Family Friday. We Didn’t Get Invited Out to Dinner

While in Canada recently, a young man called David, picked us up from the airport at Dawson Creek.   I remembered him from my last visit.  He came to a meeting with his wife and four small children.  They were like little mice playing quietly, not wanting to disrupt the meeting.

This couple reminded Brendan and I of times past when we would attend meetings with our young children.  I had eight children at the time.   The children joined in the singing and were well behaved when someone was speaking.  We were the biggest family there.

Our host was telling us that David and his family don’t get invited out to dinner, because people think a family of four is too much to cope with.  They can cope with adults but not young children!   I sympathised with David.  Wouldn’t the parents feel loved and accepted it someone had their family over for soup even.  

Getting everyone ready for Sunday meetings became stressful for us as our family increased.  We had to be up early, get dressed, be on our best behaviour, sit through services and then come home to make dinner for all of us.  When we had ten children we decided to stay home on a Sunday morning.  It was more relaxed for us all.  Brendan taught our children in the relaxed atmosphere of home.  I had plenty of time to cook dinner.  For seven years we stayed home on Sundays.  Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, and Angela were born in those seven years.

We remembered the love of God for children. 
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭11‬ KJV)
We knew God was carrying us in his arms.

In the earlier years when I had seven children we met up with friends for picnics.  We would meet in each other’s homes for lunch.  The other ladies were great cooks.  Our children were around the same age, and played happily together.  But as number eight child, number nine child, etc arrived the invites for dinner stopped.  We were alone on Sundays together with our growing family. We lived far away from our parents or extended family, so no aunts or uncles to give a helping hand.

I will always remember the kindness of a friend, Rose Rodgers, who invited ten of us for dinner.  She knew my husband was away on a trip.  He was working on a mission and often I would come under attack from the enemy, the devil, when he was away. The enemy would use these tactics to wear me down. If I was not able to look after the children at home then my husband would have to stop travelling. I was determined I was not going to miss this dinner.

Came the day to go, I asked one of my daughters to help get the youngest child ready.  She put the child in the bath and turned on the hot tap.  She forgot to turn on the cold tap as well.  I was busy seeing to the others when one of the other girls came running in shouting, “The baby’s legs are scalded.”  I was calm.  I knew this was an attack from the devil to stop me going out with my children for dinner.

I attended to the baby, dressed her, told my other children to get in the van and wait for me.  We drove to the doctors surgery just to check that the baby was okay.  I was praying all the way.  I told the other children to behave while I went into the surgery.  I didn’t know how long I would be.  While I was waiting to be seen, one of the children came running to find me.  Two of the girls were fighting in the van.  I had to go out and restore calm. One was annoyed with the other for hurting the baby and was battering her with a stick. They were traumatised at the thought of permanent damage being done to their wee sister’s legs. I told them God would heal my baby’s legs. I returned to the doctor.  He dressed the baby’s legs with cream and he reassured me her skin was not harmed.  

Praise The Lord.  I drove off with the van full of children to my friend’s house.  We all filed in and apologised for being late.  How I enjoyed that meal.  My friend had a big heart.  I will never forget this kindness from Rose Rodgers.

August Blues. I Have Joy Now Instead Of Blues

September’s weather has come in August here in Northern Ireland.
It is cooler and wetter.  The summer is cut short. 
The last bank holiday was a wash out.
In previous years August had been a busy month for me.
I had to get my children ready for the return to school.
I would check on last years’ school trousers, jumpers,  blazers or skirts to see if I could squeeze another year out of them.
If not I paid a visit to the local drapery store to get the necessary outfits.
That would have been my biggest bill of the year.
One year I had eight children at school.
The Lord promises my children will not go begging in the street.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (‭Psalm‬ ‭37‬:‭25‬ NIV)

I wanted my children to feel fresh and smartly turned out as the new school term started.
My last child left second level education last year.
All the uniforms are forgotten and schools ties’ and blazersimage are hanging at the back of the cupboard, only to be retrieved for a fancy dress party perhaps.
I don’t know if I have more money in the bank this year in August, but I am glad I do not have the stress of shopping for back-to-school items.
August is a time of harvest.  Fruit is ripe, wheat, oats, barley, hay and maize are ripe.
Fruit, plums blackberries and apples are picked.
In the past August has been a month of testing for me.
It steers the course for the coming year.
I had three children in August.  
I was in hospital in hospital twice in August.
But this year I am expecting fruit from all I have invested into others.
The farmer sows seeds in the spring.
In autumn he expects a harvest.
It grows of itself.
Our creator causes the growth.
So it is I expect my God to cause the growth in seeds I have sown into people’s lives to produce a harvest.
And I expect to eat of it.
Two people I prayed for in the past have had life changing experiences this August.
I have joy when I hear of answered prayers and when God uses me.
I am not expecting a baby this year but I am expectant for God’s promises to be fulfilled in my life this August.
Are you expectant?

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Containers filled with Blossoms That Open to the Sun.

I use window boxes as containers to  display flowers on my kitchen window sill.

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No this photograph was not taken in Greece, Italy, Spain or other sunny destination.

The colourful daisies open up in the brilliant sunshine.  If it is cold or wet they don’t show their faces and stay tightly closed.

We are a bit like these flowers when someone loves us.  We open up when someone is warm and encouraging to us and we feel safe with them.

Jesus is described in Malachi as the Sun of Righteousness who rises with healing in his wings.

God is love and there are no shadows with him.  His love causes us to open up like the flowers and become beautiful like my display of flowers.

It was taken in my back yard, where I live in Northern Ireland.

Ireland is known for its forty shades of green as mentioned in the song written by the Man in Black Johnny Cash after his first visit to here.

We have a high rainfall in Ireland.  But where I live at the moment is in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains so the clouds have dropped all their rain before they get this far.  We have many sunny days.

The bright display is cheery on my window sill and will keep on blooming till autumn.

Then I will empty and store my containers till next spring.

 

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How the Humble Lily is a Sign of My Healing

 

I have some lilies blooming in my garden.  They are flourishing.  There are six lilies growing in a pot and they are so unusually big.  They have never bloomed like this before for me.  

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I am reminded of a picture of a lily a young man sent me, when I believed I was healed of cancer, and others, including the doctors, did not.
 
Back in 2010 I had fourth stage bowel cancer.  The doctors advised fives weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to reduce the tumour, in preparation to operate to remove the tumour and part of my bowel.  I believe that God heals diseases today as we pray in Jesus name.
Many people were praying for me.  I believed I was healed three months after I was diagnosed.

It was hard to convince others that I was healed.  I caused a furore amongst the doctors in charge.  A senior doctor was cross with me.   He said this has never happened in my thirty years of working with cancer patients.  Another young doctor said he would be the first to give me a big hug if I was healed.  
Others, especially my family and friends were encouraging me and supporting me in my faith.

One particular friend painted a picture for me.  It was a picture of a white lily.  I asked him what was the meaning of the picture.  He believed God inspired him to do the painting.  He said a lily is a symbol of completion.
The lily is mentioned in the bible when Solomon was building the temple.  The pillars that supported the roof had lilies carved on the top.
“The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.” (1 Kings 7:22 NIV)

This young man’s visit was a great encouragement.  I believe God was confirming that my healing was complete even though the doctors had not done any tests on me.
Two months later the doctor called me to the hospital.

They wanted to arrange to do surgery to remove the tumour as was planned.  He was dismayed when I said I believed I was healed.  My husband agreed with me.  He went for a second opinion and came back to insist we arrange a date for an operation.  I said I did not need one.  He let us leave.

I was called by the head doctor’s secretary the next day and asked to attend a quickly arranged appointment to check to see if the tumour was gone.  I had a colonoscopy.  I talked to the nurses as I went into the testing room that I was healed.  They just smiled.  

The doctor could not find the tumour.  I saw for myself on the monitor screen that my colon walls were like a baby’s skin.  Alleluia.
I remain healed four years on through faith in God.
That is why the lilies in my garden bring me joy today.

A Horse needs a Bridle and Bit to Keep it under Control.

 

I was talking to my neighbour recently.

He was telling me about his favourite hobby, horses.

John loves horses.
He learnt about horses from his father and other relatives who had been successful in breeding race horses that have won important events in world of horse racing.
He can tell me who was the mother and father of the recent winner of the Derby, “Australia.”
He is knowledgable about many horses that are winners.
He is hoping to have that big winner some day.
He owns five horses that graze in the field behind our home.
He rescued two of them from the “Knacker’s yard”.
That is where horses go that are no use any more.
They are rejects, too old, not profitable for their owners, or their owners cannot afford them in this climate of recession.

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The horses belonging to my neighbour are sleek, tall, colourful, bright eyed and beautiful.

John hopes to train his best horse which will cost him some money.

The horse will live in a stable, eat food that will strengthen him, let someone ride on his back, and will have to suffer a few lashes of a whip in the process.  Pain.
It will have to run miles every day to get used to running fast.
Not so pleasant as running free in a field, grazing grass.
It can no longer do its own will or want its own way.
It has to learn to obey its trainer and perhaps be successful in a race.
It can be of use to its master and win a race.

God likens one who is rebellious to an untrained horse, stubborn, self willed, running free, not under authority, not obedient, not knowing how to be useful or profitable.

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalms 32:8 NLT)
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.” (Psalms 32:9 NLT)
“But no, my people wouldn’t listen. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! (Psalms 81:11-14 NLT)

God in his mercy longs for us to seek him.

We may not suffer the consequences of our wrong doing in our lifetime, but it will manifest in our children after us.
Discipline or pain is not a popular word in our culture.
The doctor prescribes tablets to ease pain of mind and body.
A child left up to its own devises will be unruly and unpleasant to be around.
How much more so a grown up person who is not self controlled and chooses to do whatever one feels like.
Such a person will not be useful.
God our creator has made us and knows what is good for us and how best we can live.
The self has to die and that is painful.

I have learnt obedience through the things in my life that caused pain; heartache, sickness, and mental anguish.

I don’t want to be self willed or rebellious.  I defer to others when making decisions.  To live with others I seek to live in peace and listen.  I have to put down that power in me that wants my own way.

Jesus was crucified.  We have to crucify our selfish nature and live according to God’s word.
Like the trained horse, we often suffer pain in our lives to help us to choose the right way to go.

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My Childhood Memory of Colourful Lupins Remembered

It is very hot today.
I am reminded of summer days walking to school.
I lived in the country.
I walked three miles to school.
I passed houses, lanes, hedgerows and fields.
Some fields had black and white cows grazing.
All my surroundings looked big to a small girl as I rushed to get there on time.
For the first half of the journey I walked alone.
Other children would join me as I got nearer the school.
My return from school was more leisurely.
On the hot days the tar blistered on the road surface.
My fingers tips turned black as I burst the bubbles.
At a crossroads a single lady lived.
She was grey haired but remained the same age to me.
She would speak to me as I passed.
I remember a lilac bush that blossomed in her garden in May.
It always was in full bloom on my birthday.
I loved the smell of the lilac, cone shaped flowers.
She would cut off a few branches to give to my mother.
Further along beside a bridge over a small river was a gooseberry bush.
I would always check to see if there was any fruit on the thorny branches.
I picked the bitter goose “gabs” as we called them, before the birds finished them off.
Over the hill lived a family with four children.
I met one of those children recently and she said she always remembered me smiling.
I had no cares in the world then.
Just past their house was a short lane with a house at the end of it.
I never met who lived there but I remember the flowers in the garden.
It was ablaze with colour; yellow, pale pinks, dark pinks, plum, blue and white, and purple.
The lupin flowers stood tall outlined against the sky.
This is my favourite childhood memory.
Down through the years I had not seen such a display.
I tried unsuccessfully to grow some lupins in my garden.
The green fly ate the unfurling flowers.
My husband planted a lilac tree for me at my last home. It did grow.
I was visiting with my daughter and family in the Wicklow hills this week.
It was our 43rd wedding anniversary.
At the bottom of her garden is an abundance of lupins of all colours growing tall and beautiful.
I noticed little red insects, with black dots on the flowers.
They are called lady birds.
I remember picking them in my palm to inspect them as a child.
Aha I thought.
These little insects eat greenfly!
That is why my daughter’s lupins are not wasted away with greenfly.
My daughter lives in the heart of the Wicklow hills away from farms that are sprayed with insecticide.
These little lady birds survive in the habitat there.
I was able to relive a childhood memory on my 43rd wedding anniversary in my daughter’s garden.
The in between years have had their sorrows.

Isaiah 51 v 11 says,
“Therefore the redeemed of The Lord shall return and come singing unto Zion, 
and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.

I am being healed and restored by God.
Fifty years, on I am reminded of my walk to school on happy, sunny days.

 

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We all need a Rescuer, Protector, Deliverer, Saviour, or Helper at Some Time.

 

Statistics tell us there are 27 million people displaced in the world today.
These people through circumstances not of there own making, have to leave their family, culture and language to live somewhere else.
They are seeking help.
They need a leader, saviour, protector, deliverer, rescuer, liberator, helper, healer and provider.
Different factors cause this.
People from poor countries seek to move to a country where there is a better standard of living.
Internal wars, disasters,or famine cause people to flee their own country.
Forced exile through persecution often happens.
Many Jews fled from Hitler, but many did not get away.
Many Irish had to leave because of famine in the nineteenth century.
They had to leave by boat on a long journey by sea.
Some did not make it.
They found refuge in America.  They were welcomed.
In Europe there is much movement of peoples within the EEC countries with borders opening.
Poor people from the East are coming into Europe through Greece.
Sadly they are not welcomed.  The Western nations see them as a burden on their own economies.
Movement of nations is nothing new.
I read of examples from the bible of people leaving their own countries.
Abraham left his home in the land of the Chaldeans and went where God told him to go.
Joseph was persecuted and rejected by his brothers because they were jealous of him.
Jacob and his family moved to Egypt when there was a famine in Israel.
His son Joseph became a saviour for his family.
The Jewish people were exiled from their land to Babylon because of their disobedience to God.
Naomi and her family left Bethlehem because of famine in the land.
The early Christians were scattered throughout the nations because of persecution.
In all these circumstances people needed and still need a leader, a deliverer, a helper or a liberator.
The defination of Messiah is deliverer, liberator, leader or anointed one.

Acts  5 v 42 says
The Messiah you are looking for is Jesus.

New Living Translation