Posts Tagged ‘egypt’

My Lord Knows The Way Through The Wilderness!

March 1, 2018

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The tune to this lovely little children’s hymn has been going incessantly through my head for the last two weeks, perhaps because I have been going through a really hard time! With many discouraging events and ill health in the family, I was trying to make sense of it all but at the same time just looking to the Lord for strength and faith for today and tomorrow. Very often when we pray about certain situations in our lives and in the lives of our families, hard times come upon us – so that His perfect will is done.

My daily reading was coincidentally in Exodus 13 where we read of Israel’s initial exodus from Egypt. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” (Verses 21&22)

Israel’s exodus and journey reminded me of this little tune that my Dad would sing, as he went about his work and somehow I had a tear in my eye as I thought about him recently, on the seventh anniversary of his passing. It was as if he was singing to me from Heaven…

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,

All I have to do is follow;

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,

All I have to do is follow.

Faith for today is mine all the way

And all I need for tomorrow

My Lord knows the way through the wilderness;

All I have to do is follow.

 

In our lives too, when we trust Him, as His children He leads us all the way – through life’s darkest, most challenging moments. I have found myself sitting in places that I just did not want to be last week: places like a dismal hospital waiting room and behind the steering wheel of a car in heavy city traffic – and next week, I will be in the same situation when my husband has an operation, weather permitting us to travel!

I know that all of this, if I approach it with the right attitude, can be for good, that I might “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Peter 3v18) It is interesting to note that, at the beginning of the children of Israel’s journey “that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” (Exodus 13v17) This may have been the short way but the Lord knew that His people, in a journey just begun, would be easily discouraged by the threat of a war-torn terrain. The Lord knows and can gauge just how much we can take on our journey with Him! Life’s afflictions fall upon us all, regardless of our spiritual standing – but those who are walking by faith, have a comforting Guide who goes before, whether the day is bright and pleasant – or the night is dark and dreary. The following verse, which I wrote many years ago, was later included in my book: “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year…”

In days of old His children fled,

Through the Red Sea’s dried-up bed.

The Guide who lit all Israel’s way,

By fire at night, and cloud by day,

Ever lives for all who journey Home,

Where streets of gold, not earthly dust,

Their lovely feet shall roam.

Like the children of Israel who were strangers to the hardships of the wilderness, we are strangers and sojourners upon the earth. And He, our Saviour, praise His Name, is our sure and certain Guide to the golden streets of Home…

 

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How safe is Your Holiday or Business Destination this Summer?

June 29, 2015

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As recent terror attacks in three continents continue to send shock waves around the world, many people are now wondering whether to cancel their summer holiday – particularly if it happens to be in Tunisia. Horrific scenes have emerged in the last few days; of tourists, including young children running for their lives on a Tunisian beach; of rising casualties in a Shia mosque in Kuwait and of an explosion in a chemical plant near Lyon where a man beheaded his boss…

Elsewhere many areas of the world are in complete turmoil. Refugees and migrants fleeing war, poverty and persecution are floating in the open seas in rubber dinghies and little wooden boats which were never meant to hold the number of people that have been packed unto them. We see images of men, women and children being washed ashore on Greek islands – where the locals are barely able to provide for the needs of their own families.

On a personal level, my husband is to participate in a conference in the Greek island of Zakynthos next month but Greece, we fear, is on the brink of a humanitarian crises. School teachers in Athens have complained that young children are under-nourished and some are even fainting because they have not eaten in a couple of days. In the countryside at least, people it appears are able to grow fruit and vegetables, keep hens for eggs and goats to milk and make goat’s cheese from. However, I have to admit that I am a little apprehensive about our proposed trip to this lovely green island which the Venetians once named “the flower of the east.”

It was here, on this third largest of the Ionian Islands that dozens of terrified Afghan and Iraqi Kurdish refugees washed in to shore just recently, because they were unable to make it to the coasts of Italy. So what awaits any traveller this summer, having reached their destination – financial chaos, refugees on the beach – or worse still… a gunman on the beach?

Yes, it appears that even Greece is on the map of “tourist area hotspots with terror threat level” issued by the foreign office. On the red alert “high threat” list are France, Spain, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Turkey – and now Tunisia of course. Italy, Greece and Morocco are classified under “general threat,” while Portugal, Croatia and Bulgaria are listed under “underlying threat”.

“Oh, just stay at home,” some sigh… “Let’s face it, the world is just not safe out there anymore!”

‘But is it even safe at home?’ I ask myself. If someone had asked an 82 year-old British grandmother ‘did she think she would ever be beheaded in her own back garden?’ I’m sure that she would never have dreamt of such a horror – but this happened not so very long ago.

In an uncertain world, we brace ourselves for tomorrow’s news… but there is a happy band of people in this world who can claim these lovely words and apply them to any situation that they find ourselves in… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Se-lah.” (Psalm 46v1-3)

Can you claim to feel a genuine peace when you hear these words? Whether it is financial unrest, wars, rumours of war, persecution; violence in the forces of nature, sickness or even death – if the Lord has control of all of your life, you have nothing to fear – either here or in the world to come. Of course pain, bereavement, anguish, or having to face up to our own death is horrendously hard to bear but thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us and wants to be our Burden-Bearer. He said: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11v28)

But He also said: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10v28)

And so, in an uncertain world, it is essential to be certain of this one thing – that the Lord Jesus Christ reigns supreme in your life.

If it is that you fear an uncertain eternity, it is not His will that you continue to live in this unhappy state. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5v8)

The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for your sins because he loved you and wants you to have an assurance of sins forgiven in this life – and a deep peace in your heart that you will spend eternity in heaven with Him. All He asks is that you repent and put your trust in Him today. Remember – tomorrow may be too late… for all our tomorrows on this earth are becoming increasingly uncertain. There is nothing comparable to the joy of feeling His Presence with you as you face into each new day. Oh that you would be one of that happy band who can honestly say…“For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.” (Psalm 48v14)

May the Lord bless these words to whoever reads them.

Journey to the King of Love

December 20, 2013

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In my seasonal poem, written years ago for younger readers from the perspective of one of the wise men, my prayer is that hearts (young and old) would have the wonderful experience that is described in the last two lines!

 

Journey to the King of Love ((Matthew 2)

 

One cold day, when the world was lost,

And sin of men lay cruel as frost,

I saw a light above the crowds –

Was this that star beyond the clouds?

 

I hurried on o’er hill and dale,

Through desert sun and stormy gale,

With wise friends by my side –

And a Friend in Heaven to provide.

 

O’er many miles we travelled far

Ever watching for that star,

And when we reached Jerusalem,

That star was bright – a shining gem.

 

Where is He who has been born

To a world of sinners, all forlorn?

We’ve come from far, so far away,

And long to worship Him today.

 

The King we spoke to on that day

Told us to find where the young child lay,

So we hurried along the dusty road,

‘Till we came at last to a humble abode.

 

How we rejoiced to see the star so still…

Oh the joy that our hearts did fill!

But why came the King, the King of Love –

To this cruel world, from Heaven above?

 

Mary, His mother, stood quietly there,

As we offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Oh Child of Love, who came to die –

Our treasures at thy feet we lie!

 

Taking our leave from the King of Love,

We were wise as serpents, harmless as a dove,

For wicked King Herod wanted to know,

Where lay the Righteous, his Heavenly Foe.

 

And so we departed another way,

Being warned in a dream that glorious day.

Our dreams came true, and our hearts were aglow –

With the Love of the Saviour we came to know.

 

© Elizabeth Burke

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“All Things Work Together For Good to Them That Love God…” (Romans 8v28)

November 9, 2013

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I have recently read, yet again, that familiar story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Every time I read it, I feel sympathy once again for his father Jacob, who, on hearing that Joseph’s coat of many colours had been found covered in blood, “mourned for his son many days,” (Genesis 37v34). As a parent myself, I can imagine how heartbroken and distraught Jacob must have been at this news. I can also imagine how horrified the young Joseph may have felt to find himself eventually sold into slavery in Egypt.

Yet we learn later in Genesis 39v2 that “the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

Joseph was to be dismayed later, when his master’s wife tried to cause trouble for him and he was subsequently cast into prison, but eventually his God-given ability to interpret dreams brought him into favour with his master once more.

And so, life with its happy times (but often troubles) carries us along and sometimes we may feel shocked and saddened to find ourselves in situations not of our making. However, if we have made the Lord Jesus Christ the Master of our lives, then we must trust Him to carry us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether that situation is a serious health diagnosis or something completely different, the Lord has promised those who love and follow Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

Perhaps we may find ourselves in a hospital waiting room or ward, or in a support group with those who have been similarly afflicted. At first we may naturally ask: “why me?” Yet Joseph, although he was innocent of wrong-doing when he was thrown into prison, was greatly used of the Lord in these new circumstances in which he found himself. Joseph communicated with his fellow prisoners… “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?” (Genesis 40v7) He was able to interpret the butler and baker’s dreams, although one of them heard something which I am sure he would have preferred not to hear…

Perhaps, we too, may find ourselves in a place where we are the only Christian in the room, the ward, or even a prison cell. But the Lord wants to work out His perfect will through each and every chilling new development in His children’s lives. Not only will He draw His child closer to Himself… He will use him or her to reach others with whom they have been thrown into contact.

The child of God is going Home to the city that has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it… “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21v23)

The earthly heartaches and trials of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and all of the Lord’s ancient people and His prophets are over and while they walked this earth by faith, all things (even the seemingly terrible) worked together for good for them.

Despite the jealous action of his brothers (although it has to be said that Reuben tried to prevent what happened) Joseph eventually was to be instrumental in saving his family from famine. The Lord has work for each and every one of His children to do despite the immediate gloomy forecast!

The youthful Joseph was possibly frightened as those strangers took him away… but the Lord saw down the years: the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine and many more besides. He saw the “bigger picture.” As Joseph explained to his brothers… “God did send me before you to preserve life.” (Gen.45v5)

Today as we look at our immediate situations, perhaps we may feel apprehensive or even frightened but we must never forget that there most certainly is “a bigger, greater picture” and that for those who know Him, the Lord has plans, to the extent that their lives and example may touch the lives of unsaved loved-ones and many others with whom they will meet in these new circumstances in which they find themselves.

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