Posts Tagged ‘faith mission convention’

“Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.” (St. Luke 11v35)

August 27, 2015

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Having recently attended the annual Faith Mission Conference near Durrow in County Laois, I was reflecting today on all the different types of people that we’d met – both at the conference and around that locality. Somehow we found ourselves seated beside someone who had never attended the conference before. He had travelled a distance – out of curiosity. The fact that this person had sat beside us, I felt, was no accident because of the conversation which ensued after the meeting. How good it is to be able to witness to those we come in contact with in this way; I felt a great sense of the Lord’s Presence while we were conversing with this man and also a sense that he was genuinely seeking something more in his life.

There are others who may attend a meeting where the gospel is preached for many years but for some reason it never touches their hearts. Often I pray quietly within my own heart while a sermon is being preached, in the knowledge that there may be someone present who needs to be awakened to see his own need.

Others, still, perhaps young people, have just gone along to please someone – or even under duress. They are ‘anti’ everything that is said and bored with it all… and they show it!

There may also be deceivers; they mingle with Christians and they use the same terminology as Christians, but they have never been truly born again of the Spirit of God; I believe that the Lord gives discernment in this regard too.

Deceivers populate much of the ‘religious’ world. Not only do they deceive – but they are deceived. Very often of deceivers who are deceived it may be said that they are… “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Timothy 3v7)

We stayed on after the conference, to visit the round tower and the relatively new heritage centre in the picturesque village of Timahoe. Situated in an old Church of Ireland, we discovered much of historical interest in this heritage centre, where we were kindly shown around by a lady who lives in the area.

Models of several austere looking monks caught my eye – but especially one who sat at a writing desk. On viewing the photograph later, somehow that “ever learning” verse came to mind.

Surely “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.” (Ephesians 2v8&9)

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” (1Timothy 2v5&6)

He gave Himself a ransom for all: seeking souls shall find Him if they seek for Him with all their hearts; the scorner will be forgiven and the backslider restored if they truly repent – and even the deceiver can break through, when he allows the Lord to show him that the light that he thought he had is but darkness.

Ultimately we can only serve one Master, whose will is that our eye is “single.” Friendship with the world is surely enmity with God. (James 4v4) It is totally His will that our eyes are focussed on Him alone and on the eternal values that count.

In the lovely words of Jesus: “The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11v34-36)

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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The Last Faith Mission Convention in Stradbally, Co. Laois – and Memories of the Rock of Dunamase

August 23, 2011

The Stradbally area will always hold special memories for me, since it was the evocative beauty of the scenery here which inspired the covers for my first two books: “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” and “Singing on the Journey Home.” It was with a sense of anticipation tinged with a little sadness that we set out on our last journey to this area where the convention has been held for the last twenty-eight years.

Last weekend I recalled the bright August morning on which we first discovered the ‘Rock of Dunamase’ – ancient castle ruins dating back to AD 432, which the Stradbally area is famous for. This rock, if it could speak, would tell of many battles. In the 9th century it was plundered by the Vikings, in the 13th century it became a Norman stronghold, while in the 17th century it was destroyed by Cromwellian guns. Throughout Ireland’s turbulent history the Rock of Dunamase remained a strategic base, even through constant violent attacks. Amazingly the rock was recorded by the Greek geographer, Ptolemy, in his map of AD140!

Little did I know when I first photographed the “Rock Church” from high amongst the ruins of the Rock of Dunamase, that it would be on the cover of my first book and that a view of a lovely little Laois farmhouse would provide the cover for the second.

As we drove along the narrow country lanes, I gazed with interest at golden crops just waiting to be harvested. Yes, they were “white unto the harvest” but would there be enough help available to get those crops safely gathered in before the dark days of rain which had been forecast? There were numerous “tares amongst wheat” and regrettably some “wheat amongst the tares.”

And so I pray for the Faith Mission workers as they move to a new location; that they will stand true to the principles on which they were founded; that souls will be touched like never before and that the Lord will use this new centre in Durrow to His glory. I thank God that He gave ordinary people like me the opportunity to reach souls in the Stradbally area, while attending the convention there over the years and I pray that some day I will meet those souls in heaven.

It was good to meet with old acquaintances and to receive and give spiritual encouragement last weekend and I pray that those who attended will be met at the point of their spiritual needs, for how we need the Lord in these times.      

I thought about the spiritual condition of many who claim to follow the Lord, both in this county and others and sadly the words of Revelation 3v2 came to mind: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” Yet, recalling how I reflectively touched the ancient remains of the Rock of Dunamase years previously, I cannot but think of the words of Jesus to Peter, in Matthew 16v18… “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

That “Rock” was surely Christ, as is evidenced by the words of 1Cor. 10v4… “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”

If a great remnant of the earthly Rock of Dunamase still remains, despite the fierce battles of two hundred decades; how much more shall we withstand the gates of hell if we are strengthened and made pure by faith… in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal “Rock of Ages?” Praise His Name.