Posts Tagged ‘easter’

A Strange Thing Happened One Evening…

April 14, 2017

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It’s quite a few years ago now and something I hadn’t really thought about in a long time, but in the last couple of days this incident has been very strongly on my mind. I believe it was an autumn evening and I had been reading our local newspaper – something I rarely do these days. Leafing through the pages, for some reason an advertisement in the “local events” page caught my eye. It looked interesting, that talk on local history which was to take place in a small village some distance from where I live. Wanting to know about the subject, I decided to go along on the evening in question.

Now, I find this difficult to explain but all I can say is that before the evening, the Lord spoke to me in that “still small voice,” asking me to take along with me to this event…. a laminated print-out of Isaiah 53. I couldn’t understand why I had to do this but looking back now, it is truly amazing…

“Isaiah 53? Why in the world should I bring a copy of Isaiah 53 to this secular meeting?” I thought. Most, if not all of the people in attendance would be practising (or at least nominal) Roman Catholics, with myself being the only exception – and anyway there was nothing remotely religious about the meeting. But I knew the Lord wanted me to do this – and that His will must be done.

Well, I drove over in the darkness of the night, parked the car and entered the venue, realising that I was a few minutes late. I sat down at the very back and listened to the chairman introduce the special speaker of the evening. “Well, at least I haven’t missed anything,” I thought. But then I pricked up my ears at his next words… “The advertised speaker for tonight has been unable to come, but fortunately for us Mr _____ who is an author in the Jewish community has kindly come to give us an alternative talk at very short notice….

I took a deep breath. I had read about the speaker who was supposed to come – but this replacement speaker tonight was Jewish. Touching the laminated print out of Isaiah 53, I knew exactly why the Lord had asked me to bring it. Most people would say: “But Jewish people know about Isaiah 53 which is part of their Bible…” However, I knew that the Lord wanted me to give it to this gentleman at the conclusion of the meeting for a reason. Frankly, it took courage to do that. I tried to explain to him what had happened and although he did seem a little irritated by the incident, he nonetheless accepted it.

To this day I have no idea what may have been achieved by this. The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible but for the Christian, Chapter 53 is very prophetic of the Lord Jesus Christ, although I was always aware that Jewish people see this differently. I have no idea what was (or still will be) achieved by what happened after the strange turn of events that evening. All I know is that the Lord is Sovereign and that His Word will not return unto Him void! I can still remember my surprise that night when a different speaker was announced and the dawning knowledge that the Lord had a purpose in what He had asked me to do. I will always love the beautiful words of Isaiah 53, which I pray will continue to speak to souls (whatever their persuasion) while we abide still in this, the glorious Day of Grace…

“Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgement: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53)

At the Faith Mission Convention in Bangor, Co. Down – and Old Memories of the “Stewart Memorial”

April 14, 2015

0064 Recently my husband and I drove up to County Down for the Faith Mission Easter Convention. This was a nostalgic visit for me, as we had not been there for some years and I had also so many emotional memories of attending the convention with my mum and dad who have passed away in recent years. We stayed there for two nights, returning home on Tuesday afternoon, after hearing a fascinating account of the work and recent experiences of Maud Kells in the Congo. An especially nostalgic visit awaited me on the Tuesday morning, when we took a walk around the shore to the place where I once worked, more than 30 years ago now. Some of my experiences as a result of working in the Stewart Memorial School for disabled children are recorded in my second book, “Singing on the Journey Home.” As we walked along by the sea, I stopped to talk to a lady who was sitting on a park bench. After affirming that she was a local, I asked her about the school, which I knew had closed down a long time ago. “Expect to find many changes,” she added, as I was about to walk on after our conversation. It is a truly beautiful area in any season and now, with daffodils waving by the shore and a distant ship on the horizon, I couldn’t help but remember the events in my life all those years ago, as I sat on a little bench by the sea, praying that the Lord would guide me in my life, after having had an interview for a job at the “Stewart Memorial.” Memories of a little girl, “Emma,” that I had known returned to me as we climbed up from the sea side to the now unfamiliar environs of the building where I once worked. The following is an extract from my story “Over the River Faces I See…” which is recounted in “Singing on the Journey Home:” “Little Emma was a sensitive child too and I was aware that she disliked returning to the home after a weekend with loving parents. She would often weep on those Sunday nights and I, in turn, would give her a reassuring hug. I believe that it was little Emma who first ‘brought out the mother in me.’ How I came to love all those children! In a sense it was a landmark in my life, revealing to me my own inadequacies as well.” A later extract reads:       “I had only been there for a short time when those rumours circulated that the establishment was to close down. Later, when this happened, it was a very emotional time as everyone said their ‘goodbyes.’ Each and every child in that home had made a deep impression on me; I shall never forget them and the time that I spent there. Somehow the Lord had used this short time in my life to mould me as a Christian, and even in those days I had a strange feeling that some day I would put the experience into words.       Some years later I was sleeping one night in my old home, when I was wakened by a beautiful dream. This dream was so real and lives on with me, even to this day. In the dream I could see Emma, who was running and jumping and smiling with happiness. As she looked my way, she waved to me with a delightful smile and with that I wakened. I recall sharing the experience of this dream with my mother at the time. Then, not long after that I learned from an extract in a local paper, that little Emma had died around that time. As I read the article, I recalled that vivid dream. In the dream I could see clearly that it was Emma, but everything about her was perfect and healthy. She was so full of joy and happiness, basking in God’s light, more glorious than the sunlight of the brightest day. When I think of this little girl and my subsequent dream, I cannot but recall Judson Wheeler Van De Venter’s hymn, “Looking this Way.”        This hymn reminds me that there are billions of little ones in glory today, since circumstances in their lives prevented them from ever reaching those years of spiritual understanding and so they were not held accountable. Oh that mothers and fathers would see the simplicity and depth of these words in Acts 16v31… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” In obeying this command, they will most certainly be re-united with those little ones in a land where tears never fall”. Today it is the “Stewart Memorial House” which is threatened with closure. I was informed of this by one of the staff who very kindly showed me around the building – and the lady on the bench was so right! I remembered very little of it… so many changes had taken place. This beautiful place, which is currently home to around 30 adults of all ages with disabilities (not children as it was in my time) is no longer “financially viable” according to the “powers that be.” I felt an air of sadness about it, just talking to some of the staff, who have naturally no wish for it to close either. I was introduced to a lovely elderly lady, May, who was in her nineties. Strangely as I entered her little room, I suddenly felt very emotional. She looked like my own mother and all her walls were covered in paintings which she had accomplished over time. One alcove was full of little personal ornaments which she had collected. She even talked like mum and had a similar sense of humour… I bit my lower lip and quickly composed myself as I didn’t want to be in tears in front of this dear lady. I know that it will be a terrible upheaval for this lady and others if they are uprooted from their familiar surroundings and the people who work with them. I also know from experience that it is not such a good idea for really elderly people to have to move to another location at that stage in their lives. Expect to find many changes… Yes, indeed, how circumstances change, institutions change and people change… but “He never changes.” (Malachi 3v6) My “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today and for ever.”(Hebrews 13v8) Nothing is “set in stone” with regard to the affairs of this life. Well over thirty years have flown by in my life as I recall scenes and experiences like they had only happened yesterday. Dramatic changes have taken place in my own life within just three or four years but… “He changeth not.” I thank Him for His love, His mercy and His abundant grace – and I thank Him for guiding me this far. I now pray for relationships and situations where closure seems inevitable – but if it is at all possible I pray that this home can be saved. Yet I also pray that the staff and patients of Stewart Memorial House will come to know His abiding Presence in their lives, and may they have a heartfelt experience of the truth of these words: “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13v14) This morning I discovered a lovely hymn by Fanny Crosby: “On Joyful Wings.” This hymn truly echoes the truth that we are indeed just “passing though,” but for those whose trust is in the Lord, what joy to know that we are passing to our real home, the home “where He, our Saviour dwells.” Link to this hymn:   http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/o/n/j/onjoyful.htm

On joyful wings our raptured souls

Would mount and spread their flight

And from Mount Pisgah’s top behold

The land of pure delight.

Refrain

Above the clouds, above the stars,

That heavenly region fair,

Where He, our Lord and Saviour dwells

Our home, our home is there.

Sweet visions oft His love reveals,

Of that divine abode;

And with His kind, protecting hand

He leads us on the road.

Refrain

Oh blessed hope that bears us up,

And stills each throb of care!

The night will pass, the morn will come,

And we shall soon be there.

Refrain

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Easter Book Launch of Novel: “Ricky the Runaway”

March 19, 2015

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Lord willing I hope to launch my fourth book “Ricky the Runaway,” which centres on the adventures of a twelve-year-old boy who runs away from home because of a well-known problem in our society: bullying at school.  The introduction to the novel reads…

“Set in the early twenty-first century, this is a story of how fervent prayer can create the winds of change in lives, blowing them safely to rest in that harbour which is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each short chapter leaves the reader in suspense as the story moves from one situation to another, exposing many problems which are well known in our world: bullying, the exploitation of migrant workers, parents who are not listening to their children and children who have become a danger to society because of neglect and lack of love, guidance and discipline.

Ricky runs from one danger to another, revealing how ‘running away’ from situations at home, work or school is rarely the answer to our pressing problems. Meanwhile, not one person in his family is left untouched by the power of prayer in the lives of ageing distant grandparents who have become estranged from the family. Even anonymous souls, like a nurse in a hospital corridor, are affected by what is happening in the lives of the family. Written against an Easter background, “Ricky the Runaway” is about finding “that which was lost” and discovering love, forgiveness and lives made new by the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The venue for the launch, which will take place between 3.15pm and around 5.15pm on Monday 30th March, will be Richhill Recreation Centre, in the large committee room. (Disabled access) Parents, children and all interested parties are welcome to drop in anytime (and for as long as they wish) between those hours. Simultaneously I hope to have an Easter bookmark-making craft for anyone interested. (All materials free) Light refreshments are available for all – as well as small Easter eggs for the children while stocks last!

Normally retailing at £6.99, the book will be on special offer of £5 at the launch.

The dedication reads:

“This novel is dedicated to the memory of my beloved parents, Jack Hutchinson (1926-2011) and Ella Hutchinson (1929-2014) of Woodview, near Armagh in Northern Ireland. As parents and grandparents in a million, their gifts of love and encouragement to me are still so real, reaching even beyond the bounds of this life. I feel in my heart that they would have been overjoyed with the knowledge that young people, for whom they had a special affinity, would have been reached in this special way with the love of their Master.”

Acknowledgment: I wish to thank my daughter, Sarah, for her wonderful artwork on the covers of “Ricky the Runaway.”

May the Lord bless the proceedings on Monday 30th March next. I look forward very much, to meeting old friends – and greeting new ones!

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Easter Wordsearch Competition – Two Full Colour Books to be Won

March 26, 2013

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Please feel free to print and circulate the above wordsearch. Click on the image above to enlarge.

 

The Gift of Life – and the Greatest Donation Ever Given

April 6, 2012

Just a few minutes ago I tuned in to hear the closing minutes of a radio phone-in programme, on which the subject of organ donation was discussed. One man was emotional as he related how he felt after wakening up to a new life, all because a much younger man had died in an accident. He was so grateful for this donation, describing how he looked out in the early morning to see the sun shining and to hear the birds singing. This wonderful gift had effectively enabled him to lengthen his life – and to have a better quality of life! He now felt much healthier and all his blood tests were coming up as normal. And yet he admitted that (although he doesn’t know them) he very often thinks sadly of the family of his donor and their great loss when their son had died. Another lady in the discussion reassured him, explaining that the family would look on this as a most positive thing to do under the circumstances.

Yet another man explained how his sister had so lovingly offered him one of her lungs (she was the most suitable donor) so that he would be able to continue to live. I was touched by the selflessness of people in these situations – both live donors and the families of donors who had sadly passed away.

Then, immediately, I thought of Jesus and His great sacrifice for all of mankind. Most live donors would naturally be reluctant to willingly offer a part of their body so that a violent drunkard, or murderer could have a new lease of life; yet the Lord Jesus Christ left the wonders and beauty of Heaven to lay down his life, so that this entire fallen human race could be awakened to new life in Him – and the promise of a Home in Heaven forevermore.

“But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5v8) 

People on waiting lists for organ donations very often never receive their required organ; they wait for months and sometimes years with a poor quality of life and sadly many die.

Now here is a thought – how strange it would be for someone to refuse the gift of new life and improved health!

The Lord Jesus Christ promises us new life in Him, if we acknowledge our sinful state, repent of it – and ask Him to lead us into fullness of life in Him – a life in His glorious Presence for all eternity.

The good news is that there is no waiting list for this offer! In fact His desire is that you, the precious soul for whom He died, would accept His offer now. “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor. 6v2)

Tomorrow may be too late, for soon your own life may pass away – or Jesus may very suddenly return as your Judge, for He has promised: “I will come again.” (John 14v3)

His desire is that you would turn to Him now, in the quietness of your heart, asking Him to forgive you for your sins and to come into your life. Surely the horrific alternative to a life with Him in eternity is unthinkable?  

May the Lord richly bless you as you ponder these truths, so that your spiritual health will be eternally rich, for this Great Donor who gave His life so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly, rose again and is alive today and forevermore.

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2v8-11)

Should we abstain from Certain Things at Lent?

February 24, 2012

One of my children once came home from school with a pamphlet containing a list of ‘recommended things to do, in our observance of Lent.’ “Is it good to give up things for Lent Mum?” she asked. It was a good idea, I explained to her, to eat healthily, at any time of the year, and this may entail giving up or reducing our intake of sweets, for example. However, the Lord has never laid down any ‘hard and fast’ rules about eating things differently at certain times and seasons of the year. In 1Cor. 10v31 we are exhorted to “do all to the glory of God,” which includes eating and drinking, but the word ‘Lent’ is nowhere to be found in the Bible. 

Indeed, the whole idea that we can improve our spiritual standing before God by self denial of one sort or another, is totally contrary to God’s Word, for we read in Titus 3v5-7:  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Also, in 1Tim. 4v4 we read: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” It is interesting to note that thanksgiving is mentioned twice in this portion of scripture (1Tim. 4v1-5). How good (and essential) it is to give thanks for the food before us. This can be a challenge when one is dining in public – but we should never be ashamed to bow our heads and give thanks to the Lord for His provisions to us. This action in itself is a witness and testimony to those around us!

Many denominations now observe Lent as a ‘holy time of preparation,’ in the forty days prior to Easter. Preparation for what, I wonder, for surely the Great Ransom has been paid?  (Hebrews 10v10). No ordinance of man, or fasting, self-punishment or denial of certain foods and luxuries can take away the sin which separates us from God and from eternal life in His kingdom – but the blood of Jesus can! This Jesus “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” (Hebrews 7v27&28).

Sadly many priests today, like the priests of old, find themselves subject to ordinances and laws which can never take away sin. Christians too, are warned…  “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” (Gal. 4v8-11). 

Like the Pharisees of Bible days, many people these days live a seemingly ‘holy’ life, attending their place of worship regularly and adhering to directives from their hierarchy. Unlike the Christians of Berea, mentioned in Acts 17v10-13, they do not “search the scriptures daily, whether those things were so…” (Verse11). Surely we can only put our trust in “such an high priest… who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7v26). Finally, only Jesus can forgive us, cleanse us, and make us free from the indwelling sin, which every soul has been born with!

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

If You Had Been the Only One… He would still have died for you!

April 19, 2011

Did you know that whoever you are and whatever you’ve done (good or bad), Jesus loved you enough to die for you? (1John 2v2) Before the foundation of the world, He foresaw your birth and mine and then one day (in the knowledge that nothing less than this enormous sacrifice would suffice) He allowed Himself to be taken away by an angry mob and cruelly nailed to a Roman cross.

If Jesus had not died for us and gloriously risen again we would be without hope, both in this life – and the next. By dying for us, Jesus effectively took the weight of our sins and paid the price, so that we might have an assurance of sins forgiven – and a home in heaven. “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 2v24) “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.” (2Corinthians 5v21)

Remember only Jesus can forgive us our sins, because only He has never sinned, for the Bible tells us that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3v23). In Hebrews 7v26&27 we are told of Jesus… “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”

When Jesus uttered those final lovely words “It is finished,” what a defining moment in the history of mankind! Finished the necessity for animal sacrifices, finished the striving and those rituals which can never take away sin. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10v11&12).  Again we read in Hebrews 10v18… “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

“But there are so many different religions in the world,” one may say. However, in Acts 4v12 we learn that Jesus is the only way: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We may reject or accept this statement, but Paul tells us in Romans 14v11&12 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

“But what about my kindness, charity work and church going?” some may ask. However in Isaiah 64v6 we learn that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” In Ephesians 2v8&9 we are further assured: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. However good and respectably you have lived your life, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is still essential for salvation. After this your faith will be evidenced by your works. (James 2v18)

Still others might say: “But my life has been appalling. I have committed terrible sins – I don’t deserve to go to heaven.” Perhaps not, but no one does! Remember, Jesus loves you every bit as much as any ‘pillar of society!’ Whatever your background, addictions, problems, or your sin in this life, it is totally within His will that you repent, trust in His enormous sacrifice for you – and have that assurance in your heart of a home in heaven.

In Matthew 27v38 we read: “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” In a sense the whole world is represented by these two people who hung on either side of Jesus on that day. Jesus died for both of them and both of them were guilty – but we only read that one of them accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. Jesus said to him… “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23v43). What wonderful words to the human ear! You, the reader, can also have that assurance of sins forgiven, and a little bit of heaven can be yours upon this earth, for Jesus said “I am come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10v10).

Are you ready for that day when the Lord shall return again – this time as Judge? “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed.” (1Corinthians 15v52) The alternative to heaven, that terrible place hell is unthinkable. In the Bible we read of no other destination in the after life, but heaven or hell. But it was never God’s will that mankind (whom He made in His own image, and sent His only Son to die for) should spend eternity in such a horrific place. The righteous Son of God was born in humble circumstances, died between two criminals, and on the third day rose again so that we would never have to pay the terrifying eternal penalty for our sins. In 1Corinthians 15v55-57 we read those encouraging words for those who have trusted the Saviour… “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.”

Would you like to be sure of a home in heaven? In 1Corinthians 6v2 we learn that “…now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” Tomorrow may be too late! Jesus warns us that He could return at any time… “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Luke 12v40). We must consider, too, that our lives are fragile and transient: “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.” (James 4v14).

One day many years ago I came to that place of repentance. The date shall forever stand out in my mind… 28th August, 1978. Ultimately I knew that I was in danger while I lived my life outside of God’s grace. I was totally alone in an upstairs room, no one preached to me and no one prayed with me, and I cannot remember my exact words, but I know that on that evening I crossed from darkness into light, and found the Greatest Friend and Confidant that anyone could ever hope for. Perhaps you would like to pray these (or similar) words right now in the quietness of your own heart… “Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for dying for me. I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that I need your forgiveness. Please come into my life and make me a new person. Assist me, in your strength, to tell others of my experience and to live according to your words, as contained in the Bible. Open my eyes to the great truths within it, and help me to find fellowship with others who have come to know Jesus as their Saviour.”

Thank you for reading this. I sincerely hope and pray that you will find that “abundant life.” Note that it is better to start reading the Bible (preferably the Authorised Version) in the New Testament and after this the Old Testament. If you require further discussion or help regarding the issues discussed in this tract, please feel free to contact me at: readywriterpublications@gmail.com. May you know God’s richest blessings upon your life – now and forever!

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the Sin of the World.” (John1v29)

April 16, 2011

Herein lies the core of the Christian message! Surely no creature is more innocent and harmless than a little lamb, which is why Jesus, the perfect Son of God, is compared to one. I wrote the following lines many years ago when I went for a walk, and then fell asleep under a tree on an April afternoon…

 

The Final Sacrifice

(Hebrews 10)

 I saw a lamb so loveable upon a warm spring day…

How beautiful the innocent when they are at their play!

It jumped and skipped and ran with merry youthful glee,

Then refuge took in mother’s milk, sucking eagerly.

 

I strolled within the meadow green and sat beneath an oak,

Its budding arms drooped over me, my memories awoke.

I thought of all the lambs I’d known, and how with joy they leap,

And then my eyes grew heavy, my memories in sleep.

 

I dreamed I saw ten thousand lambs beneath an eastern sky,

They cried for mother mercy, but they knew that they must die.

Men in flowing robes of old killed them one by one,

Blood upon the doorposts; little ones consumed before the risen sun.

 

Those who sheltered ’neath the blood, escaped God’s wrath that night,

But for those that worshipped Egypt’s gods, how sorry was their plight.

From first-born child and beast, was taken life and breath,

At midnight’s hour so long ago, all Egypt tasted death.

 

And then I heard another Lamb: “It is finished” was His cry,

Because of this, my love for all, no other lambs should die.

I dreamed of this, His sacrifice, the nail prints in His palms,

And how He suffered, died, and rose for we His precious lambs.

 

The whispering wind in the ancient oak stirred me from my sleep,

And I heard again the cry of a lamb, wandering from shepherd’s keep.

Oh come to Him my wounded lamb, now caught in the grove of sin,

Oh come to the fold of the Shepherd of Love and by faith now enter in.

 

You may hear His voice in the city streets – or in a desert place,

He whispers o’er the ocean waves, how wonderful His grace!

He knows your name, He loves your face, the sheep that has gone astray,

And He longs to make your heart His home, before God’s Judgement Day.

 © Elizabeth Burke

 Isaac Watt’s hymn, “Not all the Blood of Beasts” written in 1709, describes it so well. Here are the first two verses…

Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain
Could give the guilty conscience peace
Or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name
And richer blood than they.

My prayer is that the Jewish people would see that “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10v4) and that those who trust in the sacrifice of the mass would see that “every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down at the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10v11&12). And may those who know Him as Saviour reach out as never before to their fellowmen who have yet to find that “new and living way” which is described in Hebrews 10v20.

Link to this hymn:  http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/n/a/nalblood.htm

Unlimited Atonement

March 29, 2010

For whom did Jesus die? This simple question has led to much bitter debate down through the centuries, but I believe that God’s Word declares without a doubt that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Which verses do I use to support this view? Here are a few…

 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1Timothy 4v10)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” (Titus 2v11)

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Peter 3v9)

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5v18) Does not ‘all’ mean ‘all?!’

In my youthful, unregenerate days I heard a sermon which troubled me. I remember thinking: “supposing I am one of those who have been predestined to go to Hell?” I felt, for a short time, a bleak helplessness but thank God for His reassurance! Somehow I knew that this could not possibly be true and when I later trusted the Saviour, it was with joy that I read the above verses.

As for predestination, I have no problem at all with the verses where this is mentioned. “For whom he did foreknow…” (Romans 8v29) Of course God ‘foreknew’ – because God knows the future. He knows who will trust Him – and who will not.”… “He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Those whom God knew beforehand would trust Him and endure to the end – have been predestined to be glorified. Praise God there is a choice today! “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24v15) And here is another verse to consider: “For the love of Christ constaineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead;” (2Cor. 5v14)

Remember, if you had been the only one – He would still have suffered and died for you! Therefore if you have not already done so, repent and put your trust in the precious blood of Jesus for salvation today – for the great price has been paid for the ransom of your soul.