Lamps filled with Oil.

Two days before Jesus was arrested and brought to be crucified, he spoke to his disciples. One of the last parables he spoke to them about was the story of the ten virgins.

““At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When Jesus was with his disciples he spoke to them about many things which they did not have had clear understanding about. It was after he died and rose again that they began to think about what he had told them.

The disciples received the Holy Spirit when they were waiting and praying together in the upper room. Jesus told them to wait till they received power from on high. After they received the Holy Spirit they were bold and proclaimed about Jesus without fear.

In the scriptures we are told that the Holy Spirit has many attributes. Here are some or them; like a dove, Luke 3 v 22; quencher of thirst, Isaiah 55 ; the comforter, John 14 v 26; teacher of truth, John 16 v 13, giver of power, Acts 1 v 8; giver of joy, Romans 14 v 17. giver of love, Romans 5 v 5; giver of eternal life, John 4 v 14; oil, Mark 6v 13; prayer, Jude 1 v 20.

Do you need love, joy, heaven, truth or comfort? Are you thirsty? Are these not attributes all our hearts desire? I have good news for you. The Holy Spirit wants to give these without measure. Receive him.

The five wise virgins with their lamps and oil are symbolic of people who receive the Jesus (lamp) and keep the Holy Spirit (oil) flowing in their lives. They are prepared for any good work and will not be ashamed when Jesus returns. The foolish virgins are symbolic of those of us who receive Jesus but don’t keep the oil of the Holy Spirit flowing in their lives. They will be unprepared for Jesus return.

Many people start off excited about the Holy Spirit but do not continue praying in the Spirit. Persecutions or lack of perseverance discourage one. So we give up. Let today be a new day for you. It is the beginning of Lent. A new beginning to turn again to God.  A flickering flame he will not put out. Instead God can cause that flame to be stirred up into a fire! Be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit.

i can testify to the Holy Spirit being my Comforter.  Many times when I’ve been distressed I’ve been comforted.  The Holy Spirit has led me into truth and led me in life’s paths that are good for me.  He has given me joy instead of despair.  His power strengthened to rear fourteen children and be healed of cancer.  When I have no love left, he fills me with love again.  He will keep me and give me eternal life in heaven.  Praise God.

Fear Makes One Tremble

What would make one tremble?

When we were in Iceland we saw an image that described fear.
An Alsatian dog was tied on a lead to the back of a wagon. It was barking and looked fierce. It’s ears were upright and his mane was big. He looked fierce like a lion.

A lady turned the corner with a white Scottie dog into the road where the Alsation was. When the small dog saw and heard the Alsatian it stopped and trembled with fright. The owner couldn’t move him as she tugged on his lead.

The Alasation could not do any harm, but his size intimidated the little Scottie.
Aren’t we often like that when we are faced with fear or bad news. One’s body trembles automatically and uncontrollably. I feel like that when I walk along a cliff or ride on a roller coaster. My body started to tremble when I was about to give birth to a child. The body reacts automatically for different reasons.

I was reading about a different kind of fear from the scriptures today.

God spoke to Moses and called him up onto Mount Sinai to give him the Ten Commandments. These were laws the Israelites were to follow. These commands are guidelines for life even today for mankind, thousands of years later.

“On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.”
‭‭All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭19:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Then God gave the people all these instructions: the Ten Commandments.
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” “Don’t be afraid,”
Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1, 18-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is good to have a holy fear of God. We need not tremble with fear when we know God loves us and cares. Here are some more references to the fear of God.

In Isaiah 44, the writer describes God,

6 This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies:

“I am the First and the Last;
there is no other God.
7 Who is like me?
7 Who is like me?
Let him step forward and prove to you his power.
Let him do as I have done since ancient times
when I established a people and explained its future.
8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?
You are my witnesses—is there any other God?
No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

And in Isaiah 66:2 I read,
My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tremble/

Ireland is on Fire

The temperature map for us today looks like Ireland is on Fire.

imageIn my last blog I talked about the summer weather in Ireland being unpredictable. It surely is. It is forecast today to be the hottest day of the year. A few days ago I was drenched with rain in Killarney and Galway.
Last night there was a full moon. It’s light dazzled and reflected off the water of Strangford Lough outside our window. Such a beautiful view before I closed my eyes to sleep.
I read a notice the other day. It said “When the storm clouds come live life. Dance in the rain and have joy.”  Perhaps that is why the Irish are known all over the world for dancing.  Remember Riverdance?

May Ireland not only be ablaze with sunshine today but let us take hope that God will set us on fire with his love, healing and pour out his Holy Spirit on us today.

Let us enjoy this day. Rejoice in The Lord always.

Inspired by Iceland

When I was suffering from cancer back in 2010 a lady had a picture of a volcano when she was praying for me.  During the colonoscopy the monitor showed the tumour of cancer.  It was a bulbous and fiery mass, like a volcano.  Today again someone mentioned a volcano in prayer.

image

Back in 2014 I visited Iceland.  When I arrived there I read Psalm 18.  It perfectly describes a volcano.  Iceland has been built up out of the depths of the ocean by eruptions of volcanos down through the years.  Here is what the Psalm says.

The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭5-6‬ NIV)

The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook;  Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭15‬ NIV)

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭8, 16-17‬ NIV)

Deuteronomy 4 v 24. For our God is a consuming fire.  God’s presence is likened to fire or a volcano.

On my visit to Iceland God showed me that he rescued me from cancer and death.  He was angry at my enemies of death and cancer coming to destroy me.  He burnt up my enemies in the fire from his mouth.

Who is like our God?  He will continue to deal with my enemies with the fire of his breath.

Psalm 107 v 2. Has The Lord redeemed you?  Then speak out!   Tell others he has saved you from your enemies.

Testimony Tuesday. Something Broken Made Into Something Beautiful

I have taken up a hobby of making mosaics from broken pieces of glass and pottery.

image

One sunny morning in Springtime I went for a walk along the foreshore.  It is a stony beach.  I noticed pieces of green glass glistening among the pebbles.  They were looking at me inviting me to pick them up.  I picked one up, then another, and another until my pocket was full.  I felt like I was panning for gold in the stones of the shoreline.   Brendan joined me is my treasure hunt and he collected a pocket full too.  We collected other species, shades of blue, white, and brown.

I inspected them all when I returned home.  I asked myself what can I do with these colourful but broken pieces of glass.  The edges weren’t sharp any more and their colours were cloudy from the years of being broken and worn with the sea storms.  They had lost their shine.  Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose or rejection leaving one worn down with the storms of life or relegated to the ash heap.

When washed and grim removed, my pieces of glass were ready to be positioned into something beautiful.

As I looked at the different shapes of green pieces I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I would use a piece of glass for each county.  I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  So started my hobby of making mosaics.  I tried out putting other colours of glass together.  I find I relax as I work.

On Saturday I discovered a new site along the shoreline to build up my supply of broken pieces. I added to my collection, pieces of pottery.  I was excited to see how these pieces would clean up.  Some had blue willow patterns, some had plain colours.  How would they fit in to a mosaic?

As I worked I reminded myself how glass is made.  It is made from the common material, sand.  The sand is heated to 1700 degrees. Through the fire sand changes to become glass.  Pottery is made from clay, a common material.  The clay is treated in high temperatures to turn it to pottery.

The Word of God tells us that we were created by God.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭64‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Sometimes when I go through difficult times I wonder what is happening to me.  This passage from Peter explains,

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I go though the fires of difficulty I am being transformed to be a useful vessel for The Lord, like the sand being transformed to glass or the clay to pottery.

The pieces of glass and pottery on the beach are all that remain of useful vessels.  Perhaps the blue glass was a beautiful perfume bottle or the piece of pottery, a treasured piece of willow patterned delph on a bride’s dresser.

But even after many years Our Creator God can reach down and touch all that remains of a broken vessel and make something new.  My mosaics speak to me of hope.  There is life after brokenness.  They can be displayed on a dresser again or adorn a bathroom wall and be a thing of beauty again.  God will restore lives again.

Tableaux Thursday . A Black Bird Blocks the Fire

The scripture says “Look to the birds of the air.”

I love bird watching.  I have found them in different habitats near and far.  I viewed them in my garden, at the beach, in the forest or in far flung places of British Columbia where I saw many bald eagles.  I have learnt about blackbirds, magpies, wrens, finches, thrushes, tits, robins, jackdaws, pigeons, doves, swallows, starlings, sparrows just bird watching in my garden.  On the Loughshore I see Canadian Brent geese, blacked backed gulls, fulmars, swans, and many sand digging birds.  I have seen buzzards, crows, hawks and pheasants in the open country.  

This is the season when birds are building their nests to have their young.  Blackbirds and pigeons are nesting in the ivy growing over the empty cow shed.
But one bird caught my attention this morning.  I looked out my back window to see a crow with a heavy twig in its mouth.  I admired it for its skill in collecting twigs to build its nest.  There are tall trees nearby suitable for a crow’s nest.  I watched to see where it was building its nest, expecting it to fly off in the direction of the trees.  Surprisingly it flew over in the direction of my chimney.  Oh no.  Not the chimney of the fire I want to light in the big room when people visit!   I had lit it last week but noticed it wasn’t on fire as it should have been.  

I went outside to investigate.  I looked up to see the chimney was covered with wire to stop any birds entering.  Out comes a black bird through the mesh with the twig left behind.  How was it able to navigate through a hole in the mesh with a twig in its mouth? 
It was determined to occupy my chimney.

I went inside to my living room and lit some paper in the fire place to smoke the bird out.  Too late, its nest has already blocked the top of the chimney.  The birds can built their nests anywhere but not in my house.  They have places to live and this is my place to live.  

I cleared another chimney of a crow’s nest before Christmas.  I wanted to make a log fire, so often prortrayed on happy family scenes on Christmas cards.  How often do you see an open fire? Family and friends have enjoyed many happy evenings around our fireplace since.

The Holy Spirit is referred to fire.  When the disciples were in the upper room tongues of fire settled on their heads.   

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (‭Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭1-4‬ NIV)

Do not put out the fire of the Holy Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭19-20‬ NIV)

The black bird, crow, can symbolise some power trying to block the fire of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I do not want any obstacle stopping the Holy Spirit in my life.  I will get this chimney cleared from twigs and put a wire at the top to prevent the bird returning.  I will be able to light the fire again in my fireplace and give warmth to visitors.  I will make sure nothing with stop the fire of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Iceland the Island of Fire

 

My husband and I are in Iceland after a two hour journey from Belfast International Airport.  Brendan planned this trip back in July 2014.  It is the fulfilment of a desire I have had for ten years.  The first people we spoke to at the airport were two Irish women from Kilkenny who have been living here for twenty six years!  It was good to meet them.  History tells us that some Irish people settled in Iceland one thousand years ago.  The Irish are still here!

I was just reading from Psalm 18.  I read the following verses.

I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The sorrows of death entangled me;  But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him.
Then at your command, O LORD, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. (‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭3-8, 15‬ NLT)

Back in May 2010 there was an eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland.  It disrupted travel in Europe for many weeks.  I had been diagnosed with cancer the previous month.  My daughter had booked for us to visit her and her husband in Switzerland some time before.  We were planning to go even though I wasn’t well.   Because of the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano our flight to Switzerland was cancelled.  I was disappointed.

But I am not disappointed today.  Psalm 12 v 13 says “A hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”    My desire to come to Iceland is fulfilled.

I was reading through some brochures about Iceland after our arrival.  It is known as the land of fire.  Iceland has a high concentration of active volcanoes due to its location on the mid-Atlantic Ridge.  One volcano erupted out of the sea and created new land.  Last August another volcano
Bardarbunga, erupted with intermittent earthquakes. It continues to bubble up five months on, as the video from Sky news shows.

I am amazed when I read Psalm 18, particularly the words “The foundations of the mountain shook, the bottom of the sea could be seen, glowing coals blazed forth from him.”   David, who wrote this Psalm, prophesied two and a half thousand years ago what is happening in Iceland today.  I am reminded of my distress four years ago when the cords of death were entangling me and I called upon The Lord and he delivered me from death.   He heard my prayer and and like David of old, he answered me.  Alleluia.

My interest in visiting Iceland was inspired by Tim Severin’s book about a voyage that he travelled from Ireland, Scotland, Pharoe Islands, Iceland to Greenland.  He followed what was thought to be the path St Brendan took many centuries before.  My family visited the boat In which Tim travelled.  It is preserved in Kerry, Ireland.  It was built from wood and covered in seal skins, materials available to the early Celts.

I am happy to be here on this island of Iceland in 2015, mentioned so long ago in writings from St Brendan.

Alleluia.

Shared from Sky News: Volcano Spectacularly Erupting Five Months On http://news.sky.com/story/1409583/volcano-spectacularly-erupting-five-months-on

I want to honor the Iceland people who live in an environment that many of us could not endure.   They keep their hearts and land open to the nations who want to come and see the signs and wonders in their island; the Northern Lights, the turbulent lava in a live volcano, the glaciers and the warm geysers to mention a few.

It gives me more reason to Praise the Creator of all things.