The Lord delivered the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt with great signs and wonders. He opens the Red Sea for them to cross over, he sent plagues to Pharaoh and Egypt. God intended that they take possession of the Land of Canaan and He promised He would fight for them. Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan to check it out, if it was a good land, was there cities, were there crops, what were the people like. The spies came back with a bunch of grapes it took two men to carry. So the land produced abundance of grapes. There were cities and a land flowing with milk and honey.
But ten of the spies reported that there were Giants in the land and they would eat their children up. They gave a bad report to the thousands of people that were in the camp. Instead of looking at the Grapes they looked at the Giants. Two spies, Joshua and Caleb tried to silence the people and said “Don’t be afraid. With God’s help we can defeat the Giants and take over the land. But the people doubted God’s help and were afraid of the Giants.
Because of their unbelief the children of Israel didn’t get into the Land God had promised them. The ten spies died and the rest of the people had to wander around a desert for forty years!
This story really shocked me when I first read it. I couldn’t believe that the people missed the opportunity to get a new inheritance that God was going to freely give to them. All they had to do was obey God and he would show them how to defeat their enemies. They had to suffer in the desert looking at sand for forty years! Joshua led their children into the Promised Land. Their parents who saw the Promised Land but didn’t enter into it, died in the desert.
I thought to myself, “I want to believe God and not have doubt and fear of my enemies.” I don’t want to live in a desert the rest of my life and my children have a chance to enter into their Promised Land. Caleb, one of the men who believed God, said at the age of eighty years of age, “Give me my mountain!” I say the same today, “Lord give me my mountain!”
Aren’t we often like the people of old when faced with difficulties that seem insurmountable, like the Giants. We complain and get afraid. If God has given one a promise that he wants one to have it. All hell will be let lose to try and stop one getting what God has promised. For example God promised Brendan and me unity in our lives. I believed God but our enemies came out against us. The same enemies the people of Israel had, fear, doubt, unforgiveness, rebellion, rejection, religion, cancer, to mention a few. With God’s help we continue to be alive, believe God and walk in unity. He has defeated our enemies as they rise up against us and as we walk in obedience.
Here is the reading that inspired me to write to day and testify to God’s faithfulness in the land of the living.
There were 44,760 capable warriors in the armies of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
They were all skilled in combat and armed with shields, swords, and bows.
They waged war against the Hagrites, the Jeturites, the Naphishites, and the Nodabites. They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him.
So the Hagrites and all their allies were defeated.
The plunder taken from the Hagrites included 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep and goats, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 captives.
Many of the Hagrites were killed in the battle because God was fighting against them. The people of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh lived in their land until they were taken into exile.”
1 Chronicles 5:18-22 NLT.
Not only did they get land but they got plunder. The different enemies represent different demonic powers that are holding on to what belongs to us. It may be our property, our jobs, our husband or our children and our grandchildren. With the power of Jesus name and his Precious Blood we can fight Satan and his hordes. He is already a defeated foe with all his demons. He has no right to hold onto what God has intended for me. We can’t be passive, apathetic, angry or disappointed. We have to fight for what belongs to us. Fighting means believing God, dressed in our armour and praising him to help us win the battle. As Nehemiah said, “Remember The Lord who is great. Let us fight for brothers, our wives, our children and our homes.
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Every evening my son and children would be frantic looking for their escaped pet rabbit.
Last summer he was given a pet rabbit. His children named him Peter Rabbit. It was pre-owned but not pre-loved. When a bunny is young it is furry and cuddly, and is attractive as a live pet instead of a fluffy toy that doesn’t breathe. But a pet needs looked after, fed, watered and space to sleep and run. It may not take to being cuddled or it can mess up the kitchen if kept indoors. Soon the novelty of a pet rabbit wears off. Peter Rabbit had grown up, had a mind of his own and didn’t want to be cuddled any more. It wanted adventure.
At first Peter joined in with my son’s children when they were playing in their back garden. An elderly neighbour who lived on his own commented that he loved to hear the children play and listen to their squeals of delight when they played happily together. He would have heard a different cry when they would fall or fight but he didn’t mention that part.
The two older boys played together. The third child wasn’t always included in their play so he made friends with Peter Rabbit. He was chased round the garden or often got soaked when the boys were playing with the hose as their dad watered the garden. When bedtime came mum and dad were busy making dinner and getting their young family to bed. Toy tractors, diggers, buckets and spades were scattered where the children left them. Peter Rabbit was forgotten about. He made his own way into his bed in the shed for the night.
School term started, cold days came and the little children were not out playing in the garden as often. Peter Rabbit was alone. He began to find his way beyond the garden squeezing under the gate. He wanted to explore. He survived cars, dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. Of an evening when mum would return from a school run a neighbour would return Peter Rabbit. This happened a few times. Eventually the neighbours gave up. But Peter Rabbit always found his way home for the night.
Soon this young family were feeling hemmed in and needed for more space for their growing family. Mum and dad busied themselves through the winter keeping up the routine of getting children to school, making meals and caring for their children. The young family and Peter Rabbit survived the winter.
My son began to look for a bigger house. They would ideally have loved to move to the country. But there was nothing suitable available. God cares for the little children. He cares for the parents. He understood our son and daughter in law’s pressure in rearing a young family. He even cares for our pets.
A friend of their’s told them a house was available near where she lived in town. It wasn’t on the open market yet. Would they be interested in looking at it? They went along to view it. It was a big old house with a walled in garden and a green house with two grape vines in it. When I heard about the grapes I said, “That is the house for them”.
They were a bit daunted at first. “How will they heat it?” “Can they afford it?” But look at the grapes. It is private, it is safe for the children, no one overlooking your garden. It has a sunny aspect! The estate agent suggested my son put in an application. The house would be freshly painted and carpets cleaned for the new owner.
I was totally confident that God would provide a bigger home for my son and his family. I believed God for our growing family and he has always provided. In Numbers 33 v 53 I read,
“Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land in proportion to their size. A bigger tribe gets more land.”
I went to visit my son and his family a few days ago in their new home. The front door opened into a bright hallway, already family photos on the wall, a spacious living room, kitchen, play room full of toys and bedrooms. More than they could ask or think. The back door opens onto the garden, a natural sun trap. They had their breakfast out on the lawn on their first morning. What freedom and beauty. The Lord has given my son his promised land!
We sat down in the sun for a cup of coffee together. I marvelled at the goodness of God in the land of the living. A Robin flew past me and landed in the hedge behind. It then perched on a chair and pecked some crumbs from the table. Peter rabbit was munching happily nearby. The young children played together somewhere in the big garden. We heard their voices. Mum and dad could enjoy time relaxing in the sun having coffee secure knowing their children were safe. Peter Rabbit won’t want to escape again.
My son and children won’t be frantic looking for their pet rabbit again.
As you can gather from my recent blogs, I believe in keeping warm and I like woollen products.
Brendan bought me a beautiful three quarters length coat. It was made from wool. It was navy with bunches of grapes in the weave. It was comfortable to wear especially when I was driving. It also suited me when I was pregnant. The children cuddled in beside me when I was wearing it, like a mother hen covering her chicks. I enjoyed wearing this coat for many years. The scriptures say that the children of Israel walked round the desert for forty years and their clothes did not wear out. This coat of mine didn’t wear out!
“During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. (Deuteronomy 29:5-6 NIV)
The symbol of grapes is very important to me. When I read in the scriptures that the children of Israel went into the promised land. They saw grapes and giants. The grapes were that big it took two men to carry a cluster of them. But the people were afraid of the giants and failed to go into the land God promised them. Isn’t that often the case in our lives. We are afraid of change because of fear or lack of faith. Joshua and Caleb said “With God’s help we can defeat the giants and eat the grapes.” But the people did not believe. I wore my coat as a statement of faith. I wanted to eat grapes and destroy giants.
Since I read this scripture I decided I would believe God. With God’s help I have defeated some giants along the way. For example. Cancer is a giant. With God’s help I am healed of cancer. I believed God to help me. I am alive to enjoy good food especially grapes.
Ten years ago a friend gave me a fur coat. I was wearing it till recently. It was full length and made of artificial fur fabric. I wore it constantly from Autumn to Spring. It protected me from cold winds, when we would go for a walk. It kept me warm like the caring arms of my Heavenly Father. I looked prosperous. I did not have to get dressed up. I pulled on my coat and I looked a million dollars. I have travelled to Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Slovakia in my fur coat. No one complained about me wearing a fur coat. I felt at home when I was in Iceland recently. Garments made from seal skin and animal hides were for sale. People who live there need to walk or work outdoors in the harsh, cold weather.
Brendan and I were visiting in New Zealand. We had to travel by bus to a friend in another town. We had two cases each, to haul around with us in a strange place. Tempers were frayed. It was springtime and I was getting hot under the collar pulling my cases up and down hills. Eventually we found the right bus stop.
We got on the next bus that stopped. It was home time for the workers. The bus was full. Standing room only. Brendan told me to get in and find a seat while he lifted the luggage up. The driver was impatient to get on his journey and was not a happy camper. There was no luggage compartment for the cases! As I walked up the aisle people looked at me as if I was an alien in my fur coat and red face. There, Brendan and I stood in the aisle, cases blocking the walkway. We looked like two mad Irish bears. No one offered help. Eventually as people disembarked we got a seat and rested our weary bones. We laughed at this incident for many days later.
Soon months back I had a dream I was wearing a red coat. I completely forgot about the dream. Brendan and I went shopping looking to buy some presents for friends in Canada. It was sale time. Brendan found a red coat and asked me to try it on. Hey presto, it fitted me and was comfortable. It was made of wool. He bought it for me. I remembered my dream. It came true. I had to hang up my bear coat!
Brendan and I are travelling in Canada at the moment. We flew up over the mountains from Vancouver to Dawson Creek in a Bombardier aircraft. I felt safe in this plane. It reminded me of home. Bombardier parts are made in Belfast, N Ireland. When we arrived at the small airport I was greeted by the ground staff as if I was a dignitary. “Welcome to Dawson Creek. Have a good day lady in red.” We all laughed. I am getting compliments everywhere I go.
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. (Isaiah 51:11 KJV)
I grew up on a small farm in Co Down, Ireland.
My dad raised ten children from farming the land.
He kept a herd of Freisians cows.
That meant milking the cows twice a day.
No lying in bed when one felt like it.
Mum reared chickens and sold the eggs to a local grocery store.
I used to carry buckets of grain and water across a field to feed the chickens, and then collect the eggs.
Dad grew crops of potatoes for the family’s use and oats and barley to supplement the feed for the animals.
We children always helped out when we could.
When the oats crop was ripe and cut, we would help dad gather up the stalks and bind them into sheaves. The sheaves were then collected and built into a stack. At the top of the stack an empty food sack was tied on to keep the seeds and stalks dry until threshing day.
Here is a photograph I took recently of such stacks. There are eight stacks, the number of daughters my father had. The scene prompted me to write this post.
This farmer keeps the tradition of threshing going to show the next generation how the oats were harvested.
Threshing day for dad would come around. Farmers in the neighbourhood came to help with the work.
A Threshing machine was used to separate the seeds from the straw, and bind the straw into bales to be stored for cattle bedding.
It was an exciting and joyful day for our family. We helped our mum prepare a big pot of stew and home made soda bread to feed all the men who came to help. The boys helped the men while us girls played around in the sunshine. It was a golden scene with the sun gleaming off the straw.
In Ireland in the past this harvest event would have been a time for match making.
A marriage could be arranged between a suitable young man at the threshing and a daughter of the household.
The single men who attended dad’s harvest may have had designs on us daughters, but we thought they were far too old for us.
We found our husbands in farther away fields in other counties.
Today some of our children have found husbands and wives from the nations.
We got news yesterday of the birth of our Canadian grandchild! This is my harvest!
A very long way from the Threshing field in Dunmore.
Life in the past was more leisurely and people depended on each other to help with the harvest.
It did not matter if you were a Protestant or a Catholic when it came to helping your neighbour.
We could not hate our neighbours.
Sadly the community atmosphere has disappeared.
Small farmers have to supplement their income with another job.
Big families are rare.
The combine harvester sweeps up the harvest .
No more cups of tea and soda bread with melted butter running down the sides in the harvest field.
No more talking and sharing stories or finding out who had got married or had a baby.
Jesus was familiar with harvest time in the Land of Israel. He would have seen the farmers gather in the grapes, olives and wheat. He mentioned stories relating to the harvest, olives being pressed to make olive oil, grapes being crushed to make wine and grain being crushed into flour to make bread.
We remember His death through the breaking of bread and drinking wine, the fruit of the vine.
He spoke of a different kind of harvest, the harvest of souls to bring to heaven. He is looking for workers in His Harvest. Let us bring joy to Jesus.
Nowadays we find out the news from friends via Facebook.
The harvest field is now the nations.
Welcome to my field.
Thank you for listening to my story.