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.

 

 

Advertisements

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

An October Morning.

Oh the stillness of Monday morning.
The house is quiet.
No popping of the toaster, or the kettle boiling for tea and coffee.
The high chair is empty till the next grandchild comes to visit.
No airport pickups today.
Visitors from far away places in England, Canada and India have left.
The light, warmth and stillness invites us outside.
The calm after the storm.
Our friend the robin welcomes us.
He flutters and swirls around me, excited.
Others birds in the forest are singing their hearts out.
Two blue tits come down inquisitively looking for food.
A blackbird calls.
A solitary Raven chases away any competitors for the food scattered on the lawn.
The sunshine glistens on the water, thousands of lights dancing.
Tinkle, tinkle sounds come up from the last yacht below in the bay.
Where is the sun bed?
It hasn’t been packed way yet.
I stretch out and look up.
A few dry leaves drift past.
There is the blue sky beyond the bare branches.
Somewhere up there in an aeroplane is my son and his family.
I will savour the sunshine and beauty.
It’s a new day, I will not be sad.

Say No to Abortion

 

A news item from the BBC on my iPlayer reminded me of an accident that happened eleven years ago.  I quote, “A driver had a lucky escape when a metal pole crashed through the front window of her car, up through the steering wheel past a baby seat and out the back window.”

My daughter in law had just left her older girl to school. She was returning home with her younger child who was strapped in a car seat in the back. The car slipped off the road and hit a row of wooden fencing. Two wooden planks shot through the windscreen, narrowly missing the mum and child. Praise God neither mum or child was harmed physically. My daughter in law was traumatized at the thought of what could have happened.

I am confident that Angels were watching over them that morning, diverting the planks away from harming anyone. Psalm 91 tells me,

“No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,”
‭‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:10-11‬ , 12 NIV

Jesus said
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:2-3, 5, 10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This coming week people in the south of Ireland will vote to decide if the law should be changed as regards Abortion.
Ireland has been a safe place for me to rear children. Family life is important in Ireland. Grandparents are honored, marriage has been held in honor and children have been welcomed. Ireland has upheld these values for generations. Forty five years ago when I first travelled south one would visit a restaurant on a Sunday. Families including grandparents would be out for dinner, relaxing and enjoying each others company.
I’m glad I have raised my children in Ireland.

I hope the people of Ireland take to heart and remember what Jesus said.
“Do not despise one of these little ones.” Don’t let the law be changed.