Posts Tagged ‘judgement day’

A True Fireside Tale – The Night of the Big Wind – Oíche na Gaoithe Móire (1839)

January 6, 2013

This January 6th and 7th will mark the 174th anniversary of the “Night of the Big Wind,” known in the Irish language as “Oíche na Gaoithe Móire.” This ferocious storm was one of the worst in our history; there had been nothing like it for all of 300 years and no one was prepared for the widespread devastation and death that it would cause. These days people complain of inaccurate forecasting, although our sophisticated weather forecasting would normally tell us of an impending hurricane of such magnitude. Such hurricanes nowadays are given names like “Charlie,” “Katrina” and “Irene” long before they reach our shores.

Oíche na Gaoithe Móire began on the night of January 6th, traditionally known in Ireland today as “Little Christmas” and in the rest of the world as Epiphany. In those days Ireland had no border and this storm certainly knew no borders for it raged through many counties destroying property, churches and even great houses and large buildings to be deroofed and a total of 42 ships to be wrecked at sea. According to Irish folklore, Judgement Day would occur on the Feast of Epiphany and as the severe storm raged on in the darkness of the night, many began to believe that the end of the world was near. Indeed for around 300 people who lost their lives, that storm meant the end of the world for them as they were swept into eternity.

All around the country the vicious winds wreaked havoc, from the houses of Armagh to the houses of Athlone. In Ballinasloe great woods were felled; Belfast saw fatalaties and much destruction; in Carrickfergus a tree in a graveyard was said to have been uprooted, forcing many bodies to the surface; most property in Castlebar was affected; Drogheda had never seen such devastation in its history; Dublin saw death and terrible destruction; houses were burned down in Kilkenny; barely a house was left standing in Longford, while places as diverse as Mullingar, Sligo, Tralee and Waterford were badly struck.

Such severe weather has always been most unusual in Ireland. We complain mostly of our dreary grey skies and boring constant drizzle but we rarely face any extreme weather conditions, yet like the city of Babylon referred to in Revelation 18, in just one hour we could be “made desolate.”

Yes, even our advanced weather forecasting may not announce the reality of  the fact that some day every island will “flee away” and the mountains will not be found. (Rev. 16v20)

Jesus said: “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16v2&3)

Jesus also said: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt. 24v42) Do you know Him today? If not – His desire is that you repent and trust in Him who loved you and gave Himself for you.

Do you profess to be His servant today? Be not like “that evil servant” who shall say in his heart, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” (Matthew 24v48) “The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Verses 50&51)

There are many things in this world which have the potential to make His servants angry – but we must never lose our love for souls and for reaching the lost. “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24v12&13)

Whatever injustices you face today, that have been caused by life’s evil winds, if you are His servant, leave it all in His hands and He will put matters right, “for vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12v19)

Ferocious storms created by the evil one may seek to destroy us spiritually, but there is nothing that cannot be vanquished by our Saviour’s rebuke.

“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8v26&27)

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Our Little Pet Hedgehog – and a Spiritual Lesson

November 13, 2012

One late summer evening our elderly cat was sniffing curiously around some creature which was sitting at the back door. At first we thought that it was a rat… but then thankfully discovered that it was a little hedgehog! At that first sighting he ambled away like a small spiky ball rolling down the garden path. This autumn we have succeeded in taming both him and two stray starving cats – ‘Mini’ (barely more than a kitten) and ‘Maxi,’ (a white and grey Tom) with a view to getting the cats good homes. Meanwhile the hedgehog has been bullying the cats away from their saucers of food, while our cat has become angry and insecure about all the attention her fellow mammals are getting.

The chorus to one of my favourite hymns as a child is:

“All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.”

Yes, He made them all and I have a special love for them all! I also believe that there are many spiritual lessons to be learned from animal behaviour. At first the little hedgehog would run away from us and hide his head behind something; because he couldn’t see us, he assumed that we couldn’t see him. There is a widespread philosophy in Christian circles that ‘God cannot see us in our sin, if we have committed our lives to Him.’ While the ostrich buries its head in the sand and other creatures hide their heads in other ways, of course they can still be seen. The Bible tells me: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2v1) Note the word ‘if’ here and not ‘when.

After Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, we are told that they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3v8) But of course God knew exactly where they were and what they had done, even though He called out: “Where art thou?” (v9)

The ‘hiding your head’ philosophy also ties in with the commonly held viewpoint that ‘all our sins (past/present/future) are forgiven, when we commit our lives to the Lord.’ Where in scripture am I told this?

Another statement which is nowhere to be found in scripture is: ‘We sin in thought, word and deed every day.’

There is no doubt that when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour that all the sins of my previous life outside of Him were forgiven, because I had repented of them and turned to Him in faith, asking for His forgiveness. However, what of future transgressions? Surely no sin is forgiven – unless it is acknowledged, confessed and repented of?

A third statement which I have heard from a pulpit in recent years is that there are ‘saved sinners’ and ‘lost sinners.’ Nowhere in God’s Word are those who know Him referred to as ‘saved sinners.’

Psalm 1 sets the standard for those who are His followers: Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Verse 5)

I am aware of situations at this very moment where those who claim to be Christians are living in deep sin. The Lord Jesus Christ is returning, perhaps very soon. Like His children, all of “creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” for His return. (Romans 8v22) However, unlike the innocent animal kingdom who have nothing to fear from His return, the members of the human race must be ready for Him. We must not be under the illusion that God cannot see us in our sin and will disregard it, because of some past commitment we have made.

Just recently our little hedgehog has gone into hibernation. He had made adequate provision for the possibly harsh winter ahead, by consuming as much nutrition as possible during the summer and early autumn. We too need to be adequately nourished and built up by God’s Word – reading and digesting His message to us and being comforted by His Presence as the days grow darker, colder and hungrier spiritually speaking. However seemingly impossible your situation, He can lift you out of it, if you but only depend on Him alone to help you. Remember – He loves you, means you no harm and He wants to feed you spiritually. We can never depend on the words, philosophies and sayings of mankind when it comes to Judgement Day – but we can depend on God’s Word and on Him “That is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude v24)