An eternal and heavenly perspective …

It has been quite a long time since I blogged on this page.  So sorry about that…. BUT, I’m back again and I have something very precious to share with you all

I read about Fanny Crosby, the prolific hymn writer (wrote over 9000 hymns!), just recently again and was so blessed.  Some of those beautiful hymns include “Blessed Assurance”, “To God be the Glory”, “All the Way my Saviour leads me”, “Safe in the arms of Jesus”, “Rescue the Perishing” and “Tell me the story of Jesus” and thousands more!

The story is told of a well-intentioned preacher who said to her: “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when He showered so many gifts upon you”.  Fanny Crosby’s reply is amazing indeed:  “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? … Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Saviour”.

Wow …

How absolutely amazing but so wonderful.  When you’ve not been able to see all your life or for a large part of it, just imagine that the very Person you see when you are healed in eternity, is the precious Lord Jesus, the One who saved you by His grace!  To see His smile and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

I do not have adequate words really …

Fanny could see life with an eternal perspective.

How do we face things that happen to us at any given point in our lives?  When viewing our problems in the light of eternity, they will look different.   Knowing there is Someone who cares for you and is able to help and guide you, makes so much difference – an eternal difference.

Fanny Crosby knew and loved her Saviour. It is reflected so clearly through her hymns and testimony.

Our trials will dim when on that one absolutely glorious day we see Jesus face to face – when we see His welcoming smile.

I know that my father who passed away last August and my mother who went “home” in 1994, both saw His welcoming smile and arms outstretched to meet them.

Let us make sure we are ready to meet Him, whether in death or when He comes again.

“For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Are you looking forward to that day when, like Fanny Crosby, you will look upon His face and see the One who has loved you with an everlasting love, face to face.

Eternity

Eternity

Let this be your song too:

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked ways are straightened,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Refrain
Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ Who loves me so.
(Car­rie E. Breck, 1898)

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My favourite things … the old chipped mug

There is surely nobody who can say they do not have a favourite item. Be it an item of clothing, a chair, possibly a holiday destination, a coffee shop or even (as in my case) a favourite mug!

Can you believe it … a favourite mug indeed!

This mug, colourful with yellows, greens and shades of red and orange, was bought shortly after I moved to England from South Africa almost fifteen years ago. It was my “breakfast cup” and faithfully held my tea every morning for virtually 14 years (except of course when I was away from home!).

Over the years this old mug had acquired some battle scars. Altercations with the dishwasher or fellow mugs maybe …. Whatever the cause, my mug became somewhat chipped Image0249and faded over the years. But let it go? No. I was attached to it and loved having it around. Even when I was given a beautiful mug to “replace” it, it stood in a little corner in the kitchen – just maybe I could find another use for it …

The time came when I had to bid it farewell and it joined other items for recycling.

Thinking back on the old chipped cup, I couldn’t help but think about the prophet Jeremiah. He illustrates God’s intentions with and for us so wonderfully when he describes how the Lord sent him to the potter’s house. The potter was making something at his wheel. Jeremiah noticed that when the first jar the potter made didn’t turn out as he had hoped, he squashed it back into a lump of clay and started making it over again until he was completely satisfied with the finished product.
(Read the full story in Jeremiah 18:1-10)

The Lord showed Jeremiah (and us!) that He is able to crush us and destroy us. However, and most importantly, if we are willing to repent and turn to Him, He is longing to make us new … a vessel fit for the Master’s use. He makes all things new.

The old mug is a poor illustration indeed. Having thrown it out for recycling, it could potentially end up being something someone could possibly use again.

I was further reminded of a beautiful song written many years ago which is so meaningful … it reminds me of what the Lord did for me when He found and saved me over 40 years ago now – praise His glorious Name!

“The Potter saw a vessel that was broken by the wind and rain and He sought with so much compassion, to make it over again. O I was that vessel, that no one thought was good.hands of a potter, creating an earthen jar on the circle I cried Lord, You’re the Potter and I am the clay, make me over again today. Then God picked up the pieces of my broken life that day and He made me a new vessel, and revived my soul again”. 1

So, unlike the old chipped mug, if we come to Jesus, broken, chipped, scarred and feeling utterly useless, lonely and lost, He is waiting to do a miracle in our lives and make us over anew. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

(1 Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to track who wrote it but am reliably informed that it is in the public domain)

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Then sings my soul …

Just recently a dear friend gave me a beautiful DVD … “George Beverly Shea … Then Sings My Soul”.   What an experience listening to it and viewing the radiance of a servant of the King of Kings!

The DVD literally transports one into the presence of Jesus!   It takes the form of an GeorgeBeverlySheaPhotointerview.  Bill Gaither interviewing Bev Shea interspersed with 26 glorious hymns.  Clippings from various Billy Graham crusades bring the wonderful atmosphere of those long-forgotten and much-missed evangelical campaigns into the living room.

It is estimated that Bev Shea sang to over 220 million people in his lifetime.   In his more than 70 years of friendship with Billy Graham, he was a permanent fixture in Billy Graham’s Evangelical Campaigns throughout the world.

As I listened to extracts from this DVD, it was as if I the Lord Jesus was right there in the room with me.   An unforgettable experience!!

Very recently George Beverly Shea passed into the presence of His Saviour and Lord at the age of 104.

I am taking the liberty of inviting you to purchase a copy of the DVD.   If you love the Lord and enjoy music and testimonies that truly enrich one’s life, why not get your copy.   I really want to encourage you to do this.  http://www.comealive2012.org/links.html

Some might think it old fashioned … not so!!  Never forget that the message of the Cross NEVER gets old or outdated.  And sometimes it is a very good idea to stop a while and think … This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls…” (Jeremiah 6:16)

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CALVARY’S CROSS

The “C” in Calvary stands for the Cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ died to save us Cross with soft cloud backgroundfrom our sins. “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23) “…… You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts & actions, yet now He has brought you back as His friends. He has done this through His death on the cross in His own human body. As a result, He has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault” (Col 1:21&22)

A” is for Atonement. “For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us” (Rom. 3:25)

Calvary’s “L” stands for the incredible Love with which Jesus loves us. “And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends” (John 15:13). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16) The greatest expression of the love of Christ is seen in His self-sacrifice on Calvary’s cross and in His blood that flowed from His wounded hands and feet.

V” is for the Victory won at the cross of Calvary when Jesus shed His precious blood for us. “He paid (a ransom) for you with the precious life- blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God”(1 Peter 1:19) “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us the victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor.15:56 & 57)

The second “A” stands for the Assurance we have that if we have confessed our sin and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, we can know our sins are forgiven and know that we have eternal life. “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9)

R” reminds us that Jesus is Risen from the dead. We serve a risen Saviour! “And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised Him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 1:4) This gives us hope indeed. “If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless …. but the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again” (1 Cor.15:17& 20)

When faced with such love, such sacrificial love … the “Y” stands for Your decision (and mine). What will you do with Jesus? Neutral we cannot be. “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, ….” (Rev. 3:20)

Dearest Lord Jesus, help us to understand how much you love us. Help us to to respond The Crossand seek to know you as our Risen Saviour. In these difficult days when Christ’s blood and atoning sacrifice is hardly mentioned, help us to realize anew what it cost You to purchase our salvation and deepen our understanding of the meaning and power of your precious blood. Amen.

(* New Living Translation used throughout)

[This is an extract from my book "Moments of Encouragement"]

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The Suicide Bridge … Bridge of Hope!!

Although an impressive structure just a few milesVan Stadens Bridge outside Port Elizabeth in the south-eastern corner of South Africa, the Van Staden’s Bridge has been the site of at least 87 suicides as at December 2012.

Just recently I had news about a publisher from Jeffrey’s Bay, a sea-side town near to Port Elizabeth, who has had a vision to construct a huge cross on a site overlooking the notorious bridge. The cross would be 14 metres high and would have the words “Jesus loves you” in huge letters (+/- 4 metres high) at the foot of the cross.  The problem was that over R100,000 would be required to achieve this project.  (+/- £7300/$11,000).   Where would this money come from?

Van Stadens CrossThis cross of hope, as it is called, would be there in an endeavour to remind the folk coming to the bridge to take their own lives, that there IS still HOPE.  That Someone cares.    The cross of hope would have a constant message – day and night  – for those who have lost hope, those who have reached the end of their tether.

Back to the vision – the miracle of provision has already started.  Construction companies and steel manufacturers in the Port Elizabeth area were approached by Robbie Hift (the publisher) and are working together to supply and construct the huge cross.  When Robbie contacted the marketing manager at the first steel manufacturing company to explain his vision, she stated “This is not strange.  My own father  jumped off the Van Staden’s Bridge to his death! I know exactly what you are talking about and I will give you all the support I possibly can!”   A company offered to supply all the cement needed to build the foundations for the cross and the four concrete blocks to anchor the steel cables reaching up to the crossbar of the cross.   And so, one after the other, every need is being supplied.

The farmer who owns the mountain on which the cross will be built, has cleared the area & built an access road to the site;Van Stadens Bridge site the best lighting/illumination possible has been organized; a security firm has committed to 24 hour protection from vandals and others who might want to destroy the cross;  the list is endless.  All things are falling into place and the items needed are being wonderfully provided.   What does it prove?   God is in the project!

Robbie Hift goes on to say: “This vision is not just to encourage unfortunate people who might want to jump off the bridge. It is much, much more than that. We want to encourage ALL peoples of ALL nations that God really loves us. Our tears are His tears. Our problems are His problems.  He really wants us to turn to Him in ALL situations and He is the God who can make a way where there is no way.  He is the God of the impossible.”

I would like to ask the readers of my blog to pray with me for this project.  Pray that the Lord will bless and prosper every aspect of the vision as it progresses.  Pray that the Cross will indeed be used of the Lord to point people to the God of all comfort, the great Physician, the Saviour of the world.   Watch the short video made by a friend in Port Elizabeth to remind folk to keep near the Cross and to continue to pray for the project.

The world has become a very cruel, selfish and lonely place.  Folk are finding life increasingly difficult – the economic downturn leading to loss of jobs, financial pressures and feelings of utter desperation.   There is no one quick solution BUT, having Jesus in your life can make all the difference.  Yes, Christians are also caught up in these dreadful situations and also face suicidal thoughts.  But let us remember, Jesus hears the softest cry,   and sees the tears – He knows, He Cares, He loves.

If you, dear reader, are going through the darkest tunnel of your life, please do not struggle on your own.  I have listed some helpful links below.  Feel free to write to me and request prayer and/or helpful literature.  Jesus loves you so dearly.  Reach out to Him, He is reaching out to you … right now!

For further help:
UK:
Nationwide Christian Trust Prayer Support:  Why not pick up the phone right now and call 0044 844 576 8876 (international) or 0844 576 8876 (UK).
Premier Lifeline is a confidential telephone helpline which offers a listening ear along with emotional and spiritual support from a Christian perspective and prayer.
Lifeline telephone numbers:  0845 345 0707 (BT Local Rate) / 020 7316 0808
Premier Lifeline is open 9am to midnight everyday of the year.
OTHER COUNTRIES: I do not have local numbers but try to contact a Bible-believing church or contact Nationwide Christian Trust Prayer Support on 0044 844 576 8876 (international)
Email questions or comments to info@dayashton.co.uk

Read the full story about the Cross 

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Finding rest for your souls ….

Portrait of depressed young businessman isolated on white“Come to me. all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29)

How many times have I come across this verse today? I have lost count, believe it or not!

What does this tell me  ?  (No, not the fact that I’ve lost count!…!)  It tells me that the Lord is wanting me to see and take note of the message these verses are conveying.

I don’t know about you but I know that I am very guilty of trying to pack too much into my day and putting too much onto my proverbial fork.   Whether working full or part-time, retired or whatever the case, the pressures of life in one way or another press down upon us, so often sapping us of energy and leaving us unable to cope with even the basics.

There is so much turmoil around – in the world, in the workplace, within oneself …

Everyday we are confronted with growing concerns in our country and around the world.  Financial insecurity, selfishness and lack of consideration for others (especially the elderly and vulnerable in our society), threats of terrorism, to mention just a few issues.

In addition, we have our very own personal problems: failing health, family and relationship issues and trauma, budgetary constraints, loneliness, job insecurity, separation of various kinds, the list is endless.

Even if you feel “everything is under control”, I believe the few verses I share here will be a great blessing both now and in the future.

Take God at His Word – He means what He says – His Word has been given as a lamp to young man reading small bibleguide our feet and a light for our paths. (Psalm 119:106)

Jesus said:  “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  As some translations state, “Come ye apart and rest a while” (Mark 6:31)

Very recently I read the following on Twitter which blessed me so much: “When life slows down, we cannot fail to notice every day miracles and be thankful for them”.  There are times when life situations force us to slow down.  On the other hand, there are times when we have to determine to “be still” and to realize that we need to take time out with the One who can help us through the difficult times, who hears our sighs, who sees our tears … Jesus!   And it is so true, when we heed our Saviour’s invitation to “come apart … and rest a while”, He will reveal Himself to us.  As we meditate on His Word, we will be able to see how He has been carrying us through every twist and turn of our lives.  With His help and strength, we will gradually regain some focus in our lives.  I know it is so, I’ve Sunsetexperienced it and am experiencing it even now as I write this blog post.

So, no matter what situation you find yourself in at the moment, let us in the words of the Psalmist say: “Find rest, o my soul, in God alone.   My hope and expectation is from Him”. (Psalm 62:5)

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How to live in the light of the Lord’s imminent return …

“Hold on now … who said anything about the imminence of the Lord’s return?”

That is just the point!   We seldom hear people refer to or preach on the subject dealing with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.   This is quite tragic really.  The very fact that the Lord could return at any moment (when we least expect Him) is what can help us all as Christians to keep focused and to walk in ways that are pleasing to Him.

Sadly so many Christians and Churches are getting dreadfully side-tracked these Picture globedays on issues that have little or no bearing on the salvation of the lost and walking closely with Jesus.  Recent arguments and discussions about various “issues” are not really helping anyone spiritually.   These are distractions rather than helping us to focus on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

As Christians we have a responsibility to “go and make disciples of all nations” and to “build each other up in our most holy faith, praying in the power of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19 & Jude 1:20).  In fact, the book of Jude is such a gem to study and ends on such a triumphal note in verses 24 & 25.

I know that there will be some reading this blog post who will feel that I am being simplistic.  Be that as it may … “as we await the return of the Lord Jesus, we need to throw and strip off everything that hinders, trips us up or slows us down and the sin that so easily entangles, ensnares or distracts us so that we can run with perseverance and patience the race marked out for us.”  (Free translation of Hebrews 12:1).

It is a great concern to me that we as Christians can so easily find ourselves taking the eye off the ball.  The Lord says in His Word: “…be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with …worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the [c]business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; … “(Luke 21:34 – Amplified)

young man reading small bibleA Pastor we had in South Africa once shared these five points about living in the light of the Lord’s imminent return.   Each point has Scripture references associated with it and can thus be a practical personal Bible Study for a quiet time with the Lord.

1. Walk in the Spirit - Galatians 5:16-26
2. Memorize Scripture -Psalm119:11
3. Keep short accounts with God and others – resolve outstanding issues
4. Pray without ceasing1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
5. Be faithful in church attendance and fellowshipActs 2:41-47
6. Learn to know the Power of God in your lifeEphesians 3:20

Any questions or discussion will be most welcome!

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