Water on Thirsty Ground

Today a friend took us for a drive to the mountains on the island of Zaykynthos. As we drove out we noticed heavy smoke billowing from a hill near the town of Keri. Forest fires broke out. The wildfire in progress on the island of Zakynthos has led authorities to evacuate some exposed houses on the village of Keri, in the southern part of the island, as well as 120 tourists staying at a hotel there.

The tourists were taken by bus to another hotel, in the nearby resort of Kalamaki.

The fire service said 10 of the 12 fires burning on Zakynthos are still unchecked, with high winds making it difficult to control the flames. A fire brigade commander says they have consumed mostly forests and olive groves so far.

Later we were having lunch in a small village on the coast. We watched as two aeroplanes dipped down to the sea and picked up water. Then they circled around to take the water and dump it on the fire fronts.

A short time later a helicopter arrived, hovered over the sea and filled a large container with water and flew off to fight the fire.

Before my eyes I was seeing the fulfilment of a verse I had read before my holiday.

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land,” Isaiah 44 v 3

‭‭This verse refers to the promise of God pouring out the Holy Spirit on anyone who is thirsty for the things of God.

The Stairway to Heaven.

Two weeks ago I read this scripture.
“Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth. ””
‭‭John‬ ‭1:51‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I had never noticed this reading before. I remember another story from the Old Testament where Jacob had a dream.

 

Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac.” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!””‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:11-13, 17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

On holiday in Greece recently I visited a Craft shop. The Artists make their pieces from reclaimed items they find on the beach. I too work with stuff from the shore where I live in Northern Ireland. Small sticks, driftwood, pottery, Seaglass and bits of rope are some of things I find. The man of the shop made ships and boats. On each one was a ladder that went from the deck of the ship up the mast. Ladders also figured on the lady’s work. Here is an image of a ladder reaching up from the earth to the clouds above. It is from a piece of art I bought form a craft shop in Greece.

I was excited to see the image of the ladder. I was thinking back to the scripture about Jesus being a stairway or a ladder. I told the couple what the image of the ladder can mean. They were very happy to hear what I had to say.

The theme of the ladder came to me again today. I was reading Merlin Carothers’s book Proson to Praise. In it Merlin recalls a vision he had.

“I saw a bright summer day. Up above was a solid heavy black cloud. A ladder extended from the ground into the dark cloud. At the base of the ladder were lots of people who wanted to get a chance to climb the ladder. They had heard that beyond the cloud was something beautiful. Some people tried to climb. As soon as they got to the dark cloud they came sliding down again. Merlin climbed the ladder. He kept going through the dark cloud even though it was difficult. He came into intense brightness.”

The Lord explained to Merlin that the ladder represents praising God. Some people start out praising God but give up when times get difficult. They lose faith and go sliding back. When one continues to praise God he comes to a place where he can walk on difficulties no matter how dark they seem as long as he keeps his eyes off the problem and looks to the Lord.

I’m encouraged today after reading about Praise. I will believe that God can work all things together for good as we praise him and thank him no matter how difficult the situation gets. He is in control. Keep clinging to the ladder of praise and keep going up. Keep clinging onto Jesus who is the stairway to heaven. He takes us from the earth to heaven, just as Jacob saw in his dream.

 

 

The Word of God

I was out yesterday gathering items along the sea shore to use in craft making. Just back from a recent holiday, I am invigorated and have plenty of energy. I was inspired by visiting some craft shops when I was away. Small sticks, driftwood, pottery and bits of rope were some of my find. What particularly interested me today was any flat pieces of wood.

A good sized rectangular piece was lying on one of the rocks. When I turned it over the remains of a placard was still attached to it. On it were these words in large bold letters,

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ”. The word Jesus is missing. This is a sentence from the Bible in 1 Timothy 2 verse 5.

Placards with a passage from scripture on it, I think are peculiar to Northern Ireland. You may find a notice with a scripture passage on a piece of wood nailed to a tree or hanging on a lamppost along a country road. Someone put it there in the hope of evangelising some unbeliever.

In the Provence where I live some Protestants try to evangelise Catholics with these notices. We had war in Northern Ireland because there was division and misunderstanding between Catholics and Protestants which led to hatred and murder of one another. One can easily take offence when one doesn’t agree with the another. Someone took offence at the placard, and dumped it in the sea!!  As a teenager I remember a street evangelist reached me a tract with a scripture on it.  He did not communicate with me to explain what he was giving me.  I wasn’t interested and threw it away. I was offended just like someone with the same attitude threw this placard in the sea!

Back as a teenager if someone had told me about God’s love for me and demonstrated it to me by being kind, giving, and coming along side me to identify with me and get to know me I may have received their tract. It’s not enough to preach at one. One needs to show love. It never fails.

As I write this on reflection I met my husband in my late teens. He did the very things I have just recounted. He came along side me, was giving and kind. He showed me love. That is why I responded and fell in love.

There were troubles in Northern Ireland because, no matter what religion one had, we didn’t know God’s unconditional love, blessing, care, tenderness, forgiveness, healing, comfort and debts cancelled. Like all humankind without God, our hearts were hard and bitter. We didn’t understand one another. There was little generosity or forbearing one another.

I got to know God more later in my twenties when I met some loving women who introduced me to the Word of God. I began to read the scriptures and believed what they said. I believe in God our creator and in his son Jesus and The Holy Spirit. This same God healed me from Malignant Cancer.

I should be in the grave today. God is alive. He is real. Jesus tomb is the only empty one. He arose from the dead. I can tell you this for sure. He rescued me from the grave to tell others about him. He shed his blood on the cross and became a sacrifice to forgive all people their sins and bring them to heaven.  If you believe in Jesus your heart can be healed and you can be sure of heaven.

When I overturned the piece of wood today I thought to myself, God’s Word will not return void. Isaiah 55 v 11 says

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me void. But will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

He can use all kinds of ways to speak to people and get their attention. God even used a donkey to speak to Balaam when he wouldn’t listen.  I want to encourage you through my story of God’s love in saving me from death.  Believe in the miracle working God for yourself.  Believe in Jesus and get to know him through reading his word.

The words on the placard, all messy with seaweed is still speaking. I retrieved it. I will publish it. Through the internet I can send this scripture far and wide across the nations.

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.

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