Posts Tagged ‘kilkeel’

Reflections on Greencastle: a Royal Medieval Castle – and Mankind’s Need through the Centuries

August 9, 2019

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I have felt led to produce some tracts on themes of historical interest to give out in the areas where they are situated. The following, written about the lovely ancient Greencastle in Co. Down, is one of those…
Greencastle, like most ancient castles and fortifications throughout Ireland has a colourful history spanning the centuries. Built in the 13th century by Hugh de Lacy in the 1230’s, it guarded the entrance to Carlingford Lough in medieval times. Lying close to the tiny village of Greencastle which now hosts a ferry transporting visitors to and from Greenore in the Republic of Ireland, many famous names in history are associated with it. Hugh de Lacey, John de Courcey, Edward Bruce, Sir Nicholas Bagnall and Oliver Cromwell are just some of those names.
Today the little hamlet of Greencastle, the green pastures and the familiar sight of the castle are somehow comforting to me in a world that is changing too quickly… and not always for the better.
The familiar coastline here and the nostalgic scene of Greencastle surrounded by green pastures, reminds me of childhood days and carefree walks along the sandy shore from Cranfield to visit this beautiful old castle. I am reminded of shared experiences with loved ones who are long since gone…
What stories the stones of Greencastle could tell me if they could speak and yet the ancient battles and human drama associated with it have long since faded into the misty oblivion of historical records. But of course not all historical records can be trusted because of the very nature of mankind…
Yes, famous people down through the centuries of Greencastle’s existence have come and gone. It has been said that human nature is the same in every era. Indeed it is true to say that…. “there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1v9)
Mankind’s need of a Saviour is the same today as it was in 1230. Well over a thousand years before the first stone was laid in Greencastle, the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to give His life for you and me and every other person who was ever born into this world. “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2v2)
Some day, as His Word says, He will return. “Surely I come quickly,” the last recorded words of Jesus tell us in Revelation 22v20. Are you ready for His return – or for the moment when you will depart this life? The Bible assures us that we can be ready – and that we can know that we are ready. We cannot have this assurance in our hearts because of all the good works that we have accomplished. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9) It is after we trust Him as Saviour that our good works are evidence of a new life begun in Him.
We must firstly acknowledge our sin, repent of it and put our trust in the all atoning sacrifice, once for all, of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, for He has paid the price for our sins. “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Hebrews 10v17&18)
God is no respecter of persons and the famous people connected with Greencastle, like all of mankind had to die and face judgement: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9v27&28)
Even the ancient solid stones of Greencastle will some day be no more for the Bible tells us that this old world will soon pass away and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21v1).
But repentance and simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s shed blood at Calvary will stand the test of time and eternity. He longs for you to put your trust in Him alone today, so that you may be ready for that great Accounting Day when the “small and great” (Revelation 20v12) stand before God. May you know the wonderful joy, peace and assurance in your heart of the knowledge of sins forgiven and the promise of a Home in Heaven.

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Speaking at the Ladies Meeting in Kilkeel, County Down – in the Strength of My Redeemer

March 27, 2018

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Many months ago last year, a lady who works in the Faith Mission Bookshop in the lovely coastal town of Kilkeel in Northern Ireland kindly contacted me with regard to speaking about my books at her church. When asked how many ladies normally attend this meeting, she told me that there would be around 100… To be honest, I felt a little nervous at the prospect as (like Moses) I always felt somewhat lacking when it comes to addressing a number of people! In truth I am more a ‘one-to-one’ type of person who is more comfortable writing quietly about experiences which have helped me grow closer to the Lord.

Anyway, I needn’t have worried as I felt the Lord very much with me that evening. The meeting occurred in the midst of other situations in my life and by the time it came around, I felt somehow that it held no concerns for me compared to everything else that was going on! My daughter and I travelled via Newry and then around the lovely Mourne coastline to Warrenpoint and on to Kilkeel.

This area is featured (both in words and photographs) in “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year” and also in my second book “Singing on the Journey Home: True Stories with Favourite Hymns & Photographs.” The idea for the title came from nostalgic early childhood memories of my parents singing hymns on our journeys home from trips to the seaside; the book was written in 2008 to commemorate 30 years since I trusted the Lord to save me. Now, 10 years later, that anniversary will be 40 years on August 28th of this year… and for this I can never thank Him or praise Him enough for keeping me and blessing me through all the weary ways and golden days of life! Linked with each of the 30 autobiographical stories is an appropriate traditional hymn and the interesting short history behind why it was written.

As well as sharing my experiences in writing these books, I read some poetry written over the years and shared my testimony. I felt my Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ very present with me, helping me and blessing me with every word spoken. On the previous evening I had been feeling so weary after the events of the past weeks that I had felt like cancelling my attendance at this meeting as my husband was due to go into hospital on our return, but the Lord was my strength throughout. It was good to have been there and it was an encouragement to me in many ways. I would also hope that the Lord used my presence to bless and help at least one person there too.

There are many spiritual analogies to be drawn from the scenes we see and capture on camera throughout our lives and I was able to display these on a slideshow. Everything from our recent snow storms, local scenery, derelict houses, a lighthouse and the sea; my travels in the Greek islands and other places – and the old farmhouse surrounded by green fields where my life began, were used as a background to the poetry and Biblical parallels quoted.

It was darkest night by the time we had started on our “journey home” but praise the Lord, my heart was singing on that journey and will continue to sing even when my voice fails me – until that day when He calls, or returns to take me to my Heavenly Home. How could I not sing of or speak for my blessed Redeemer – who has given me the victory over sin and death and hell? I am reminded of the second true story from “Singing on the Journey Home” which linked with the hymn “I will sing of my Redeemer,” by P.P. Bliss ((1838-1876)

On December 29th 1876 Philip P. Bliss and his wife were killed in America’s worst train disaster up to that point in history. Ninety-two people lost their lives and most of the others were seriously injured. Initially Philip had escaped with his life, having been flung out of the carriage. However, when he climbed back into that terrible inferno to save his wife, he died with her. Amongst the luggage of the young couple which had been rescued from the flaming carriage after that horrific crash, were the words of Philip’s latest hymn: “I will sing of My Redeemer,” a hymn which was sung by my Mum and Dad many years ago on their journeys. I am always reminded of those days every time we take a trip to the lovely Mourne coastal route where Kilkeel is situated! As a shy teenager still outside of grace I would never have thought that someday my Redeemer would be with me as I spoke of these experiences and gave my testimony at a meeting there…

Link to this hymn: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/305

Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?

October 18, 2014

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As I write, I hear a storm raging in the darkness of the night. The leaves are blowing from our trees, which only some weeks ago were resplendent in thick-leafed foliage. That Indian summer sun seems but a memory now as blustery October gales reduce the trees to stark silhouettes. Sometimes we have no wish to dwell upon the stark realities of life either, but as sure as autumn follows summer; storms and dark waters in life are something which we will all have to face at some time or another.

A short distance from where I live is the sea and I know that the wind there will be even wilder with high foaming tides and as the hymn describes it so vividly: “the billows roll.”

As I listen to the wind tonight, my mind travels back to summer when I saw a boat named “Steadfast” in the little town of Kilkeel in County Down. The boat rested in gentle lapping waters, safely anchored in a peaceful harbour. Oh how I long at this moment for that… “harbour bright where we shall anchor fast by the heavenly shore, with the storms all past for evermore!”

But for those who know Him, we must endure the high seas of life for another little while. What is your anchor this day in the storms of life which shall surely come? Is it a philosophy, a certain denomination or a theory that you cling to? This night as dark waters of depressing thoughts and discomfort would seek to drown me, “the cables passed from His heart to mine” and I have an “Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

Oh that all who read would have that glorious assurance of knowing that their “hopes abide within the veil.”

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Mel-chis-ed-ec.” (Hebrews 6v19&20)

Link to the hymn “We have an Anchor:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQQO8v-0VBo