Joan Johnston - Ireland Convention - Last Meeting, Tuesday, 2006

Hymns 105, 87

I Samuel 21:8, "The King's business requires haste." That is the message I have got from Convention this year. In every message at Convention, I have felt that there is an urgency about this, to do what we are hearing. We sang, "I will say yes to are not going to be one Jesus ..... may bring." We know nothing about the future but to be able to say yes to whatever His hands may bring. There is surely a lot in that hymn and maybe it is hardly right to choose it, if we hundred percent committed. When I was thinking of the urgency in doing what we heard and doing God's will, to know we are thinking of the future in this last meeting. We have to make plans to get away from here and most of us go back to the same thing and I hope we will have victory.

I enjoyed so much of reading about Zaccheus. Jesus just said to him, "Make haste and come down." He made haste and came down. When I was a child, Carrie Black taught us a little hymn about that and we used to sing it. When we go away from this convention, it is to make haste, for Jesus is saying, "Make haste." Tomorrow we will be in our usual place again and we will need to hear God's voice.

I like what it says of Zaccheus. When Jesus came to the house, Zaccheus spoke in the present tense. He didn't say, "I'm going to" or "If." He was living in the present, right at that minute and that is how we serve God. We tend to put things on the long finger. We have heard of giving more time in prayer and we know that is the secret. We don't need to put it on the long finger for the King's business requires haste.

We had to make a decision for my mother in January. She couldn't go to Convention and she couldn't make a decision. It was very sad but I thought someone may have to make that decision for me. I would need to make haste before time runs out. We don't have to die to have no more opportunity. We have heard so much about our relationship with one another and how we are to our brethren.

When I come here, I often think of my beginning of days in the Work in 1969. I had had a hard year. I was fighting a hard battle. I thought I had it won. God was laying on my heart the need of giving my life in the Work. It's not so easy to give in. I struggled all year and tried to put things right and then I came to Convention here. I thought Convention would be good and I would tell someone here what was on my mind. When Edgar was talking, I could emphasise with him. I had the opportunity to say something to our older brother but I couldn't get the courage. The last meeting came and then we went to have something to eat and there was I in this plight. When Jesus called the Disciples, they left immediately. They had peace in their hearts. I had no peace at that Convention. I was convinced strongly about the Work but I hadn't the courage to tell anyone. To sever all the ties is hard but that's what brings peace. I am glad for that experience and when I woke this morning that line of the hymn came to my mind, "Touch Thou my heart with Thine own deep compassion." I thought of when I spoke to Hugh Breen about my choice and then I came back here the next year for Preps. I had a lot of zeal but maybe I didn't have much understanding. There was a lot of things I didn't know and there is a lot I don't know yet. But I had great zeal in my heart and as we go every year and go again this year we want to be touched with His deep compassion and love for wandering souls. We need this burning deep ambition if we are to bring pleasure to God. We realise that the King's business requires haste. I would like to be urgent about it.

There's a wonderful lesson in Zaccheus and in those first Apostles who went immediately. We make things difficult for ourselves. I was thinking of how the devil has won with me in past years. I was reading the Parable of the Sower. I read it in three Gospels but when I was reading it in Mark I noticed something I hadn't taken particular notice of before. Did Mark see things a little bit different?

When Jesus gave us that very precious story of the sowing of the seed, He told us about the wayside ground. Mark 4:15, "Satan cometh immediately..... in their hearts." Lots and lots of words have been sown in our hearts.

I was thinking about that time in 1969 when I went back to Dublin and got on a bus to go to the place where I was working. It was a horrible experience. I had to go and live amongst those girls where I had been working before and it was like wayside ground. It is not going to be any different. I don't go home to a situation like that but I know I will go home with myself. We are all going home with ourselves and Satan is going to attack us and he wants to take away the little commitments we have made in our hearts, to be better, to pray more, to love God more. We have heard so many things and Satan will come immediately to take that away.

Edgar told us about the mouse and the cat and we probably feel like that here, that we are ready for anything but this is a wonderful Heavenly atmosphere we are in. When we go out, however, it is wayside and there is every temptation and there is the devil coming there immediately. We make this atmosphere for ourselves in whatever situation we go into. Some are going home to a lot of worries and some are going to divided homes and some are going to where things could be very nice but Satan works in all situations to take away the seed and to destroy us. We can face that by getting down on our knees and approach unto God and reach His throne. We can have this atmosphere and I hope God will help us in all these things.