Thankful for Health Services

I was listening to a programme on BBC 4 radio this week. It was reporting on events in Ecqador during the Covid 19.

One lady was interviewed. Her husband contacted the virus and died in a few days. She rang the authotrities in her country to come and take away her husband’s body. Only after five days was his decaying body removed. The lady contacted the disease as well but survived. She had two young sons.


Many families suffered like she did. Dead bodies were left lying on the streets for days. The hospitals and normal services were not prepared for the death of so many people.

It is easy to complain about past and present wrongs in our country. I am so thankful after listening to that programme. I am so grateful for the services we are blessed with here in Northern Ireland. These services were put in place by people who believed God in generations past and wanted to help their fellow man. First of all I thank God for the people in our country who believe in God. God has preserved us from sickness and healed many who contacted the disease. Our local minister was told to prepare for many deaths from Covid. There were not any deaths from Covid in our town.

I am thankful for the Health Service, the many men and women who worked in the hospitals. I am thankful for the politicians who had to make difficult decisions in the crisis. I am thankful for the people in our families, villages and towns who supported each other through their fears. I am thankful for the people who know their God and intercede for others.

Let us keep alert and keep praying. God my Heavenly Father delivered me from death from cancer ten years ago through the prayers of many. I believe Jesus heals today. I want to tell others that Jesus will heal our diseases and even prevent us from getting sick. This is good news. Let us pray for workers in the harvest to go to those countries that don’t know of God’s love and care through Jesus sacrifice for us on the cross. The Blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin and sickness.

Boats

I make boats from drift wood I find on the shore near where I live. I have wood I intend to use that is the remains of a rowing boat that was abandoned by its owner. The winter storms buffeted and broke apart the once loved vessel. I enjoy making something new and beautiful, a sailing boat ornament, from that which is discarded or broken. The reclaimed wood is now loved by its new owner as it sits on display in his home.

Today I travelled across Strangford Lough by ferry to see and pray for a friend. While I was waiting at the harbour a beautiful, slim lined yacht passed gracefully through the water. It had two masts that reached skywards. It towered over other yachts parked nearby. The ferry seemed small in comparison to this vehicle. It is a visitor to these parts.

I soon forgot about the beautiful vessel when the ferryman said my ferry card, to pay for the journey, was out of credit. I resisted the temptation to be annoyed. I paid the full price for the journey.

On my return home I wanted to call into a shop to top up my card which gives subsidised journeys on the ferry. I knew I risked not getting on the ferry because of restrictions to the number of vehicles due to Covid. I collected my card and drove to the terminal. The boat was full and the ferryman signalled to me, no more vehicles. I stopped, resigned to wait an half an hour till the ferry returned.

I said a quick prayer, “Please Lord let the ferryman change his mind.” Just as I said that he asked drivers on deck to move forward to make room for another vehicle. He beckoned me forward.

I was super excited at the quick answer to prayer. I was full of joy and thanked the men for their help in making room for me. The ferry launched forward. I saw the sky move and wondered what was happening. Then there was a crash. My car had moved backwards and broke the long pole that is lifted and closed when cars get on and off the ferry. I was disoriented and in shock. In my excitement at getting on the ferry, I forgot to put the handbrake on. No one else saw what happened.

I waited trembling on my journey across the Lough. “What will the staff think when they see the pole crash landed at the back of the boat! I have damaged the ferry boat. That woman I made room for, look what she has done!” Perhaps I should have stayed at home and not bothered going out to help a friend. I remembered a promise from Psalm 121, ” I will watch over your going in and out”. I said another quick prayer, “Help” to God. I waited as other cars started up their engines, preparing to disembark when we got to the other side.

Then one staff member discovered the damage. He called to another. Three or four men gathered to look at the fallen barrier. I waited in trepidation. There was no scolding. No rebuke. In fact they laughed at what had happened. Thankfully they waved me forward and off the boat. They will take care of it. No calling the police to the scene of an accident. Thank God for the ferrymen who helped me today.

I got home. The yacht I saw earlier was parked offshore. It is beautiful. I stopped for a minute to reflect on my adventure. I told Brendan about what happened. He raised his eyes. He asked if my car was damaged? I forgot to look. Later he discovered a dent, the size of my hand just above the back lights. Thankfully the lights weren’t smashed. This new damage is just an addition to the war wounds my car has got since Brendan bought is for me six weeks ago. I have a story to tell about each one. We laughed together.

The Old Heron Waiting



The tide is high
No room to wade on the shoreline
The water is lapping against the wall
I’m safe here on the ledge
My favourite spot
Jutting out of the water
I’ll wait
And keep warm
With my neck
Sunk between my shoulder blades
I’ll wait
Till the water recedes
I’ll wait
To dart at some tiny fish
Lingering in the shallows
I know their hiding places
I’m too old
To fly from my perch
To find another spot
I’ll leave
Those fishing grounds
To the younger ones.
I’ll wait

Historical Jerusalem

The chill of winter is in the air yet the Almond Trees lining the streets of Jerusalem are  in blossom. The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the Almond blossom being a sign from God that he is alive and active even in harsh conditions to bring about his promises in our lives. I am always encouraged to keep believing God’s promises for me. Brendan and I are just home from visiting Jerusalem.

erusalem is an historical city. Today it is flourishing. There was disruption on our way from the airport. Lorries and heavy machinery blocked our way. New roads and tramways are being built. Cranes litter the skyline helping in the construction of tall buildings for hotels, businesses and homes. We saw with our own eyes the restoration of Israel as prophesied thousands of years ago. People are returning from the nations to make their home there. Mothers and babies, old men and women with canes are walking the streets of Jerusalem. Groups of young men and women are sitting, talking, rushing or playing. Abundant life is all around.

We walked in a park dedicated to Teddy Kollek. He was Jerusalem’s Mayor since 1967 to 1993. He is numbered with the leaders of old who restored Jerusalem, for example Hezekiah. In his time Kollek put in place programmes for housing the people, theatres , libraries and old people’s homes. He encouraged peace and unity among Jerusalem’s people. He raised finances to help with the work.

School children came for lunch In the Kollek park. Water fountains burst into life as geysers bubbled up to differing heights. Young boys skipped in and out of the spray. The park is a welcome oasis for the weary child or tourist.

I was reflecting on my visit to Jerusalem as I happened to read Psalm 48.

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.
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.
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.”

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.

 

 

A Bird’s Eye View

I’m looking out from an apartment on the third level of an hotel in Greece. I have a bird’s eye view of the sea in the distance, trees, mountains, clouds, tourists and birds. Just above me two sparrows are making a home under the roof tiles. I look down the row of apartments and notice other sparrows flitting in and out from under roof tiles. In this hotel, not only do you get an apartment to stay in, you also get the company of a couple of sparrows rearing their young above your balcony.

It is May in Greece. The weather hasn’t settled yet to be sure of uninterrupted sunshine for the tourist. One takes a risk to take a holiday at this time. We have had rain, sunshine, west winds and east winds blowing. I have my winter coat with me just to be sure to be warm if the temperatures drop.

The swallows are making their nests as well. They build where a wall meets an overhanging roof. They can be a bit messy and visiting tourists may not take kindly to a bird making his nest on their balcony. As a couple of swallows start to build the owners come along and remove the offending mud shelter. The next day the swallows start over again. So it goes till the birds are defeated and it’s too late to have their young.

Today I was able to continue my bird watching when we were out for a meal. I saw how one man has come to terms with the visiting swallows and his visiting tourists. He has built boxes around the nests and a platform below to catch any bird droppings. So no mess for the tourists to see. There is a welcome for the tourists and the swallows. Some swallows have come back to the same nest for years. They flew in and out while we had our meal . This owner has learned to be eco friendly. I looked up as one of the swallows sat proudly on the nest to hatch her young knowing she was secure in the shelter provided by the human owner. Man and birds are living in harmony.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭84:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God knows the sparrow and the swallow. I am blessed when they are around.

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.

Spring Rain in Jerusalem.

 

 

It’s a miracle that so many people from different faiths and cultures live in harmony in Jerusalem.

When we arrived in Israel it was raining. This is the season when the rain comes to water the dry ground in Israel to help prepare for the sowing of seeds. We have been to Israel before but this is the first time we have seen the rain. I looked forward expectantly to our time in Israel. Will we receive His spring rain?
I was reminded of the scripture from Hosea,

““Come, let us return to the LORD.I
He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;
he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
On the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.””
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I haven’t been disappointed. I have been rested and refreshed in my body, soul and spirit. I have seen prophetic words from the scripture develop before me eyes.

4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. Hosea 6 v 4 to 6. KJV

They are many young couples with babies in prams, children holding onto their arms, and pregnant mothers in Israel. It has a growing population. God is bringing his people the Jews back from all the nations of the earth to live in the land of Israel. We met Ethiopian, Russian and American Jews.

Old people, couples walking hand in hand, others on canes are walking through the streets. They have lived here to see the fulfilment of prophecy. Nearby where we are staying is a school. Yesterday morning as we went out we met young boys and girls chirping happily as they entered the doors.

“In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬ Continue reading