A Turbulent Flight Home

Yesterday my husband and I were enjoying chatting and having lunch with friends, our last meal together before we left Israel. We sat on the balcony enjoying the sunshine and warmth which had returned after much rain. Our hosts had made a Greek salad with bread and Calamari Pasta. I savoured and had plenty of the delicious food. The meal strengthened us for the journey ahead. We had just finished when the taxi man called to say he was waiting outside. After quick farewells we got the taxi to the TelAviv airport.

We checked the times of flights at Ben Guirion airport. Ours was the only one that showed the flight was delayed. When it came time to board old and young, babies in arms, Arabs, Jews and returning tourists gathered at the Gate for departures. An infant cried the whole time. There were Orthodox Jews on board, some old, feeble, humble men with long white beards and black hats. The attendants welcomed us on board and helped settle mothers with young and the old.

We were allocated our seats at the very back of the EasyJet aeroplane. This economic airline has no frills or extra comforts, but gets you places one could not otherwise afford to go. We didn’t mind because we had an unoccupied seat on the inside giving us space to stretch and have a sleep if need be. We were thankful.

The pilot spoke before our departure and apologised for the delay due to baggage handling back in the UK. He announced the flight time would be five and a half hours, which seemed a lot longer than our flight there. He didn’t tell us about the turbulence on the way over. The pilot has to slow down through turbulence. There were no frills but plenty of spills and thrills ahead of us.

We were strapped in our seats for the first two and a half hours of the trip home! The plane shook and jerked. Mothers and babies were sick. The flight attendants were going up and down the aisle giving out orange plastic bags and cups of water to help the sick.
I was praying as I do when turbulence hits on a journey. But never has it lasted so long.

I thought of the scripture when Jesus was asleep on a pillow at the back of the boat in the storm! Brendan and I were at the back of the aeroplane in a storm. He rebuked the disciples for being fearful and having little faith. Mark 4 v 38 to 40 KJV

And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

I decided not to be fearful and trust in God. I prayed for many others who were vulnerable. Brendan sang in my ear a song “I feel pretty”. We heard it in the movie we watched one night on Netfix. It’s called Anger Management staring Jack Nicolson. He got his clients to sing a song if they were in a difficult situation. Not only was Brendan singing but he ordered some snacks and a drink from the attendant. He was not fearful but enjoyed a few treats in the storm.

The Importance of The Scriptures

I’m sitting in a splendid home overlooking the newly built houses, apartment blocks, towers and roads that wind their way through the valley below and over the hills in Jerusalem. The roofs of the many cars glisten in the sun making them look like water drops. Sunday is a working day in Israel. Yesterday all activity ceased. The roads were quiet. Here the commandment given to Moses by God so long ago is being honoured. No work is done on the Shabbat.

Orthodox Jews are a religious group of Jews that give their time to studying the Torah, the first five books in the Scriptures. They teach the Torah at their religious services on Shabbat. Teachers in church, schools or universities are very important people in our lives to pass on truth they know to others.

I remember growing up in the country in Ireland attending Church on Sunday. Chapters from the Old Testament, the Psalms and the New Testament were read. I believe these were were seeds that went into my heart. Later in my life I was given a bible. When I read it I came across passages that I remember hearing all those years ago. They came to my mind again. All scripture is important whether we hear it in song or at Sunday School or in the Torah or in Church or from a mother’s lips as she cradles her young child to sleep with a hymn. God’s word promises that it will not return to him void.

““As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So all those years ago the word of God going into me has borne fruit much later in my life. So it is with many people. I was listening to a young man’s testimony. After many years living a decadent lifestyle he remembers what his granny said to him. “If you call out to God he will answer your cry. ” in his time of need he did call. God answered and led him into new pathways.

I turned to God when I was in need too. He led me to meet other people who knew about God and read the bible. I began to read it for myself and have done so down through the years. I use the Daily Bible everyday. That helps me cover the scriptures in one year.

It has proved to be a great support in time of trouble or suffering. God brings to mind something I have read which will be just what will encourage me. As I travel and meet people high and low, I find they do not have a knowledge of the Word of God. They may have great qualifications but do not know the Scriptures.

The Word of God is truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. He was the Word of God become flesh. The scriptures are like bread. When one reads the words it is bread from God to strengthen one. The words bring healing to one’s body and soul. No other book claims to bring healing.

I was reading about Joni Ereakson. She is a lady who has coped with being a Paraplegic
for fifty two years. She awakes every morning and says, “Lord I’m in pain. I can’t do this any longer. I don’t want to go through the regime of needing someone else to lift me out of bed, bathe me and brush her hair. You need to help me Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So starts her day. She has done this for fifty two years. She says her pain, despair and depression drives her to Jesus. She remembers words of scripture that will help her each day.

I would not have got through rearing fourteen children and recovering from cancer without the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I encourage you today to read the Word of God. Your life will never be the same. If you are suffering read the Word and you will get relief.

Just say something like this. ” God if you are there please help me. Speak to me. Lead me in the right way for my life. Amen”. He will answer.

The Prosperity of Jerusalem

May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭128:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As I have read through the bible over the years I have come across many references to the City of Jerusalem. Particularly the verse mentioned above. I had a desire to one day go to Jerusalem.

Prophecy is being fulfilled in our days. The Jewish people are returning to live in Israel after many centuries of exile. It became a state in 1948 and since that time Jews from many nations are returning. I have been blessed to have traveled to Jerusalem. Each time I see changes; buildings going up and new roads and railways being constructed. I have been blessed to have traveled to Jerusalem. Towns are being built on the top of hillsides. What a work of engineering is going on!

The desert is blossoming. Farms are producing fruit and vegetables on land that was once barren. The story of the restoration of Israel gives me great hope for God’s promise of restoration and fruitfulness. He can cause water to flow in the desert of the Negev. What he is doing here the same God can do in our lives.
I was reading from Psalm 48 today.

“How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain!
It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it!
Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.
We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever. Interlude
As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:1-3, 8, 10, 12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We have seen Jerusalem for ourselves. I was attracted to Jerusalem because I believe that Jesus the son of God walked here. He spent much time on the Mount of Olives. It can be seen clearly across from Jerusalem. It was from here Jesus ascended into heaven, after he had been crucified and risen from the dead. He appeared and ate with his followers.

“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!””
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭1:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus will return again with the two angels to The Mount of Olives. He told his disciples before he was crucified.  When the high priest asked Jesus “Are you the Messiah” Jesus replied ” I Am and you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Mark 14 v  62

“For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.  Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world —from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.
“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭13:19-20, 26-27, 29, 34-37‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is time to get our lives ready for Jesus return. Jesus main purpose of his coming on earth the first time was to save people from their sins. He told them to turn from their sins and believe in him. He rescued them from going to hell. Hell is real. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. But Satan deceives mankind and wants to bring us to hell with him. Jesus rescues us from the Devil’s power and our own sinfulness and promises to bring us to heaven.  Are you ready to meet him when he returns?

Ask Jesus now to help you and he will.

Camping in December in Ireland

Back in December when campervans are stowed for the winter, Bones sprung into life again after her battery was recharged.

Bones is the name my husband gave a campervan we bought two years ago. The doors rattled and the engine puffed out smoke when we first drove it. It needed much repair to make it roadworthy. It reminds us of the scripture in Ezekiel v 1 “ Can these dry bones live?”

I needed to use the campervan recently as my own car was being repaired. Tax and a top up to the insurance needed to be paid to keep it legal on the road. I thought I may as well take it out for a drive.

It had been wet and windy weather for a week. One of the wild nights I was travelling back home. I had the heater, lights, wipers and radio on in the van. I trusted Bones to get me home.

It did but next morning there was no spark to start it again. The power needed the previous night drained all life from the battery.

I was dreaming I could go on an overnight stay in the Campervan over the Christmas period. Who would come with me and would it be cold?

I wanted to visit Cushendun again. It is a beautiful place up along the Antrim coast. We had stopped in the village back in the Summer time. According to the brochures it had a Campsite that stayed open all the year round. After Christmas festivities my daughter offered to go with me one night in the van.

The forecast was 11 degrees centigrade one of the days so we planned and packed for our trip.

It was refreshing to wake up early when the sun was rising in the east over the Irish Sea. We had breakfast as the light shone through the drifting clouds. We spent the rest of the morning walking on the beach and driving through the picturesque villages along the coast road.

We treated ourselves to coffee in the luxurious Ballygally Hotel before setting off for home. I’m looking forward to many more trips out no matter what the season.

It’s good to be alive and enjoying my life. God is good all the time. There in healing in the Blood of Jesus.

Sent from my iPhone

Late April in Slovakia

I’m sitting under a willow tree in Slovakia,
My body welcoming the warmth of the sun
Along with all the creatures
That had to endure the long winter.
Life is breaking forth all around me.
Sparrows chirp above me in the branches,
Taking turns to fly up
Into crevices in the wall
Building their nests to have their young.
I survey the green panorama of the forest trees.
Two weeks ago they were bare brown trunks.
Doves call from their midst.
The apple trees burst forth buds and flowers
Attracting bees that buzz and hum
Busy collecting nectar and pollen.
White butterflies float in the air,
Outlined by the green background.
Although a thousand miles apart we share
Familiar wildlife in our gardens.
Sparrows, swallows, doves, bees and butterflies know no borders.
My son works with the soil.
My daughter in law is planting flowers,
Free from the repetition of washing dishes and clothes,
Cooking, baking and cleaning.
Their children play nearby,
Safe in the space of the new mown garden.
A hose gushes cool water.
The children dart in and out of the spray,
Running, chasing and squealing.
Barbecue smoke drifts through the air,
Inviting us to the picnic table.
Grilled chicken, courgettes, pineapple
Sweetcorn and mushrooms are ready.
Let’s dive in.

Ring Them Bells.

I was in Liverpool last weekend. I attended a church service in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral at eleven o clock.  There were four bells swinging in the tower. They rang out their chimes over the city for all to hear.  After the service the bells peeled again as the people returned to their different homes over the city.  We were together for a special occasion.

The church bells were ringing as we made our way up the steps. I could see four bells of different sizes in the tower above the entrance. I stood for a while and looked up. I could see the clapper of the bell hitting one side and then the other, causing the bell to ring. All four bells were ringing and making a sound that stirred joy in me. I felt part of something special going on.

Clapper in the dictionary means someone or thing that claps. Don’t we clap to show appreciation or encouragement? The bells were encouraging us to come to meet together for prayer. Bells are rung at other times. They may ring for a special service, a wedding or a funeral and make different tones for each event.

I hear the words of a song going through my mind. It was sang by Judy Garland. You can check it out on U Tube.

Ding dong ding dong
Do you hear the bells go ding dong
Do you know
Do you know why they’re ringing
The bells are ringing for me and my gal,
The birds are singing for me and my gal,
They’re congregating for me and my gal,
The Parson’s waiting for me and my gal.
And sometime
We’re gonna build a little home for two,
Or three or four or more,
In Love-land for me and my gal

Bells rang out over London when Prince William and Kate got married.

I listen to the radio when I am driving in my car. I often hear snippets of information that are important. This week after my trip to Liverpool I listened to a programme about Russiian bells on BBC 4.

The sound of bells are very dear to the Russian Orthodox believers. Russian Composers in the twentieth century were inspired by the sound of bells ringing. The Russian bells are rang in a different way from those in the west. A cord is attached to the clapper. The bell ringer pulls on the clapper lightly and let’s it hit againt the wall of the bell. Not only did the people believe the bells ringing were a call to pray but they felt the bells sounded like the voice of God.

The Orthodox bells fell silent in 1931 when Stalin started his regime of Communism in Russia. Bells were cut down from towers, smashed and broken. The metal was used to make bullets for the Russian army. Not only were the bells broken. The people’s hearts were broken. They sensed the voice of God was silenced. The people mourned for many years.

Some large bells were rescued and brought to America where they were placed in Harvard university. In 1991 when communism fell some men in America arranged for the return of the bells to Russia. One man spent ten million dollars to help with the restoration work. People were crying in the streets on the return of the bells. They looked forward to hearing the bells ringing again. Someone commentated that it is the only lasting co operation between Russian and America.

Because of the communism regime the knowledge of how to make the bells was almost forgotten. After communism bells were again made and returned to Church towers to ring again.

The sound of the bell is likened to the sound of the trumpet or shofar in Israel. God commanded the people of Isreal to sound the trumpet for different events. One sound was given to move camp. Another sound was made to go to war. And another was a weapon of war. God moved on behalf of the people when the shofar was blown. He struck their enemies down when they sounded the trumpet. They walked round Jerico seven days and on the last day they blew the trumpets and the walls of Jerico fell down. Likewise the people of Russia believe God was with them when the bells were rung.

I discovered a bell outside my back door. I will ring it often. May God come to our aid when I ring it. May bells of joy ring throughout our land again.

Rosh Hashanah

 

“Today, the feast of Rosh Hashanah is being celebrated by the people of Israel. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. … Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur a holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement.”. Quote from “History.com”

It is the beginning of the Jewish civil New Year. The people of Israel celebrate with friends and family for two days. It is the time when they look back on the past year and reflect on their failings and successes. They dip apples into honey sharing pieces and wish each other a sweet new year. They throw pieces of bread into water signifying their sins being washed away. These two days are the beginning of a season of repentance before God ending in Yum Kippur, when the people fast.

Tonight I was reading from Psalm 65.

What mighty praise O God, awaits you in Zion.
We will fulfil our vows to you because you answer our prayers
and to you all people will come.
Though our hearts are filled with sins you forgive them all.
You are the hope of everyone on earth.
You formed the mountains by your power.

What wonderful words of love and promise from God!

Let us join with the people of Israel at this season and reflect on our failings this past year. God has provided his Son Jesus to wash away our sins. Jesus died on the cross and shed his blood for the forgiveness of all people’s sins, Jews and Gentiles. All one has to do is believe there is a God, our Father in heaven and believe in his Son Jesus.
The Jews believe in the God of Creation, but do not have a revelation of Jesus yet.

Jesus breaks the power of sin in our lives. We often feel we cannot be forgiven for the wrong we have done. Or we keep doing the same wrong over and over again and never feel free from condemnation and guilt. Woe is me. But Jesus brings us good news. He sets one free from sin’s power and condemnation and guilt. He washes us as white as snow when we come to him. He remembers our sins no more. Our sins are truly washed away.  I know my sins are forgiven and I am healed of deathly cancer through the power of Jesus.  He defeated the power of sin and the power of death in cancer over me.  I’m alive to tell the tale.

““For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.”
But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.
Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:15, 19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Now some people believe Jesus forgives their sins and don’t need to keep asking for forgiveness each year.  It is good to come before God and admit our failings.

The Word of God says we are to confess our sins one to another so we will be healed.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I believe I needed to confess my sins to others and they prayed for me so my body could be healed of cancer.

Have a sweet year ahead.  Be forgiven and healed.