Are You in the Wilderness?

Jesus, the son of God came on earth as a baby boy to his mother Mary.  He stayed at home till he was thirty.  Perhaps Joseph died during that time. The scriptures do not tell us.  He would have looked after and helped his mother and his siblings.  He honoured his mother and cared for her.

The time came when Jesus determined in his heart to accomplish the work he left heaven to do on the earth.  He came to forgive mankind their sins, heal their diseases and destroy the works of the devil, who had ruled the earth since Adam and Eve sinned.

His ministry began when Jesus was baptised in the Jordan by John.  The heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove and a voice came from heaven , “You are my beloved Son,  with you I am well pleased.”  Those around heard the voice of God.  God was honouring his son before the people and also encouraging Jesus to go forward in his work.

Very often a son or daughter needs that encouragement and reassurance from a parent.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing.  The devil came to divert Jesus from his mission.  He knew Jesus was a threat to his dominion over the whole earth.

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ ” (‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭5-8‬ NIV)

The devil states that the kingdoms of the world have been given to him.  Jesus came to take away the devil’s authority over the kingdoms of this world.

The devil even knew the scriptures.
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭9-10, 12‬ NIV)

It is good to pray.  It is even better to fast and pray.  The devil does not like you fasting.  When one fast one becomes weaker and vulnerable and knows one’s need of help.  The Holy Spirit and angels ministered to Jesus when he was fasting.  In the wilderness he was removed from people, family and friends and all worldly distractions.  After Jesus time of fasting he began his ministry.

Do you feel as if you are in a wilderness in your life?  You may be surrounded by people or work, but you have that dissatisfied feeling deep down.  Has your life not turned out the way you wanted?  Do you feel abandoned or neglected by God?  Are you sick? Are you thirsty? Do you want your life to count?  Do not despair.

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Bird Watching through my Kitchen Window

imageIt is the eleventh of February today.  I am recording the activity of birds in my garden.  I live along the Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.  The warm morning has invited all kinds of birds to flit about in the garden.  A wren stays low along the hedge.  A robin jumps about among the plant pots.

The busiest birds I see are starlings.  There are three pairs flying back and forth.  Each pair had found a nook in the old wall adjoining my garden.  One bird flys in with a small twig in his mouth.  He didn’t exit for five minutes.  He must be building his nest, preparing for young.  I am excited to discover birds building their nests in my garden and so early in the spring.  I will look forward to catching the starlings’ progress each morning.

It is relaxing to sit quiet and patient keeping an eye on the nest sites.  My breakfast dishes need washed, benches need cleared, floor needs brushed.  I want to make some phone calls.  E mails need checked.  All can wait.

I am bird watching from the comfort of my kitchen.  I don’t have to go for a drive to a special bird watching sight, or get wrapped up in warm clothes to face the elements.  Watching the birds is taking my mind off all immediate troubles.  There are many things that could cause me to worry or fret.  Instead I am looking at birds.

Jesus said “Look at the birds.”
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭25-26, 33-34‬ NIV)

A pair of doves rested on a bare branch.  One flew off with a low moan.  The other followed.  I hope they return.

Later in the morning one single bird was singing from the treetop in my garden.  I think it was a Great tit.  He was announcing loud and clear.  “This is my domain.  He was attracting his mate to join him.” I will be looking to see where his nest is.

Colourful Crocus

When I listen to the news about world issues it is easy to become discouraged.  Tragedies, famines and other crises are news headlines.   Clouds of doom and gloom can descend over my mind.

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Jesus said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in me.”  John 14 v 1
It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day today.   I took a snap of these crocus that opened up in the heat of the sun.  The sun dispersed any dark clouds.

These little blooms cheered my soul.

The First Gleam of Dawn

Where I live the sun rises over the hill and forest to my left.  It’s light reflects off the water in Srangford Lough, brightens and warms our home.  It may be blowing a gale outside but the glow from the sun warms, not only my kitchen but my heart as well.  I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 4: 18,

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The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

One may have had a sleepless night. Worries, anxiety, pain, stress, loneliness may loom large in the night. It cheers my heart when I see the sun rise in the morning. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.

This verse is in the middle of Proverbs that give wisdom to the reader, whether young or old.

My children listen to me.  Listen to your father’s instruction.  Pay attention and grow wise, for I am giving you good guidance.  Proverbs 4 v 1 NLT

My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s teaching.  Keep their words always in your heart.  For these commands and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you.  The correction of discipline is the way to life.  Proverbs 6 v 20 NLT

As we drove home last night I saw many young people walking the streets of a village nearby. These young were like sheep without a shepherd.

When our own children were that age, my husband and I realised the difficulties they faced. When young people get together without guidance, taking drugs, drinking and immorality become the norm. I did not have my fourteen children to be born for misfortune. The devil is out to rob steal and destroy.  I am not willing to give up my children without a fight.

We had a meeting on a Friday night for our children and their friends. We taught them the way of truth and gave thanks and praise to God who helps us.

Those years when my boys were teenagers were difficult for me. I developed fourth stage colon cancer. I was dying. But God had a plan for me to live and not die. He healed me.  I am alive to pray for my children.

I read in the Psalm 30 today these words.

I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O LORD. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.
“What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness?

You have turned my mourning into dancing.  I will sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! (‭Psalms‬ ‭30‬:‭1-3, 9, 12‬ NLT)

God is real.  He interested in our daily lives.  He is interested in a mother’s cry for her children. Mothers, our destiny with God is to crush Satan under our feet.  Let my people go to worship God, Moses cried out.

The God who causes the sun to rise every morning healed me from cancer.  He will help me at break of dawn.

World Cancer Day

I watched the movie “The 33” recently.  It is based on a true story about the survival of thirty three men who were trapped down a mine in 2010.
The men were in the mine for sixty seven days before they were rescued.
It is a film demonstrating Faith, hope, perseverance, overcoming, never giving up, leadership, endurance and brotherly love.  The power of unity in families, community and  a nation brought about the response in other nations to help.

When the men realised they were trapped down the mine,  one man declared “We will be rescued.”  He believed the families would not give up.  He became their leader and all the others respected him.  He did not waver in his belief.  Food ran out, some men rebelled,  others wanted to give up.  He quelled any storms that arose.  They prayed the “Our Father” together, the prayer Jesus taught his disciples.

Yes families of the trapped men did not give up on their loved ones.  They kept a vigil at the mine and asked the government to help.  Many people and nations were involved in their rescue.  The whole world looked on.  My son told me he remembers watching on TV as each man came out of the capsule.

What struck me was the power of the faith of one man who said “We will be rescued.”  His faith moved mountains literally.  God responds to faith.  God brings the answer despite many, many difficulties.

This story was poignant for me because 2010 was the year I went through my battle with cancer.  My family and community believed that I would be healed from cancer.  There were many difficulties to overcome, but God responded to people believing I would be healed.  I am healed.  Yes I was rescued from the grave.  Like me those men were rescued from death.

Yesterday was World Cancer Day.  My daughter in law rang me.  She said, “I was listening to a programme on the radio about cancer.”  A consultant, a nurse and a cancer patient were interviewed.  Various people rang in to tell their stories about their treatments and how they were coping.  She heard how they all suffered.
She said, “I didn’t realise before what is involved in going through cancer.  It is a miracle you are healed and you didn’t suffer any side effects from the treatment.  Praise God.”

Our Father is God Almighty, who revealed himself to Abraham of old.  God promised him a son.  Abraham believed God would keep his promise.  God said to Abraham “Is anything too hard for The Lord.”  Genesis 18 v 14.  When Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah, 90 years old they had the promised child.  They had to wait a long time.   God is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the God of our forefathers and will be with our descendants to the 1000th generation.

Has God given you a promise?  Are you hoping for a desire you have to be fulfilled.  Do not give up believing and hoping.  Declare what you believe.  God will respond to your declaration of Faith.  Open your mouth.  Like the miner speak out, “We will be rescued.”
He didn’t keep asking God to rescue them.  He said “We will be rescued”.

Spring Is Springing.

Yesterday was one of those days promised long ago.  “You will see many good days.”
The sun rose and its light reflected off the water.  The light brightens up the front of our home.  I went up through the house to pull back the curtains to let the warmth and light in.

I heard bird song.  It is just January.

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Outside my window I noticed birds feeding among the dead leaves.  A wren, a blackbird and a robin turned over leaves close to each other.  None of them chased the other away.  They live at peace with each other.

I looked out onto a walled garden at the back.  A starling was inspecting a hole in the wall where a family of starlings had been reared last year.  He must be preparing for this year’s brood.  Chaffinches sang and flew about in the ivy above on the wall.  I will keep an eye out to see if they have nesting places in the wall as well.

I remembered back to our house in Saul Street where there was a garden that had trees and undergrowth at the back.  It was an ideal habitat for birds.  Blackbirds found plenty to eat under the leaves that had not been cleared away.

Many things needed my attention.  In the past I would have been overcome by worry and stress about my children or other pressing needs.  Nowadays after being knowing God’s power and love to help me be healed from cancer, I cast my care upon The Lord.  The cancer will not come back!  Today I can see and enjoy what is around me.  I go out and enjoy being alive.

Later in the day I decided to pay a visit to a friend.  I went to the vegetable store that sells locally grown produce.  No GM produce there.  The owner showed me early daffodils and tulips.

On my way to a friend’s house a hare crossed my path.  He ran along the road in front or me and then swerved into a field.  I stopped to see him skip over the hill.   Hares are rare and are know to be seen in March.

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I parked the car to take in the view of the sunset.  Another car pulled alongside.  A man got out with his camera.  He was looking for that memorable short.

The water level was low in Strangford Lough.  I walked along looking for Sea Glass.  I picked up some shells.  They make good angel wings in my mosaics.

My friend was glad to see me.  I am so thankful to God for being alive to enjoy a good day!

From Intense Heat to Gentle Rain

I return to Northern Ireland.  I  carry the benefits of the holiday in Greece on my skin, in my mind,  and in my body.  I have my beauty treatment for the winter and the few extra pounds will sustain me in the colder days ahead.  My mind and body are rested.

Our son Isaac welcomed us with a meal of cooked fish.  He had fished it from the sea just an hour earlier.  He had  caught it when I rang to let him know we had landed into Belfast and were on our way home.

I am reminded of the story in the bible about Jesus preparing a meal of fish for his disciples.

“As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid there on,and bread.”  KJV John 21 v 9.

Back in Ireland, warmth and freshness are in the air.  Flowers in the garden are flourishing in the extra September sunshine.  Purple Lupins give a welcome display at my back door.  A light shower of rain fell.  The beads of water glisten like diamonds.  Nasturtium planted late must think it is spring.  I love the deep green of the leaves and the orange, brown flowers.

I spent a while in the green house.  Tomato plants that didn’t need must attention all summer, have become fruitful vines.  I pruned back leaves to expose the fruit to the sun.  The main stem can now send its energy to the ripening fruit.

imageimageApples in the orchard are being painted red with the evening September sun.  The fruit that has fallen to the ground has been chewed on by rabbits and pecked at by birds.

What a picture of God’s beauty and goodness.

You take care of the land and water it.  You make it very fertile.  The rivers of God are full of water. You soften the ground with rain and then you give it a good crop.  You give the year a good harvest.  Psalm 65 v 9-11