouble” The Lord is the answer to it all… “Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:” (Verse 9)

He is surely sovereign and He is our great Provider. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns: yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6v26)

I love Psalm 104, that beautiful psalm of nature, which gives glory to the Creator and portrays His mighty providence and His provision. Praise God, I can see His mighty hand moving in all the situations of life that I recently find myself in. “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (Psalm 104v24)

Perhaps I could take a lesson from His marvellous creation… “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6v28&29).

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) Whatever happens, I will, in His strength, not be burdened by the cares of tomorrow for “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6v34)

As Psalm 104 reveals, the Lord’s glory is eternal. “The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.” (Verse 31) And if He cares for the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air, how much more does He care for we, His creation, made in His own image, for whom He sent His only Son to die?” “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10v31)

Lord I can never thank you enough for all your mighty provisions and for your guiding hand through the big and small trials of life. I praise God that He knew it all before my very existence and that He cared enough to send His only Son to redeem me from death and hell, so that I might rest in His comforting arms, with the peace that “passes all understanding.”

“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.” (Psalm 104v33&34)

Today I Found a Poem From Long Ago… On “Thoughts in Castledillon”

January 30, 2016

castledillon

Having had a particularly wretched ‘flu’ in recent times, I was unable to go beyond these four walls and so, on slow recovery, took the opportunity to sort through some old documents and other personal items which have been lying for a long time. I discovered a diary (dated 1972) but that is a little story for another day. There were also some letters, including a very encouraging one from my Dad to my husband and me, complete with wonderful Bible references… and then I spotted it: a poem that I had written a very long time ago. Strangely I had forgotten all about it, this little poem which was chosen for inclusion in an anthology produced by Northern Ireland Libraries nearly forty years ago.

I have always appreciated and been touched by God’s creation… and then one wonderful evening I came to know Him as my Lord and Saviour. On the theme, once more, of the deity of Jesus, I love these verses: “God who at sundry times and in diverse manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (Hebrews 1v1-3)

In this little poem I refer to Castledillon, a (now derelict) large mansion overlooking a lovely lake. In my youth I spent many happy days and evenings there, admiring the Lord’s creation – and in time being overwhelmed by the wonder that He had sent His only Son to die for me, so undeserving of His mercy. Praise God He is still my Refuge and my Confidante to this very day….

Thoughts in Castledillon

You – who sit behind the desk,

With doubts and worries and frowns grotesque;

Come with me to a different world,

Where a new philosophy lies unfurled.

 

Let me take you by the hand,

And lead you through the winter land;

Past an ivy-covered wall

And down a path where chestnuts fall.

 

We’ll walk until we reach a road,

Where once the Lord of the Manor strode

To his lonely mansion beyond the trees,

That are bared to sculptures by winter’s breeze.

 

Come with me to the shimmering lake,

And let that inner peace awake,

Watch the fire of the setting sun,

Glowing amber on the bleak horizon.

 

Across the silken waters of twilight,

We’ll see a swan in purest white,

Or hear a water-hen flapping wings,

Or a bird of dusk, as it sweetly sings.

 

We’ll watch each precious leaf to fall

Upon the lake that mirrors all:

The ancient trees, the setting sun,

And the gentle moon when day is done.

 

Now let your silver tears be lost,

Amongst the grass of glistening frost.

Come, talk to the One who created all –

Come let your burdens slip –

And fall.

© Elizabeth Burke

 

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

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

 

“How Great Thou Art!”

September 7, 2010

My sister has a lovely holiday cottage in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland, in a small isolated development known as “Wuthering Heights.” A few days ago I brought my daughters there for a break before they return to college. I love this area, evocative of the sentiments described in that hymn “How Great Thou Art.” Here are some of my impressions on this visit…

The walk this morning was, as always, beautiful, with cattle and sheep all grazing peacefully in the mountain pastures; the sun shining, the birds singing and the colour of the wildflowers all contributed to my feelings of happiness about this place. Here I feel close to nature; I feel that I can breathe fresh, ethereal air and relax and unwind from the stress that would daily press upon me. I love this place and I always will. In a sense it reminds me of the simplicity and wonder of my childhood; the quiet walks that I undertook alone in the foothills of the mountains and how my imagination would be inspired by this world of forests, fields and waterfalls.

There is an inexplicable wonder about the Mourne landscape which lies silent and unchanging in this changing world. Only the sounds of nature fill the morning air; very few cars travel along this road and so we walked on, inspired by the beauty that surrounded us. We found to our delight, a sparkling mountain stream where fish were jumping. Further along up a little track towards the mountain known as “Wee Binnion” lies a tiny whitewashed cottage where I was amazed to find someone living. It was something from another era; that little homestead with its minute windows. I remember someone telling me once that there used to be a “glass tax” in the old days, which is why so many ordinary folk could not afford to have big windows. There have been some unjust taxes down the years but to tax people for the ‘luxury’ of daylight surely beats them all!

Soft clouds had formed on the mountain top, as we began our walk home to Wuthering Heights and a mist was coming in from the sea but there was still warmth in the sun. On either side of us lay tiny pockets of land, surrounded by drystone walls and filled with purple heather. As we walked along that road we picked deliciously ripe blackberries and ate them. Here and there my daughter would gather some wildflowers and when we arrived back at the cottage, she made one of the most beautiful arrangements I have ever seen!

Soon I must return to the ‘real’ world; the world of passport renewal, credit cards, college accommodation in a big city, bills, concerns about my children’s futures and work… But meanwhile I will imagine for a moment that I am a ‘mountain dweller.’ I dwell simply in the heart of the mountains, I have no mortgage on my little cottage, I eat my own home grown vegetables, I drink fresh mountain water, I make my own bread from wholemeal grain and I eat wild blackberries for desert. “Like Paradise,” you may say and yet I know that Paradise does not exist on this earth; we battle with the weeds of life whatever they consist of – a legacy from ancient Eden.

Yet, it is true that a little bit of ‘heaven on earth’ can be ours when we fully trust in Jesus as Saviour, whether we walk the mountain tracks or the busy city streets of life. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him.” (Col.1v16) The wonder of creation is surpassed only by the glory of the Redeemer’s love for all mankind. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:” (Col. 1v14&15) These verses bring to mind one of the most beautiful hymns, translated into English and many other languages.

“How Great Thou Art” was first written by Carl Boberg (1859-1940) as a poem in 1885. Inspired by his experience of being caught in a thunderstorm in his native Sweden, the young Christian wrote the original nine verse poem “O Store Gud” (“O Great God”). This original poem was translated into many languages over the years and today, in English, it has evolved into the beautiful hymn “How Great Thou Art.” The fascinating story of how the hymn developed touches Estonia, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Romania and England; while all across the world today, souls are touched by its words in their own language. How can I not help humming its tune as I walk amongst the beautiful Mountains of Mourne in my own native Ireland?

 Link for lyrics and music to this hymn: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/o/w/how_great_Thou_art.htm

“Something Lives in Every Hue – Christless Eyes Have Never Seen”

August 12, 2010

The first thing I realised as we meandered around hairpin bends on the edge of dangerous precipices, climbing higher into the green mountainous terrain – is that I had to commit my fears to the Lord! I soon learned too, that the way of life here was slower and less stressful. Although the journey to the other less ‘touristy’ side of Corfu was a short one, it seemed to take forever that late afternoon, but despite the dangerous roads and fiercely hot sun burning into the car as we drove, I just loved to be here again. Who wouldn’t after a cold Irish winter and a mediocre summer? “I know we’re going to have difficulty finding those apartments,” commented my husband, as he negotiated yet another ‘devil’s elbow.’ “I couldn’t even find any road leading to them on the Google map.”

Soon we were descending from the mountains again and I could see the blue sea in the distance. In time we found ourselves in the small village where the apartments were situated. But where were they? I soon learned too, that an address in these parts tells you very little. We asked some locals but no one seemed sure about the location. Eventually one lady in a bakery knew exactly where we wanted to go and gave us directions. I wondered at the time why she gave me a parting sympathetic smile. The streets were incredibly narrow – barely able to take our own small hired car, as we meandered down sheer slopes and bends towards the sea. Parking in a piece of rough ground, my husband went off to investigate, while I stayed with the luggage in the car. After a while he returned, wiping sweat from his brow. “You’re not going to believe this,” he gasped, “to get to our accommodation you’ll have to cross a field on foot and climb over a wall. There’s actually no road to the place.”

I stared at him for a moment and then sighed. “Well, we’ll make the best of it…” Yet I discovered that although the accommodation was basic, the surroundings were stunningly beautiful – and the manageress was friendly and hospitable. The price of our accommodation was good in the present economic climate – of which Greece was very much a casualty. I remembered the words of St. Paul:  “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Phil. 4v11). And who, in good health, could not be content in such idyllic surroundings?

At night we would go to sleep to the crash of the waves washing in over the shore, which was just ‘a stone’s throw’ from our little balcony. Every morning I awoke to the sound of a cock crowing and the warmth of the amber sunrise. I loved the vibrant colours of the wildflowers, the bright blue sky, fluffy little white clouds and the golden beaches lapped by the sparkling azure blue waves of the sea. Behind the beach there was a backdrop of greenery in the form of pine and other trees – such sheer beauty!

I sincerely believe that the beauty of God’s creation can only really be appreciated by His children. George Wade Robinson (1838-1877) aptly portrays this in his hymn: “I am His” The hymn describes the relationship that the saved soul has with His Creator and how he experiences a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature. Yet some day all of nature (as we now know it) will pass away to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth which has not been tainted by the fall of mankind – a truth which can be read in Revelation, chapter 21. And for those who love Saviour, the last few lines of George Wade Robinson’s hymn eloquently describes this wondrous truth…

“Heaven and earth may fade and flee; firstborn light in gloom decline;

 But while God and I shall be, I am His and He is mine.”

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/a/iamhisah.htm

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)