Tom D Blakely

 

 

MUSIC     

 
By: Tom D Blakely, 2010.

During my police service in Northern Ireland I witnessed many barbaric acts of terrorist violence carried out against civilians and fellow security force members, including my own family. My father, a uniformed police sergeant, was shot dead on a Belfast street whilst carrying out a routine schools patrol. He was shot in the back of the head at point blank range by terrorists. Meantime, I was being attacked by bombs, bullets and other missiles at an equally dangerous border station where I lived and worked. Alcohol was my only comfort in those days, and I became dependent on it.

After two years on the border I transferred up to Belfast. It was at this time I met my wife to be, and two years later we got married in a church. We weren’t Christians as such, but it was a traditional thing. I was the eldest of three children. My young brother, by then also a police officer was my best man. My sister, barely a teenager was a bridesmaid and my widowed mother also attended. After returning from our honeymoon, I got an early morning phone call to ask me to formally identify the body of my brother. He had never got over the death of our dad and had committed suicide using his police issue firearm. I felt very guilty about this as I had been so caught up with the marriage arrangements I had missed spending time with him.

By then my wife and I lived in a house on the outskirts of Belfast. At work I had to deal with constant bomb warnings and evacuations of department stores and hotels. Nine out of ten bomb calls were hoaxes, but it was the other ‘one’ that caused the trouble. Riots were a favourite pastime in Belfast in those days and as police, we were always on the receiving end. As well as doing ordinary police work and maintaining the peace, we had to implement every new bit of legislation the government came up with. Consequently we got attacked from extremists on both sides. We must have had the most thankless job on earth. In the mid seventies the murder rate in Belfast was horrendous considering the size of the population. It was ‘open season’ for attacks on the police who got blamed for everything. There was a very real personal security threat, on and off-duty. Apart from trying to deal with the impossible at work and survive, at home we lived in dread of a late night knock on the door, or early morning bomb under the family car.

During my police service there was no counselling or other help available so I was left alone to deal with traumatic events. Over time I developed severe stress symptoms. This type of illness was not recognized back then, but today is known as post traumatic stress disorder. At the time I had become dependent on alcohol off-duty, but needed something to get me through the day so my local GP (general practice doctor), prescribed drugs. As the years progressed, I realized that I was unfit to continue in the job, and with my wife and two small children made plans to immigrate. With my CV (resume) the only place that would accept me was South Africa. It was 1984, during the apartheid era and I seemed to have the ideal qualifications for a security officer. I was quickly offered a job so we made plans to ‘sell up and ship out’. Technically it was by jumbo jet, so we had to sell, or get rid of most of our possessions. I remember clearing out the loft one day when I came across a little Bible. I stopped for a moment to read the inscription: It was presented by the ‘Gideons’ who I neither knew about nor cared, but was given when I began high school. I had spent five years at that school and left with the same qualifications I started with. Anyway, I hadn’t time for sentimentality so I binned the Bible and carried on clearing up.

A few weeks later I felt that I needed God! I was still in the police, as there had been a hold up in the immigration process. My biggest problem was that I didn’t know much about God. Some time before this a Christian at work had told me that I should get right with God. So I had asked him, was his God a fair God? Of course he walked straight into the trap by saying, ‘Yes’. So I reminded him of the suffering in my family and that he could keep his God! I was prone to criticizing Christians in those days. But by this stage, I was up against the real thing, God, and was terrified! This matter needed dealt with. I decided to go for a compromise. If God forgave me, I would forgive him. So I prayed. But it was like talking to a brick wall. There was no reply, but I knew God was listening because he wouldn’t leave me alone. I tried another angle. I would come to God informally in prayer, we could talk it over and sort the whole thing out? Same response. Still no reply. By this time I felt that I not only needed God but I wanted God, so I told Him, but that I didn’t know the proper procedure. I got a shock when God responded immediately!

He directed me to a Christian during my next lunch break. This guy was quiet; I barely knew him, but I knew he went into a spare room every break time with his lunch box and a Bible. I don’t know what came over me, but I followed him into the office and said, ‘What have you got that I haven’t got?’ He didn’t seem surprised, but instead showed me from the Bible who Jesus was, and that God would forgive me if I repented of sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. At first I struggled with this, as I couldn’t understand why there was any need for Jesus. (Strange as it may seem I had never connected Christ with Christianity.) But as the days went by I began to see that God could not tolerate sin, and that he sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice for sin. One night soon after, I was alone at home in my living room and I felt that I saw Jesus on a cross dying for my sin. I am not ashamed to say this, I was broken, and in tears. I kneeled before God and asked him to forgive me for Jesus’ sake. He did! I never knew such love and inner peace in my life. Weird! But wonderful. I wasn’t used to peace.

This isn’t the end of the story. In fact it’s only the beginning. But the important thing is, that everyone reading this knows Jesus Christ, personally. If not, please don’t wait another minute. Ask God to help you get right with Him via the cross. You will never regret it. Save your doubts for later. God will deal with them. He doesn’t have problems by the way, only plans. Great plans from a great God, but we have to choose: The sick, sorry, never satisfied way of the world that leads to destruction, or God’s good way that leads to everlasting life. May God give you wisdom to make the right decision. Remember nobody is too good, too bad, or too lost to find the way to God through Jesus. God bless.

 

Soon after becoming a Christian God gave me the gift of writing, poetry and song; well it certainly wasn’t due to my schooling because I completely failed both English language and literature. Sadly I cannot give any credit to my piano teacher for the music either, because I got thrown out for being a waste of time. . . which brings me back to God!

 

Lord I praise You For The Troubles
By Tom D Blakely
~

Lord I praise You for the troubles, which led me to the cross
For before I didn’t need You, and I couldn’t care less.
~

Lord you took away my father, and then my closest friend
Yet in anger I denied You and fought You to the end.
You gave me a wife to marry, a partner good and true
The best man was my brother at that muted wedding do.
I thought it was a ray of hope, at such a sombre time
So I revelled in my glory and didn’t think once of You.
Returning from my honeymoon, my troubles didn’t end
I found my brother cold and grey; death had again returned.
~

Lord I praise You for the troubles, which led me to the cross
For before I didn’t need You, and I couldn’t care less.
~

How on earth can I praise God, the natural man would say?
But within these very natural thoughts my answer, dormant lay.
For later on God spoke to me, casting natural thoughts aside
Through the powerful Holy Spirit, God did in me confide.
For natural thinking can’t discern God’s love and holiness
Since time began man has rebelled against God’s wondrous grace.
Creation, time, eternity is beyond the wit of man
These God reserves to test our pride, or draw mankind to Him.
~

The natural man cannot receive the spiritual truths of God
The answer lies in simple faith and trusting in His word.
~

In the midst of all my troubles, God turned my world around
He showed me that mankind is lost; for sin has got us bound.
Self-pity and my shameful pride His Spirit then dissolved
By faith I saw my Saviour God, for sin being crucified.
The coldness in my heart was gone, heavenly love came down
The blood of Jesus cleansed my sin and I found God through Him.
Eternal life is endless joy and peace with God in heaven
Salvation is the greatest gift that ever has been given.
~

Lord I praise You for the troubles, which led me to the cross
For before I didn’t need You, and I couldn’t care less.
Lord make everybody troubled and lead them to the cross
That all might feel the need for You; do not let them perish!
~

 

‘Jesus answered, Do you think that these were worse sinners than all the others because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’
[Luke 13:1-5]

~

 

As I said in my testimony, even when I knew I had to get right with God I couldn’t understand why there was any need for Jesus. (Strange as it may seem I had never connected Christ with Christianity.) But as the days went by I began to see that God could not tolerate sin, and that he sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus is the only way to God.

 

‘Jesus said. . . I am the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.’
[John 14:6]

 
 

SONG     

 

There’s A Way
© 1987 Tom D Blakely
~

There’s a way.
There’s away to enter heaven, there’s a way.
There’s a way.
There’s away to enter heaven, there’s a way. . . . .
~

[Chorus]
We can’t make it on our own, but through Christ and Christ alone.
There’s a way to enter heaven, there’s a way.
We can’t make it on our own, but through Christ and Christ alone.
There’s a way to enter heaven, there’s a way.

Kneel and pray.
At the feet of Christ the Saviour, kneel and pray.
Kneel and pray.
At the feet of Christ the Saviour, kneel and pray. . . . .

Come today.
Come to Jesus who will save you, come today.
Come today.
Come to Jesus who will save you, come today. . . . .
~

 

The Lord knows if there had been anyway around it I would have preferred to avoid the cross. Pride kicks in and prevents us from going there. It’s hard enough to say sorry, but to realize that our sin is so bad the Son of God died in our place and the only way to get right with God is to accept that. . . . . a very humbling experience. . . . . But by faith confessing our sinful, rebellious and helpless state and receiving Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour changes everything. It’s difficult to explain, unless the silent voice of God (the Holy Spirit) does the talking.

 
 

SONG     

 

I Thank My God
© 2009 Tom D Blakely
~

I thank my God, for all that Jesus means to me
From that first day, at Calvary we met.
I still recall, His presence towering over me
And kneeling there, the tears of guilt I wept. . . . .
The Saviour hung, upon a cross to die for me
No greater love, this world has ever known.
For there He bore, the sin that separated me;
From holy love and all the blessing God has given.
~

I thank my God, the Holy Spirit strived with me
I wrestled hard, to cling to my old ways;
But in the end I followed Him to Calvary
And on the cross, I met my Saviour’s gaze. . . . .
I could not move, as I beheld His suffering
His nail-pierced feet, and hands spread out for me;
Blood trickled down His face as Jesus said to me:
This is for you repent my child and be set free.
~

I thank my God, for all that Jesus means to me
From that first day, at Calvary we met.
I still recall, His presence towering over me
And kneeling there, the tears of guilt I wept. . . . .
I praise You Lord, that even now I see You there
Though time has passed, no better place I know.
Beneath the cross, I take my sin and leave it there;
A healing stream where sin is drowned and blessings flow.

~

 

 

 

 

 

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