A Feast in the Midst of Trouble

I bought my second Santa Fe last year. It was the during the COVID Lockdown. I wanted to try out my new four wheel drive. I went to visit my sister . She was careful about visitors as she was in touch with sick people. We chatted over coffee outside in the sunshine. The driveway up to her house is quite steep. She had recently installed an iron hand rail for ease in walking down or up to her house.

I said my goodbyes and jumped in my car. I drove off. Suddenly I heard “Crunch”. My car got impailed on the iron rail and left a long dent in the back door. My new car, What will Brendan say? I shook with fear. I sat paralysed. If I drive forward or backwards the dent will get longer. I felt helpless. The joy I had, evaporated. My sister reassured me till I recovered and got out of the car. I got in touch with my son and he came to the rescue. There is a signature dent across the back passenger door.

Fast forward to this past week. The car mechanic had rang me to tell me he had finished fixing my hand break. I asked Brendan to drive me to Saintfield to pick up my car and we could go for breakfast after. Before we left the house Brendan reminded me to bring my mobile phone. We drove to pick up my car.

I paid my mechanic and was delighted with getting my car road worthy again. Brendan and I agreed to meet back in Saintfield. I drove off, turned on the window wipers, the lights, the radio and had the heating up full blast. It was a dull, wet, cold morning. I was comfortable in my wagon, sheltered from wind and rain.

The Main Street in Saintfield is busy with traffic. Cars were trying to manoeuvre aroad a parked loading lorry. I got a parking space opposite the cafe Saints. I waited for Brendan.

I ordered freshly made pancakes with bacon. Brendan was having a coffee as he was meeting someone for lunch. We chatted and I shared my happiness at getting my car back. I was even happier when the waitress brought me three fluffy freshly cooked pancakes draped with maple syrup.

Breakfast over Brendan and I parted and said we would see each other back home in Belfast. I walked back to my car to find a white sheet on the dashboard. “Oh no”a parking ticket I thought. More money! It was a notice which read “Your car moved down the hill into the car in front.” I thought that’s strange I have just got my brakes repaired. A lady came out of a shop nearby. She told me what happened. The car in front was owned by an elderly man who had just stopped to pick up his pension from the Bank. He was distressed to see my car. He was afraid to move his car. Other shop keepers came to the rescue. Some one went looking for me in the local shops and cafes. I couldn’t be found. I was happy eating my breakfast across the way without any disturbance.

A driver had the bright idea to put a brick in front of my wheels to stop it moving again. Then the gentleman could drive off. He left his phone number for me.

I thanked everyone who had helped and apologised profusely. I wanted to get out of there fast! I jumped in the car and turned the key but no response. More trouble! It just went Click. Click when I tried the key again. What is happening? Then I remembered the radio, the heater, the wipers and the lights had run down my battery.

I wasn’t too distressed this time. I called Brendan to come back to help me. In the meantime I called the car mechanic. I didn’t have long to wait. He parked alongside my car and got my battery recharged. He removed the bricks from the wheels. The traffic got jammed again on the Main Street. Brendan returned. “It’s just as well you had your mobile or you would have been stranded!“

Just the events of a morning when it should have been quite straight forward to pick up my car. There was trouble but I didn’t loose my joy. I was having a feast while people were looking for me. I’m on the road again!

Will you have Fun This Christmas?

I keep thinking of The Christmas song made famous by Shaking Stevens. The lyrics go,

Snow is falling all around us,

Children playing, having fun,

it’s the season, love and understanding

Merry Christmas everyone.

We’re going to have a party tonight.

Up until 2020 we in the west have celebrated Christmas with freedom, prosperity and indulging ourselves on good things to eat and drink.

Christmas time last year was not fun. There was no snow, little understanding and few parties. Due to Covid, families were separated and not allowed to meet. We had to stay home from school shops and work. Our lives have changed forever. Do we consider why Christmas is called Christmas?

We celebrate Jesus Christ being born. He came to tell us about God our Father’s love and care for us. Jesus lived on the earth for thirty three years. He died a cruel death on the cross to set us free from the sin of Adam and Eve and the power of the devil who wants to rob, steal and destroy us. Do we need Jesus at all?

We are approaching Christmas 2021. Society is trying to get back to normal inviting the public to spend and spend to make this Christmas fun and party season again.

But how can there be fun in many families who are suffering the lose of a loved one, or going through the ravages of Covid which has left many weak and discouraged. Fear, despair and disappointment has taken hold of many people.

I can say we do need Jesus. He will bring comfort to the despairing and heal the broken heart. Parties will not heal broken hearts.

Psalm 138 v 3 says As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.

Learn more about Jesus this Christmas. By praying to him.

I am a Sign

About forty five years ago, my husband Brendan and I were having a drink in our local bar. The owner always enjoyed our visit. He would have conversations with Brendan. One night Harry gave me a bible.

I read the first chapter of the first book of the bible, Genesis. Verse twenty seven jumped out of the page at me. It says,

So created man in his own image. In the image of God he created him. Male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them Be fruitful, and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.

In this passage some facts are recounted. God created man and woman in the image of God. God spoke to man. These words encouraged me. My heart was thrilled to realise I am made by God and that he can speak to me on the earth. At that point in my life I didn’t know God can speak to people on the earth or that He can be involved in my life.

God was giving me permission to increase and multiply and fill or populate the earth. That day I read these words, I received faith to have many children. At the time I had two young children. I was hoping to have more children but nothing was happening. I prayed that morning to the God who created the earth to give me a child. God answered my prayer. I became pregnant soon after.

My life changed that day. I no longer needed to be anxious to get a job. God was giving me a job. And his blessing as well.

I went on to have fourteen children in total. He also speaks to me through his word in the scriptures. I hear his direction in dreams and prophecy. I am a sign to you today pointing you to God in heaven our creator who wants to speak to you.

All over the world God’s Spirit is moving. All over the world mankind in different nations sees the same sun and moon at different times in the day. We can see God’s handiwork. Wherever you are today look up to God who created the earth. He wants to speak to you. Talk to him today just as I did all those years ago. He will answer you.

Forgiveness

It’s coming up to the eleventh of November when in Britain people wear poppies to remember the many who died in the world wars. They fought bravely so others could live and enjoy freedom from tyranny.


I want to share a story taken from a book I’m reading called, Return from Tomorrow by George C Ritchie. It is a story of how one man survived in a concentration camp during the war in Germany.

George was a young American soldier whose group were assigned to a concentration camp near Wupperal to bring medical help. Thousands of men had died a little bit at a time over a period of years. Some recovered but for many it was too late.

In the camp he met a man they called Wild Bill Cody. He was one of the inmates of the concentration camp . He looked strong, his eyes bright and had plenty of energy. His compassion for his fellow prisoners glowed on his face. He was an interpreter for the soldiers who came to help. He worked long hours each day helping the work to release prisoners.

To the young soldier’s surprise he discovered that Wild Bill had been in the concentration camp for six years. He had lived on the same starvation diet, slept on the same airless and disease ridden barracks as everyone else had, but without the least physical or mental deterioration.

Wild Bill explained to the young soldier about how he came to be in the camp. He had lived in a Jewish quarter of Warsaw with his wife and five children. When the Germans came they lined everyone against a wall and opened fire with machine guns. He begged to be allowed to die with his family but because he spoke German he was put in a work group. He would be of use as an interpreter.

I had to decide right then whether to let myself hate the soldiers. I was a lawyer. In my practise I had seen too often what bitterness and hate could do to people’s minds and bodies. I decided then that I would forgive and spend the rest of my life loving each person I came in contact with. Loving each person was the power that kept Wild Bill alive and well helping others in the face of adversity.

The soldier returned home and became a medical doctor. He learned to help others and in helping others he forgot about himself. He died to his own selfish needs and discovered Christ. He learned from his war experiences to overcome hate and bitterness and to forgive.

Loving others

Jon van Jon in Les Miserables said “To love someone is to see the face of God”. Someone had shown him love and kindness in his life and he went on to show mercy and kindness to many others.

Jesus said Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. It is good in one’s young life to learn to be kind and merciful to others. This way of life is often learned in growing up in family. The older children helping the younger children. Learning to give and share. Learning to forgive. Learning to be patient with one another. Learning to be supportive and respectful to elderly parents. It is the way of love.

These attributes are easily carried into adulthood. It will be easy then to reach out to someone in need: the baby, the foreigner, the widow, the orphan, the sick, the lonely and the elderly.

Jesus guarantees that when one lives a life of thinking of others that person will always get help when he is in trouble.

So young people learn to be kind when you are young. When you are older and faced with trouble your kindness will be remembered by God.

Rulers and Authorities in the Unseen World.

We have all had our lives changed because of restrictions due to the spread of the Corona Virus. Tensions build up in the home when we don’t have the freedom we used to have. In a city in Northern Ireland the demand for rented homes according to an estate agent, has increased 50 %. There is not enough housing to meet the demand. It is caused by marriages breaking up. A new home is needed for the separated partner.

Why do we fight with one another, husbands against wives, children against parents? There is strife and no peace in our homes. It all becomes too much for the husband and father to look after and provide for his family. He is tempted to give up and leave. Why bother. His friend has left his wife and found another lady who agrees with him. “Why don’t I do the same. He is doing okay.”

The wife gives up trying to keep the family together. She complains “My husband never listens to me. He doesn’t understand. My children don’t listen to me! I hoped our lives would be better that this. I have done my best. I can’t go on any longer. All hope of things getting better is gone. I give up.”

Where is the love they had for each other at the beginning when there was only the two of them. They could have meals out together any time without arranging a baby sitter. They could have uninterrupted sleep. There were less bills to pay. No one else to disturb their peace.

The Word of God explains why all this is so. We fight not against each other but principalities and powers in heavenly places. Our husband is not the enemy. Our children are not the enemy. The devil and his fallen angels are the problem. He is at work to rob, steal and destroy our lives and families. He hates families.

All is not hopeless. There is someone who can help. There is a Redeemer. He understands the pressure we are under and he comes to set us free. His name is Jesus. He promises to care for us. He says he loves us. The Word of God says Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He came on earth to destroy the work of the devil,

When we believe in Jesus he sets us free from our sinful nature and then the evil powers of this world cannot hold us. Jesus begins to work in our lives to set us free from sins that have a grip on us. There is power in his name to deliver us from evil.

Isaiah says He was bruised for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquity and by his stripes we are healed. Jesus did it all when he died on the cross for us.

Psalm 103. Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits –
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The devil tempts us to sin.

Don’t give up. Ask Jesus to come to help. He promises to forgive, heal and restore. He will come with his angels to save you. He is the Commander of the his heavenly army who will fight on your behalf the unseen rulers and authorities.

The Harvest Moon

Deuteronomy 4:19 says

When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

This week I had the privilege of seeing the Harvest Moon rise over the city of Zakynthos. At Bohali above the city, the moon appeared over the horizon as a red glowing ball. It rose high in the sky giving light to the sea and land below.

I reflected that everyone on the earth can see the moon at some stage in twenty four hours. How amazing is this spectacular view of the Harvest Moon all over the world. All the nations can see God’s handiwork. He made it all.