A Thin Place in Ireland

Beni Johnson wife of Bill Johnson, head pastor of Bethel in Redding in the USA, has written a book on intercession. It is her story of how God led her to be an intercessor. She has taken many groups all over the USA and the world to pray.

I am very excited after reading this paragraph in her book.

“A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places. A lot of times you can tell if you are in a thin place, because there are a lot of spiritual and creative people who are gathered there. Examples of this include many parts of Ireland, which is known for its thin places.”

An example of a thin place is at Bethel in Israel where Jacob had a dream and he saw angels ascending and descending to heaven. Here is the reference from Genesis.

“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house.
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:12-13, 16-19, 22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 2015 Brendan and I visited Israel. I had a desire to visit Bethel, the place where Jacob had a dream. It was not on the usual visitor’s sites in Israel. We had to get a local taxi driver to take us there. He brought us to a viewing point at Bethel where Abraham once stood and God showed him all the land before him and promised to give it to him.
Genesis 12 v 7.
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

It was a privilege to stand on that viewing point, where Abraham once stood, and look out to the north, the south, the east and the west and see the land of Israel stretching before me. God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled today as God is bringing the people of Israel back to their homeland.

Quite near by was a small building. “There is where It is traditionally thought that Jacob had his dream,” the taxi man advised us. When we went over to the building we entered into a small room.  The picture included in this blog shows a view to the east from the landmark.  In the middle distance is the house where Jacob is said to have had a dream.   We prayed and remembered Jacob’s dream. Again I felt blessed to be where Jacob of old rested. We took some photographs. A picture of my husband revealed just his turso. His legs and arms did not show up in the picture. Something supernatural happened in that place. It is still a place where the Angels ascend and descend, I believe, a thin place.

I’m privileged to live on the Ards Peninsula in Ireland. The local council haves named it the Ceeative Peninsula.  All along the shores of Strangford Lough are the ruins of Christian settlements. Many people lived in the thriving communities living off the produce of the land and sea. Prayers and praise to God would have been offered in these places. They are Thin Places, I believe. Ireland is known as the Land of saints and scholars. Many missionaries have gone out from Ireland to other nations, and still do today. There is a book written telling How the Irish Saved Civilization, By Thomas Cahill.  We have a wonderful inheritance in Ireland, yet to be mined.

Dark January

I’m dreaming of Summer holidays

Yes, it’s not a deck chair

Yes, it’s not a Piñata Colada

Yes, the glow is not from the sun

I have to make do with

An armchair

The coal fire in the hearth

And a cup of hot coffee

To keep me warm

As the cold wind howls past my window

Making it seem colder than it is.

 

Clap Hands on Receiving a Degree

 

My daughter Hannah received her degree in Master of Science, specialising in Midwifery this week. There was great excitement as we gathered with her at the Graduation ceremony in Dublin from Co Down, Wicklow, Belfast and Bratislava. We all had a part to play to keep Hannah encouraged over the last two years. She studied part time for her Masters. She would be exhausted on a Tuesday night after her trip to Dublin. Will she get her dissertation in on time?  Sweat, prayers and tears went into getting this Masters degree.

The hard work paid off. She completed with flying colours. She got the prize. She overcame and got the victory. Isn’t that something to write about, or the saying goes, “Something to write home about,”

Photographers took photos in the fading light. Students looked smart in black gowns, blue trim and mortar boards. Girls balanced in the highest of heels specially worn for the day and posed for the cameras on their i Phones. Photos were dispatched on What’s App.


It was time to gather in the hall and await the entrance of students, lecturers and dignitaries from the university. The orchestra played and trumpets announced the arrival of the procession.  That was the loudest noise that was made in the whole session. We were advised not to clap after each student received their award. The whole event seemed a bit dull without the accolade and celebration of each one’s achievement.

Clapping hands is like sounding a bell. The metal gong on a bell is called a clapper. Clapping raises a sound to heaven of jubilation and thanksgiving. Students and parents get dressed up in their best for the occasion and want to congratulate their daughter and friends on their success. Some African parents were there to celebrate. They shout, dance and sing to celebrate victories.

Clapping also has health benefits. It stimulates blood circulation, the lifeline of the human body. Having a good blood flow brings well being.

Clapping also shakes the powers in the air. When the children of Israel were going around the walls of Jericho they gave a great shout and the walls of Jericho fell down.  When Jesus was coming into Jerusalem all the people were honoring and praising him. Some one complained but Jesus said if they don’t praise me even the very stones will cry out.
One reference in the scriptures says the trees will clap their hands.
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Perhaps the trees outside the auditorium were clapping their hands.  After the ceremony finished we were treated to the best food I have enjoyed at a university graduation.  This was a saving grace.

I believe it is important to give the time to clap each student as he receives his degree.

browser:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/degree/

The Influence of St Patrick is Massive

There will be massive celebrations tomorrow on St Patrick’s Day throughout the world.

St Patrick’s day is the second most celebrated festival after Christmas in the whole world!

Why is this? Although a small Island with a population of around 5 million today, Ireland has had a big influence in the world down through the ages. Descendants from Ireland have settled all around the world.
Ireland is positioned strategicly on the edge of Europe. There was easy access to the Americas, Britain and Europe by boat in the past. Nowadays Asia and Australia as well can be accessed by air out of Dublin. Two of my own children live in Canada, two in Scotland and one in England.

During the famine of the nineteen hundreds, millions left Ireland by boat for Northern America. In former days some Irish got free passage to the West Indies as slaves when Cromwell invaded Ireland. Again people were sent to Australia as punishment or got cheap passage in order to populate the new continent.

Priests and nuns went as missionaries to Africa and India. The Irish monks saved writings from Europe that could have been destroyed in the unrest in Europe. In 2007 when recession hit, many young men left Ireland searching for work in Canada, the Middle East, and Australia. Then in the 1970s many left Ireland because of the war and religious discrimination in Northern Ireland to settle abroad, whether in England, Australia or America. Many such people have longings to return to Ireland where some of their family may still live or want to see where their ancestors came from.

Ireland is known as a land of saints and scholars. Ancient Christian writings are stored in Libraries. Ancient ruins of cathedrals and Celtic crosses dot the country, leaving a memory of former Christian communities that prospered. We have had famous Irish singers and poets, dancers and musicians in recent times, keeping the Irish spirit alive. The band U2, the poet, Seamus Heaney, Bob Geldof, Sinead O Cannor to mention just a few.

I am writing from Ireland. Brendan and I wanted to leave Ireland in the late eighties. It was oppressive raising our children in an atmosphere of religious war. We wanted to move to Wales. We prayed and thought about it a lot. God directed us to stay. He cares for us. We were vulnerable as a young family and it was best to stay in Ireland rather that move some where we had to start to get to know people. I’m very glad we stayed.

For many reasons people want to celebrate St Patrick’s day. But let me tell you something about St Patrick. He was not Irish, he came as a missionary to preach the gospel to the people then living in Ireland in the fifth century. The same gospel is available to us today through the scriptures. The good news that Jesus died to forgive sins, heal diseases, set us free from captivity, and restore our lives from oppression and slavery and to give us eternal life in heaven. He had dreams and left writings that we can read and find out more about his life.

For fifteen centuries we have that Christian legacy in Ireland. I am a descendant of those people St Patrick first taught about Jesus. Exodus 20 says “those who love God, their children will be blessed to the thousandth generation.” I am one of those blessed, many generations later.

I want to remember our heritage and I pray that Ireland will again be a place where people are free from oppression and slavery, and our people will not submit to laws that will destroy marriage and our children. Ireland has been a good place for Brendan and I to raise our fourteen children. It one of the few countries in the world where abortion is not legal.

Come let us return to the Lord. God is alive and wants to help us in this twenty first century. So when you are celebrating St Patrick’s day remember who he represents. St Patrick is buried in a grave, history tells us in Downpatrick, near where I live. He represents Jesus whose grave is empty. Jesus is alive and lives to help us in our distress. It is good to follow him. Call upon him this St Patrick’s day. .

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Warning in Dreams

I started to read from Matthew’s gospel each day since the beginning of this new year. I am excited to read in the first three chapters there are five dreams given by God. The first was given to Joseph, who was engaged to Mary. When he heard Mary was pregnant he decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.””

The angel reassured Joseph in his distress and told him what to do. Joseph obeyed the Angel. He didn’t question or doubt or be unbelieving.

Here are the other references to the dreams.

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:9-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:13, 19-20, 22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Just in two chapters of Matthew we read about God speaking to Joseph four times to guide him as the guardian of Jesus before and after his birth and Mary his wife. This is a great encouragement of any nervous man who doesn’t know who to marry or where to live, for the safety of his family. God is good and caring. It is good to trust in God.

Three Magi came to see the young baby Jesus bearing gifts, of gold, frankincense and myrrh. What did Joseph think when the Magi fell down before Jesus to worship the new baby, Jesus. Joseph didn’t know what was happening. These gifts would have covered the expense of his travels to Egypt, his stay there until he returned.

God spoke to the Magi in a dream to warn them not to go back to Herod who wanted to kill anyone who claimed to be a king. The Magi had come to Jerusalem looking for the new born King of the Jews.

The fact that God spoke to Joseph and the Magi in dreams is an encouragement for anyone starting out on a journey of faith. God will guide along the way.

God has spoken often to my husband, myself and other members of the family to guide us in testing times. When I was suffering from cancer, my husband and family had dreams to encourage me I was going to be healed. This helped me enter into faith to receive my healing.

Action and faith is required after God speaks. Joseph went to Egypt after he was warned in a dream. The Magi obeyed God and didn’t go back to Herod.

My son had a dream the first night after I started my chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I was feeling discouraged and fearful. God sent help. In the dream he heard a voice say, “The blood is not getting to the cancer. His sister, who is a doctor said in the dream “let’s wait till the doctors tell us.””

It is right to go to the doctor to show one is healed. When Jesus healed the lepers he told them to go to the doctors to show they were healed. This dream greatly encouraged me. It was God’s will to heal me but I had to believe myself and act as if I was healed. I went through the treatment of five weeks the doctors advised.

But when they wanted to operate I told them I knew I was healed of cancer and I didn’t need an operation. The doctors thought I was crazy. I remained strong in my faith and didn’t waver. The doctor did a colonoscopy. There was no sign of the tumor. I showed my self to the doctors. They saw the tumor was gone. Even after seeing the photos of my clear colon the surgeon insisted I still have an operation in case the cancer was still there. I refused. I said to the surgeon “I believe that God has healed me completely of cancer.” He was perplexed.

I was confident to speak to the top cancer surgeon because of the revelation from God in my son’s dream. If I gave into doubt or fear I would not have been healed. I showed myself to the doctors and they couldn’t find the tumor. I remain healed seven years later and I do not have to take any medicine! Thank you Lord.

Let me explain a little more how I received my healing. In Joel I read about God speaking through the prophet.

““Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”
‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:12-13, 28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In Joel God warned the people to return to Him with fasting and mourning. When I had cancer it was a time of mourning and weeping for me. I had to cry out to God. I confessed my sins of rebellion, independence, self ambition, resentment, bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. God forgave my sins. After my confession of sin I was healed of cancer. Then God sent his dreams to bring my healing as Joel promised.

So at the beginning of this New Year 2017 let us return to the Lord. Let us thank him for all his goodness and mercy. He does not treat us as our sins deserve. He is pleased with a contrite heart. As David said in Psalm 51 “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence O Lord.” Only God knows what is lurking in our hearts. I didn’t know what was in my heart. God had to reveal it to me.

Irish Summer Weather is Unpredictable

The Summer weather in Ireland is unpredictable.  The weather forecaster may tell us there will be showers with some sunshine.  This unpredictability causes the Irish people to talk much about the weather.  You can be sure the tourists that come to Ireland don’t come to get a suntan.

We Irish have learned to make the most of our unpredictable weather.  Ireland is famous for having forty shades of green throughout the land.  We grow vegetables and crops that like rain and mature without hot sunshine.  One such crop is the potato. Another is Oates. The Irish have survived on these staple crops.

image

Our unpredictable weather causes weeds to flourish as well. One such weed is the nettle.  Nettles love to grow in good soil and flourish if there is no competition.  Nettles spring up everywhere, along roadsides, in gardens, in forests and wherever it’s seeds land.  One doesn’t have to sow nettle plants.  If there is soil and water they will grow.  The seeds are so tiny they can be carried by the wind.

I went for a walk this morning.  There were plenty of nettles growing along the road.  Many other grasses, thistles and weeds were flourishing, making the road narrow at some parts.  Maybe the road will dwindle to a pathway someday if the weeds are not cut back.

As I looked at the vegetation along the Boreen, I remembered a dream I had last night.  I saw a nettle plant open up before me and many of its seeds were released into the air, just like a fire cracker that is released at Halloween.  I have been thinking about Multiplication recently.  The nettle was releasing seeds for the multiplication of new nettle plants.  God created every plant to multiply, despite the weather.

“Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”
And it was so.
The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.
And God saw that it was good.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭

image

I am back from holiday.  My garden needs attention like the road.  If I don’t deal with the nettles and other weeds, the flowers and vegetables will be choked.  The decking is dotted with sycamore umbrella seeds.  The back yard paving has a sprinkling of leaves.  It is constant work subduing the land.  God created man to work the land and take care of it.  Weeds find a way to grow in the tiniest of crevices, on walls or between flag stones.  I need some men around here to clear up.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭NIV‬

The trees and weeds will continue to bear seeds and multiply.  God made them to produce their own kind.  It’s man’s job to manage all the produce of new life.
It all seems an never ending battle to deal with weeds.  But I take courage.  God said he would bless the work of our hands.

“You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land.
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭28:3-4, 8, 12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

There will be order again.  The weeds will not take over.  I will enjoy the fruit of the apple and pear trees, the tomatoes and other vegetables.  There will be trailing nasturtsums, daisies and roses.  The decking will get cleared and the lawn cut.  It is good all the weeds die back for the winter.  It gives me a chance to get ahead of the growth of nettles next spring and keep them at bay.

Plants and weeds flourish here despite our unpredictable weather.

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Dreams Come True

Dreams come true.  Psalm 128 says “May you live to see your children’s children.”

I celebrated being sixty five recently.  Brendan and I celebrated being married for forty five years on Saturday.  Our children wanted to mark the event.  They reassured me they would do the catering and make it a hastle free day for us.  They wanted to hold the event in our home.

The first of the family arrived on Thursday night from Slovakia.  Aaron and his daughter Sara Joye wanted to be here to see other family and cousins.  Mary and Hannah arrived on Friday night.  Brendan took me on a mystery tour to a secret destination to avoid the stress of getting the house ready for visitors.  What a lovely surprise!  Brendan is romantic.

We returned next day refreshed ready to receive visitors and family.  Twenty seven of my immediate family gathered for the day.  Friends and extended family dropped in on Saturday afternoon.

image

The fog lifted, the ferry sailed, the sun shone, the range got fixed, vehicles parked at the side of the house, roses blooming, tea and coffee brewing, sandwiches tempting, candles burning, tea cups clinking, adults embracing, chit chat buzzing and children darting.  Love was in the air.

Suddenly I remembered a dream a friend sent me over ten years ago.  She saw Brendan and I in a house on an elevated site overlooking the sea.  We were in an open plan living room with all our children and grandchildren around us.  Last Saturday I was in the dream.  The dreams have come to pass.

God gives dreams about the future to give us hope.  God is faithful. He fulfilled those dreams.  We were gathered with our children and grandchildren to celebrate forty five years of marriage.  We made it to celebrate forty five years together despite many trials, temptations and cancer.  Our children were delighted for Brendan and I.  They were overjoyed to be with us, especially since I’m staying alive after cancer six years ago.

It was a special joy filled day.  I remain alive to see my children’s children and see dreams come true.