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.

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

The Sunshine has Returned

It is a fact that man is sure to have trouble in this world.
Yet man is born to trouble, as sure as sparks fly upward. Job 5 v 7

When I was living in my father’s home I was sheltered and protected from life’s storms.
I was hopeful and joyful for my future when I left home. My sunny expectations have carried me through many ups and downs in life. Yes we will have troubles but God in Psalm 91 promises to be with us in trouble and deliver us out of it.

Psalm 50 v 13 to 15 v 23

I don’t need your sacrifices.
What I want instead is your true thanks to God.
Trust me in times of trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me glory.
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.

The sun is shining again bringing light and warmth. Alleluia. It is so welcome after grey snow laden clouds and chilly biting winds here in Ireland. Humans, animals and birds were forced to shelter till the storm passed. Was that the last cold blast before spring? Can the daffodils blossom and lift their sunshine petal trumpets now?

How did I survive the cold spell? I needed the help of others. Brendan made sure there was oil in the tank, coal and wood at hand to light a fire in the evenings. The warmth from hot water bottles helped us get to sleep. My daughter made warm dinners.

I had a lingering cold for a few days. I had started listening to the radio in the mornings and when I was driving. My ears were buzzing with fears about results of Brexit, local tragedies and news of bad weather. My mood took a dip and I developed a fever as the cough developed. I hid under the duvet. I felt a dark shadow over me bringing gloom. My husband and daughter prayed and attended to me.

I realised what had happened to me. I was allowing all the bad news to affect my mind. I was not thanking God for his many blessings to help me through the dark days. I needed to get back to reading the good news. The Word of God is truth and up lifting and healing.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice, Paul encourages us. We may not feel like rejoicing when your car won’t start, you can’t get to work and the baby won’t stop crying. Thanking and praising God changes the atmosphere. Your mood changes and it lets God move to help. He comes to the rescue.

Often I would come before God crying and telling him all my woes. It doesn’t help. My prayers don’t get any higher than the ceiling. His word tells me to come before him with thanksgiving and praise. That is the best sacrifice that pleases God. Then he will move to change the woes. They will disappear like wax before heat and smoke before the wind.

Psalm 91 reminds us if we trust God he will be with us in trouble. In this world we will have trouble. Jesus said be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Our best security for the future is to thank God now, each day and he promises to be with us in the bad times and even deliver us out of them. Alleluia.

Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning. The birds are singing, The sun is reflecting off the water again. The sky is blue. The dark clouds have gone. My car will get fixed. That which is broken will be restored.

We may do all we can in life to avoid trouble. But it is a fact that trouble will come.

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I Asked My Husband to Help Me With the Dishwasher.

 

Some of my children have been home for Christmas festivities and rest.   The last child left yesterday to go back to St Andrew’s university via the French Alps.  He must be influenced by princes.  Prince Willliam went to St Andrews and skied in the Alps.

When my children lived at home, chores wereimage delegated to each child.  Someone was in charge of the dishwasher, to load it and unload it.  Now Brendan and I are on our own I ask him to help in the kitchen.  I started to unload the cups from the dishwasher yesterday morning.  I noticed thy felt gritty.  They were not properly washed!  I asked Brendan if he would have a look to see why the dishwasher was not functionally properly.

“Is there dishwasher salt?”
“No I don’t have any.”
“There’s bound to be some about.”
I didn’t answer, wondering where am I to find it among all the stuff we still have to sort after our recent house move.

I left Brendan to work away cleaning up the dishwasher.  He removed two arms that spray hot water over the dishes.  The holes in them were blocked, so were not working efficiently.  Brendan removed certain debris, rice, string, glass, a piece of plastic, and other food particles.

He put the parts together again and completed the task.  It took longer than I thought.

When I involve Brendan in the work he does a thorough job.

A husband and father has many skills we as wives and mothers don’t often draw upon.  Very often I do the job myself to save hastle, or my pride says I can do it better.
If the husband brings home the money to provide for the family, he and we may think he has done his job.

How come the children will listen to their father and not the mother?   How come we hide what the children are up to from their father in case dad will be too harsh with them?  A child will respect his father when he is disciplined and it brings peace to the mother.

How come men don’t worry too much?   A man has grace to look after his wife and children.  If I don’t ask for his help he does not get an opportunity to use the grace God has given him.  

How come God made man to have strong, broad shoulders?  It is to carry the responsibilities we as women were never intended to carry?

How come men go off to the pub,  the football match, golf, or find another woman?  Perhaps they see us doing such a good job on our own, going out to work, looking after the children, shopping, cleaning and disciplining  that they feel they are not needed.  They were never asked so they find some other outlet to occupy their time.

Children will follow our example.  If a child sees his father taking a caring role in his family there is more likelihood he will do the same for his family.  If a child sees that the mother takes the caring role, as the father absents himself then that is the model he will follow.

As a wife and mother, cook and carer I busied myself over the years.  I worried, got anxious and prayed.  I often did not ask my husband for help.  Pride and independence prevented me from asking for help.   We grow up in society that tells us we are a failure if you can’t do things yourself.  Independence is offered to us.  You don’t need others. Earn enough money to buy independence and kill yourself in the process and one is left old, lonely and bitter.

I have learnt through my experience of life, through pain and failure that God’s pattern for marriage is the best.   He has the blueprint.  I have learnt to relinquish control.

What do you want, women, for your husbands and children?   Relax, don’t do all the work, ask the husband to help and take his rightful role in the family.  Respect his position that God has given him.  Let him lead.  Let him look after you.  Ultimately God will hold him responsible for how he looked after his family.

Blowing the Whistle.

I have faith in God the creator who reveals himself through the bible.  As I read the scriptures I find many promises God makes to those who believe that he exists.  He promises to reward those who diligently seek him.  Perhaps you don’t believe in God, or maybe you used to believe but through disappointments and hardships you gave up.  Try again.  Pray today and seek him with your whole heart.  He is there for you and a wonderful life of blessing for you and your descendants will open up for you.

God, revealed through Jesus, is the only God who promises blessings to our descendants to a thousandth generation. Exodus 20.  When I sought God wholeheartedly 38 years ago he revealed himself to me in many ways.  I prayed for a child and he answered me.  I prayed for my husband to believe in Jesus.  God revealed himself to my husband.  God blessed me with fourteen children because I believed that God would bless my children after me to the thousandth generation.
There is no other God who promises to bless us and our children after us.

Now in rearing my big family I have faced many difficulties.  For example, needing a home big enough, needing money to provide for my family or facing the opinions of people who thought I was crazy for having a big family.
Jesus said in this world you will have many troubles but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.  John 16 v 33

Psalm God promises to be with us in trouble and deliver us out of all of them.

When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. (‭Psalms‬ ‭91‬:‭15‬ NLT)

In Numbers 10 God told Moses to instruct the people,

“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the LORD your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies.  The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the LORD your God.” (‭Numbers‬ ‭10‬:‭9-10‬ NLT)

I had been praying over some situation in my life for a long time.  I felt I had no energy to pray any more.  There did not seem to be an answer.  I read the passage above.  I did not have a trumpet but I bought myself a whistle.  I blew the whistle and I believed that God would act because he is true to his word.  I have made a covenant with him in believing and trusting God with my life, and he will keep his promise to be with me in trouble and deliver me out of it.  God brought about the needed change.   Sometimes one can blame others for the difficulty one is facing.  But it is the devil our enemy who is holding back the needed change.  God heard and moved my enemy the devil out of the way.

I was in holiday in Rostrevor, Ireland one summer.  We had been given the use of a home in a beautiful setting.  It was along a quiet road in the forest.  Many young couples would park their cars there at night to be alone.  One evening my husband went out with the older children to a music festival.  I was home with the younger children.  It was getting late and I thought I heard noises outside that made me feal uneasy.

I looked for my whistle.  I went outside and blew the whistle as loudly as I could.   I called on The Lord for help.  All at once five cars’ engines were started and sped off down the road as fast as they could.  They cleared off frightened by my whistle.

In England the policemen used to have a whistle to alarm trouble makers or to call for help.
Soon after my husband and family returned.  Help arrived.

God who made the Moon and Stars cares for You

I looked out the window this morning.  It was still dark with the bright moon high in the sky and a star above it.  
I was reading Psalm 8 later.  This is what I read.

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? (‭Psalms‬ ‭8‬:‭1, 3-4‬ NLT)

The God of heaven who put the moon in place cares about me and you this morning.  He keeps all things in place.  The sun is not falling out of the sky.

A headline in the BBC News caught my attention yesterday.  A telescope has discovered new planets.
I quote from News.com.au, Science, Space.

“Three new planets, roughly the size of Earth, have been found in the ‘not too hot, not too cold — just right’ zone around their stars, significantly boosting the numbers of potentially habitable worlds.
And one of them may potentially be the most Earth-like yet discovered.
NASA’s Kepler mission early this morning made the announcement at a presentation marking the discovery of its 1000th exoplanet — the name given to worlds found orbiting stars other than our own. The results will soon be published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Each result from the planet-hunting Kepler mission’s treasure trove of data takes us another step closer to answering the question of whether we are alone in the Universe,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission.”

Man is discovering how vast the universe is.  But let man look for the One beyond the heavens.  He created the universe and there is no God like him.  He created us and cares for us.  He made himself know through Jesus his son who came on earth as a baby.  We just celebrated his birth at Christmas time.

All Christians pray the prayer Jesus taught us, “The Our Father.”
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be your name.

That means to thank God, honor him for who he is, praise him and magnify his works.  

I declare that God made the sun, moon and stars and all the universe, whether discovered or not yet discovered.  He is God yet he cares for mankind.

As I read about Moses, Daniel and other bible characters when they prayed they praised and magnified God for his power and works in creation first of all.  Then they asked for God to intervene in the difficult situations they found themselves.
I have discovered as I lift my eyes off my immediate circumstances and look up to God and magnify his works and power, then I find my worries seem small and He can take care of them and answer my prayer.

As I magnified who God is he reached down and touched me and delivered me from Malignant last stage Bowel Cancer

what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? (‭Psalms‬ ‭8‬:‭1, 3-4‬ NLT)

Can’t Beat Home Made Bread

We took a break from unpacking, washing and cleaning.

The sun was shining and reflecting off the water in front of our new home in the country.  We don’t just have a pond at the bottom of our garden, we have Strangford Lough!  I decided to make some Irish wheaten bread which cooks beautifully in the Aga.  Brendan wanted to go for a walk.  I asked him to wait till the bread was cooked before we left.  A friend said he would go for a walk and leave the food in the oven but too often they were away longer than they intended and the food was burnt.  I didn’t imagewant that to happen.

Brendan and I went for a walk along the bay.  The water lapped against the sea weed covered rocks.  I forgot my binoculars to do some bird watching.  I didn’t need them today as some birds were close by, gulls, sandpipers and many more were feeding on the shore. We walked around a little peninsula which becomes an island when the tide is high.  We sat down in the sunshine had coffee from my flask and enjoyed the view, Bella Vista.

The Lord is my shepherd; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

When my children were young I always wanted to move to the country to live.  I thought they could work off a lot of energy playing in the open spaces, like I did as a child.  It was not practical to live in the country for my family.  Living near schools, shops, friends, health centre and dentists in the town was more suitable.  The children could attend after school activities and sports events without me taking them by car.  They could walk home.  We weighed up the benefits of living in the country or the town.  Living in the town suited our young family better.

I haven’t made bread for twenty years.  When the children were young I made a batch of wheaten loaves every week.  Our children loved the hot bread with butter and jam running over the sides.  It was very satisfying. Baking bread was gone for a season but not forgotten.

When I was in Canada recently my host, Maureen, relaxes on the week end and makes a wheaten cake of bread for her family.  Her mum, who was from Belfast, taught her how to make it.  She keeps an Irish tradition going.  Perhaps she inspired me to get going again making bread.

I remember my mother made griddle soda bread for us.  It is made with flour, baking soda and buttermilk mixed together.  The dough was turned out onto a floured baking board, shaped into a circle an inch deep and cut into four parts.  The dough was placed on a hot griddle on top of the cooker.  When one side was cooked it was turned over to finish it off on the other side.  The smell of the cooking bread brings memories of provision, warmth and comfort.  If I was about when the bread was ready I loved to have a piece with butter melting on the fresh slice.   Homemade soda was fat free, nutritious and inexpensive.  Those were the days before supermarkets and mass produced food.

My first loaf of wheaten bread on my new Aga turned out tasty.   Brendan enjoyed it for lunch after our walk.  The smell of the freshly baked bread filled the room.  We will have daily bread from now on.

Jesus told us to pray, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭9-11‬ KJV)

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