Don’t give a Woman a Colour Card

Celestial, Teal Magic, Hidden Glade and Chocolate Kiss.
No they are not the names of drink cocktails, cakes or a mystical holiday destination. They are some of the names of colours on my paint colour card! My head is in a spin seduced by these enchanting names. Nowadays one has many more choices of colours than the seven colours of the rainbow, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet.

Our present home has had a make over this summer. All electric fixtures were checked. Old light fittings above doors were replaced and the car park light repaired. Old bulbs were replaced with luminescent long life ones. The roof, gutters and yard have been power washed. Windows frames and surrounds needed repairs. The outside walls, some indoor rooms, doors and windows are looking good after being freshly painted.

I read in Isaiah 60 v 10 that ““Foreigners will rebuild your walls.” Workmen has been with us during the sunny months of July and August. They don’t realise they are doing the Lord’s work. They don’t realise that my walls are ever before him. Isaiah 60 v 18 “Your walls will be called salvation and your gates praise.” They are rebuilding, repairing and renewing my home.

My daughter bought a house in Liverpool. Finding a house, putting an offer on, waiting to see if it accepted, applying for a mortgage can test one’s patience. More waiting was needed for the owners to move out after they agreed to sell. It can be one of the most stressful events in one’s life.

She took ownership of her new home in February. The house was cold with no curtains. She slept on a mattress on the floor the first night. More stress. The first thing she arranged was a carpet clean and the walls painted. She didn’t have the time to choose wonderful colours for her walls. They were all painted magnolia. I lived with magnolia in all my homes. Brendan thought it the best and cheapest option when we were on a budget rearing a big family with many rooms and corridors in our home to paint. He and some of our children were the painters then.

Four of the inside rooms needed freshened up as well. Brendan was happy to let me choose the colours for the inside rooms. I was given a colour card by the painters. There were so many different shades of green, blue, greys and yellows. I trusted my own judgement and picked the colours, olive, Bokhara, mustard and yellow. Brendan looked nervous but agreed and sent off an e mail to the painters with the choices.

The painters arrived on Monday morning this week armed with brushes, buckets of paint and sheets to cover any furniture. They walked into my workshop. They looked nervously at the clutter. It couldn’t possibly all be covered up with the sheets they had brought. There was relief written over their faces when I told them they could start in our bedroom which had been cleared out.

Some of our family were visiting. Brendan co ordinated a clean up of my workshop for the painters. I hid upstairs. Whatever will be will be. The painters started painting in my workshop the next day. Brendan saw the first strokes of the Bokara paint on the walls. He looked for me and protested “Your room is going to be a bright orange like Easyjet.” He was beginning to regret letting me choose the colours for any room. I went to look. I agreed. What can we do? Can I live with bright orange in my workshop?

I asked the painter, his name was John, could we change the colour. He explained that each tin of paint had been individually mixed to order. They could not be changed. I let him continue his work. After four coats of paint and two disgruntled men, my workshop is transformed to a warm orange/brown shade like the sunset. It didn’t turn out to be the new Easyjet room. It is more reminiscent of an oasis in the Sahara desert. The workmen fiinished the other two rooms and left yesterday. One is golden and the other sunshine yellow. We have four fresh rooms and Brendan is happy. He’s busy picking out suitable art work.

Brendan told me John said to him “Never give a woman a colour card!” He was happiest with old faithful magnolia! A wall painted magnolia doesn’t take four coats to finish. Two other daughters moved house this year. There is no magnolia in sight. Stairways are painted navy blue. Other rooms are dark shades of green, grey and blue. I was inspired by their choices. I and my girls have boldly coloured homes.

I awoke in my olive green bedroom this morning enjoying all the shadows the morning sun was creating on the walls. Each wall was a different hue of olive. The smell of fresh paint has cleared. The painters are gone.

Praise God for colour and beauty. It lifts our spirits. A friend of ours returned from abroad many years ago. It took him time to recover. Everywhere was grey; grey skies, grey streets, and grey walls. Ireland is definitely a country of forty shades of green. Take a drive though the countryside and count the different hues of green and yellows of harvest. I am inspired by the beauty of my surroundings.

In any dark days of winter that are ahead my heart will rejoice as I sit in my sunset workshop or welcome my guests or family into the sunshine guest room.

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.

The Robin

 

In Ireland the humble bird the Robin is celebrated on our Christmas cards. Images of the bright eyed bird with healthy feathers, red on his breast and brown on his body and wings are displayed on many a mantle piece.

One forgets that this bird has had to survive a busy schedule in spring and summer building nests, hatching eggs, and foraging for food to keep himself and young alive. Brendan leaves out seeds and leftover bread on the fence for the birds. One bird waits expectantly every morning. It has come into our kitchen when we leave the door open.

If I am away for a few days the Robin welcomes us back by hopping in circles around me from shrub to hedge to get my attention. I haven’t been looking out for my friend for a while. But this morning I was up early. The bird must have seen me move about the kitchen. He was looking for food.

I fetched the seed box and laid out some seeds. The Robin came along. Sadly he looked a bit disheveled. His head was bereft of healthy feathers. He had few red feathers. He must have been in a few difficult situations; fights, hungry or thirsty.

Perhaps the hungry mouths he was helping feed this summer pulled at his feathers when he was sharing his morsels. Is it time to moult his feathers? Or was he in some territorial fights? I discovered from a bird blog that robins defend their territory fiercely.

He has some nice territory to defend. He has two gardens in which to forage and get plenty of food for his offspring. He has a home owner who leaves out treats for him every morning. He isn’t going to give up easily.

Can I learn from this little bird. Jesus said look at the birds. I see this Robin as a real warrior fighting for his home and his land where he gets provision for his young. I read in Nehemiah 4 v 4 that the men prayed for their families and their homes. They built with one hand and defended their property with a sword in their hands. Like the Robin I often get a few ruffled feathers as I defend my home and children. It is my space and I want to keep it a safe place free from evil.

Jesus likens a man to a house.
““When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. “”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:43-45‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We can learn from this scripture Jesus warning to continue to keep our house free from evil spirits. They will always want to come back in. They will never give up. So one needs to be on guard to prevent evil coming back into ones life once we have been set free.

How does one do that. By believing in Jesus, by prayer, by reading the Word of God and by obeying what God has asked one to do.

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.