Subdue The Land

Adam and Eve lived in a garden.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”  Genesis 1

When God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt he wanted them to go into the Promised Land.  He told them to subdue it.

He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, you must give them the land of Gilead as their possession.  Numbers 32 v 29

One of the meanings of “subdue” is “bring under control.”
God intends that we subdue that for which we have responsibility, whether it be work, family, property or land.  We will have the strength to do it.  God is pleased when we obey him.

I decided today I would subdue my garden after reading this scripture.

Despite our recent cold spell, when we had snow and wind, seed time is here.  I had been reluctant to work in the garden due to the bad weather.

Genesis 8 v 22. “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

The days have more light and the earth is warming up.  Plants, whose leaves died back over the winter are putting forth shoots.  Leaves are breaking out of their wrappings on the branches.  The cycle of nature takes its course despite the windy cold blasts that would make one stay inside warm.  The daffodils broke forth a month ago giving us beauty.  Their yellow trumpets swayed in the winds and remained till their time of glory passed.

I saw some tomato plants for sale at a bargain price in a local shop.  The garden centres would charge much more.  They tempted me to start some gardening even though it felt too chilly to do any outdoor work.  I planted them out in the safety of the greenhouse.  Last years tomato plants didn’t need much attention and produced fruit well into autumn.  Just plant them and wait for the harvest.  That doesn’t seem like hard work.

There is a plot of land beside my house.  In former years the land would have been a farmer wife’s garden.  It has been neglected for years, no longer lovingly tended.  Last year it produced of itself nettles and curling weeds that stood strong and tall all summer.   I did not have the courage to invade their territory.  Thankfully the winter defeated them and the shoots withered.

I planned this year to get out early and cut back any new growth.  My son strimmed that area a few weeks ago.  The grass, nettles and weeds made a come back.  Today I determined to go to war against the weeds.  I was not put off by the cool wind.  These weeds will sprout overnight!  I used my lawn mower as my weapon of war.  I powered my way over the rough ground and all before the mower was mulched.  I subdued my land!

I will plant potatoes that will flourish in the fertile soil.  It has been left fallow for years.  Wherever nettles grow, one can be sure the soil is good.  No back breaking work for me digging up the soil.  No, I will drop each potato in a small overturned sod and let nature take its course.  I have the added benefit of having a ready supply of fertiliser for my garden.  I live beside the sea.  I have gathered seaweed that was washed up from storms in the winter time.

I will be sure of having a harvest of potatoes and tomatoes at least in the autumn and all without much effort. The garden will once more be lovingly tended and enjoyed for the food it will produce.  I will wait to see what other seedlings the local shop will offer for my garden.  For now the potatoes are busy sending out roots unseen underground.  The tomato plants are enjoying my green house.

It is amazing that each spring the plants begin to emerge out of the soil.  Isaiah 61 v 11 explains,
“The soil makes the young plant come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
Abundant life comes forth!  I rejoice to see what the scriptures describe, happen before my eyes in my garden.  I will praise Him.

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.

A Sparrow Falls to the Ground.

When Brendan and I travelled with our family on holiday down through Ireland, we saw that there is plenty of space in the countryside, forests and bogland uninhabited.  When we fly over Canada we see wide open plains below with few towns.  As I travel through Slovakia I see open fields, valleys and plenty of forest lands.

Why do people say there is not enough room on the earth for people to live?   Why do people want to control the population of the world, saying there is not enough food?  Will not God look after mankind, whom he made in his image.

In these open places wild life abound.  No one sees this abundance of life except God.  We have the priveledge of admiring the wild life that turns up near to where we live.  The blackbirds in our garden, the fox that comes to steal the chicken, or the swallows or swans that fly overhead.  Where do they lay their head at night?

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Jesus said,
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭20‬ NIV)
We only get a glimpse of the beauty of living creatures from nature programmes.

In Job the writer says,

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.

Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (‭Job‬ ‭38‬:‭4, 16, 18, 36, 39, 41‬ NIV)

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return. “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes? I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat.

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night?

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. (‭Job‬ ‭39‬:‭1, 4-6, 9, 13‬ NIV)

We only see a small part of what God has created.  He cares for it all.

I saw this photograph today.  It reminded me of the verse when Jesus said,

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭28-29, 31‬) NIV.

God will look after you and provide for you.

It’s Harvest Time

imageimageimageTo every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.  A time to plant and a time to reap.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 1 and 2
What a joy to see the results of sowing seeds, seedlings, corms or bulbs in the soil.
The farmer planted seeds of wheat nearly a year ago and he now harvested the golden crop that has grown up.
My husband enjoys flowers.  He planted one of my favourite flowers in early spring, Gladiolii.  Green shoots have been growing all summer until now when we have a array of Beauty reaching up to the sky.
I planted a courgette seedling.  Look what it produced.
My son went fishing last evening.  Here is the harvest of his labour.
We are eating the harvest of fish from the sea and plants from my garden.  We delight in the richness of colour in our garden.
God has made everything beautiful for its own time.  Ecclesiastes 3 v 11

I Began to Fear Growing Old.

I was reading a list of recommendations given by Pat Devilly a popular fitness trainer from Galway, on his post.  A line on the list reads,

“Spend time with people over seventy and under the age of six.”

Having reared fourteen children, I have spent much time with children.  I have to admit I have not spent much time with older people over the years.

After reading this Blog by Pat Devilly, I decided to pay a visit to an elderly friend.  Ten years ago she had two knee replacements.  She was very brave and recovered well.  Every night her sleep is disturbed by night sweats.  She has to change her night dress through the night.  I thought “Poor lady, she has to endure this hardship.”  I was humbled to hear about her difficulties but she continues enduring without complaint.
I began to fear growing old and with it failing health.

I was reading on Facebook recipes for being forever young.  Drink plenty of water, eat vegetables, don’t take sugar or processed foods, go for walks, garden, lose weight.  The list goes on and on.  I realized I would become exhausted trying to be forever young and eating lettuce to avoid pains and aches that many older people suffer.

I began to drink more water and my whole system reacted to the excess fluid.  I wasn’t well for days!  I tried to diet but failed miserably.  I try to go for a walk but other demands come first.  The weeds are flourishing in my garden!  The dreams of cooking wonderful dishes with the herbs from my garden has not materialized.

I decided to stop reading such articles on Facebook, I stopped drinking excess water, I eat when I’m hungry and don’t starve myself.  I will go for a walk when I desire, not because I should.  I will go back to gardening when I have the strength.  I will continue to wear the dress size I need to and not try to fit into a smaller size.  My body and mind were getting stressed with the fear.

I reminded myself of the scripture fromPsalm 91
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭14-16‬ NIV)

God promises me a long life.  If I have any sickness, pain or any other trouble in the future God promises to deliver me from each one.  As for me I will enjoy my life each day and not live in fear.  God has delivered me from death by healing me from cancer.  He will continue to help me.

Why does a Child do the Very Thing you Told him Not to do.

Have you ever told your child not to touch the biscuits you have left in the cupboard?
He does the very thing you told him not to do!
Temptation comes and he takes the biscuit.
How often have you been disobedient to parents or those in authority over you?
The problem seems to be in our nature.
We do the very thing we are told not to do.

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In the garden of apple trees today I am reminded of the story of Adam and Eve from the scripture.
I believe that God created man and created the earth for him to enjoy.
God gave man free will and gave him charge over all creation.
God met Adam in the garden and talked to him.
He did not have to work hard.
He just had to tend the garden and enjoy his surroundings.
One thing God asked of him was not to eat the fruit of a certain tree.
There were loads of others to eat.
What did Eve do?  She picked the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam.
Temptation came to her in the form of a serpent.
They disobeyed God.
Don’t we often do the same.  Disobey guidelines we are given for our own good.
We are like Adam and Eve.
But the good news is Jesus came on earth to rescue us from our sinful nature.
If we believe in him he gives us the power to obey and not be disobedient.
We can we restored to walking and talking and hearing from God and taking charge again of what God created us to do.

Grandchildren are the Crown and Glory of the Aged

“May you live to see your grandchildren.”  Psalm 128 v 8 NLT

I was reading this verse on Wednesday. I was thinking, does this mean I will get to see my grandchildren that live near Dublin? I was not planning to see them. Could I go to see them soon?

My husband had taken photos at a recent family event. He takes great photos and puts them together and sends them away to Photoshop. He makes wonderful memories for his family.

Some photo books came in the post. They were a present for two of our grandchildren. Brendan suggested we go down to visit and deliver the books the next day. It was my husband and my 43rd wedding anniversary. I knew we should, because I had read that scripture.

As we drove into the street where my son lives, there was a lot of activity. Women were chatting at their doors while their children played with each other.

I thought of the verse Zechariah 8 v 5, “And the streets of the city shall be full of girls and boys playing.”

The warm sunshine brought everyone outdoors. When our grandchildren saw our car they ran over to hug us. They had been waiting for us. Because we were delayed I didn’t ‘t get the tea and scones that Tamara had specially prepared.

Tamara is a great cook and we all enjoyed dinner together, to celebrate our anniversary, when our son got home from work. We got to see, enjoy and bless their three girls before they go off to Italy.

We stayed at our daughter Shann’s home for the night. Her family were glad to see us for a surprise visit. The next day Brendan spent time helping our daughter work in her garden. She appreciated her dad’s help and expertise.

When the her children, a son and three girls,returned form school we got to spend time with them. It was a warm afternoon. They pleaded with their mum to put out a small swimming pool. They were so hot they just wanted to dive into cool water. Jean Luc unwrapped the pool. The girls were eager to get the pool working.

It was dinner time.  The children chatted to their dad telling all that happened at school. It was getting too late to use the pool. It will be filled with water tomorrow. We will have returned home and will have missed the squeals of delight as the grandchildren splash and dive in the cool water.

At bedtime the children came to us for prayer and a blessing.

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭59‬:‭21‬ NIV)

I am alive and seeing my children’s children.  I did not die of fourth stage cancer.  Jesus healed me.

“Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged.”  Proverbs 17 v 6