Mary books

Monday, 30 January 2012

ENCHANTED

What’s so special about the Bible?
Ray would say many things, but in the following poem he has expressed some from his personal experience.









       ENCHANTED

I was told, when I was young
Christ Jesus would spoil my fun.
Now older, I’ve been told
God is indifferent, cold.
Sitting on His heavenly throne
Indifferent to my groans!
Simply put, I must stand alone.

One day a book I discovered
Written all about a lover
Who from heaven came
The lost, unloved, to claim!
By its sincerity captured
With its clarity enthralled
Simply put, I was enchanted.

Enchanted,
   Delighted,
      Enthralled,
          I sit amazed
            As I ponder
               At the wonder
                  Of the news
                      God loves me!

He sought me,
   Through His Son,
      The only One,
         With love sincere
            Who could rescue
                This prodigal
                    From sin’s horrible
                       Wasteland
                            To holy ground!

Enchanted,
   Enraptured,
      And captured
          By such love
             Shown to all
                 In Jesus Christ
                     At Calvary!
Love supreme,
   There redeemed,
      Made precious
          The unloved,
              The unholy,
                  The unwanted
                      Ready for God
                          In time
                             And eternity.
I’m enchanted!

©Raymond N. Hawkins 2011.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Why Do I Read–and Write–Christian Fiction?

Why do I read Christian fiction. The answer is simple—well, to me anyway.

Although I also read many other books, I especially enjoy books of the kind I enjoy writing myself of course. Most important to me though are books published by Christian publishers. I know I can trust them not to contain scenes and language I find so offensive they drag me right out of entertaining stories so much it makes me regret spending my money. I love books and it does take a lot to make me want to throw a book at the wall, or even into the garbage bin.
I’ve been a bookworm as long as I can remember. After being old enough to devour all the books on my parent’s shelves, the first actual Christian novel I remember reading was a gift given out to students of my Sunday School. I was only nine years old when given “The Open Door” written by Eileen Heming in the Gateway Series released by Lutterworth Press (London) way back in the 1940s.

As you can see, I still have that book. Over the years I read it so many times the cover became so tattered I carefully covered the book in brown paper and glued the photo of the poor young girl confined to bed on the front. This book had a profound affect on me. It told me how hard it is for anyone confined to lie flat in a bed for many, many months and how different folk from her own church either helped or upset her Then of course there is the day her spine was healed enough for her to actually be able to sit up for a while at the Easter church service.
The injured girl’s name was “Mary” and perhaps also may have been another reason the ups and downs she had to face made me, at such a young age, think deeply about being a Christian.
On the last page, her father tells Mary, “We can look back, now, and see the blessings hidden in everything that’s happened...” and goes on to sum up the good and bad things which had happened to her and the family.
And then these last words were so important for me at that very beginning of my own journey with Jesus:-
     “I’m sure I’ve learned more in these last few months than in all the years before,” said Mary. “I feel as if I’d been at school with the Lord Jesus.”
     “That’s a very good way of looking at troubles,” said her father. “At school with the Lord Jesus—well, only good can come of that.”
Only six years after being given that book my own father died. Was this perhaps one way God was preparing me to know the truth of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
About that same time I read the first Christian novel by an Australian author, Marjorie Buckingham, called “In All These Things”. It was based on the verse from Roman 8: 37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
As I look back now over many, many year of the ups and downs of my life, with a full heart I can say I have proven time and time again the truth of these verses.
So, hopefully now the reason why I write Christian fiction is obvious.
As these books and many others have done for me, my hearts desire is that readers may not only be entertained by my books, but that God will use them to show the truths of His Word in their own lives.
Here January 26th is called “Australia Day”. This is a special historical time of looking back down through our years to the European settlement of the Great South Land. However, also today we have many ceremonies across my beloved country to recognise and welcome new naturalised citizens to Australia. With them, we look to the future. My prayer is it will be one that includes devotion to God and His ways.
And so as I look back, I also look forward to reading—and writing—more Christian fiction.

I would love to hear from other readers and writers about any books that have had a significant affect on them over the years.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ray on Monday - Anyone Tuned In?

Time…5pm.
Place…Down the backyard.

Lord, I’m deflated!

I came home from my community radio broadcasting shift all excited. It was my first go and my ego was all pumped up. Family and friends knew about it and were going to listen in. At least someone would be tuned in to hear my first attempts at being an announcer.

My wife saw me when I walked in the door all excited. Blank looks immediately warned me something I wasn’t expecting was about to burst on me. “What! Don’t tell me you’ve been on air already. Oh dear, the time just got away on me and I haven’t turned the radio on. We’re so sorry.” I tried to smile and brush it off, but it did hurt.

Others I phoned to get their reports had similar excuses. Some were out of range. That’s fair enough. Others said they couldn’t hear it real well as something was causing interference. Was I just talking to the air? Was anyone turned on and tuned in?

Lord, I know you don’t get deflated. You must surely get disappointed though with your people from time to time. How many folk are tuned in to you, or even switched onto your frequency? Across the centuries your word has been on the ‘airwaves’. How have you managed to get men and women to listen? I guess that’s one of the miracles of grace woven into individual circumstances.

Makes me think about the way you grabbed my ‘ear’. Those broadcasts of grace that were beamed across my being through the years didn’t leave any impression. I wasn’t interested in you even though I was using your facilities and people. How well I recall the incident that made me take seriously my need for you. Heartbreak isn’t fun. It did however cause me to search the spiritual airwaves. I’m so grateful that you were still on the air. Looking back now I know what you were saying came through loud and clear. I’m glad, so glad, that I didn’t miss that broadcast. I wish I’d been switched on and tuned into you much sooner. Would have saved me and others a lot of wounds and tears.

Since that day I’ve had battles with lifestyle matters and priorities that create all sorts of interference to hearing your word. One thing that’s a comfort however is that I’m never out of range of your broadcasts. When I’ve put things right in my life according to your teachings it’s amazing how clear your word comes through again.

Don’t let my pity party cause a hearing problem between us today Lord. I’ll pray and believe there’s someone out there who was tuned in and what I’ve said and played has been a blessing to him or her.
Thanks.
Amen!
Ray

I do trust you are blessed - perhaps even challenged - by Ray's devotional thoughts each Monday.
We have been having problems with our computer which hopefully is now sorted out. If you have any problems with our blog do please email us on mary@mary-hawkins.com
Hopefully we are the only ones having problems now!
Thank you. stay tuned!
Mary

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Problems with my blog

My blog comes up but I cannot access comments. Have updated Internet Explorer etc and am hoping this will eventually solve things.
Sorry if anyone has been having problems with my blog.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Ray on Monday - A Dangerous Letter

After reading this meditation by my husband, I thought those of us who write should be extra careful of our words!

Strange how something from long ago drops into the mind. I must have been fifteen or sixteen years old. I’m now over seventy and a sermon by A.B. Clark slipped into my consciousness. Well, it was only snippets of what he said but it must have made an impression way back then.
His emphasis was on a most dangerous letter, the letter S.
It can turn word into sword, will into swill, lush into slush, nob into snob and in into sin.
If you took the time I’m sure you could conjure up more. The point I think he was making was how careful we must be with words and not allow our ‘S’ nature–meaning our sin disposition–corrupt what we present with our mouth.

The Bible tells us that by our words we will be either condemned or justified. We are also accountable for those ill chosen expressions which so glibly flow from our lips, especially when we are angry or resentful. No wonder James called the tongue a ‘fire’ and a ‘world of evil’ (James 3:6).

The old saying, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but name will never hurt me’ is untrue. A broken bone can heal but a lacerated heart and mind may be poisoned and perverted forever. Relationships have split asunder by words being made swords aimed at cutting another to pieces.

Is it any wonder we need to ask the Lord to control, discipline and cleanse our ‘S’ nature?
Psalm 19 encourages us with these words: ‘By them (the words of God’s Law) a servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from wilful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’

Ray (always wrestling with the ‘S’ nature) Hawkins.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Ray on Monday - Little Words – Big Implications

‘Little things mean a lot!’ was recorded over the years by many singers, So true. From a doctrinal viewpoint however I would re-phrase it to say, ’Little words have mighty implications.’

Consider the following:-
If! This could imply doubt with the motivation to make sure of the issue it confronts. The one which comes immediately to my mind is from 2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone. The new is here!’ As you can see the little word is talking about location, location, location!
Do! Now this is an action word. It appeals to the ego, especially that of a man. We like to get stuck into things for out of them comes a sense of achievement and satisfaction. The Lord invites us all, and especially men, to a ‘do it’ doctrinal boot camp. Jesus throws down a challenge which is more than a test of muscle. It becomes a test of a person’s quest for truth, and especially the truth about who Jesus is. ‘Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own’ (John 7:17).
Where do we go to know the will of God? The Scriptures! The pages of the Old Testament are full of God’s will concerning the promised one. Check it out, especially Isaiah chapters 9, 11, 53, 61. The invitation of the Lord is to check him out (John 5:39)
Ask! Now this little word becomes a test of character. In Matthew 7:7-12 is the statement of Jesus inviting his hearers to ask and they will receive. This is in the collection of sayings called the Beatitudes, a beautiful collection of important and seemingly stand alone teachings. So when we take at face value the word ‘Ask’ unfortunately our baser nature takes over and we want, want, want without considering the consequences on our spiritual and moral life or the nature of our Sovereign Lord.
In fact I think the Beatitudes should be read from the parable of the wise and foolish builders. Both built fine houses. Both suffered the same climatic conditions. The only one standing at the end was the one built on the rock. The ‘rock’ is the words of Jesus on which a person erects his or her life and destiny.
In relation then to ‘Ask’ it means what you are asking for is compatible with His nature, His word, His purpose in your life. It also means depending upon Him to work things out in His time and for your benefit and testimony.

There are others little words you might like to ponder upon such as go, with, in, by and come out.

We are told not to despise the day of little things. Neither should we dismiss as unimportant the serious implications of God’s little words which have a huge impact upon our spiritual life and destiny.

Ray (captured by the little words) Hawkins

Thursday, 5 January 2012

A Writer Glances Back and Looks To the New Year

My early morning devotions today had the theme “Facing the Future.” Ray’s devotional post last Monday was Facing the New Year and my thoughts and prayers this morning went back, way back over the many years of my writing, especially those first days of new years. And there have been many of those now! I dragged out my diaries to what I wrote at the beginning of new years, but don’t be afraid.,I won’t bore you with a personal history here! I think you can read enough on my website and blog.

Over the years I’ve heard it said so many times that a “Writer” simply writes. I had no idea I was a “Writer” over those many years I wrote in my diaries and later those long letters back home after I left for the “Big Smoke” of Sydney. They sure make interesting reading now. Interesting? Well, I do have to confess cringing at too many of the things that teenager wrote back then and also a bit disappointed there are only a very few actually written on December 31st or the first day or so of January. So that shows one thing has NOT changed – simply too busy to write over Christmases and New Year’s Days.

But then I noticed that so many thoughts I had then over the past years and about “facing the future” are similar to today’s heart of mine.
Way back in 1958, this young woman starting her “7th month of nursing training” wrote, “Well, it’s been a disastrous year in one way but full of new experiences. New friends made, old friends seldom seen but some old friends becoming dearer still.”
(Oh, and the photo here was taken on graduation night four years later!)

On January 2nd, 1959 the “writer” in me wrote, “Well, the New Year is here with all its promises and disappointments.” And of course that happened as it does still.

I went off to Bible College in the beginning of 1963 where I sure did make many “new friends”, including the wonderful man I have now been married to for over 47 years. The writing in the old diary since that year is very spasmodic with only several yearly summaries of key events. A shame, but “Writers” do move on to other kinds of writing like I did with College assignments, then that Writers Course after Ray read my diaries when we had been married a couple of years. Of course then there were articles, short stories and novels. In the last year that has even extended to trying to write these blog posts to share – which are not easy for a writer who now finds it easier to write a chapter of a book!

So, I’ve looked back through these old diaries this morning and while I am humbled at what God has given me over the years, the joy, the peace, the love and purpose in life, those events are all in the past. Even though they show me now the changes the years have wrought in me, the main thing in this writer’s life has only deepened – my personal devotion and commitment to continuing to seek out what God wants of me this New Year and trying still to obey Him. Will it be to keep writing more books? Will it be to try and be a mentor for other writers? I know it will not always be easy to listen to God, to always obey Him, but this morning’s devotions in James 4:13-17 stood out to me - especially verse 15. Let us remember to say with James, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do (write too?) this or that.”

Oh, and should add I am spending next Week from Sunday at the Poatina Faith and Arts event as a leader for the Creative Writing – Fiction elective. – if the Lord wills of course! Will not be able to post here next week so will fill you in Thursday week.
Click HERE to go to the Poatina Faith and Arts Website!


Monday, 2 January 2012

Ray on Monday - FACING THE NEW YEAR

There’s an unknown territory stretching before us. What lies ahead is a mystery to all except God. In most instances He doesn’t let us in on what awaits although He has promised us His company. For some this creates mixed emotions for it requires us to trust Him without seeing Him.


How will we face our tomorrows in this new year, especially if the last one was not to our choosing?

Hostile to God? (Remember He has the final word).

Will we bribe Him with vain although sincere promises?

Are we into bargaining with Him? (I’ll give you this if you give me that).

Trust? (I may not know where I’m going but I know the One who is going with me – unseen but faithful to His word).

Do we have a faith capable of handling the possible ‘monsters’ which inhabit the territory we must traverse?

What may they be:-

Global warming, Financial Meltdown, Grief, Atheistic aggression, Terrorism, Apostasy, Aging and health problem or Society’s moral collapse?

There are many passages we could consider as we wait for the Lord’s return or our going to be with Him. I would like to simply refer you to 1 Thessalonians as we consider how we should face the unknown. This congregation was facing a hard time with an uncertain future. How then should they live? Paul’s instructions become beneficial for us.

1 Thess.4:1. A guiding principle for those who wear the name of Christ should be to please Him. This must be the atmosphere of our heart. () Unfortunately we will not always live up to it but unless that desire is there our Christian life and witness will never amount to anything. Thank God for His forgiveness and power to make a new start with His grace.

1 Thess.4:3 Such a passion will dictate how we treat our bodies and respect others, especially within a marital relationship. There is much talk about true marriage today. The best answer is for Christian couples to display it and thereby reveal the sham of ungodly counterfeits. We will not always convince those who refuse to acknowledge God’s way in Christ Jesus for us. However we should so live that the non-Christians will have a grudging respect for our lifestyle. Hypocrisy isn’t limited to Christians, but in the critical eyes of non-Christians it is more pronounced in them.



1 Thess.3:13 Benediction.. As you face this unknown year ‘May (God) strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.’