My Grandchildren’s Christmas Play.

I attended my grandchildren’s Christmas play this morning. When they appeared on stage the mum, dad and myself had to wave until the two boys caught our gaze. They were ready to get on with the show knowing family were watching.

It doesn’t seem so long ago since I was watching each of my own boys and girls in a traditional Christmas play. They would dress up as a shepherd, an angel, a wise King or a donkey. They sang songs about Jesus birth.

Today’s event was different. The children invited us to see how six other nations celebrate Christmas. Poland and China were my favourites. The little ones were dressed in red Chinese costumes and flat hats. I must congratulate the teachers on managing so many young students. A big effort indeed.

I called my son last night to tell him I wouldn’t be able to make it. I was too far away, too cold, too sore, too old, too tired, too alone and my car wasn’t working. I awoke early. I changed my mind and made the effort to go. Ressurrection power kicked in.  The electric plugs had fused. First hurdle to overcome. I dressed in warm clothes because the chilly cold winter winds were blowing. I got the ferry. It was navigating across from Portaferry to Strangford on choppy waters. I sat nervous in my van. I hoped the wind would die down for my return journey.

All the effort was worth it to see my son’s and grandchildren’s smiley faces because granny came along. I remember being at a school event after my first grandchild was born. Everyone was congratulating me on being a granny. It must be an important hurdle for a woman. We now have eighteen grandchildren. Most of them live too far away to attend school plays. They live in far flung places; Canada, Slovakia and Dublin.

I’m glad I didn’t miss today’s Christmas show.

The Chaffinch

What a colourful bird is the Chaffinch.

In springtime when the birds are feeding their young many come to our garden to eat the titbits my husband leaves for them. The food ranges from bread crumbs, left overs and some seeds. Each bird is glad of any extra food to feed their fast growing young.   I enjoy the company of our feathered friends.

Over the summer the Robin was our regular visitor, with only a few visits from Sparrows and Tits. The young had flown the nest and the breeding season had come to an end. The adults could take a rest. We would have only an occasional visit from the Chaffinch.

The Chaffinch is larger and stronger looking than the robin and more confident. He is handsome with a blue-grey cap, reddish-brown breast and back.

It’s now winter. Brendan supplements the food he leaves out with bird seed bought from the pet shop. The Chaffinch is now a frequent visitor. Brendan noticed he comes to feed when dark seeds are left out. He is not so fond of bread or other lighter coloured seeds. He feeds on seed from the thistle, which is a thorny plant. The chaffinch is sometimes associated with Christ’s crown of thorns.

It is a delight to see this beautiful visitor on our fence in the morning especially after reading about the chaffinch’s association with Our Saviour. I lift my eyes to our God who made the heavens and the earth. I thank God for his son Jesus. The crown of thorns pierced his head, blood flowed down his forehead and matted his hair. The flesh on his back was opened up with the thongs of a whip. His body and clothes were covered in blood from his wounds. Men turned away from the sight.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:2-3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus wounds healed me from fourth stage cancer.

The Gospel is Good News.

The gospel is good news.  Jesus Christ came from God to help us become children of God. He was born of a woman and became flesh and blood like us. He died for us to free us from sin and death. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 3

I believe Jesus Christ walked on the Earth in Israel. He had friends and after he died his friends told others about Jesus being the Saviour of the world. God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit that we read about in the scriptures. The message of the gospel has been handed down through generations of believers for 2000 years.

The Bible is a book inspired by the Holy Spirit and gives an account of God’s dealing with mankind. He chose Abraham to be the father of all those who believe. Through Abraham’s descendants he prepared a people who could receive his son as the Messiah. The New Testament tells about the works Jesus did when he was alive and other works his disciples did after he died.

I began to read God’s word forty years ago for myself. I read about what Jesus did when he was on earth. I read the stories of Moses and Abraham. I decided to believe in Jesus as the only one who knew how best I could live and free me from the fear of death, and forgive my sins and free me from condemnation and guilt. I know he is real and he helps me. I believe in the Father God who is the creator of all things. I believe in the Holy Spirit who teaches me how to live. I made a covenant with God. I gave my life to him and he gave his life to me. He lives in me. He is keeping me alive. He is real.

God has worked signs and wonders for me. He delivered me from a mental home. He delivered me from death and healed me of cancer. He healed my heart that was damaged because of rheumatic fever. He restored my broken bones. He has blessed with with fourteen children and eighteen grandchildren to date.

If anyone reading this blog once believed in Jesus this message is for you.
“So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Remember what it says: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled.”
So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.”

Believe in God!! Turn back today to God. Believe again and trust God. Say sorry for turning away and like the prodigal son you will be welcomed with open arms by God the Father. Don’t let the devil blind your eyes to the truth. Turn again and you will hear His voice telling you how to live.

Father in Heaven, Almighty God you are the God of gods and Lord of lords, and King of kings. I honor you and thank you for your truth given to mankind through Jesus your son. He shed his blood to remove the veil of unbelief that blinds your people from believing. I blow away the lies of the devil that deceives people’s minds from believing. Let your light now shine upon my readers today and let them be freed from darkness and despair and fear of death. Grant them faith to believe in your son Jesus because no one comes to him unless you draw him. Amen.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭3:12-15, 19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Robin

 

In Ireland the humble bird the Robin is celebrated on our Christmas cards. Images of the bright eyed bird with healthy feathers, red on his breast and brown on his body and wings are displayed on many a mantle piece.

One forgets that this bird has had to survive a busy schedule in spring and summer building nests, hatching eggs, and foraging for food to keep himself and young alive. Brendan leaves out seeds and leftover bread on the fence for the birds. One bird waits expectantly every morning. It has come into our kitchen when we leave the door open.

If I am away for a few days the Robin welcomes us back by hopping in circles around me from shrub to hedge to get my attention. I haven’t been looking out for my friend for a while. But this morning I was up early. The bird must have seen me move about the kitchen. He was looking for food.

I fetched the seed box and laid out some seeds. The Robin came along. Sadly he looked a bit disheveled. His head was bereft of healthy feathers. He had few red feathers. He must have been in a few difficult situations; fights, hungry or thirsty.

Perhaps the hungry mouths he was helping feed this summer pulled at his feathers when he was sharing his morsels. Is it time to moult his feathers? Or was he in some territorial fights? I discovered from a bird blog that robins defend their territory fiercely.

He has some nice territory to defend. He has two gardens in which to forage and get plenty of food for his offspring. He has a home owner who leaves out treats for him every morning. He isn’t going to give up easily.

Can I learn from this little bird. Jesus said look at the birds. I see this Robin as a real warrior fighting for his home and his land where he gets provision for his young. I read in Nehemiah 4 v 4 that the men prayed for their families and their homes. They built with one hand and defended their property with a sword in their hands. Like the Robin I often get a few ruffled feathers as I defend my home and children. It is my space and I want to keep it a safe place free from evil.

Jesus likens a man to a house.
““When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. “”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:43-45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We can learn from this scripture Jesus warning to continue to keep our house free from evil spirits. They will always want to come back in. They will never give up. So one needs to be on guard to prevent evil coming back into ones life once we have been set free.

How does one do that. By believing in Jesus, by prayer, by reading the Word of God and by obeying what God has asked one to do.

Ph D Graduation Day.

I am celebrating today with our daughter Mary at her graduation for completing a Ph D, researching Maternity care in poorer nations of the world at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I thank God I am alive to be with her today. Eight years ago, I was suffering from Cancer. Through the tender mercies of God I am healed and alive to declare today that God is faithful and good.
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead. All the good things come from you.” Psalm 16 v 2 and 10
I am alive to continue to support my family in the ways of righteousness. Mary would call me up when she needed encouragement. I would talk and pray with her. Along with other family, friends’ and colleagues’ help she completed today.   Well done Mary.  I’m proud of you.

Don’t Be Despondent

Strangford Lough waters were like a mirror early today.  The boats, newly parked in the bay below, are still. This morning I read these words from the Bible.
Proverbs 15 v 15
For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

These words shook me out of feeling heavy laden and down. I looked up the meaning of despondent in the dictionary.  Dejected, sad, depressed, disheartened, lacking hope or courage.
One can be despondent because of unhappiness due to difficulties that you think will not be able to overcome.
I was prone to despondency and despair before I had cancer. I definitely got depressed and it deepened. Situations in my life seemed insurmountable. But God saw me and had mercy on me. He healed me from cancer.
I can’t afford to let myself get down or despondent. This word this morning shook me. I want to have a merry heart and a feast instead. I have so much to be thankful for.
Another scripture says ,
“Do not be downcast. Hope in God for I will yet praise him.”  I began to thank God for all his blessings.  I got washed and dressed. I decided to go out in the beautiful morning and let the cobwebs blow away. The warmth of spring is here. I praise God for life.