Christmas Shopping

image“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We remember Jesus birth at this time.  A time of joy, to thank God the Father for making himself know through his son Jesus, who was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in an animals’ home.
God our Father’s plan was to redeem mankind from the power of sin, death and the devil, who kept mankind separated from God and prevented them from going to heaven.  The devil stole the authority over all the earth and all living creatures, from Adam.  Jesus is the new Adam.

Jesus grew up in his family and lived humbly helping his parents.  He would have helped with the other children, just as my older children did when they were growing up.  His father was a carpenter.  He did not have a high school or university education.  When he was thirty years old he entered his public ministry.  For three years he went about doing good, healing and delivering all who were oppressed of the devil. He was bringing down the power of the devil, who was keeping people in darkness, believing lies, living in oppression and sickness.  Jesus is the truth.

He was the son of God.  He could have set up a kingdom here on earth and ruled and ordered people what to do.  Instead he allowed himself to be arrested and accused of curing people on the day of rest, working miracles and claiming to be the son of God.  His accusers were jealous of him.  They had to get rid of him before everyone started following him and upsetting the kingdoms that were ruling at that time, including Romans and Jews.

His own people the Jews wanted him crucified.  “Away with him” they said.  Jesus never opened his mouth when he was whipped by soldiers, a crown of thorns hammered into his head, nails pierced into his hands and feet to nail him to a cross and when a sword opened up his side.  He hung on a cross till he breathed his last.  He suffered and died.  He became the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.

A leader from India told us recently how people sacrifice their children in the fire or in the river, or cut themselves in order to get their sins forgiven.  Even after such pain they find no relief from their guilt.  This man told some of these people, “Jesus has forgiven my sins.”  I’m not guilty any more.  They were surprised.  “What sacrifice did you make.”  “How much money did you pay.”
He said, “I believe in Jesus.  He was the sacrifice for my sins.  He died in my place.  He shed his blood for me.  This is good news.  You too can know your sins forgiven by believing in Jesus.”
One woman said “Why did you not come sooner, before I gave my child to the God of the river.”  She was heartbroken.  She was prayed for and Jesus healed her.

“ But if you do sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who please God completely.. He is the sacrifice for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What a wonderful privilege we in the west have to hear the name of Jesus.  We have good health care and good education.  Freedom to work, get married, have children, and live in peace in our homes and neighbourhoods.  But sadly many of us no longer know the power of the name of Jesus or the power of his shed blood or acknowledge, thank or honor him in our lives.   We have forgotten what Christmas really means.

We were travelling home from Dublin airport leaving at five pm yesterday evening.  The road out of Dublin was packed with cars.  On coming near Belfast the roads were packed with cars.  Why is this?   I have travelled at the same time earlier in the year and there were no holdups or roads full of cars.  Ah, people are out Christmas shopping!

Are they shopping for their children who are expecting Santa Clause to leave them some gifts?  Are they shopping for food and drink for fear the shops might run out of provisions nearer Christmas?  How can parents exhaust themselves and get into debt to buy presents for their children who think some mythical being drops them gifts down the chimney?  Are the father’s involved with the shopping, or is it just the mothers?  The children never thank them or appreciate the stress involved.  Why do they continue the lie of Santa Clause?

Do the refugees get presents?   Do the poor people of Africa or India get presents.  Does Santa just come to America and Europe and bless those who already have plenty.  I have asked myself this even when I was young.

Where does Jesus come in our celebration of Christmas?  “Joy to the World” the Christmas cards proclaim.   Brendan and I deleted Santa Clause out of our family when we had four children.  We told them the truth.  If we tell our children about Santa and years later realize there is no Santa, what will they think of mum and dad.  “They told us lies.”  We tell our children the good news that is at the heart of Christmas.  God sent the gift of his Son to us.  Jesus came to take away the sins of the whole world and the give the gift of eternal life.  We can be with him forever in heaven.  We tell them about the other gifts God has for us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of children, the gift of life itself.

Many people did not agree with us, including family, friends and teachers.  The headmistress asked us to stop our children telling the other children there was no Santa.  Our children did not miss out on gifts.  We saved up and brought our children on summer holidays instead.  I refuse to get caught up in the hype of Christmas.  It does not satisfy!!!

I now live in the hope of going to heaven when I die.  I want to tell others this good news and tell them what Jesus has done for them.   God rescued me from an early death when he healed me of Malignant cancer.  I choose to follow him.  He is returning to the earth soon.  I want to be prepared.  I want to be of use in the years I have left.  I find comfort from this scripture,

“So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paths of Peace

Brendan and I were visiting a friend today.

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In her garden is an ancient olive tree.  It has a knarled and thick trunk. There are young trees springing up around the trunk from olive seeds that took root.  The olive tree is symbol of peace.  When invaders conquered a region in ancient times they cut down the trees.  This olive tree has remained standing.

Here is the view out the front of her home.

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Her garden is a peaceful place, a little bit of heaven on earth.  As I walked through the garden and discovered the olive tree and took in the beautiful view,  I was reminded of some verses from Proverbs,

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:13-18‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today I was walking along paths of pleasantness and peace.

The North and South of Ireland.

The small island of Ireland is a country on the west of Europe.  It is known as the Emerald Isle.  Photos taken of Ireland from the Space Station show the island is totally green.  The photo does not show up any outline of a border.  Since 1922 this beautiful land has been divided.  Six counties in the north are called Northern Ireland.  The remaining twenty six counties in the south are called the Republic of Ireland.

It was such a photo from the space station that inspired me to make a mosaic map of Ireland.   I live beside the beach.  I first picked up green pieces of broken glass there in May a year ago.  The green, broken pieces of glass could have one time been parts of bottles that would have been used for all kinds of drinks.  Before modern times when we are encouraged to recycle our empty bottles, many such bottles were disgarded into the sea from residents or ships that docked at Portaferry.

There were many shades of green among the pieces. As I looked at them I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  The outcome was a mosaic picture of Ireland.

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The pieces of glass on the beach are all that remain of once useful vessels.  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.  As the raw glass is broken into smaller pieces and slowly polished by the sand as it is rolled around in the surf for anywhere from 5 to 50 years it becomes sea glass.

Like precious gems, sea glass is rare and beautiful.

Some of the synonyms for broken are

Damaged, in pieces, severed, injured, fragmented, dismembered, shattered.

The sea glass reminds me of broken people. The words above can be used to describe them.  What hope is there for them?  Each one may have felt useful at some part of their life.   One may have felt whole at one time but life’s tests bring brokenness.  These people have been worn down by the storms of life.

Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose, fear, anxiety or rejection or divorce and one is relegated to the ash heap.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.”

Psalm‬ ‭113:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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.  

Like people, Ireland has been through much brokenness in her history, famines, invasions, civil wars, external wars, emigration, recession and divisions.  Despite it all Ireland is surviving.

Just this week in the local Papers.  I read these reports.

The Belfast Telegraph article by Cate Mc Curry on 17 th May 2016

Beautiful  County Fermanagh came top in a survey to find the UK’s most neighbourly places.

It showed Northern Ireland is friendlier than anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales, with Fermanagh topping the list of counties ahead of Armagh and Antrim.

All of Northern Ireland’s counties made the top 10 friendliest spots across the UK – with the province dominating the top six.

The findings emerged after a study by the Big Lottery’s Big Lunch, which aims to bring communities together and reduce loneliness and isolation. Now in its eighth year, The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project, made possible by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to get as many people as possible to have lunch with their neighbours in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

According to the website Belfast Live,  Belfast has been voted the best city in the UK to visit.  I quote,

“Belfast scooped the top accolade at the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards 2016.

The annual awards recognise excellence across the tourism industry and are voted for by members of the public.

Belfast now welcomes around seven million visitors a year and nearly two million of them stay for at least one night.

And tourism contributes more than £450million to the city’s economy annually.”

Whatever your budget, you will find a place in Belfast to eat or stay that suits you.

I am very encouraged to read about this success for Belfast.  Despite Policital controversy Belfast is prospering!

Here is another success report from the Independant.ie on 17 th May 2016. I quote,

The report suggested that people in Ireland enjoy some of the healthiest lives.

A woman, with a life expectancy of 83.1, can also expect to spend 68 of those years in good health, while a man, who can expect to live to 79, can also look forward to 65.8 years with no major health scares.

Elsewhere, the figures also indicate a well-educated and hard-working nation.
The number of 25-34-year-olds who have been to college or university is the fourth highest in the EU – and they put it to use.

The report noted that even though we clock long hours, the productivity per hour was the fourth highest in Europe, behind Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The study confirmed Irish marriages last long with the divorce rate the lowest on record, 0.6 per 1,000 people.

The country still had the third fastest growing population in Europe over the previous 10 years.

http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/irish-news/irish-have-longest-marriages-and-second-highest-birthrate-in-europe-34665106.html

Ireland is a safe place to live for the unborn, the young and old.  I have always maintained that Ireland has been a good place to raise a family. Now people from all counties are circulating around our island from the south to the north, and the east to the west.   May Ireland always remain green and friendly in the north and the south.

I believe God is reaching down and restoring our land as evidenced by these three newspaper reports.  People will want to come to live in this friendly place.

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

Oncologist Friend Surprised at my Survival from Cancer.

While on our visit to Slovakia I had dinner with a friend who is an Oncologist. She has many year’s experience. I met her before in November 2010 after I believed I was healed of Bowel cancer. It was early days then after my treatment. I knew when I was telling people I was healed, many of them had an attitude, “We will see.”

When one has fourth stage cancer, which I had, the doctor gives treatment to extend one’s life whether surgery and/or treatment. The cancer usually continues to grow and cause death. The doctors will admit they do not have a cure for cancer. They treat the condition. I know the seriousness of my diagnosis but I give Glory to God who has healed me.

My daughter was helping me pack last weekend. She found some notes I had from a doctor, the Consultant Laparoscopic Colorectal Surgeon who was writing to a colleague. I will quote some of the letter.

“I explained to Mrs Mc Cauley that pre operative chemo radiotherapy was used as an adjunct to surgery rather than an alternative to surgery. The current evidence would suggest less than 5% chance of healing from chemo and radiotherapy only. It is unknown for such a good response to chemo radiotherapy. Even if the tumour has fully responded to the chemo radiotherapy there may be viable cells within the lymph nodes. If there is lymph node metastases then chemotherapy would be warrented to reduce the risk of disease. I explained that surgery to remove the rectum was a major operation but there could still be groups of cancer cells. Therefore a non operative approach could not be recommended.”

I explained to the doctor at the time, that I believe that God has healed me and he does not do part jobs. He has done a complete healing for me with no matastases.

Another consultant wrote,”In my opinion, Mrs Mc Cauley should be strongly urged to proceed with the next stage of her treatment.”( surgery). Leaving the treatment at the chemo radiotheraphy
stage is not sufficient for her long term survival.”
“There is significant risk of damage to the bowel after chemo radiotherapy, colitis, discharge, inflammation and bleeding.”

Praise God I had non of these side effects from the chemo radiotherapy.

I read this Psalm today.

I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me.
I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD : “Please, LORD, save me!”
The LORD protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.
He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the LORD’s presence as I live here on earth!
I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. (‭Psalms‬ ‭116‬:‭1-4, 6, 8-9, 17‬ NLT)

I showed the Surgeon’s letter to my Oncologist friend. Her mouth fell open. ” I did not know that you had such a big tumour.” It was nine centimetres. She continued, “It is normal for there to be metastases with such a big tumour.” She was looking from her doctor’s point of view. My friend had sympathy for the doctors who were treating me. “They must have been very stressed with you”, she added. She was amazed that I did not have an operation. She admitted, “You look so well six years on.”

My Oncologist friend admitted this is a miracle. She was perplexed at my survival from such a serious condition.

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

I will Tell of God’s Healing Power to the Next Generation.

One of the names of God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is interested in the generations after us.  The Jewish people were told to tell the next generation about the signs and wonders God had performed for them.  How he opened the Red Sea for the people to pass through in safety.  How he provided manna in the desert for them to eat and water that gushed out of the rock to drink when they were thirsty.  The new Testament is full of stories about what Jesus and his followers did on the earth in their generation.  People were healed, delivered from demons and promised life in heaven.

I want to tell my children and their children, and future generations about what God has done for me.  I have stories about the reality of God.  Children like stories.  Books for children are very popular.  Children are eager to learn about the world around them. Teenagers are very impressionable.  Mao se Thung convinced the next generation of university students to enforce his Policital ideas from his red Book. Millions were killed by his young army as a result of the regime.  My stories will bring life and not death to the next generation.

Young people may wonder “What is the point in my believing in God and obeying his commands?  I am young, healthy, strong, I have money, a good job, everything looks rosy.”  The prodigal son went off to see the world.  After many years when things didn’t work out he needed help.  I was like that.  I turned to God for help in my distress when I was twenty eight.  I tried to follow his ways since then.  When I was nearing death God was faithful to help me.  So the years of following God have not been in vain.  It is true God has not abandoned me now I am old and grey.

People coming to my blog site for the first time may wonder why I am telling stories about my family, food, garden, my holidays, birds, scenery, and not All about cancer.  I looked at my list of topics I write about and cancer isn’t even in the top ten.

I now tell stories about how my life is being restored.  I am not just healed of cancer, I have new life experiences happening all around me.  My eyes are opened to see all the life around me, in my garden, in nature, in new grandchildren and in restored relationships.  If I was in the grave I could not write or tell of the wonderful things that are happening to me.  The grave cannot praise God.  I am alive to give thanksgiving and glory to God.  I now live for God.  The old Angela is dead but my new life is hid with Christ in God.  I no longer live but Christ lives in me.

When I believe in God the Creator, and his son Jesus he gives me so much in return.  As I have faith in God he is faithful to help me when I need him.  He promises to be with me in trouble and deliver me out of it.  He will not forsake me now when I have grey hair.  I can highly recommend you my reader, no matter what age you are, to have faith in God Almighty, creator of the heaven and the earth.

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do. Now that I am old and grey, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. (‭Psalms‬ ‭71‬:‭17-18‬ NLT)

I am alive to tell of the goodness of God to the next generation.
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/generation/

 

 

 

All Creatures Praise God

 

A reading from the scriptures caught my attention today.

Two weeks have passed since we remembered Jesus brutal death on the cross, his burial, and his resurrection from the grave.  There is no other grave in the whole world that is empty!
Jesus appeared to many of his friends and even ate food with him.  Finally he ascended into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father.  John, the beloved apostle had this vision of heaven and he describes what he saw.
The Lamb is Jesus who was slain, sacrificed for us, forgiving our sins and giving us eternal life.

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in the air and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (‭Revelation‬ ‭5‬:‭11-13‬ NIV)

Not only are the multitude of angels praising The Father and Jesus, but so too are the birds of the air, animals on the land, even rabbits that burrow under the earth and the fish of the sea.

As one meditates on these words you will have peace.  We are encouraged by scripture to keep our minds on things above, and the peace that passes understanding will enter our minds.  This is a good way to heal a troubled mind.

Meditate on this truth.  This will keep me thinking for a long time.

The Arctic Terns Have Arrived.

I drove out this morning to town.  I parked my car along the sea front and walked on the sunny side of the street.  It was too chilly on the shaded side.  Resident gulls and Brent geese on the waters below were enjoying the warmth of the early sun too.

The winter slumber of people and nature has been awakened by the warm sun and noisy gulls eager to prepare for new life.

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The population of gulls along the shore has increased dramatically this week.  Artic terns have arrived at their usual nesting place on an island near Strangford harbor.  They are safe from intruders across a short stretch of water, but near enough for the onlooker to enjoy their activities.  They gather in the evening, bodies white against the black, sea washed rock.

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Another attraction for many black headed gulls this morning was the presence of a farmer ploughing up a field nearby.  It is seed time.  He is busy getting the land ready.  I was reminded of the poem I Will Go With My Father A ploughing, by Joseph Campbell.

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagull
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the while of the air,
And my father will sing the plough-song
That blesses the cleaving share.

Instead of horses the farmer today is using a big tractor pulling a large wide machine which grinds up the soil.  Hundreds of gulls follow the fresh upturned soil.  They dive for tasty morsels of worms and insects destrubed by the machinery.  Rooks and crows live nearby in the forest.  They join in the foray, just as the poem says.  Joseph Campbell was born in Co Down.  Perhaps his father ploughed in the green fields by the sea near where I live.

Look at the birds of the air,  they don’t sow nor reap yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Matthew 6 v 26
I saw our Heavenly Father at work today feeding the gulls.