Posts Tagged ‘ira’

Remembering Manchester Today – and Terrorism then

May 23, 2017

Today I have been thinking of and praying for the victims of this horrific terrorist attack last night, most of them so very very young. As a mother my heart goes out to any parent who has lost a child and, indeed, numerous others who are comforting seriously injured loved ones in hospital, as well as the adult victims involved. This whole horrific incident doesn’t even bear thinking about, given that the perpetrator waited until the concert was over in order to create maximum loss of life and injury.

From a personal point of view, I have very pleasant memories of Manchester, a city I often visited to do courses connected with my work in Northern Ireland years ago. Often I would have brought my Mum along for the trip, as she enjoyed exploring the city during the day while I was on the course. She especially loved a walk around the Arndale Centre, which is Manchester’s big shopping centre. Today that shopping centre was evacuated just hours after the other atrocity, as police dealt with what they described as ‘an incident.’

Manchester is no stranger to terrorism. In June 1996 the Arndale Centre and many other buildings were destroyed, as the IRA detonated a powerful bomb (the largest since World War 2) in the centre of the city. Miraculously, although more than two hundred people were injured – there were no fatalities in this attack. However, damage incurred was in the region of around 700 million. (More in today’s currency.)

I remember the sound of bombs in my youth – and one bomb in particular. I was around twenty at the time and working in an office in a small town in Northern Ireland, when a man ran inside the door and gave us a choice: either lie on the floor or run out of the building down the street. “There’s a bomb in the post office across the road,” he told us. I chose to do the latter and when I reached the bottom of the street with a much older colleague, I can still recall the hollow sickening thud and a sensation which made me feel like my entire head was going to burst open. With shaking hands and a terrified look my colleague took out a packet of cigarettes and offered me one. “No thanks,” I said. Although I wasn’t a Christian at that time, I was determined that no terrorist was ever going to make me feel that I had to start smoking to calm my nerves.

Modes of communication have certainly changed since then. Today “Twitter” alerts people very quickly as to what is happening. Back then I had no mobile phone to call my parents and reassure them that I was safe, when an “incident” occurred. However, I was fortunate to find one of those old telephone kiosks which thankfully hadn’t been vandalised.

Yes indeed… there have been amazing leaps in modes of communication and technology over the last decades – but sadly the hearts of men who have not been touched by the Saviour’s love are as cold, cruel and evil today as they were then, whatever their ideology. Today international terrorism (which has its roots in Islamic fundamentalism) is at the forefront of discussion where terrorism is concerned. A tidal wave of evil is sweeping across the world, with sporadic attacks on ordinary people.

We are living in dangerous days – too dangerous to neglect the value of your soul. To those who know Him, we must follow His example and work, “for the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9v4) And to those outside of the Lord’s grace, although you may certainly be no terrorist, you need to acknowledge your need of salvation, repent and place your lives under the shadow and safety of His wings. No one is guaranteed a pleasant release from this life – but the Lord Jesus Christ has promised: “him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6v37) “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  (Hebrews 7v25)

I pray (and will continue to do so) for the heartbroken and suffering this day – and I pray that they will know His comforting Presence in their lives – the Lord’s strong Presence, like warm arms, that I felt all those years ago, when I was feeling lonely one night in a hotel in Manchester, shortly after the Lord saved me by His grace…

 

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On Anniversaries, Broken Ceasefires – and an Unfailing Promise

August 31, 2014

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In the last few days I have been reflecting on an assorted selection of anniversaries.  This week will mark twenty years since the IRA declared a ceasefire on the first day of September 1994. Especially significant this year is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War; a global war that began on 28th July 1914 and lasted until 11th September 1918. This terrible war sadly took the lives of 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians.

On a personal level, I have been thinking about anniversaries too. This month marked our 29th wedding anniversary – and next year, Lord willing, we will celebrate our 30th. How those years have flown!

Just some days ago, on 28th August, I remember writing up my diary and thinking just for an instant… ‘Now this date is very significant in my life, but why?’ And then I remembered straight away… that date during the week marked the 36th anniversary of my coming to know the Lord as Saviour, back on the bank holiday evening of Monday 28th August, 1978.

Many people, having taken this life-changing step of faith, have never noted the date or the time but they remember for sure the moment that it happened; they remember how and where it happened and most importantly they remember the events, especially the conviction leading up to this most important moment in their lives.

Sadly many testimonies today lack that element of conviction of sin and all too sadly ‘easy believism’ has become the order of the day, leading to a shallow experience – if indeed it is an experience.

I remember a line of an old hymn: “Oh Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end…” A decision to follow the Lord is serious, life-changing and should be eternity changing. I remember once someone telling me that it was going to be a certain special anniversary in her marriage shortly – but that marriage had sadly ended when she had left her husband some years previously, so she added distantly… “I suppose our anniversary no longer counts.”

How many other promises are broken in the secular world too; we have only to look at broken promises and ceasefire violations in the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict and indeed in our own country when it emerged that new weapons were being developed after that declared ceasefire.

Surely only the Lord can change a man or a woman or a nation of individuals to be those steadfast people of substance and honesty that He would have them to be?

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Corinthians 5v17)

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Corinthians 6v19&20)

His desire is that every soul’s experience in Him would be genuine – and He wants each new anniversary in our walk with Him to be more precious as the years unfold with all their unknown challenges.

Only the Lord Jesus can make wars and man’s inhumanity to man to cease upon the earth and He has promised those who faithfully follow Him that… “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15v7). Surely… “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Proverbs 4v18)

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