Historical Jerusalem

The chill of winter is in the air yet the Almond Trees lining the streets of Jerusalem are  in blossom. The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the Almond blossom being a sign from God that he is alive and active even in harsh conditions to bring about his promises in our lives. I am always encouraged to keep believing God’s promises for me. Brendan and I are just home from visiting Jerusalem.

erusalem is an historical city. Today it is flourishing. There was disruption on our way from the airport. Lorries and heavy machinery blocked our way. New roads and tramways are being built. Cranes litter the skyline helping in the construction of tall buildings for hotels, businesses and homes. We saw with our own eyes the restoration of Israel as prophesied thousands of years ago. People are returning from the nations to make their home there. Mothers and babies, old men and women with canes are walking the streets of Jerusalem. Groups of young men and women are sitting, talking, rushing or playing. Abundant life is all around.

We walked in a park dedicated to Teddy Kollek. He was Jerusalem’s Mayor since 1967 to 1993. He is numbered with the leaders of old who restored Jerusalem, for example Hezekiah. In his time Kollek put in place programmes for housing the people, theatres , libraries and old people’s homes. He encouraged peace and unity among Jerusalem’s people. He raised finances to help with the work.

School children came for lunch In the Kollek park. Water fountains burst into life as geysers bubbled up to differing heights. Young boys skipped in and out of the spray. The park is a welcome oasis for the weary child or tourist.

I was reflecting on my visit to Jerusalem as I happened to read Psalm 48.

We had heard of the city’s glory, but now we have seen it ourselves— the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
It is the city of our God; he will make it safe forever.
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.
Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls, and tour all the citadels, that you may describe them to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die.”

Have You Ever Felt You Were Going to Break under Strain?

I was at a conference in Slovakia recently, testifying to the Power of Jesus to heal from cancer.
While staying in Budmerice with my son Aaron, wife Marta and family I took a walk around the neighbourhood.
Fruit trees flourish in the hot summers there.
I saw plum trees heavily laiden with fruit.

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The branches were weighed down, in danger of breaking with the abundant produce.
The gardener had put stakes under two of the boughs to support them so they wouldn’t break.
I am reminded of a line in Richard the Second.
Scene iv, the Gardener speaking.

Go, bind thou up yon dangling apricocks,
Which, like unruly children, make their sire
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight:
Give some supportance to the bending twigs.

Shakespeare, who is the author of Richard the Second, had a big family.
He likened the apricots on the tree to children that like the fruit caused the twigs to bend with weight.

My husband was the gardener in the play many, many years ago when he was at university.
I remember these words he spoke.  We had two children at the time.
Little did we realise we were going to bear more fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. John 15 v 16

God gave us fourteen children.
We have borne fruit down through the intervening years.
I looked at the fruit bearing branches and I remembered I have often been at breaking point.
I have felt, “How can I keep going?”
How can I have another child?
How can I rear my children?
How can I afford another child?
But God!
God who chose us to bear fruit has always been faithful.
Help and support always arrived when Brendan and I needed it.
God gave me the strength to keep going.
A scripture verse would encourage me.  Someone would ring me up and encourage me.
My husband and children helped.
I did not have immediate family, no aunts or grandparents to help.
A young lady called Aine came to live with us for two years.
She was a great support.
Another time when my husband had to go on a trip to India, a young American called Sheila came to help. She stayed for nine months and loved the rough and tumble of family life.
Sarah Smith stayed one summer with us.  She was another “stake”.
More recently after I had cancer, Alexandra from South Africa came to our home.
She said God told her to come and help an Irish family.
Once God sent three ladies from Canada to our home to prophesy and encourage us in our work.
So Brendan and I did not break under the strain of bearing fruit.
God is faithful and has always sent us encouragement when we need it.
He continues to meet our need.
Praise to The Lord Almighty.

Quotation from Richard the Second