On my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday”: The Battle Won: Standing by grace in the holy place

October 2, 2013

Today would have been my Gran’s 92nd birthday.  Today was my Gran’s first truly “happy birthday.”

“[God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

My Gran, Lilian Ernestine Collins, born 2 October 1921, died on 19 June 2013 after several months of illness — and she is now more alive than ever.  Below is the sermon i was privileged to preach at her memorial service.  My Dad posted this previously on his blog.  My Gran specifically wanted Psalm 24 to be the text for her memorial service.

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“I am a debtor” — On the two-hundredth birthday of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

May 21, 2013

Today would have been the two-hundredth birthday of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843), who was a faithful pastor in a small church in Dundee, Scotland for six years, until his early death at age 29. A life so short, and in many ways very ordinary, yet so powerfully used.

M’Cheyne is perhaps best known today for his widely used Bible reading plan, which goes through the Old Testament once every year, and the Psalms and New Testament twice (see this post for more info and suggestions).  He followed this plan much of his short life, and it was from this deep well that he ministered so powerfully.

M’Cheyne left few writings behind, but he was a memorable poet.  He wrote the following poem, titled “I am a debtor”, around 1837: Read the rest of this entry »


’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home: At the start of 2013

January 1, 2013

Did you know that John Newton‘s best-known, beloved hymn Amazing Grace! was written as an illustration for his sermon preached on 1 January 1773?  Newton wrote it to convey to his congregation at Olney, Buckinghamshire some of the marvellous, enduring truths in his text for that day, which was 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 — the start of one of my favourite prayers in the Bible:

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And this was a small thing in your eyes, O God. You have also spoken of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have shown me future generations, O Lord God! (ESV)

Speaking of God’s providence and promises to David and of David’s grateful, humble praise to God, Newton said, “I would accommodate them to our own use as a proper subject for our meditations on the entrance of a new year. They lead us to a consideration of past mercies and future hopes and intimate the frame of mind which becomes us when we contemplate what the Lord has done for us.”

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“Evening” by GK Chesterton

February 21, 2009

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?