Posts Tagged ‘witnessing’

Reach out to the Living – While it is Day

November 9, 2019

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The recent funeral of a well-known radio and television presenter here in Ireland brought to mind thoughts of being faithful to people while they are still alive. I recall sending something (a tract and a letter I believe) to this person many years ago. When we are faithful witnesses to people, this is something which we will never regret, even if there is either no response or a negative response from the person in question. The Lord loved and died for all and who knows how He will use the little morsels we scatter to His glory? The following is a short modified extract from my book “Singing on the Journey Home….”
I recall years ago befriending a lady whose mother was very ill. One day, towards the end of her mother’s life, I called to see my friend but prior to this I had been praying much for her mother and my desire was to speak with her. After a few moments, in answer to my prayer, she took me upstairs to see her. She was not really old by today’s standards; around seventy I think. The atmosphere was a little strained, but when I look back on that day, I know for sure that the Lord was with me and that He did speak to that lady. I was also sure that she had met another Christian at some time, and that she knew something of the scriptures for she finished some verses of the Bible that I had started to quote. I can recall a certain special moment during this exchange when there was complete silence and the lady looked at me perceptively. It was one of those looks that I shall never forget. I wanted to be gentle, to be led of the Lord, in all that I said to her – yet I felt so inadequate for the task. Still I felt that the Lord was opening her heart, speaking to her in that still small voice – the only voice that can truly penetrate the hearts of men and women.
It was the memory of the journey home from that visit that I shall never forget. I had felt emotional on leaving that home and as I drove away I felt the presence of God very strongly. Then, just as I was about half way home, that presence intensified, so much so that I almost had to stop the car. I tried not to let the tears blind me as I drove along. For the remainder of that day I went about my household duties, continuing to feel the Lord’s strong and loving reassurance in my heart.
A short time later that lady passed away and I went to the graveside as a mark of respect. It was a big funeral. Everyone seemed to know each other but I knew no one there, with the exception of my friend and a couple of others. I shook hands with my friend, who was naturally distraught and then I withdrew a distance from the many people who thronged the graveside. Somehow I was feeling very much a stranger in the midst of it all, particularly with the proceedings that followed.
The ceremony was very elaborate – if it was possible for a ceremony to get someone into heaven, then that one certainly would have. I watched as the young Roman Catholic Priest who was conducting the proceedings suddenly broke into song, in Latin. He sang with all his might and then uttered such eloquent prayers for the deceased. The coffin was one of the best that money could buy, as was the headstone. The intentions and the prayers were sincere but I knew that none of this could make any difference to the most important issue of all – the eternal destination of the deceased.
Walking away from that scene, I realised that I could never know for sure in this life whether this lady had trusted the Lord, but He knew and now it remained for me to pray for my friend and her family, that they too would find the loving Saviour who is our only real comfort in grief and loss. I also knew that the Lord had not brought me into contact with this family for nothing and that His Word, which I had quoted to a dying soul, would not “return unto Him void.”
How lovely it is to tell others of the Saviour who has come “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Like the dying thief on the cross who was only a short time from eternity, they too may find the Saviour before they leave this scene of time. My prayer for the elderly souls that I have felt led to visit (and the younger souls that I have felt led to speak to) is that the light of the Saviour would penetrate the souls of those in their twilight years – and the souls of the younger too, who could also be standing by ‘the very cliff edge of eternity.’ Surely He is but a prayer away… and even though we may be in perfect health, are we not all “dying and perishing” spiritually before we are touched by the Saviour?

 

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)

Have you had a Visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Recently?

November 5, 2011

If we, as Christians, sometimes get discouraged, how much more so must those who neither believe in (nor are led by) the Holy Spirit? They work hard, going from door to door with absolutely no reassuring presence of the ‘Comforter.’ (John 14v16-18) Given this sad fact, I have often thought that ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses,’ in general, are very diligent in their outreach; if only Christians were this diligent! They systematically cover every square metre of our little island, visiting the remotest of dwelling places. I am certain that this is so in every other country of the world where they have a presence. I remember years ago being at an evangelical church in Athens, close to where St. Paul preached on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17v22). A man stood up in the middle of the meeting and started shouting and waving his hands. The Greek people who sat beside us explained that this person was a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ who was disputing what the preacher was saying. From research I have discovered that unfortunately most countries in the world now have a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ presence.

Once, when I was visiting a remote rural area of County Waterford, I gave an elderly lady (who lived alone) a tract. “Are you a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’?” she asked. How disappointing to discover that ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ had been in this isolated location, but this lady had never in her life been spoken to by an evangelical Christian!

“It’s not a good idea to go out ‘two-by-two.’ They’ll think we’re Jehovah’s Witnesses,” I heard someone once say. But why should we, as Christians, decide not to do something – just because a certain well-known cult does it? Anyway, we should be guided and influenced by God’s Word and led of the Holy Spirit for it is He who speaks to souls, to guide them into all truth. It is He, also, who prepares the hearts of the individuals He wants us to speak to.  (Proverbs 16v1)

“Not interested. I have my own religion (or church),” is the response of many people to Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door. But the Christian should have a very different attitude. Essentially we need to know the scriptures, never forgetting to put the emphasis on Jesus and His finished work on the cross at Calvary. At some time, many of the people within this and other cults have sincerely reached out for truth – but in doing so they have embraced error. These individuals, like those in other cults, need a loving witness. To slam the door or to be coldly hostile or impatient is not a Christ-like reaction. Be led of the Holy Spirit, and love the person – but not his erroneous beliefs.

I thank my Lord for leading me into the marvellous light of His truth and I pray that, in His strength, I can reach out to those who have been deceived. That glow of His presence makes it all worthwhile, and I can face the burdensome tasks of the day, in the knowledge that, insignificant as I am, He can use me to reach the souls for whom He died, rose – and lives to save. Oh that many would turn from error, seek His face and find the real Jehovah; He who encompasses Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (1John 5v7&8)

How lovely are those words which refer to Jehovah in Isaiah 26v3&4… “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”

Frances Ridley Havergal, devotional writer, poetess and hymn writer certainly found that “perfect peace,” when at the age of fourteen she trusted the Lord Jesus to save her. Miss Havergal was plagued with ill health during her short life but she was greatly used of the Lord, because she had later consecrated that life to Him. I love her hymn “Like a River Glorious,” which declares the all-sufficiency of “Jehovah” and the perfect peace and blessing that is to be found when we “trust Him wholly.” What a beautiful analogy: the sparkling peaceful river, flowing deeper and deeper as it makes its way to the sea!

Link to this hymn: http://hymntime.com/tch/htm/l/i/k/likriver.htm

Tell Loved-One, Neighbour, Friend & Foe – Before it is too Late!

November 6, 2010

This week I learned of the death of a friendly lady whom I had once known. I could scarcely believe that I shall never see that dear face again in this life and now I wish that I had said more to her. This experience reminded me of “The Graves,” a poem of seven verses which I wrote in 2004 following the death of an elderly neighbour. Oh Lord, help all those who know you as Saviour to reach precious souls before it is too late. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 10v32&33)

 

The Graves

 

One cloudy restless Sabbath Day,

I went in search of where he lay.

So pensively I picked my way,

Past ancient headstones and decay.

*******

Celtic crosses in the mist,

Coloured gravestones, raindrop-kissed,

Crying curlew overhead,

Wooden crosses, unknown dead.

*******

The old, the young, the rich, the poor,

A child, a babe…. a grief to endure;

A nobleman, a pauper, a puritan, a thief:

Death knows no boundary, and nor doth grief.

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Who were these within their day,

Whose bodies now lie clothed in clay?

Were they told, or did they see

That Jesus died all souls to free?

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And then I thought on the living-dead

For whom His precious blood was shed,

And how I wished that they could be

Joyful, saved, from sin set free.

*******

Oh, how I longed to talk with him,

Before the flickering light grew dim,

But hope had drowned in the Great Forever,

Where land and riches matter never.

*******

So, brother, sister we must go –

Tell loved-one, neighbour, friend and foe,

For how can we so silent be…

If we love the Author of Eternity?

© Elizabeth Burke.