Be Thankful

God our Father in heaven told the Jewish people he didn’t want their sacrifices of bulls and goats. In Psalm 50 v 14 and v 23 I read,

What I want instead is your true thanks to God.
But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.

It is good to thank God and thank others.

I was speaking to an elderly man of over eighty years. He told me as well as being thankful he tries to make someone happy every day.

When one is thankful he is like a flourishing tree. Letting thankful words come out of his mouth cause his sap to come up within him; like a bubbling brook that overflows. Others want to be around him. When one is bitter and complaining he becomes like a withered tree. Others shun him. There is no life flowing out.
I think of the words of Jesus again from Matthew 13 v 12.

Whoever has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have even what he has will be taken from him.

There is a chorus that goes,

“Count your blessings name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Try it. Don’t focus on what one doesn’t have but be thankful for all what one does have.
You will feel better. The gloom will lift when you start to be thankful. Practise being thankful.

We are privileged people living in the Europe. We have good education, health services, travel and many other benefits. We often forget to give thanks and take these blessings for granted. Young people have so many choices in their lives that it is easy for them to want more instead of stopping to be thankful and enjoy what one has.

One’s husband, ones wife, ones friend, a mother or father, professor or teacher will brighten up when he is thanked or receives a greeting card.

God is the giver of all good things. He is a good, good Father. Thank him.

Dreams and Healing

Today I realised that dreams, dream interpretation and healing are associated. If one gets a revelation in a dream about ones situation God gives him an opportunity to change his mind and be healed.

I was reading in Job that God often speaks again and again though people don’t recognise it. He speaks in dreams and visions of the night when sleep falls on people as they lie in bed. He whispers in their ear and terrifies them with warnings. He causes them to to change their minds. He keeps them from pride. He keeps them from the grave. Or God disciplines them with sickness and pain. They lose their appetite and waste away to skin and bones. They are at death’s door.  Job 33

Here is an example in the Bible where this happened.

Abimelech had taken Abraham’s wife into his harem. All the women became barren. What was wrong? Abimelech had a dream. In it he was shown he was going to die if he didn’t release Sarah. The King didn’t know Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Abraham lied and said she was his sister.

“Abraham introduced his wife, Sarah, by saying, “She is my sister.” So King Abimelech of Gerar sent for Sarah and had her brought to him at his palace. But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, “You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!”

Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don’t return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.”

Whatever possessed you to do such a thing?” Abraham replied, “I thought, ‘This is a godless place. They will want my wife and will kill me to get her.’

Then Abimelech took some of his sheep and goats, cattle, and male and female servants, and he presented them to Abraham. He also returned his wife, Sarah, to him.

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants, so they could have children. For the Lord had caused all the women to be infertile because of what happened with Abraham’s wife, Sarah.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭20:2-3, 7, 10-11, 14, 17-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Here is another example of God warning and humbling a person through a dream.
Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, had become proud. God humbled him. He lost his kingdom and was eating grass like an animal and his nails grew long. After seven years he was willing to acknowledge that God was the only true God.

“But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.

The tree you saw was growing very tall and strong, reaching high into the heavens for all the world to see. It had fresh green leaves and was loaded with fruit for all to eat. Wild animals lived in its shade, and birds nested in its branches. That tree, Your Majesty, is you. For you have grown strong and great; your greatness reaches up to heaven, and your rule to the ends of the earth. “‘Then you saw a messenger, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, “Cut down the tree and destroy it. But leave the stump and the roots in the ground, bound with a band of iron and bronze and surrounded by tender grass. Let him be drenched with the dew of heaven. Let him live with the animals of the field for seven periods of time.”

“‘This is what the dream means, Your Majesty, and what the Most High has declared will happen to my lord the king. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals. You will eat grass like a cow, and you will be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven periods of time will pass while you live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses. But the stump and roots of the tree were left in the ground. This means that you will receive your kingdom back again when you have learned that heaven rules. “‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’

Twelve months later the dream came to pass. He lived like an animal for seven years. “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal.”
‭‭Daniel‬ ‭4:5, 20-27, 34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.””
‭‭Daniel‬ ‭4:5, 20-27, 34, 36-37‬ ‭NLT‬‬

If you are having dreams, listen to them and seek interpretation if you don’t understand.  These are days that Noel talked about.  God will pour out his Spirit on all flesh.  People will dream dreams.  God wants you to know him and be Healed.

Ph D Graduation Day.

I am celebrating today with our daughter Mary at her graduation for completing a Ph D, researching Maternity care in poorer nations of the world at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I thank God I am alive to be with her today. Eight years ago, I was suffering from Cancer. Through the tender mercies of God I am healed and alive to declare today that God is faithful and good.
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead. All the good things come from you.” Psalm 16 v 2 and 10
I am alive to continue to support my family in the ways of righteousness. Mary would call me up when she needed encouragement. I would talk and pray with her. Along with other family, friends’ and colleagues’ help she completed today.   Well done Mary.  I’m proud of you.

Say No to Abortion

 

A news item from the BBC on my iPlayer reminded me of an accident that happened eleven years ago.  I quote, “A driver had a lucky escape when a metal pole crashed through the front window of her car, up through the steering wheel past a baby seat and out the back window.”

My daughter in law had just left her older girl to school. She was returning home with her younger child who was strapped in a car seat in the back. The car slipped off the road and hit a row of wooden fencing. Two wooden planks shot through the windscreen, narrowly missing the mum and child. Praise God neither mum or child was harmed physically. My daughter in law was traumatized at the thought of what could have happened.

I am confident that Angels were watching over them that morning, diverting the planks away from harming anyone. Psalm 91 tells me,

“No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,”
‭‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:10-11‬ , 12 NIV

Jesus said
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones.
For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:2-3, 5, 10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This coming week people in the south of Ireland will vote to decide if the law should be changed as regards Abortion.
Ireland has been a safe place for me to rear children. Family life is important in Ireland. Grandparents are honored, marriage has been held in honor and children have been welcomed. Ireland has upheld these values for generations. Forty five years ago when I first travelled south one would visit a restaurant on a Sunday. Families including grandparents would be out for dinner, relaxing and enjoying each others company.
I’m glad I have raised my children in Ireland.

I hope the people of Ireland take to heart and remember what Jesus said.
“Do not despise one of these little ones.” Don’t let the law be changed.

Don’t Be Despondent

Strangford Lough waters were like a mirror early today.  The boats, newly parked in the bay below, are still. This morning I read these words from the Bible.
Proverbs 15 v 15
For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

These words shook me out of feeling heavy laden and down. I looked up the meaning of despondent in the dictionary.  Dejected, sad, depressed, disheartened, lacking hope or courage.
One can be despondent because of unhappiness due to difficulties that you think will not be able to overcome.
I was prone to despondency and despair before I had cancer. I definitely got depressed and it deepened. Situations in my life seemed insurmountable. But God saw me and had mercy on me. He healed me from cancer.
I can’t afford to let myself get down or despondent. This word this morning shook me. I want to have a merry heart and a feast instead. I have so much to be thankful for.
Another scripture says ,
“Do not be downcast. Hope in God for I will yet praise him.”  I began to thank God for all his blessings.  I got washed and dressed. I decided to go out in the beautiful morning and let the cobwebs blow away. The warmth of spring is here. I praise God for life.

God Sovereignly Moves.

I was struck by what I read in the scriptures recently.

John was born to Elizabeth and Zachariah who had no children.
God spoke to Zachariah who was a priest serving in the temple of the Lord, that he would have a son. He didn’t believe and was struck dumb. Despite the priest’s unbelief God still kept his promise to him. His wife became pregnant and she had a son and called his name John. Their relatives and friends rejoiced with them at the birth of their son. This son was a special child and was set apart for the Lord. His parents taught him the ways of God. He learnt to hear from God himself.

“Then John testified, “when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”
I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. I didn’t know he was the one, but I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God. ””
‭‭John‬ ‭1:32-34‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
John 1 29-33

God can use impossible situations to bring about his plans and purposes. His ways are not our ways. God sovereignly intervened in Zachariah’s life to bring forth a son who would be the one prophesied about many years before in Malachi.

““Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.””
‭‭Malachi‬ ‭4:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

John lived in the desert, wore a hair covered tunic and lived on locust and wild honey. He called people of Israel to repent of their sins. They had forsaken their God who had done mighty signs and wonders to deliver their forefathers out of the land of slavery in Egypt. Many people listened to him and were baptized in water to show their change of heart.

Then Jesus appeared. John baptized him as well. The Holy Spirit descended on him like a dove. Jesus gives the same Holy Spirit to us today. He will be our comforter, our guide, healer, he will lead us into all truth, he will set us free from captivity and help us to hear from God for ourselves and cause us to live for God.

God will sovereignly move in your life today to bring about God’s plan for you.

Catherine Marshall’s Encouragement

 

An older couple I know heard I had cancer. They felt they should give me a book by Catherine Marshall written Back in 1950.  She was a young mother with a three year old son, when she was diagnosed with TB. She was confined to bed for three years. She was very frustrated with her situation. She was young and found it difficult to come to terms with not being able look after her son and husband.

She remembered back to going to Church when she was a young girl and hearing about the story about a blind man whom Jesus healed. She was excited to hear that Jesus healed. Then her teacher told the children that healing does not happen today, only back in Jesus time on earth. She was perplexed and left the debate with the teachers.

Fifteen years later, she was confined to bed with a disease the doctors could not cure. She wasn’t getting better. She thought back to the story of the blind man. She began to read the stories about Jesus healing people. She had plenty of time to read the bible as she lay in bed. She studied the scriptures. She forgot about her condition as she occupied herself with search. She wondered could she be healed of her disease. Did God heal people nowadays? She dared to believe.

In her studies she found that Jesus was moved with compassion for the sick and he healed them. He healed a woman who was bleeding for twelve years, he healed lepers, he raised a dead child, he healed a cripple and all who came to him who was sick.

Catherine bowed her head and prayed. “Lord, I need your help. You made my body. You can heal me. Will you do for me what you did for others?”

I quote from her book, “Beyond Ourselves”.

A few nights later she was aware of a Presence, a Power, a Personality in her room. She knew it was Jesus. Her body tingled as with a shock of electricity. This was the turning point in her illness. The X-rays after that showed progress, she began to get out of bed a little at a time until she finally was healed. She was encouraged by another girl she heard of who believed God healed her of TB. Many symptoms of her disease were still bothering her, fever, a cough or the fluid in her lung. Yet she knew she had to keep her eyes on Jesus, not on her symptoms. She was totally healed a few months later. Catherine Marshall says “The woman who rose from bed and went out to meet life was a different woman.”

As I read Catherine Marshall’s book today I know her story impacted me back in those months I was suffering from cancer. All I wanted to do initially was to crawl into bed and hide there. I was too weak. TB is different from cancer. But deep in my heart I saw a glimmer of hope come to me. My faith was encouraged by Catherine’s healing by Jesus. I dared to believe. I thank God for the couple who gave me a copy of Catherine Marshall’s book. She received her healing back in 1945! I received my healing from Cancer in 2010. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Hebrews 13 v 8

On Easter Monday 2018 I celebrated being healed from cancer for eight years.