Posts Tagged ‘theft’

Thou Shalt Not Steal

July 1, 2016

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The lanes, hedgerows and fields of our area have a special peace and beauty all of their own at this time of year. Everywhere I go I can smell honeysuckle, wild roses and the scent of all the lovely herbs that adorn this part of the Irish countryside. The glen that lies down a narrow lane behind our home is especially peaceful – a little corner forgotten by time and modern development. However, I know full well that I cannot slip out the back door to go for a quiet walk without locking my door, because some opportunist might just walk in! These days many people have installed electric gates at the entrance to their homes; yet sometimes these are no deterrent, as we heard recently of thieves who charged through large electric gates with their reinforced vehicle. The awful reality is that theft is as common (if not more so) in rural areas as it is in villages, towns and cities.

Not so long ago someone I know (who lives in a town) was sitting having a cup of coffee with a friend outside a café when a man walked up and swiftly snatched her friend’s handbag, which was sitting under her seat. Fortunately another man in a car witnessed the incident and chased the thief (who was on foot) managing to retrieve the bag. However the person I know wasn’t that fortunate, when a short time later she was with other friends on a nearby beach and was robbed of possessions which she had left in the car. If all of that wasn’t enough, she recently got the ultimate shock, when alone in the middle of the night she heard thieves trying to break into her flat through a window. Thankfully the police were soon on the scene when she called them but this incident has left her sleepless and uneasy every night…

There are other types of theft too, such as online scams and cyber theft. People pay for a certain facility online and they discover that they were duped. Thieves will go to great lengths and ingenuity to devise new means of robbing their victims; all kinds of methods are used to discover personal details and credit card numbers. Even hidden cameras have been installed in ATM machines which the thief will collect later. Elderly people are duped out of their savings by ruthless conmen, who prey on the fact that they are vulnerable and often worry about things they think they need. A very common type of theft (which has affected me personally) is when someone in a shop tries to short-change you. Then, of course there is the person in a greengrocer who gives you less than what you paid for… “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11v1)

Perhaps it is the theft of funds which have been donated to charity that really angers people. Certainly, people who have been bereaved may benefit greatly from certain charities which provide counselling – but when it is discovered that funds have been misappropriated, this comes as a terrible shock to individuals and groups who have generously contributed and often worked hard to support a needy cause.

When all is said and done, the violation of the eighth commandment, with its simple four words: “thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20v15) is one which has affected most people today. However, if a soul obeys this commandment… “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) he will neither steal, nor murder, nor commit adultery… or indeed violate any of the lovely Ten Commandments. But it is only in the Lord that we can obey this greatest commandment which covers all commandments.

Sometimes a certain type of “world weariness” comes upon the Christian when he or she sees an abundance of crime in the world in which they live. They are tired of the sin, the wickedness, the terrible murders, the extortion and the lying in this world, to the point at which they feel almost depressed by it. They may even feel a certain longing to join old acquaintances or loved ones who have been “called Home.” “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8v22&23) Understandable indeed, but we must at all times want to be in the Lord’s will. For now, this is where the Lord has placed us, in this world of sin, sorrow, suffering… and seeking souls! There is no time to dwell on the negative or rising crime rates. Out there is a world of lost sinners to be reached; so many categories of people and indeed many who have never stolen anything in their lives – but who still need a Saviour, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3v23)

I love to walk in the quietness of the fields and to appreciate the loveliness of birdsong and the beauty of the wildflowers, with their vibrant colours and their gentle scent. Such abundance in nature and wildlife reminds me of the abundance of joyful life that we can have in Jesus. They also remind me that mankind in ancient creation was once innocent – but now this world lies in sin and the Lord has placed those who know Him in strategic positions, to reach others. While we may prefer a quiet lane with wild roses, sometimes He leads us down a more challenging road so that His perfect will is accomplished.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10v10) That is the Lord’s will for even the worst type of criminal, if he will but only repent of his sin and come to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, trusting that only He can “make the vilest clean” and wash away the stains of the darkest heart.

“The Eyes of the Lord are in Every Place, Beholding the Evil and the Good” (Proverbs 15v3)

October 27, 2015

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An elderly friend of my family was on the telephone to me just recently, telling me that someone had tried to burgle her when she was out. Something or someone had interrupted his attempt and thankfully there was no evidence to show that he had ever been in the house. However, her window had been prised opened and police forensic evidence showed tiny fibres from gloves that the would-be thief had been wearing. My friend laughed when she recalled the very apt ‘thought for the day’ that she had been reading on that very morning… “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal…” (Matthew 6v19)

“That thief would have had no interest in my little sentimental things,” she added, “but of course I’m glad that he never managed to get into the house and it does leave me feeling uneasy…”

A short time later I was driving to my peaceful rural home one night last week, when I noticed numerous oncoming cars flashing at me in the darkness. ‘Was there something wrong with my lights, was there an accident ahead…?’ My mind was filled with all sorts of possibilities as I drove on towards the edge of the village which I had to drive through to get home. Soon I reached a police blockade. An officer put his hand up and proceeded to tell me to find some other route home, as the village had been sealed off. “What’s going on?” I asked anxiously. “I’m sorry madam; we are not at liberty to say right now. There’s a very delicate situation here and no more cars are allowed through this village for the moment.”

I later learned that there had been some sort of ‘stand-off’ and a vague statement had been issued about someone ‘being potentially a danger to himself and others.’

We don’t have to travel very far in this world before we are confronted with all of the sins and spiritual ailments of mankind – our ancient legacy from Eden. There is nothing in this world that the Lord is not aware of. He knows of the unspoken plans of the thief and the murderer; He knows of those who ‘bear false witness’ and He knows of the self-serving schemes of rulers and politicians the world over. He knows when some poor soul takes a nervous break-down and He knows every single anxiety (large and small) of every individual the world over.

And He also knows when good and loving deeds are accomplished to His glory. These may never be known or recognised by anyone else on earth and in fact many of the Lord’s servants may be misunderstood and their good deeds misinterpreted – but that which is done to the glory of God will receive an eternal reward. “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” (Luke 8v17)

Have you ever been accused in the wrong? Are you ostracised from the company of others and have no idea why? His eyes are surely in every place, beholding the evil and the good. All across the world at this moment terrible crimes are being perpetrated, while acts of terror are being planned in the name of a false prophet. Yet, for those who know the Lord, we can rest assured that He is in control. “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 62v6)

Whatever your lot today, it is no secret to Him. He knows well your troubles, your worries, your sorrows and perhaps your regrets. He died to lift those burdens that weigh you down with grief and He died for the sins that would seek to enslave you. If you have not already done so, His will is for you to repent and turn to Him today.  His eyes are indeed “in every place.” He understands “every place” in your heart too and He wants to heal that broken heart, filling it with His love. Oh that mankind would turn to the Lord, for our all-seeing, all-knowing God is coming (perhaps very soon) to judge the earth with righteousness and truth. (Psalm 96v13)

Turning Over a New Leaf

January 1, 2013

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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.

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Who stole my Father’s Gate?

October 28, 2011

I recently wrote a little article for a local newspaper after the disappearance of a gate which my father, the late Mr. Jack Hutchinson, had fitted to the entrance of the back lane of his farm. These gates bring back memories for me of peaceful country walks and of happy days of my closely knit family throughout the seasons. I am saddened that the gates are gone as I associate them with my father who died only a few months ago. One has been taken away by my brother, in case it is stolen too and the other… who knows where it is? The theft of the gate is only a minor one in a number of other more distressing recent events in my life. But the photograph of the gates and the poetry which they inspired me to write will live on… hopefully to touch hearts for a long time to come. Below is the poem that I wrote almost eight years ago for a baby niece’s christening, inserting a photograph of the gates…

Today, a precious baby girl,

I watch your tiny life unfurl,

Knowing not the future path of years,

You sit with smiles, and sometimes tears

At the gateway of life.

I trust you will blossom and grow,

As lovely days shall come and go –

Each joyous occasion a treasured milestone

On a path that belongs to you alone.

There may be a mountain to ascend

And often a spiralling bend,

And crossroads too – a difficult decision –

For not all roads are signed with vision.

And some may carry a heavy toll,

As the journey of life shall onward roll.

But I know a narrow little road

Where the cares of life you may unload.

Branching off from busy highways,

It leads so far from this world’s byways.

There you may rest in green pastures,

And be restored by still waters –

For its toll has once for all been paid

By one, Jesus, who died in your stead.

So, I will pray for you little niece

That you may choose this road of peace,

And take the hand of a Shepherd Friend,

Who will guide your life to journey’s end,

Until you meet that crystal river,

And dwell in the light of His presence

Forever.