I keep thinking of The Christmas song made famous by Shaking Stevens. The lyrics go,
Snow is falling all around us,
Children playing, having fun,
it’s the season, love and understanding
Merry Christmas everyone.
We’re going to have a party tonight.
Up until 2020 we in the west have celebrated Christmas with freedom, prosperity and indulging ourselves on good things to eat and drink.
Christmas time last year was not fun. There was no snow, little understanding and few parties. Due to Covid, families were separated and not allowed to meet. We had to stay home from school shops and work. Our lives have changed forever. Do we consider why Christmas is called Christmas?
We celebrate Jesus Christ being born. He came to tell us about God our Father’s love and care for us. Jesus lived on the earth for thirty three years. He died a cruel death on the cross to set us free from the sin of Adam and Eve and the power of the devil who wants to rob, steal and destroy us. Do we need Jesus at all?
We are approaching Christmas 2021. Society is trying to get back to normal inviting the public to spend and spend to make this Christmas fun and party season again.
But how can there be fun in many families who are suffering the lose of a loved one, or going through the ravages of Covid which has left many weak and discouraged. Fear, despair and disappointment has taken hold of many people.
I can say we do need Jesus. He will bring comfort to the despairing and heal the broken heart. Parties will not heal broken hearts.
Psalm 138 v 3 says As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.
Learn more about Jesus this Christmas. By praying to him.
We have all had our lives changed because of restrictions due to the spread of the Corona Virus. Tensions build up in the home when we don’t have the freedom we used to have. In a city in Northern Ireland the demand for rented homes according to an estate agent, has increased 50 %. There is not enough housing to meet the demand. It is caused by marriages breaking up. A new home is needed for the separated partner.
Why do we fight with one another, husbands against wives, children against parents? There is strife and no peace in our homes. It all becomes too much for the husband and father to look after and provide for his family. He is tempted to give up and leave. Why bother. His friend has left his wife and found another lady who agrees with him. “Why don’t I do the same. He is doing okay.”
The wife gives up trying to keep the family together. She complains “My husband never listens to me. He doesn’t understand. My children don’t listen to me! I hoped our lives would be better that this. I have done my best. I can’t go on any longer. All hope of things getting better is gone. I give up.”
Where is the love they had for each other at the beginning when there was only the two of them. They could have meals out together any time without arranging a baby sitter. They could have uninterrupted sleep. There were less bills to pay. No one else to disturb their peace.
The Word of God explains why all this is so. We fight not against each other but principalities and powers in heavenly places. Our husband is not the enemy. Our children are not the enemy. The devil and his fallen angels are the problem. He is at work to rob, steal and destroy our lives and families. He hates families.
All is not hopeless. There is someone who can help. There is a Redeemer. He understands the pressure we are under and he comes to set us free. His name is Jesus. He promises to care for us. He says he loves us. The Word of God says Jesus is the way the truth and the life. He came on earth to destroy the work of the devil,
When we believe in Jesus he sets us free from our sinful nature and then the evil powers of this world cannot hold us. Jesus begins to work in our lives to set us free from sins that have a grip on us. There is power in his name to deliver us from evil.
Isaiah says He was bruised for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquity and by his stripes we are healed. Jesus did it all when he died on the cross for us.
Psalm 103. Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The devil tempts us to sin.
Don’t give up. Ask Jesus to come to help. He promises to forgive, heal and restore. He will come with his angels to save you. He is the Commander of the his heavenly army who will fight on your behalf the unseen rulers and authorities.
Back in July 2021 I got a phone call from a Slovakia lady who is married to an Irish man and lives in Southern Ireland. She heard about my healing book Staying Alive translated in Slovakian. Her friend back home read it. This friend asked my daughter in law for my contact number.
The book Staying Alive tells of my journey to being healed from fourth stage cancer through faith in Jesus. I believe Jesus heals today. When Jesus was on earth He healed all diseases and cast out demons. He told his followers to do the same.
This lady asked me to pray for her son of fifteen months, who was born with a hole in his heart. He didn’t sleep well and suffered from fits. She was weary and in distress. I prayed for her son over the phone that he would be healed in Jesus name. I promised to send her a copy of my book Staying Alive.
In my book she read about my daughters doing a twenty one day partial fast for me. She started a twenty one day fast for her son’s healing after reading my book.
Two months on I got a text from her. She took her son to an appointment with her doctor. He had recommended that her son would need an operation on his heart to repair it.
The doctor examined the child. To his surprise he saw that the hole in the child’s heart was gone and his heart was working normally. The mum and dad are overjoyed. Their child will not need an operation.
Here is a copy of her text,
Hi last Friday Patrick had check-up his heart and we have great news: a Hole in his heart is close and is working perfectly.Patrick dosn’t need a surgery.God is amazing and the best our FATHER!ALLELUJAThanks a million for your prayers and have a good day.
This is a testimony of the power of Jesus to heal today.
You can buy a copy of my book from Etsy.com or Books.ie. Type in Staying Alive Angela Mc Cauley. Also from Kindle.
King David in the Psalms wasn’t afraid to speak and write about his despair and distress. He didn’t stay there. He trusted God and called out to him for help. There is plenty going on in our world that can cause us to fear. Sickness, no job, Climate change, wars, poverty, etc.
Psalm 143 says
Hear my prayer, O Lord; answer my plea because you are faithful to your promises. 4 I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. 5 I remember the glorious miracles you did in days of long ago. 6 I reach out for you. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. 7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens; don’t turn away from me or I shall die. 8 Let me see your kindness to me in the morning, for I am trusting you.“
Robin Mark is a successful Christian Singer from Belfast. I listened to him sing a song All is Well” back in January 2021. I was coping with the change that was happening to Brendan and myself. We were moving from our home on the shores of Strangford Lough. We had filled it with beautiful things; furniture, paintings, family photos and memories. I had a workshop where I whiled away many hours making mosaics and boats from sea glass and wood found along the shore. For me the home was beautiful inside and outside.
The brochures don’t tell one of the colourful sunrises and sunsets; the low winter sun reflecting off the water giving warmth and light to my kitchen. Or the full moon lit nights around Christmas when family was home sitting on the veranda at the log fire. Or the collections of shrubs and bulbs all selected by Brendan to bloom at different seasons.
The amount of work needed to downsize overwhelmed me. I felt paralysed. I could not start packing up. I listened to Robin Mark. God was comforting me through the words. All is Well. I also found a small painting my sister Rosaleen gave me with the words All Is Well.
Seven months on we are settled in Belfast. All belongings are stored or got rid off. Life is simpler. Not as much housework. My children can call by to see us. They are caring for us. I can sit at Cafe Nero in the sunshine and enjoy a different view. All the nations pass by.
Four weeks ago Covid hit Brendan and I. Isolation, fever, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, mental anguish encompassed us.
The scripture “Out of the depths I cry to you” is how I felt. I was depressed. I was fearful. Would I get better? The whole world is under fear because of the reports of what Covid will do. I felt that fear. David felt fear as he describes in Psalm 143.
One night while I was sick I felt the Holy Spirit hovering over us saying By the stripes of Jesus we are healed. God prompted me to sing and listen to Isaiah 53, By His stripes we are healed. He reminded me of how He healed me before and He will heal me again,
You see God is faithful to me. He promises to be my shepherd and care for me. I gave my life to him many years ago and He has been faithful to give His life to me. His power rises up to defend me when I am in trouble. He did it again to raise Brendan and I from our sick bed.
He will do the same for you. Give your life to Jesus and He will give His life to you. Take action. Do something. Engage with God. Believe He exists and He is a rewarder of all those who seek Him. Knock and the door will be opened unto you. That is what I did. God has rewarded me with many blessings, family, healings, peace and joy. I am like other people. I live in this world as well. But I believe in the One who made this world and in His power to help me while I live here.
I listened to Robin Mark tonight. I am recovering. I am healed by His stripes. Yes All is Well.
If you look up my husband’s website, as above, you will find my book The Grapes are Worth there. I wrote the bare bones of my story and Brendan who is a gifted writer, added the flesh.
it is a testimony of how God helped my husband Brendan and myself in our life together and how He helped us raise fourteen children.
God rewarded my Faith in Him. I believe in what His Word, the Bible says. John”s gospel says The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. This is Jesus who was born, lived in a family like us, healed and delivered anyone who came to him, and died a cruel death on the Cross.
I availed of this historical fact. Jesus body did not stay in the grave. And he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans’ v 4
When I believed in Jesus I received the blessings He won for me by His death on the cross. Forgiveness of sins, healing of diseases, deliverance from demons, and restoration of relationships and the promise of eternal life.
Our marriage would have ended because of our life style of rebellion. I turned to God because I wanted my marriage to survive and raise my two children. God turned my life around from cursing to blessing. Deuteronomy 28. Leviticus 26
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.
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.
Brendan and I moved house recently to be near four of our children and their families. The whole downsizing thing was worse than expected. Today I tried to sort out some boxes and albums of photographs. There were loads of them. Brendan always took photographs of his big family.
The pictures sent me on an intense emotional rollercoaster ride which lasted all day. It was as if a big hand reached deep inside my heart and stirred up so many memories and emotions of people I loved, living and dead. Photos of family events, holidays, birthdays, weddings, graduations, football successes, new grandchildren, new towns, foreign travel and ministry adventures were all lying hidden and forgotten in these old boxes and albums.
I saw my fourteen children blooming and sprouting from baby, teenager, adult, some into marriage and parenthood. I wondered how Brendan and I reared fourteen children. Praise God who daily renewed our strength. When my children were young I was happy with them tucked up in bed at eight o clock at night. I wasn’t really prepared for a house full of teenage girls and boys.
The photos recorded joy, beauty, feasting, play, rest, exploring, walking, swimming and friendship. Each decade shows development, children at primary school, grammar school, university, work, marriages and grandchildren.
What was clear to me is that God has changed every one of us. For myself, as I walked down through life, I had to die to what I personally wanted to allow more of His kingdom in my life. I could see a change in my appearance from year to year. God so often lifted burdens that were too heavy to carry. I will continue to be charged into the likeness of Christ. As someone said, God hasn’t finished with me yet.
My choices today will steer my life for the next ten years. Will it steer me into life and health or will I end up in trouble because wrong choices? Even if I make bad choices God in his kindness will not let me continue in my mistaken ways. He gives us a way of escape and a chance to start afresh because of His love. Like a Father who watches over his children so God is watching over us. He knows our frame and He knows the pitfalls. I am being changed from one degree of Glory to another.
As I rummaged through the photos I was reminded of a short humorous poem Brendan once wrote.
These are the good old days we’ll all remember well.
Turned into days of heaven, from these bad days of hell.
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
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.