Posts Tagged ‘glasgow’

An Amazing Discovery and Encouragement from the Lord!

April 29, 2018

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One afternoon recently when I thought the long winter would drag on forever and the spring flowers never emerge, I found myself sitting outdoors enjoying the pleasant sunshine. I was reading one of W. A. Weir’s little booklets from 1973, “Gleams of Glory.” One of the stories was about the conversion of Wade Thompson, who once lived in Clonskeagh Castle, County Dublin. As a rich young man, he was also addicted to gambling and spent much time in the casinos of Monte Carlo and elsewhere in Europe. But the conviction of God came upon him one day after one of his gambling episodes; he later met his mother who was also in Europe and they travelled home together – but he was very distressed. As the story goes “the fear of God and the fear of judgement had fallen on him.”

One of Wade’s uncles, an earnest evangelical and gospel preacher, was rector of a parish at the foot of the Dublin Mountains and it was to him that Wade hurried to for help. The story goes that “the next day (a Sunday) was one of summer beauty. While he waited for the usual morning service to begin in the church, he took a book from the library, and seating himself beside a haystack, began to read. The book was called “Grace and Truth” written by Dr W. P. Mackay. As he read, the light poured into his soul. He saw the Lord Jesus bearing his sins in His own body on the cross. He learned that there was an infinite and perfect sacrifice and atonement made for his sins. The price had been paid, and a full pardon offered. He believed the Word of God that nothing of human effort was needed to add to what Christ had finished on the cross. God had accepted the sacrifice, and therefore accepted him. Wade ran into the vestry crying: “Uncle Robert, I am saved – the Lord Jesus Christ has saved me by His death – oh. I am free and happy!” On that great Sunday for both the rector and his nephew, they both rejoiced together. Both continued to live lives of unceasing service for Christ, leading many others to repentance and joy in Him.

Now here is my amazing discovery… the book “Grace and Truth” that Wade Thompson had read that Sunday morning was by W. P. Mackay (1839-1885) – who features in my blog of 16th April: “The Pawned Bible – a True Story Set in Glasgow, Scotland.” (Dr W.P. Mackay had pawned his mother’s Bible and later it returned to him, when a dying patient asked for it to be sent to him.)

Putting the booklet aside on that sunny afternoon, my thoughts travelled back to W. P. Mackay’s mother in Scotland. Here was a lady who prayed fervently for her son. She gave him the Bible in good faith, never dreaming that it would be pawned but later returned to her wayward son by way of a dying patient who had already trusted the Lord. Not only was W. P. Mackay marvellously saved – but he went on to preach the gospel and to write many hymns and books, including “Grace and Truth” – which in turn spoke to a young Irishman, Wade Thompson – who was not only saved from a life of sin and gambling but was mightily used of the Lord.

I read that “Wade Thompson, once a gambler, but transformed by the grace of God, was followed in the heavenly pathway by his family of sons and daughters, who took the same glorious message of salvation to India, China, Persia and other lands.”

Mrs Mackay’s prayers for her son had far reaching effects – perhaps she never knew about them while she lived on this earth – but she knows now! Praise God, He is able to do abundantly more than we ask or think, when we pray fervently for the salvation of friends, acquaintances and loved ones!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3v20&21)

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The Pawned Bible – a True Story Set in Glasgow, Scotland

April 16, 2018

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It is lovely in this era to still get an old-fashioned hand-written letter from someone. I occasionally get correspondence like this from people that I have never even met – people who are a wonderful encouragement to me! There is a retired lady, a widow, who writes to me, sometimes enclosing little tracts. I felt led to share the following true story in tract form which I have just received from her in the post…

William Patton MacKay left his home in Scotland to attend college at the age of 17. His mother gave him a Bible, writing her name, his name, and a verse of Scripture on the fly leaf. He graduated with high honours and became the head of a large hospital. He also became the head of a club of infidels where they practiced everything that was licentious and vile. He was open in his ridicule of God and the Bible. Two of his chief pleasures in life were confronting critical medical cases and drinking.

One day the ambulance brought in a man who had been horribly crushed. On his face, however, was a look of calm and peace so pronounced that it amazed Dr. MacKay, who was accustomed to seeing people suffer. With a smile the patient asked what the verdict was.

“Oh, I guess we will pull you through and fix you up.” replied the doctor.

“No, Doctor, I don’t want any guess,” said the man. “I want to know if it is life or death. Just lay me down easy anywhere, Doctor, I am ready. I am saved and am not afraid to die.” With a radiant face he continued, “I know I am going to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6v37), and I have come and accepted Him as my personal Saviour. But I want the truth. Just what is my condition?”

The doctor replied: “You have at the most three hours to live.” The doctor was touched, and thinking there might be relatives to notify asked, “Is there anything you would like to have us do for you?”

Thanking him, the injured man replied: “In one of my pockets is a two weeks’ pay cheque. If you can get it, I wish you would send it at once to my landlady, and ask her to send me the Book.”

“What book?” inquired the doctor. “Oh, just the Book,” the man answered. “She will know.”

Dr. MacKay arranged for the man’s request to be cared for, and then started on his rounds through the hospital. These words kept ringing through his ears: “I am ready, Doctor. Just lay me down easy, anywhere, Doctor, I am ready.”

Dr. MacKay had never been known to inquire about a patient from any personal interest, but for the first time in his life he wanted to know how this one was getting along. He returned to the ward where the man had been placed, and seeing the nurse whom he had assigned to the case, inquired as to his condition.

“He died just a few minutes ago,” the nurse informed him.

“Did the Book get here?” asked the doctor.

“Yes it arrived shortly before he died,” the nurse answered.

“What was it? asked Dr. MacKay, “his bank-book?”

“No, it wasn’t his bank-book,” replied the nurse. “It is still there, though, If you care to look at it. He died with it under his pillow.”

Dr. MacKay went to the bedside, reached under the sheet and drew a Bible from under the pillow. As he did so the Bible opened and the pages turned over to the flyleaf. There in his mother’s handwriting was Dr. Mackay’s name, his mother’s name and a verse of Scripture. It was the very Bible given to him by his mother when he left home to attend college. Long ago in a drunken spree, he had pawned it to obtain more liquor.

Dr. Mackay slipped the Book under his coat and rushed upstairs to his private office. He asked God to have mercy upon him and in repentance accepted Christ as his Saviour. He was heard; “his blind eyes opened on a sweet new world.” The old things had passed away, and he realized he was a new creation in Christ Jesus. (2Corinthians 5v17)

Dr. Mackay, the physician, became Dr. Mackay the preacher; and as a preacher of the Gospel, he turned many to the Lord.

Just as God had His eye on that Bible and on W.P. Mackay and had determined that they should meet again, so he has his eye on you, dear reader. ‘The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ Hebrews 4v12

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I would also like to add that Dr. W.P. MacKay (1839-1885) became a renowned hymn writer. Some of his hymns include “Memories of Earth,” “We take the Guilty Sinner’s Name” and “Worthy is the Lamb!” “Revive us Again” is the one which is best known today. This amazing story gives us such hope, for the same Lord who answered W.P. MacKay’s mother’s prayers for her son is at work in answered prayer to our own situations today!

 

“Jesus Saviour Pilot me Over Life’s Tempestuous Sea”

June 10, 2011

The night before I embarked on a recent lone trip to bring my student daughter home with all her belongings was a restless one and next morning I was worn out before I even started to drive to the Stena Line port in Belfast! Gale force winds had been forecast for the day and the sea looked as grey as the sky, as I drove the car through driving rain on board ship. But thankfully the winds seemed to die down as the journey progressed and soon I was standing on deck admiring the first faint glimmer of the Scottish coastline across the pale blue sea. Now, the next hurdle (thoughts of which had kept me awake the previous night) was on the horizon. I knew that I would enjoy the trip along country roads by the sea as far as the motorway which led to Glasgow but driving in a strange city was not something I was looking forward to! As anticipated, I felt at home in those first rural roads; the sea spray lashed off great rocks and sheep grazed peacefully here and there as I drove slowly along the rugged coastline. At one point I stopped briefly to eat a sandwich and drink some water, while watching the rolling waves foaming into a lovely sandy cove. But then as I continued on my journey, the country road led to a fast dual carriageway and soon the latter became an even faster motorway with many lanes.

I now felt ill at ease because I wasn’t quite sure about the way to the part of the city my daughter had been living in for the past year; it is impossible to study a map while driving – and I don’t entirely trust satellite navigators! Soon I came to overhead signs which left me in no doubt that I had missed the turn off the motorway that I was supposed to take. Eventually I found myself in the city centre, parking here and there to ask people for directions. Nobody was able to help me and by now I felt exhausted, so I decided to call my daughter who thankfully agreed to come around to where I was parked. Meanwhile an angry looking traffic warden tapped on my window. “This is a tow-away zone. Move it!” He barked unsympathetically when I told him about my journey, my uncertainty, that I was a stranger to this city and the fact that my daughter would be there at any minute. Just as I was beginning to despair (even though I wasn’t obstructing anyone) I looked in the mirror and there she was – running towards the car! How I thanked the Lord for bringing her there so quickly in answer to my prayer! My daughter jumped into the passenger seat and after giving me a hug was directing me through all these streets which had become so familiar to her.

Further mini-dramas awaited me on the journey and I began to think about how impatient, angry and unwelcoming some people can be to visitors to their country. I resolved there and then never to be impatient when driving behind someone who looked a little uncertain… Next morning while packing all the belongings she had accumulated over her Erasmus year, I noticed some onlookers watching as my daughter and I carried them down to the car. After packing her laptop I said: “I think I’ll stay in the locked car while you bring the remaining things down here.” I simply didn’t trust those who were watching us and later that evening I breathed a sigh of relief as we drove the car on board ship for the return journey. Yes, the sea was more tempestuous than it had been on the way over, but somehow I felt at peace amongst those rolling waves – just as I had while sitting alone in that little sandy cove watching the foaming tide the day before.

Somehow I feel more at peace with God’s creation than with mankind in the cities they have built; yet I know that the Lord wants me to reach these souls He loves and for whom He died. I could spend the rest of my days avoiding people and admiring the Creator’s handiwork – but how wrong this would be! I love the hymn: “Jesus Saviour Pilot me…” Yes, life’s seas are tempestuous but I must keep my eyes fastened on the Master Pilot and while doing so, He will assist me to throw out the lifeline for others so that they too can some day be at peace in that Haven of Rest. There is a lovely story associated with this hymn; a dying soldier was being visited by Major D. W. Whittle who felt led of the Lord to sing it. The soldier was touched as it reminded him of his sister who used to sing it for him before he entered the army. He requested that the hymn be repeated over and over again for him and finally asked: “Will Jesus be my Pilot into the Haven of Rest?” When told that He would, the soldier said that he would “trust Him with all his heart.” Next day when Major Whittle called to see the young soldier, he learned that he had passed away during the night… into that Haven of Rest, to be with his Master Pilot. Praise God – He is better than all the satellite navigation systems that were ever invented! 

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/s/jspilotm.htm

On Pennies, Paupers – and the Pope’s Recent Visit to Glasgow

September 23, 2010

I had occasion to travel over to Glasgow in Scotland recently, to visit my daughter who will be spending a year in that city. When I discovered that my visit there was to coincide with that of the Pope’s, I immediately thought of a certain tract that I have in my possession… “This is my Story – a Personal Testimony by converted priest Henry Gregory Adams,” has been printed in tract form and used extensively in Ireland but now I felt led to bring a quantity to Scotland. This tract is taken from one of the shorter testimonies in a book of ex-priests testimonies: “Far from Rome, Near to God – the testimony of 50 converted Catholic priests.”

I feel that the change in my original plan, which would have meant flying over the previous week, was no accident, because a week later I found myself on a plane where my fellow passengers included some young nuns. The young man who sat nearest to me during the flight refused a tract and then my attention was drawn to the young nuns and somehow, one in particular. She smiled and thanked me for the tract as I made my way down the aisle to disembark at Prestwick Airport. I pray with all my heart that somehow the message of salvation would dawn on the souls of these young women.

My witness for the Lord, for the couple of days that I stayed in Glasgow was to continue in this manner. I didn’t somehow feel led to stand on the street giving out tracts, as the quantity that I had was limited anyway, but wherever possible I gave them to those I came in contact with. The airline pilot, the taxi driver, the owner of the B&B where I stayed, shopkeepers and many people on the street who kindly gave me directions all accepted one. I even left one in a Roman Catholic Church.

One incident stands out from all the rest, concerning my tract distribution. It was my last morning, bright and breezy with a warm sun glinting on some fallen leaves and I was dragging my case around to my daughter’s accommodation to spend the last day with her, when a young woman came out of a side road and smilingly said “hello, isn’t that a lovely morning?” I had been praying just then that the Lord would show me who to give that last morning’s tracts to and I felt that this young woman should get one. However, she walked briskly on, overtaking me and I felt that I really could not shout after her. “Lord,” I prayed as I vainly tried to walk faster, “please help me to reach her.” Then something unexpected happened. I saw her hesitate and stare down at the footpath, after which she bent down to pick something up. Waiting for me, she turned to me with it in her hand and cheerfully said: “Here take this. It’ll bring me good luck, if you do.” She held a copper coin out to me, a two pence piece, not worth much these days – although most people appreciate every penny in a recession! “Thank you,” I said, “but you keep it. After all it was you who found it.”

“Oh no,” she said, “if you don’t take it, I won’t have good luck.” Not wanting to make an issue of the ‘good luck’ theory, I saw my opportunity, accepted the coin and said: “Will you then, take this from me?” I held out the tract and she happily accepted it. After thanking me, she resumed her fast walk in the morning sunshine. The Lord had answered my little prayer in an instant in this city where there is often hostility towards the gospel!

The previous evening I had been thoughtful after watching a televised account of the Pope’s visit to Glasgow. I remembered words referring to Jesus that had very recently been part of my daily reading: “who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords;” (1Tim. 6v15) In the Bible the term “Holy Father” (John 17v11) is only used to address Almighty God. All men (including every Pope who ever lived) “have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3v23) Why then, do men revere an unregenerate man like themselves? He is a man who has been elected by other men to the position known to men as ‘pontiff,’ but like all men he needs to come the humble way, by admitting his need of a Saviour.

What would happen if the Pope discovered that he was in error? Somehow I sincerely believe that he would be in a very dangerous position. Yes, his life would definitely be in danger but… “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16v26) On my first day in Glasgow, my daughter and I had visited a museum which displayed some artist’s impressions of the paupers of the time. Many well-known characters in Victorian Glasgow relied heavily on the mercy and generosity of passers-by, who would take pity on the fact that they were blind or crippled and so had to beg for a living. ‘It would be better to be a pauper upon this earth and know the Saviour,’ I thought, ‘than the most acclaimed person in the world who has never found the truth of salvation.’ All the applause; all the worldwide fame, riches or accolade of a lifetime can never make up for the eternal loss of my soul – or yours.

Praise God for the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – the ultimate and final sacrifice for the ransom of all the souls of mankind. How, then, “shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Heb. 2v3) and “what shall a man give in exchange for his soul…?” (Matt. 16v26)