Posts Tagged ‘Tracts’

I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me (Philippians 4v13)

April 10, 2019

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Yes, I can; I can drive many miles through heavy city traffic, I can pray while someone I love is going through procedures and treatments – and I can trust the Lord each day for whatever it may bring. He is my strength and my shield through all the changing scenes of life. What is more – He can assist me to be a witness and a comfort to those I come in contact with in that place. Someday I will understand why certain things happen but for the moment I walk by faith, His thousands of promises filling my heart. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34v17)

If all of my life had been filled with joy, good days and laughter, how could I empathise with those who are suffering? I would nod as they tell me of their troubles and try to understand but no one can even start to understand unless they have been there.

Jesus walked this earth and understands – and His timing is perfect, as regards the people we meet, seemingly by chance. But it is never by chance, as I have discovered this very day. He gave me the words for the little tract: “Words of Love, Hope & Comfort Especially for You” over a year ago (29th January 2018) and He has assisted me to give copies to people as He directs. Yes, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me… including having the courage to speak to others. I “test the waters” first, as not everyone wants to speak. A smile, a comment, a friendly two-way conversation and then, in the Lord’s strength, showing them that you understand, you care – and what the Source of your own strength is. Only He can give us real love and compassion for others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Corinthians 1v3&4)

No, nothing is by chance. Ultimately, as soldiers in the Lord’s army, we are placed strategically in certain places and at certain times – to reach certain souls. And I firmly believe that we will meet some souls that we have spoken to some beautiful day in Heaven.

There are times when my heart is heavy but I turn and place my burdens on the God of all comfort, for His ways are perfect and I know that no matter what happens in this scene of time to His children… “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

“My Word Shall Not Return Unto Me Void”…… On Sharing Tracts and Christian Literature

January 27, 2019

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I have felt burdened in recent times to share the many tracts in my possession. Some of these I have written over the years, others have been given to me to distribute and some I have purchased a quantity of in the past. I am aware that for those who don’t know the Lord there is something very convicting about being handed a tract in the street, especially when they know the nature of what is being given to them. As for the Christian who distributes tracts… this is not an easy task.

Jesus said: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9v26) If we love the Lord, have a burden for souls and want to distribute a convicting message to souls who are outside of Christ, then we must reach them as the Lord leads and directs us personally, as individuals.

We may not always feel led to distribute tracts at certain parades, festivals or crowded events where they are thrown everywhere and trampled underfoot; those in authority will instantly blame the tract distributor for the “litter,” although not all individuals at these events are like this. Some people feel that they should put tracts in letterboxes and others feel strongly that this should be more of a “one to one” activity, where they reach out to those they know, live beside, do business with, share a flat with – or work with, although our words of witness and our actions and reactions as Christians will sometimes play a larger role in this instance. This tract sharing activity may be extended to all sorts of people, some of whom we may only ever come in contact with once in our lives.

Whatever we feel about of all of this, one thing is sure – our own hearts and lives must be right with God, before we begin sharing His Word and we must also be convinced about the nature of the literature we are distributing. Not everyone feels happy about distributing certain types of tract; for example those with cartoons, or those which bring in doctrines which we are not happy about.

Reactions will vary. The worst reaction I have ever encountered is where someone I gave a leaflet to shredded it to pieces in front of me. Another instance was when my husband once left a tract in the glove compartment of a car we had hired on a Greek island. We had left that car back clean and in perfect order, with the same amount (if not more) of fuel in it as when we had received it. Subsequently we got a phone call to our hotel room. Someone from the hire company called us in a fury to wrongly accuse of us of all sorts of things he had no grounds for, regarding the car. We subsequently worked out that this employee was not Greek and, we believe, of the Muslim faith… Of the fact that the tract had somehow angered him greatly, we had no doubt.

Most tract recipients, who receive one directly, will just politely say: “No thank you,” or “thank you,” while hurriedly stuffing it into their pockets. I remember years ago giving out tracts at an open air rock concert, when I spotted a young relative of mine walking along there with some friends. When he spotted me engaged in this activity, he actually looked quite embarrassed and convicted. Who knows what may be achieved in the future because we have felt led to be in a certain place at a certain time!

It is good to use opportunities too, when travelling. I have often felt strongly led to leave tracts in unusual places, as the above photograph illustrates. I was walking once in a scenic area of Ireland when I discovered a little grotto of Roman Catholic significance with many pieces of idolatry left there. Here was an opportunity to leave the tract “This is my Story,” by ex-Roman Catholic priest, Henry Gregory Adams.

I believe it is true to say that there are apt tracts for specific occasions and not all tracts are suitable for particular occasions or individuals. I would not see the point, for example, in giving out the aforementioned tract at certain events in Northern Ireland, as many may agree with it – but be blind to their own need for salvation!

I once found a crumpled gospel tract thrown into a shopping trolley, picked it up, smoothed it out and put it in my handbag. A long time after that my husband and I were visiting a really old graveyard where we had the opportunity to talk to an elderly man about spiritual matters. He told us that since retirement he had an interest in history and had been travelling around, recording all the old graveyards in the rural areas of Ireland. He had joked that his wife had lectured him… “You’ll spend long enough in a graveyard without devoting the rest of your life walking around them!”

Although we talked with him, I also wanted to leave him with a tract and thought that I had none available. But then I remembered the one in my handbag… The person who threw it away into the shopping trolley probably thought: “Well, that’s the end of that…” But we must never forget that the Lord’s Word travels and touches other souls, even if it has been discarded. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55v11)

May the Lord bless and guide, as His children seek to distribute His Word to souls young and old; souls that we may never encounter again in the unique journey of each of our lives… but souls that we would dearly love to meet again someday in heaven.

 

The Tree Killer by G.G. Johnston – A Story from “The Two Roads”

July 14, 2015

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I was thinking of the following story just recently as we walked around Ardgillan Castle which is situated overlooking the sea between Balbriggan and Skerries in north County Dublin. On the afternoon of our visit to this beautiful place the scent of roses perfumed the air after a recent shower of rain. A long while ago, when I first came to live in this area, I wrote a little verse about the lovely Ardgillan, from which the Mourne mountains are clearly visible across the sea…

Ardgillan

 Imposing, yet familiar friend,

Beyond your ancient walls

Grey sky and blue sea blend.

And far across the foaming tide

My own dear Mournes peak quietly,

Where Northern lights abide.

 Elizabeth Burke

 In the grounds of Ardgillan there is also a rich variety of plant life and numerous trees, bringing to mind the story of “The Tree Killer” by G.G. Johnston…

“This peculiar form of plant life is a parasite, found in Venezuela and other tropical countries. Seeds carried by the wind, or by birds, fall into crevices in the bark of a giant ceiba, or other tree of the forest, and, moistened by the frequent rains, soon sprout. Slender roots quickly penetrate the bark and feed the plant from the sap within, while other tendrils, like cords, stretch themselves earthwards, sometimes many feet, until able to take root in the fertile soils beneath.

Other arms of this parasite creep up and down the trunk and branches, extending themselves, as if in loving embrace around the tree, but really sucking the life out of its victim, through the roots which grow from it at intervals of only a few inches, penetrating the bark of the tree.

Passing by one of these old giants covered with the tree-killer parasite, one is struck to note its excessive verdure, only to see upon closer observation that this is not the verdure of the tree, but of the parasite. Gradually the life of the noble ceiba is spent, and it stands dead and worthless. The parasite continues to feed upon the rotting form, becoming more distended and verdant. At length, a tropical windstorm hurls its fury against the mass and brings it down, a tangled, worthless pile of vines and leaves.

The story of the destruction of the great ceiba tree is also the story of man. Made in the image of God, he is head of all earth’s creatures. But sin laid hold of him, and, without exception, all have sinned. All in the human family are born with a sinful nature, and all, to some degree, have practiced sin.

The workings of sin are soon manifest in the child, increasing in their manifestations as the child grows. The occasional lie, the deceitful action, the tendency to steal, and the swear-words manifest the evil that is already sown in the heart. It grows with the years, as does the tree parasite, until in many cases the victim is brought down in disgrace, powerless to resist the onslaught of vice and sin.

In other cases, outside influence and inward pride preserve from open disgrace, but the evidences of sin’s presence are, nevertheless, not lacking.

The only hope for the beautiful tree of the forest is in some deliverer, who might come and destroy the tree-killer parasite. The sinner’s hope is not in himself, but in Another. One has come to destroy the power of sin, and deliver the soul of man. The Son of God, born of Israel’s virgin, Mary, in human form, but without the taint of sin, has lived, has died, and has risen again. His sinless life proved His fitness; in His death He suffered God’s judgement for sin, not His, but ours. His dying words were, “It is finished.” He rose in triumph, and went back to glory. The gospel is preached; men believe its message, and immediately experience a new power in their lives. The debt of sin is cancelled: its burden is gone. All fear of coming judgement is over.

My friend, do you not acknowledge before God that you are a sinner? You need a Saviour. Have you received Christ, and have you been saved by His grace? If not, open your heart this moment and accept Him as yours. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6v23)

The Two Roads: Destruction and Eternal Life

July 10, 2015

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How I miss my mum and dad who went to be with the Lord in recent years. This week, especially, I have been thinking of mum who only passed away some months ago. Old choruses that they used to sing have filled my thoughts and I feel an aching void within my heart for their company. Recently I discovered a little booklet amongst all the Christian literature that they left behind.

Entitled “The Two Roads,” it has many short stories based on the theme of its title – something I feel may bring conviction to those who read them. I know well that my parents would approve of me using these little stories as tracts – both online and in personal distribution. Compiled by Norman Lorimer and printed by John Ritchie Ltd., Kilmarnock, Scotland, it has obviously been written in an earlier era. I feel that many of the stories it contains (on the theme of its title) may convict those who read them…

Two roads before us lie,

And each a choice must make,

One upward to the sky,

One downward to the lake.

Will any choose the path of woe;

Each soul must answer “Yes!” or “No!”

 On the first page of the booklet is printed these words from Matthew 7v13&14:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate, and BROAD IS THE WAY, THAT LEADETH TO DESTRUCTION, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and NARROW IS THE WAY, WHICH LEADETH UNTO LIFE, and few there be that find it.”

The following poem (author unknown) is printed before the stories:

THE BLOOD

There is forgiveness God doth say,

Through the Blood;

Both sin and guilt are put away,

Through the Blood;

And sinners fitted for the sky,

Yes, unto God Himself brought nigh,

Made meet to dwell with Christ on high,

Through the Blood.

‘Tis not your work puts sin away,

But the Blood;

Nor is it gold, God’s word doth say,

But the Blood;

Yes, ‘tis the Blood, the precious Blood

Of Christ, the chosen Lamb of God,

That clears away sin’s heavy load;

Precious Blood!

Thousands of souls in Heaven will be,

Through the Blood,

Praising the Lamb Who on the tree

Shed His Blood.

All white and pure, all glorious fair,

They praise the Lamb, Whose joy they share;

O happy throng! Will you be there?

Through the Blood.

How often has it been said that the “the Blood” is rarely mentioned in modern hymns… I hope to post the first of many stories in this little booklet shortly. Surely His Word will not return unto Him void!

Discouragement, Our Great Enemy – But His Grace is Greater

June 25, 2015

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Imagine a situation where the Lord has laid it upon your heart to arrange something for local people, along the lines of a study of Psalm 23 from personal experiences that affect many today. You have gone to much trouble to advertise, to send out invitations to individuals and to provide light refreshments but more than this – you have much to offer in the form of good things in the spiritual sense. There is the best news mankind has ever heard on offer as well as encouragement, excellent leaflets, books and booklets freely available. You are open to discussion and questioning hearts; the door is wide open too, the surroundings are bright and comfortable, the event is free and the welcome is warm – but no one comes in. A cute little girl with curly hair runs over and smiles in at you but her mother immediately drags her away by the arm. Moments earlier a little boy did exactly the same thing but was also hastily taken away. It is, after all, a community centre… a place where sports of all types are catered for and a variety of entertainment is on the timetable.

‘No harm in sports,’ you might say and of course you are right – but how many people take a serious look at their spiritual needs? They look after their physical and leisurely requirements and they attend to their business, which is important too – but they neglect the most important part of their very existence, that part which will never die – their souls. As the old hymn goes: “room for pleasure, room for business…”

Now, I could have been really discouraged by what happened – or even reacted in the wrong spirit, but in the Lord’s strength this did not happen, thankfully. I’m a little disappointed of course but somehow strangely not surprised at all. After a long while, when I knew that no one would turn up I talked with the friendly attendants at the centre, gave them a tract each (which they gratefully accepted) and took my leave. The Lord had some purpose in me being there (even if it was to teach me something) and He has promised that His word will not return unto Him void.

Yesterday I witnessed a man giving out tracts on the street of a different town to the one where I held this morning’s ‘non event.’ I watched as he approached another man in a business suit who was walking towards him. The latter uttered a resoundingly rude “no thanks!!” and hurried on his way. Again, this was not at all surprising… but the tract distributor was clearly angered by this and shouted something after him which did take me by surprise… I could see clearly a look of weariness and terrible discouragement on his face as I approached him and shook hands with him. But it was good to have that warm conversation with him, before I had to go to my appointment.

Unfortunately we live in a world where most people’s interests often do not extend beyond the material things of this life but as Christians, we must be led of the Lord and love all souls, patiently praying that somehow the Lord will break through their indifference and hardness.

Yesterday, before the arranged event I had this sinking feeling that I ‘was going to be wasting my time’ and I felt strongly that I should cancel it. As I was having these thoughts, I was walking past the window sill where my little “Bread of Life” verses were sitting. Prayerfully picking one out, I knew for sure that this was the Lord’s message to me for the day: “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6v9)

And how weary I had felt! I was in pain – a dislocated floating rib the doctor had said. To be honest I just felt like not going ahead with this event but I knew that this would be wrong.

The Lord Jesus Christ left the riches of glory to come down to indifference – and even violent opposition. He took on the form of human flesh with all the disadvantages that this entails – and then gave His all, His very life; suffering that souls would be saved from a horrific eternity. Surely the least I can do is to obey His commands as long as He gives me strength to do so?

I feel that there are two messages in these incidents. First of all, it is better not to give out tracts (or do any other form of Christian evangelism) if it is felt that we are doing it in the wrong spirit. It is essential, by far, to quietly draw close to the Lord again and ask Him to put a right spirit within us and a love for souls – something which is a pre-requisite for reaching others. This is His encouraging message for Christians who seek to reach others with His love for them: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor. 15v58) We should obey His commands in a right spirit, in the knowledge that we have no personal control over the reactions of others.  

The second message (on the issue of indifference on the part of the general population) is held in that old hymn, the second verse of which keeps going through my head today: “Have you any room for Jesus?”

The link to this hymn is here: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/y/o/hyouanyr.htm

Remember, too, those words in Genesis 6v3: “My spirit shall not always strive with man…”

Have you any Room for Jesus?

Have you any room for Jesus,

He who bore your load of sin?

As He knocks and asks permission,

Sinners, will you let Him in?

Refrain

Room for Jesus, King of Glory!

Hasten now His Word obey;

Swing the heart’s door widely open,

Bid Him enter while you may.

Room for pleasure, room for business,

But for Christ the Crucified,

Not a place that He can enter,

In the heart for which He died?

 

Have you any room for Jesus,

As in grace He calls again?

O today is time accepted,

Tomorrow you may call in vain.

Room and time now give to Jesus,

Soon will pass God’s Day of Grace;

Soon thy heart left cold and silent,

And thy Saviour’s pleading cease.

Daniel W. Whittle (1840-1901)

The Little Messenger – A True Story

February 21, 2015

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I was challenged by the following true story, in tract form, which was kindly sent to me recently by a lady in County Fermanagh. It reminds me that God’s Word will not return unto Him void and that His will is for us to distribute that Word to needy souls in our own communities and wherever we travel. This little tract has an important message for both Christian and non-Christian…

On Sunday afternoons the Pastor and his eleven-year old son would go out to hand out Gospel tracts. This particular Sunday it was very cold outside and pouring down rain. The young lad bundled up in his warmest clothes said, “Father, I’m ready.” His father replied, “Ready for what?” “It is time to gather our tracts together and go out.” His father responded by saying, “Son, it is a very cold day and raining!” The lad gave a very surprised look, saying, “But Father, are not people still going to hell, even though it is raining?” “Son, we cannot go out in this weather.” Despondently the boy asked, “May I go please?” His father hesitated for a moment and then said, “Son, you may go, here are some tracts, but do be careful son.” And with that he was off and out into the rain.” The eleven year-old boy walked the streets of the town, going from door to door, handing to all he met, a Gospel tract. Two hours later he was soaked, bone-chilled, and down to his very last tract. He stopped on the street corner and looked for someone to whom he could pass on this very last one, but the streets were totally deserted. He then turned toward the first home he saw, went up to the front door and rang the bell. Nobody answered. He rang it again and again but still no answer. He waited and still no answer. Finally he turned to leave but something stopped him. Again he turned to face the door, ring the bell, and knock loudly on the door. He waited, something holding him there at the front door. He rang once again and this time the door slowly opened. Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She asked softly, “What can I do for you, son?” With radiant eyes and a smile that lit up her world, the little boy said, “Ma’am, I’m sorry if I disturbed you, but I just want to tell you that God really does love you and I am come to give you this my very last Gospel tract which tells you all about Jesus, His great sacrifice and love. With that he handed her his last tract and turned to leave. She called out to him as he departed – “Thank you son and may God bless you.” The following Sunday morning the Pastor and father was in the pulpit. As the service began, he asked, “Does anybody have a testimony they would like to give?” Quietly and slowly in the back row an elderly lady stood up. As she began to speak a look of glorious radiance was upon her face. She said, “No one in this meeting knows me. I’ve never been here before. You see, before last Sunday I was not a believer. My husband passed away some time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world. Last Sunday being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was even colder in my heart, for I had come to the end of all hope – I could no longer go on. I had no desire or will to live. So, I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic. I fastened the rope securely to a rafter in the roof, then stood upon the chair ad fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing upon that chair, so lonely and miserable, I was about to leap off when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, I’ll wait a minute and whoever it is will go away. I waited and waited but the ringing of the doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent. Then the person ringing the doorbell began also to knock loudly. I thought to myself, who on earth can that be? Nobody rings my bell or comes now to see me. I loosened the rope from my neck and headed for the front door as the bell rang louder and louder. When I opened the door and looked, I could hardly believe my eyes. For there was the most radiant and angelic-faced wee lad that I had ever seen. His smile, oh I could never describe it to you! And the words that came from his mouth, caused my heart that had so long been dead, to leap for life, for he said, “Ma’am, I just came to tell you that God really does love you!” Then he gave me this Gospel tract that I now hold in my hand and the angel-boy disappeared out into the cold and rain. I closed the door and read slowly every word of this tract. I then went up to my attic to take down that rope and chair. I would not be needing them anymore, for you see, I believed and became a happy child of God. Since the address of your place was on the back of this tract, I have come to personally say ‘thank-you’ to God, for his little messenger came in ‘just the nick of time’ and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell of separation from God.” By this time there were now no dry eyes, and shouts of praise and thanksgiving resounded to the very rafters of the building. Pastor-dad descended from the pulpit to the front seat where the little messenger was seated. He took his son into his arms and sobbed. Probably this universe had never seen a father that was more filled with love and thankfulness for his son…. except for One. That Father allowed His Son to go into a cold and dark world. He even sent Him into the world. He received back this Son with joy unspeakable, as all heaven shouted praises and honour to God. The Father seated His own beloved Son on His throne far above every principality and power and every name that is named. Jesus Christ is Son of God and Saviour of the world! He is God the Saviour. There may be someone who is reading this who is also going through a dark, cold and lonely time in his or her soul. You may even be a Christian, for Christians are not without problems, or you may not even know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour. Whatever the case and whatever the problem or situation or how dark it all may seem, I want you to know that I just came to tell you that God really does love you. He really does! He sent His Son to suffer, die and bear Himself the just punishment for the sins of the ungodly. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”(Romans 10v14) © Christian Book Room, P.O. Box 81, Kent Town, S.A. 5071, Australia.

The Adventures of a Bible – A True Story set in Dublin, by the Rev. J.H. Townsend, D.D.

March 31, 2012

This is the title of just one of the tracts which I recently obtained from “Way of Life”, Dungannon, copies of which are also available from “Good News for Ireland,” 5 Rathina, Newcastle-West, Co.Limerick.

Clearly written in a much earlier era, it struck a chord with me. Here is the amazing story of how one worn little Bible brought salvation to the lives it touched over a short space of time. My prayer is that this true story, by Rev. J. H. Townsend, will now touch even more lives…

On a dull January afternoon some years ago – the date of this occurrence is written down in an old notebook of mine – a young widow was sitting in her drawing room looking out of the window.

It was a fine house in a fashionable Dublin square; the room was handsomely furnished, everything indicated comfort, and even wealth, but the possessor looked unhappy.

Mrs. Blake was a Roman Catholic, fervent and conscientious in the practice of her creed, but of late her mind had been burdened with the thought of her sins. Religious practices, penance, and even prayers, brought her no relief; the burden could not be removed.

She had told her sorrows to her confessor, and at his bidding had taken up works of charity; but, although these things were an interest and for a while occupied her mind, the sense of her own sins lay heavy on her soul. Her confessor, a kindly and attractive young priest, gave her full absolution, but his words brought no comfort.

As she sat musing, there was a knock at the hall door, and before she had time to collect her thoughts a visitor was in the room. “What shall I do to rouse you and get that sad look off your face?”

“Ah, Father John, you are kind and you have done your best, but the burden of which I have told you lies heavy on my heart.”

“Listen to me,” said he; “I have made up my mind what you are to do. There’s a man coming to the Rotunda tomorrow who will make your sides ache with laughing, and you shall go to hear him.”

“Oh, Father John.”

“No – not a word! I won’t have any excuse – I enjoin it; go you will, and go you must.”

The young priest explained that a Society entertainer well-known at that period, was to appear before a fashionable audience, and that in his opinion this would be the best thing for her. No protest was of the slightest use; she could not disobey her spiritual advisor, who had even bought her a ticket for the performance, so the following afternoon saw Mrs. Blake at the appointed place, where large placards announced the entertainment which she had been ordered to attend.

The Rotunda, as every Dublin person knows, has more than one public room under its roof; there is the great Round Room, the Pillar Room, and one or two more; there are, moreover, different entrances. Now, as it happened, Mrs. Blake had made a mistake as to the hour of the performance, and instead of the crowd which she would have seen had she come at the right time, she noticed a little string of persons entering the building; following them she found herself in one of the smaller halls and sat down.

It seemed odd that no one had asked her for a ticket, but she concluded that this would be rectified later on. There was no time for much thought, as almost immediately a gentleman came upon the platform and gave out a hymn. Then it flashed on her that she had made some dreadful mistake – she must be in the wrong room, and, worst of all, this must be some Protestant meeting into which she had unfortunately found her way. Mrs. Blake was shy and sensitive; to go out of the place in the sight of all assembled was to her an impossibility. What should she do? She determined to slip out at the close of the hymn, for by doing so her action would be less likely to attract notice.

This she tried to do, but in her anxiety to be quick she knocked down her umbrella violently, and the noise which it made was so great that many turned round to see the cause. Poor Mrs. Blake, terrified at what she had done, sank into a chair and almost wished that she could fall through the floor.

Now there was a deep silence, and then one voice, that of the man on the platform, was heard in prayer. She could not help listening, as she had never heard anything like this before; it was so unlike the “Hail Marys” and other prayers in her books of devotion. The man was so reverent, but he seemed so happy as he prayed! This struck her as most extraordinary.

The prayer ended and the speaker announced that he would read a passage of Scripture on the “Forgiveness of Sin.” The very subject of all others in the world that she longed to hear about! Come what may – let Father John say what he liked or do what he chose – she must listen to this.

The first eighteen verses of the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews was read, and the speaker in a simple way expounded the teaching until it became as clear as daylight. The One Sacrifice once offered; the free and full forgiveness granted to those who ask for it in His Name; this, illustrated by several other passages in the New Testament, formed the subject of the discourse.

As the thirsty ground drinks in the summer rain, so did this poor soul receive these wonderful truths. She had never heard them before, but now they flowed into her inmost being and she longed to hear more.

The speaker ceased, and after another prayer the meeting broke up.

Mrs Blake felt that this was the opportunity of her life, so, summoning her courage, she went to the edge of the platform and asked the gentleman whose words he had been reading.

Surprised at such a question he came down, and was at once plied with so many enquiries that he offered to write down references for her to study at home. When, however, he learnt that the lady had never possessed a Bible, his interest was keenly aroused. “I will lend you mine,” he said; “read the marked passages in the pages I have turned down, but let me have it back in a few days; it is the most precious thing I have.”

Mrs. Blake thanked him warmly, and hastened home with joy in her heart and a new light in her eye; how different a being from the disconsolate creature who a couple of hours previously had found her way to the Rotunda!

For the next few days everything was forgotten but her new treasure; she read and re-read the marked passages and many others too. The Light shone into her understanding; the burden long weighing upon her conscience rolled away into the Open Grave, and the peace of God filled her heart and mind.

Now the time had come for the Bible to be returned. Once more she was deep in her new study and so engrossed in thought as not to notice a ring at the hall door. Someone entered her sitting room and her confessor stood before her. He noticed two things: an embarrassment in her manner, and at the same time a restful calm in her eyes, to which he was a stranger.

“What has happened to you?” asked the visitor. “I haven’t heard how you liked the entertainment, and as I didn’t see you at Mass last Sunday I thought you might be ill.”

Taken aback by the suddenness of the whole thing, Mrs. Blake lost her self-possession. She had intended to keep the matter a secret for a time at least, but now she was off her guard, and with the simplicity of a child she told the whole story – the mistake of the room, the attempt to go, the words spoken, the book lent, and, last of all, the joy and peace that filled her heart. With downcast eyes she spoke, but when she glanced up, her spirit froze with terror at the look of the man before her.

It was black with rage! Never before had she seen such fury depicted on a face.

“Give me that book!” he said hoarsely.

“It isn’t mine” she cried, vainly attempting to stop him.

“Give it to me,” was the reply, “or your soul will be damned eternally; that heretic has nearly got you into hell, and neither he nor you shall ever read that book again.”

Seizing it as he spoke, he thrust it into his pocket and, giving her a fearful look strode out of the room.

The lady sat as if paralyzed – she heard the hall door shut, and something in her heart seemed to shut also and to leave her alone in terror. That awful look searched her through and through; only those who have been born and brought up in the Church of Rome know the nameless horror which their idea of the power of the priesthood can inspire. Then too she thought of the gentleman who had lent her his Bible; his address was in it, but she could not remember it and knew not where to write. This was very grievous, but oh! that look – it was branded on her memory.

Days passed slowly by, but her visitor, once so welcome, now so dreaded, did not return. Courage began to creep back, and at last, after a fortnight or more had elapsed, Mrs. Blake determined to venture upon a visit to him. She must make one more effort, if not too late, to get the book restored to its rightful owner.

Father John lived at some distance from Mrs. Blake’s residence, and his house adjoined a convent to which he was confessor. The door was opened by a nun, who visibly startled at the sight of Mrs. Blake and, upon being asked if the priest was at home, her eyes seemed to blaze for a moment, but immediately her face became rigid and her manner cold as she said, “Yes, Father John is at home – he is in this room; will you not come in and see him?” As she spoke she half led, half pushed, the lady into the room opening off the hall; but as the visitor entered she uttered a piercing shriek, for oh! – horrors of horrors! – there was an open coffin, and in it the lifeless form of her confessor.

Before she could recover from the shock, the nun glided up to her and hissed into her ear these words: “He died cursing you; you gave him a Bible, and he told me to tell you that he cursed you – cursed you with his last breath; now go!” And before she well knew what had happened, Mrs Blake was in the street with the door shut behind her.

Several weeks elapsed. The breath of spring had passed over the earth, waking leaves and flowers to life and loveliness. One evening Mrs. Blake was sitting alone preparing over the events of the past three or four months. The joy of pardon was in her heart, she had bought a Bible for herself, and had read it daily. The old errors in which she had been brought up had been one by one renounced, but there was a sorrow which could not be effaced. How sad, how ineffably sad, the brief illness and sudden death of the young priest! His last look! His last words! That terrible message!

Why should she have been so blest, brought into the haven of peace, filled with heavenly joy, and he – why should not the same words have brought him a like message? It was too awful, and was one of the mysteries which could never be explained. “Why,” she said to herself, “should a God of love do this?”

At that moment the servant ushered into the room a lady who was closely veiled and who stood for a moment irresolute. Before Mrs. Blake could speak, the other said, “You do not know me in this dress, but you will soon recognise me.” With these words she lifted her veil and revealed the face of the nun who had delivered the message of cursing as they stood by the open coffin.

Mrs. Blake started back, not knowing what might happen next, but her visitor calmed her fears, adding, “May I sit down and tell you something?” Having been invited to do so she went on – “I have two things to tell you, and I must be very brief for I am in great haste. First, please, please forgive me for that awful lie of mine; I have asked God’s forgiveness, but I beg also for yours. Father John died blessing you with all his heart. The day before his death he charged me to tell you that he too had found forgiveness for his sin by that book, and that throughout Eternity he would bless you for having brought him to the knowledge of his Saviour. Now, will you forgive me?”

“I will indeed, from the bottom of my heart,” gasped the astonished lady; “but why did you say what you did?”

“Because I hated you. I loved him, and hated you for having sent him to hell as I believed. Now listen. I felt the strongest desire to read what he had read, and after his funeral I could not resist looking into the book for myself; I was fascinated and read more and more, and I too have found pardon and peace in my Saviour. I have been studying the Bible for weeks, and now here it is” – producing it as she spoke, “I have escaped the convent this evening and will cross to England tonight, but I felt that I must come here and return this Bible, and to tell you that all my life I too shall bless you for having through it taught me how to get forgiveness for my sins. Good-bye! God bless you! We shall meet in heaven.”

A brief farewell and she had passed out of the house and was gone.

Was it, after all, only a dream? A little worn Bible lay on the table before her. It was no dream, but a glorious reality. That little book – without a living voice to expound its teaching in two of these cases – had brought three precious souls out of darkness into light.

Imagine the feelings of the owner when it was restored to him with this wonderful record! And yet what says the One who sent it on its mission?

“My word shall not return unto Me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Reader, what has your Bible done for you?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”  (John 3v16&17)

On Soul Winning – and my Recent Visit to “Way of Life” in Tyrone, Northern Ireland

February 27, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Farquhar family who have a wonderful stock of Christian literature, including booklets, a vast assortment of tracts, bookmarks, calendars and some books. (CDs are also available.) Many thousands of their calendars and tracts are distributed around the country, having been acquired by such organisations as the Irish Evangelistic Band which distributes tracts and calendars to remote parts of Donegal, Mayo and other locations in rural Ireland. Please note that the Farquhar family (Robert and Eleanor) may be contacted at this address:

148 Blackisland Road, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. BT 71 6NL.

Around twenty-five years ago the Farquhar family started their outreach with some black and white tracts but on my first visit to their home recently I was truly impressed by the sheer volume of Christian resources now available. I was fascinated by the many tracts and testimonies there, which include “This is my Story… A Personal Testimony by converted priest Henry Gregory Adams” and “I had never heard the true gospel, The Testimony of Peggy O’Neill, formerly Sister Aidan, RSHM.”

I have personally distributed some of the tracts (Henry Gregory Adam’s testimony) to two monasteries in the depths of rural Ireland and I hope to use the testimony of Peggy O’Neill to reach nuns in similar circumstances.

One winter’s evening, as I travelled alone by train from a meeting in Greystones, I happened to note that a priest had embarked at a station along the route. As the cold rain lashed down on the platform where he had been standing earlier, I looked at the reflection of his unhappy face in the rainy grey window. Now he was seated not so far away from me and I felt a tract in my pocket, in the knowledge that here was an opportunity, but somehow I felt hesitant about offering it to him. After a while he got up from his seat and I was sure that he was about to disembark at the next station. It was now or never… so I approached him with Henry Gregory Adam’s testimony in my hand. However, it transpired that he had got up from his seat to get a newspaper that someone had discarded! (He obviously needed some reading material.) The priest took the tract from me, muttered something that I couldn’t hear and before long he had alighted at a station before my destination. Quite probably I will never see this man again in my life and more than likely he has never been witnessed to in his life. How I thanked the Lord that I had not missed this opportunity and how I pray that somehow the tract will touch his heart.

This man is just one amongst billions who need to be reached. Christian, whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever your circumstances are – as long as you live upon this earth the Lord wants you to reach the lost. Our opportunities as individuals differ and also may change over the years of course because of many factors, including health and age. Nevertheless, we all, without exception have work to do for the extension of His Kingdom and for the deepening of our own and our fellow Christian’s walk with the Lord too – and this is where that essential element prayer comes in.

My prayer is that the “soul winning” supplies generously made available by the Farquhar family of “Way of Life” and other organisations, will go out  to the glory of our Lord and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us. “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (1Cor. 3v7)

Reaching out with Christian Literature in Balbriggan, North County Dublin

October 24, 2010

I remember seeing this small town for the first time back in the early 1980’s when it was little more than a village with a few extra housing estates under construction. I don’t know what the population was back then, but according to the census in 2006, it had reached 15,559. Today it is estimated that more than 20,000 people live there, many of whom are of African and East European origin. Last week, armed with Christian literature and a burden for souls, I apprehensively set out to reach one estate in particular. It was a cold, dark evening as I rang the first doorbell. No one was in! I found this to be the pattern at quite a few houses, although perhaps people were reluctant to come to the door after dark – especially when they had to climb down a couple of flights of stairs, as this particular estate had narrow three-storey town houses. On these occasions, I pushed a tract into the letterbox. After a time I came to a house which was completely decked out for Halloween – although Halloween at that point was nearly three weeks away! I felt suddenly an evil presence and also very despondent and alone in my endeavours. Here I was trailing around houses where the vast majority of people probably just didn’t want to know. Recent disclosures about the clerical abuse of children in Ireland have resulted in anger, cynicism, apathy – and a reverting to old Pagan ways. Many feel justifiably hurt and furious about the horrific abuse that took place over the decades, but sometimes they look at anyone whom they would view as ‘religious’ with this same cynicism. Despite this, the human soul has a need to worship and some are turning to systems of belief other than Roman Catholicism.

This is where other cults sometimes step in. A Bible study set up by a group in this town is mysteriously unforthcoming about who is running it; I have reason to suspect that these may be ‘Cooneyites.’ My conviction is that any system of belief which has its roots in ‘salvation by works’ as opposed to faith must be termed ‘a cult.’

I thank God for His gifts of freedom and faith – something that is missing from erroneous systems of belief. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8v36) I do not have to ask permission from anyone before I embark on telling others of the wonders of His love for mankind. He sent His Son to die that people in Balbriggan, in Dublin; in every country, city, town, village, hamlet and tiny homestead in the world might have life – and life that is more abundant. And so those of us who know Him as Saviour must keep our lights burning as we witness to others until the Lord calls or comes to take us Home.

Above is a photograph of Balbriggan lighthouse which reminds me of that hymn: “Let the Lower Lights be burning!” The story behind this hymn by Philip Bliss is that many lives were lost on a ship, all because the man who was supposed to light the lower lights along the shore, failed in his duties. In this allegory, the lighthouse is that Great Light of the gospel, through the Word – while Christians are ‘the lesser lights along the shore.’

Let us never fail to serve Him on the darkest, most depressing nights; in spite of the prevailing cold winds of apathy, cynicism and the threat of ‘spiritual wickedness in high places.’ May the Lord empower all who do so with a clean heart, a bright light, courage – and a love for the souls of this world for whom He died.    

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/l/llowerlb.htm

Ladies Meeting

February 7, 2010

Banbridge Independent Methodist Church, Banbridge Co. Down, Northern Ireland

http://banbridgeindependentmethodistchurch.co.uk/

Ladies’ fellowship meeting on Monday 22nd February, 2010 @ 8p.m… Lord willing, I hope to give my testimony and present my books to those present. Some tract samples and free hand crafted bookmarks will also be available.

Books: “A Biblical Journey through the Irish Year”  “Singing on the Journey Home” & children’s book “God Made You, God Loves You, God Saves You.” For further information please email: readywriterpublications@gmail.com

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3v20&21)