Posts Tagged ‘monaghan’

Neither Saint nor Sinner

April 18, 2019

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St. Peter’s old tin country Church of Ireland, beside a river and the picturesque area of Laragh in south Monaghan was probably originally built around the same era as a very old book I’ve been reading was published. Memories of walking down the steps here reminded me of a certain true little story. I was given “One Thousand Tales worth Telling” (well over 100 years old) as a gift and find its true, very short stories just fascinating as each one has an associated scripture text. In these days of ecumenism, secularism and apostasy, it is rare to hear the gospel preached from the pulpits of established churches but on occasions it has been – and a silence has fallen on the congregation when the spirit of the Lord is there. However, not everyone is pleased with such sermons, which tell individuals of their need for salvation…

I quote this simple little story, an example of one of these true “1,000 Tales Worth Telling…”

Neither Saint nor Sinner

“Coming down the steps from the kirk, a neighbour asked an old lady how she liked the sermon by the strange minister from a distance. “Indeed,” said she, “I didn’t like him a bit! He talked all morning to one class of folks called saints, and to another called sinners, and he hadn’t a word for a decent, respectable body like me.” How many like her are neither “lost and on the way to Hell” nor “saved and on the way to Heaven.” Yet each of us are either one or the other. (Joshua 24v15; John 3v36; Rev. 20v15 & 22v11). The great question to settle is… Which is it?”

Clearly the preacher in this instance used his opportunity to relay a message to both the saved and the lost. How often have we heard a gospel message for the unsaved – but nothing to encourage growth in the believer, or indeed vice versa! Also, how difficult it is to reach “the respectable” – the law-abiding church goer, who may even be a Sunday school teacher or indeed an established church “reverend.”

Praise God, He has given His children the power of prayer and faith, in the knowledge that the Lord’s convicting voice can speak to such people. We cannot make them see their need – but He can.

“He revealeth the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” (Daniel 2v22)

We should never view “the respectable” as lost causes who will never see their need of a Saviour. Only the Lord knows the innermost thoughts of those people and will work to draw each one to Himself. As His ambassadors, we should never be afraid to be a witness to “respectable bodies” – and pray fervently for them also.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8v26)

 

Lurganearly Mission Hall, County Monaghan

March 28, 2019

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With all the current discussion and fierce debate regarding “Brexit,” I found a recent trip through Irish border areas very interesting. The narrow country roads I traversed that day meandered, sometimes north of the border and sometimes south. In fact I kept driving from one country into another without even realising it! Driving through areas which would previously have been seriously troubled, sadly I believe that today, in a sense, they still are; suspicion of strangers is still very much the order of the day in some places…

I remember a large family my parents used to visit when I was a child. This family lived on a farm close to the border and I can still see in my mind’s eye the old kitchen, with a table by a window where the sun shone in on the mother of the house who stood making bread. I have been told that the farmhouse now lies uninhabited. It is not unusual to find abandoned houses in rural areas of Ireland with all the bedding, old furniture and crockery still sitting there!

It is fascinating to realise that the Irish border is not easily defined. Some people’s land or farms straddle the border, while there are those who claim that some rooms of their houses are in the Republic of Ireland while others are in Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope that they’ll never require a passport to walk from their living room into their kitchen! It is many years ago now since we visited that family but as I reminisce on youthful days, I realise that spiritually speaking the need of mankind remains the same and the people of Ireland, whatever their political views, need to come to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, if they have not already done so.

Still nestling amongst the peaceful emerald drumlins of County Monaghan (which is south of the Irish border) are some non-denominational little mission halls and Lurganearly is one of these. Lurganearly is a small townland, lying just 10km (around 6.5 miles) south east of Castleblayney. There is good car parking space across from the little hall, which is ran by a Mr J. Smyth who lives halfway between Castleblayney and the hall. Every Sunday at 12noon a Sunday morning worship service is held here and I know that anyone desiring to go would be made most welcome.

Every Wednesday night there is a prayer meeting at 8pm and a Sunday evening service is held on the first Sunday of each month at 8pm. The visiting speaker at this first Sunday evening meeting normally also speaks at the morning service. Unlike many mission halls, this one continues to operate during the summer months, except on rare occasions for a very good reason. There are sometimes other special mid-week meetings arranged, with visiting speakers and organisations invited to the hall.

This year (2019) it will be 63 years ago since Stanley Conn (see previous blog https://readywriterpublications.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/the-testimony-of-stanley-conn-1928-2007/ ) put his trust in the risen Saviour in this very place and I thank the Lord for the existence still, of such places of worship where there are no denominational barriers. In the sparsely populated rural areas of Ireland and indeed in the towns and cities, I pray that souls will still repent and listen humbly to that “still small voice” which continues to whisper in this the Day of Grace… not only in places of worship but in city streets, villages, country lanes, mountains and valleys.

Political regimes and leaders may come and go, terrifying events will surely happen and this old world is changing fast “but the Word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1Peter 1v25) and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13v8)

Praise God for the text on Lurganearly’s wall which may even speak to weary travellers on that narrow country road… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16v31)

 

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Delivering Books to Monaghan, Lisnaskea and Enniskillen through Ireland’s Border Villages

May 15, 2015

0141 Just recently our car was recalled for some software updates at a garage in the Monaghan area, so I took the opportunity to visit some of my old haunts, including Val Irvine’s ‘Oasis’ bookshop in Lisnaskea – and also to visit the I.E.B. “Real Life” Christian bookshop in Enniskillen for the very first time. (My books have been sold in both outlets since 2008.) After work was completed on the car at a place near ‘Annayalla,’ we drove on to Monaghan town where I braved the (really!) cold weather to deliver books to the Monaghan town library. I was also interested to visit, for the first time, the Christian bookshop there in Monaghan which is run by Mrs. Elsie Moynan. We both discussed the fact that there were once Christian bookshops in Drogheda and Dundalk but unfortunately these have been closed down for a long time now. En route from Monaghan to Lisnaskea, we stopped to have our packed lunch in the small village of Rosslea which is just over the border into County Fermanagh. Wikopedia tells me that Rosslea or Roslea, (from the Irish Ros Liath) meaning grey grove/wood is a small village in County Fermanagh near the border with Co. Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. In the census of 2001 it had a population of 554 people. At that time 97.5% were from a Roman Catholic background and 2% were from a Protestant background. I wondered, as I read this information, about the 0.5%! These little villages which nestle closely to the Irish border interest me, in that they have a strange air about them; you have this feeling that you are in ‘no man’s land’ and yet they do have a character all of their own. Some very negative facts emanate from ‘the troubles’ though; sadly many people were killed in these regions over those years, including members of the security forces. However, there were many more victims that had no connection at all with any organisation, legal or illegal. One of these was Douglas Deering, the last Protestant shopkeeper in Rosslea. Married with three children, he attended a Gospel hall in Clones. Thirty-eight years ago on May 12th 1977, Mr. Deering (52) was shot dead in his shop, which had already been bombed four times by the time of his murder. I felt a sad air about Rosslea as we passed through it on the return journey. The rain was now falling more persistently as I got out of the car to take a photograph of a bridge on the grey river. Somehow bridges always remind me of that allegory that Jesus is the only bridge between God and mankind. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and Men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Timothy 2v5&6) There is only one effective bridge over the troubled waters of this life… the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. Stories of human tragedy abound where the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland are concerned, many individuals still suffering physically and emotionally as a result of the violence and many more lie in unmarked graves… awaiting the day. And that day is surely coming… “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are within shall be burned up.” (2Peter 3v10) “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14v11&12) As I also took a photograph of the little Gospel hall on the edge of Rosslea, I thought about the residents of this and other villages throughout Ireland. Whether the history of these communities is peaceful or otherwise, each and every soul within them needs to repent and to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, if they have not already done so. I pray for those evangelical organisations, Christian fellowships and churches which are presently reaching out to communities in rural and urban areas throughout the island of Ireland. And I pray that individuals, like me, will be empowered to reach precious souls as the Lord leads. There are places we may never pass through again, quiet villages and little hamlets…. We need to love and reach those souls, for who knows what tomorrow holds? (Matthew 24v36) 0139