International Woman’s Day

It’s International Woman’s Day today, the day aimed to help nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women. It also focused on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development, according to what I read this morning.  

The Duchess of Sussex at her last engagement in London as a Royal spoke about the need for men to care for the women in their lives. Any man will have a mother for sure, perhaps a sister and a wife. His ability to care for women in his life will be influenced primarily by what he has seen modelled to him by other males.

Down through the generations the family  with a mother and father has been the nurturing place for the healthy growth of human beings, physically and emotionally. Families with similar values group together in many cultures to support each other. In nature we see male and female creatures create young and spend their energy to raise them. The adults stay together with their own kind in flocks, herds or shoals where the young are protected. There is power in numbers.

The family model I grew up with that shaped my early life was my dad, who worked on the farm and my mother who looked after us ten children at home. Dad was a gentle man who cared for my mum who needed to be strong to rear us. My parents showed their love to me by providing food to eat, a warm home, education, sharing their time and guiding me in the best choices to make for later life, all on a limited amount of money. Extended family often visited our home and we attended the local church where I heard about God and met our local community.

I left home and chose to explore the world beyond the safety of family and home. I went to university during the troubles in my country. When I had two children of my own I began to look for the best way to rear my children. And give them the nurture and care I believed was important. In my search for truth and the right way to live I mixed with many different people with different values form me. I met some Christians who were kind to me. I looked at their lives and I began to read the bible.

I read about Jesus. He went about doing good and healing those who were oppressed of the devil, both men and women. All who came to him were healed of disease and delivered form devils. Jesus was particularly merciful to women and children. He released the woman who was going to be stoned to death, the punishment her culture demanded. He cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. He raised the son of a widow so she would have someone to look after her. He let the little children come to him and took them on his knee and blessed them when his disciples wanted to stop them. A woman who was not from his culture came to him and asked him to heal her daughter. He did as he asked. He didn’t discriminate.

In my generation many women here in the west have had the opportunity to be educated and work alongside men. Women have now the freedom in the west to be independent of parents or husband due to their access to wages. Today we celebrate Woman’s International Day which wants to highlight discrimination against women and give equal participation in the global development of the world.

I totally agree with this vision. Is education and equal wages the answer to woman’s discrimination. I believe there is more to understand that can bring freedom to women. I am a free woman because Jesus forgives my failures and wrong choices and gave me a new beginning. He helped me rear my children and give them values for them to have when they leave home.

He healed me of fourth stage cancer and delivered me from demons of rebellion , rejection and bitterness. You see Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Sin and sickness are works of the devil. No amount of education or money can deliver a woman from poverty, sickness or abuse. People don’t know there is a spiritual force at work in the world, the power of the devil. Jesus came to save us from his power and show us how to live in freedom. Yes he wants men, as The Duchess of Sussex said, to look after the women in their lives. But they can’t do it properly with out the help of Jesus. It means laying down your life and your own desires for them, like Jesus did for his Church.

When Jesus, whose face was covered in blood from his crown of thorns, was carrying his cross along the streets of Jerusalem, he stopped to talk to women. He told them not to weep for him but to weep for their children because he knew it was going to be hard to rear children.

A woman’s role if she is married, I believe is to protect her unborn child and bring good values to her children. The world offers today women in the west, money, comfort and ease. But at what expense? Woman now have the choice to kill a child in her womb that will be an inconvenience to her way of life. Many people are afraid of the Corona Virus but there an ill in our society that is even promoted and paid for by nations, the killing of innocent children in the womb.

My advice as a mother of fourteen children to the global development of the world is to embrace Jesus, believe in him, accept him and follow him like many women did when he was on earth. Read about other women who were courageous to bring freedom to their nations, like mary, Judith, Jael, Deborah, Esther and Ruth.

The Almond Blossom

Snowdrops coming out of the earth welcomed my new year. Daffodils are beginning to open, trumpeting spring and brighter days. They have withstood the strong winds of winter.

I am excited to see my Almond tree blossoming in the full light of any sunshine that comes. It is indigenous to Mediterranean Climates. There it is known as the first tree to blossom. My walled garden is a good place to grow.

Brendan and I travel to Israel at this time every year. My Almond tree draws my mind to the Almond trees that line some streets of Jerusalem. Blossoms will be appearing there too, symbols of warmer and better days. I hope to see them soon.

I find it fascinating that each plant knows it’s time to emerge from the earth and put forth its shoots and flower. We can learn from the different species. If we trust God he will cause us to grow and blossom when it’s our time.

The bible tells us in Jeremiah that the Almond Branch is a symbol of God’s faithfulness. He will do for us what He promised. He will bring about our time to blossom just as the earth causes plants to come forth in their time. Let us be patient as we wait.
Let us learn from the farmer as he gets on with other activities waiting for his crops to grow and he will receive his harvest.

It Is Finished

My husband and I were invited to a friend’s seventieth birthday recently. Many of the people there had grey hair like ourselves and were ex hippies. I introduced myself to a man called Tommy. He told me a bit about himself.

He grew up in Belfast in the sixties but when the troubles started he moved to London. There he got involved with others who were drinking and taking drugs. He became homeless, living on the streets of London. His health deteriorated. His body became covered in sores. I was reminded of the man in the bible, Lazarus, who was covered in sores that the dog licked. Somehow Tommy returned to Belfast.

His mother welcomed the prodigal home and she washed his sores till he was healed. He was just eighteen years old at the time. He was invited to a friend’s home where someone was speaking about Jesus Christ and what he did for mankind. Tommy heard the words “It is finished”. These words stuck in his mind.

I was reading these words from the bible today.
The one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:5-7‬ ‭

The One sitting on the throne is God our Father in heaven. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. Jesus came on earth to show us the Father. He came on earth to destroy the works of the devil. He showed the kindness of the Father by forgiving people their sins and healing their diseases. He died on the cross and shed his blood to forgive sin and heal us who are alive today. God sent the Holy Spirit who comes to us when we believe in Jesus. He is still working today over the earth.

We have just finished feativities all over the world celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Do we realise why he was born?  In the middle of our sumptuous meals in our comfortable homes, do we remember he was born with animals and his bed was made of straw.

God made everything new for Tommy that day. He believed Jesus forgave his failings and he received Jesus forgiveness. He was healed body, soul and spirit. He got a new beginning. He was delivered from the drink and drugs.

God made everything new for me ten years ago.  I was dying form fourth stage cancer.  I am healed by the power of the blood of Jesus and staying alive.

Is there any better day than today, the beginning of a new year to have a new beginning in your life? Jesus is offering you that new beginning. Are you thirsty? Jesus told the woman at the well that he would give her water so that she would never thirst again. Jesus promises to give us waters of life, which is the Holy Spirit.

We may make New Year resolutions to be good. After a few weeks we fail miserably. We can’t do it ourselves. We can do nothing with out Jesus. We are living on the earth. There are many unseen forces against us. The devil and his demons are out to rob, steal and destroy. We are born in sin whether we realise it or not. There is a heaven and hell. Jesus is the only one who can bring us to heaven. The Holy Spirit brings about the change in our life on the earth and promises to bring us to heaven when we die.

Jesus is speaking to you today as he spoke to the woman at the well. Will you receive the water today so that you will never thirst again! It doesn’t cost any money to be free from your burdens of sin. There is power in the blood of Jesus.

That is what happened to Tommy. He went on to get married and raise a family. He is amazed how God was gracious to him and is forever thankful.

May you have a happy New Year indeed.

How Great Thou Art

Praise God for the beautiful display in his creation these recent days in Co Down, Northern Ireland.

Beech trees in gardens and hedgerows are resplendent with leaves of reds, orange,  gold, yellow, and brown.  These trees hold onto their leaves despite wind and rain.

Strangford Lough is full to the brim today.
The Ferry looks imposing on the high water.

To crown a beautiful sunny day we have a full moon tonight.
It’s light is glistening on the waters.
The reflection brightens up my bedroom.

Its good to be alive!

At the end of the day I want to proclaim to God,
How great thou art!
How great thou art.
You are beautiful beyond description.

Too marvellous for words.
I love you Lord!

Testimony of God’s Love

My daughter Nora lost her wedding ring on Sunday 22nd September. She was taking part in the Belfast half marathon in aid of Heart and Stroke Charity, Northern Ireland.

Nora was happy and relieved to get across that finishing line! She was back home when she discovered her wedding ring was missing. She had taken it off and put it in her pocket during the marathon as her finger had swollen.

  1. She was upset. She prayed with her friend for the return of her ring. She sent a message on Twitter and Facebook. She returned to the area where she thought she may have lost it. The ground was muddy and there was no sign of it.

Here is the message she sent.

So delighted to have done the Belfast Half Marathon this morning 💥. The only problem was that I lost my wedding ring somewhere around the finish line – at the Stroke Association tent 😰 if by some miracle someone comes across it maybe you’d let me know? It has my name and wedding date engraved on the inside…. any shares appreciated.

You never know – miracles can happen! #BelfastMarathon Ormeau Park

The message went viral. She called me in the afternoon. She was tearful. We prayed again.

Next morning we got a message from a friend to tell us Nora’s ring was found. It was handed in to the organisers of the marathon. We text Nora to tell her. She hadn’t checked her other messages because she was in a hurry to attend work.

She was overwhelmed at the response to her message on media. She got her miracle.

The local newspaper the News Letter picked up on her story. BBC Evening Extra called her and asked her to join them in the studio to tell her story.

Colin, her husband collected the ring and joined Nora at the radio studio. There was joy as the presenter interviewed Nora and Colin about the recent events. He asked Colin to put the ring back on her finger. All of Northern Ireland listeners heard the good news story.

Nora got her miracle.

I was reading this message today. “I will be your God throughout your lifetime. I have created you and cared for you since you were born.” Isaiah 46 v 3

God cares for Nora and Colin. He cares about their marriage. He demonstrated his love for them publicly. Their covenant of marriage was re confirmed before thousands of listeners. Nora continues to be overwhelmed.

The Comforter has Come

Jesus was talking to his friends at the last supper when he explained to them what was going to happen in the future.  He was fore telling his death and that he was going to leave them.  

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: 
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; 
but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
‭‭John‬ ‭16:6-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Jesus called the prince of this world, Satan.  “The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.”  John 12v 31.  Jesus defeated Satan when He shed his blood on the cross.  Satan’s power over this world was broken.  When we believe in Jesus we come into God’s Kingdom and Satan doesn’t have to rule over us any longer.  We believe this by faith in Jesus.  We need to progress in the knowledge of God and not let Satan deceive us any longer.  The Holy Spirit leads us into truth.  

He reassured  them that he would sent a comforter, the Holy Spirit.  
The Holy Spirit is referred in the scriptures as the helper, the advocate, the counsellor as well as the comforter.“

In these troubled days who doesn’t need a comforter.  A father, mother, child or friend may not be with one in his life to bring friendship and comfort.  But God promised a comforter who will never leave or forsake one.  He is the Holy Spirit.  

By believing in Jesus one can ask the Holy Spirit to come into one’s life.  God will give him the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of speaking in tongues, a different language than one’s own. This is prayer language that builds our spirit up. With this prayer one defeats Satan.

Don’t be afraid to receive the Holy Spirit.  Ask the Father in Jesus name to send you the Holy Spirit.  If one asks his own father for a gift, will he not give him it.  How much more our Heavenly Father will give to us The Holy Spirit.  He will not give us anything that is harmful.

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.

Advice on Life

“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:2-4, 7-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s the beginning of a new year. A new beginning, a new start, new year resolutions and hopes to change and not make the same mistakes of last year or previous years. Are you in a cycle of life that never changes? Are you in circumstances that won’t change no matter how good you try to be or try to give up habits.
I was reading Proverbs from the bible this week. In it I read some advice that can start one on the road to change, particularly if you are a young person. It’s helpful for others too! I have quoted the verses above that are relevant.
Read through Proverbs this month. There are 31 verses, one for each day. See how you feel at the end of the month. You will have gleaned some wisdom and insight.
There is power to change reading the Word of God. That was the beginning of change in my life. The Word of God continues to work in my life and guide me.
I want to draw attention to the verse about parents. This world will not advocate on behalf of parents. Daughters are encouraged to go to their doctors without their parents concent. When children reach 18 they think they are adults and don’t want to listen to mum or dad. They know better. Okay adults head out there into the world and see how you get on. Bye.
Some years down the line our children come back to get help. Reading the Word of God each day can help you along the way in the big world.

The Chaffinch

What a colourful bird is the Chaffinch.

In springtime when the birds are feeding their young many come to our garden to eat the titbits my husband leaves for them. The food ranges from bread crumbs, left overs and some seeds. Each bird is glad of any extra food to feed their fast growing young.   I enjoy the company of our feathered friends.

Over the summer the Robin was our regular visitor, with only a few visits from Sparrows and Tits. The young had flown the nest and the breeding season had come to an end. The adults could take a rest. We would have only an occasional visit from the Chaffinch.

The Chaffinch is larger and stronger looking than the robin and more confident. He is handsome with a blue-grey cap, reddish-brown breast and back.

It’s now winter. Brendan supplements the food he leaves out with bird seed bought from the pet shop. The Chaffinch is now a frequent visitor. Brendan noticed he comes to feed when dark seeds are left out. He is not so fond of bread or other lighter coloured seeds. He feeds on seed from the thistle, which is a thorny plant. The chaffinch is sometimes associated with Christ’s crown of thorns.

It is a delight to see this beautiful visitor on our fence in the morning especially after reading about the chaffinch’s association with Our Saviour. I lift my eyes to our God who made the heavens and the earth. I thank God for his son Jesus. The crown of thorns pierced his head, blood flowed down his forehead and matted his hair. The flesh on his back was opened up with the thongs of a whip. His body and clothes were covered in blood from his wounds. Men turned away from the sight.

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:2-3, 5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus wounds healed me from fourth stage cancer.

Healing the Wounds

The season has changed.  This weekend the clocksgo back.  I went outside and looked up at the full moon high in the sky.  It was lighting up the land and sea below. I spent a few moments marvelling at the beauty all around. Praise The Lord maker of heaven and earth.  I didn’t stay too long in the chilly air. I headed off to bed looking forward to the extra hour under the blankets.

Here at my home in Northern Ireland it is a beautiful day. The sky is blue and clear of clouds. The sun is shining brightly, yes more brightly than normal. It shouldn’t be so warm at the end of October! The yachts and boats that were moored in the bay have gone.  The owners brought them to the harbour.  They have been hoisted out by a crane a few days ago.  It’s time to store the craft for the winter.

My grandchildren are visiting. It is warm outside, the air still and the water surface like glass. The conditions tempted the children to go down to the shore. It is a perfect day to go messing about in the water. They persuaded grandad to help them put our boat in the water again. It is a small yellow pedalo. It glides quietly over the water. No need for oars, sails or an engine. Just turn the pedals with your feet. Our grandchildren have such fun in it. No need to own an expensive yacht. The only equipment each one needs is a life jacket. Supervised from the shore by grandad and their mum, the children paddled effortlessly up and down the bay till their hearts were content.

I am reminded of the scripture,

“The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in the day that the Lord binds up the breach of his people, and heals their wounds.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:26‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As I am writing this I hears the calls of some birds overhead.  I look up.  It is a chevron of seventeen swans flying south.  They must have taken advantage of the perfect weather conditions, light by day and night to migrate south for the winter.

I am nursing a broken arm. It is very painful. I am feeling helpless and miserable. I fell from a stepladder as it crashed under me. My right arm and bottom took the full impact. Today, three weeks on I am encouraged by God’s word. My wounds will heal.

If you are feeling discouraged, are sick or heavy burdened don’t despair.  Look up.  See creation all around.  Your Heavenly Father who created all this beauty cares for you.  Through believing in his son Jesus you will be healed.   It’s time for your breaks and wounds to heal.

“Be still and know that I am God”