Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Lagoúdi – a Small Koan Hamlet Untouched by Mass Tourism

October 3, 2012

“Blink and you’ll miss it” is an expression that the Irish give to some of their tiny villages when driving through them – and Lagoúdi could certainly be described as a “blink and you’ll miss it village.” But the tiny village of Lagoúdi on the Greek island of Kos will always have a special place in my memories because of its lovely atmosphere of peace and authentic ‘Greekness.’ I had this feeling that here was a place untouched by time and tourism. We spotted it one hot afternoon as we were driving towards the better known village of Zía, famous for its tourist shops and beautiful views. Pulling off the dusty road, we parked and strolled through the village street. (There is only one.) Cockerels and hens were roaming freely along the narrow little street and I spotted one of those elusive Greek ladies dressed in black retreat into her dwelling place. Numerous cats were slinking everywhere and after a while we heard some beautiful violin music carry, faintly at first, above the noise of the crickets. It was then that I saw him – the elderly Greek man playing a traditional melody, while he sat at the entrance to his home in the heat of the day. Enjoying the atmosphere and the music at that moment, I asked his permission to take his photograph and although he seemed to be a shy person, he readily agreed. I gave him a little ‘John 3v16’ Greek bookmark, for which he thanked me, as most of the Greeks so politely do.

The entire village seemed to be asleep (it was siesta time, after all) but for the two people we met. Another younger man sat outside his house with his feet up, contemplating his small part of the world with an expressionless gaze. He too, accepted a bookmark but how I wished at that very moment that we had more of a grasp of the Greek language, to talk to these people.

Now, on a rainy autumn day with leaves flying everywhere in Ireland, my thoughts turn to that lovely little Greek village and to the souls who live there. The village, we discovered, was dominated by the ‘Panagia Theotόkou Genesíou,’ a very ornate Greek Orthodox Church. In the heat of the day we strolled in there and took a seat in its quiet coolness. I noticed, too, a purring pregnant cat lying under one of the seats; obviously she needed to take refuge from the strong sunlight! I can still see, in my photographs and indeed, in my ‘mind’s eye,’ the magnificence of this building we discovered standing above the village: the beautifully carved candle sticks and rich chandeliers; the intricately carved seats, the shining marble floor and the stunning artwork – all in strange contrast to the simple village itself.

But in reality ‘the church’ is not a building, or even an organisation; the ‘Church’ are those believers who together make up ‘the Body of Christ.’ (Romans 12 v4&5). Does the Church have many members in this and other little villages on Kos and on other islands and on the mainland of Greece? Oh that those Greeks who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, would reach out to their fellow countrymen and women – but how few really know the Lord and have been touched by the simplicity of the gospel…

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10v12-15)

Signed by the Author: A Beautiful Full Colour Book with a Free Handcrafted Bookmark for Just €5… Not only on “Fiver Friday!”

June 29, 2011

Recently I tuned in to R.T.E Radio when I heard the broadcaster Joe Duffy announce “Fiver Friday;” an initiative to encourage people to buy locally in our recession-ridden times here in Ireland.

Having heard about this I decided to offer autographed copies of my children’s book with free handcrafted scripture bookmarks, for just €5 – beautiful gifts with a message of hope.

However, this offer stands, not just on 1st July 2011, but every day for as long as stocks last.

Wherever possible, the books will be delivered freely. However, in some instances a small postal charge (no more than the flat rate of €1 in the island of Ireland will apply).

For those living abroad, the postal charge will also be kept to a minimum.

“God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” has been used by Sunday school teachers and acquired for use with those whose first language is not English. Its full colour pages display the beauty of creation, reveal the faith of Old Testament characters and declare the truth of the gospel in the simplest of terms. The book is Christian in content – but non-denominational and not aligned to any church or organisation.

If you wish to avail of this offer – please contact me at readywriterpublications@gmail.com to arrange delivery and choose a payment method which suits you.

Unfortunately the book is a little more expensive in bookshops, as these deduct a considerable amount of commission.

A description of the book “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You” can be viewed at: https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/god-made-you-god-loves-you-god-saves-you/

“Wash Me and I Shall be Whiter than Snow!”

December 16, 2010

I am always struck by the purity of snow, particularly when it is covered by a layer of frost in the early morning sunlight. Everything appears innocent, beautiful, clean and new; in a sense reminiscent of the new-born babe in Christ. David said: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51v7)

These days purity in the human realm is almost sneered at, while sadly, in Christian circles purity is rarely encouraged in the Christian. There seems to be a widespread culture of preaching by which we are told that ‘we are all sinners’ and that ‘we sin in thought, word and deed every day’ – statements which are nowhere to be found in scripture. During the summer I attended a Christian conference where a speaker referred to ‘saved sinners and lost sinners.’ My heart sank at these words and after this I felt that the spirit was not in the meeting. Again, the term ‘saved sinner’ is nowhere to be found in the Bible and those who have been born again by the grace of God are never referred to anywhere in His Word as ‘sinners.’ In Psalm 1v5 we learn that “the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”

No, it is not impossible for us to sin as Christians and we learn in 1John 2v1&2 that “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Note the use of the word ‘if’ here – not ‘when.’

In Psalm 51v10-13 we learn that a pure heart is a prerequisite to reaching others with the gospel… “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Those who talk of ‘saved sinners’ will often quote 1John 1v8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

Yes, if we know that we have sin in our lives, then it must be confessed and repented of. However, we cannot read 1John Chapter 1 in isolation, for Chapter 2v1 emphasises: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” Furthermore this chapter goes on to set the standard for the Christian, with verses like this one: “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (Verse 4) Finally, in this chapter we learn that: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (Verse 29)

In Chapter 3v3 we read: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure,” while Verse 3 carries a warning to those who could be deceived by dangerous theology… “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”

We must not let men deceive us into thinking that the term ‘saved sinner’ is an acceptable definition for those who have been born again by the grace of God.  Sin should be regarded as a disease – something alien in the life of the Christian, and once found it must be confessed to the Great Physician and repented of immediately.

If there is something in our lives which needs to be dealt with, or if we feel that we fall short of that “perfect love” referred to in 1John 4v17&18, we have need of His touch.

Of course we cannot live a life that is pleasing to God in our own strength but surely with God all things are possible?  If we can trust Him to do it, He can cleanse, fill and empower us… for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ washes whiter than snow!

Link to the hymn: “Whiter than snow:” http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/i/whiterts.htm

Who Will Reach the Nations? The Great Commission Needs Clean Vessels!

August 6, 2010

Leaving the green fields of Ireland, we headed out over the Irish Sea, eventually landing in London Gatwick. The air was warm as I clambered down the steps to the runway; London had been having a heat wave in recent weeks but it wouldn’t be as hot as our destination all the same. I thought of all the places that I was to visit in the time ahead; a world of cultures lay before me and dozens of opportunities to share the gospel with others, but I needed courage and wisdom.

From the men in the typical English pubs to the Greeks who sat outside the tavernas swinging their ‘worry’ beads; from the smooth streets and roads of the British Isles to the unsurfaced roads of Albania, I would gain many impressions; yet most of all I was to be burdened by the fresh realisation that millions of souls needed to be saved.

Christian… awake! Life is but a short breath when compared with eternity. There is no time to waste on the negative issues which vie for our attention upon this earth. The Saviour needs our every breath and gift to be used for His service. Believe me, I feel convicted by my own words when I say this. As every second brings us a little closer to the end of our own lives, time is at a premium and so we must work while it is day for “the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9v4)

The taxi drivers, the guesthouse owner, the coach driver, the cleaners, that waitress in the restaurant, the person sitting beside me on the plane, the woman or man who gives us directions on the street… the  list is endless. We must reach out to those we meet daily, with the resources that the Lord gives us, whether in spoken or written words, or in deeds of love and kindness. My very manner must portray that I am “not my own” and that “I have been bought with a price.” (1Cor. 6v19&20)

Christian – we are “the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5v13-16)

The world hurtles on down the broad road towards the terrible cliff of eternity. Will you not say a word for the Saviour today? Souls on the broad road that leads to destruction are spiritually hungry and dying. And the activities of the ‘broad road’ must have no part in the lives of those who claim to be Christians. We must love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds and we must love our neighbours as ourselves. (Matthew 22v37-40)

Remember the words of Jesus: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” (Matthew 12v30) Are you and I ‘gatherers’ or ‘scatterers’ today?  We cannot be both. Either we are active in the Lord’s service and living in accordance with His Word – or we are in serious danger.

When Jesus said: “Be ye ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not,” (Luke 12v40) He was speaking to His followers.

Christian – awake to danger today. Remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25v14-30. Some would try to tell us that ‘we are all unprofitable servants,’ but the Bible draws a clear distinction between the two. It is true that some may be more profitable than others but the fact remains that the unprofitable servant is cast into outer darkness. (Verse 30)

Last week as we flew over many countries of Europe, I thought about both this eternal outer darkness and about the mansions of Heaven, far away in time and space. Looking down I saw at times vast tracts of land, ships far out to sea, sparkling rivers, or great roads winding like snakes, mountains, villages, towns and cities. Tiny dwelling places belonging to souls for whom my Lord has died, lay faintly visible through the great clouds. But who will reach the nations?

Christian – you are unique and the Lord has specific work for you to do today. He needs you – but He can only use clean vessels! It is only by faith that we can walk the narrow road and let the Lord accomplish His will in our lives. Today, if you have not already done so – consecrate your life to Him. Give Him your all and trust Him to sanctify you for His service.

Finally, “let us not be weary in well doing;” for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal. 6v9); never forgetting the reward of the profitable servant… “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12v3)