Gathering Shells

Robert Louis Stevenson said

It is a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.

I’m staying in Tarbert, Scotland. The local people said “Have you been to the shell beach yet? I was telling some folk that I collect sea glass and shells to make mosaics. I call it my hidden treasure.

Tucked away out of sight along the coast at Tarbert are two shell beaches. Other inlets nearby are covered in rocks. For some reason only two small inlets are covered in broken clam shells, pink, white, brown and orange with hues in between, lie stacked up on the shore. The waves for years have broken the shells into small pieces.

The tourists would never find it. Access to the beach is hidden at first glance. If you follow a well worn path under the ferns, over stones and bared roots of trees you will reach the beach. Perhaps Robert Louis Stevenson, who was from Scotland, knew about it when he penned the words I have quoted.

Jesus Gives You Life Abundantly

I celebrated my seventieth birthday on Sunday. It was the the warmest day of this year in Northern Ireland so far. It was an ideal day to be outside. The sun was shining. There was no chilling wind. Everyone, children and adults felt comfortable sitting, eating, playing or walking outside.

Due to travel restrictions some of my family could not be there. Those who live in Ireland came with their families.

I am blessed having a big family. A party can be arranged at short notice. If I invite my family we have a crowd. Jesus said in his word I have come to give you life and life abundantly.

John 10v10

The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.

I can testify that Jesus has done that for me. By believing in his word, his miracles, his resurrection from the dead and the power of His death by shedding his blood I am alive and living abundantly on the earth.

Who is the thief? He is the evil one, Satan who wants to destroy what God has done. He puts thoughts in our minds to hassle us, make us fearful, distress us, and sends disease. Jesus work is always to destroy the work of the devil.

The disciples were in the upper room behind closed doors. They were fearful of the religious leaders who had recently killed Jesus. Jesus appeared to them in the room and spoke peace to them. Who else has ever appeared through locked doors or thick walls?

Through the use of cameras nowadays we can see on screens people flying through the air and many other illusions. But it is not real. It is only an image. No other man has done the miracles Jesus did when he was on earth and before he went to heaven.

Jesus has worked miracles for me and has defeated the work of the devil in my life. He wanted to kill and destroy me. Jesus healed me from a disabling disease, Rheumatic Fever as a child, healed my broken bones and delivered me from fourth stage cancer.

I am alive and writing these stories today, to help you to continue to believe in Jesus. Many circumstances in our life on the earth comes to discourage and wear us down. The recent COVID disease, lockdown and isolation has caused pain and loss. Perhaps you need new hope. Jesus is still working among his people. So don’t give up hope. Continue to believe in Jesus . Like the disciples he will come to you today to speak peace. In the name of Jesus I speak peace to you. Call upon the name of Jesus today and He will help you. Amen.

Bird Singing in the Night

Outside my hotel window

The Christmas street lights are bright

It is the dead of night

A bird is singing

The sweet tweets echo through the silence.

Is he announcing good news?

Is he calling for attention

Like the multitude of heavenly hosts praising God

When the angel announced Jesus birth to the shepherds

Singing Glory to God in the highest

And on earth good will to all men.

There is room for me in the Inn

In a soft plush bed

Because He was born in a straw lined manger.

Comment

Here is another comment I received from a friend who read my book. Very encouraging!!!

I received your book this morning and have read it already. Such a beautiful book and so well written. I have fond memories of Jacob, such a character, his image flashed in my mind as I read about him. And Kit mc Clarey, such a lovely woman. I remember you introducing us to the PHAB club in the old hall at St Malachys, good times and friends made.
But anyway thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your book I shall cherish it and probably read it again and again x

Behind Locked Doors

It is nine months since we learned about Corona Virus and it’s potential to cause death, especially to the vulnerable and elderly.

The government put the country in lockdown. People were advised to stay at home and not have others in their home. Fear of getting the virus has gripped our nation.

Restrictions were lifted in July. I sighed with relief. I could now visit family and friends.

Now in October we are told to stay at home again because the numbers of infected people have increased. More fear. Some elderly people I have heard are too fearful to leave their homes.

I remember that there was a group of Jesus followers who were in lock down. They were in a room together for fear of the Jews who had just killed their follower Jesus on the cross. They had killed their leader. They thought it was only a matter of time before the Jews came looking for them.

John 20 v 19.

When the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in their midst. He said to them Peace be with you. Jesus breathed on them and said to them Receive the Holy Spirit.

Are you lonely and fearful? Are you finding it difficult to stay at home? I encourage you that you are a good candidate for Jesus to come to to give you peace and fill you with his Holy Spirit. Expect Him to come to you.

Happy Times on Facebook and What’s App

One of the chapters of my new book
says, The Christian life is not a bed of roses. The early Christians were throw to lions and Jesus learned obedience to the Father through the things he suffered. He died a horrible death on the cross.
On Facebook and What’s App people want to share all the fun times in their lives. I don’t read much about their suffering or other difficulties.
When one who is depressed or in difficulty reads about the happy times others are having, he may think what is wrong with me? I don’t have the money or ability to do what they are doing. So his life becomes more unbearable and he goes deeper into the pit.
I remember friends of mine who were widows with four to five children. When they went to Church, they felt rejected. They didn’t have a husband, their clothes weren’t as pretty as the good living Christians. No one talked to them as others who knew each other stood in groups talking. Not surprising they didn’t go back to church.
When I was getting my six or ten children ready for Church there was fighting or bickering. When we got to Church we had to pretend all was okay and smile. Underneath all the facade I was hurting and felt no one understood me. I thought what is wrong with me. I must be a terrible sinner. Everyone else is happy. It seemed to me if your life was not all fun you were a bad Christian . One feels condemned and not good enough to come to God or to Church. I cannot live up to others expectations of me. I didn’t know that God loved me and was with me in my battles and was helping me through them.
One day a speaker talked about marriage. He said according to the scriptures those who are married will have more trouble than those who are single. This resonated with me.
So friends on Facebook or What’s App don’t be surprised that I don’t respond always to the happy clappy times. If you share your difficulties I will respond.
Please get to know what is going on in other peoples lives, especially family, the good and the bad. Then one can empathise or even pray with others.

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.