Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

“Like the Falling of a Leaf”

December 1, 2019

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By now most of the leaves have fallen and as I stroll along the country lane behind our home I watch the different scenarios in which leaves fall. Depending on the weather, some are blown swiftly far away in high winds, while others quietly flutter to the ground even when there is no breeze. As I gaze over the countryside, in the distance I can see the blue horizon of the cold sea, but nearer still are the ploughed fields which only a few months ago were full of golden barley. It seems like only yesterday that towering bales of gold were all over that field. How methods of farming have changed! These days massive equipment is taken into the field to complete the harvest. No longer do we “bind sheaves” by hand.
These reflections on swiftly passing seasons with “falling leaves” and “binding of sheaves” reminds me of William J. Kirkpatrick’s hymn “Life at Best is Very Brief.” Born in Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1838 and later living in U.S.A., this hymn writer made a significant contribution to hymnody. Amongst these are “A Wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord;” “Away in a Manger,” “I am not skilled to understand,” “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,” “Redeemed” etc. But it is “Life at Best is Very Brief” which has been in my thoughts recently. A convicting hymn, it speaks of “being in time.” Whether we are in the spring, summer, autumn or winter of our lives, life has taught me with some very hard lessons that we have no idea what lies “around the corner.” I thank the Lord that I trusted Him all those years ago and He has been my constant and loving companion through it all. As I watch individuals who are going through stormy episodes in life, I long for them too, to have that “peace which passeth all understanding.” That peace is available to all who repent of their sins and put their trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary.
I have seen a great tree with glorious leaves one sunny day, reduced to a stark silhouette against a gloomy sky the next… and so it is with life. We must be in time! Perhaps William Kirkpatrick’s lovely old hymn says it best…

Life at best is very brief,
Like the falling of a leaf,
Like the binding of a sheaf,
Be in time!
Fleeting days are telling fast
That the die will soon be cast,
And the fatal line be passed, –
Be in time!

Be in time…….be in time……
While the voice of Jesus calls you,
Be in time!
If in sin you longer wait,
You may find no open gate,
And your cry be just too late,
Be in time!

Fairest flowers soon decay,
Youth and beauty pass away,
Oh, you have not long to stay,-
Be in time!
While the Spirit bids you come,
Sinner, do not longer roam,
Lest you seal your hopeless doom,-
Be in time!

Time is gliding swiftly by,
Death and judgement drawing nigh,
To the arms of Jesus fly,-
Be in time!
Oh, I pray you, count the cost,
‘Ere the fatal line be crossed,
And your soul in hell be lost!-
Be in time!

Sinner, heed the warning voice,
Make the Lord your final choice,
Then all heaven will rejoice,-
Be in time!
Come from darkness into light,
Come, let Jesus make you right,
Come, and start for heaven to-night,
Be in time!

Today I Saw a Rainbow!

February 7, 2011

After weeks of weary wintry days, I looked up to see the beauty of soft light filtering through the clouds and then I looked down to see these words on an old calendar… “Great is thy faithfulness!” I subsequently remembered the words of Lamentations 3v22-24… “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”

Recent days have been dark and depressing for many reasons but I have felt the Lord’s presence with me in some of those darkest hours. This afternoon I also saw a rainbow, its colours strong and vibrant after the rain shower. The birds are singing, buds bursting out of the soil and “I hope in him!” Yet my hope must be in Him whatever the prevailing circumstances. Even if thick black clouds of misfortune drift my way, to whom can I turn but my Lord and my Saviour? “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62v7)

Strangely, it is as if nature itself has mirrored my life over the past weeks and now with the promise of spring, I see a fresh ray of hope in the improvement of a loved-one’s health – like that rainbow emerging from a brighter sky. I am also reminded of a verse from Thomas Chisholm’s lovely hymn “Great is thy faithfulness…”

“Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”

Yet, whatever bleak outlook awaits those who are walking with the Lord in this life, he or she is in a “win win” situation because the future promises joy beyond death itself…

“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth

Thine own dear Presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”

With Job I can say: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:” (Job 19v25&26) May the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ be praised!

Link to this hymn: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/g/r/e/greatitf.htm

A Tale of Two Visits…A True Story

September 29, 2010

It was the very last evening in September and dusk was descending as I knocked on the front door of the little cottage. Although I knocked several times and also on the back door, no one seemed to hear me. I knew that the lady within was very elderly and her hearing had grown dull over the years. Also, she was totally engrossed in a television programme, for I could hear it and I could see the flickering screen through the net curtains. It was a pity because I had so much to give her; apples to eat and cook and I had some encouraging good news. How I wanted her to hear me knocking!

The wind shivered through the dry leaves as I stood alone, waiting. Tomorrow would be October, reminding me of those words in Jeremiah 8v20… “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Maybe if I waited for a while or for a very long time someone would hear me and open the door, for I knew that there was someone else there – probably her son. On the other hand it could be too late, for darkness descends quickly in autumn and it was quite possible that although they heard me now, they would not answer a stranger’s knock at this time. I felt as though I had been standing for a very long time indeed and yet I did not want to give up. Inside the cottage, the muffled voices and flickering screen were unremitting, even though my knocking had grown louder and louder.

To force my way in would be unthinkable, contrary to every law and although I prayed that they would open the door, there was no response. Maybe tomorrow – but tomorrow they could be gone. As the night drew on, I knew that I must leave for I could not stand all night, persistently knocking, since the people within either did not hear me, or did not want my presence. Even if they heard me and switched off what was pre-occupying their minds – would they answer the knock?  “How dare someone call at this time,” they would say. “It’s too late. Let’s close down the blinds, draw the curtains and go to sleep for darkness is descending – they’ll go away eventually.”  Total darkness did descend upon that dwelling and then, after knocking for the last time, I sadly made my way back to the car. Just then I remembered the faces of a family that I had known some years ago, and who had been on my mind recently. “I’ll call with them instead,” I whispered to myself.

Meandering narrow lonely lanes eventually brought me to their door. Their home was unusual; a converted old mill overlooking a beautiful valley where otters and foxes run by a river. ‘No street lights here,’ I thought, and glancing up at the night sky, I could clearly see ‘the plough.’ No sooner had I rang the bell, than I could hear footsteps running down the wooden staircase to the entrance. I was instantly welcomed up to the living quarters, where a warm fire glowed in the corner.  I was beckoned to sit down, make myself at home, and soon a pot of tea was before us, and we sipped as we recalled old times. How the children had grown since I last saw them! It was good to be in touch with old acquaintances.

Coming away from that home, I at once could see the spiritual parallel of the night’s proceedings. Jesus stands knocking at the door of each heart, for He wants to fill all our hearts with His presence and He has such good things to give us! “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3v20) Jesus, who died for your sins and for mine desperately wants to gain entrance into every life in this world, but often individuals are so pre-occupied with the things of the world that they cannot hear that spiritual knock at their heart’s door. Although He may continue to knock for a very long time indeed, the time will come when that knocking will cease if there is no response. “My spirit shall not always strive with man…” (Genesis 6v3) Furthermore, tomorrow (or today) our lives as individuals could end, or Jesus may return before this. Are you ready to face Him as Judge? To miss out on His offer of salvation would be disastrous, resulting in an eternity more awful than anything we could ever imagine. But praise God, there is no need for this to happen, for if you are reading this right now and want to get right with Him – He has opened the way.

“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.” (2Pet. 3v9) Are you concerned about your eternal welfare? Do you still hear that knocking at your heart’s door? If so, switch off from the world’s distractions just now, and listen to what He wants you to know… “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10v10/11) “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14v6) “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8v12)

I have described my visit to two homes – one door was closed, and those within were (I am sure) unaware of my presence, but having visited that second home, I knew that I must put these thoughts into words. Whatever your problems, heartaches or spiritual standing in life He knows it all. There is no one too sinful to come to the Saviour…. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I shall in no wise cast out.” (John 6v37) And there is no one so “good” that they don’t need salvation… “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3v23) Only He can forgive us, because only He has never sinned. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1v8&9) He can wash away that sin, that guilt – and He can keep us clean. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1John 1v7)

Why not trust Him today, right now, wherever you are? You may have reached an age where you feel that you cannot change – but remember that eternity lies before you and “every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14v12). I was alone when I trusted Him, and my prayer was a simple one, asking that He forgive me, and carry me from darkness into His light. You too may pray in your own sincere words of repentance, or something along the following lines…

Heavenly Father, I come to you now, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood for me at Calvary. Please come in to my heart today, forgiving me for all the wrong I have ever done. Cleanse me, and help me to live victoriously each future day in your presence. Open to me the great truths contained in your Word, the Bible, and help me to find fellowship with those who share my experience.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24&25)

© Elizabeth Burke 2007

“The Harvest Truly is Great” (Luke 10v2)

August 30, 2010

Tonight I watched a great harvester making its way down the lane to the fields behind our home. This annual activity never fails to remind me of the spiritual analogy of that “Great Harvest,” spoken of by Jesus in the gospels.

Are you ready for that Great Harvest? At present the ‘tares and the wheat’ grow together in our world, but some day there will be a separation. Jesus said: “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13v30). The alternative to the ‘barn’ (or the safety of heaven) is unthinkable. John the Baptist said… “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:  he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3v11&12).

The ‘day of the Lord’ is near in ‘the valley of decision.’ (Joel 3v14) This then is the sombre question for each soul upon the earth… ‘Will you be numbered with the wheat – or with the tares?’ Note Joshua’s exhortation in Joshua 24v15… “choose you this day whom ye will serve;” God forbid that we should hear these words… “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…” (Matt. 25v41). Indeed the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels; it was never God’s will that members of the human race (who were made in His image and for whom the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was shed) should go there. I remember once being convicted by that verse… “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jer. 8v20). But praise God that I decided to follow Him, and am no longer numbered with the tares. Prior to my conversion, I remember also being troubled and confused by the words of someone who said that we had no control over our own destinies, and that God had pre-destined all souls into either eternal bliss in heaven – or eternal suffering in hell. For a short time I seriously thought that I may be one of those who were ‘predestined to go to hell.’ This filled me with an indescribable bleak helplessness, until the Lord opened my eyes.

God, because He is omniscient, naturally knows the path that each one of us will take – yes, even before the foundation of the world. Therefore… “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom. 8v29&30). Here we may see clearly that those whom He foreknew who would choose to follow Him, and endure unto the end (Matt.10v22), are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Since His blood avails for all (1John 2v2; 1Tim. 2v6; 2Cor 5v14&15), it is His will that all should come to repentance in Him, and that none should perish (2Pet. 3v9). If people perish, it is because they have chosen the “broad road that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7v13) – not because they have been pre-destined to eternal destruction. Nowhere in God’s Word are we told that we have no control over our own destinies! Furthermore, how can His ambassadors be effective in their work and witness, when they have (at the back of their minds) a conception that the eternal destinies of all souls have been foreordained?

As I tossed, unable to sleep one night, I longed that the whole world of men and women and boys and girls, would see the goodness of the Lord who gave His only begotten Son – and not only see, but repent, and trust Him for salvation. “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them…” (Luke 9v56). To the Christian He says: “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” (John 4v35-38). He has work for you and me to do, while it is ‘day.’ Great harvesters work steadily for long hours, so that costly sheaves of golden grain may be safely gathered into the storehouse. Oh that our lives would be burned out in His service, and that we could say with the apostle Paul… “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2Tim 4v7&8)

I saw a field of harvest gold,

Before the sun was set,

Each precious ear, a story told,

But the work is waiting yet.

O come with me, my Christian friend,

And let us work where he doth send,

For shadows grow, as night draws on,

And souls may die before the Dawn.

© Elizabeth Burke 2006