A Thin Place in Ireland

Beni Johnson wife of Bill Johnson, head pastor of Bethel in Redding in the USA, has written a book on intercession. It is her story of how God led her to be an intercessor. She has taken many groups all over the USA and the world to pray.

I am very excited after reading this paragraph in her book.

“A thin place is where heaven and earth are close. It is easier to experience the spiritual realm in these places. A lot of times you can tell if you are in a thin place, because there are a lot of spiritual and creative people who are gathered there. Examples of this include many parts of Ireland, which is known for its thin places.”

An example of a thin place is at Bethel in Israel where Jacob had a dream and he saw angels ascending and descending to heaven. Here is the reference from Genesis.

“He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.
and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house.
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭28:12-13, 16-19, 22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 2015 Brendan and I visited Israel. I had a desire to visit Bethel, the place where Jacob had a dream. It was not on the usual visitor’s sites in Israel. We had to get a local taxi driver to take us there. He brought us to a viewing point at Bethel where Abraham once stood and God showed him all the land before him and promised to give it to him.
Genesis 12 v 7.
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

It was a privilege to stand on that viewing point, where Abraham once stood, and look out to the north, the south, the east and the west and see the land of Israel stretching before me. God’s promise to Abraham is being fulfilled today as God is bringing the people of Israel back to their homeland.

Quite near by was a small building. “There is where It is traditionally thought that Jacob had his dream,” the taxi man advised us. When we went over to the building we entered into a small room.  The picture included in this blog shows a view to the east from the landmark.  In the middle distance is the house where Jacob is said to have had a dream.   We prayed and remembered Jacob’s dream. Again I felt blessed to be where Jacob of old rested. We took some photographs. A picture of my husband revealed just his turso. His legs and arms did not show up in the picture. Something supernatural happened in that place. It is still a place where the Angels ascend and descend, I believe, a thin place.

I’m privileged to live on the Ards Peninsula in Ireland. The local council haves named it the Ceeative Peninsula.  All along the shores of Strangford Lough are the ruins of Christian settlements. Many people lived in the thriving communities living off the produce of the land and sea. Prayers and praise to God would have been offered in these places. They are Thin Places, I believe. Ireland is known as the Land of saints and scholars. Many missionaries have gone out from Ireland to other nations, and still do today. There is a book written telling How the Irish Saved Civilization, By Thomas Cahill.  We have a wonderful inheritance in Ireland, yet to be mined.

Forgiven Much, Loves Much.

 

Today I experienced a little of what it is like to be forgiven much and to love much.

Abraham returned to Scotland today.  I was leaving him to the ferry at the Port of Belfast.  Hannah warned me that 1000 cyclists were out somewhere in the Ards Peninsula today, Sunday.  To avoid hold ups or upsetting cyclists because I try to overtake them, I decided to take the ferry to Strangford.  After farewells to family at home, Abraham and I set off.

We boarded the nine forty five ferry from Portaferry to Strangford.  There were about eighteen cars on board.  The ticket master came to check my card.  One can buy a card for twenty journeys for half the price.  He said “Your journey have been paid for.”  I looked around to see if there was someone who knew me and kindly paid for my fare.  But no.  The ticket collector told me someone has paid for everyone on the ferry.  A gentleman had bought a card and would not be using it again.

Abraham and I looked at each other.  Whoa!  That was an unlooked for blessing.  It felt unusual to receive this kindness from a complete stranger.  Abraham commented that anyone on board who has to pay the full fare will benefit the most from this man’s generosity.

For a moment I felt the love and presence of God.  I thought this is what it feels like for someone to pay the price for something I was responsible for.  I was able to go free.  I experienced a little bit of what Jesus paid for on the cross when he died to forgive my sins, heal my diseases and give me  eternal life in heaven.  He paid the price for me to go free instead of having to suffer for my wrongdoings and go to hell.

Here is a reading from scripture which tells us about Jesus forgiveness.

“When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.
As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender.
One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,”
Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house.
You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.””

I did not argue with the ticketmaster and say, “I don’t want to accept this man’s offer.  I insist on paying for my own passage.”  Perhaps one can feel as if one doesn’t deserve this kindness.  One has to learn to receive.  Sometimes we say something like that to Jesus when we don’t accept his sacrifice on the cross to pay for one’s sins and go free.  Let us be like the woman who washed Jesus feet.  She received Jesus forgiveness. Having been forgiven much let us love much.
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Family Memories Created.

 

Psalm 145
Let each generation tell its children of his mighty acts.  Everyone will share the story of your mighty acts, wonderful miracles and your wonderful goodness.   Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.  You rule generation after generation.

Last weekend I invited family to visit.  It was an opportunity at the end of the summer and before children go back to school to spend time with one another.  It was also our son John’s birthday.  We remembered other family members’ birthdays that are in August and September.

Isaac is home on a visit from Canada and Angela is leaving to study in Queen’s university.  No, not in Belfast but in Kingston, Ontario far acros the Atlantic in Canada.
The weekend was a great success.  God blessed us with good weather.  We had clear skies in the day and night.  The sun shone and the full moon shone brightly over the bay in front of our home.

I wanted to show my family a National Trust Property at the end of the Ards Peninsula, where there are open spaces of fields and beaches.  Cousins went off together to climb down to the waters edge.  The grandchildren threw stones in the water and our children chatted with each other, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.  One of my grandchildren joined me to collect sea glass and pottery.  I was amazed to find some there on top of the stones high above the shoreline.  Over the weekend I was given gifts of finds from the beach the grandchildren had picked for me.  I will make a collage to remind us of the event.

Brendan is excellent at creating memories.  He brought a kite which he launched and flew overheard for the time we were at the beach.  I am reminded of the song,
“His banner of us is love.”

Brendan lit a fire.  Everyone, young and old gathered sticks and debris that kept the fire burning.  Someone found a Wellington boot.  A competition to see who could throw the welly the furthest happened.  Grandchildren, children and grandparents took part.  Everyone was included.  Brendan can create fun without expense.  Memories were created.

When we parked the cars, dark clouds in the distance threated a downpour.  We contined anyway.  The clouds did not get to us.  Instead a beautiful rainbow appeared overhead.

We returned home tired and thirsty.  Everyone slept  well that night.

The weekend was an opportunity to share with my family all the “wonderful goodness” God has given to us this last year, new homes, jobs, grandchildren, continued good health and travel.  God is faithful.

I am inspired by the festivals Moses commanded the people of Israel to have when families gathered for a week to spend time together.  I think it is a good idea for family to get together for a day or weekend at least.

I am alive to see the next generation and tell them about God’s mighty acts in my life.