Posts Tagged ‘new year’

New Year… New Opportunities

January 4, 2018


Sometimes I view each year of my life as a “chapter,” although I don’t believe that most books have that many chapters! As I look back on last year’s diary I see a big mixed bag full of experiences; some of them are challenging, others depressing and just a few are uplifting – but they all presented opportunities to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If I thought for one moment that this life was all there was to my existence I would be most depressed and miserable. However, I praise Him that, as the years go by, the material things of this life mean less and less to me. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1Corinthians 15v19)

As I embark on another journey through the seasons, I also think of the spring, summer, autumn and winter of my own life. Every decade in our lives presents new challenges, particularly where health is concerned but as long as we are alive upon this earth, the Lord expects us to use the passing years to grow in Him, in the knowledge of His Word and in wisdom concerning the issues of this life.

“…When I am weak – then am I strong.” (2Corinthians 12v10) Looking back on the events of the year that is passed, I remember feeling the Lord’s Presence more in the company of one elderly soul in a nursing home, than in any other situation. And I know for certain that the sincere prayer from the lips of this soul spoke so strongly to me and to those around me. In fact I came away from this person with tears in my eyes, feeling such warmth, encouragement and the love of my Saviour surround me.

You may be comparatively young now, but if someday you feel the seasons of your life ebb away, never think that you are now no use to the Lord as you sit there incapacitated. As His child, despite your physical weakness, you are spiritually strong for He shines through you! Your life and witness for the Lord can go from strength to strength as you rest in His Presence, being a wise and essential witness to those you come in contact with, in the glorious knowledge that your heavenly Home is but a breath away.

I thank Him for the valleys, for the hills – and for the mountains, as I face uncertain days through the new and unknown path that lies before me. And I rest in His promises of old… “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 15v57)

I praise Him for His goodness to me in days past and as I face unknown challenges in the year ahead, I thank Him that “with God all things are possible!” (Matthew 19v26)

Beyond the Night

December 31, 2016


Recently I discovered this poem which I had written when much younger. Tonight (the night before New Year’s ‘Eve) I just happen to be sitting alone – but certainly not ‘forlorn’! However, I can recall the night on which I wrote these words (which are based on the portions of scripture shown) and I can still remember very well how I felt at the time. Praise God, like the Psalms, the Christian’s poetry may sometimes start on a downcast mode but it will conclude on a note of victory and confidence – ultimately in the Person of our Redeemer; our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our brief lives are indeed as “a shadow that passeth away” (Psalm 144v4) but we are promised that “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12v3)

Beyond The Night

(Psalm 90v9; Psalm 144v4; Daniel 12v3)

The old year dies, the new is born,

As I sit alone on this night, forlorn.

My eyes look up from the words of old:

“We spend our years as a tale that is told,

Man is like to vanity, his day

As a shadow that passeth away.”

Beyond my shadow at the window pane,

A tender snowflake dies to rain,

While a golden ember upon the grate,

Falls and dulls to darkest slate.

I recall the beauty of evening sun

Splash blood-red on the bleak horizon,

But always the darkness would spread,

And glowing embers are too soon dead.

But I look above, and beyond the night,

And see at last that wondrous sight,

For the gentle moon is surely there,

Bearing light to the darkest lair.

The fields lie quietly now, and all my house asleep,

But I know, oh how I know that a billion tiny jewels

Lie beyond the darkness deep,

And far far away lies precious perfect light

Triumphant on the darkest night.

Oh let us ne’er be held in bond

By clouds of darkest night,

But let us look above and beyond –

To the Son, our Redeemer and Light.

For was it not this King of Love

Who cast the stars in space?

And did He not die and rise above

For all of Adam’s fallen race?

For moon and stars will fail some night,

And all this world be gone,

But we shall shine as the stars forever,

If we love Him at the Dawn.

©Elizabeth Burke


Happy New Year?

January 8, 2015


I certainly hope so! A Happy New Year is what I sincerely wish for everyone who reads this… but who knows? The Bible says: “Boast not thyself of tomorrow: for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27v1) Indeed, knowing how it is with the terrible unrest in this world, we brace ourselves in the knowledge that just about any evil can be perpetrated.

Today I have been hearing about the recent Paris shootings from my daughter who works a short distance from the area where they took place. How my heart goes out to the loved ones and friends of those who were murdered, some of whom were police officers. Yes, who knows “what a day may bring forth?”

Shortly before Christmas my dear Mum passed away on 13th December. I was just starting to come to terms with this terrible loss when suddenly we received the news that my husband’s Dad, of whom I was very fond, had also passed away. My children have witnessed the funerals of two of their grandparents – one on 16th December and the other just eight days later, on Christmas Eve… And this past year I have also had to face up to other negative news concerning my health, having had a third operation.

I often wondered how on earth I could ever cope with the loss of my mother – but I have! How can this be so and how can I have lived through such a traumatic time over these last few weeks, with whole nights spent without sleep? The answer is… I could not possibly have coped if I had not been leaning on the Lord and His great power to carry me through.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46v1

He has helped me to cope physically and He has helped me to remain calm when faced by some very distressing circumstances.

“I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34v4)

I met an acquaintance (a Christian) locally one day while shopping and I told her about Mum.

“Oh, but your mother knew the Lord didn’t she?” she said cheerfully.

“Yes, but I miss her so much…”

“Oh, Elizabeth…” she said warmly, “she’s gone just a little while before you. You’ll see her again!”

“Yes, yes… you’re right of course. That’s true…”

Somehow those cheerful words put a spring in my step and I continued on my way, much encouraged on that dark December day after her funeral. Yes, in just a little while I will see her again. Recently, too, I also remembered Mum’s words to me… “Don’t worry about me love… if I’m not here some day, you’ll know where I am…”

What a glorious wonder… to see the face of our Redeemer, our Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Meanwhile I will go in His strength, sowing the seed, distributing her testimonies – and that of my Dad who passed away just three years ago.

And I am ready to reach others in whatever way the Lord will direct me, until the Lord’s return – or His home call to me. Who knows, indeed, what a day may bring forth (never mind a year) in this uncertain and dangerous world we live in?

To those who know Him… “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46v11)

What a wonderful Saviour, Redeemer, Comforter, Confidant and Friend to have as we launch into the year ahead – whether its waters are troubled or smooth.

Whoever you are, yes, I do wish you have a happy year ahead but who knows? And even when everything is going our way, without the Saviour life is really meaningless. Furthermore none of us are immune from unhappy events in this world, whatever our profession of faith… but His grace is greater!

If you have never done so – trust Him now to forgive you your sins and to shoulder your burdens and heartaches – and He will deal with them all, for He died that you might have life and have it more abundantly and then, even when the low times come knocking at your door, He will carry you through and you can claim these words for your own…

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8v38&39)



Where Are They Now? Don’t Let Old Acquaintances Be Forgotten!

January 6, 2014



A little gift I was given at Christmas awakened such a multitude of thoughts, observations and feelings of sadness and happiness, depending on the memories. You see, I had this old tattered address/telephone book for years, with the result that I was presented with a new one… which meant that I had to transfer all the old names to the new book!

My first observation was that some old friends and acquaintances had actually passed away, even though their names were still in the book. There were those of whom I felt an assurance in my heart that they had gone Home to be with the Lord, but on the other hand I felt a great sadness when I came across the names of those deceased whose spiritual standing I had been uncertain of.

Old feelings of sorrow returned when I found little notes jotted down beside the number of a hospital… “had a comfortable night…” Did he really have a comfortable night or were they just telling me this?

There were the happy times too… excellent exam results jotted down and memories of holidays, good news and sunny days… I wonder are there other people as untidy as me, with my exclamation marks, drawings of smiley/unhappy faces (depending on the circumstances) all marking this ‘telephone book?’ (I have this habit of doodling when I’m talking to someone on the phone and I’ll probably still retain my old telephone book for sentimental reasons.)

My attention was taken up with those names again… where was she now? Did she still live at this address and was her telephone number the same after all this time? Sadly I had lost contact altogether with many of those listed but I felt that I should transfer them to the new book and indeed I should find out… in order to pray for them.

I see in my old book a portrayal of much of life, because every name and address tells a story. We often lose contact, for many reasons, with those we once knew so well. Where in the world are they now? But more importantly where are they now in the spiritual realm?

As the New Year replaced the old, I felt that the Lord had laid it upon my heart to contact those I knew so long ago. I must never forget about them but reach out in love and in His will and pray for old acquaintances that may desperately need prayer for their physical or spiritual health – or both. Who knows what may be achieved for the Lord through contacting those I once knew?

And perhaps some of them can encourage and pray for me too…

“But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13v16)

Turning Over a New Leaf

January 1, 2013


A new year, a new page in the book of your life… However you view it or whether you celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) or the Islamic New Year (Hijri); every new day is the first day of the rest of your life. People invariably see their New Year as a new beginning and most people want to be better morally and make a new start; yet the reality is that individuals cannot turn over ‘a new leaf’ in their own strength. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” (Jeremiah 13v23)

Yesterday, on the last day of the old year, I was confronted by an age-old problem. My daughter rang me from abroad, in tears, to tell me that she had been attacked and robbed of every cent in her possession. Her house keys, bank card and ID card had also been robbed and I had to quickly find the right number and ring that emergency number to get her current card cancelled.

I daresay that most people have been victims of robbery at one time or another, but it is interesting to note that when someone commits this (or any crime) it affects many more than just one person, leaving other loved ones of the victim very distressed and concerned about the whole situation.

We pass this way but once, and whatever we do ultimately affects a wide circle of people. The law rests on these two commandments… “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10v27) And if you love your neighbour as yourself, you will not attack or rob his person and you will not lie to him or even slight him.

It is true that not all of us are by nature, thieves, for example. We may find a lady’s handbag and hand it in to store personnel. We may be honest in our business dealings – but do we think nothing of telling a ‘white lie’ to get ourselves out of an embarrassing situation?

No, we can no more reach God’s standards for us in our own strength, than we can ‘lift ourselves up by our own shoelaces.’ Are you weary of whatever it is that has you enslaved to it? Is it an addiction of some kind, dishonesty or even resentment or jealousy of someone? Do you feel that you can never overcome that which you abhor within your very soul?

Perhaps you feel that none of these evil traits belong to you; you may be an honest person, having no ill-feeling towards anyone that you are aware of… but unless you have come in repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, there will always be something amiss with your life, for the Word of God tells us that we “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3v23)

Original sin is something which we all have inherited – our unfortunate legacy from ancient Eden.

But the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again to free us from the law of sin and death!

On this first day of the rest of your life, if you have not already done so, cast your burden of sin and worry and useless strivings at the feet of Jesus who loves you like no else ever will. He died for you, wherever and whoever you are, to set you free from the chains of sin and death.

And when you trust Him to come into your life, He will give you the will and the strength to love Him with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself.

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3v19)

Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matt. 11v28-30).

May you truly know His peace “which passeth all understanding,” on this, the first day of the rest of your life.


“When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee…” (Isaiah 43v2)

January 11, 2011

I have experienced a few troubled waters in my lifetime – but none so deep as those which presently threaten to overwhelm me. In recent weeks one minor problem after another trickled in to irritate my normally very happy existence and then the ultimate tsunami came crashing in when a loved one became seriously ill and was taken to hospital. Sometimes the events in our lives are so painful that we have no desire to convey how we feel to others. We feel numb, sick at heart, filled with grief…

One bleak night I sat alone, praying and the Lord gave me these words… “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43v2)

My faith is in the Holy One of Israel – and I rest in the knowledge that He will take care of it all. These days prayer is my constant companion. Under the present circumstances, when people say “Happy New Year” to me, I just nod uncomprehendingly.

What will this year hold for any of us? I only know that Jesus is my Saviour – and that He will take care of every concern and heavy burden that I lay at His feet. Is He your Saviour today? If not, please trust Him; life is difficult for me at present but I know that it would be twice as difficult if I had no access to the peace which passes all understanding. This is a simple little verse (written many years ago now) which sums up my attitude to every New Year…

I cannot know the future,

No more than change the past,

But on Jesus Christ my Saviour –

My every care I’ll cast.

Sometimes trauma and suffering in a Christian’s life can ultimately give birth to words which will touch the lives of others long after he has gone to be with the Saviour. I love the hymn “O Love that wilt not let me go” by George Matheson. The author was visually impaired but knew other suffering in his life. This hymn, the fruit of George Matheson’s suffering, lives on to inspire and comfort, for it expresses the Christian’s glorious hope in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Victory on our behalf, over sin and death and hell. Praise God for His great love and compassion for all of us! If you still do not know Him as Friend, why not repent and take His hand today?  If you do, these final two verses of the hymn will have meaning in your life, when the waters deepen…

“O Joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from Thee,

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.”

Links to this hymn: