The Importance of The Scriptures

I’m sitting in a splendid home overlooking the newly built houses, apartment blocks, towers and roads that wind their way through the valley below and over the hills in Jerusalem. The roofs of the many cars glisten in the sun making them look like water drops. Sunday is a working day in Israel. Yesterday all activity ceased. The roads were quiet. Here the commandment given to Moses by God so long ago is being honoured. No work is done on the Shabbat.

Orthodox Jews are a religious group of Jews that give their time to studying the Torah, the first five books in the Scriptures. They teach the Torah at their religious services on Shabbat. Teachers in church, schools or universities are very important people in our lives to pass on truth they know to others.

I remember growing up in the country in Ireland attending Church on Sunday. Chapters from the Old Testament, the Psalms and the New Testament were read. I believe these were were seeds that went into my heart. Later in my life I was given a bible. When I read it I came across passages that I remember hearing all those years ago. They came to my mind again. All scripture is important whether we hear it in song or at Sunday School or in the Torah or in Church or from a mother’s lips as she cradles her young child to sleep with a hymn. God’s word promises that it will not return to him void.

““As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So all those years ago the word of God going into me has borne fruit much later in my life. So it is with many people. I was listening to a young man’s testimony. After many years living a decadent lifestyle he remembers what his granny said to him. “If you call out to God he will answer your cry. ” in his time of need he did call. God answered and led him into new pathways.

I turned to God when I was in need too. He led me to meet other people who knew about God and read the bible. I began to read it for myself and have done so down through the years. I use the Daily Bible everyday. That helps me cover the scriptures in one year.

It has proved to be a great support in time of trouble or suffering. God brings to mind something I have read which will be just what will encourage me. As I travel and meet people high and low, I find they do not have a knowledge of the Word of God. They may have great qualifications but do not know the Scriptures.

The Word of God is truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life. He was the Word of God become flesh. The scriptures are like bread. When one reads the words it is bread from God to strengthen one. The words bring healing to one’s body and soul. No other book claims to bring healing.

I was reading about Joni Ereakson. She is a lady who has coped with being a Paraplegic
for fifty two years. She awakes every morning and says, “Lord I’m in pain. I can’t do this any longer. I don’t want to go through the regime of needing someone else to lift me out of bed, bathe me and brush her hair. You need to help me Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So starts her day. She has done this for fifty two years. She says her pain, despair and depression drives her to Jesus. She remembers words of scripture that will help her each day.

I would not have got through rearing fourteen children and recovering from cancer without the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. I encourage you today to read the Word of God. Your life will never be the same. If you are suffering read the Word and you will get relief.

Just say something like this. ” God if you are there please help me. Speak to me. Lead me in the right way for my life. Amen”. He will answer.

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The Prosperity of Jerusalem

May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭128:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As I have read through the bible over the years I have come across many references to the City of Jerusalem. Particularly the verse mentioned above. I had a desire to one day go to Jerusalem.

Prophecy is being fulfilled in our days. The Jewish people are returning to live in Israel after many centuries of exile. It became a state in 1948 and since that time Jews from many nations are returning. I have been blessed to have traveled to Jerusalem. Each time I see changes; buildings going up and new roads and railways being constructed. I have been blessed to have traveled to Jerusalem. Towns are being built on the top of hillsides. What a work of engineering is going on!

The desert is blossoming. Farms are producing fruit and vegetables on land that was once barren. The story of the restoration of Israel gives me great hope for God’s promise of restoration and fruitfulness. He can cause water to flow in the desert of the Negev. What he is doing here the same God can do in our lives.
I was reading from Psalm 48 today.

“How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain!
It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it!
Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King! God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers, revealing himself as its defender.
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. Interlude
As your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
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.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:1-3, 8, 10, 12-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We have seen Jerusalem for ourselves. I was attracted to Jerusalem because I believe that Jesus the son of God walked here. He spent much time on the Mount of Olives. It can be seen clearly across from Jerusalem. It was from here Jesus ascended into heaven, after he had been crucified and risen from the dead. He appeared and ate with his followers.

“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!””
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭1:9-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus will return again with the two angels to The Mount of Olives. He told his disciples before he was crucified.  When the high priest asked Jesus “Are you the Messiah” Jesus replied ” I Am and you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Mark 14 v  62

“For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.  Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world —from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door.
“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭13:19-20, 26-27, 29, 34-37‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is time to get our lives ready for Jesus return. Jesus main purpose of his coming on earth the first time was to save people from their sins. He told them to turn from their sins and believe in him. He rescued them from going to hell. Hell is real. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. But Satan deceives mankind and wants to bring us to hell with him. Jesus rescues us from the Devil’s power and our own sinfulness and promises to bring us to heaven.  Are you ready to meet him when he returns?

Ask Jesus now to help you and he will.

Spring Rain in Jerusalem.

 

 

It’s a miracle that so many people from different faiths and cultures live in harmony in Jerusalem.

When we arrived in Israel it was raining. This is the season when the rain comes to water the dry ground in Israel to help prepare for the sowing of seeds. We have been to Israel before but this is the first time we have seen the rain. I looked forward expectantly to our time in Israel. Will we receive His spring rain?
I was reminded of the scripture from Hosea,

““Come, let us return to the LORD.I
He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us;
he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
On the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.””
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I haven’t been disappointed. I have been rested and refreshed in my body, soul and spirit. I have seen prophetic words from the scripture develop before me eyes.

4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. Hosea 6 v 4 to 6. KJV

They are many young couples with babies in prams, children holding onto their arms, and pregnant mothers in Israel. It has a growing population. God is bringing his people the Jews back from all the nations of the earth to live in the land of Israel. We met Ethiopian, Russian and American Jews.

Old people, couples walking hand in hand, others on canes are walking through the streets. They have lived here to see the fulfilment of prophecy. Nearby where we are staying is a school. Yesterday morning as we went out we met young boys and girls chirping happily as they entered the doors.

“In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all— the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬ Continue reading

Sitting Down in the Storm

I am sitting having breakfast in our friend’s home in Jerusalem. I’m reading the newspaper headlines from the UK.
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“Devastating Storm Doris has battered Britain, with a woman killed and 100mph winds thrashing parts of the UK

The Weather Bomb has ripped roofs from buildings, pulled trees up, toppled walls and resulted in travel chaos across large parts of the country with roads blocked and trains and planes cancelled.”

As Doris hit, Peel Ports in Liverpool announced the city’s port had been closed due to “100mph gusts of wind”.
Network Rail advised “Storm Doris has caused significant disruption throughout the country”, with an enforced speed limit on some lines.” Quotes the Sun.

Brendan and I set out on our journey to Israel at five am on Thursday unaware of any storm that was brewing. We had booked an early morning flight from Belfast to Manchester and then connect with a flight at twelve noon to TelAviv. We were looking forward to our visit to Israel and catching up with friends.

The pilot on the easyjet flight from Belfast landed the plane carefully into Machester. We made our way through security for our connection to Tel Aviv. Then we managed to avoid the waves of beautiful attendants trying to sell us duty free perfumes and drinks till we found our favourite restaurant called Giraffe. Mexican breakfast specialities were on offer. I ordered Masala chilli eggs and salad from the menu. The young man who served us warned me that this dish was quite spicy and hot. I hesitated but decided to try it anyway. The waiter must have thought chilli was too dangerous for a grey haired, female pensioner. Brendan and I sat back and relaxed. Our holiday began.

The rain lashed against the window. The wind shook the roof. Outside planes landed. Below the luggage handlers and technicians unloaded and prepared some planes for their next journey to Finland or Iceland or Germany. The men were well wrapped in water and wind proof jackets. Inside we enjoyed our breakfast.

When our flight was called we made our way to the gate. Jewish men with their black coats and hats were easily recognized. Jewish women with children in arms were pushing prams and balancing luggage. Arab men were waiting as well. They were wearing long grey tunics and small caps. Arab women were distinguished by their long dresses and shawls. Some ladies were covered up completely except for their eyes. We were going to be sitting at close quarters on the plane to Tel Aviv.

We waited in line at the gate to get on the plane it seemed for ages. The wind was getting stronger outside and it was getting colder inside the terminal. Finally an announcement was made. We were advised to return to the waiting area till further notice. Our plane was not leaving. Announcements came over the tanoid system telling of cancellations to different flights due to the weather conditions. I was praying that the Tel Aviv flight would not be cancelled.

I remembered the scripture I know so well “A hope deferred makes the heart sick but a hope fulfilled is a tree of life.” The day before I noticed in my garden a bush that was in blossom. I looked closer. I heard a couple of bees buzzing around the white flowers gathering pollen. I thought to myself “Is that an Almond tree”. I hadn’t noticed it before. Yes it was an Almond tree. I remember when we were in Israel four years ago the Almond trees were in blossom. They are the first trees to blossom in the spring and the last trees to bear fruit. When I looked at the blossoms in my garden I was reassured that I would soon be seeing the Almond blossoms in Israel. The previous week had been very busy for me. I was looking forward to getting away on holiday.

God gave Jeremiah a promise,

“The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled and all my plans carried out. ‭Jeremiah‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
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The Almond blossom is a sign of hope. One has not to give up. If God has given me a promise then he will bring it to pass. When I had cancer I had grown hopeless and doubted God answering my prayers and fulfilling promises he had given me. I was impatient. God is faithful. Despite my doubt and fears he healed me and restored hope to me. Now when I am faced with difficult situations I do not fear but trust God for the outcome.

I was not afraid or disappointed at the thought of us not getting away. I had a quiet hope. I sat down and waited. I was reading a passage in a book written by Watchman Née the evening before. Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. After he died on the cross to forgive our sins, heal our diseases, break all curses and restore us and provide for us, he went back to heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. God invites us to sit with Jesus in that heavenly place and bring our sins, worries and burdens to him. We are to enjoy what God has done for us. We are to rest and let Jesus bear the weight and responsibility of any difficulty that faces us. As I sat on the waiting room bench, I decided to sit with Christ in that heavenly place and let him take the responsibility to get me to Israel. I did not fret, or feel disappointed or look at the storm raging outside. I was hoping to get there. God will not disappoint as we trust him.

Three hours passed. Then I saw some of the people that were queuing earlier for our flight walking towards the flight gate. I went over to enquire if the Tel Aviv fight was leaving. They said “Yes”. Jesus was getting me and my husband to Israel. My heart was leaping inside.

We boarded the plane. Jews, Arabs, English and Irish sitting together, all happy and thankful to be getting away. The pilot boosted the engines to full power and we rose above the storm.

Honor and Worship God

How do we honor and worship God in our lives today.

I was listening to a recorded Christian Service on Radio Ulster on Sunday 19 th June 2016.  It was held in St George’s Church in Belfast to celebrate 200 years since it’s opening.

I enjoy singing praise songs to worship God on my own or sing along to a CD.  I attend small groups of people who gather to worship God.  In a small group, people can be shy to sing or to lift up their voices.  The pressure often is on the guitarist and singer to carry the worship meeting.  But the service I listened to on the radio was different from the small groups I am used to.

From St George’s the organ sounded and lifted up the choir’s voices.  When I listened to the organ blasting out the music it allowed for people to sing along whether they sung in tune or not, or whether they sang high or low.  I noticed that the speaker spoke clearly and loudly for all to hear.  It seemed as if the service was being help at another time in the past.  I wondered were the pews full of people on last Sunday.  We don’t know.  Perhaps when this church was dedicated all those years ago people gathered with enthusiasm to praise and thank The Lord and make loud noises with the organ and choir.

I was reminded of David’s psalm in 1 Chronicles 15 where it is describes how David had prepared himself and the people to bring the Ark of The Lord back to Jerusalem.  There were musicians and singers making music to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant into the middle of  God’s people.

“David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the Lord to the place he had prepared for it.

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.

So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭15:3, 16, 22, 28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

He appointed singers and music players to make loud noises to celebrate.   David danced like a mad man before the presence of The Lord and the people.  His wife rebuked him later for acting so foolishly.  She was left barren because of her complaint.  He was not ashamed to praise his God who delivered him in many situations in his life.

Today we dance to a different song than David of old.  You may be watching football matches.  The different supporters shout out their anthems for their teams.  They are not afraid to lift up their voices.  Their spirits are lifted and everyone waits in anticipation to see if their team wins.  The pop stars, U2, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Bruce Springstein or the Rolling Stones fill stadiums with people to hear their concerts.  The footballers and stars are millionaires because of the people’s worship of them.  People join along in the song and dance with their faviourite stars and pay a lot of money to attend.  Today do we show the same enthusiasm for our God as we do the pop stars or our football teams?  Do we give as much money to a minister of God as one gives at the ticket box for these shows.

Come let us return to The Lord.  Like David let us prepare our hearts and prepare a place for God to return into our midst and let us lift up our voices and music to praise and thank him.  Let us honor and worship God alone.

We are Moving House. Do it Again, Lord.

 

 

“Be very careful never to forget what you have seen The Lord do for you.  Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live!  And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”  Deuteronomy 25 v 9

After rearing our children in the big house God provided for us, Brendan and I realised over the past few years that it is taking a lot of our energy to maintain it.  Lighting the fires in the morning to keep warm, cleaning and doing household chores made me weary.

Our children advised us to downsize to a more modern house that would be easy to keep warm.  It is not easy to be released from the home we reared our children for the last fifteen years.  Our children have memories of  growing up here.  There is space for us to have family get togethers, and the grandchildren come to visit.  There is room for them to stay over.

It is not easy to start looking again.  Back in September I read from God’s Word I will provide a home for the poor.  Brendan and I were going to trust God, as before, to provide a home for us.  “Lord you did it before, do it again,” I prayed.  “You will not forsake me now when I have gray hair,” according to Psalm 71.

Now that I am old and gray, 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 71:18 NLT)

I did not want to move away from the area where we now live.  I would be happy to move to the country nearby.  We began to look at possibilities.  I did not have the energy to look at potential houses and then be disappointed if we were rejected.  We did try once, found a lovely house to rent, but the owner was not willing to rent to us.  I didn’t try any more.

Brendan and I visited Jerusalem earlier in the year.  I believe God’s Word that says he will bless us in Jerusalem.
Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek The Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing. (Zechariah 8:22 NLT)
I went to the ancient site of the Wailing Wall and prayed there about many things.

When we arrived back home I got a call from my hairdresser.  She said I had a dream about you last night and I need to tell you about it.  The dream indicated we would be leaving this house.  She did not know our situation about wanting to move from here. This dream helped Brendan and I decide to move from here.  We were in agreement.  Before I was undecided.

We looked at Property Pal, an Internet site for house rentals.  I searched for houses in our local area.  There were a few houses to let in the country nearby.  I called the agent of one I liked.  He arranged a viewing that evening.

It turned out to be a house next door to our friend who had the dream.  Her brother owned the house.  It proved ideal for our needs and applied to rent it.  The owner agreed and we move there next week.

The house is called “Bright House.”  In case we had any doubts about our move God has showed us signs three times.   I was reading in the scriptures,

“It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. (Colossians 1:9-12 MSG)”

Tea bags and cologne.

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A song on the radio called “Bright Eyes”.

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We are in the middle of our house move.  Energy is low but morale high because of the Bright future God has promised for us.

God speaks today.  Listen for His still small voice if you are needing to make a Big move.

Walking in the Places Where Jesus Walked

 

It is a great privilege to see and walk in the places where Jesus walked.  I am so thankful to God to be alive to Praise him for my healing from cancer.
 
One the first day of our visit to Jerusalem we went to the Mount of Olives.  From there we had a panorama of the ancient walls of Jerusalem in the distance, the Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Garden of Gethseme, and the City of David to the left.  In the distance we could see Bethlehem.
 
To the left in the distance is Bethlehem.  In middle is the Kidron Valley. A spire in the distance is near Zion gate where Jesus had the last supper.  At the left is the beginning of the Walls of Jerusalem.  The entrance to the Wailing Wall is there, the Dung Gate.  To the left of the Wall is some of the ruins of the City of David.  The Mount of Olives is now the burial place for Jews.  They want to be buried
 near where the Messiah will return.
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We were standing on the mount where Jesus went to pray, and where he often spent time with his disciples. Here is a quote from the bible,
 
“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately about the coming times.”(Mark 13:3 NIV)
 
The last three days of Jesus life was spent in the area we could see before us.
 
Jesus entered the City of Jerusalem.  People welcomed him by waving palm branches and cried “Hosanna to the Son Of David.”  He chased the money changers out of the Temple.  The Temple is not there now but we could see the Temple Mount.  The Temple was built on Mount Horeb where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son.
 
Here you have a clear view of the City Walls and the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock.  Gethsemene is below to the right.
 
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The bible tells us 
 
“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” (Matthew 26:17 NIV)
They went to a room near the City of David.  There Jesus told his disciples about his coming death and not to be afraid.”
 
“When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.  On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.  Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.” (John 18:1, 2 NIV)
 
This Olive tree is the oldest in the Garden of Gethsemene.
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“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” (Mark 14:32-34 NIV)
 
Beyond the city walls to the left it is thought to be Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified outside the city walls.  There Jesus suffered and died for us.  His blood flowed on the ground like the blood that flowed from the bulls sacrificed on the altar in the Temple.  He became the sacrifice to God for our sins and sicknesses.  He destroyed the Power of Satan.  So we do not have to live under his oppression.
 
In the distance is Golgotha, to the right is Rachel’s Tomb and Bethany, where Jesus friends lived.
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“Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha ). There they nailed him to the cross.  Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.  And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.” (John 19:17-20 NLT)
 
Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to His disciples.  He finally rose into heaven from Bethany near the Mount of Olives.  There is no other empty grave in the world.
 
Love is when someone thinks of the other person before himself.  Jesus loved us and gave his life for us by his death on the Cross.
God loves mankind.